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Thursday, December 28, 2006

They're Made Out of Meat

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

Read the rest.

I found out that this is a classic, that many educated people are familiar with. Since up until now, I had never read this, it makes me feel a bit deprived and like I am living in the dark.

Art in your Morning Coffee

Some incredible art that suggests to me that someone doesn't need that morning cup of coffee to put themself in work-mode.

Almost makes me regret switching and becoming a tea drinker.


Best of the Web 2006

Here is my list of my best website discoveries of 2006:

  1. donationcoder.com

Seriously...that's it!

Nothing else matters. Nothing else can compare, in my mind.

Anybody that has been reading my blog knows I love that site and it has become my online home.

But I am just one person, and my opinions on what is best would only reflect my opinions. If you want a great list of what is best try this one:

DonationCoder.com's Best of the Year 2006 list.

It contains the best
  • software

  • websites

  • essays

  • debates

  • flash games

  • humor

  • fun

  • gadgets

  • programming stuff

  • entrepreneur related articles

  • and more

all selected from their fantastic forum postings of the past year.

This isn't the usual single person who just comes along and gives their opinion of what they think is the best...you can find that on any other website.

What makes this list special is that this is a huge community of dedicated enthusiasts that has collectively scoured the internet for the best of everything. No single person could have come up with a list like this, and it sure would have taken them a lot longer than a year to put it together if they tried.

If you would like to become part of the team and possibly contribute to the Best of 2007 list, register on their forum and become part of the community. You won't regret it.

It is my best discovery of 2006.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

The perfect gift

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”

The perfect gift to give is always the perfect gift for the person you are giving it to. It is a gift that matches the personality and/or the tastes of that person. If you see something that reminds you of someone you know, you are supposed to buy it for them...it commands you to. When you care about someone, you think of them while you are apart and it is easy to shop for them. Things just jump out at you and scream their name.

This is why they say it's not the gift, but the thought that counts.

When I am out shopping, I often see little things that remind me of people I care about.

One online friend in particular...I see things that reminds me of him quite often, but it would be quite expensive to ship to him the things I see, so I don't buy them. It wouldn't make any sense to buy them and not be able to send them to him, so that he could enjoy them.

I didn't have much money for Giftmas shopping this year. I only bought one gift this year...for him. I was browsing around online and saw something that screamed his name in so many ways...I had to buy it. I had no choice. (everyone else on my list received things that didn't cost me any money)

Unfortunately, ebay didn't feel the same about it and wouldn't allow me to buy it and have it shipped to him. I had to send him the link & the money and have him order it. It kind of took a little of the fun out of it. But he liked it and it made him happy.

If there is one thing I love, it's surprises. But every year I don't get very many. Almost every gift I get is something I already know about, expect, and in most cases it is one I have had to pick out myself. I don't understand why people can't shop for me. Does nothing remind them of me? Nothing at all?

I am not saying I don't appreciate the gifts I get, because I do...very much...it's just that I really love to be surprised too. It's not as much fun to tear into the wrapping paper on Giftmas Day, when you know what is in the box and in most cases even wrapped it yourself. It takes most of the fun out of it.

At least someone got it right this year and surprised the hell out of me in the most wonderful way.

A few days ago I received a package in the mail from my online friend that I mentioned earlier, addressed to my daughter.

Now I was expecting this package, and even asked him to address it to my daughter, since she loves surprises as much as I do, and he agreed to do this since it was something for her. But when the box arrived it was much heavier than I expected. There was obviously more in it than the 2 books that we had discussed.

Since it was supposed to be a Giftmas gift, we would both have to wait to see what he had sent.

It is a tradition in my home that we all open one gift each, on Giftmas Eve. My daughter decided it would be the package from my online friend that would be the one. The suspense was killing her. (And it was killing me too.)

So what was in the box?

4 books...the 2 sushi cookbooks, for my daughter, that I was expecting...and 2 more for me.

A book of Farside comics...and a marvelous vintage cat book from the 70's, full of all kinds of stuff about cats...history, legends, poetry, art, information.

It reminded me of one I had bought for myself when I was a teenager. One of many thing I lost during the years when I was being shuffled from place to place while I was a victim of the NJ foster care system.

He probably thought it was something I would like, but I don't think he knew exactly how much I would like it.

But that wasn't all that was in the box...

Along with the 2 sushi books for my daughter, he included a starter kit of supplies she would need for making sushi...sushi rice, soy sauce, wasabi, mats, chopsticks, ginger, etc.

Each item my daughter removed from the box made her happier & happier...the most excited I have seen her in awhile. She was downright giddy.

What made her so happy was how thoughtful the gift was. That someone online that she has never spoken to and doesn't even know her, except through me, gave her a gift that was perfect for her...and it was something she loves. Something her own real life friends wouldn't have bothered to do. They aren't that thoughtful. She now wants to trade her real life friends for my online ones.

I think of all the gifts I have received this year, that box was the best gift of all.

It was a box of thoughtfulness that gave more than just the objects that were in it. It made my daughter smile...it made her happy...and that in turn made me happy....very happy.

My friend has touched my heart through my daughter's smile.

For the first time in a long time, the tears I cry are tears of joy. And yes, they really are tears, I am not exaggerating for the sake of being dramatic or something. I am literally weeping.

The words I write here can not even come close to explaining how I feel or why.

This is a Giftmas I will never forget.

Thank you, my friend.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Diet

I decided to stop thinking about it and just do it...start the diet....today.

The way it works:

  • Fruits, vegetables, beans: They don't count ...eat as much as you want.

  • Grains: Whole grains are 1 point per serving. Anything else would be 2 points per serving.

  • Dairy products: 1 point for every gram of fat, 1 extra point for being an animal product.

  • Meat & Seafood: 1 point for every gram of fat, 1 extra point for being an animal product.

  • Candy: 1 point for every gram of fat, 1 extra point for being loaded with sugar and not having any real nutritional value.

  • Alcohol: off limits.

  • Anything else is 1 point per gram of fat and an extra point if it contains sugar, honey, or any other high calorie sweetener.

The idea is to stay under 20 points per day for 6 days in a row. Eat whatever you please the 7th day. Then repeat.

The best way to break this down would be 3 meals a day and 1 snack...each limited to about 5 points.

Now before you just jump up and say "I can do this!", I must warn you, it's not as easy as it sounds and the first week is the toughest.

You will be thinking of all the things you can't have...thinking there isn't anything you can have. You will get frustrated, feel deprived.

But soon you will change the attitude and fall into a different sort of thinking, and focusing on what you can eat instead. That's when the fun begins. You will start getting quite creative with your cooking.

Another warning: It is almost impossible to keep this diet and eat meat. This works best as a vegan diet, or at the very least, a vegetarian one.

If you are worried about getting enough protien, remember that there are other sources of protien in this world other than meat, and you can eat all the beans you want. Dairy products kill 2 nutrition birds with 1 stone, so take advantage of low fat & fat free in that category, in place of meat.

If you find yourself having a serious craving for something, and you don't want to blow it, and you can't limit yourself to just a tiny taste, just put it off till your treat day.

That's right...it's a TREAT day...not a cheat day. This is the key to success. Taking that 1 day off a week allows you to have all the things you are depriving yourself of and makes your chances of sticking to this diet greater. You can't undo 6 days of super healthy eating in 1 day! So don't worry about it on day 7 and just be happy treating yourself. This is the day without guilt! It would be a great day to go out to dinner to a restaurant with family or friends and not have to worry if there is anything on the menu you can actually eat. Your social life shouldn't have to suffer just because you are on a diet. Social drinking is allowed on treat day, as long as it's done in moderation, so go ahead and have a beer or glass of wine with dinner.

And yes...you have to take that day off each week. You can't skip that or make it less frequent. The idea isn't to become some super hero known as "Diet Woman" or "Diet Man". The idea is to be serious about being healthy, and serious about not setting yourself up for failure.

A note about eating out: If you want to eat out with friends and family on a day other than your treat day, consider Chinese food. You can always get stuff that is steamed rather than fried at most Chinese restaurants. Or pick some place that has a fantastic all you can eat salad bar packed full of healthy stuff, like Charlie Brown's (I don't know if you have this restaurant in your area, most locations are in NJ)

Now I haven't decided if I am going to post my daily menu, because then I would feel like I have to provide all my recipes along with it and that would be a lot of work putting it all together to post every day.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Generations of Packrats

packratMy online friends think I make this shit up about being the ultimate packrat...and it being genetic, or they think I exaggerate a bit.

I offer this mother/daughter conversation as proof:

April = me
Steph = my 20 yr old daughter

I think the only reason why she scored higher than me is because I saved all her baby clothes and nobody saved mine for me, and she probably selected the answer about the broken Atari, even though our 2 Atari's are NOT broken.

Steph (3:42:34 AM): I scored higher than 98% of anyone else who took this one particular quiz... ranking me at "Ultimate Pack Rat"
Steph (3:42:41 AM): guess what it was a quiz of
April (3:42:56 AM): link me!
Steph (3:43:08 AM): http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=8195145313689353295
Steph (3:43:40 AM): tell me your percentage at the top, if you get Ultimate Pack Rat too
April (3:50:39 AM): i got the same as you
April (3:50:50 AM): could have told ya as much though
Steph (3:50:51 AM): what was your percentage?
April (3:50:52 AM): lol
April (3:50:58 AM): from the bottom?
Steph (3:51:01 AM): nope
Steph (3:51:03 AM): the top
Steph (3:51:13 AM): under where it said Ultimate Pack Rat
April (3:51:15 AM): 85%
Steph (3:51:20 AM): HaHA!
Steph (3:51:22 AM): I beat ya
Steph (3:51:25 AM): ...by 5%
Steph (3:51:26 AM): lol
April (3:51:34 AM): remember something...the atari still works
Steph (3:51:40 AM): yah, I know
Steph (3:51:59 AM): but if it didn't, I would still freak if you tried to get rid of it
April (3:52:20 AM): now why would i do that?
Steph (3:52:23 AM): lol
April (3:52:31 AM): i still have all the old broken vcr's
Steph (3:52:43 AM): "Collected cat hair... yanno, to make a pillow"
Steph (3:52:50 AM): I loved that question
April (3:52:59 AM): i actually was gonna do that
Steph (3:53:03 AM): I know!
Steph (3:53:04 AM): lol
April (3:53:08 AM): and go into business making dog toys
Steph (3:53:20 AM): We're insane, aren't we?
April (3:53:26 AM): yup
Steph (3:53:38 AM): No wonder there's so much CRAP laying around here
April (3:53:51 AM): lol
April (3:54:02 AM): it runs in the family
Steph (3:54:04 AM): yesh
Steph (3:54:19 AM): Pack rat-ness is genetic, mayhaps
April (3:54:30 AM): aunt inez and her civil war artifacts
Steph (3:54:35 AM): hehe
April (3:54:43 AM): and buckets of arrowheads
Steph (3:55:00 AM): and your grandmother and her newspapers
April (3:55:02 AM): my grandmother and the 'newspaper room'
April (3:55:06 AM): lol
Steph (3:55:17 AM): Grandpa's junkroom
April (3:55:22 AM): lol
Steph (3:55:27 AM): and... OUR WHOLE APARTMENT
April (3:55:32 AM): lol
Steph (3:55:33 AM): we don't have just one room
Steph (3:55:37 AM): we have ALL of them
April (3:55:55 AM): and the basement...it might be starting to get out of hand down there too
Steph (3:56:04 AM): Eep?
Steph (3:56:25 AM): At least it's organized and neat-ish down there
April (3:56:31 AM): yeah
Steph (3:56:35 AM): That's storage
Steph (3:56:39 AM): not pack-ratting
April (3:56:44 AM): we need to get rid of the encyclopedias
Steph (3:56:49 AM): I think there might be a difference
Steph (3:57:04 AM): Yeah, wikipedia > Britannica
April (3:57:33 AM): that was such a waste of money
Steph (3:57:42 AM): yeah >.>;
April (3:57:54 AM): but there was no internet when we bought it
Steph (3:57:58 AM): true
Steph (3:58:08 AM): then again, I don't think we ever used it much anyhow
Steph (3:58:09 AM): OH!
Steph (3:58:16 AM): the kids version was cool, though
April (3:58:23 AM): we will keep that
Steph (3:58:26 AM): yesh
April (3:58:27 AM): forever
Steph (3:58:35 AM): those were my story books as a kid, lol
April (3:58:41 AM): i know
Steph (3:58:52 AM): wow... no wonder I'm not a moron
Steph (3:59:05 AM): encyclopedia = bedtime stories!
Steph (3:59:05 AM): lol
April (3:59:16 AM): do people think of us as weird when you tell them "my mom read me encyclopedias as bed time stories"?
Steph (3:59:35 AM): No one knows about that, lol
April (3:59:42 AM): yes they do
April (3:59:49 AM): i have told some people
Steph (3:59:53 AM): no one I have told
Steph (4:00:00 AM): Though, I wanna tell Tom
April (4:00:05 AM): lol
Steph (4:00:05 AM): he'll appreciate it
Steph (4:00:09 AM): and might think it's hot
Steph (4:00:11 AM): ^_^;
April (4:00:16 AM): lol
April (4:12:07 AM): speaking of packratting...
Steph (4:12:12 AM): hmm?
April (4:12:23 AM): i saved the packratting convo
Steph (4:12:28 AM): lol
April (4:12:32 AM): we are digital packrats as well
Steph (4:12:36 AM): YESH!
Steph (4:12:41 AM): verily

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NANY Challenge: New Apps for the New Year

Mouser has set the challenge:

To pledge, create, and release a new application for January 1, 2007.

It doesn't matter how big or small...just has to be something new.



This might be just what I need. I said I'd do it. Maybe this will be good for me...push me out of my slump.

Now...what to make?

I am actually nervous about this. I can't think of anything to make...nothing is inspiring me...nothing saying to me "Get your bitch ass into your IDE and make some code!"

I want to make something fun...something different...something that will make people smile.

Maybe something that will make people that don't feel like smiling, smile.

If I can manage to make something that will make me smile, it should work for others, too... since smiles don't come easy for me, lately.

I think I know what I am going to do...I can see it forming in my head...yes...I know what I'm going to make. :-)

You all will be smiling soon.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Free Hugs

The story behind the Free Hugs Campaign and how it all began is heart wrenching:

"I'd been living in London when my world turned upside down and I'd had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown.

Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me. "


Sick Puppies - All the Same

I don't mind where you come from
As long as you come to me
I don't like illusions I can't see
Them clearly

I don't care, no I wouldn't dare
To fix the twist in you
You've shown me eventually
What you'll do

I don't mind…
I don't care…
As long are you're here

Go ahead tell me you'll leave again
You'll just come back running
Holding your scarred heart in hand
It's all the same

And I'll take you for who you are
If you take me for everything
Do it all over again
It's all the same

Hours slide and days go by
Till you decide to come
And in between it always seems too long
All of a sudden

And I have the skill, yeah I have the will
To breathe you in while I can
However long you stay
Is all that I am

I don't mind…
I don't care…
As long are you're here

Go ahead tell me you'll leave again
You'll just come back running
Holding your scarred heart in hand
It's all the same

And I'll take you for who you are
If you take me for everything
Do it all over again
It's always the same

Wrong or right
Black or white
If I close my eyes
It's all the same

In my life
The compromise
I close my eyes
It's all the same

Go ahead say it, you're leaving
You'll just come back running
Holding your scarred heart in hand
It's all the same

And I'll take you for who you are
If you take me for everything
Do it all over again
It's all the same

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Internet Anniversary to Me

November 17, 1999...

7 years ago today was my first day online.

In honor of that life changing event, here is a video documentary about the history of the ARPANET and the birth of the internet.


Steven King, MIT, 1972
Time: 30 min 22 sec

Thanks for the anniversary gift, Gothi[c].

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Win MS Visual Studio Suite (worth over $10k) !!!

Quoting mouser from DonationCoder.com:

Chris Hanscom from Veign.com (and a longtime member of DonationCoder) has generously donated a super-tricked out version of Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite with MSDN Premium Subscription for us to give away to one very lucky programmer.

The suite includes includes every piece of software that MS makes for development purposes: Visual Studio, all Microsoft Operating Systems, all software development platforms, lots of MS applications (all the Office products), mappoint, SQL Server, and also includes the full MSDN library on DVD plus online access. It's valued at over $10k.

- click here to enter -
deadline is November 25th, 2006


NOTE: This giveaway is for serious programmers only, but you do not need to be a supporting member of DonationCoder.com to enter. If you have friends who are programmers but don't hang out at DC, please feel free to send them the link - we'd like the prize to go to someone who can really put it to use.

The prize cannot be resold and will be issued in the winners name with licensing being controlled by Microsoft. As Microsoft is issuing the subscription, Veign and DonationCoder cannot be held liable for anything relating to this giveaway (to include, but not limited to, cancellation of subscription by failing to follow the licensing rules set forth by Microsoft or by attempting to resell any software included in the subscription). So we ask that only serious programmers enter.

(from DonationCoder.com)

Digg this here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Random Links of the Moment

I added a new feature to the sidebar. Random links.

They change when you refresh the page. I think they are the most recent entries made at clipmarks.com.

I don't know what will show up. Might lead you on click adventures. Might be useful stuff. Might be funny. Might be just crap.

I am clueless as to what will show up. They are not submitted by me. It's totally dynamic.

Have fun.

Any comments about it will be appreciated. They will determine if I keep this or not.


It's not difficult to make a woman happy.

A man only needs to be:

1. a friend
2. a companion
3. a lover
4. a brother
5. a father
6. a master
7. a chef
8. an electrician
9. a carpenter
10. a plumber
11. a mechanic
12. a decorator
13. a stylist
14. a sexologist
15. a gynecologist
16. a psychologist
17. a pest exterminator
18. a psychiatrist
19. a healer
20. a good listener
21. an organizer
22. a good father
23. very clean
24. sympathetic
25. athletic
26. warm
27. attentive
28. gallant
29. intelligent
30. funny
31. creative
32. tender
33. strong
34. understanding
35. tolerant
36. prudent
37. ambitious
38. capable
39. courageous
40. determined
41. true
42. dependable
43. passionate
44. compassionate


45. give her compliments regularly
46. love shopping
47. be honest
48. be very rich
49. not stress her out
50. not look at other girls


51. give her lots of attention, but expect little yourself
52. give her lots of time, especially time for herself
53. give her lots of space, never worrying about where she goes


54. Never to forget:
* birthdays
* anniversaries
* arrangements she makes



1. Show up naked
2. Bring food

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Some really cool sounds

This guy is damn good.

Simon Davies - Big Love (Lindsey Buckingham cover)

If you want to see & hear even more: Simon Davies Videos on YouTube

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Microsoft's EULA

I was installing the .Net 2.0 framework on a WinME PC recently.

I am wondering if I should have agreed to this EULA:



Humorous Note: Windows Live Writer's spellcheck doesn't know what WinME is.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Brand Names: The Hell of the Hype

Related to a discussion on the hype behind brand recognition that is going on here, is this gem from Random Rarebits:

How is communication important in branding? Perhaps...the following analogies will help us define the word...

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. You get up and straighten your dress. You walk up to him and pour him a drink. You say, "May I," and reach up to straighten his tie brushing your breast lightly against his arm, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed." That's Public Relations.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a handsome guy. One of your friends goes up to him and pointing at you says,"She's fantastic in bed." That's Advertising.

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and say, "I'm fantastic in bed." That's Direct Marketing.

You see a handsome guy at a party. You go up to him and get his telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed." That's Telemarketing.

You're on your way to a party when you realize that there could be handsome men in all these houses you're passing. So you climb out the sunroof of the car and shout at the top of your lungs, "I'm fantastic in bed!" That's Spam.

You're at a party and see a handsome guy. He walks up to you and says, "I hear you're fantastic in bed." That's Brand Recognition.

Some brands have become so recognizable, that the brand becomes the commonly known substitute for the generic name for the product:

Brillo = steel wool soap pads.
Q-tips = cotton tipped swabs.
Cheez Whiz = processed cheese product
Kitty Litter = cat box filler
Band-Aid = plastic adhesive bandage
Velcro = hook & loop tape
Post-It Notes = sticky notes
Scotch Tape = clear cellophane tape
Duck Tape = duct tape
Minute Rice = instant rice
Oreos = chocolate sandwich cookies with white cream
Coke = carbonated 'cola' beverage
Saran Wrap = plastic wrap
Windex = ammonia based glass cleaner
Escalator = moving staircase
Allen wrench = hexagonal screwdriver
Crock-Pot = slow cooker
Granola = oat and fruit mixture
Hula Hoop - toy ring
Linoleum = vinyl floor covering
Touch-Tone = dual tone multi-frequency telephone signaling
Yo-Yo = toy
Lava lamp = decorative light
Spam = canned pork product
Ace bandage = cloth elastic bandage
Alka-Seltzer = multi-purpose effervescent tablet
Novocaine = local anesthetic
Tylenol = pain reliever
Advil = pain reliever
Aqua-Lung = Scuba equipment
Breathalyzer = breath alcohol analyzer
Bubble Wrap = air-filled plastic packing material
ChapStick = lip balm
Ethernet = IEEE 802.3 LAN protocol
Fig Newton = soft cake-like cookie filled with fig jam
Jaws of Life = a rescue tool
Jell-O = gelatin dessert
Kleenex = packaged folded facial tissue paper
Laundromat = self-service laundry
Magic Marker = Felt-tip marker
Phillips Screwdriver = screwdriver with a cross-pointed drive hole
Play-Doh = commercial plastic modeling compound, clay-like
Pop Tart = breakfast toaster pastry
Rollerblade = inline skates
Speedo = tight-fitting swimsuit
Swiss Army Knife = a clasp-knife with multi-functional blades
Thermos = vacuum flask
Vaseline = petroleum jelly
Windbreaker = light jacket
X-Acto knife = sharp precision craft knife with short replaceable blades
Zamboni = ice resurfacing machine

In the end, regardless of what brand of the actual product you use, you still call it by its most recognizable brand name.

Could that be considered a success by a company? or perhaps a bit of a failure at the same time, since you call the competitors product by their brand name and buy the other product any way.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Companies Pay for Good Reviews and Praise

The discussion began back in February for us, on DonationCoder.com, but the latest chapter is quite hilarious.

If someone offered you cash or a freebie to say nice things about their products on forums or in your blog, could you, with a clear conscience, do something like that to your readers? Even if it was a crap product? Would violating their trust be worth it in the long run?

phoneJoel Spolsky didn't think so. Sprint gave him a free phone to write about. And he wrote about it in the most brutally honest way imaginable.

Way to go, Joel, for your honesty and not compromising your integrity for a free phone. You've earned +10 internet points from me.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Song of Life

I thought the following story was very sweet, but almost too incredible to be true...like a fairytale. I'd love to verify it.

There is a tribe in East Africa in which the art of true intimacy (I would call it bonding) is fostered even before birth. In this tribe, the birth date of a child is not counted from the day of its physical birth nor even the day of conception, as in other village cultures. For this tribe the birth date comes the first time the child is a thought in its mother's mind. Aware of her intention to conceive a child with a particular father, the mother then goes off to sit alone under a tree. There she sits and listens until she can hear the song of the child that she hopes to conceive. Once she has heard it, she returns to her village and teaches it to the father so that they can sing it together as they make love, inviting the child to join them. After the child is conceived, she sings it to the baby in her womb. Then she teaches it to the old women and midwives of the village, so that throughout the labor and at the miraculous moment of birth itself, the child is greeted with its song. After the birth, all the villagers learn the song of their new member and sing it to the child when it falls or hurts itself. It is sung in times of triumph, or in rituals and initiations. The song becomes a part of the marriage ceremony when the child is grown, and at the end of life, his or her loved ones will gather around the deathbed and sing this song for the last time.

(From Birth and Violence)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

Answerbag Q&A

Q: How many four letter words exist in the English language? (excluding curse words.)

A: I did not exclude curse words because that can differ based on region, era, and cultural background.

With 26 letters in the English alphabet, there are 45,6976 possible 4 letter combinations (26*26*26*26). Out of these, only 2746 are not words. That means the remaining 45,6976 are words.

List of non-words with 4 letters can be found here.

Question found on Answerbag.com. Answer is mine.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


On my last post, I was using the program wBloggar, and ran the spellcheck before posting.

Now, I really like wBloggar... I like it a lot. But the spellcheck feature definitely leaves something to be desired.

It found error with the word 'voicemail' and suggested this replacement:

Now let's use that correction in a sentence, shall we?

"As soon as I got home I took off my coat and checked my vaginal messages."

Oh, yes...that's a great replacement! Don't you agree?

Everyone should replace all instances of the word voicemail with vaginal from now on.

The world will be a better place if you do. ;-)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I have Joined the 21st Century!

That's right...I am finally living like a normal person...sort of.

I acquired a nice fast PC back in December 2005...taking the place of my old P1 as my main PC.

Now I have added to that...DSL!

OMG...I HAVE DIVIDED BY ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

OK, it's s-l-o-w DSL, but it's a hell of a lot faster than dialup and the fighting in my house over the PC with the dialup connection has ended. Now both my daughter & I can be online at the same time...and talk on the phone too. Not that I like phones any more than I did on Thursday, because I still hate phones of any type.

Which means I am taking my phone off the hook during the day so the people that would call me most can't get through and still have to leave me a 60 second voicemail.

So what did I do with my new DSL so far?

I went to neopets.com, one of the slowest sites I ever used, and loaded flash game after flash game...not to play them, just to watch them load. It was fun to see that progress meter just zip and the game to be loaded. A second or 2 is tons faster than the 10+ minutes it used to take.

I am hosting my own chatroom now...with WinMX...on primary!! YAY!!!

Port forwarding...I was feeling like a total n00b idiot on that subject...was getting very frustrated. If this happened to you, you might be frustrated too:

If you click NO, it does dynamic...if you click YES, it does nothing at all!

Seems like a candidate for The Daily WTF to me.

But I am loving DSL...really loving it!

But I have to go clean my house now, before it dies from neglect...then I can come back and abuse my DSL some more...maybe download some HUGE files today. :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Got 15 minutes? Give Ruby a shot right now!

You can try your hand at Ruby without having to download, install, or configure anything...in your browser!

This is a great interactive tester for the curious.

Monday, July 31, 2006

New Software Release: Instant Boss

I have finally finished the first version. This is based on a request made by JacobB over at the DonationCoder.com coding snack forum.

This will time your work/break cycles, reminding you when to work and when to take a break.

The defaults are 10 minutes of work, 2 minutes of break, and this is repeated 5 times for a total of 1 hour.

These values can be changed to suit your needs. The program will remember the values you used during your last session.

Start by entering in the values you desire:
  • The first box is for how long you want to work.
  • The second box is for how long you want your breaks.
  • The third box is for how many times you want to repeat this cycle.

    Click Apply to set the new values.

    Click Work to begin.

    In the statusbar you can see where in your work cycle you are, followed by how long you have worked this session, followed by how long you have worked since you started using Instant Boss.

    Instant Boss will tell you when it is time to take a break. You will have the choice to keep working a little longer, take your break now, or skip your break and begin next work period.

  • If you decide to keep working, it will count up and add this to your total work time. You can then decide when to take a break by clicking the take a break button.
  • If you decide to skip your break, it will begin the next word period in the cycle.
  • If you decide to take a break now, it will begin your break period.

    At the end of your break period, you will be told to get back to work and offered a few choices.

  • If you decide to work, the work timer will begin.
  • If you decide to take a longer break, it will extend your break by 50%, and remind you again when your time is up, to get back to work.
  • If you click cancel, you will have to start work manually by clicking the work button again.

    There is a pause button in case you are interrupted by phone calls or other things that need your attention. This can be used during both work or break periods.

    The reset button...use with caution. This will stop all timers and reset everything to default values of 10-2-5 so that you may begin again. It will not reset how long you have worked today, nor the total time you have worked since you started using the Instant Boss program.

    Clicking the X to close the program will result in it being minimized to the system tray. The only way to exit is through the right click menu on the tray icon. All of the button options also appear on that menu.

    For power users, there are command line parameters you can use to preset the values when you run Instant Boss.

    Example:"C:\Program Files\Instant Boss\InstantBoss.exe" 60 15 3
    (there is a space after the last quote and a space between each number)

    You can either use this from the Windows Run dialog or use it as shortcut targets. The numbers correspond with work-break-repeat, in that order. Please use only numbers, no letters.


    Instant Boss

    Visit Instant Boss homepage.

    This is donationware. If you like it and find it useful, please consider making a donation to me to show your appreciation. Your donations is the only money I make for all of my time & effort invested in creating my software.

    Donate to author of Instant Boss

  • Sunday, July 16, 2006

    Calling all C++ programmers

    DonationCoder is holding a big C++ contest with many categories you can enter. Everyone that enters will get something, even if their project doesn't win.

    This contest has some really good sponsors and the prize list is pretty cool.

    Deadline for entry is July 14, 2006 August 14, 2006*, so head on over there and check it out and enter. Not that many have entered yet so right now your chances of winning are pretty good.

    Even beginners have a chance of winning. You can enter the small utility category if you have an idea and feel like learning something. So if you have been putting off learning C/C++ now might be a good time to start hitting the books.


    *deadline has been extended another month, for those that aren't quite ready and to give others a chance to still enter

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Are you ready to try Linux?

    You have been running Windows since forever and Windows is all you know. But you are getting fed up with the security holes and instability. You are tired of paying for OS upgrades. You are curious about alternatives to Windows, but are you ready for Linux? What do you really know about Linux? What do you need to know?

    This article attempts to give you the newbie's facts in order to help you make up your mind as to whether you want to try Linux or not. This is not for the experienced Linux user or someone that has already made up their mind. This is more for the 'lin-curious' ones out there seeking some info.

    It will attempt to answer these 6 questions:

    1. How many versions of Linux are there?

    2. What applications are available for Linux? And what the heck is LAMP?

    3. How can I listen to some tunes?

    4. What "desktop" environment should I use with my distro?

    5. Linux on the server, Linux on the desktop -- which is it?

    6. You've given me lots of facts, but not much advice. How do I get started?

    Six Things You Didn't Know About Linux: A Beginners' Guide

    Saturday, July 08, 2006

    Test Your Knowledge of Ubuntu Topics

    Take this quiz to see if you are ready for the real test.

    As reviewed last month, the latest Linux certification to go live is that of Ubuntu Professional. To earn this certification, you must first become LPI certified at Level I (LPIC I), and then pass an additional exam. The following questions are intended to allow you to test your knowledge of the topic and make certain you are ready for this certification before you begin considering it or preparing for it. Answers are at the end of the article. Good luck!"


    Nokia Picked For Mobile Multimedia Wi-Fi In NYC Parks

    Free wifi is coming to Central Park!

    "New Yorkers can enjoy some of their favorite pastimes while in the parks " such as reading the paper, listening to music or accessing the Internet " in an entirely new way,"

    Including getting mugged for their laptops?


    Now combine that with this one:


    "You don't have to necessarily be connected for these device driver flaws to come into play," Ellch said. "Just because your wireless card is on and looking for a network could be enough."

    Am I the only one that thinks this is scary?

    How many script kiddies will be hiding in Central Park when this is in full force?

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    Coming soon to a PC in front of you

    More Microsoft 'goodies'....

    This one in the form of WGA...you know, that annoying update that has been messing up everyone's pc's.

    If they don't think your copy of Windows is 'genuine' they nag you with popups about it. Unfortunately too many with legal copies are being nagged...and worse. It has caused big problems with RAID arrays.

    So far you have been able to 'opt out' of installing this, and still be able to get security updates.

    But soon it will be mandatory to have this crap installed in order to get updates. And very soon it will be required if you want Windows to work at all. And what if it doesn't pass? Your copy of Windows may self destruct. Who knows what may happen to your personal data that isn't part of Windows.

    Microsoft isn't denying any of this. My advice to you is to back up your important data now, just in case, or go back to using Windows 2000.


    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Demographics Predictions

    Microsoft is rolling out a demographics predictor you can use to see what gender and age group your website is most likely to appeal to.

    The demographics for this blog, according to Microsoft, is males under age 18.

    So my writing is more likely to appeal to teenage boys? I don't know how true that is.

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

    Try it out on your own site/blog if you want. The results may surprise you.


    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    What's in a name?

    A lot more than you think!

    After reading an article on Lifehacker, I decided to do a Google search for my full name. There seems to be many that share this name with me, tons of results, and not all of them good.

    Then one result stood out from the rest. It was what seemed to be a copy of my brother's obituary.

    I was curious, so I clicked the link.

    What I found was a blog post made by a friend of his that had lost touch with him over the years and had just learned of his death, recently.

    I was touched by his post. I was touched by my father's words. I felt as if I had been given back a part of something precious that was taken from me long ago.

    I lost my brother long before he died. Unfortunate circumstances and not exactly being accepted by my mother as part of the family, made me a stranger to him. I didn't know where he lived, I didn't have a phone number, nor was my mother ever going to share that with me or share my contact info with him.

    My brother was one of my favorite people in all this world. He always was. He had a profound effect on my life in many ways. I looked up to him. I wanted to be just like him.

    I wish my daughter could have met him. I wish I had more to give her of him than just my memories. I wish they could have gotten to know each other. I know she would have loved her Uncle Steve as much as I did.

    I don't have much to remind me of him. A bracelet he made for me when I was 9 years old, a goofy plastic Dracula ear ring I found in his desk drawer when I went to Florida for his funeral, a few very old pictures from when I was about 3 years old, a small clay pot I made in school for him when I was 14....and his ashes (but that's not how I want to remember him)

    Finding this blog post was almost like finding him...or at least a part of what he was. The author of the post doesn't know how much of a gift that was...yet. As soon as I can pull myself together enough and think about what I want to say, I am going to email him and let him know how much I appreciated his words.

    me (age 3) and Steve (age 7), hugging

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    From the desk of Elizabeth Dole

    Today I decided to share some of my snail mail with you. Why? Because I received something today that was better than anything currently in my email inbox.

    This is hilarious. The funniest thing I have read in years!

    And that's right, it came from Elizabeth Dole...THE Elizabeth Dole, one & only wife of Bob Dole.

    This was so funny it made me not mind the $62/per month rent increase notice I got today....almost.

    Click the thumbnails and prepare to laugh your ass off.


     page 1 page 2
    page 3 page 4

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    Surprise, surprise!

    I just found out that donation credits at DonationCoder are worth more than I thought. Here I was thinking my 170 credits were worth $1.70 when they are really worth $17.00!!


    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Free icons for developers

    I came across a great site today that has an immense collection of free, quality icon images that developers can use in their projects. The Silk collection is really cool!

    They are published with a Creative Commons license, so as long as you give the guy credit and include a link to his site in your about box, you are free to use them any way you wish in your projects, including making derivative works of them.

    They are in .png format but they can be easily converted to .bmp or .ico.

    How can you go wrong?

    So head on over to FamFamFam and check them out!

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Does your OS define your worth as a human being?

    Linux lovers are like those guys that go to a football game in the middle of winter with no shirt on, and their bodies painted in their fav team's colors. Would you want to say something bad about their team where they can hear it? Would you want to say something good about the other team?

    I am not talking about a normal person that can see the merits & faults in either OS and can use either one for themselves depending on the circumstances. I am not talking about people that are sane & 'normal' Linux users. I am referring to the guys that think everyone should be using Linux, Microsoft should be blown off the earth, and if you don't like it or can't figure Linux out, you should stfu and get rid of your pc.

    They think if you say you don't like Linux that you don't like them, too. They identify with their OS just a bit too much. They have a habit of getting into very heated Linux arguments with Windows users and Windows programmers. Somehow they believe that your operating system defines who you are...not merely what you prefer to use.

    Nobody's value as a human being should be rated based on an operating system installed on their pc.

    Linux users are not the only ones that do this though. I have seen a great many Windows programmers do the same thing when referring to Windows 9x users. Somehow they think that people that still use Windows 98se or Windows ME are less human than those that can afford newer computers, or afford to upgrade. And they think that these people are less in need of quality software that will run on their systems.

    Is their money less green than an XP user? I don't seem to think so. And it's not that hard to support an older OS. It's not unacceptable to detect an OS and disable features in software that will not work on that OS. And it's not unacceptable to provide an alternative or features that will only work on 9x and disabling them for NT users.

    Just because Microsoft decided that it will no longer support 9x it doesn't mean that 9x will suddenly disappear off the earth. There are still a great many computers out there that can't run newer OS's...their hardware doesn't allow it. Slow processors, lack of RAM, drivers not available...lots of reasons not to upgrade.

    And just because someone does buy a new PC that doesn't mean that they will be tossing the old one in the trash. I moved my old pc to my kitchen and plan on putting a recipe database on it...if I can find suitable software to run on it. Older software may not be an option for me, as most older versions have been replaced with newer versions that forget about people like me. Newer versions are not an option because most think you are running a Pentium 4 with at least 256mb of RAM, and Windows XP. My only alternative may be to code it myself...meaning that it will probably be years before I have what I want.

    I am going to make sure that my software I create will work on that old pc...for people like me that still have an old hunk of 'junk'. I promise that to you for as long as that old pc still runs. I will not define your human worth based on your OS.

    Unofficial Windows ME Service Pack

    Some guys over as MSFN are working on an unofficial service pack for WinME. When completed, it will allow users of that version of windows to have a system as stable as my WinME system...maybe even better than mine.

    These guys know what they are doing and are dedicated to this project and making it as near perfect as possible.

    It's still in development but there should be a release candidate soon.

    And these guys are thinking of everything...even a WMF patch added! (an issue our 'friends' at Microsoft seem to want to ignore and/or deny the need for)



    I have been spending a lot of time over at DonationCoder.com.

    They have this great 'coding snacks' forum where visitors can request small utility programs and volunteers will create them. It's a great way to get project ideas, or kill a bit of time doing what you know you love to do...code stuff.

    Someone there requested a stopwatch with a global hotkey to control it. They wanted it to either always stay on top or be able to be minimized to the system tray.

    Since I had already done a stopwatch like this, all it needed was the addition of a global hotkey and the request would be filled...so that's what I did.


    The hotkey is Ctrl-Shift-F9.

    Hitting this will start/pause/resume, depending on the current state of the clock.
    This will even work to control the stopwatch if it is minimized to the tray.


    Download: StopWatch

    comments & suggestions welcomed

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Translator Boomerang

    Over on DonationCoder.com, mouser just released a new version of Translation Boomerang. This uses Google's free web-based translation service to translate a statement or word into up to 9 languages and back to English. If you have never heard of it or used it, it's a must try program.

    This is not a serious translator...it's quite funny!

    The following is the output, step by step, from English to each language and back to English, for 5 loops. The first line is my original English phrase. The last line is the farthest thing from the first that I could have imagined.

    Available for wild sex.
    Available for wild sex.
    Available for the wild sex.
    Available for the wild sex.
    Available for the wild sex.
    Land available for sex.
    The land which can be utilized because of characteristic.
    The ground it could be used because of quality.
    Because it can use local quality.
    Because it can use local quality.
    Because it can use local quality.
    Since it can employ local quality.
    Since it can employ the local quality.
    Since that it can use the local quality.
    It can be used to the local quality.
    As for that it can use for local quality.
    The tube printed style of writing hazard it will be able to use a local quality to that.
    Editorial dangerous pipeline to India using local quality.
    Editorial dangerous piping to India with local quality.
    Publishing dangerous pipe to India with local quality.
    Dangerous pipe of edition towards India with local quality.
    Dangerous tube of the edition towards India with local quality.
    Dangerous pipe of the edition for India with local quality.
    The risk of pipeline quality of the local edition of India.
    Danger of quality of pipeline of the Indian local section.
    Question danger of pipeline of humane local profile.
    Charities pipelines, may local image.
    Next dear ear lines, know local picture.
    The considered following lines of the ear, know the picture local.
    Considered afterwards lines of the ear, know people of the country of image.
    The lines later on considered of the ear, know people of the country of the image.
    The lines later in the considered one of the ear, know peoples of the country of the image.
    Lines later in one ear, and knows people in a country profile.
    With one ear later as for line, knowing people of profile of country.
    In the line the tube printed style of writing or is knowing 1 return route and the people of the profile of the nation in.
    The Bank is one of the editorial was printed circuit and the people of the whole country's image.
    The bank is the editorial was print plate and the people of the complete picture of the country.
    The bank is the publishing one was plate of the impression and the people of the complete picture of the country.
    The bank is of edition was flat impression and people of the complete image of the country.
    The bank is of the edition was flat impression and people of the complete image of the country.
    The bank is of the edition was smooth impression and person of the complete image of the country.
    Bank of Edition impression smooth and full picture of a country.
    Edition impression of the country being smooth, the bank of complete image.
    The impression which the smooth nation sells, the bank of the image which is complete.
    Impression of a national marketing, banking image is completed.

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Have you ever been in love?

    Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life... You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.

    --Neil Gaiman

    The very first time I ever read that, I felt as if someone had been spying on my innermost thoughts & feelings and was exposing all the darkest places of my soul, for all the world to read.

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Dreams can and do come true

    I officially became a 'professional' programmer! A professional gets paid for what they do...doesn't matter if they know what they are doing, or if they can do it well, or how much they get paid...they are still technically a professional if they get paid for it.

    Over on donationcoder.com there is a coding snacks forum where people submit requests for small utility applications that would take an hour or less to create. I spotted one that would be a quick request to fill...all I would have to do is add a few lines of code to an existing application I had already written. It was for a stopwatch that would either stay always on top, or min to tray, that could be controlled with a global hotkey. I had already made one that stayed on top and could be minimized to the tray...just needed to add the hotkey to it and the request would be filled.

    I didn't do it for money...didn't expect to get any either. But when I announced that the request was filled and posted a download link, about 5 minutes later I got an email from mouser, the guy that runs the site. He put $0.50 in my micropayments account in appreciation of my work! The next day, someone else I don't even know added another $0.10!

    I know this isn't much...and most people would laugh at an amount so small, but it meant a lot to me. Another $0.40 and I will have made my first dollar as a programmer. And this wasn't because people HAD to pay me...it was because they WANTED to. I think that makes it even more special to me.

    I will frame that first $1 when I get it and treasure it forever...it means that much to me. It's a personal goal accomplished...a dream fulfilled.

    Follow up: April 27, 2006:

    I recieved another 100 credits today, so now I have gone past the $1 mark :-D

    Follow up: Friday, June 2, 2006:

    When I originally made this post, and the previous follow up, I thought the scale for donation credits was same as US currency and that 100 credits was $1...turns out I was very wong. 10 credits = $1...so it wasn't $0.50 that mouser gave me, but $5.00! And that $0.10 I thought I got the next day was really $1...and the additional 100 credits was $10! WOW!

    Follow up: Saturday, September 9, 2006:

    I have recieved my first dollar, signed by mouser. It is now in a frame, hanging above my desk. :-D

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Damn! Coffee is expensive!

    Are You Flushing One Million Dollars Down the Toilet?

    According to this article, giving up a coffee habit can make you a millionaire. I know it may be hard to believe, but it's true.

    I once read book a called More Wealth Without Risk that said if you started investing a dollar a day when you got your first job around age 15-16, that by the time you were old enough to retire you would be a millionaire. Even at minimum wage, that's an affordable investment. Only $7 a week.

    A little bit can go a long way when you add it all up.

    This same book also suggested that parents, instead of starting a college fund for their children when they are born, start a retirement fund for them. It will make them wealthy when they are older. Much more wealthy than the college education will.

    And instead of killing yourself to pay for college for all of your kids, make it a goal to have enough money in your retirement that you won't need them to take care of you financially. Don't be a burden to your children and help them not to be a burden to theirs.

    Kids will grow up and somehow make it on their own, eventually. Even if it's a struggle for them, they will make it. Having that retirement fund that you started when they were born will make sure that struggle won't be in vain.

    Now don't you wish your parents had started a retirement fund for you the day you were born?

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Linux vs Windows

    "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion."
    -- GK Chesterton

    This is especially true in technology themed chatrooms.

    Recently a programmer was engaged in a discussion about .net programming and how much he loved it and the whole idea of it. There are a few in the room that share his feelings for .net...and a few that don't.

    One such guy that didn't share that point of view, decided to twist the discussion into an argument, claiming that Linux was superior to Windows and anything Microsoft could churn out. Of course the programmer didn't agree with him and started making some very valid points to support his own point of view. This ended up becoming a personal attack war with the Linux guy verbally attacking the Windows/.net programmers of the room.

    The host of the room, the .net programmer he was mainly aiming his attacks at, ended up having to ban him for awhile, so the Linux guy could go cool off.

    Instead of the Linux guy doing that, he hit the room's forum and proceeded to carry on with his attacking there, at which point the host of the room ended up having to delete his posts and was accused by the Linux guy of censorship.

    A few days later I came across this little gem:

    "The Unix/Linux community is very supportive. Think about your favorite sport and then imagine the team with the most rabid, loyal fans. Linux users are pretty similar except that if you show up at the game cheering for Microsoft, they will 'flame' you (post nasty messages on their forums about you) instead of beating you up in the parking lot."

    I guess Windows is better than Linux...at least Windows won't give you a case of rabies. :-P