Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mozilla Firefox 1.5 Released

Mozilla Firefox 1.5: "The final release of Mozilla Firefox 1.5 is now available for download from GetFirefox.com for most major operating systems or from the mirrors. Users of the release candidates should receive the update soon."

Worst fortune cookie fortune EVER!

"Don't behave with cold manners"

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame - New members

New York, New York, November 28, 2005 - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation today announced its 2006 Inductees.

The following artists will be inducted at the Twenty-First Annual Induction Ceremony, which will be held Monday, March 13th 2006 in New York at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel:
  • Black Sabbath (Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward)
  • Sex Pistols (Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd (Bob Burns, Allen Collins, Steve Gaines, Ed King, Billy Powell, Artimus Pyle, Gary Rossington, Ronnie Van Zant, Leon Wilkeson)
  • Miles Davis
  • Blondie (Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri, Nigel Harrison, Debbie Harry, Frank Infante, Chris Stein, Gary Valentine)

Monday, November 28, 2005

9 Boxes of Books and videos

Boxes of Books
Here are the nine boxes of books and videos that I took to Half-Price Books. They have been packed and unpacked and loaded and unloaded many times. We made sure to sift through them and get rid of the ones that mice had chewed on. There were probably 120 books and 25 VHS videos. I went to Half-Price Books with this whole pile of stuff. The employee checked my ID and entered that info in the computer and asked to be sure that I had time to wait until their offer. He then helped me unload the books and bring them into the store. He said I could wait on the couch. He called my name about 30-35 minutes later that 'The Offer' was ready. I walked up there with a big smile on my face and he said "We can offer you $20.25". I almost fell over. The way I saw it, my choices were limited to:
  • Take the money
  • Load the books back into the boxes, load them back into the truck and then give them to Goodwill
  • Load the books back into the boxes, load them back into the truck and try to sell them at our garage sale
  • Load the books back into the boxes, load them back into the truck and try to sell them on eBay.
Notice that all of the solutions except the first one include the phrase "Load the books back into the boxes, load them back into the truck and...". I took the money.

(Can you guess why I didn't link to Half-Price Books ?)

Wireless USB Optical Desktop

Clean up the look on your desk with the Kensington Wireless Optical Desktop. It's a complete wireless desktop with multimedia keyboard and optical mouse finished in a two-tone silver finish to complement today's PCs. This wireless desktop has a slim profile and two-tone silver/black color scheme. The keyboard has 19 hot keys for quick Internet access and multimedia control. The mouse featrues DiamondEye optical technology for precise tracking and USB and PS2 connection works with any PC.

What's in the Box
Keyboard, wireless optical mouse, RF receiver with PS/2 and USB connectivity

Product Description:
USB and PS2 Compatible / Works with Windows 98 or later for PC / Contains 1 Wireless Optical Mouse and 1 Wireless Keyboard Kensington 5-year product warranty and toll-free technical support Comes in Brown Box.

6.5 hours into our garage cleanup...


HOW TO: Getting Started with RSS

HOW TO: Getting Started with RSS at PaulStamatiou.com

This is a very good article about what RSS is and how to make it work for you.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

How about a $139 laptop ?

AlphaSmart 3000 IR Features and Specifications:
  • 3 AA Batteries (runs 700 hours on these)
  • AlphaWord Plus, Beamer, Keywords and Calculator SmartApplets
  • Built-in Infrared Capabilities
  • User's Guide"

4.5 hours into our garage cleanup...

Garage Garbage

Fall is here...

A bird's nest and fall colors
This morning, I saw this bird's nest in one of the trees in the front yard. Please click on the photo to view the full size version, this size doesn't really do the photo justice.

Friday, November 25, 2005

It's Black Friday

I won't be taking part in Black Friday. I'm unwilling to fight the crowds and have to work today. For those of you who are interested, here's the Black Friday entry from Wikipedia:

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Many consider it the "official" beginning to the holiday season. The "black" in the name comes from the standard accounting practice of using red ink to denote negative values (losses) and black ink to denote positive values (profits). Black Friday is the day when retailers traditionally get back "in the black" after operating "in the red" for the previous months, often by cutting prices considerably. In addition, most retailers will open very early.

Although Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of customer traffic, it is not typically the day with the highest sales volume. That is usually either Christmas Eve or the last Saturday before Christmas.

Because of the large amount of shopping that typically occurs on Black Friday, it has also become Buy Nothing Day.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Everything old is new again

I just went back to the original layout for the blog. Blogger doesn't have that many layout choices and this is the best I've found for displaying the content I want to display. A couple features aren't implemented yet, but they should be in the next few days.

Howto: Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Be careful on the road.
Enjoy spending the day with family.
Root for your team.
Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving tonight on ABC.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The good news is...

Cheap Gas
I paid less than two bucks a gallon yesterday at the HEB at the corner of Greenlawn and Louis Henna in Round Rock.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Another redesign

I have heard from users in the past that this blog looked like crap on Internet Explorer. I'm sorry about that. I didn't realize that that browser was still around. I'm not completely pleased with this new layout, but it looks OK in all browsers, even in OffByOne.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Simon Evening of Giving

Tonight, Amy and I are going to the Simon Evening of Giving with BigMac and his family. This will be our fourth year to attend this fundraiser. It's traditionally been where Amy and I kick off our Christmas shopping. It's a nationwide event, so please find a Simon mall near you that's participating in the Evening of Giving or the Day of Giving and go.
Simon Evening of Giving is the exclusive, after-hours shopping event that kicks off the holiday shopping season. This fund-raising event will include a night of private holiday shopping and family entertainment when the malls opens at after-hours for the supporters of participating charities. Throughout the mall, there will be exclusive store discounts, entertainment, food sampling and more. Last year’s Simon Evening of Giving, was held at 63 Simon Malls across the country, and raised over $2,000,000, for 2,571 national, regional and local charities including Simon Youth Foundation®.

On Sunday, November 20th, sixty-two Simon malls will be hosting the traditional Simon Evening of Giving and an additional sixteen Simon malls will be hosting the New! Simon Day of Giving. Simon Day of Giving is a natural extension of the evening event, just held during regular mall open hours – with shopping, festive holiday entertainment, door prizes, silent auctions, food sampling and of course – More Shopping!

For charities and not-for-profit organizations interested in participating or receiving more information about Simon Evening of Giving or Simon Day of Giving, please contact your local participation Simon mall.

Would you like cash back ?

Yesterday, Amy and I went to Souper Salads for lunch, Payment is required before you go through the line. I was using my debit card and the cashier (who will henceforth be referred to as cashier) said "Do you want cash back ? Like two or three dollars ?" I assumed that the reason he chose those amounts was to show that I could get any amount (not limited to $20 increments like most ATM's). I thought about it and decided that since I had no cash, that I would go ahead and get some. So, I asked for twenty. The cashier said "Oh no! I can't give you that much. I can only give you two or three dollars at the most. It's limited to half the amount of the bill". The lunch was right under $16, so I could have asked for almost $8. Amy later explained that it was so I would have a small amount of cash to leave as a tip.

On the way out, I went to the Men's room. I was just walking in and saw the same cashier washing his hands (there was a sign that employees must do so). He asked me how I was doing and I replied "Fine". I wasn't yet at the urinal, so I didn't mind answering. I was at the urinal when he asked, "Are you finding everything on the buffet OK ?" I said, "YES!" Thank goodness there wasn't a more substantial customer survey involved.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Iron Bowl 2005

If you're in Austin, come watch the game with the Auburn Alumni at the sports bar inside Showplace Lanes Austin. The game starts at 2:30. We went to see Auburn whoop Georgia there last week and were among 40 Auburn fans. It was awesome. Today should be every bit as exciting.

Cool Site: Lifehacker

Here's some cool articles or posts that I've found on Lifehacker in the past 4 months. This site alway has great stuff. They describe their site this way:
Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. Lifehacker recommends the downloads, web sites and shortcuts that actually save time. Don't live to geek; geek to live.

My Silktide Sitescore

I have added the following image near the bottom of the right side of the screen. It will constantly be updated with my current score. Just for reference, today my rating is a 7.9.

Click on it and see the ratings!

Finally, we've been recognized.

IT workers dubbed 'worst dressed'
"Help-desk staff were named as the worst offenders,"

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Lost on iTunes

As I mentioned earlier, earlier this week we lost last week's episode of Lost. I spent $1.99 tonight on iTunes to purchase it. We watched it and caught up. If Alias had the same deal, we would have bought those episodes as well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Questions about Suicide Bombers

If you're a suicide bomber and you kill just one person (other than yourself), have you really accomplished anything ? What if you're the only person who is killed ? Isn't that really just an elaborate suicide ?

Free TV Shows

Warner Bros to offer classic repeats for free over broadband - Yahoo! News: "Hollywood studio Warner Brothers said it plans to put thousands of episodes of old television favourites including 'Wonder Woman' online for free under a groundbreaking deal with America Online."
Some of you may realize that you have been able to get free TV shows for years. Even before your first computer, you were able to 'download' television shows. You were probably even able to get them wirelessly.

data = gone

Monday was a bad day for data. My system at work has been flaky lately and in repairing it, they had to reimage it. I've lost all my old email archives plus all the work on a project I was working on. I wasn't too upset until I got home and noticed that our DVR had formatted the hard drive, taking 2 episodes of Alias, 1 episode of Lost and about 20 movies and other shows that had been in the queue.

I may do a quick backup on my main system. Anyone have 86000 floppies I can borrow ?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Recent Interesting MAKE: Blog posts

If you aren't currently subscribed to the MAKE: Blog RSS feed, how can you call yourself a geek ? These are the coolest things I've seen there in the past couple of months.

Jones Soda Holiday Pack

Amy and I have seen the the Jones Soda Holiday Pack the last couple of times we went to Target. These are the flavors of the Holiday Pack:
  • Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Turkey & Gravy
  • Wild Herb Stuffing
  • Pumpkin Pie
They also have a regional Holiday Pack which contains:
  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Smoked Salmon Paté
  • Turkey & Gravy
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pecan Pie.
Last year's Holiday Pack included:
  • Turkey & Gravy Soda
  • Cranberry Soda
  • Mashed Potato & Butter
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Fruitcake Soda
Now, I really like Jones Soda and have mentioned them before. I think I'll stick with my favorite Jones Sodas.
  • Blue Bubblegum
  • Green Apple
  • Berry Lemonade

My dad would be proud...

Go ahead, see if you can beat a 90!
You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!


I thought that might get your attention. This seems to be a clever way to get the thickness of a man's wallet down to a reasonable size. Check it out. Here's a quote from their site.
ALL-ETT® Billfold was started in 1998 from a simple desire to solve a classic problem. By using a revolutionary design, and modern materials, it was found that we need not cling to traditional wallets whose basic design preceded having so many credit cards.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

RIP: Arrested Development

FOX has cancelled the funniest network comedy in years. Arrested Development will be allowed to film five more before the season ends.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another Keyring Tool...

In addition to a small flashlight, I carry a small multitool on my keyring. It's a Swiss+Tech Utili-Key® 6-In-1. I'm not sure how I ever got along without it.
The lightest and most compact multiple tool ever developed. This ultra-light, durable and precision crafted 6-in-1 tool has a straight knife blade and a serrated cutting surface, a micro-sized screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, an eyeglass screwdriver, and a bottle opener, and weighs in at an amazing 0.5 oz. The tool makes minor repairs, assemblies, installations, and hundreds of jobs an easy undertaking. The patented quick-release design easily snaps to your key ring, and just as easily releases for multiple everyday tasks. Ideal for indoor or outdoor activities and emergency situations, this tool comes in handy on the road and at home!

New keyring flashlight...

For the past four years, I've been carrying a Photon Micro-Light® II on my keyring. It's an incredibly useful light and has come in handy on hundreds of occasions. The batteries are replaceable (unlike many of these lights) and it takes two batteries that usually cost me $3 each at Radio Shack. Recently, it has gotten dim, so I know that the batteries need to be replaced again.

Last night, I went to pick up some things at Target and saw that they had the INOVA Microlight for $5.99. Since that's the same price as getting batteries for my Photon, I went ahead and picked one up.

It offers a couple of advantages over the Photon II. The Photon has a momentary squeeze switch and an actual on/off slider. The light is either on or off. The INOVA offers a multi-mode switch and offers multiple modes (high power, low power, strobe and signal mode). There's only one switch and it's pretty ingenious. Here's the operation guide:

Operation Guide.
Press the button one time for high power.
Press the button two times for low power.
Press the button three times for strobe.

If you leave your Microlight on any setting for more than 2 seconds the next press of the button will turn it off and not go to the next function. In the high power setting your Microlight will automatically shut off after 4 minutes. Low power and strobe settings will run as long as they are active.

To reset your Microlight into signal mode:
Press the button three times for strobe mode.
While the light is strobing, press and hold the button for 5 seconds.
In signal mode your light will only works as a squeeze light. To activate normal operating modes press and hold down the button for 15 seconds until the light goes out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

1955 Chevrolet Handyman Station Wagon

1955 Chevrolet 210 Handyman Station Wagon
I captured this in front of CD Warehouse in Round Rock. I wasn't sure what it was, because I thought (incorrectly) that all 1955-1957 two-door wagons were Nomads and all other wagons had 4 doors. This one, however, is clearly not a Nomad because it doesn't have a single long rear side window. I finally found out that it's a Handyman Station Wagon. It was obvious that it's a 1955 Chevrolet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Long Blog Posts....

I don't like 'em.

Room with a view...

Room with a View
This is the bathroom at the Whole Foods Landmark Store at 6th and Lamar.

Proofreading Bennigan's menu

Bennigan's Menu
Notice how the heading is "Steaks, Ribs & Fajitas" and then notice that one of the menu items is "Grilled Meatloaf". Which of the three is it ?

The menu at their Bennigans.com has the same anomaly.

Texans, I'm disappointed in us.

Texas easily passes Proposition 2. We've proven that we are the hand puppets of bigots who have been able to legislate intolerance.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Kiss - Peter Criss and Paul Stanley

Peter Criss and Paul Stanley

Welcome to Washington County (Texas)

Welcome to Washington County (Texas)
We've been selling a piece of property in Washington County for the last couple of months. Yesterday morning, I drove to Brenham, Texas for the last trip related to the sale. Two or three weeks ago, this sign appeared at the line between Lee and Washington counties.

Please note that the sign says "Birthplace of Texas". Those of you who weren't required to study Texas history may not understand that significance of that phrase. Washington is a very small town in Washington County. The Republic of Texas was born there when the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed there in March of 1836. The town was referred to (then and now) as "Washington on the Brazos" to differentiate it from "Washington on the Potomac".

Proposed Constitutional Amendments November 8, 2005

Today is the day to vote regarding these proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. If you live in Texas, please vote today.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vote against reversing Texas' progress

Please read the following language and if you live in Texas, decide if you want to vote for intolerance. This resolution was created by Representative Warren Chisum and Senator Todd Staples. These two people believe that Texas is too tolerant regarding marriage and they want to legislate a solution. They aren't working to advance our state's tolerance, they are working to eliminate it. They are bigots and you should help halt their vanity project.
Ballot Language
"The constitutional amendment providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage."

Brief Explanation
HJR 6 would provide that marriage in Texas is solely the union of a man and woman, and that the state and its political subdivisions could not create or recognize any legal status identical to or similar to marriage, including such legal status relationships created outside of Texas.

I just installed ObjectDock

Amy and I went to the Apple Store at Barton Creek Square Mall on Friday night. I looked at all of the Macs and I love the dock they use. I thought about picking up a Mac Mini, but there is a cheaper way.

I just found and installed the freeware version of ObjectDock from Stardock. Here's a screenshot. If you've seen a modern Mac, you know how it works.
(Click the screenshot to see what it really looks like)

It's an RSS world...

You can now use the orange XML button beside the user count to subscribe to my RSS feed.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Jeep Commander stuff

Amy really likes the new Jeep Commander (I don't really 'get it'). Here are a couple of concepts based the Commander (just for her):

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cool Trike

Originally uploaded by eschulz.
I love these trikes. I'm not sure how practical they are. They certainly should get better gas mileage than a car, but probably not nearly as much as a two-wheeler.

Lastminute Auctions

lastminute-auction.com provides a new way to hunt for great bargains on eBay.com.

They search current offers on eBay for auctions which meet their strict simple criteria:
  1. The auction ends in one hour.
  2. The price is currently one dollar or less.
Although they find a bunch of stuff that's not even worth one dollar, they consistently uncover some really great deals

Cheapest PC on the planet ?

I've noticed recently that Fry's Electronics in Austin has been selling their house brand (GQ - Great Quality) PC for $159. It's not currently on sale, so it's a good deal higher than that price today. I've wondered if it could be any good. ExtremeTech has tested it and you can see their full review. It did pretty well.

If you're not lucky enough to live close to a Fry's, you can pick it up at Outpost.Com. It's selling today for $269, but they have run it on sale cheaper than that online recently.

New version of Yahoo Maps

Tonight, according to Jeremy Zawodny's Blog, the new version (link to Beta) of Yahoo Maps will be launched. There are a couple other related interesting sites:
"The new Yahoo! Maps offers a powerful new way to experience and use maps. Tap into this beautiful new interface either using the free Flash® viewer from Macromedia® or display via AJAX.

Yahoo! Maps also includes a rich set of APIs for both Flash and AJAX that enable you to use and publish maps on your web site or in your client application."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Build your own Hummer clone

Urban Gorilla 4x4 Bodies off-road body kits turn your pickup or Suburban into the vehicle of your dreams. Body packages are designed to require only basic auto shop skills and equipment. Your completed vehicle will turn heads and go just about anywhere. Get started on your dream truck today!"
I like the Combat version.

Halloween Joke

A skeleton walks into a bar and says "Give me a beer and a mop".