Sunday, September 03, 2006

Links, Rants, and Net Karma

It's Sunday and I've got a real mis-mash of stuff to spit out. Bear with me I'm tired.

That brings me to my first problem.


See, I've known about this puzzling pastime for some time. Grandma was a crossword puzzle gal. You could always find an almost completely finished crossword puzzle anywere she was. And she did hers in ink, baby! No dictionaries or "cheats" for her. I love words, but ain't dat l33t with the crosswords. Anyway...Alvis kindly left two "medium" Sudoku puzzles she brought home from school (busywork) on the side-table. Friday night nothing much was happening on TV and I'd already seen the brilliant Aggassi/Baghdatis match replayed a million times (man, Agassi is still my hero! Even without his former flowing golden locks!) so I picked up the half-completed page and set to work.

But I just wasn't getting it.

So I hopped on the net and found these two Sudoku tutorial pages:

How to solve Su Doku: tips The mathematics of Su Doku, and

Sudoku (getting started, making progress, reaching out, raising numbers)

OK. Back to the pages. Twenty minutes later I had my "Eureka" moment. A (very late) hour later, both puzzles were done! Fun!

So last night I found the following:

WebSudoku - Billions of puzzles in Easy, Medium, Hard, and Evil flavors. (Easy-peasy, I can now handle the mediums!)

USA Today's daily Sudoku puzzle.

I found I could do some screen area captures of the puzzles, resize them and get about 6 pasted on a PowerPoint page for easy printing. Now I'm teaching Alvis what I learned. I was up until 1am ish I got 5 done in about 2 hours. (I prefer doing them on paper, not the pc.)

And it's all Avis's fault for leaving her stuff around....

Art Class:

While we are talking math: Math, art, and the Droste effect. Pretty Art!

Want to learn how to ink your art? MAD Magazine's illustrator Tom Richmond provides a detailed two-part video tutorial on inking. Part One, Part Two.

Just plain fun:

That crazy Aussie Dan (of Dan's Data) posts a wonderfully entertaining article about the joys of "Wicked Laser's "Nexus" green laser" I got a great science lesson and learned all about the 3vil fun one can have (with pictures) with a high-powered green laser! Muhhaaaahhaaahaaa!

BldgBlog has a neat article about a 1.6km-long carbon ribbon in the skies above Arizona. Yes, another space-elevator lifting concept.

Software Tips/Tools/Techiques/Oopsies:

ComputerZen's Scott Hanselman gifts us with his updated "2006 Ultimate Developer and Power Users Tool List for Windows" Awesome tool list covering many categories. And I thought I posted long blog posts. Bookmark this post, Stat!

LiveAmmo Security News Blog provides a wonderful roundup of A Collection of Rootkit Removal Tools. Bookmark this one as well. Many I know about, a few new ones make an appearance. All but one are freeware.

Computer Associates (eTrust Antivirus) updated their DAT signatures to include the Windows Lsass.exe process. Ummm. Yeah. And if a user set their AV setting to delete the file, the system tanked at boot. Bummer. Hate it when a false positive kills a system.

Mark Russinovich (formerly of Sysinternals) is now blogging at a new address: "Mark's Blog" over at technet. Go feed it. He is already on a tear!

Looking for XP help, support and tips? Bookmark this site: John Barnett Computer Journalist--XP Help and Support FAQ. Nice. Helpful pictures. Great place for finding 128 reminders about the detail tweaks that seem hard to remember.

Gmail Tip:

How to filter Gmail image spam. via Lifehacker. I've been seeing a few more of these slip pass Gmail's strong anti-spam filters lately. This is a great Gmail tweak to address that problem!


The recent changes over at Blogger seem to have broken Firefox's ability to remember your login name/pw. Period. Looks like they figured it out and rolled out a new login method. Firefox is now remembering my login credentials again. Thanks Blogger! That was annoying.

I seem to have a rogue Firefox extension on my system. It is rendering cut/paste, arrow keys, and home/end keys temporarilly useless--as in dead and unresponsive. I know it isn't my keyboards as the problem is the same on both my USB and PS2 connected boards and happens on my laptops and desktops here at home and at work. Drivers are fine. Since the only commanality to all seem to be my Firefox loads and extensions, I need to do some work. When I close out Firefox the keys behave again. Sometimes it is fine and othertimes not. It's a real pain trying to copy/paste or navigave around in comment fields on the web and those keys just not work. Sometimes I can get around it by copy/pasting into notepad, then copy/pasting back into the web form field. Weird.

UPDATE--looks like it was either the extension Copy Plain Text or Copy URL+ causing the issue, or maybe the combination of both. I've uninstalled them both and my keyboard arrow keys and "Control-key + (whatever)" key combos are working fine again in web-forms and the like. Go figure.

My little bro. just emailed me last night to notify us he bought a Cannon Digital Rebel SLR.....I'm so jealous. I guess we have the same genes as that's the same one I've been lusting, drooling over for months and almost put on plastic (but I was disciplined and good).

Adobe Acrobat Professional just ticks me off! I have to use it at work for publishing tasks. And it puts this annoying little Adobe PDF creator toolbar in ALL of my Microsoft Office product toolbars! Yes I can remove it, but it returns again next time I re-open the program. I can "hack" a method to remove it, but then some of my Office products alert me that it can't find the removed Acrobat toolbar (Visio). And, it takes the first place on all the toolbars and forces the others a line down. Crappers! And yes, I am aware of quite a few alternative PDF document "producers". I'll post those soon.

Adobe Reader (freeware) is probably the premier application for viewing PDF files. It is nice and everything, but can be a bear to load. Possible solutions?

1) Foxit Reader (freeware) -- allows you to view and print PDF documents.

2) eXPert PDF Reader (freeware) -- allows you to view and print PDF documents.

3) Sumatra PDF (freeware) -- this is a new one I've just come across recently.

4) Keep Adobe Reader, but remove the plug_ins folder from the application's folder. Speeds launch-time.


For the longest time I felt like an Internet leach. Taking and learning and consuming the wonderful freeware, tips and techniques the Web has to offer. As this blog progresses, I've been able to begin to give back and share. Lately I've been posting helpful tips and such on my blog (besides my second on-line home over at the Chonicle's TechBlog), and into comments I've ran across:

Digital Master Photographer Thomas Hawk has had some frustrating issues with his pc. I've joind in the tech-support team he's created and left a long list of (hopefully) helpful advice for him.

Digital Master Photographer Thomas Hawk has had some frustrating issues with his Blogger RSS feed going from "Full" to "Short" even though it was set to "Full". So have I. My Blogger RSS feed work-around is to: 1) publish post. 2) go into my Blogger account Dashboard and then select the "Settings" tab, 3) Select the "Site Feed" option. 4) Verify that "Full" feed option is selected (it always is), 5) Save the setting again. 6) Republish the Index. And the full feed returns to my RSS feed view. I've been doing this after EVERY post I've made to retain the "Full" feed and keep it from going back to short.

AndrewLee of PortableFreeware has been wrestling on what to do with the IE browser wrapper app "Browzar" which purports to clean an IE session as your surf. Scott Hanselman doesn't feel Browzar lives up to the bill and the BBC (and others) seem to agree. My recommendation? Stay away and if you MUST use this kind of app for your, umm..."research"....use PortableTorPark instead.

Quick Notepaper generators:

The other day, I had to dash out to a project design and planning meeting. I didn't have a steno-pad handy and needed somthing to take notes on, quick. I popped over to Lifehacker and found their post on Taking great Notes. In it they link to several sites that can custom generate printable note-taking paper sheets:

Notepaper Generator --via Simple and fast, adds nice little calendars to the top.

Cornell Method PDF Generator --via Study Smarter. Lots of configuration options. Holes/No holes, ruled, graph (grid), or blank and Advanced options like: alternative page size formatting, and line darkness adjustment, and user guide printing options.

Notepad Generator --via Michael Botsko. My ultimate selection. Custom header/footers, Font choices, lines in extra fields, line-height adjustment, and the every handy "Notes" and "Action" boxes for doodling--um--process charting.

Bookmark 'em all, just in case you have to dash to a meeting. That way you come to class prepared!


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