Categories: "computer/tech"

Blog is fixed

If you haven't been able to post comments for the last several hours, then you'll be glad to know that the problem is fixed. So comment away.

Note: An exciting announcement about a new blog is coming soon.

LAN Party: November 20

LAN PartyIf there is enough interest, there will be a LAN party at my house on November 20, 2004. I think we could have as many as 10 people. Mark your calendar, dust off your computer, upgrade your video card if you must. If you don't have a computer, come anyway, we should have extras. We'll probably play some Counterstrike, StarCraft, and whatever else folks bring. W00t!

Web design, web radio

I've been working on a web site tonight. It's the first site that I'm building for hire. A few people have seen it, and I'm very excited about it. I plan on meeting with the client this week and then I hope to make it (semi-) public.

Tonight I also talked with Gringo. He played me a segment he recorded for the next podcast. I was cracking up. If you haven't heard a podcast yet, head on over to and download one. Brendan has recorded 5 episodes now, and I appear in 3 of them.

Good night, friends. Have a great week.

SpamBayes and BadCopy

Here's a couple of programs that I've found to solve problems at work:

Some of the bank officers were getting tons of spam (about 500 a day). Of course, they use Outlook, so I went to the Microsoft site to read up on how to turn on and strengthen Outlook's spam filter. The site basically said that I need to get a 3rd party solution(!) So folks pay money for Outlook, and then MS tells them, "Good luck with the spam, I think there are some apps you can download." I didn't think our users were ready for Thunderbird, so I went looking for an Outlook plugin. SpamBayes fits the bill. It's everything a spam filter should be. It learns, makes it easy to correct false positives and false negatives, and it's free and open source. Best of all, it works great. So if you're stuck with Outlook, check it out.

Yesterday a user had some mission critical files that were stored on a floppy disk only. The floppy went bad, as they often do, and I was given the task of trying to save the files so they could be sent off later that day to meet a deadline. I tried the disk in about 5 computers, then finally found a little program called BadCopy. It scans the disk, even when Windows won't admit there's a disk in the drive. It recovered the files. They were still pretty mangled and wouldn't open in Word, but I was able to open them in Wordpad, wade through all the special characters and still salvage about half of what we needed. So, it saved a lot of typing and helped us meet the deadline. The program costs $40, but when you need it, you really need it, so that's a reasonable price. Needless to say, the user will be saving to the hard drive first from now on.

Cool stuff (if you're a geek)

I'll take nerdy odds and ends for $800, Alex . . .

The INDUCE Act, which in its earlier forms would have made iPods, TiVo, and probably any computer illegal, appears to be dead for the moment. The act is designed to protect copyright holders, but by most accounts it goes way too far. John McCain has been one of the senators to help keep crazy stuff like this from becoming law. You can keep track of INDUCE over on the INDUCE Blog.

I needed some filler text to test a printer at work today, so I reached for the old standard, "Lorem ipsum . . ." Then I started wondering what the Latin text meant. To find out, click here. The printer seems to be fine, by the way.

Das ist ien funnen Bordgamen! My friend Matt introduced me to a wonderful thing: Geman board games. We played some Settlers of Catan last weekend. He also loaned me Lost Cities and Carcassonne. Fun stuff. The Germans take their board games very seriously. Read more at Wikipedia, and

If you're still reading this, then you must be a geek. So, you may enjoy these last two items.

Click here to learn how to completely uninstall MSN Messenger from your computer. I've been using this at work. There's a nasty little worm affecting MSN Messenger, so removing it may not be a bad idea. If you need to chat, consider GAIM (it works with your MSN account).

I had a laptop that needed different IP settings depending on where it was plugged in. So I wrote a batch script to make the change easier for the user. I got the info from this article.

This and that

Brendoman is pretty good about catching on to upandcoming internet trends. He says that podcasting is the next big thing, and so I'm going along for the ride. He even has a new blog,, for his podcast. I've been doing segments for it. I record them on my PDA or computer, email them to Bren in China, then he mixes them together and uploads them. Then I'll come along, download the cast and make it into a torrent file for distribution. By the time the audio gets to you it's already been around the world once. The next podcast should go up sometime tomorrow.

One of our fish had babies this week. Some fish give birth to live young and we've been hoping to see some for a while. I put the chubby little guppy in a breeding net, which keeps the other fish from bugging her or eating the fry. She finally popped out about 20 of the little buggers. By the time I found them one of our tetras has leapt out of the water and into the breeding net. Who knows how many babies it had snacked on by the time I moved it out. The fry are really cute and I'll try to get pictures up sometime. If you know anyone who wants some fancy guppies, let me know.

My job is still going great. I'm getting more responsibility all of the time. I've been reading up on the new Check 21 regulations that go into effect on October 28.

Fat Fingers - Find typos and misspellings on eBay. Because I want you to save money, here's a link from across the pond. If an eBay seller has a typo in the title of their item, it won't show up in a normal search. That means fewer people will bid on it, and the price will be lower. FatFingers is a tool for searching Ebay for misspelled items. You type in what you're looking for, and it will search eBay for words that are close, but not quite spelled right. Happy shopinnf!

Blog Cabin back online

You may have seen some error messages if you tried to get to this site in the last few days. Brendoman explains what happened here. Everything is fine now.

Googe definitions

I ran across a cool Google feature. Type "define:" followed by a word in the search window and Google will produce a list of definitions for that word. It usually brings up a pretty useful list, and works for several more specialized terms that aren't listed by sites like

Reason #290 that TiVo is great

Reason #290 that TiVo is great: Football in a flash.

I discovered something beautiful last night. I TiVoed the Chiefs game so Sara and I could watch a movie. After the movie I started watching the game. TiVo has a 30-second skip button which instantly jumps ahead in a program 30 seconds (it's normally used for commercials). Pro football has a 40 second play clock, so if you press the 30-second skip button right at the end of a play then it usually jumps to just seconds before the next play. I was able to watch the whole game in about 20 minutes. One small problem with this is that if the game runs longer than scheduled, TiVo won't keep recording. Next time I'll just set it to record an hour or two of programming after the game. I missed most of the 4th quarter of last night's game and I had to catch the final score on Sportscenter.

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