Sunday, July 15, 2007

Yummy Valca Link Stew!

Apparently this afternoon I discovered a new weakness I have that I was not aware of; shoe-shopping.

I have one very-nice pair of dress shoes, two kinda-scuffed-up pairs of "dress-shoes" for slacks and khaki's at work, two pairs of tennis-shoes (same style, different colors), a pair of hardly-worn running shoes (sigh), two pairs of work-boots that I usually wear during the week, a pair of leather chukkas, and a pair of lace-up Justin western boots. (Not counting my yard-work boots kept with the lawn-mower.)

Yes, I despite the clarity now in typing the above description out...I didn't realize I had a shoe-shopping problem.

I wanted to pick up one or two pairs of lug-soled semi-dress shoes to wear around the headquarters in Austin on my return trips in the next few months. Sure, my regular boots were fine and all, but I wanted something comfortable, but still a bit, um, nicer.

So we set out for the one store where I can usually find a decent selection with wide sizes. When I walked out, I had bought two more pair of semi-casual "sport" shoes, a pair of nice leather semi-casual Timberline lug-shoes, and a pair of semi-casual black lug-soled work shoes. Then Lavie found a nice cute pair and Alvis found two pairs as well. The good thing was that it was buy one, get one 1/2 I didn't break the bank, but it was still quite a hard payout. Four more pairs...where will I put them?

(Alvis says, "On your feet, silly." Everyone wants to be a comedian.)

We ate pizza to recover.

Lavie just smiled....though she still has me beat in the shoe-count.

On to the Link Stew:

"Hard" Ingredients

Fossil Rivers - I really enjoyed reading this BLDGBLOG post this week. It examines the geological and historical changes of the Mighty Miss River. While the post itself is a fascinating read, it is even more fun looking at the fantastically detailed maps and charts created by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, as they charted the different river bank changes. They are works of art in their own right. Simply amazing.

Dell Wants Me to Plant A Tree - Bill Pytlovany is the software author of a great little security program (free/$) called WinPatrol. In his blog post this week, he discovered that Dell has a little "Plant A Tree" option in the checkout lists to offset the environmental impact of various computer hardware items. Sure you have to pay for the tree ($3, $4, or $13) with your order, but the thought is kinda cool. They also have a "donation-based" program where they will plant a tree even if you don't want to make a system purchase; prices vary per offset.

"Soft" Ingredients

AutoRuns for Windows v8.70 - (freeware) Microsoft's Sysinternals utilities just keep getting better and better. The latest version update "adds a number of additional locations that can be configured to auto-start software during boot and logon and runs as standard user on Windows Vista by default, allowing administrators to elevate, if desired, by using a new menu option."

AdExplorer v1.0 - (freeware) Brand-new tool from Sysinternals is "a powerful Active Directory viewer and editor that includes advanced navigation and search features, plus an AD snapshot facility that enables off-line AD viewing and differential comparison."

WinContig - (freeware) is a standalone defrag tool. It uses Microsoft Windows own defragmentation API for the back-end. Not related to Sysinternals Contig application. This tool does have a nicer interface than the standard Windows defrag tool. Note: I examined some other defragging tools in this post: Grand Stream Dreams: Defrag Mosaic and use Auslogics Disk Defrag and the Contig (Sysinternals)/Power Defragmenter GUI (eXcessive Software) combo for most all my own work and personal Windows defragging needs.

MiTeC's Windows File Analyzer - (freeware) Neat little tool for decoding and analyzing some special Windows files in forensic analysis. Handles Thumbs.db files, files in the Prefetch folder, shortcut files, Index.DAT file, and the Recycle Bin. Pretty cool little app. Spotted in a utilities post on Harlan's great forensics blog: Windows Incident Response.

DSynchronize - (freeware) I have a very large collection of must-have/must-use Windows utilities on all my systems and my two primary USB drives (one is for work/one is personal). Keeping them all synced up is a challenge as I am constantly updating the versions of the applications as well as adding new ones. I finally gave DSynchonize a try and am in file-synchronization heaven! It has tons of options and you can even run a "preview" sync action to see what gets added, deleted, and replaced during an sync before you execute for real. Set one or multiple sources and destinations. Do one-way or bi-directional syncing. Man this is an all-out awesome utility. It isn't pretty but it is damn-good. I highly recommend checking this tool out!

Sizer - (freeware) This is a way-cool utility if you have a larger-format/resolution monitor and do web-page design or screen-shot capturing and documentation work. It is NOT Vista compatible. Snag the corner of a window box and a pop-up menu should appear with various "standard" resolutions (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, or customize your own). Click the size you want and the window snaps to those precise dimensions. Wow! Or set the options to allow the program to appear in the menu-system as an optional drop-down choice. This is another really clever little utility for you graphics workers out there. Spotted on Lifehacker.

Seconfig XP - (freeware). While not an everyday XP security tweaking tool, it is interesting enough to make note. Closes various "target" ports on a system as well as some services and come with three "preset" modes for home, Microsoft Network members, and standalone pc's with VPN access to Microsoft Networks.

Three Ways to Access ISOs - (tippage). This handy Daily Cup of Tech blogpost outlines three methods for getting files out of an ISO image file; Method 1: ISO file extractors, Method 2: virtual CD/DVD drives, Method 3: a virtual pc session. I am familiar with most all the utilities mentioned and this post is well worth a quick review by system administrators and advanced Windows users as a refresher. My personal tool of choice in this department is the incredible (and free/$) ISOBuster program. I've used it in the "free functionality" mode for many years and haven't found anything it hasn't been able to do yet in that mode.

And for the Fire underneath the Pot?

2 Pane Bookmarks :: Firefox Add-ons - Where have you been all my life, little 2 Pane Bookmarks Add-on? I use Sage as my RSS reader in Firefox and the two-pane viewing mode is so natural now to me. So when I found this little gem that promised to load my Firefox bookmarks in a two-panel sidebar view in Firefox, I knew it would fit right it. In the top half, your bookmark folder-tree is displayed for quick navigation and selection. The bottom half contains the actual bookmarks of the folder selected in the top section. It makes breezing through my bookmarks while blogging a delight! Well worth looking into you Firefox fans!

Mmmmmmm. Yummy!


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