archive for the 'tech' category

another random object with a usb drive rammed into it

cute and creepy data storage

Do you ever get the feeling that you could make money by just walking around, pointing at crap and saying, “Let’s turn that into a USB drive“?

Or maybe the problem is that too many people are doing that.

Something like that.

(This post actually serves no meaningful purpose. Just thought I’d share. So you knew I was still alive. Which I am. And thank you for asking.)

the month of me: #1 computer troubleshooting tip

The number of people that I stun with my computer prowess grows daily.

Printers stop working, programs freezing, perplexing error messages in ancient Sumerian, jets of black flames spearing down from the heavens, lemurs chewing on the cables.

I fix them all.

People think I’m a freaking wizard. They love me long time.

And I can thank my number one piece of troubleshooting knowledge:

90% of all computer problems can be fixed by a restart.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Turn it off.
  2. Turn it on.

Presto! You’re done!

Then just sit back and bathe in the tithing of wine and goats.

And I don’t keep this wisdom to myself! Oh no! Every time, after the dragon has been slain — again — and after my supplicants bow down before me — again — I bestow them with this wisdom — again


And they never, ever remember.

However, the other 10% of the time is when things get dicey.

Thankfully, I do have a brain.

It’s called Google.

bow down before the altar of firefox 1.5!

kneel, geekboy!

Woo-hoo! Firefox 1.5 is out!

Me — being all excited — I go right out and install it. Only problem is… after installing it, half of my extensions don’t work, as they haven’t been updated for the version 1.5.

So I start to panic — I need those extensions to live!

Or do I? After playing around with Firefox 1.5 for a wee bit, I discover that while there are many extensions that I do use regularly, there is only one that has altered my browsing experience to the point that I had to stop what I was doing and find the fix — Super DragAndGo. (I might have mentioned it before.) Without it, I felt like a shell of a man.

But have no fear! I am not the only one that leans on the crutch of the DragAndGo. After a few minutes of searching, and finding a numbers of hacks that people had figured out, I actually found someone that had modified the extension and was offering a 1.5 compatible version. (Bless you, Schrade.)

But aside from this minor drama — which I’m sure you all find engrossing — I’m pleased as punch with Firefox 1.5. (I love that I’m able to shuffle my tabs around without an extension. Good work, Mozilla.)

And, a few new extensions have popped up on Lifehacker that just tickle me pink:

After you install Tab Preview if you place your mouse pointer over a hidden tab, it will shows a small, out-of-focus preview of the page hovering over the current page — sort of like picture-in-picture. So, if you have a bucketful of tabs open, and thereby can’t read the titles, you can just place the mouse over the tab to see what’s on the page.

On the otherhand, foXpose takes your open tabs and shows all of them tiled in your browser window — then when you want to focus on a specific page, just click it and you’re ready to go!

Sigh. I love Firefox.

i’ll restart when i’m freaking ready to restart

Dear Windows Update,

Thank you for automatically installing those urgent updates to fix those new critical vulnerabilities in your own code. I heartily appreciate it.

However, once you have completed downloading and installing those updates, I implore you, please… ask me once if I want to restart now or later.

Let me repeat that:

Ask me once.

If I say “Restart Later”, please respect my wishes, treat me like an adult, and remember what I just told you. Stop asking me if I want to restart every 5 minutes. I will restart my computer when I am done what I am doing.

Sometimes, that will be in a few minutes. Sometimes, that will be a in a few hours. It’s my computer. I’ll restart when I’m good and ready. No sooner.

So… Get. Off. My. Back.


P.S. Here’s a fun solution — why not give me three options?:

  • “Restart Now”
  • “I’ll Restart It Myself Later.”
  • “I’m In The Middle Of Something But I’ve Lost All Short-Term Memory So Please Remind Me Periodically That My Computer Needs To Be Restarted And Could You Also Remind Me To Bathe And Clothe Myself Regularly That Would Be Lovely.”


lifehacker has blown my mind twice in one day

Likehacker had two articles today that just knocked me on my butt.

This one tickles me to no end. If you are a user of Mozilla’s open-source email client Thunderbird (and if you aren’t, you should be), and if you find yourself having to use templated responses for any length of time, the QuickText extension is the way to go. In Lifehacker’s mucho thorough rundown on the tool, they describe it like this:

Is there an echo in your sent e-mail box? Do you deal with lots of messages that ask the same questions or require the same type of information in response? The QuickText Thunderbird extension saves collections of reusable text snippets that help you whip up personalized replies to repetitive e-mail messages with a few keystrokes.

Unlike other text saver utilities, QuickText is specific to e-mail because it recognizes variables that reference message details – like the recipient’s first or last name, the subject line or attachment file names. QuickText replaces these variables with the right info for speedy yet personalized responses. Easily reply to Lucy Wood’s message with a “Dear Ms. Wood” or Robin Cullen’s e-mail with “Hi Robin” using one keyword or click, no name-typing required.

Great for customer service reps, web site authors with e-mail contact forms, or any cube warrior who has to make sure there’s a cover sheet on her TPS report, Thunderbird’s QuickText reduces the daily tedious time-sink of processing repetitive e-mail. Live in your inbox less and get to the Send button faster. Streamline your e-mail inbox process by putting standard response text ready to go at your fingertips.

I love it!

Unix people will tell you to just use diff, but if you find yourself working in the Windows world a lot, any day where you find a program that compares two files and shows you where they are identical and where they differ is — and does it as prettily WinMerge does — is a special day.

Dare I say… a day to eat cookies?

Thank you Lifehacker. Thank you for these tools. And thank you for giving me an excuse to eat cookies.