Saturday, November 7, 2009

Online comics

There are a lot of online comics out there.  The ones that I frequent every day, and which more than merit a mention here, are:

General Protection Fault
Air Force Blues
Swivel Chair Patrol
Crew Dogs
Office Offline
The Joy of Tech

There are of course others out there, but these are the ones I visit every day.

The geeky ones are pretty self-evident, as I’ve been a geek for as long as I can remember.  The others attract me because of my service in the Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol.



New Intel logo?

Well, at least it should be…!


(Spotted it on a Yahoo! Groups home page, couldn’t resist!)

-- //Steve//

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Swiss Army Knife of instant messengers….

Yes, many of today’s IM clients from the various IM hosts – Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. – support multiple services, but none of them supports nearly all of the IM services.

For that, you have to go out to a third-party product.  There are only a few that do this.  Pidgin, Trillian and Digsby are about the only ones I’ve seen that fit this bill.  My personal preference is Digsby.

The biggest advantage to Digsby is that it stores your user profile on their servers, so all you have to do is log into Digsby on whatever computer you’re using (and have Digsby installed on), and your profile travels with you.

See for details.  I think you’ll like it.


Note: I have no connection whatsoever with this company other than I use their product and I like it.

Full disclosure:

With any reviews or other postings that you’ll see here on the blog, I am beholden to no one, and I will accept no compensation in any form for a good review.  I’ll put the information out here – “warts and all,” as the saying goes – regardless of who makes the program.  If there’s even the slightest hint of conflict of interest, I’ll either make that known at the outset of the posting, or I just won’t put it out there at all.

A good example is this: I’m working on one right now about a program I’ve been using for several months.  Here’s the 411 on that, just up front:

  • I’m talking with the author right now about the program, including some questions I have about it.  That information will be included in the posting.
  • I’ll also run the final draft of the review past him to make sure I have no inaccuracies, and to provide him a chance to comment, BUT that won’t change my opinion about the program, or any comments I might make about things I like or dislike about it.
  • If I like something, I’ll tell you.  If I don’t like something, I’ll tell you…  If the emperor has no clothes, well…! :)

Those who have worked with me before know that I can be pretty blatantly honest when it comes to giving someone my opinion about something.  It’s even cost me my job once:

At a former employer, I was asked at one point by a fairly senior person within the company what I thought about such-and-such a project.  I asked him if he really wanted my honest opinion, and he said yes.  I told him I didn’t think it stood a chance of a snowball in hell of catching on in the marketplace, it sucked and shouldn’t be pursued.  I was right, in the long run, but I had no way of knowing that this was his pet project and that he had a pretty serious (emotional?) attachment somehow to the whole thing.  Up to that day, I was pretty much the boy wonder with the organization, but from that day forward, I never saw a single raise or had a positive review, even though nothing else had changed with regard to the performance of my duties.

Obviously I won’t provide the name of this person, or that of the company involved.  Those who knew me at that company are still around and might even read this, so I ask only that if you are privy to that information, please don’t include it in a comment to this posting – I’d like to avoid legal entanglements, since I really can’t afford an attorney right now! :)

Bottom line: I’ve never had even a hint of a problem with conflict-of-interest issues, and I’m not about to start now.

If all that sits well with you, great: stay tuned and I hope you’ll like what you see.  Otherwise, please “change the channel” and have a nice day. :)


Twitter in Microsoft Office Outlook!

I’m one of those people who lives in Outlook 2007.  It’s by far the most heavily-used program on my system.

Until just recently, I hadn’t had much use for Twitter.  For one thing, it required me to go out to the web rather than just have the Tweets come in to me in a way where I could manage them and look at them offline.  No more excuses!  I’m tweeting now, because of this great new tool.

It’s called Twinbox, and it’s an Outlook add-in from TechHit.  What it does is provide a toolbar within Outlook, plus an automatic download of tweets from everyone whom I’m following directly into a folder in Outlook.  The toolbar looks like this:


Within Outlook, I see each tweet as though it were an individual email.  Grouping them by the “from” field in Outlook, it keeps the tweets organized, but it also stores them offline so I can look through them even if I don’t have an Internet connection at the time.

The way I handle them is to go through each one, and if the information looks interesting I can either “flag” it in Outlook for action, or move the message to a “To check out…” folder to follow up when I’m online.  I can also use the buttons on the toolbar to respond to the tweets, or put my own out there to annoy the world. :)

The only down side I have found to the program is that I can’t queue up tweets while I’m offline.  Unlike regular emails, I have to be online in order to enter a tweet or a response to one.  (With emails, I can create messages or replies which sit in my Outbox until I go online, but it doesn’t work that way with Twinbox.)

Thus far, it’s the only way I’ve been able to cope with the veritable flood of great bulletins about Windows 7’s launch and all the cool features that people have discovered in the new OS.

Icing on the cake: it’s free!  Details are at htttp://

For the record, I have no connection whatsoever with TechHit other than the fact that I use the program.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Had to do a double-take on this one…

I was taken by surprise when paging through the latest L.L. Bean catalog.  First glance, it looked a little strange, but obviously it makes sense when you put more than two brain cells together to work on the problem.

A “Solar-Powered Flashlight” on the surface seemed a little silly, but… :)

Solar Hybrid Flashlight