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This blog has been retired and will receive no new content. To read new Cranial Soup articles, please visit our new location.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pretty Swirly Buttons

I was just messing around with some stuff and made some pretty buttons I don't really have a use for at the moment.

You are welcome to use them in your website designs, if you like.

The samples you see here are 50% of the actual size. The buttons are in PNG format with a transparent background, no drop shadow, and no text.

If you would like to use the same font I used, it's Harrington.


Download link can be found on my art site.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup I have this horrible cold right now and it's making me feel pretty miserable...like I have been hit by a truck or something.

I can't get any decent sleep on account of all the coughing. And I have been coughing so much that my back & stomach muscles ache.

I don't feel like doing anything, especially anything that resembles work. So knowing this, my husband decided to be 'nice' to me and find me some work to do.

He went out and bought all the ingredients to make a big pot of homemade chicken soup. He's not going to make it...I am.

The one key ingredient that makes it chicken soup is missing though. He didn't buy any chicken. This was on purpose. He had this brilliant idea that instead of putting chicken in the chicken soup, I should make it with the handful of shrimp I have in the freezer.

Yeah, that's right...in his mind there is no difference between chicken & shrimp and by making it with shrimp, he thinks it's still chicken soup.

Now my stomach muscles hurt even more, from laughing.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

DonationCoder N.A.N.Y. 2008 Programming Challenge

This is a challenge for anybody with any kind of coding skills, even at the beginner level.

The challenge is to release a new freeware/donationware application on or before January 1, 2008.

It was a lot of fun last year and it got quite a bit of publicity. It was covered by ShellCity.net, CybernetNews.com, and ghacks.net, along with many other sites & blogs.

So if you can code, you might want to take the challenge this year.

I have been a member of DonationCoder for quite some time now, and it has been a wonderful experience for me.

One of the great things about this site and the community behind it, is the feedback you get from users, which helps you to improve your software and make it the best it can be. It is a kind of co-operative endeavor, with the end users and the developers working together as a team. You don't have any idea how great of an experience it is until you experience it for yourself, either as a user or a developer.

This entire team approach of software development brings the developer and end user together in a way that most people never have seen or experienced before. The results are amazing.

codywriting128 When you are coding for an unknown mystery user, it is easy to assume what he will want and like and what he will use your software for, having no clue what he really wants, likes, or needs. The reality is that you end up coding for yourself, and hoping the end user has the same tastes as you. It is quite easy to become disconnected and out of touch, when you are just coding and posting your creations on your own personal site for others to download, with no real interaction with the people you are writing for.

And as software users, it is easy not to think of developers as approachable people that will listen to you and consider your comments & suggestions seriously. It is also too easy to think of software as not having a human element behind its creation. This can lead people to not really care where their software comes from or appreciate the amount of work that goes into making it. It's this not caring attitude that can be an element contributing to the issues with software piracy that exist today. It's a bit harder for a user to bring themselves to pirate software, when they are hit with the reality that the stuff they are using actually has a 'face'.

Now before you get the wrong impression of what this is all about, let me explain what it isn't. This isn't a situation where a coder creates, users make demands, coder submits to demands, working himself to death and becoming resentful...or all he gets as feedback is bug reports or complaints. It's not like that at all.

And it's not a matter of users getting everything they want, which results in a bloated application full of useless features, that does everything except make your bed for you.

dclogo_globe1 This is ongoing honest discussions, with not just feature requests, but an explanation of why they want the features, discussions between the developer and the users about which would be the best features to add and/or remove, and discussions on how the best way to present them would be.

Many of these discussions are between the users themselves, where they have to make up their minds and come to an agreement of what they really want & need, as a group. And the developer helps with guiding them and keeping things realistic and explaining what is or isn't possible, or what is or isn't within the limits of their coding abilities.

When something is outside the coder's abilities, there are other developers on the site that can be helpful and provide resources to learn from, and share some of their knowledge & experience so that you can do things you thought were impossible, and learn a lot in the process.

And the users really do appreciate the developers that will listen to them and be honest with them, with many showing that appreciation with donations. But don't do this for the money, because you will never get rich from freeware or donationware. Do it instead for the experience and the fun it will be, and the greater sense of connection to the people you are coding for, and how it will help to keep you from losing touch with your userbase...or the realities of real world software use.

codythumbup So think about something you can make and accept the challenge today. You have about 3 weeks to come up with something you can release. And if you are out of ideas, you can take a look at the Coding Snacks section of their forum and maybe fill a request for a small tool that someone needs.


Friday, November 23, 2007

A Vision of Students Today

Here's something to think about: These kids will be running the country in the near future. How prepared are they?

After watching this, I have some really mixed feelings about a lot of things...the internet, in particular.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Satan for President, 2008?

There is a neat little tool available called Anti-Christ Hunter v6.6.6 that will help you find those people that are in league with Satan.

I decided to put it to good use and provide a service to the voting community by identifying all the U.S. Presidential hopefuls and how they score.

Let's see who is in league with Satan...

This concise list is based on the candidates for ALL parties and independents, not just the major two. (candidate list provided by vote-smart.org)

In alphabetical order:


Name Score Notes
Laura Davis Aaron 942  
Stephen Adams 750 16% in league with Satan
Virginia E. Algar 798  
Donald Kenneth Allen 1026  
Thomas Wayne Allen 1128  
Gene Amondson 756 10% in league with Satan
Yul L. Anderson 960  
Jose Miguel Aparicio 1128  
Roland G. Aranjo 780  
Michael Andrew Arterburn 1398  
Blake Ashby 516  
Warren Roderick Ashe 1170  
George Brent Bailey 1020  
Jared Arlen Ball 690 76% in league with Satan
George H. Ballard 690 76% in league with Satan
Jedidiah Elijah Wendell Kennedy Banks 1170  
Jon Jay Banks 732 34% in league with Satan
Terry Lee Barkdull 1134  
Daniel James Barnett 1038  
Bob Barr 348  
Michael W. Bay 612 46% in league with Satan
William David Beadles 1002  
Carl Durantye Belle 1068  
William F. Berg 702 64% in league with Satan
Joseph R. Biden 750 16% in league with Satan
Christina Gerasimos Billings-Elias 2022  
Sheila Bilyeu 768  
David Michael Bishop 960  
Greg Black 396  
William Hobert Blakley 1290  
Michael R. Bloomberg 948  
John Douglas Blyth 1158  
Matthew Jay Borman 1134  
Jacques Yves Boulerice 1422  
John Taylor Bowles 1284  
J. Boydston 744 22% in league with Satan
Robert Edwin Boyer 1188  
Ryan Joseph Brady 1086  
Dewey R. Broughman 1074  
Elaine Brown 708 58% in league with Satan
Jeffrey Earl Brown 1098  
Edward Allan Buck 792  
William Jason Burns 1272  
Emperor Caesar 822  
John Lee Campbell 798  
Dan Byron Canfield 882  
Raymond Joseph Caplette 1470  
Myrtle Charlotte Carlyle 1626  
Jerry Leon Carroll 1206  
Anthony Lungo Carter 1386  
James Harlin Carter 1050  
Willie Felix Carter 1146  
Patrick Cazneau 894  
Janice Marie Chase 744 22% in league with Satan
Jeanne Chebib 469  
Liza Dawn Cherricks 1104  
Todd Marvin Clayton 1260  
Hillary Rodham Clinton 1386  
Eamon Patrick Clune 1086  
Stephen Colbert 972  
James Cooper 720 46% in league with Satan
Hugh Cort 600 34% in league with Satan
Michael James Cortney 1194  
John H. Cox 582 16% in league with Satan
Eric Leland Creviston 1248  
Randolph Wilson Crow 1434  
Claire Elisabeth Fields Cruise 1554  
Orion Karl Daley 960  
HRM Caesar St Augustine
De Buonaparte
Jack L Dietz 606 40% in league with Satan
Christopher J. Dodd 1056  
Susan Gail Ducey 966  
Michael Christopher Dutcher 1614  
Earnest Lee Easton 1068  
John Reid Edwards 942  
Max Englerius 888  
Philip Epstein 948  
Lou-Gary Espinosa 1182  
Nickolas Bevan Farmer 1134  
Clarita Fazzari 906  
Lowell Jackson Fellure 1386  
H Neal Fendig 510  
Bennie Lee Ferguson 1056  
Richard Earl Fleharty 1152  
Michael Keith Forrester 1368  
Robert Leonard Forthan 1374  
Heather Fox 660 94% in league with Satan
Dory Frank 672 94% in league with Satan
Elizabeth Mason Frothingham 1614  
David Ernst Furniss 1332  
Ida Cecilia Garza 654 88% in league with Satan
Anne Hart Geisler 936  
Daniel A. Gilbert 714 52% in league with Satan
Donald Robert Gillen 1122  
Rudolph W. Giuliani 1194  
Wrendo Johnson P. Godwin 1572  
Albert Gore 618 52% in league with Satan
Mark Blair Graham 798  
Peter Samuel Grasso 1284  
Maurice Robert Gravel 1278  
Raymond Ferrill Green 1314  
Jon A. Greenspon 918  
Jackson Kirk Grimes 1158  
William Long Hale 918  
Albert Hamburg 768  
Dennis M Hanaghan 792  
Gerald Lamar Hankins 1008  
Curtis Hayward 1020  
John Robert Henry 1170  
Henry Hewes 780  
Samuel B. Hoff 648 82% in league with Satan
Joe Honeychurch 948  
Albert B. Howard 774  
Mildred T. Howard 924  
Michael D. Huckabee 666
They are in league with Satan!
William Charles Hughes 1278  
Darrel Reece Hunter 1080  
Duncan L. Hunter 930  
Alexander Michael Huton 1278  
Daniel J. Imperato 912  
William Michael Ingram 1152  
Robert Garrison Jackson 1512  
Michael Paul Jingozian 1236  
Jerry Roland Johnson 1410  
Stanton T. Jolley 1212  
Arnold Matthew Jones 1302  
Robert Coleman Jorgensen 1488  
Keith Russell Judd 1188  
Timothy Charles Kalemkarian 1632  
John Joseph Kennedy 1188  
Alan L. Keyes 630 64% in league with Satan
Daniel Melzine Kingery 1308  
Mark Irwin Klein 1002  
David Allen Koch 726 40% in league with Satan
William Ronald Koenig 1224  
Philip A. Kok 648 82% in league with Satan
Yaphet Kotto 936  
Karl Everett Krueger 1332  
Steve W. Kubby 930  
Dennis J. Kucinich 918  
Karen Kwiatkowski 1206  
Dal Anthony LaMagna 978  
Christopher Lafontaine 1416  
God Johan Josephe Lally 1284  
Jared Benjamin Lee 768  
Kip Lee 348  
Monroe Lee 612 46% in league with Satan
Joseph Felix Leonaitis 1398  
Alden Link 492  
Elvena E. Lloyd-Duffie 1098  
Bradley K. Lord-Leutwyler 1608  
Frank Lynch 672 94% in league with Satan
Steven Douglas Mabey 1260  
Stephen D. Macmillan 1014  
Yehanna Joan/Mary Malone 1350  
Greg Martin 672 94% in league with Satan
Mike Benjamin Martisko 1272  
Joseph Martyniuk 1230  
John Christopher Mason 1488  
John Sidney McCain 996  
James Hatton McCall 1020  
Laura Jane McCumber 966  
Frank Edward McEnulty 1308  
Raymond Louis McKinney 1560  
Orleans Victor Mcfoy 1398  
Megally Megally 900  
Lee L. Mercer 576 10% in league with Satan
Kent Philip Mesplay 1266  
Prince Michael 696 70% in league with Satan
Joseph C. Miechowicz 1140  
Hubert Billy Miles 1152  
Robert W. Milnes 1038  
Steven Edward Mirabella 1278  
James Creighton Mitchell 1374  
Sal Mohamed 546  
Omar Jones Monahan 1056  
Brian Joseph Moran 1068  
Robert Edward Moreau 1236  
Howard Louis Moxham 1314  
Abdul (Kareem) Muhammad 1002  
Jesus Bilal Islam Allah Muhammed 1656  
Grover Cleveland Mullins 1578  
Ralph Nader 582 16% in league with Satan
George C. Nelson 834  
Sandra Queen Noble 1002  
Barack Hussein Obama 978  
Lawrence Anthony Obern 1392  
Frederick Eugene Ogin 1086  
Glenda Gail Parker 846  
George E. Pataki 720 46% in league with Satan
Ronald Ernest Paul 1170  
Jeffrey Charles Petkevicius 1686  
George David Joseph Phillies 1560  
Matthew D. Pinnavaia 1086  
Deshon Porter 942  
Michel Anissa Powell 1176  
James John Prattas 1140  
Madison Augustine Primus 1728  
Rajesh Srinivasa Raghavan 1470  
Charles G. Railey 858  
William Nathaniel Raven 1338  
Larry Keith Reed 954  
Bill Richardson 864  
Ralph Marshall Robinson 1470  
Willard Mitt Romney 1386  
Paul Russell Rosenberger 1692  
Gary Rostad 768  
Kamal Karna R Reverend Roy 1500  
Gary W. Ruff 750 16% in league with Satan
Mary J. Ruwart 1008  
Cameron Sadovsky 1110  
Launeil Neil Sanders 1164  
Marshall Samuel Sanders 1410  
Ole' Savior 696 70% in league with Satan
John W. Sawyer 966  
Barbara Ann Scaff 642 76% in league with Satan
Joseph Charles Schriner 1398  
Larry Joseph Schuetter 1596  
Jonathon Sharkey 1104  
Scott J. Sheldon 984  
Jack E. Shepard 606 40% in league with Satan
Freddy Irwin Sitnick 1320  
Christine Smith 1044  
Michael Charles Smith 1116  
Rhett R. Smith 948  
Richard Michael Smith 1086  
Keith Robert Sprankle 1362  
Douglas Stanhope 1062  
Johns Wallace Stevenson 1536  
Michael Sugerman 894  
Vermin Love Supreme 1392  
Kat Swift 654 88% in league with Satan
Charles Joseph Leo Symonds 1680  
Edward Anthony Szynalski 1728  
Tom Gerald Tancredo 1050  
Nanci Jean Taylor 972  
Fred Dalton Thompson 1314  
Michael Tienken 774  
Linda Tompkins-Reagan 1218  
Bruce Calvin Trask 1074  
Corrogan R. Vaughn 1092  
Charles Gordon Vick 1104  
Da Vid 240  
Hugh Wallace 606 40% in league with Satan
Mark R. Warner 840  
Lanakila Washington 1146  
James Louis Dezort Watchman 1770  
Thomas Wells 882  
Ruth Bryant White 1272  
Virgil L. R. Wiles 1050  
Jomo K. Manual Williams 1344  
Kelcey Brian Wilson 1182  
Robert B. Winn 840  
Marc Wolin 648 82% in league with Satan
James Wellington Wright 1584  
Vernon Edgar Wuensche 1326  
Eugene Robert Zarwell 1392  
Frank Zilaitis 930  


So there you have it folks. Now you know who the Anti-Christ is, what he's up to, and who is working with him. And yes, he is a Republican.

No time to thank me for all my hard work hunting him & his minions down...you have work to do!

Go get your own copy of Anti-Christ Hunter v6.6.6 and find out which of your co-workers, family & friends are in league with Satan, before it's too late!!

And tell all your God fearing friends about it! Spread the word!

Your soul depends on it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free Course: Computer Programming I (using C)

University of Washington CSE 142 - Computer Programming I

This is a complete basic introductory course (using C) for beginners that have no previous programming experience, that was offered at the University of Washington during the fall of 2000 (taught by Martin Dickey).

If you have never studied programming, this course was designed for you.

Access to slides, homework assignments & solutions, exams & solutions (everything except the lectures and quizzes):

Here are the lecture videos. It may seem as if they are listed out of order, but they are actually in the proper order in which they should be viewed. Whoever uploaded them numbered them wrong. The entire set of videos is Closed Captioned.

If you want to download them for offline viewing, you can use this site with the URL's provided above.

The textbook they used in this course:
Problem Solving and Program Design in C (Hanly and Koffman)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cool Game: Fudoku

Move over Sudoku, there is a new game in town!

From Donald Lessau (creator of Xyplorer) and known_sense, comes Fudoku.

Since the rules are in German, I'll explain how it works...

  • Every column must have a soccer ball.
  • Every row must have 3 soccer balls...no more, no less.
  • You can not place a soccer ball on the gloves.
  • Balls must not be placed in adjoining cells, not even diagonally.
  • Click a ball you have placed a second time, to remove it.
  • You must place all 15 balls.
  • There is only one solution per puzzle.
  • You can pick your degree of difficulty at the top.

This is an example of a correctly solved puzzle:correctly solved Fudoku puzzle

Play Fudoku


Thanks to jgpaiva for the game link, and thanks to JoTo for translating.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to impress your boss

This will either get you a raise...or get you fired.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Paul Adams: The Impossibility of Failure

I found an essay today, by a musician named Paul Adams. I happen to like some of his music, so I was doing a bit of research on him and found his MySpace page.

Usually, I will visit the MySpace pages of musicians I like, if they have one, in hopes of finding some free mp3's to download. This time was no different.

Instead I found this:

"... Hitting the wall and making mistakes provides us with invaluable lessons. Playing a guitar, driving a tractor, planting seed, painting a picture, etc. blooms best from error. Failing is a great teacher. Its Gods force of nature molding us like clay. BUT, this is a little different. Clay is the perfect deciple or student. Clay has no part in making the DECISION to become what it will be. It completely surrenders to the artist who molds it into form and reality. Man, on the other hand, has choice. Failure offers to mold us. It is a co-op between Man, God, and destiny. An artist, craftsman, or worker, can use life experience (Failure) as an interplay toward growth and learning. Get up, and have at it AGAIN!. Those who have had a completely smooth ride may not have had the opportunity to test themselves. *Those who do not choose to bend and flex with failure, are missing the opportunity to paint w/ nature and circumstance. They are saying no when God asks them to dance and adjust. They are denying an opportunity to seek out a different perspective. They are saying no when God asks them to learn from mistakes and become better at what they do. We are too busy reacting - we are not listening. ..."


Paul goes on to talk about the best reason for doing anything in life and how sometimes when something is not so good, why it can actually have a higher value than something that is great.

I decided to print the entire thing and save it for the next time frustration sets in and I begin to question myself about why I do what I do, and start having those thoughts about giving up.

Online HTML Editor

Sometimes you have the need to create a quick page for a specific purpose. And it would seem a bit silly to purchase an expensive HTML editor for just the occasional page. And you really don't feel like downloading & installing an application that you won't get much use from.

That's where this nice little editor comes in. It's simple to use and packed with tons of nifty features that you would expect to find in a desktop application.

This is the best free online HTML editor I have found that wasn't associated with some sort of web hosting.

Online HTML Editor


  • Page Properties:
    Interface allows you specify page title, background color, foreground (text) color, upload a background image from your computer and apply a watermark to the image so that it doesn't scroll, and upload a background sound file.
  • Find & Replace:
    Search your page for text, tags, and images and automatically replace all with something else.
  • Highlight
    Use this tool to "highlight" (specify a background color for) selected text.
  • Hyperlinks
    Click to easily convert text to a hyperlink and apply hyperlinks to images.
  • Insert Images
    Browse to locate an image file on your computer and upload it to your page.
  • Table Wizard
    Easily insert and customize your tables. Specify number of rows and columns, alignment, border size, cell padding, and cell spacing. Tables aid in the layout of your page.
  • Insert Bulleted Lists
  • Insert Numbered Lists
  • Insert Horizontal Lines
  • Form Wizard
    Step-by-step wizard helps you to create and insert simple forms into your web page.
  • Insert Text Fields and Text Boxes
  • Easy Text Formatting
    Format your text by selecting font face, size, color, bold, italic, and underlined via familiar word processor type buttons.
  • Paragraph Formatting
    One click aligns all left, right, or center.
  • Button Wizard
    Easily insert buttons anywhere on your page!
  • MORE

Whatever isn't covered by the features in this editor will most likely be covered by their other online tools, listed on the right side of their page.

So no more excuses...go make that web page you have been procrastinating about!


Online Privacy Policy Generator

online privacy policy generatorConstructing a privacy policy for your website can be a complicated task, but it doesn't have to be any more.

With this generator it is as easy as checking off some boxes and filling in some blanks.

They give you the choice between generating an HTML page which you can just save, or emailing you an HTML or plain text copy.



Software for Starving Students

software for starving students Software for Starving Students is a FREE downloadable collection of programs, put together with students in mind (but anybody can use it).

Everything is all on one a single disk. There are both Mac OSX and Windows versions available.

If you ever wanted an easy way to gather and install some the best free software available, this would be it.

Included applications:


Monday, October 08, 2007

The 'New' Amiga (1988)

Originally broadcast in 1988, this 28 minute Computer Chronicles video takes a look at what was then, the brand new Amiga, and the amazing things it could do.

Considering one could own one of these for less than $1000, it made affordable to small businesses and home users, the kinds of things that once were only available to large businesses with tons of cash.

Compared to the capabilities and cost of a PC with MS-DOS 4 or Windows 386/2.1 ($5,000) or a Mac with OS2 ($4,869), buying an Amiga made a lot of sense.

This time warp brought to you by archive.org. High resolution copies of this Creative Commons licensed video are available for download.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

Blast from the Past

I have been looking for a bunch of old photos that have been lost in my house for about 2 years. I have looked everywhere for them, hoping they weren't lost forever. Most of these were taken when I was a teen.

My husband was the one who finally found them, under the bed with his baseball cards, of all places.

I decided to scan and share a few with you today.


This is me (age 20), holding my daughter when she was about a month old.

Me (age 16) and LuLu

Me, age 16.

Lil, me (age 16), and Tom.

This is me (age 16) and Dianne, on Tom's motorcycle, in Tom's garage. We were supposed to be doing the thumbs like the Fonz, but just as the picture was being taken, Tom moved the back of the bike and scared the crap out of both of us.

In my room, sitting on my bed.

from left to right: Liz, LuLu, and Dianne.

Me in back. (age 16)

Standing in front of my house in all the snow.

Age 19

Another from same day/location.

The illusion of having photographed 'falling snow' is a bit odd, since there was no snow actually falling. Some weird photography mishap that I had no idea about till the photos were developed.

My daughter (age 4) and me (age 24).

This was taken at Great Adventure.

We are sitting in King Kong's hand.

Sexy witch

Halloween, at Mary's house.

Age 16

My guess would be either age 18 or 19.

I am really not sure, but judging from the length of my hair, it was probably 19.

Christmas, at Debbie's house.

Age 18

Debbie always seemed to give me purses for Christmas, for some reason.

My 19th birthday, with cake on my nose.


Last minute throw together costume.

Age 18

Me (age 18) and my husband (age 28).

New Year's at Bob & Linda's house.

Age 18

I looked really awful...

just finished cooking my first big Thanksgiving dinner.

The cake I baked for my daughter's 3rd birthday.

My daughter

Age 2

Fourth of July

Christmas at Mary's house.

Age 18

Me, at Liz's house.

Age 15

I just woke up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The world's worst name

What were their parents thinking?
I voted for Dick Rash in the world's most unfortunate name poll I voted for Dick Rash in the world's most unfortunate name poll.

Go to
IsThisYour.Name to cast your vote. Do it for the kids.
These are all real names of real people. All of these names are pretty bad and I am sure the people they belong to had it pretty rough growing up with all the teasing.
Some are oddly cute, some just amusing. Some the humor doesn't hit you till you say it out loud. Some will make you giggle, some will make you spit your coffee on your screen.
From a list of thirty, containing names like Mike Hunt, Hugh Jassman, Dwayne Pipe, and Mike Rotch, it would be a difficult task to pick just one.
But of all of these, no matter if you say it or read it, Dick Rash has to be by far the worst name on the list. Nobody would want to have a name like that and the poor boys given this name were probably teased more than anybody else on that list. Their parents should have been charged with child abuse for naming them that.
Please, think before you name your kids and remember what the traditional nicknames are for some first names and don't do something like this to your children.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

KB936357 = funky

This is a Windows Update patch you have to watch out for and be careful.

It is microcode for the BIOS of certain affected systems.

Only systems with the following CPU's need this:

  • Mobile: Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor.
  • Desktop: Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor, Intel Core 2 Quad desktop processor, and Intel Core 2 Extreme processor.
  • Server: Intel Xeon processors 3000, 3200, 5100, and 5300 series.

The problem with this patch is that it is installing itself on systems not affected and causing problems.

If you have your Windows Update settings set to automatically download and install patches, you might want to change this to downloading, but asking before installing.

When a new update downloads and you are asked, do not select the typical or express install. Choose the advanced option and check for this patch in the list.

If you don't have one of the affected CPU's, unselect this patch and do not install it.

You will have to do this every time, so keep the patch number handy so you'll remember the name of it.

I know of at least 1 person that ended up with this patch that didn't need it.

For one guy with an older P4 CPU, it messed up his router causing him to have a problem with it disconnecting every few hours.

Another guy...I haven't heard from him since he rebooted after an update tonight(he has an AMD64 CPU). I suspect he ended up with this patch and it may have caused problems, but I can't be sure at this time.

So please be careful with this one. Don't install it if you don't need it.

But if you do have one of the CPU's affected, please install it...you do need it, even if you are not currently having problems. There is a flaw in the listed processors that creates an exploitable vulnerability and your BIOS needs this patch to correctly deal with it and protect you.

The alternative to installing this patch on affected systems is to install a BIOS update from your motherboard manufacturer. Not all manufacturers have released a BIOS update to address the issue, and some require your system to have a floppy drive to install it. It is just easier to use the update from Microsoft for affected systems.

Full patch info from Microsoft

Details on the vulnerability with select Intel processors

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lawyers Love Instant Boss!

American Bar Association Journal - July 2007 I am feeling a little stunned today.

I found out that an article in the July issue of the American Bar Association Journal, recommends one of my software applications, Instant Boss.

This is the magazine read by half of all lawyers in America. And this isn't in some small article buried somewhere in the back of the magazine that nobody is going to read. This is in their cover story...the main article.

It made #31 on their top 101 productivity tips & tricks list:

31 If you have trouble staying focused, you can make Instant Boss your digital task­master. You can set it to time your tasks and your breaks from those tasks, allowing it to nag you on a schedule of your choosing.

This was totally unexpected.

Now I will have to go out and find a copy, and buy it. :-D

The only criticism I really have with the article, is that the online version doesn't contain any links to the sites of most of the software mentioned. I am hoping there was a page at the end of the print edition article that contained the URL's.

Of course now I'll have to get busy working on the next version of Instant Boss, including in it all those great ideas that I have been collecting for the last year.

Read the full article.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's a Big Ass Table

SarcasticGamer.com presents a twisted take on one of Microsoft's latest and greatest announcements.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Web Server in Your Pocket

IPAQ 5500Imagine a web server that can fit in your pocket.

You don't have to be a super mega-geek Linux-loving hardware hacker to do it.

All you need is a Pocket PC running at least Pocket PC 2003 with an internet connection.

Now I haven't tried it out, so I can't supply any instructions, and I am not sure why you would want to run a web server on a Pocket PC other than for the reason "Because I can". Or maybe you might be on a plane and want to do some web development. Maybe you can use the GPS in your device to publish a simple page giving your current location for your friends and family.

Either way, it's kind of insane but sounds like it could be fun.

Bad news for you: You can't do it for free. It will cost you about $78 for all the software and at least $25 - $50 for a year of dynamic DNS service. (depending on if your ISP blocks port 80)

Bad news for me: I am going to miss out on all the fun because my Pocket PC is too old and runs WinCE 3.0 Pocket PC 2000...and I am too broke to afford the expense even if my device was supported.

But if you decide to try it out, I'd love to hear about it. Drop me an email and maybe give me a link to your portable website. (don't worry...I won't share your link or your email address, and I won't spam you.) I'd love to snag some screenshots of your mobile site for a possible update in the future.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Chinese Chicken Sculptures

Chinese Chicken SculptureI had this really weird dream...

I dreamed I was in Tampa, at a Chinese restaurant. I was supposed to be ordering food for my mother, which would be delivered later on, then I was supposed to go to my aunt's house a few blocks away.

Something went wrong and it got weird...

The lady in the restaurant told me that the last time my mother called for food and had it delivered, somebody stiffed them for $2.50. So she wanted me to pay for it, and for my mother's current order, and to tell her that from now on she has to come and pick up the food herself.

I look in my wallet and all I have is $25...which my mother gave me for something else...and I wasn't supposed to spend it. I handed the lady $5, hoping that later when I saw my mother that she wasn't going to have a fit about it.

While they were cooking my mother's food, the Chinese lady gave me some sort of drink for free...something that tasted weird and not so good.

There was this guy that worked there that was bored and had nothing to do. Everybody else was busy running around cooking things except him. My daughter starts flirting with him. He tells her that he wants to cook something and not just sit around being bored...asks her if she wants something to eat....for free. Then as she is looking at the menu and making suggestions for some common things, he gets a bit upset and takes the menu away from her. He doesn't want to make something common, he wants to make something special! (he was trying to impress her)

So he's looking at the menu trying to find something, then tosses it and grabs some Chinese cookbook and starts flipping pages. Then he gets a big smile and very excited and runs to the back with the book.

The Chinese lady tells my daughter, in Engrish, that she is really going to like what he's making, because she can see what he's doing in the back and we can't.

Then she asks me why I am not finishing my drink. I am honest with her about not liking it too much. She suggests that maybe I need prune juice in it...then comments how Hollow doesn't need any prune juice, because 'he go everyday, no problem'. (omg! It turns out that Hollow is living with the people in the Chinese restaurant in Tampa!)

Then the guy that is making food for my daughter comes to the front with a giant artistic chicken sculpture dipped in wax, sticking up out of something that looks like a fancy metal baby buggy with all kinds of Asian designs all over it, and he pushes it along this track that leads to an oven. It was a genuine work of art. Then he explains to my daughter that it has to go in the oven so the wax can be burned off, leaving just the chicken.

Then my mother shows up and wants to know why we were still at the Chinese restaurant and not at my aunt's house yet.

I explain the food problem to her and she swears the delivery guy is a liar. She sent someone downstairs with the money, and he would never pocket the money for himself. She gets mad at me for telling her all of this. I told her I had to pay for the food. She hands me $2.50, with an attitude. When I told her I had to pay $5 because I also had to pay what they got stiffed, she gets really nasty, but finally gives me another $2.50.

Then she hands me some really cheap cigarettes and I comment that I don't smoke those, that I prefer Djarums. She asks who the hell got me into those. I told her that I thought it was her that did. She says in a very nasty tone of voice that it couldn't have been, because she wouldn't ever buy something expensive like that for me.

Then I thought about it really hard.....it was Plastic! He was the one that got me into them. (not in real life though, that was Cailin's fault)


...and then I woke up.


So...I dreamed about my daughter flirting with a Chinese guy, 2 online friends (one that really lives in Tampa), my mother being a bitch, and a work of edible art that's worthy of photographing. It's all not so weird and really quite normal, when you think about it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Fair(y) Use Tale

In the fun category, Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University has created a video review of copyright principles.

You're probably thinking, "How could anyone make a video about a legal concept even mildly entertaining?" But Faden's truly inspired video works on many levels because it consists entirely of extremely short clips (often no more than one word) from a wide variety of animated Disney movies.

It's thanks in large part to Disney that copyright - which was designed to encourage creativity by giving the creator control over copying for a limited time - now lasts for the life of the creator plus 75 years, or, for a work of corporate authorship, 95 years.

But thanks to the short length of the clips, its non-profit educational nature, and the fact that it would in no way affect the potential market for the copyrighted works, Faden's video undoubtedly falls under fair use.

Download available

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Human Computation

From captchas, to labeling images, to providing basic facts, humans are helping computers to help humans...and some are having fun while doing it.

Image recognition is an easy task for people, but something computers are not yet good at.

Here is an approach to help computers get better at it, help the visually impaired understand what is in the images on a web page, and help search engines serve better image search results. You make fun games out of it, so it doesn't seem like work.

Games with a purpose...a great concept, and one that could be quite profitable if you can design a game that will solve some sort of problem that a computer can't solve on its own, yet. Depending on the problem you are solving, the data you acquire from the players of the game could be worth more than any ads you could possibly place on your site.

The following video presents the concepts behind some of these games.

Play time: 51 min, 31 sec

Luis von Ahn is an assistant professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also received his Ph.D. in 2005. Previously, Luis obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Duke University in 2000. He is the recipient of a Microsoft Research Fellowship.

Play the games:

And for a more interesting challenge, try 3form Free Knowledge Exchange and see if you can help provide solutions and answers to some of life's challenging problems and questions...or maybe get a solution to a problem or question you have. (warning: 3form is quite addictive!)

I, personally, find it more enjoyable and thought provoking than Yahoo Answers, and it provides much better answers to your questions.

reCaptcha: Stopping spam while digitizing books

We have all seen captcha text...everywhere.

Carnegie Mellon University has come up with one with a bit of a twist that they call reCaptcha.

While helping to stop spam and ensuring that a human is actually submitting a response, it is also helping to digitize books. (currently helping Internet Archive)


To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being photographically scanned, and then, to make them searchable, transformed into text using "Optical Character Recognition" (OCR). The transformation into text is useful because scanning a book produces images, which are difficult to store on small devices, expensive to download, and cannot be searched. The problem is that OCR is not perfect.

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

But if a computer can't read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here's how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

The service is free, and they even have one specifically for protecting your email address on a website.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tip of the Day

my tea mugReplace the burned out bulb in your fridge as soon as possible...or at least turn on the kitchen light when you go in there...otherwise you may end up putting orange juice in your tea instead of milk.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Verizon's Prepaid $0.99 a Day Theft Plan

So, I am just sitting here, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I get an IM from a friend of mine that just needs to be shared. (he wanted me to, which is why he told me about it.)

byte: I was checking out prepaid cell phones today online..
byte: and while I was at verizon's site, this popup thing came up on my end...
byte: wanna see the convo?
byte: lol
app: sure


Please wait for a Verizon Wireless sales representative to assist you with your order. Thank you for your patience!

A Verizon Wireless online pre-sales specialist has joined the chat. You are now chatting with Kelly.

Kelly: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. How may I help you today?
Kelly: Are you an existing Verizon Wireless customer?
You: No
You: I'm looking over the prepaid plans, and I'm wondering how Verizon thinks they can get away with charging $0.99 per day even if I were to not use the cell phone.
You: that's theft
Kelly: That is the access fee for that plan.
You: access fee for accessing nothing?
You: theft.
You: do you have a legal degree, or is there a lawyer present?
Kelly: No, there is not lawyer here.
You: I was honestly considering a prepaid phone through Verizon - until I read that your company will be stealing $0.99 per day EVEN if I DON'T use the phone. Then, unfortunately for you, this jackassy pop-up came popping up, asking me if I wanted to talk to someone.
You: sorry you were there to catch the brunt of it.
You: I have STRONG reason to suspect that I will be going with another provider OTHER than Verizon.
You: sheerly due to the fact that no matter if I use the phone or not, I'll be charged $0.99 each day.
You: a $15 card would last how long at that rate?
You: just shy of 15 days?
You: yet it expires in how many days?
You: that's gotta be deceptive advertising
You: a $15 card will NEVER last 30 days.
You: not with you all stealing $0.99 each and every day even if the phone ISN'T USED!
You: Cingular at least is kind enough to not commit such theft.
You: TMobile is nicer as well
You: what do I get with Verizon?
You: what is the "party-bonus" that I get if I go with Verizon and your theft plan?
You: *prepaid plan
You: my mistake
Kelly: We do offer the in calling and night calling free with that plan.
You: ok - anything else?
You: what are "ringback tones?"
Kelly: That is tones that the person calling you hears before you answer your phone.
You: alright
You: well, I have to say that it seems as if Verizon's prepaid plans are, for lack of a better word, flat-out theft from the pocket phones of the prepaid world.
You: even if I don't use it, I get charged?
You: what the fudge?
You: who was smoking what when this idea came around?
You: You see, I'm not a phone addict like you would wish I were... are there any plans which won't charge me even if I don't use the phone? prepaid plans?
Kelly: WE do have the Easy pay plan that allow you 350 minutes for $50.00 per month pre pay.
You: do you have any plans comparable to the $29.99 prepaid cards (which aparently, with your company's theft of $0.99 per day even if the phone isn't used, would only last 1 month anyhow)?
Kelly: No, unfortunately we do not.
You: ok, well thank your supervisor for this jackassy popup appearing on my end, and for your company offering what appears to be crappy prices and theft. in the mean time, I would like to thank you for working for complete and total morons who probably figure no one reads the fine print.
You: I hope you have a very nice day - honestly I do.


byte: that poor gal prolly never expected it
byte: damned jackassy popups
byte: "Do you want to talk with a representative?"
byte: no, but since you're bothering me with a popup, fucker, sure.
byte: right now, I'm thinking about Cingular for a prepaid
byte: I haven't talked with tmobile yet
byte: not extensively enough to decide
byte: it's gotta be better than Verizon's theft plan
byte: *prepaid plan


I really do need to start another blog...a group one...for the occasional ranters among my friends. That way they can have their own place for this and won't have to borrow my blog. (lol)