Saturday, November 29, 2008
I am running Norton Internet Security and Norton Systemworks on a Gateway Pentium 4 (2.8 GHz with 496 MB of RAM) using XP Home Edition. It is annoying that it takes my computer so long (several minutes) to get through the initial Norton start-up process when I turn it on from a cold start.
Am I system resource limited here (especially memory) or is this just a "feature" of Norton's products?
Though you've asked a question about Norton software, I think the question more bears an issue of the amount of RAM you have in your computer, so I am going to go down that road with my answer.
With RAM, the more the merrier. 500MB of RAM is literally not enough. It's barely enough for the operating system alone! I'm betting your system uses it's swap disk space (Virtual Memory) a lot while running. I say that because at a minimum, XP uses around 256Mb of RAM. That doesn't leave a lot of RAM for my other applications.
For example on my system right now, my memory usage looks like this snapshot to the right and as you can see, FireFox (My preferred browser), is using more than the amount of ram you have available for any program.
Virus protection program is using another 95k, Skype 44k... well you get the picture. More is always better so you can run all the programs you need without hinderance.
More RAM, priceless… oh sorry, wrong ad.
If I only had 500Mb of RAM, the system would then start using my Virtual Memory, and that requires disk access, because that is where the extra memory stuff is stored to be used. That alone slows down your processes as RAM access itself is near instantaneous as opposed to the disk access process.
On the other hand, security utilities can load up memory as they set up their modules for protecting your computer, but that's the price of gas to get somewhere, so we need to focus on your memory issue.
I have several gigs of RAM and have set 1/2 that for Virtual Memory. (It helps to have a 200 gig hard drive).
But also keep in mind that some of your start up time involves all your system programs accessing your hard drive to obtain the information to run correctly to put into your RAM. It's a mixed bag. It takes my system a few minutes to boot from scratch too.
So my take is to increase your amount of RAM to what ever specifications your computer distributor says it can handle and be sure to buy matching / identical sticks of RAM to eliminate potential manufacturer idiosyncrasy conflicts.
Here's a great article to read on the issue. pcworld.com
Thanks for the question Danny. -Bruce
Friday, November 28, 2008
Times are tough, good prices are very important to all of us, and yet... this.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving to all. (If you are reading this afterward, I hope you had a good one.)
I'm thankful for many things in these tough times and I can only wish you all the best and thank you for spending some of your valuable time here with me as I rant and report.
There's links to such information as:
The Consumers Union Advocacy site
Informative materials by Consumers Union's advocacy offices on a variety of issues, including health care, financial services, food safety, product safety, and more.
A U. S. Consumer Gateway
A clearinghouse of info from federal agencies.
Federal Citizen Information Center
Full-text versions of federal consumer publications available free
Government Agencies (Lots o' .gov sites)
Other organizations offering help and information (Like Better Business Bureau)
Consumer advocacy groups
Check out my collection at my Bruce's Consumer Links Page.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Car keys are expensive to replace these days.
The codes for "smart chip" chip keys embedded on your ignition keys can only be kept by the car's maker, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
To make things easier in the event you may need to get a locksmith to make copies of one of these types of keys is to keep your identification code number (it came with the keys when you took delivery of the car) in your wallet or purse.
If you don't retain the # someplace safe, the process to duplicate keys could take days and be expensive to have a dealer order copies. Even if you are able to get a AAA respondent to get you in your car, the locksmith might not be able to copy the ignition key.
Alternative Key Idea
If you have a key that has external teeth, you can skip the whole locksmith / roadside assistance thing by using one of those credit-card type keys made of plastic and cut to match the original key that you can keep in your wallet just in case you lock yourself out. AAA clubs in many states provide credit-card plastic keys as a courtesy or at a nominal fee to members.
Or pre-order a key now, before anything happens and keep it in a safe place.
An Idea I Use:
I don't advocate this for anyone, but I do use a magnetic key holder with a spare key in it for my vehicle, and it's in a place that only I can reach, if I lay in the right spot and reach in the right way towards it's hidden niche. Yes, I get dirty. But I consider it my price for being silly and losing the key to begin with. (For the record, 5 times in the last 11 years, it came in real handy and saved my butt!!)
The magnetic holder is pretty impressive because it stays in it's place, no matter how high in the air I get my vehicle while off-roading. I jar my teeth, my possessions in the vehicle, but it holds tight. I don't know who made it, but it's impressive.
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
-- Established June 2003 to block unwanted telemarketing calls
-- 143 million phone numbers have been registered
-- The FTC has received 2.8 million complaints
-- The FTC has completed 29 cases for telemarketing violations
-- The registration lasts for five years only. Renewal is required
-- The registry grants these exemptions:
- calls for political campaigns,
- charities and surveys;
- calls from businesses that have an existing relationship with a customer
companies cannot place their phone numbers on the registry
-- To register or file a complaint, visit www.donotcall.gov or call (888) 382-1222
The first round of registrants who signed up in 2003 will need to apply again if they want to remain on the registry. The first round of registration expires in the summer of 2008.
Some say the registry is increasingly being targeted by lead generators who aren’t abiding by the rules. The FTC usually ends up going after the big fish and the small fries tend to sneak by.
A web site called Kill the Calls, a clearinghouse for Do Not Call Registry complaints, believes the problem is growing. In one two month span, they’ve received 700 complaints from visitors to the site.
According to the Do Not Call Registry rules, calls for political campaigns, charities and surveys are exempted. Also, calls from businesses that have an existing relationship with a customer are allowed. And business phone numbers cannot be blocked.
I like this one:
Cell phones can be registered on the list, but they are already protected from telemarketing calls, which are illegal when made to cell phones.
Something to be aware of:
Some telemarketers initially call with a survey but then try to sell a product or service, which is in violation of the FTC rules.
So remember to renew when you need to, and do your part and report violators!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Twitter has been an incredible phenomenon. It's popularity is second to none, despite it's flaws. That definitely says something when in the early days you'd get the whale tail saying something was wrong, and still people came back.
The $500 mil was in the form of stock, and Twitter folk do believe they are worth more than the inflated stock price of Facebook. Schmaht folks they are!
Strangely, Twitter isn't making money, but does have an annual tab of $75 mil for all the text messages it sends. So if Facebook or Google or Microsoft just sit and wait... the deal might get better for them.
Either way, now I worry. If someone takes over Twitter, what happens to the the service? Does it get better, upgraded, worse? If MS buys it, I'll probably dump it. Google or Yahoo would be great, but again, Yahoo may become an MS-bot somewhere down the road. Oh the choices!
For Windows Vista:
1. Close OpenOffice.org.
2. In the Notification Area, next to the clock, right-click on the OpenOffice.org Quickstarter icon and select Exit Quickstarter.
3. Click the Start Button and select Control Panel.
4. Select Programs.
5. Under Programs and Features select Uninstall a program.
6. Scroll down and find OpenOffice.org. Select it and click the Change button from the menu. This will bring up the OpenOffice.org Installation Wizard.
7. Click Next.
8. Select Modify.
9. Click Next.
10. Select or deselect the Microsoft Office documents that you wish to change the default association.
11. Click Next.
12. Click Install.
13. When the Installation Wizard completes, click Finish.
14. Close the Programs and Features window.
For Windows 2000 and Windows XP:
1. Close OpenOffice.org.
2. In the Notification Area, next to the clock, right-click on the OpenOffice.org Quickstarter icon and select Exit Quickstarter.
3. Click the Start Button and select Control Panel.
4. Select Add or Remove Programs.
5. Select OpenOffice.org and click the Change button. This will bring up the OpenOffice.org Installation Wizard.
6. Click Next.
7. Select Modify.
8. Click Next.
9. Select or deselect the Microsoft Office documents that you wish to change the default association.
10. Click Next.
11. Click Install.
12. When the Installation Wizard completes, click Finish.
13. Close the Add or Remove Programs and Control Panel windows.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Online Photo Services I Use
Amongst all the photo services out there, I've been using
- Picasa (Google's choice for when I upload images to my blogs)
- Flickr (Experimenting to so degree) &
Flickr is fine too, if you don't mind a restriction or two.
I end up using PhotoBucket for my personal needs for now, and I don't mind it. I have one gig of space, can choose the limit on my image sizes, if I want to, and find it mostly intuitive.
Organizing in Photobucket
I do have an issue with how Photobucket organizes my images.
I like my pics in the order that I took them. It's an easy time reference for me but Photobucket has a different idea on how to organize my images. And at the time of this printing, I don't know any other way around it, except for one that I discovered from watching the upload process.
If I want my pics to be in the order that I took them, and they'll be named accordingly from the camera, I pick the last pics first and select backwards so that the first image is picked last. (This has been in the bulk uploader, but I suspect it would work for the standard upload method too.)
Then when Photobucket uploads and does it's thing, my images are already in the order I like and I can move on without nary a bit of maintenance on my part.
As far as printing images go, despite everyone's offers of services, I like Walgreens.
It's super fast because so far, I've never had to wait more than 44 minutes after upload.
And the prices are comparable and sometimes better than the offered prices in the online services.
Not to mention, that for me, headed to Walgreens is a nice 10 minute walk in my quaint little downtown block.
Hope this was a helpful tidbit.
Reader comments or suggestions are always welcome.
[Image Cr: Rayanne Alves, sxc.hu.]
Saturday, November 22, 2008
He died while internet voyeurs watched. It took some time for his breathing to stop after he took the pills, but he died. During the online feed, some folks egged him on while others tried to talk him out of it.
For those of you who would dare egg someone on to kill themselves, you f*ing disgust me. Do you have no morale fiber in your being? Give me a break. I can only say that what goes around, comes around and I truly hope that is the case for those of you who egged Abraham on.
There are many other issues and questions about this incident, but that's my primary feeling on this. Other issues were how people allowed this to happen, why the authorities didn't get there in a timely fashion, etc..
For me, why would you go to watch something like this if you weren't there to try and talk him out of it.
You can read the rest AOL News. Some people really suck.
Someone asked me about whether they should get a home inspection before selling their home.
I wrote back:
A home inspection is something usually done by the buyers. They don't always do it, which surprises me, but it is what it is. The only advantage of you getting a home inspection would be to discover any issues that you may have to address / repair during a contract.
These issues will be presented to you when the buyers have their own home inspection, AND may very well have their own inspection regardless of whether you do or not.
But if there is a major issue underlying the home, knowing is half the battle and you can have it taken care of before getting into a contract, to keep the contract from going on and on. But that is an extreme case.
Buyers: I only have this to say to you: ALWAYS get a home inspection. Even if it's a new home. In one example, a split seam on the septic tank was noted on a 3 year old home! You just never know so play it safe.
Friday, November 21, 2008
The NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) is a non profit organization dedicated to preventing insurance fraud.
They have services like the ability to check the VIN of a motor vehicle to check if it's an stolen or an unrecovered stolen vehicle.
They gather stats on various subjects. According to their stats, the 1995 Honda Civic is the most stolen vehicle in America.
In 2006, according to the NICB, the Nations hot spots for stealing cars was:
- No. 1: Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.
- No. 2: Stockton, Calif.
- No. 3: Visalia/Porterville, Calif.
- No. 4: Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Ariz.
- No. 5: Modesto, Calif.
- No. 6: Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, Wash.
- No. 7: Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, Calif.
- No. 8: Fresno, Calif.
- No. 9: Yakima, Wash.
- No. 10: Tucson, Ariz.
- San Diego is 11th,
- San Francisco is 12th.
- The San Jose /Santa Clara region ranked 24th.
- No 1 was Modesto, CA., bumping
- Las Vegas / Paradise Nev region to No. 2.
- No 3 was San Diego, up from 11th in 2006.
- Stockton dropped from 2nd to 4th.
- San Francisco moved from 12th to 5th.
- The San Jose / Sunnyvale region moved down from 24th to 32nd.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The true URL for the site is http://tinyurl.com/
I just almost got duped by a site because wasn't paying attention or in a hurry, so to speak.
TinyURL takes long web addresses and makes them small...
When you have real lengthy links, TinyURL can really help!
That's my thought for the moment. Enjoy!
When you leave your key at a repair garage, do you just hand over your entire key ring when leaving your car?
When leaving your car at a repair garage, remove your car key from your key ring and give them the car key.
Though most new vehicle keys are difficult to copy, your home keys could be copied illegally and disreputable employees would know when you'll be out picking up your car!
As I always suggest, why become a statistic!!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
This could be used to test a page layout / design you've chosen:
In a Word document, type
and then press ENTER.
The numbers in parentheses correspond to the number of paragraphs (4) and the number of sentences per paragraph (5).
If you want one long paragraph, just place one number in the parentheses, which will designate the number of sentences that should appear in the paragraph!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Holidays are fast approaching and spammers and other cretins of the digital pathways are lurking out there, waiting for the right moment to mug your computer, steal your info, or make you into a spam bot.
Only do business with known, reputable online outlets
I don't care how good the price sounds, if you step "in it", you only have yourself to blame.
I once got swept up in a "great" price on Ebay, and got royally effed. Fortunately, via the attorney generals office of the state from where the seller came from, I had wonderful recourse. It also helped that I was all over this guy like a dog on a bone. Almost so, to the verge of being a stalker. But that's what you have to do sometimes because law enforcement is so swamped with these kinds of cases, that the crime has to pass a certain $$ threshold for them to sit up and take notice.
Make sure your virus and security suites are Up-To-Date
Make sure that you are using virus software.
Make sure that you are using the latest definitions for your virus software.
Make sure that your security suite is updated with the latest and greatest patches and updates.
Make sure your operating system itself is also updated with the latest security patches and updates.
Why? Spammers are looking to re-connect with bunches of virus infected computers around the world to start sending out spam once again. Spam makes up 90% of the world's e-mail.
Not to mention it annoys the living crap out of me that my own computer, my private, personal computer could possibly be used to do this. Be vigilant.
In the end:
Be extra cautious.
If it sounds too good to be true, well, you know how that line gets finished.
Use known retailers.
Don't give out personal information for any requests: As far as I can tell, no business will ask you for your personal information via email.
If you are asked for info, or to update your profile -
- Close the email you got.
- Close the browser you just used.
- Reopen your browser and go to the site that just requested your info.
- Log in the way you ALWAYS log in.
- Check for messages inside the site that way.
Readers comments of Bruce's Thoughts are always welcomed. Any insight, experiences are never wasted on our readers here.
People, you have to love them.
Read the rest of my article over at Associated Content.
Monday, November 17, 2008
What that means is that when you hit up a forum, you're supposed to leave worth while commentary. Engage the denizens of the forum in useful banter. That's what draws them to you. Showing that you do actually have something to offer, of a unique nature.
The same can be said for when you leave comments in someone's posts. Leaving comments that help further the conversation started by the post is the key to creating valuable connections and networks.
When I leave comments, I try to further the subject matter. Not leave a single sentence with a link to my website spamming the damn thing. It's a useless waste of time on both our parts. Yours for writing it, mine for having to weed through it and read it. It's pretty obvious from a distance.
I see this so often under Darren Rowse's blog that it just seems annoying and the commentary left behind, in the majority of cases, is just fodder and disgusts me to the end that I can't believe people think useless statements will make people come hoping on over to their blog. Give me a break.
Darren had a post up about social sites and the traffic they could generate. He shared his traffic stats and his experience. I added to his information by leaving a comment about the statistics of generating retainable web traffic. Information I learned when I was a real estate agent. Yet, this and other post generate comments like
I appreciate how you think in an article like this
Truly fantastic post - one of those for which it is worth to subscribe to a blog
I didn't know you could track adsense with analytics.
And these were some of the better comments. Yes, I am being cynical. I blame society for this, but other times, it just annoys me that I subscribed to comments so my inbox can fill up with this fodder.
If you want to make people think favorably of you, for traffic to be generated, leave something useful behind. Get people to understand that you have something of value to contribute to their day. Catch their attention, not their ire.
OK, I'm done with my Bruce-Rant. Thanks for putting up with me.
You can look into it here: http://www.openoffice.org/
So say you want to add page #'s to your Open Office document:
1. Click Format, and select Page.
2. Select the Footer tab.
3. Check the Footer on checkbox.
4. Click OK.
5. The footer will be inserted at the bottom of the page.
6. Click inside the footer.
7. Click Insert, mouseover Fields and select Page Number.
8. Use the text alignment buttons to properly align the page number on your document (left, center, or right).
9. Format the page number (font type, size, and color).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tired of the automated phone systems when you call for help? Tired of not being asked the right questions at your time of distress? Just looking to talk to an actual human?
Or do you want to share an experience that will help others circumnavigate the automated answering system of a mega company and you've learned the secret!
Paul English is tired of it too and that's why he started Gethuman.
Based in Boston, he's a consumer advocate and entrepreneur who got tired of this system instilled by corporations that ends up dodging callers and started this list and effort back in 2004.
The premise behind the site is a movement with a goal. That goal
Is to convince enterprises that providing high quality customer service and having satisfied customers costs much less than providing low quality customer service and having unsatisfied customers.It's an admirable goal if I do say so myself!
They also have a GetHuman Customer Service Club that consists of companies that have proven themselves to have superior customer service.
In December of 2005 when I first came across this site, they had a list of 90 companies. My take is that they've grown just a teeny bit since then. Today, they have a list of 778 companies. That list also has user ratings associated with each company.
I think it's worth checking out!
GetHuman.com home page
Image Credit: Screen Capture from Get Human.com site.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I’m always keeping an eye out for when I can do my free upgrades at Verizon.
When I bought my RAZR, contract costs and specs helped me purchase the thing. I don't do impulse buying. It took me a few months of reading around and looking at different things. Face it, I don't want to blow money buying a lemon of a phone. (I haven’t done that yet.)
Some time back, Cingular started offering refurbished phones.
It seems the refurbished phone market can be a booming business as people are returning older phones rather than tossing them out. AND in some cases, some folk are returning new phones, but once a phone has been sold, it can’t be marketed as new anymore.
Naturally, if you angle for the best deal on a phone price you'll also be signing a multi-year deal with the carrier.
An example in the article I came across:
Cingular sells a new LG CU500--a flip phone that supports the high-speed HSDPA network--for $150 with a two-year contract (a $50 mail-in rebate brings it down to $100); a refurbished model is $50 with a two-year contract, no mail rebate required (or available).
Keep in Mind:
There are used phone distributors out there. ReCellular, Wireless Galaxy to name a couple. (Not endorsements, just resources.)
When you buy a used phone, any warranty will probably not come from the manufacturer and look at the warranty closely and see what it covers and who’s responsible for what.
And when you buy into this package deal, is it worth the length of the contract from the provider?
Just food for thought gang.
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Friday, November 14, 2008
I thought you should know that today, we can add Bloglines to the list of services they don't let through their spam filters.
To be fair, I could not find anywhere on Bloglines, a reference to the email address I could expect this email from, hence, I could add it to my address book over on my junk AOL account. Damn... does this make my junk email account on AOL, well, junk?
Just more things to know for the new or exploring web user by BruSimm.
According to Wikipedia, (One of my favorite, open-source info channels) PCH (Publisher's Clearing House) is a multi-channel direct marketing company, that offers discounted prices on magazines and household merchandise, all with the chance to win money during the process.
So when I received an email from them, I jumped on board, knowing what I was getting into.. I thought. I mean, how hard can it be these days. Email instead of snail-mail?
Egads. I get an email every single day with yet another opportunity to make sure I am entered in their multi-million, or thousands a day, or thousands a year, or .. oh, I lost track - drawing.
But they send me an email every day for this drawing that's coming up sometime in 2008. (So I got a lot of link clicking coming up.) I get many varied emotionally based crap titles in my emails.
- "Substantive info on giveaway #****",
- "IMPORTANT NOTICE",
- "Will you become a millionaire?",
- "Will I become a TEN million dollar winner?",
- "Will [my address] become their final destination?",
- "My payment option Decision that is required",
- "Intent to Award Super Price",
- "A final Chance to Become a winner in seconds",
With each email, I click joyously on the link to enter / verify my intent or ability to receive my reward that inevitably, will MAY BE be mine! I just can't stand the excitement!! I get directed to a webpage with lots and lots of magazine offers. I scroll through and finally click on the entry link which takes me to another web page with more offers, to confirm that I want to enter in the drawing that I just confirmed wanting to get into. Every now and then, I get asked if I am sure I don't want to buy anything, and I have to explain myself to some degree, or sometimes, I have to confirm that I saw the offers and declines, because entry into the drawing does not require a purchase.
I normally, am very anti-marketing. I do everything to diss, avoid, or report marketers to email@example.com, or my ISP's spam blocker. I find marketing spam an intrusion on my privacy and my private property (My computer hard drive) and I do take the time to do my part in reporting them.
So, initially, I was very 'down' on the organization, PCH, but it seems that after the founder and his family died, the ownership of the organization passed onto a number of charitble trusts.
According to Crain's New York, nearly 50% of company profits benefit charitable causes ranging from the arts to social services to the environment. The New York Botanical Garden, the National Audubon Society and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association are just a few of the major beneficiaries, so I lighetened up and started to participate.
I'm a very scrupulous about what I want to buy, but sooner or later, I will purchase a subscription to support their efforts. Then again, if I 'win', I can share some of my proceeds with the charitable organizations' directly! I'll let you know how it turns out.
In the mean time, I have to answer my PCH email and click on the 2 or 3 links that will guarantee my chance to maybe win lots of money, if I'm lucky, maybe.
And it all starts here, at www.pch.com, where you can become a millionaire!!!!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In any of my other credit / banking accounts, I can log in from anywhere I want. From home, from my laptop while at Starbucks and even work.
Yet if I want to log into Chase.com, I HAVE to log in from work only. Why? Because they force you call in and get a security ID key if you ever log in from a different computer, EVERY TIME. And once they do that, you can't go back to the other computer without jumping through the same hoops again.
When I called to inquire about this policy of theirs, the Chase representative quoted policies that were drafted due to 9/11 scenarios and Homeland Security regulations.
BZZZT!!! Not! Thank you for playing but if that's the case, why can I log in to my other accounts from anywhere I want?
I smell marketing web tracking at work here folks. It's the only reason I can think of why they'd make it so hard to access your own account.
Disclaimer: More than likely, this won't affect very many people at all. Most I know have their one computer and that's that. They wouldn't even notice.
But for those of us who use multiple computers, egads man. Lighten up on us. Use a certificate that we can install across the board instead of making us call you every time we change computers.
Setting your Document Locations
Word defaults to the My Documents folder.
If you don't use My Documents to store your work, you can specify your own sub folder or location
To change the default working folder for Word documents:
1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the File Locations tab.
2. In the File types list, click Documents.
3. Click Modify. To select an existing folder to display as the default working folder, locate and click the folder you want in the folder list. To create a new folder to display as the default working folder, click Create New Folder, and then type a name for the new folder in the Name box.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
On some days, I like to walk to work, grab my bagel, hit Starbucks and be on my way. Doesn't seem that hard of a challenge really, but a challenge it became!
My first stop: The Posh Bagel on Santa Cruz: Sometimes you're opened at 6 like your sign says, sometimes you're not! That's OK, I could adjust my walk time a little. But when your customer asks for their bagel to be toasted, the correct answer would be "yes". Not, "But it's good the way it is."
Yes, you heard right.
That's a fine attitude to have in this economy. I know if I had insisted, I would have gotten what I wanted, but it was curious enough for me to take note and move on. They just lost a confirmed weekly customer.
You can see the reviews they have received over on Yelp.com.
Next down the street on Santa Cruz was Bagel Street Cafe.
I've seen the great reviews on the place and admittedly, it's open on time every day, at 6 AM like it says it is. That's nice. It seems that the non-bagel fare is what draws people to this establishment.
Maybe it's the way I order a bagel. When I asked for a toasted bagel here, the response was "It does not need to be toasted."
With a raised eyebrow, and already a shortened patience meter, I took my cue and moved onward.
You can see their reviews over at Yelp.com also.
Where, oh where could I find a bagel to have with my coffee?
Finally, I thought I'd try the bagels at Starbucks. The Asiago Cheese Bagel. It's the only one they offer at my store and when I ask for it to be toasted, they ask back: "And would you like cream cheese with that after we toast it?"
You mean I can have my bagel toasted, and not be questioned about it? Weird, I was getting used to being told no.
So there you have it. A quick walk down Santa Cruz Blvd on any given morning and all the hard work to get a toasted bagel has finally been achieved in the simplest fashion: With a yes.
Thank you Starbucks.
Monday, November 10, 2008
To browse a document press: ALT+CTRL+HOME
To remove manual character formatting on selected text, press: CTRL+SPACEBAR
The move ended a standoff between MySpace and prosecutors from eight US states that had demanded the identities of convicted sex criminals who have posted their profiles on the News Corp-owned (Fox) Web site.
To me, the sad / scary part is when they started looking, MySpace ferreted out ~ 7,000 profiles of sex offenders. Wow.. if your kids are out there, make sure they are aware of what's out there.
In light of this article, I've added a few links for your information:
- The FBI State Offender Registry - reference links for each state.
- An article on TechNewsWorld that's informative reading on efforts to protect our children.
- An older PCMag article.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Check out http://www.gasbuddy.com/
Just slap in your zip code or click on your state and see what registered users from that site have supplied to their database of gas prices! I's a community of users that helps each other out.
Enjoy your new found savings!
Image cr: Cindy Seigle, Flickr.
This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License (cc-by-sa-2.0). In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it under this or a similar cc-by-sa license.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Way back when Imus opened his mouth and inserted his foot all the way to the knee cap, that verbal move was reminiscent of a moron move. There is no way any person should insult others the way he did and it sent a message to radio personalities about the loyalty sponsors have to their purchasing contingents. Sponsors aren't stupid.
That whole affair seemed to have sparked an interesting perspective on the limitations of free speech.
Americans have many freedoms and rights. One of those rights is free speech. When exercising free speech, we should look at the small print that says use your head if you have questionable opinions or tendencies. Use your head and consider your political and social consequences.
The Imus incident was yet one more stepping stone for certain political groups to once again attack rap music, and that form of freedom to express one's self. I'm not a rap fan. I don't support or enjoy the idea of some of the theme's I've heard in the media that some rap music has.
But that's where I express a freedom of mine, and that's the choice to not expose myself to it. It isn't hard. Just don't turn it on. Only those who want to hear it, who need, for the moment to identify with it tend to listen by going to concerts, buying the albums, or listening on the radio.
For some, who know they've tuned in to a shock jock,.. why? If you're going to be insulted, why tune in? When Howard Stern was on free radio, I never liked his shtick. It seemed pointless and annoying. But rather than complain, I just never turned it on. There, my personal problem is solved. (I'm trying to lead by example here.)
At that moment, the Imus moment, the freedom of speech seems to be threatened, but in reality, it's just fine.
We, as intelligent people, should balance how we approach people, represent ourselves, and be in tune with our readers & listeners. Imus is a great example that we need to look at the hand that feeds us, and act accordingly. Of course, decent persons don't have 'Imus' kind of issues either, but he's served his purpose in showing us this one facet of free speech.
I'm done expressing myself freely. Thanks for coming by.
Not sure how the list looks now, but Bill Gates is definitely planning for the future with Microsoft much like Warren Buffet has done with Berkshire Hathaway. Since they're buds, I'm thinking that someday, Bill realizes MS just ain't gonna be what it was, so always have a plan B.
This is a big plan B.
Companies Microsoft Owns:
Since 1994, MS has acquired:
* Access Software (1999)
* ActiveViews (2004)
* aha! Software (1996)
* Altamira (1994)
* Aspect Software Engineering (1996)
* Blue Ribbon SoundWorks Ltd. (1995)
* Bruce Artwick Organization Ltd (1995)
* Bungie Software (2000)
* Colusa Software (1996)
* CompareNet (1999)
* Connectix Corp. (2003)
* Consumers Software Inc. (1991)
* Cooper & Peters (1997)
* Dare to Dream Intertainment (1995)
* Design Intelligence (2001)
* Digital Anvil (2000)
* Dimension X (1997)
* Driveoff.Com (2000)
* Electric Gravity Inc. (1996)
* Ensemble Studios Corp (2001)
* Entropic Inc. (UK, 1999)
* eShop Inc. (1996)
* EXOS Inc. (1996)
* FASA Studio (1999)
* Firefly Network (1998)
* Flash Communications (1998)
* Forethought Inc.(1987)
* FolderShare (2005)
* FrontBridge Technologies (2005)
* GIANT Company Software Inc. (2004)
* Great Plains Software (2000)
* Groove Networks Inc (2005)
* Hotmail (1997)
* Interoperability Technology, Expertise from Netwise Inc. (1995)
* Intersé (1997)
* Jump Networks (1999)
* LinkAge Software (1997)
* LinkExchange (1998)
* Lionhead Studios (UK, 2006)
* The MESA Group (1998)
* MongoMusic Inc. (2000)
* Navision (Denmark) (2002)
* NCompass Labs (2001)
* NetCarta (1996)
* NetGames USA (2000)
* NextBase (UK, 1994)
* OmniBrowse (1999)
* One Tree Software (1994)
* Onfolio Inc (2006)
* Pacific Microsonics Inc (2000)
* Panorama Software (1996)
* Peach Networks (Israel, 2000)
* PlaceWare Inc (2003)
* Rare Ltd. (UK, 2002)
* RenderMorphics Ltd (UK, 1995)
* ResNova Software (1996)
* Sendit (Sweden, 1999)
* ShadowFactor (Canada, 1999)
* SNMP Technology From Network Managers (UK, 1995)
* SOFTIMAGE (1994)
* Softway Systems (1999)
* STNC (UK, 1999)
* Sybari (2005)
* Teleo (2005)
* Valence Research (1998)
* Vermeer Technologies Inc. (1996)
* Vicinity Corporation (2002)
* Visio Corporation (1999)
* Vxtreme (1997)
* WebAppoint (2000)
* WebTV Networks Inc (1997)
* Xdegrees Inc (2002)
* ZOOMIT (1999)
Here are the companies that Microsoft has invested in:
* @Home Solutions (1999)
* Accel Partners (1998)
* Akamai Technologies Inc. (1999)
* Ameranth (2000)
* American City Business Journals (2001)
* Amicore (2001)
* Apple Computer Inc (1997)
* Ardent Communications Inc. (2000)
* Asia Global Crossing Ltd. (1999)
* AT&T (1999)
* Audible (1999, 2001)
* Avanade (2000)
* Avid Technology Inc (1998)
* Banyan Systems (1999)
* BayStar Capital (2003)
* Best Buy (1999)
* Big Huge Games (2000)
* Borland (1999)
* Black Entertainment Television (BET) (1996)
* Blackboard Inc. (2001)
* Blixer (Italy, 2000)
* BroadBand Office Inc (2000)
* Bungie Studios (2000)
* CareerBuilder (1999)
* Chyron Corporation (2000)
* CMG Plc (UK, 1996)
* CMGI Inc (1998)
* Comcast Corporation (1997)
* Commerce One Inc (2001)
* CommTouch Software Inc (1999)
* CommVault Systems Inc (2000)
* CompUSA Inc (2000)
* Concentric Network Corporation (1999)
* ContentGuard (2000)
* Corel Corporation (Canada, 2000)
* Corio Inc (2000)
* CPA2Biz (2001)
* CSI, Inc (2000)
* Data Return LLC (1999)
* Dialogic (1999)
* Digital Anvil (1997)
* Digital Entertainment Network (DEN) (1999)
* Digital Equipment Corp (1995)
* Digital Island (2000)
* Digital Sound Corporation (1997)
* DiscoverMusic.com (1999)
* DreamWorks SKG (1995)
* DSL.net Inc (1999)
* eFusion (1997)
* eLabor (2000)
* Encompys (2001)
* ENDFORCE Inc (2002)
* Entex (1996)
* Equinix Inc (1999)
* Evoke Software Corp (2000)
* Expedia.com (1999)
* Extreme Logic (2001)
* FairMarket Inc (1999)
* First Data Corporation (1997)
* FutureLink Corporation (2000)
* General Magic (1998)
* GigaMedia Ltd (Taiwan, 1999)
* Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd (Israel, 2000)
* Google (2004)
* Groove Networks Inc (2001)
* Helicon Publishing Group PLC (UK, 1996)
* Hitachi Ltd (Japan, 2000)
* HomeAdvisor Technologies (2000)
* Hutchison Global Crossing Ltd (Hong Kong) (2000)
* i-Deal (2001)
* Immersion Corporation (2003)
* Individual Inc (1995)
* Infolibria Inc (2001)
* Interland Inc (2000)
* Interliant (2000)
* Intertainer (2000)
* ITRAN Communications Ltd (Israel, 2000)
* Jato Communications (2000)
* Keen.com (1999)
* Korea Thrunet Co. Ltd (1999)
* KT Corporation (Korea) (2001)
* Lernout & Hauspie (Belgium, 1997)
* MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems (Malaysia, 2000)
* MediaWave Inc (UK, 2001)
* MyPlant.com (2000)
* Navitel Communications Inc (1997)
* NBC Television Network (1995)
* Net Serviços de Comunicação S.A (Brazil, 1999)
* Nextel Communications Inc (1999)
* NorthPoint Communications Group Inc (1999)
* Novell, Inc (2006)
* NTL Inc (UK, 1999)
* OpenPort (1998)
* Plural Inc (2000)
* Pluto Technologies (Norway, 1998)
* Portugal Telecom, SGPS, S.A. (1999)
* Proginet Corporation (1996)- sold circa 2002
* Qwest Communications (1998)
* Radiant Systems (2000)
* RadioShack Corporation (1999)
* RealNames (2000)
* RealNetworks (1997)
* Reciprocal Inc (1999)
* Reservation Works LLC (1998)
* Rhythms NetConnections Inc (1999)
* Road Runner (1998)
* Rogers Communications (Canada) (1999)
* SCO (Santa Cruz Operation)
* SeaChange International (2000)
* Sendo Holdings PLC (UK, 2001)
* SingleTrac Entertainment Technologies (1996)
* SkyTel (1996)
* SMART LLC (Mexico, 2001)
* SRS Labs (2000)
* Stamps.com Inc (1997)
* Tandem (1996)
* TCI International Inc (1994)
* Telecom New Zealand (2001)
* Telewest Group Inc 22.9% (2000  - 2003)
* Grupo Televisa, S.A. — A Mexican television company
* Teligent Inc (1999)
* Telmex (Mexico, 1999)
* ThingWorld.com (1999)
* Ticketmaster (1999)
* TITUS Communications (Japan, 2000)
* TRADOS Incorporated (1997)
* Tut Systems Inc (1998)
* UGC Europe (1999)
* UnitedGlobalCom Inc (1999)
* Usinternetworking Inc (2000)
* USWeb (1999)
* UUNET (1995, Divested)
* VDOnet (1996)
* VenturCom (2000)
* VeriSign (1996)
* VerticalNet (2000)
* Wang (1995)
* WebMD (1999)
* Wildfire Communications (1997)
* Wink Communications (1999)
* WirelessKnowledge (1998)
* Yam Digital Technology (Taiwan, 2000)
Friday, November 7, 2008
Generations from now, when someone opens a dusty book (or laptop or whatever it might be in a few hundred years), they'll look and read how November 4th, 2008, the first African American, Barack Obama, was voted into the office of the President of the United States of America.
They'll probably wonder why it took so long and they'll probably be confused about who was McCain's running mate, Palin or Fey and wonder why Fey didn't run.
As you see from the image to the left, how the state of CA settled out in who primarily voted for who in the presidential election.
On the other hand, California set itself apart and put in concrete a milestone of a precedent when they accepted the Ban on Gay Marriages as it was passed and is now headed to more courts to fight the fight of personal choice or freedom.
There's a distinct pattern of how the state voted in the process and to me, it seemed to be about choice.
Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco said something on the night of Nov 4th that caught my attention:
California just voted discrimination into the states constitution.
And then I was thinking.
What happened with an "Live and Let Live", "Do unto others as you have done to yourself?" and other such statements of pitched fairness that comes from what I thought was the mind of Christianity. We dissed the 2nd class citizen mentality many many years ago... I thought.
Now that the ban has passed, there are demonstrations in the streets, people getting assaulted and even more impassioned behavior.
I have a lot of thinking to do.
image source: ScreenShot LA Times
Sounded pretty patriotic to me! Except for me, I voted in the afternoon and coffee and me are just not the best match up in the latter part of the day.
But the spin was if you voted, you can have a free coffee.
Oops. Offering up a freebie in this fashion can be considered illegal, under election laws, regardless of the product or offer. It could be considered a "buy-a-vote" scam. (At this point, I'm shaking my head at the technicality of it all... as it gets absurd.)
Bottom Line, there is a federal statute that prohibits any reward for voting. Obviously the intent of the law is pointed at special interest groups who try to influence who and how people vote.
This recent free-offer effort comes on the heels of Starbucks first ever quarterly loss in over 16 years... wow... that's a long running profit schedule. We are addicted to our coffee, aren't we? They were hoping to drive more traffic to their stores, get them back in the door and possibly reinvigorate sales.
As it turned out, when Starbucks learned of the issue, they converted their offer so instead of all voters, the free coffee was to everyone.
A statement from Tara Darrow of Starbucks says,
"We've been excited by the number of positive responses received about our free coffee offer. To ensure we are in compliance with election law, we are extending our offer to all customers who request a tall brewed coffee. We're pleased to honor our commitment to communities on this important Election Day. We hope there is a record turnout on Tuesday and look forward to celebrating with our customers over a great cup of coffee."
Thursday, November 6, 2008
With the massive, $700 billion package approved, monies are flowing out to help the banks in their moment of need.
Yet, instead of using the money to continue to make small business loans, it seems they might be using the money to buy out other smaller banks. Greed disgusts me and annoys the living crap out of me.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Michigan) said:
"It is very troubling to learn that the $700 billion rescue package sold to the American consumer as necessary to continue loans to small businesses and consumers, is apparently being used instead to squeeze smaller banks out of the market;"
Screw the economy, let's go invest in our own plans, just like back when the housing market was screaming right along!!
My head hurts. Can I take a nap now?
The one that started it all and got itself a Webby Award for their scientific curiosity.
It starts with 4 Mentos and 2 liters of Diet Coke. The rest is just plain fun and it's accompanied with a catchy theme.
link here to "Expirement #137"
Google or YouTube searches will bring up other idiocy where kids / guys try a similar themed process, but it's more self destructive and just a "creative" twist on the original, which, from what I can tell, shouldn't be tried at home. For real. One of these things can put an eye out!!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It's being reported that loud personal digital music players like iPods are going to be repsonsible for hearing loss in 1 out of 10 people in their latter years.
It turns out that folk tend to listen to their "iPods" at such levels as to try and block out background noise like traffic and other annoyances in our daily lives. The levels required to start successfully blocking these noises are around the 89 decibel (dB) level.
89 dB is well below some safety standards that say 100 dB is the max safe level.
The risk is primarily going to affect those who listen to this level of volume for at least one hour a day for five years.
This study was done by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks. (source)
iPods and Electric Cars
I can't find the article right away, but I've also come across items that specified that with the advent of electric cars, more iPod listeners are getting hit or are in greater danger these days.
My take on that one is to actually look around when you walk, cross the street and silly things like that. Am I off the mark on this one? is it just me?
So many people seem to just step out on the road as pedestrians and I couldn't tell you if they've looked before doing this or not. My temptations are strong, but I resist.
Sure, pedestrians have the right-of-way. And sure, we'll be happy to put that in your epitaph.
I acted like an idiot because I had the right of way.
Sounds good to me.
But the quiet cars are also more the nuisance to blind pedestrians and that's a real threat.
(source) (source and good read)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
It's time to put aside differences and prepare to back our political system as it was designed.
This is a special moment and we are a part of it. That's all I have to say on the issue.
Yet on the lawn of that polling place, is a big old Yes on Proposition 8 sign.
It's one thing to be a bit surprised by the unbiased news outlets (newspapers) stating who and what to support. I'm not surprised that a church has something to say about a thing or two. But my polling place should be devoid of campaign mumbo jumbo at this point in time.
Shame on you.
Pectin is a natural fiber found in fruits and vegetables and is used in the manufacturing of jelly, jam, yogurts and milk drinks.
Pectin has properties that block the growth of cancer, according to one study from the Institute. Under the right conditions, it releases a molecular fragment with anti-cancer properties that binds to galectin 3 (gal3). Gal3 is the protein that promotes cancer growth.
The study was published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal and pointed out that the modified pectin used in jellies and jams was likely to produce the anti-cancer effect.
It's time to have more jam and jelly in our diets. Mayhaps breakfast would be a great spot to start.
Though this isn't a fix all, cure all kind of discovery, and it's early in the stages of scientific acceptance across the board.
I think it's a nice glimmer of hope for some who may otherwise feel disconcerted about their situations.
Monday, November 3, 2008
The Bay Area is bucking national trends (at least at the time of when I wrote this post back in mid October) according to The Examiner. And from what they've said, it spurned me on to check this out.
So I looked at spot rental rates and saw the following:
In Menlo Park, Ca:
- Median contract rent in 2007: $1,812 (lower quartile is $1,321, upper quartile is $2,492)
- Median rent asked for vacant for-rent units in 2007: $1,438
- Median gross rent in Menlo Park, CA in 2007: $1,903
While where jobs are concentrated in San Francisco,=:
- Median gross rent in 2007: $1,192.
- Median contract rent in 2007: $1,141 (lower quartile is $750, upper quartile is $1,719)
- Median contract rent in 2005: $1,068 (lower quartile is $683, upper quartile is $1,557)
While just around the corner, so to speak, in Sacramento:
- Median contract rent in 2007: $841 (lower quartile is $666, upper quartile is $1,100)
- Median contract rent in 2005: $774 (lower quartile is $609, upper quartile is $975)
- And believe it or not, people commute from the Sacramento region to the Bay Area to work.
Or if I go down the road at bit to Southern California, in Santa Clarita:
- Median contract rent in 2007: $1,331 (lower quartile is $1,023, upper quartile is $1,710)
- Median contract rent in 2005: $1,206 (lower quartile is $898, upper quartile is $1,506)
Of course, if I "head" out of town, to say, Boise, ID:
- Median contract rent in 2007: $628 (lower quartile is $531, upper quartile is $766)
- Median contract rent in 2005: $577 (lower quartile is $473, upper quartile is $721)
The market conditions over the last few years has forced people to rent, and rental owners know this and take advantage of the situation. Particularly in the Bay Area. It can be viewed as pretty painful, financially, to live in area.
*I didn't do myself any good either by looking around locally. My next door neighbor is paying $500 less a month for the same identical home, and around the corner, someone has almost exactly twice the square footage and paying what I am. So it is where we put ourselves, the moment of rental search, situations, etc..
Regardless of the scenario, we are all in it feeling the pinch - homeowner and renter alike. But at least we have a pretty cool resource.
If you ever want to see the estimated value of the home you are renting, one resource that I like and quoted in this article, is city-data.com. They have a pretty extensive collection of facts about many things.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
After a little bit of time tinkering with the world of Blogs, here's a tidbit about using and placing keywords in or on your posts:
You don't necessarily need to add keywords to your posts!
If your content of your post has well formed phrases that could be used as keywords in your post, then you already have keywords in place in your post and you don't have to go the extra length to add them to a keyword field. (My experience has shown me.)
The phrases will already draw search engine traffic.
The same can be said for comments, left either on your own blog or where you leave comments.
If comments contain popular phrases, they act as keyword magnets too.
With that in mind, I try to be as concise as possible and comment and post accordingly!
The advantage to this premise is that if your comment draws a web search result, the web searching denizen may go check you out after finding your comments on the blog they've been perusing.
Of course, nothing takes the place of good, old fashion forum interchange to generate interest in your frame of mind and writing.
I've tested these premises and my posts do fine without specific keywords. So rather than wasting my time duplicating a term, I categorize my conversation and add that category to the keyword field, if I use keywords.
Thanks for the inspiration to write this John.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
The sport has a hard core fan-base, and the PBA has tried to juice up their telecasts with extras, but when you continually broadcast your big events while NASCAR, NFL, MLB or other big name events are on, you are seriously doomed in the ratings category.
You've also got one man at a time up, doing two frames at a time and lots of quiet time between shots, with a little drama every now and then.
I can't tell you what the answer is for sure to help them out of their corner of the ratings gutter, but maybe that the PBA should make their televised events available on Hulu, or their own site, add the advertisements to the on-line content like everyone else is doing, and create that extra dimension of coverage.
Maybe they kill the 2 lane courtesy rule and let the semi-runner ups bowl at the same time. This would create more of a continual amount of momentum, shorten the broadcast, retain viewer attention from the shorter broadcast and make it more interesting. Because right now, it's like watching one flower grow.
It will at least give them one tiny foot up where they didn't before. And heck, if I had really thought this through, maybe I would have put this up on my entertainment site instead, Cinema Static. Oh well.