Saturday, February 24, 2007

Rain-Day Linkpost

A light drizzle has been keeping us company all day so far.

We are drinking tea, doing light blogging and Web-surfing, knocking out some house-chores.

Nothing exciting here. The heavy "squall-line" of thunderstorms is about another hour or so away from arrival.

Later we may make a run for some Pho noodles, stock up on pop-corn, and do a movie-marathon of Breakfast at Tiffany's and the just-delivered-to-the-Valca-home-from-Amazon DVD of Train Man: Densha Otoko.

In the meantime, here are some light drops of links to keep you occupied.

Tech Tips

Daily Cup of Tech » How To: Create Effective Google Searches - Every try to use a "wildcard" in a Google search? Doesn't work well normally. However, Google searches are apparently regex (regular expression) friendly.

See also: Google Cheat Sheet (Version 1.06)

Excel tips and tricks roundup - via Lifehacker

Software Updates

Updated: Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall 4.3.635 - Go get it now if you are a Kerio Firewall user.

Firefox Version - should be auto-update notifying by now, but just in case you still haven't gotten the notice...go get it.

Fun Free Software Toys

Gradiator - via PortableFreeware. Allows you to quickly produce gradients, and to even apply a simple gradient image to your desktop. Small and fun.

Outlook on the Desktop - .NET software application that lets you pick a main Outlook view and transparently display it on your desktop background. If you want to access an element in Outlook, just click at it and it will launch. Might not be useful if you have a ton of icons cluttering your desktop, or you are a one-monitor user and always have a window or two maximized. -via DownloadSquad.

Fun Windows Fact - The Autumn Desktop Image

One of Lavie's favorite standard Microsoft Windows XP desktop images is the one known as "Autumn". That's the one with the golden-leaved tree-enveloped street with a barn in the back.

Vanity Fair writer, Nick Tosches wrote a wonderful real-life detective story on tracking down the shot.

First he somehow managed to locate a similar image in the Corbis library and then (eventually) the photographer Peter Burian. (Note #1: in the article Tosches says the image was cited as being that of James Marshall, but now the Corbis image has Peter Burian's name credited...has it been updated since the article?)

Burian eventually provided the location being in the village of Kilbride near Milton, Ontario..not because he didn't want to but he forgot where it took them both a bit of time, and help from the memory of an historical archivist to find it again.

With that nugget, the Google Sightseeing team found the overhead location shot on Google Maps.

(Note #2: since the article was published, it appears that the address cited and used by the Google Sightseeing team was removed from the article...privacy reasons? Does someone not want hoards of Microsoft fanboys/fangirls descending on this holy shrine of XP-dom?)

Nice detective work guys and gals! --via Google Sightseeing.

Masks of Evil? Darth Vader comes to Japan!

Danny Choo - know for his famous romps about Japan in a Stormtrooper costume - has ordered up him some Dark Side badness in the form of a menacing Darth Vader costume.

He linked to the Star Wars Helmets site that has a variety and history of the various Darth Vader helmets. Dad is a big Darth Vader fan and it was cool to see the degree of costume work these fans and prop makers put into making some of these helmets.

Of course, while looking into the face of a Darth Vader mask could be pretty terrifying...nothing looks quite so horrific as staring into the face of a USB-mask wearing Japanese model. Apparently used in conjunction with a surgical mask acting as a particulate filter, you too can now find relief during allergy season while tackling your computing duties.

However you will now fall victim to the debilitating stares and ridicule of your co-workers...take your pick.

Who needs the Dark Side of the Force when you have peer pressure?

Arigato gozaimasu.


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