Month: November 2008 blog archive

Addictive Flash Games - 30 Nov 2008

I hadn’t heard about them before, but Techcrunch alerted me to what they call some of the most addictive flash games. It started with Flash Element TD. Then there was Desktop Tower Defense The creators behind both of those games have combined forces to create Casual Collective, a game site that includes support for social […]

Categories: Games
Have Fun With Family Photos on Windows - 29 Nov 2008

I recently changed my wife’s screensaver to show photos. Now when the screensaver kicks in we all gather round to see pictures we’d forgotten about. It’s very entertaining. PhotoJoy is an application that takes a photos screensaver to a new level. Check out the demo. (via Techcrunch)

Categories: Family,Photography
How to Edit MP3s Quickly and Easily - 28 Nov 2008

Audacity is a great audio editor, but it’s not an ideal choice for editing large MP3s because it takes so long to convert them. I have some MP3s that have dialog in the middle of the music and I wanted a quick and easy way to cut out the dialog. The solution is mp3DirectCut, a […]

Categories: Music,Useful
National Day of Listening - 27 Nov 2008

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving! Second, tomorrow, November 28th, is the National Day of Listening. This Thanksgiving, StoryCorps asks you to start a new holiday tradition—set aside one hour on Friday, November 28th, to record a conversation with someone important to you. You can interview anyone you choose: an older relative, a friend, a teacher, […]

Categories: Family
Personal Development for Smart People - 26 Nov 2008

I enjoy reading personal development books. For instance, I’ve read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” 7 times. I love learning how to improve myself, but reading (or listening) to books doesn’t get me to act on that knowledge. In other words, I often don’t put into practice what I read. There are a […]

Categories: Books,Reviews
No Longer Safe to Write Personal Checks? - 25 Nov 2008

Don Knuth has decided he can no longer write checks after being forced to close three checking accounts after they were subjected to multiple attacks by criminals. He says the way checks work is fundamentally broken. With the information on a check, a criminal can create an ATM card, impersonate a bank in another country […]

Categories: Finances,Security
Phrases to Avoid in Your Writing - 24 Nov 2008

Writing can be dangerous. You think it’s just a cute phrase when it makes you look foolish and irritates your readers. To save you from such ills, Oxford compiled a list of the top 10 most irritating phrases. The BBC contributed with the 20 most hated cliches. A few are specific to the UK, but […]

Categories: Language
Find the Firefox Extensions Meant For You - 23 Nov 2008

Fashion Your Firefox lets you choose a category, like Digital Pack Rat, Shutterbug, Finder and Seeker, Social Butterfly or News Junkie. Then it suggest the top add-ons in that category. It’s a great way to find the most popular Firefox extensions in a certain area. (via Lifehacker)

Categories: Web browsers
How to Improve Your Luck Scientifically - 22 Nov 2008

Want to improve your luck? According to Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor and the man behind the search for the world’s funniest joke, it’s something you can change. First, open your mind and be on the lookout for good fortune. Adding variety to your life helps too. Second, always consider the upside, or […]

Categories: Society
Simple Way to Take Lots of Screenshots on Windows - 21 Nov 2008

If you want to take multiple screenshots quickly and easily, here’s a great solution. 1. Download IrfanView, a feature-filled but lightweight image viewer for Windows. 2. Run it and type ‘c’ (or go to Options -> Capture / Screenshot). 3. Configure the settings. Here’s what I chose: 4. Press ‘Start’ and then go about your […]

Categories: Computers,Productivity
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover - 20 Nov 2008

The drum riff at the beginning of Simon and Garfunkel’s 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover was written by Steve Gadd, an accomplished drummer. I’ve had a recent interest in drums so I enjoyed watching Steve in this short video where he demos the riff. The dialog struck me as humorous. I’ve included it in […]

Categories: Music
What’s Taking Up All the Space? - 19 Nov 2008

It can be helpful to know what’s taking up all the space on your hard drive, but the default Windows tools don’t give you an easy way to figure that out. Here are three applications that will give you a good overview of your disk usage. WinDirStat – The best of the bunch. Shows a […]

Categories: Computers
Do You Know Your Neighbors? - 18 Nov 2008

In Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Peter Lovenheim sleeps over at over half of his neighbors to get to know them better. The reason? A neighbor shot and killed his wife and then himself but after a few weeks the only indication anything had changed was the “For Sale” sign on the lawn. A family […]

Categories: Society
How Many Spidermen Can Fit Into Jamba Juice? - 17 Nov 2008

The world needs to know!

Categories: Entertaining
5 Painless Ways to Save Money - 16 Nov 2008

With the economy in the toilet and showing now no immediate signs of improving, it’s a good time to analyze your monthly expenses. I’ve come up with five ways you can save money without requiring you to change your lifestyle. In other words, you won’t notice the difference except for the extra money in your […]

Categories: Finances
Get Your Inbox to Zero - 15 Nov 2008

I used to keep a tab open in Firefox with my Gmail account, giving me the ability to be a fast replyer via email. Realizing the time I spent being distracted by email, coupled with a discussion from Tim Ferriss to check email twice a day, I decided to close the email tab. At first […]

Categories: Productivity
Windows Countdown Timer Showdown - 14 Nov 2008

I’ve found a good way to reduce procrastination is to set a timer and commit to working on a task for that period of time. It makes it easier for you to work on something you’ve been fearing because regardless of the outcome of the task, you get to stop when the timer dings. It’s […]

Categories: Productivity
Show the Date in the Windows Taskbar - 13 Nov 2008

I didn’t think it would be so hard to find a simple way to display the date on the taskbar in Windows XP. An admittedly easy solution is to unlock your toolbar and make double the normal height to display the day of the month, but I didn’t want to reduce my screen real estate. […]

Categories: Computers
How fast does your site load? - 12 Nov 2008

Techrunch wrote about their abysmal load times based on Royal Pingdom’s analysis of the top 100 blogs. I grew interested in how fast my site loaded. Here are some tools I found to measure and analyze load times. Pingdom’s Full Site Test Web Page Speed Test – Provides recommendations to improve site loading time. OctaGate […]

Categories: Web stats
Idle Timeout With Remote Desktop - 11 Nov 2008

I use remote desktop all the time, but after upgrading to SP3 on XP, the machine I was connected to would boot me off after around 2 hours of idle time. On my machine I got the following dialog: The remote session was ended because the idle timeout was reached. This limit is set by […]

Categories: Computers
Shortcuts You Never Knew Existed…and Can’t Live Without - 10 Nov 2008

As you can see from the last few posts, I like keyboard shortcuts. A lot. I’m also a big fan of efficiency. David Pogue’s article (use bugmenot if it asks you to register) touches on ways to increase your efficiency and while the article is useful on its own, the comments are even better. Who […]

Categories: Computers
Turn Your Browser Into a Command Shell - 09 Nov 2008

If you’ve ever wanted to do a whois, host, nslookup or ping on a domain and you use Firefox, this tip is for you. You can run those commands right from your browser. For instance, running whois is as easy as typing “whois” in the URL field and hitting enter. As an example, let’s […]

Categories: Web browsers
Most Helpful Windows Shortcuts - 08 Nov 2008

Here are the shortcuts I use over and over again on Windows. WindowsKey-e – Open Explorer WindowsKey-l – Lock screen WindowsKey-r – Open Run dialog WindowsKey-m – Minimize all windows WindowsKey-Shift-M – Restore all windows WindowsKey-d – Toggle between showing the desktop and showing all the windows WindowsKey-Pause – Show System Properties window (The same […]

Categories: Computers
Wireless Security Alert – Use AES - 07 Nov 2008

If you have a wireless network using WPA, read this. A PhD candidate recently discovered a way to compromise a wireless network using WPA. Fortunately, the attack only works against TKIP (the default from what I’ve seen). The fix is to switch to AES encryption, usually the second option when you’re configuring WPA. I had […]

Categories: Security
Most Helpful Firefox Shortcuts - 07 Nov 2008

Here are the main Firefox shortcuts I use on a regular basis. Tabs Ctrl-t – Open new tab Ctrl-w – Close active tab Ctrl-Shift-t – Open last closed tab (you can do this over and over) Ctrl-PageUp, PageDown – Cycle through tabs Ctrl-1 to Ctrl-8 – Go to the first, second, third…eighth tab Ctrl-9 – […]

Categories: Web browsers
Most Useful Shortcuts in Google Reader - 06 Nov 2008

I love using keyboard shortcuts to get things done faster. Here are the main ones I use in Google Reader. p/n – navigate up and down through feeds without expanding k/j – navigate up and down through feeds and expand feeds N/P – navigate up and down through folders (in the left sidebar) o – […]

Categories: Productivity
Most Useful Shortcuts in Gmail - 05 Nov 2008

I’ve been using shortcuts in Gmail for years now. The recent post about Gmail shortcuts on the Google Blog inspired me to write about the ones I use. j/k – Move up and down through the messages x – Select a message s – Star a message gs – Go to starred folder gi – […]

Categories: Productivity
US Presidential Election 2008 - 04 Nov 2008

Here are the best sites I’ve found to get live maps of the 2008 presidential election results, in order of how good they are. Yahoo – Autorefresh, shows electoral and popular votes. NY Times – Not as up-to-date as Yahoo, but shows detailed state county view. C-SPAN – Displays other candidates and voter initiatives like […]

Categories: News
Know the Weather Better than the Weatherman - 04 Nov 2008

Want to have the daily forecast at your fingertips? Wondering what the current temperature is this instant? Want to know when it’s raining so you can close your car windows? Weather Watcher Live by Singer’s Creations lets you do this and more. It’s powered by WeatherBug stations that provide real time weather feeds to insure […]

Categories: Science
Updated Comics Page (Faster Too) - 03 Nov 2008

Cameron alerted me that my comics page was no longer working correctly. has changed their site (again) and not only is it ugly, it’s dog slow. People are talking about the changes on twitter. For example: done broke their own website. Idiots. Looks like is suffering from Monday morning server overload. I […]

Categories: The site
How well can you distinguish colors? - 03 Nov 2008

Take this test to see how well you can distinguish colors (or if your monitor is well-calibrated). (Note: You may have to select your country first) A lower score is better, with 0 being the perfect score. The bars above show the regions of the color spectrum where hue discrimination is low. (via Download Squad)

Categories: Entertaining
Try to Solve This Word Puzzle - 02 Nov 2008

Colene emailed me this word puzzle saying she was stumped. I was stumped myself. I found a list of 4-letter anagrams but none had 5 words. Besides, none of the 4 word combinations made sense. I found longer combinations on Yahoo answers, but none were satisfactory. Even plentiful use of the Anagram Server didn’t reveal […]

Categories: Entertaining
3 Secrets to Resolving Problems With Customer Service - 01 Nov 2008

We’ve all dealt with customer service on the phone, but we haven’t always been able to get what we want. After waiting for 10-15 minutes, it can be hard to maintain a pleasant attitude, but it can go a long way to getting you what you want. Here are three ways to give you the […]

Categories: Useful