Categories: "computer/tech"

New phone

I finally broke down and got a cell phone. If anyone wants my number email me. It's Cingular, so if you use that then we can talk for free. I assure you, a conversation with me is not worth paying for.

New b2evo out: Digg it

If you have a account, go here and digg this:

Possible Wordpress killer: b2evolution 1.8 beta released

If you don't have an account, get one! Let's digg this up to the front page so more people can hear about this release. Sorry for the sensational story title, but those are the ones that grab attention on Digg.

The new version of b2evolution has some very cool features. has been upgraded. In a somewhat related story, I'm now listed as a contributor to the project in the linkblog that comes with a new install. Go here and look in the section on the right side labeled "contributors" if you want to see.

Sideblog Plugin for b2evolution

The Sideblog plugin allows you to insert another blog in the sidebar of your skin with simple plugin call. A sidebar blog can be used for brief posts, links, photos or any other list you want arranged chronologically.

Requires b2evolution 1.8 or later

  1. Download this file: _sideblog.plugin.txt.
  2. Replace the .txt in the filename with .php and upload it to your b2evolution plugins folder.
  3. In the backoffice, go to Settings > Plugins and find Sideblog in the list. Click "install".

To use the plugin, just add this code to the skin where you want the sidebar blog to appear:

// MostComments plugin:
$Plugins->call_by_code( 'sideblog', array(
'limit' => 5,
'blog' => 3,
) );
// Add parameters in the array.

Limit is the number of posts you want to show. Blog is the blog you want to display there. Refer to the plugin source for other parameters you can adjust.

Peasant multiplication

I just learned that there is another way to multiply numbers on paper. In school I learned this method:

US Mulitplication


That works fine, but it requires you to know your multiplication table well, which I never did until . . . ok, I confess I used a calculator to multiply 39 x 5 and 39 x 2, so I still don't multiply very well.

But there's a method called Peasant Multiplication that only requires that you know how to double and halve numbers. With this method you put the two numbers you want to multiply at the top of two columns. Then, for the first column you halve the number over and over (discarding any fractions) until you get to one. For the second column you double it the same number of times as you were able to halve the first number. Next, strike out any rows where the number in the first column is even and add up the remaining numbers in the second column:

Peasant Multiplication

  39  X  25
  19     50
   9     100
   4     200
   2     400
   1     800

This method is more common in European classrooms than in the US, but I like it, despite its disparaging title.

Who Killed the Electric Car?


Who Killed the Electric Car? is a documentary about the electric car that GM made for a while in 1996. When the leases ended for the cars, all the GM EV1s were reclaimed and destroyed. Why was such a well-liked car discontinued? Several of the customers wanted to buy the car when their lease was up. Why weren't they allowed to? And why did GM collect these cars and shred them to bits, even though some of them had never been used?

I heard about this on the PBS Now podcast (download the episode). I'm looking forward to seeing this movie. It should be opening wide later this summer.

Google Spell for b2evolution

We've been using it here on for a while, but now the Google Spell plugin for b2evolution is publicly available at We're pretty excited to release it into the community for free. The spell checker than comes with b2evolution does not work at all, so this will be a good alternative. It does require b2evolution 1.6 or later.

This really was a collaborative project for the team at Astonish Me. I started the ball rolling by exploring different ways a spell check plugin could be made. There are several server side methods, like aspell and pspell, but they aren't as easy to install. I settled on Google's spell check API because it's free, fast, multilingual and easy to connect to. Then I found GoogieSpell, some GPL javascript code that handles the connection to Google and the user interface of the spell checker. Once I found that I was able to drop it into a b2evolution plugin and have it working in no time.

Then, I passed it off to stk and YaBBa at AstonishMe and they kicked the tires and found a few problems. They fixed them up and stk started working on the fluffy write-up. That man could sell ice to an Eskimo. Then we discovered that there was a limit to how much text the spell checker could handle. Any text after that limit was just ignored. So, YaBBa set about rewriting part of the plugin to correct that problem (which also exists in GoogieSpell). I think this turned into a big project for him, but he was successful. After that we ironed out a few more bugs and released the plugin.

It's a free plugin, but we're hoping that our work on it will get some positive attention for AstonishMe, which may help us make some money down the road. Follow the first link in the post for a more detailed description of the plugin. Or, just leave a comment here to see the spell checker in action.

Happy birthday, Blog Cabin

I made my first blog post three years ago today. It was on LiveJournal then, but I've imported the old posts.

Spam back

Here's another spammer whose site has comments open.

Let him have it.

Another spammer

I found another #^%$# selling blog spamming software, and this one is specifically targeted at b2evolution: Toward the bottom of their huge page of marketing BS I found this little gem:

With the power that B2Eblogger gives you comes responsibility. And we intend to ensure that every B2Eblogger Software user is responsible and understands that Common Sense and Courtesy equal more profits, more respect, more repeat posts being allowed!

Responsible? Courtesy? So, they'll spam you responsibly and politely. That's why I've been getting so much spam that says "Great site! Here are some other resources . . ." Wow, thanks for being so responsible and courteous, guys! Now I don't hope you get hit by a bus any more. Let's make it a car instead.

I guess there's a bit of comfort in knowing that the idiots doing this are out $247 dollars for the software. Wait, no, that's not comforting at all. What is comforting . . .

There Are Some Things In Life That Can Be Stopped... This Is Not One Of Them

That's where you're wrong, jerk. There is something that can stop your little racket. It's called b2evolution 1.8. Once that's installed on this blog we'll be done with spam.

Chamber of commerse site finished

I finished up the Adrian Chamber of Commerce website last week and yesterday I got approval for pointing the domain at the new version. I still have a copy of the old version of the site if you want to compare.

I finished another cool project yesterday and it should be going live in the next day or two, at which time I'll tell you more about it.

Next I'll be upgrading to the newest version of b2evolution. I'm working on upgrading all the skins we use right now.

1 2 3 4 ...5 ... 7 ...9 ...10 11 12 ... 28