Friday, November 7, 2008

Change tracking markup visible by default in Word 2007

By default in Word 2007 documents that use change tracking have the markup shown when the document is opened. While it can be useful to see what changes have been made to a document when editing a document, I find it a useless distraction when trying to read a document. So for anyone who is interested here is how to change that default.
  • Click the Office button in the upper left hand corner of Word 2007
  • In the dialog that is opened choose 'Word Options' in the bottom right corner left of 'Exit Word'

  • In the left hand column of the dialog that opens choose 'Trust Center'
  • On the right side of the dialog, near the middle click 'Trust Center Settings...'

  • In the left hand column choose 'Privacy Options'
  • Near the middle on the right Uncheck "Make hidden markup visible when opening or saving"

  • Click OK and OK and Word will no longer show Markup by default.
Note: Some documents are set to 'Final Showing Markup' individually. These will have to be switched then saved and they too will no longer default to Final Showing Markup

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Internet Explorer 7

I am a commited Firefox user, but sometimes, especially at work, I have to use Internet Explorer. In using IE 7 I have discovered a couple of issues that I thought I would relate.

The IE 7 run once issue:
When IE 7 is first launched it brings up a configuration page that allows the user to change the "search provider" and activate the phishing filter.

The problem occurs when the settings fail to save and so this page is displayed every time IE7 is launched instead of the home page. To work around this issue you can add the following entries to your registry
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main]
Or use this file: DisableRunOnceIE7.reg

The IE 7 unable to add new Search Providers issue:
In the upper right hand corner of IE 7 there is a search field that uses Microsoft's Live Search [link]. This field can point to a number of different search providers but sometimes IE 7 fails when trying to select another provider, instead, various script error may occur. This can be caused if shdocvw.dll is registered after IE 7 is installed. To work around this issue you can add the following entry to your registry.
Or use this file: RegisterIeframe.reg

To roll back the change use this file: Registershdocvw.reg
(If your Windows folder is not named Windows you will need to edit the files to reflect the correct location before you use them)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Time to stretch and rest my eyes

I have been reading a lot about eye strain lately and ran across the suggestion to focus 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to ease eye strain. So to help with that, and to remind me to do my cube calisthenics I threw together a very simple VBScript that pops up a message every 20 minutes. And I decided to post it here so I would be able to grab it from anywhere.

The 'sleep' value is set to 1200000 milliseconds, which equals 20 minutes, but can be changed easily. The message title and message body can easily be changed as well by changing the values of the initial variables.
intSleepTime = 1200000
strMsgTitle = "Rest Time!"
strMsgBody = "Get up and stretch and rest your eyes!"

While intMessage < 2
wscript.sleep intSleepTime
intMessage = MsgBox ("Rest time!" &VbCrLf&VbCrLf& strMsgBody &VbCrLf&VbCrLf& "Click Ok to continue or Cancel to exit.", 65, strMsgTitle)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Google Gears with Portable Firefox

I have discovered (here) how to make Google Gears portable with Portable Firefox:
  1. Install Google Gears to your local machine.
  2. Create a folder named {000a9d1c-beef-4f90-9363-039d445309b8} under the extensions folder where your instance of FireFox portable is installed (e.g. \FirefoxPortable\Data\profile\extensions or \FirefoxPortable\App\firefox\extensions\) (Reader Drakkim pointed out that: \FirefoxPortable\Data\profile\extensions should be used instead since the App path is deleted on upgrade see his comment below).
  3. Copy the contents of the Gears Firefox files (probably here: c:\program files\google\google gears\Firefox to the folder you created.
  4. Uninstall Google Gears from the local machine (Unless, of course, you want to have it installed on that system.
  5. Restart Firefox if it is running.
Original source:

Note: If you go to this site it will tell you if Google Gears is installed or not.

Update: Welcome Lifehacker readers!!! I am really excited about being linked from Lifehacker since that is one of my favorite websites.

Update: I seemed to have overlooked a need in the first posting of this entry so in order to remedy that see the following:

To uninstall Google Gears go here.
To remove Portable Google Gears:
  • You can exit FireFox and delete the folder {000a9d1c-beef-4f90-9363-039d445309b8} that is under the extensions folder where your instance of FireFox portable is installed (e.g. \FirefoxPortable\App\firefox\extensions\).
  • You can go to the Addons dialog in FireFox (under the Tools menu) and click on Google Gears and choose Uninstall.
Update: Reader Drakkim pointed out that \FirefoxPortable\Data\profile\extensions should be used instead since the App path is deleted on upgrade. I have updated the instructions to reflect this, please see his comment below.

Update: Currently Google Gears does not work with FireFox 3.1b3 (or apparently with any of the 3.1 beta versions).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Some Free MSI Tools

As a professional "Setup Author" ( LOL ), I am always looking for (or writing) tools that will make my job easier. And I know that other packagers do the same so I thought that I would put together a list of tools I find useful or interesting in the setup authoring realm.
  1. MSI 4.5 SDK -This is primarily useful for packagers because it contains the newest version of Orca (see next entry). But it also contains Msival2, and several other useful tools for packaging.
  2. Orca - Allows direct editing of the MSI tables.
  3. SuperOrca - This is an Orca like tool for editing MSI's
  4. .MSI Diff - Compare two .MSI files and view a report of their differences.
  5. MSIX - Extracts transforms and binary streams from Windows Installer files (msp, mst, msi)
  6. WiX - Windows Installer XML, the first Microsoft Open Source project. WiX allows you to create your Installer via an XML dialect. There are several useful tools included in this toolset.
  7. CabSDK - Can be used to create cab files.
  8. Windows Installer Command Line Builder - Allows you to build command line parameters for Windows Installer.
  9. Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 SP1 - Allows you to create separate virtual machines on your Windows desktop

I will continue add to this entry as I have time.

Note: this post was edited and updated on 11/05/08
Note: this post was edited and updated on 02/04/09

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Am I the only one to notice that the DefaultDir category often disappears from the category set in the (underscore) _Validation table? Is this a Wise thing or something else. For the longest time I thought it was just me or a template I was using, but I started noticing it at different companies I have worked at.

Anyway the fix is easy, find the _Valadation | Category row in the _Validation table and under the Set column add ";DefaultDir" without the quotes (the semicolon is needed as a separator) and the error is resolved.

Without this entry in that column the MSI fails ICE03.

I should mention that a similar issue seems to happen with the Shortcut | ShowCmd row in the _Valadation table. On that row under the Set column the value should be "1;3;7" without the quotes, but Wise seems to change it to "0;3;7". This is easy enough to fix but it is annoying that this glitch continues up to at least Wise Package Studio Pro (the version I am using currently)

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I have long felt that much, if not most, U.S. foreign aid is wasted. We give this money to governments that use it to bolster their corrupt regimes. But political realities keep us from better allocating those funds.

So what can we do?

We can vote for people who will change the system or processes that allow such corruption, but that takes time. Instead of relying on the government to do something that is not their job, I think that we should individually support smart charities and businesses that creatively help the impoverished and needy of the world.

Here are a few places that I have been looking into:
  1. Kiva
  2. OLPC
  3. Solar Ovens

I will add more as I discover them.

Read this post about donating your old eyeglasses.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Firefox 3 is set to be released on June 17, 2008. I am pretty excited, I have been using Firefox, and Mozilla before it, for I guess 5 years now and I love it. So I decided to check out one of the Release Candidates for version 3. I went to and grabbed the RC2 installer that they had and dove right in.

Here are some "Things I Have Noticed":
  • It's faster, it launched faster, it loaded pages faster and it ran faster even with many tabs open.
  • The addon manager will list recommended addons and will allow you to search for addons from the manager interface!
  • A little star icon has been added at the end of the address field. When you click the star, the page you are on is bookmarked, if you click it again you get the dialog to name, organize and tag the bookmark.
  • Bookmark Tagging. I love this, you can add your own tags to the bookmarks that you save allowing another dimension for organizing and searching.
According the the release notes there are a lot more features than what I have listed here, so check it out!

Keep in mind that some of your addons may not work with the new version.

Oh and try to download it on the 17th if you can. They are trying for a world record for most downloads in one day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I am really digging...

"Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show". It is a web comedy, on You Tube, created by Greg Benson and Kim Evey the husband and wife comedy team behind Mediocre Films.

GTCMS is a weirdly compelling parody of the American view of Japanese pop culture married to something akin to Pee Wee's Playhouse. It is fraking hilarious and everyone should watch it.

The most recent episode guest stars Wil Wheaton, and is well worth the view. He plays a smarmy Hollywood Agent trying to get Kiko (the star of the show) to sign up with him.

Go. Watch. Enjoy.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My first attempt at Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction is basically very short short stories. I like this idea since it seems to be a way to work on writing skills in smaller bites. Having such a limit on the length of the story it can allow the story to be finished in as little as a single sitting. So without further ado, here is my first attempt:


The light from the twin suns seemed to flutter in and out of the shadows in the thick dark atmosphere on the planets surface. I was having trouble with the corrosive gases that swirled like smoke from a pipe. The air of this planet was scoring the view panel of my helmet. I could only guess what it was doing to the rest of my HES suit.

We should have waited for the readings to complete before we attempted a landing. The shuttle lost altitude too fast; the pilot did not expect the odd turbulence that we experienced. It was all I could do to sit still and let him fly. But he got us down, what good it did him. Or me for that matter. He told me to wait and stepped out of the forward airlock. I heard his screams start almost immediately, then they abruptly stopped.

The airlock took forever to cycle, but by the time I got outside it was too late. The pilot had stepped from the airlock onto what appeared to be solid ground, obfuscated by the hazy fumes that passed for air on this godforsaken rock. But what looked solid turned out to be a small pond or lake of some caustic liquid. As I tried to reach for him he sank beneath the surface of the hellish acid lake his HES suit rapidly disintegrating as it sank.

Carefully I reentered the shuttle and took the rear airlock out. Using a sonic range finder from the survey equipment I was able to verify that the ground was solid so I stepped out and looked around the shuttle. Besides losing the pilot I could tell that the front of the shuttle was in the lake, and it's integrity was already compromised.

I was trapped, the shuttle losing integrity, and unable to reach the ship in orbit. My suit had maybe two days of water, supplements and air.

So I stopped the simulation and took a D in that class.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 tip #1

Tonight I was prompted by a Twitter from Wil Wheaton (who I follow on Twitter) to figure out how to create a hotkey to bring up the word count dialog.

Since I took the time to figure it out I thought that I would mention it here.

Within the Writer choose the 'Tools' menu and select the 'Customize' item from the menu (or hit Alt+T then C).

Choosing this menu item will launch the 'Customize' dialog. From here click the Keyboard tab, and choose a Shortcut key that is not in use (I chose CTRL+F5). Within the Category field (near the bottom left) choose 'Options', scroll down in the 'Function' field and choose 'Word Count'. From here click 'Modify' (on the right near the top) and then click OK and you are done.

So there you go, pretty straightforward, once you know where to look.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gaming and Beer

Usually one has to be careful mixing gaming and beer, but last night it seemed to work. The 5 of us were continuing last weeks Zombie Apocalypse game using the World of Darkness rules. My wife brought beer when she got home from work so we all had one or two or three, but no one got too buzzed to game, so it seemed to be alright. I would not want to make it a habit to drink and game but occasionally it may be ok.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Looking for a church

I need to find a church that will provide what my family needs spiritually. In the past I have been burned by legalistic churches, and fly by night churches, and I have gone to some good churches, but those are too far away for regular attendance.

What we need is a church that will allow us to explore the mystical relationship between God and man, both corporately and individually. We need a church that, while it does not condone iniquity, it does not attack or destroy ones who stumble.

I need a church that has people and resources to help me explore the theological and spiritual history that 2000 years of Christianity have created. And will do so without prejudice regarding the source of that history (within reason of course). I want to study the early church fathers, as well as the teachings and theology of Catholicism, Protestantism and post-Protestantism. The Catholic church teachings, the Methodist, the Anglican, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian... well you get the point.

There are millennia of thoughts to explore and while I have done some of this on my own, and have done some at previous churches, this is something that I think I need to interact with people about.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Recycle, Renew, Reuse

While I am not a green, nor an environmentalist, and I don't celebrate earth day, I do like to recycle. I like to find new uses for old things or new owners for old things.

You see the thing is that I really don't like waste. I'm not sure why, maybe because my house burned down when I was 12. But for whatever reason, recycling has always appealed to me. Which is probably why I started using ebay, and craigslist. Recently I discovered FreeCycling or FreeSharing and surprisingly in about 10 days I have cleared out about 15 boxes of stuff some of which I would have eventually thrown away or recycled. Recycling is good but reusing seems to me to be better.

Here are a few sites that can get you started:
I am registered with 15 groups in my general area and I have found that there are some common rules and expectations.

Most use a variation on the same format for the subject line either Offer, Received, Taken or Wanted depending on the situation. Offer if you are gifting something, Taken if something you have gifted has been picked up\taken. Wanted if you are requesting something and Received if you have received what you requested. It is pretty simple and straightforward, for example if I had a dining table to give away I would put the following in my subject line - OFFER: Dining Table, 75056. Keep in mind that some groups want the city listed while others want the zip code instead.

Some groups do not allow "First come gets it", in other words, the giver is required to pick someone to give it to.

None of the groups allow you to sell things, and this is not a charity so you are expected to give to the rich and poor alike. The idea is to keep things out of the landfill, so everyone needs to be encouraged to participate.

Be polite - if you say you are going to pick something up, do so, and if you can't pick it up contact the giver to let them know. Failing to pick something up or at least contacting the giver is a sure fire way to burn someone out on this process.

So now I am developing a process of sorts when getting rid of things:
  1. eBay - Can I sell it on eBay? Do I want to mess with shipping and eBay fees?
  2. craigslist - Can I sell it on Craigslist?
  3. garage sell - Can I sell it in a garage sale? Do I want to mess with a garage sale?
  4. FreeSharing - Does anyone on my various reuse group lists want or need it?
  5. Give to charity - Is it likely to be worth anything to anyone? We are lucky enough to have local community charity that uses a thrift store to generate revenue. So it is not uncommon for us to take a truck load of things there since we know the money generated will go to good causes.
  6. Recycle - Can it be recycled?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Last Friday's Game

As I mentioned last week my gaming group is starting up a new game to play until we get 4th edition D&D. The first game is in the can and I must say we all had a lot of fun. One of our gaming buddies who has been on hiatus was back to game with us, which was nice. And someone other than me was running the game, which was also nice.

Usually I prefer running a game over playing in one, but I need downtime sometimes. A game where all I really have to worry about is my character and their interaction with the game world is nice once in a while.

And our DM is doing a real good job of keeping the stress and tension up, which is needed in this type of game. We are all enjoying this game a lot. So much so, in fact, that once we got all the characters made and started gaming we didn't notice the time go by. It has been a long time since we gamed past 4 in the morning.

A very fun night was had by all.

Software Categorization

I am a pack rat. And while I am trying to pursue a more uncluttered life I still want to keep any applications/patches/utilities that I download. My problem is that I do not have a good system of organizing the files.

What I want is a system of categorizing software that will work for storage as well as portable apps on a thumb drive or CD/DVD. The system also needs to be intuitive, and easily extensible. Also, I save files for Windows (all flavors), as well as Linux, Dos, Pocket PC, and a few others, so I need an easy way to indicate what OS type it belongs to.

Currently I am thinking about using the following as my top level of organization:
  • Entertainment - Games, Gaming tools, Game creator toolkits
  • Hardware - Drivers, Hardware tools
  • Multimedia - Audio, Graphics, Video
  • Networking - Browsers, FTP, Email clients, etc...
  • Operating Systems - Windows, Linux, Dos, etc...
  • Productivity - Office suites and apps, Finance apps, common and general use apps, ect...
  • Programming - App Dev libraries, IDE's, runtimes, tools
  • Security - Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Firewalls, Hacking tools
  • Utilities - Auditing, Compression, Monitoring, etc...
  • Virtualization - VMWare, Xen, Emulators

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Friday night game 03

Our regular Friday night games have not been happening lately, between my stress and tiredness working on my business and my wife's work schedule we just have not had the energy or time to game like we want to. But we are all chomping at the bit to get started again. So our group has been having an email conversation about what to do.

We decided that since 4th edition D&D is out in a few weeks, and 6th edition Hero system is out next year so we try something different. But what? We talked about everything from Ars Magica to Traveller and eventually decided that since we will probably be trying out D&D 4th in a few weeks that a fast and furious game in a modern or future setting would probably be a good thing to try. After discussing it for we decided to do a "Zombie Apocalypse" type game and we are going to use the World of Darkness 4th edition rules.

The idea is to play "normal" characters and see how long they can survive etc. Now for the past almost 10 years I have done most of the DMing* but I am too tired, stressed and busy to do any game running at the moment so another of our group who has run quite a few games in the past is going to run this one.

So far this game is shaping up to be a fun way to pass the time till we can try out D&D 4th ed. Also it looks like one of our game group will be back after a long hiatus from gaming, which is nice.

More later.

*I started gaming in 1980 with D&D and will almost always call it Dungeon Mastering as opposed to Game Mastering or Refereeing. I am something of a traditionalist.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What I believe

I was raised in the Pentecostal church, and amongst the many schools I attended were Baptist, and Charismatic private schools (as well as some public schools).

So the religious teachings that I was exposed to were Christian, but often were in direct opposition. For example Baptists teach that salvation is a one time experience and the Pentecostals teach that a person could be saved then "loose" their salvation, then at a later date repent and regain their salvation.

Another example of these disagreements is speaking in tongues, Pentecostals believe that the spiritual gifts spoken of in the New Testament are available to believers today, and they believe that speaking in tongues is a proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Whereas the Baptists, being premillenial dispensationalists, believe that while the miracles did occur in the days of the apostles, once the Bible was available the gifts were no longer needed or available. It was a different "dispensation".

Now Baptists and Pentecostals don't disagree about everything of course, for example both denominations are Intelligent Design creationists.

But, maybe, you can see that there were some tensions in my life that were not easy for me to resolve. Religiously speaking that is.

I have spent the past 15 or so years trying to figure out what I believe. I know that I believe in God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that God became man in the form of Jesus and I believe in the redemptive power of his death and resurrection. That is the core of what I believe. But what about all of the rest of it? What about the rest of it?

There are a lot of doctrines and beliefs in the various Christian churches, but which are correct? And which are important?

I am drawn to the mystical and experiential but not the gnostic. I feel that we are intended to have a relationship with the Creator that is greater than what we are often presented with. I think that there are mysteries that we are intended to explore.

At times in the past I have read a bit of the early church fathers and teachers, I probably need to look into that again. I think that there are joys that are just waiting for me to discover them and reading the thoughts of others who have gone before may help guide me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And now Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke died today. Yet another giant in his field gone. The Songs of Distant Earth all sound a little sadder today.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Go Away White... the new Bauhaus album, I have listened to two of the tracks and I must say, it is awesome. I will be buying this album ASAP!

When I heard that they were going to release a new studio album I got really excited, and that excitement has been paid in full with just the two tracks I have heard so far!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The passing of the Greats

I had only just begun to come to terms with the passing of William F. Buckley jr. when I found out that E. Gary Gygax* passed away this morning. Two very different people, but both have had a profound effect on my life.

Mr. Buckley, the father of the modern conservative movement, has been the voice and the guide to other voices that have educated and advised me for many years, through the National Review and more recently it's online companion the National Review Online. My political philosophy exists as it does largely because of him.

Mr Gygax, the father of Role Playing Games(RPG), created (with help from a few others) Dungeons and Dragons, which led to the creation of many other RPG's. Starting in 1980 I began to play D&D, from there I have moved on to many other games, and genres, but I have always returned to D&D.

I never met either one of them. I will deeply miss them both.

* updated:  7/06/2011

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Very Basic Introduction to Synergy

First I need to say that I love Synergy. I have used it at work and at home for about a year now and I use it constantly.

For those who are not familiar with Synergy, it is a utility that will share a keyboard and mouse with multiple computers over your network. So, for example, I have a Windows XP system and a Ubuntu system, both with their own monitors, with Synergy I can use the same keyboard and mouse on both systems. This cuts down on the need to have multiple keyboards and mice, and is obviously cheaper than a KVM switch.

When setting Synergy up you will select a side of your monitor on each system that is connected between both. So you can drag your mouse across the screen from one computer to the next. Kind of like having multiple monitors but between systems instead.

The Synergy website has good instructions on setting Synergy up here. Also Synergy will run on Windows, Linux, Unix, and Mac OS X.

I was a little worried when I noticed that Synergy has not had a release since April 2, 2006, but I did a little digging and noticed that there have been SVN commits since then and in a forum posting the lead developer stated that he has been working on version 2.0 and hopes to have a alpha/beta release around March.

Here are a few helpful or informative links regarding Synergy:
And here are some related apps:
  • QuickSynergy - GUI to allow easy configuring of Synergy on Mac OSX and Linux.
  • Teleport - Freeware mouse and keyboard sharing tool for Mac OSX.
  • Win2VNC - Like Synergy but using VNC on Windows.
  • X2VNC - Like Synergy but using VNC on X- windows.
  • MyWin2VNC - Another Windows based VNC app like Synergy.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

4th ed D&D. Already?!?!?!?

I have been reading and thinking about 4th ed D&D for a while now. And while I am not as annoyed or anxious as I was initially, I still have reservations. I understand that Wizards must continue to produce new material for existing games, and new editions of existing games, but I felt that it was a little too soon for a new edition, still do really.

If the improvements to the game are not as significant as the improvements made by 3.5 or even 3.0 then I will be disappointed with the new edition. And by improvement I do not mean changes, I mean improvements, changes with substance that will make the game better.

Also, I am very disappointed in the decision to make major changes in how the OGL works. A partner and I have been working on a setting that I eventually want to publish but with the new rules and new edition I will probably have to wait almost a year to do so.

Over all my remaining complaints have less to do with having to buy new books, I own well over 300 gaming books and don't mind getting more, though I don't like buying the same book over and over if I can avoid it. I really felt that with 3.x the D&D game had the best ideas for a fantasy system that is going to use levels and classes*. It has a very nice, and playable fusion of the classic d&d/ad&d feel with the sophistication of game mechanics and concepts that have developed over the last few decades.

I will give 4th edition a chance, but I really hope that it wow's me. For a good nutshell description of the changes try this blog or go to ENWorld.

* I prefer the idea of a point based system, as it seems more organic. The best example I can think of is Hero system. More on that system another day.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday night game 02

Last Friday two of my gamers were unavailable so we started a new Champions game. For those of you who are not familiar with Champions, it is the Hero system super hero game, and in my experience it is the best super hero system out there.

It has been years since we tried to get a Superhero game going and so far it has been a lot of fun. Tonight will be the second session and, as usual, I still need to finish my prep for the game.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Top Ten Favorite FireFox Extensions

I've got to say, I love FireFox. It continues to be the best browser out there for my uses. So in a continuation of the theme from my Thunderbird extension entry here are my favorite FireFox entries.

Most Useful
  • Adblock - Block even more popups with this
  • Adblock Filterset.G Updater - The best filterset to use with Adblock
  • Easylist (USA) - I now use this Adblock list
  • CustomizeGoogle - Allows you to set an enormous number of preferences for use with several of Googles products
  • DownThemAll - Ever need to grab all of the archive files from a mailing list, or a group of PDF's from a free ebook site. Well this is the tool for you!
  • FireFtp - FTP client built in a FireFox tab, I have been using this for a month or so and I love it
  • Greasemonkey - Client side javascript, this allows you to change how pages are presented to you. For example I wrote a script to stop those little annoying in text popups.
  • PDF Download - This keeps you from automaticly opening up a pdf in a tab, instead you are given several options. I hate viewing PDF's in a browser so this is a real destresser for me.
  • Tab Mix Plus - More and more of this extension seems to be making it's way into the main app but it still has several useful tab manipulation options that warrant it's use.

Good to have

Developer tools I like

Well, that's all the time we have today kids, but tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of "Flush that Onion". Until then, keep a flushing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Felicia Day's 'The Guild' and supporting Joss Whedon's Alumni

A few days ago I was checking out You Tube, as I occasionally do, and I noticed a video called "The Guild" on the front page. It looked interesting so I clicked and watched. (Actually it was not the first in the series so I went to the first ep and watched from there.) Then I watched the next episode, and the next and so on till I had watched all 6 episodes(4, 5, and 6 ). Then once the laughter died down I sat and waited for the next episode...

Anyway "The Guild" is very funny, and I found it to be compelling as well as hilarious. While I was watching it I thought that the lead actress looked familiar so I did a little digging and found out that she was or is Felicia Day, aka Vi from season seven "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for us Joss Whedon fans(fanatics, freaks... whatever). Well I thought that this was pretty cool, but then I found out she wrote the show herself, and I was even more impressed.

So I did some more digging and found her website and her blog, "The Flog" which is a pretty good read. So this provides a great opportunity to support one of Joss Whedon's Alumni. Everyone should run out and buy a copy... oh wait you can't, you will just have to watch it for free on You Tube. Go ahead and do it now, I'll wait till you are done to finish up here....

Funny huh? :)

So to continue my thought, BtVS is my all time favorite TV show, and so far I have liked or loved (usually loved) everything I have seen or read that Joss has done (I am trying to collect back issues of Runaways so I can read them in order). And if only for that reason I would support his future work. But beyond that, I find his work to be moving, exciting, pretty much the best that Hollywood has going for it. And he has a way of finding, or drawing (or maybe summoning) the best talent, from his writers to his crew, to his actors, almost all of his alumni are worth keeping an eye on and Felicia Day is no exception.

It is worth noting here that Felicia was an avid WoW player and is writing these shows from inside experience. :) So watch her show, read her blog and keep an eye out for her in upcoming shows.

Oh and apparently she has started playing D&D too! How cool is that!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Top Ten Favorite Thunderbird Extensions... so far

I got the idea to do my own favorite Thunderbird extensions list from the blog TwisterMC.

I think that if more people listed their favorites some of the "hidden gems" would get more exposure and perhaps encourage the developers to continue their great work.

So here is the list:
  1. Lightning - This allows calendars in Thunderbird. I was using Sunbird and I liked it but this is a lot better for me. It has allowed me to actually move forward on getting my GTD system setup. See my previous post.
  2. Provider for Google Calendar - This allows the two-way (not read only) access to your Google Calendar within ThunderBird. See my previous post.
  3. Minimize to Tray and Minimize to Tray Enhancer - This allows me to minimize Thunderbird to my system tray, which cuts down on the cluttered feel Windows gets when many apps are open.
  4. QuickText - I have just started using this and it is already saving me time. I have a regular signature that I use on some but not all emails. This allows me to insert commonly used text into my email so I can easily add that signature when I need.
  5. Thunderbrowse - This allows web links to be viewed within Thunderbird, which I find to be useful from time to time.
Let me know what extensions you have found to be useful!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Using Google calendar in Thunderbird

I have been using Thunderbird for a while now, and I really love it! It does what I want it to and like FireFox it is extensible. I have used Sunbird a bit for calendaring, and I found it to be a great tool, but really wanted that functionality in Thunderbird so after looking around a bit I re-discovered Lightning (a friend of mine had pointed this out before but I forgot), and then I discovered Provider for Google Calendar (found out about it at this well done blog).

Lightning added the basic calendar functions that I needed to Thunderbird and Provider added two-way updating in Thunderbird for my Google calendar!

So now I can check my Gmail and Google calendar very easily within Thunderbird.

In case you need some guidance here is a site with excellent instructions on how to setup Lightning and Provider.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Some Ebay Tips

I finally started using eBay to sell things recently and so far I am actually enjoying it. I have made some mistakes and learned a few things that I thought I would type up here.

Take good pictures:
  • Have very little clutter to distract from the item you are selling in the picture
  • If you are using a digital camera try to take the picture with and without the flash, often turning off the flash will result in a better picture
Package the item for shipping before you weigh it. This cost me a couple bucks with the first couple of items I sold.

More later...

Friday, January 25, 2008


I installed Ubuntu on an old Dell GX150 several months ago, and I must say I am impressed. This is my first real foray into the Linux world, and while I can run rings around most windows users in the command prompt, I have been a little nervous about starting Linux. Of course some Linux users will probably say I haven't really started using Linux yet. And since the install and configuration of Ubuntu is all easy and gui driven , I would agree that I have not really gotten into the guts of the OS like I have in Windows.

But I am slowly learning about Linux, and soon I hope to install Xubuntu on one of these GX150's I have, so that I can compare the two distros.

And after that it's FreeBSD, or maybe Haiku. I could run a vmware session of Haiku I guess. Or maybe I will just pick a random OS from the FreeOs website.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Currently reading #3

I just read, Much Ado About Nothing. While I have read a good bit of Shakespeare, I have never read MAaN. I have seen Kenneth Branagh's very enjoyable movie, so I knew most of what was going to happen but I found the missing parts, the parts not in the movie, to be delightful.

I also have just started Machiavelli's The Prince. Which seems to be interesting so far. More later...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Between Jobs

My last contract ended 12/31, so I am looking for work again.

So between Christmas and this I have not had the time to blog.

I have several things that I want to get out here though so I am going to play catch up over the next few days I think.

Update: In January I decided to spend a few months focusing on the business that I co-own