Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vidyartha College FaceBook virus

Apparently there's a worm or a virus going around Facebook.  

If you're surfing through there, and are asked to update any software, Don't!   This thing has been said to grab hold of your system and take over.   It will also take control of your Facebook account and mail all your friends to surf you and then they're infected too. Facebook is saying its a Bug not a Virus, but treat it as a virus and be safe.

Mostly its hitting people in India or those with friends there.  Predictable with a name like Vidyartha but thats a different story since that is a college in Sri Lanka.

Currently there is no cure for this virus, er bug.

A few days ago, I did a long winded explanation on how to scan your PC for viruses using Microsoft's tool.   If you're on windows, and you're not totally confident about your protection, the link below will give you full and long winded directions on how to scan your PC.   You'll need your favorite soft drink, a block of "quiet time" and an internet connection for that.   Since you can read this, you have two out of three...

Happy Birthday, Dear Sister

Happy Birthday to you!

Here's a Chocolate Chip Pecan Chocolate Cupcake with Homemade Scratch Pink Vanilla Icing for you, Pat.   Happy Birthday, and I hope your birthday is wonderful with many happy returns.  Don't wear all Meghan's Bling Bling at once, you'll GLOW!

Oh by the way, the cupcake's gone and was excellent... But I can make more with GFS's help.  :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rollerblading on Schuylkill River Trail Review

Looking at this picture, its not a very pretty scene is it.   To me that is a view of fun.  What you're looking at is a section of the Schuylkill River Trail in Conshohocken PA.   

This trail runs roughly from the Art Museum in Center City Philadelphia at the Rocky Steps for 22 miles out through Conshohocken, Norristown, and Valley Forge to the Perkiomen Creek Trail in Montgomery County, PA.   I skated that trail for about 10 years, and a total of over 20,000 miles to date.   

The trail is continuous through the length and is a jewel for the region.   I was fortunate enough to be close enough to skate a segment of it whenever I wished.  No cars, few intersections to worry about, very few bad spots with gravel.   This was 22 miles of Black Ice.   There were a few rough spots where there was a sharp incline or a curve, and one hill in particular that was at a railroad style incline for about a mile.  That was my definition of fun, skating down that over 15 miles per hour with some Armin van Buuren "A State of Trance" podcast DJ set running on the head phones on a clear crisp day with little wind.

One of the days when I get back to Philadelphia, my plans are to drive back to my old parking area and skate this section again.   The trails here are nowhere near as long and comprehensive as this.   The best one I've found in Broward County was at Pompano Airpark and that one is only a 5 mile loop.  Every time I get a chance to speak with someone in command of a Parks and Recreation budget I put my two cents in for a "multipurpose asphalt paved trail of a minimum length of a mile".   Why not?  It's worth your life here to try to cross the street on foot let alone on Rollerblades 8 or 10 wheels.

Monday, September 28, 2009

He said, She said - Some PG Humor

A Wonderful Woman I know up in Philly has sent me some jokes I thought I'd share...
I wonder what she's trying to tell me?  Hmmmm.....

He said, She said

He said to me . . . I don't know why you wear a bra; you've got nothing to put in it.
I said to him . . . You wear pants don't you?

He said to me . . ..... Shall we try swapping positions tonight?
She said . That's a good idea - you stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa!

He said to me. ... What have you been doing with all the grocery money I gave you?
I said to him . ....Turn sideways and look in the mirror!

He said to me. ..... Why don't women blink during foreplay?
I said to him ... . They don't have time

He said to me. . How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?
I said to him .. . We don't know; it has never happened.

He said to me.. . Why is it difficult to find men who are sensitive, caring and Good- looking?
I said to him . . . They already have boyfriends.

I said...What do you call a woman who knows where her husband is every night?
He said. .. . A widow.

He said to me . .. . Why are married women heavier than single women?
I said to him . . . Single women come home, see what's in the fridge and go to bed. Married women come home, see what's in bed and go to the fridge.


Swiffer Review

The executive summary is that I ended up with a Swiffer when my partner went to Publix looking for a sponge refill to my old fashioned mop.   After using it I found it to be unsuitable and am using up supplies as fast as I can manage since in this case, the Old School Method is the best.   In other words...

Why Swiffer Sucks... and the Curmudgeonly Rant Begins:

1) The Pads have a Scent.   Whoever decided in their focus groups to perfume this thing should be locked in a room with that scent and made to smell it for the rest of their lives.   There's a distinct floral scent to the premoistened towelettes that you attach to the Swiffer head.   Go about your work and the stuff dries and soaks into the grout and whatever is left on the floor.    After a while you notice that the scent has changed to something smelling like dusty flowers.   Open the windows please?

2) The pads are good only for small areas.   I live in a smallish house.  1200 Square feet and all of that are tile or terrazzo floors.   If I used a sponge mop it wouldn't be a problem, I'd have a bucket and rinse the thing out and I'd be able to re-soap the floor and get everything... Spic and Span.  Or Pine Sol.  Or even Windex.   Swiffers run out of their moistened towelette "goodness" after doing about 3/4 of my kitchen.    By then they're too dry to finish the floor and are beginning to make mud out of the dirt they've moved around in a distant parody of "Cleaning".   So you get out another premoistened towelette or do what I do and spray down a mix of 8 parts water and 1 part Pine Sol and get the job done.

3) You can't reuse the pads.  Single use only.   They are designed to be thrown away after one use so they're not very resilient and you can't really use them to Scrub the floors, merely "lick the floors" as Mom used to say.   Mom would hate these things.  Don't make Mom angry, go visit O'Cedar and make Mom happy.   Or the teenager who is press-ganged into doing the cleaning.

4) You can't clean pads while mopping.  So you have a medium kitchen, you are trying to get the job done and keep your hands dry like Swiffer promises?   You decided to just spray down a mix of cleaners and use the original pad you started with?   By the time you get to the other end of your 15 by 6 kitchen, your pads are now looking very grimy.  Take them to the sink and try to clean them.  You may get away with that but now your hands are wet.   O'Cedar wins again!

5) They more expensive.  Buy the mop head at roughly the same price of an old style mop.   Get a box of Swiffer Refills at roughly the price of a sponge mop head.  So you just bought a box of premoistened paper towel like things containing like 12 or 24 of them.   I don't know about you, but I've had the same mop since I moved in this house 3 years ago, and only used up one mop head.   If I mop my floors weekly, we're talking around 150 cleanings.   See what I mean?   UGH!  I hate Planned Obsolescence!

6) They are bad for the environment.   More packaging that should be recycled, more obsolete premoistened towelettes that should partially degrade in a landfill in 500 years since there is a plastic scrubby strip on the things I have here.   Give me a cellulose sponge any day.   Ok, I know they're not truly cellulose but they'll degrade about as much as those stupid scrubby strips.

7) Flimsy equipment.  I'll admit I'm rough on things.   I'm 6'4" and 220 pounds.  I throw my back into scrubbing the floor.   I don't want stuff in crevasses and corners.   So when I lean on that flimsy aluminium pole that is held together with toothpicks, er, plastic bits, I am concerned when I see the entire thing flex.   Low bid design or Chinese Construction?

8) You must use original swiffer pads for best results.  I have tried to get around this a couple ways.   The local store brand leaves a film.   The original dampening fluid in the premoistened towelettes may stink but it does go away and evaporate into the atmosphere... leaving a dusty flowery smell.   *SNEEZE*  I even tried using regular paper towels the one time I got caught without backup supplies and that was just a joke.   Think about mopping 600 square feet of Florida Tile with Paper Towels.   Can we say "Comedy of errors" children?

When I finally use up supplies I think I'm going to happily back my car over this comically bad piece of Marketing Genius.   Then I'll drive to Publix and get a refill for my old standby O'Cedar Mop.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Googlle or the Google Doodle that confused people

Today, September 27, 2009 is Google's 11th Birthday.

Get it?  Googlle?   If you hover over the Google Doodle, you get a hint to what they're on about.

Its written that way as a typographical nod to their anniversary.   When we used to use manual typewriters, we used to have one font for the most part, Courier.   Many typewriters, including the Post War Era beast of a manual that I grew up using for term papers and the like simply did not have a 1 key.   A discrete key for the digit One was overkill because a lower case l (L or "Ell") looked like a one and people just typed that way.   The whole Leet Speek is an echo of that where they use numbers to represent letters in an effort to confuse those outside of their own clan.   Spelling Elite as 1337 and the like.  

Personally I prefer Gill Sans and use it everywhere, but people sometimes wonder why my printed correspondence looks like it was written by London Underground.

Congress Hall, Cape May NJ

What you're seeing is a Historically Significant Building.   This is the Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May, NJ.   Way South Jersey, near the southernmost point where the Delaware River meets the Atlantic Ocean.
I liked the scene.  I had paid a visit just before I moved to Florida, and we spent the day walking around looking at trinkets both two legged and in stores in their quaint shopping district.   The Rockers are nice and comfortable, and it affords you a great view of the ocean.   The place was a playground for the rich in the 1800s and early 1900s, fell into the hands of a church and then into disrepair.   The rehab of the building turned it into a fully functioning resort and a Victorian marvel that was worth the visit.  

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Google Trends Review

There are tools that you can play with when you build a blog.  All this is designed to drive people to the page and hopefully see something that will bring them back and maybe even click on an ad.   You know, Beer Money...

One of them is Google Trends.  It looks a lot like Google but what it does is tell you how popular that search is by other people.   Basically what the neighbors are thinking.  Ever look at your dog and say "I wonder what she's thinking"?  At least now you know how popular something is or what is going on in the world because you're presented with the top ten search terms for the last hour or so.   For today 9/25/2009, when I clicked on this, the number 8 search was "Randy Quaid Arrest".   I didn't know he was arrested because that kind of news usually doesn't get me to look at it.   I remember Randy Quaid from various movies and the first thought was Texas... they'll shoot him.  But I was wrong and the Presidio County Sherriff's Officers must have known him too.   Apparently, he was more calm than his wife was threatening and screaming like she was less than happy about it all.   Didn't listen to the officers did you, Evi?   Tsk Tsk.   If it were you or I or any other "regular guy" I suspect you'd be going for a ride in the back of a Crown Victoria Police Interceptor after accidentally banging your head on the B Pillar... or worse.

At any rate, its amusing in a dry sort of way to look at the top 100 and find some quirk in our society that you hadn't thought about.   Ok, I need to get out more.... but if you want to see the current top 100, click here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pompano Beach - Cheesesteak Experience Review

Cheese steaks in Florida?   Mushy bread, soggy rolls, weak or greasy steaks, amurrican cheeze?

Nope.   Authentic.  All the way down to the Amoroso's Rolls.   And hey anyone back in Philly can youse send me a few? I'm missin' dem!

Ok I'm getting  ahead of myself.   I was in Pompano for an interview.   It went really well... and it must have because it took three hours.   Seems like everyone there was from Philly in the office.   So afterwords I was thinking maybe to the Cuban place in Festival Flea Market for a bit of Pork.

Then it called to me with a sign from on High...

Amoroso's Rolls!   Cheesesteak Experience!   We're From Philly!

Could It Be? Did I really find an outpost of culinary goodness in the land where Wonder Bread is a good thing?   Ok, Its just one meal so I ordered a Combo #1, 6" cheesesteak, With.   She said "Are ya from Philly" I said sure am!  "So you want it wit', with Wiz and on an Amoroso's Roll!"

Translation - With Fried Onions, Cheese Wiz, and on Heaven on a Roll...


So as I'm standing there in my Grey Interview Uniform, er Suit, I'm thinking that it can't be as good as Jim's on South, Genos or Pats in South Philly on 9th.  Guess what, Its the best I've had in years.  Certainly one of the best that South Florida has to offer.   The folks are from Huntington Valley and Oxford Circle who run the place and I felt like I was "home" listening to the woman bang the spatula against that big expanse of Stainless Steel that was covered by piles of fresh chopped sirloin cooked to perfection.  They even warmed the roll over top of the Steak like they used to do at Wombo's at Ellisburg Circle back in the 60s and into the 70s before it finally closed.

Who would have thought that Food Court food would be so good!

Cheesesteak Experience in the Festival Flea Market, 2900 W Sample Rd, Pompano Beach, FL

I'll be back!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Iguana on a tree

Iguana on a tree?  Yes, in South Florida we have Iguanas running hot and cold all over the place.   In fact anywhere south of the I-4 line you can see them, especially near water and vegetation.

In winter we have "Iguana Season".   That's meant cynically because in Cold Weather (under 50F/10C) their muscles get less efficient, they slow down and they fall from the sky.  Like apples (or oranges) in a grove, these prehistoric looking things simply drop out of the trees.   Believe me, finding a 6 foot long (nose to tail tip) Dragon of an Iguana looking stoned on the Pool Deck was a bit of a shock to me.   I picked that particular one up and dropped him in the trash bin and when he thawed out he came back alive and quite unhappy!

Now that I know what they do to my Bouganvillea, Hibiscus, and Gardenia, I wish he hadn't survived.  They do not share, and will denude your plants.   Since there are no natural predators, you're sunk if you don't plant things they dislike.  If they shared I wouldn't mind but literally they strip things down to sticks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Woot Off and Woot Review

Today is a Woot Off.   Woot is a website that is an obsession with some and used to be with me.   When the site started it was a deal a day.   When the deal sold off that was it until tomorrow.   Tomorrow was midnight Central time, or 1AM for us on the East Coast.

As the site got more popular they tried something really quite intriguing called a Bag Of Random Crap.   There was a picture of the item on the page, and in this case it was a generic brown paper bag with a big yellow question mark on it.  Back then when it showed nobody knew what it was and some tried for it since it was $1 for one, up to $3 for 3 and $5 for shipping.   Total of $8.   Not a lot of money for a gamble and these "bags" could be anything.  I've gotten a few and got some very nice things in it.   Keep in mind, there are thousands of people looking for this item alone since some have gotten a 62 inch flat screen TV  while others have gotten a Mr T Record.   I got the record and while its not "nice", I have it hanging on the wall since I Pity The Foo who doesn't like a Mr T Record.   Great conversation piece and the rest of the things that came in the Bag Of Crap were certainly worth it.  It has been copied elsewhere on other sites such as

The Woot Off will have a "thermometer" on the top right of the page showing the relative number left of this item, Yellow flashing lights and a rather amusing description.   When this hits zero, the item is sold out and they'll bring another one up so hit F5 like everyone else and see what the next one is.

There are a few problems with and their woot offs.   First is that the woot off is a victim of their own success.   I've gotten items from the woot off, and find a better deal is on their closeout site which I think is linked on there somehow or just click here.   The Woot Off is one of those things where they sell weird items and sometimes discount, sometimes not, but you have to ask do you really need a packet of 2 more LED flashlights, a USB powered rubber bladed fan, or a Plasma Ball even if it is 1.99 plus 5 shipping for example.

I just can't see how anybody needs a "Shun Ken Onion 9 Piece Knife Block Set" for 519.99 plus 5 shipping!  In This Economy?   Are you crazy?  If you do, I'm sorry, but you need some "adversity" in your life!

Second is about the site in general.   Right about the time that I heard they changed hands and were bought out by a Big Grumpy Corporate Organization they changed their way of looking at things.  They've decided that since they are the Woot Gods, they have the option to have your sale not go through and when you ask them about it be rude.   Well they ARE from Texas.   That IS the state that gave us not one but two Bushes, and neither were any good at anything they did.   I swear there's something in the water in Dallas because everyone was driving around like Stepford Wives acting stoned in their happy little world.  I mean a state that turned Ann Richards out of office for a Bush has to have a population with a relatively low average education level.

Texas aside, they decided the last Bag of Crap to dump a lot of people who actually got the product (it takes some luck and timing to beat everyone else out) and cancel the sale.  For the Bag of Random Crap before they shipped out 1500 identical Bags of Crap more or less to everyone that won, thereby killing the Random Crap name, of ugly pink bags, cheesy hand held games, and plastic army men as a joke and be sarcastic about it in later product postings and in their blog.

I'd say watch the site for the entertainment value.  I do and its in my tabs for the daily surf since the descriptions are amusing, but don't depend on it for value, don't be obsessed, and do live a normal life - away from if you need to. 

Now I'm going to go shower before the next item shows up!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Microsoft Windows Virus Protection for Casual PC Users

In view of the new Clampi virus that goes after your financial information, this seemed timely.   I hadn't heard of it before I started on this post, but I did and went through the steps below, myself.

When I lived near family I'd go home and visit my Mom, and my Sister and my Nephew.   They were not the most technical people, but understood that there were uses for a home computer.   I got my nephew started when he was 2 with a PC, and he had one ever since.  Mom really didn't see that she needed to learn although she was curious and my sister was an occasional user.

On the weekends I'd come home, after the long Honey-Do List I'd sit down and see if their PC, my nephew's mainly, was still working.   This was back in the days before high speed internet was widely popular and they were still on a modem.   Every time I'd sit there, I'd hear "It's not working right, do you know what's wrong?".   Sure, the virus protection was turned off, and after a scan there were sometimes hundreds of viruses.

That a teenager (then) would have viruses on the machine didn't surprise me, and many people have them without noticing.   I personally run a copy of Symantec Antivirus on XP, don't bother with anything on Linux or Mac OSX because I don't do anything even slightly risky there.

I do have a backup plan and here is my recommendation.   For now and into the immediate future what I do is on Windows based PCs to surf via internet explorer, and this is about the only use I have for IE, the following link:

That link brings up Microsoft's free scanner.  It does not work unless you go there, answer the questions and start the scanner yourself.   Its best use is an occasional use where "something doesn't feel right".

Start the link, I'll wait...

There's a lot of text on that page, but if you page down to the button "Full Service Scan" and click it.

There may be a click through "Service Agreement" signing all sorts of legalese rights away, and a good lawyer could get them back, so page down and click "Accept" and a small window should pop up.   If it doesn't, check your pop up blocker settings and allow the site to pop up.

Make sure that the following boxes are checked:

Comprehensive Scan
Virus Scan
Spyware Scan

All boxes under Performance and Network Scan should be checked.

Under "Comprehensive Scan" there is a link saying "Select Folders" or Customize.  This will allow you to set the scanner to look at drives other than your C Drive.   I've got two drives, so I can click there to turn it on to scan them, but if you are like 95% of the people, that link should be unneeded.

This being web software the links may change, so you'll want to try this out if you're unsure of your current scanner.   It is free, Microsoft tries to keep it up to date, and they intend to include this in the next operating system I've been told, called "Windows 7".   For those of us out there who haven't gotten Win 7 yet, and as of this writing, it is not yet out officially, this exercise is a great backup.

Oh by the way, you may want to do this and leave the machine up over night or while you're at work.   It takes a couple hours for my machine to do a full scan.  It isn't so much of a "resource hog" that you can't do other things, but you then won't have to babysit.  I have it running now as I sit in my Ikea Poang chair and bounce.

It took my system three hours to get to the point that it was through churning.   It came back with a window titled "Results".   I didn't have any viruses, thankfully.   But what I did here was to click the boxes that said "Defragment your hard discs" and clicked Next.

When you're finished the scan, the final window asks you to "Let Windows OneCare take care of your PC".  That is not necessary.   Click on the link that says "Not Yet, I'm not ready".  

Now you have the Summary.   Click to clear the box next to "Share information with Microsoft".  I don't THINK so.   I personally share as little info as humanly possible.   Make sure that box is cleared, then click on the "Next" Button.

After the window refreshes, you may close that window and any other window you like.  You're Done.

And so am I.   CYA!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Italian Peace Flag

No, this is not a Gay Pride Flag.   This is an Italian Peace Flag.   PACE is pronounced Pah-Chay and is Peace in Italian. 
It is an international symbol that I was unaware of.  That is, I was unaware of until my former neighbour, a 90 year old Quaker woman who terrorized the Utility Boards in Philadelphia had one put up.  I was driving home and nearly lost control of the car.  Was she "Coming Out"?  No, merely stating her Proud Quaker Heritage and wishing Peace to all. 
Ruth Miner, you were a fascinating woman and made my life in Chestnut Hill more interesting.  Thank you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

La-Z-Boy Design Tool Review

In short, its a great planning tool and it is free.   Of course Lazyboy wants you to go to their site, see their furniture, and buy.  Some of their furniture is truly wonderful and well built.   Before we moved here to South Florida, we had a room full of the stuff that was 20 years old or more.   I could have repaired the furniture, but we decided it was time and bought more when we got here recently (see earlier post).

When the tool was put in at La-Z-Boy, they could have locked you into their own furniture only and in doing so gutted the utility of it.   That decision wasn't made and it made it much more useable.   On the other hand, if you are considering new furniture, and La-Z-Boy is a possibility, I'd say go for it, and look at their offerings. 

All of Lazyboy's current models are in the program, and you can pick and choose the ones you want to put in your room.   You define the size of the room, find the type of piece in pull down (Chairs, Tables, Couches and Sofas and so forth) then the piece you are looking for and their furniture is already defined.  Double click on the piece and it plops it down in your virtual room.   You can spin it around and place it where you would want it without even buying a stick of furniture or moving a piece in your own room.  Just take measurements of the room.

The next step would be to find all the pieces you have that are going to remain in the room, find similar pieces and size them to fit by dragging the edges so that your dimensions (Inches or Metric) fit.   Everything is drawn to scale, and all the particulars are saved for you so that at the end when you print out your plan if you like, you get basically a Pick List of items with the models and names intact.   

The fun starts when you have all the pieces in your room and want to try out alternate layouts.  Why move that big TV across the room when you can do it virtually on your PC?   I ended up spending about a day on the site after I had measured my existing pieces and laid them out just so I could place them in the room before we bought anything.   It saved me from making some very costly mistakes of buying furniture that wouldn't have fit.   When I got it in the room, after delivery, I knew exactly where everything was to go and what the alternate layouts were.   

After I used the site, registered, saved my plans and printed them out, we got our furniture set up by the shippers and they're laid out just like I had planned.   It made for a much easier design and layout and didn't require the services of an interior designer.

Thanks, La-z-boy, you were a great help!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Monarch Butterfly

Butterflies.  Since I was a child I'd stand with a big gaping smile while I watch them glide by.   In South Florida, we get the pleasure of seeing them all year around.

This beautiful specimen of a male Monarch Butterfly came through metamorphosis in April of 2009. 

My godmother was kind enough to give me some Mexican Milkweed Seeds that I spread all over the back yard.  Some actually grew into plants that have bright red flowers.  Sometimes the caterpillars will allow them to grow otherwise, they're sticks waiting for the next caterpillars to land and feast. 
Either way, I am more than happy to share the back yard with these beautiful creatures.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Firefox Tabs Review

To anyone who is technical, this stuff is old news.   To the non technical folks who I speak with on a daily basis, maybe I can explain why I did it.  Does it matter?  Probably not.

Back a couple years back, I had been using IE and I decided I didn't like it.   Around the same time I was using Linux and I think both are connected.  Firefox had just it the scene, and the browser was one of the choices on the Linux install I used, CentOS, along with Konqueror which just never really felt robust enough.  When compared with IE, Firefox running on a slower Linux machine felt faster, more stable, and there were these neat extensions that allowed me to do all sorts of things like see the weather forecast and control cookies.   I even started playing around with the extension programs for traffic Webcam so that I could look at things through the country at a click.   It was pretty neat, and gave me an opportunity to play with code and see a quick result.

Then I got the chance to move to South Florida and needed to look for work and the Tabs View option in Firefox became the "Killer App".   So much so that the rest of the industry followed and IE in its lumbering size now has the option to open in tabs.   What this does in Firefox (I never bother with IE since it bogs the entire PC down) is to create virtual windows within "this" browser and load the page in background.   Simple right?  I'm sure there's a lot of programming effort that happened to make this so useful, but I took this to heart.  When I do a Job Search, I have a folder within my Firefox Bookmarks that has over 115 pages that I want to open, all at once.   The old way to do that was to do a shift click to get the page to open in another browser, and work through the list.   Manually to open a page in a tab in background, Control Click on the link and it loads and is there when you need it.   Try that with 115 pages all at once! 

The wrinkle is that Dice, Monster, and Careerbuilder all allow you to save a search.   Drag the link into the folder in Bookmarks and that page will open next time you start an Open In Tabs.   You can do this on the first page, but when you're looking at something that has hundreds of links and only 25 per page, you are more interested in having the second and third and subsequent pages in tabs while you're looking at page one.   So drag those pages into the folder and now you have them all open.   You are only limited by the number of pages you drag into the folder and your PC's memory.  At the end of an Open In Tabs with 115 pages (literally) Firefox reports as using over 500 Megs of memory and it releases it back to the operating system better now than it used to, although not perfectly since nothing really seems to return all the memory within Windows when written on a "modern language" such as C++.

Simple instructions for Firefox:
  1. Organize Bookmarks by Control + Shift + B 
  2. Create and name a folder where you want it by Right Clicking on the Bookmarks Menu or use an existing one and give it a name if new.
  3. Switch back to the main window in Firefox and surf the pages you need one at a time to set this up.
  4. When the page loads as you want it, drag the icon in the address bar to the left of the "http://" into the Organize Bookmark window and into the folder you created and drop it there.    You can also do this by grabbing that icon, dragging it into the Bookmarks pulldown which will automagically open and you can drag it into the appropriate place.  I do it that way but it is fiddly and I tend to have to do it a couple times before it "sticks".
  5. Now your Bookmarks Folder has a new link and at the bottom of that Folder when it opens up you will see the Open All In Tabs link.   If you have multiple links, you will get multiple tabs.
  6. Navigate through the tabs by doing a Control + Page Down to move to the next tab on the right, Control + Page Up to move to the next tab on the left.   You may close the tab by either clicking on the little red X box or Control + F4
  7. If you just want to create a blank tab, Control + t will do it for you.
If this helps, great! If it is unclear ask me, since I did this before the second mug of coffee.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lettie Sleeping In The Sun

Lettie the SuperDog (TM) doing what she does best.  When we lived in Philadelphia, she'd find a square of sunlight and plop down no matter the temperature outside.   I swear she's solar powered.
I liked this pic, decided to share a picture of my constant companion.   She's been with me for almost 8 of her 9 years and we haven't looked back.  In fact she's better in the car than most people I know!
Amazing when I think that she was a shelter dog who was abandoned at 6 months, stayed there for a year before I found her and took her into my life.  Border Collies and Mc Nab Dogs are incredibly intelligent, require a "Soft Hand" and are one of the most frequently abandoned dog breeds as a result.  People don't have a clue what it means to raise an intelligent dog.   I guess I lucked out.   We had some stumbles along the way but I wouldn't trade her for the world.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Old friends on Facebook and Myspace

While I write this blog which serves for me as a place to open my skull and pour out everything onto your desk, or your lap for our mutual entertainment, I also read a lot.  Why not, I've got the time, right?   I hit one of my tech blogs and they describe this tendency of people to look up old flames and Time Magazine of all places coined the word "Retrosexual" to describe it.

Retrosexual huh?  Cute.  Quick!  Someone grab before some link farmer does!

Reading this I was thinking of their description of trawling the Internet search sites, Google, Facebook, and Myspace looking for folks that people went to high school and college with and it had me thinking.   Why not look through your past and find old friends and old flames?   What they do with them when they're found is their own business.   I'm sitting here thinking what do I have to be smug about, I've done pretty much that same thing...  almost.

I've searched through Google and had good luck finding old friends from College and High School, a few teachers, and even a person who shares my first and last uncommon name in a small farming town in Nebraska.   With a last name like mine, we're related if you go back far enough.   We figure five generations or so should fit.  Nice guy and we always talk like long lost friends when we do for a LONG time.

There are others I've reconnected with like an ex in Palm Springs who I'm truly happy to know is doing well, a couple random college friends here and there, but never to date.   I'm the person who says "there's a reason they are your ex", for right or for wrong.  
What struck me as amusing and perhaps a bit ironic is that Time Magazine is hitting on this like its new and a big deal.   I met my present partner on the old dial up bulletin boards after a year and a half of chat in 1992.   Print media, trailing the trend, behind the curve again.   Meeting people online has been going on since the first emails were sent back in the dusty old days and will go on until we pull the plug.   Meeting new people happens on a daily basis, meeting "new old people" is a natural curiosity and is only an extension of the High School Reunions, just on your own terms.  There are class websites and ones that promise to keep you connected with everyone in your school once you sign up and pay a fee such as Classmates which can make it easier. 

An interpersonal relationship is as innocent or as tawdry as the people in it.   It all depends on where your head's at.  That's a trend that is old as mankind.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mexican Petunia or Ruellia

We've got a whole lot of these flowers all over the yard.  They grow like weeds.   Cut them and stick the stem in moist soil and they almost always "take".

 They're called Ruellia or Mexican Petunia.  They're also basically weeds but they're pretty.   I get annoyed every so often when they try to take over the yard and the Japanese Yew or Podocarpus, but slice them and they always come back.

Easy gardening tip in Florida huh?

Monday, September 14, 2009

FPL Has Dirty Power Part 2

When I had my board meeting at City Hall, we had a bit of a Bull Session before hand.
It turns out that my experience with FPL's Dirty Power is common here in Wilton Manors. Out of the seven board members there, and the Board Secretary, every one of us have had a complaint about losing electronics here.   When you have computing equipment plugged into the walls, they can take a Power Hit at any time whether they are turned on or not.   NOAA Weather Radio will tell you to unplug your unused equipment when a storm approaches, but how reasonable is that when some of it is hard wired like your oven, is required to be on all the time like your refrigerator or freezer, or is needed for "normal" life like your Tivo, Cable Box, or electric clocks?
Not that any of my rant will have that much of an effect, but FPL in their great wisdom is agreeing with me.  They have a For Profit group called FPL Fibernet supplying Internet to Downtown Ft Lauderdale at the old ImpSat building at Dixie Highway and NE 20th Drive.  They have agreed with my comment by digging up the lawns on NE 20th Drive and sending the Fibre Optic lines underground.   Wow, underground?   Its For Profit, that would be why, and I'm waiting for the trees that were disturbed on the properties to start dying.  Thankfully the trees on my property are well back from the swales and I am a couple blocks from having my yard torn up.  After all, trees and the neighborhood are not as important as paying customers who aren't being directly served by better internet access for Downtown?
So when will the power lines go underground?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Living Room in Question

Here's the room I'm talking about below.  For now, I'm lazy and haven't gotten the Ikea Poang Chair picture separately but it shows the two green La-z-boy Barnett Rockers.

Basically a Moose's Eye View of the World with the Cheeseburger in Paradise being ignored by Lettie the Super Dog sniffing the silly iPod Pillow Radio instead.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ikea Poang vs La-z-boy Barnett Reclina-rocker review

We finally got to the point here where we hit the wall with living like frat boys with cobbled together furniture and finished getting the Comfy Chairs for the house. Now that all is a rather loaded statement because put two opinionated people together trying to figure out what is comfortable, looks good together, and is appropriate for our lifestyle and you may find yourself surprised.

When we lived in Philly, we had a living room full of old La-z-boy furniture. Specifically a Blue Couch and Recliner. They were fine, and by the time we moved here to Florida, they were 20 years old plus. They did however hold up well and were well built pieces. The couch and recliner had eventually worn to fit whoever sat in the same position every day and you could tell which was preferred by who. By the time we moved, they were too worn out to be moved so we left them behind on the curb and in our rear-view mirrors.

When we got here we muddled through with a Futon, replaced the mattress, and a couple chairs that weren't quite fitting the bill. So we started looking. I insisted on a rocker and didn't care much about the brand so we went looking at La-z-boy and it was fine, not perfect, just fine. On a whim we went to Ikea and I went to sit on that iconic chair they have there called the Poang. Only now they have a rocker. I was in heaven because in all my years I had never fit in a chair that was form fit to me so perfectly. Unfortunately it would mean that the living room would have a La-z-boy couch, La-z-boy chair, and the Ikea Poang chair, Mismatched. It reminded me of the Bunkers in All In The Family with Edith's little chair next to Archie's ugly wingback.

So after we went back to the La-z-boy show room in Wellington FL, sat on every chair they had, and found that the line we had in Philly was just closed out but they did have four "Barnett" Rockers in South Florida of that line on discount I was swayed. We went back to the showroom in Ft Lauderdale on Federal Highway, spoke with them and they told us that we could have the matching chairs at the Palm Beach County Price which was a discount, and wrote us up. That left me scratching my head wondering why Wellington was in a different sales district but since we got that price I didn't care.

Still a couple weeks later I was left with a La-z-boy chair that wasn't quite as comfortable as the Poang and I couldn't sit in it more than an hour or so without shifting around. My partner was still happy. We wandered into the local thrift store and someone had dropped off a Poang in a particularly odd beige and green floral pattern that had seen better days, but when I sat in it I was home. It fit me like a glove. We ended up with that chair in my living room and I'm happy. I can sit in it with my laptop for 3 hour stretches, and still bounce when the music moves me. I have the La-z-boy which is comfortable and perfect for TV Viewing Positions. My partner can't sit in the Poang for 10 minutes, or so he says, and heads for the La-z-boy.

The Moral of all of that is To Each His Own.

Oh and P.S... The Poang with the Leather upholstery is firmer than the one with the fabric and more comfortable, but I'm still happy and sitting in the fabric upholstered chair and now writing to you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

FPL has Dirty Power

According to the Wikipedia Entry and according to my broken appliances at any rate we do.

Since moving to this house in September 2006, I have lost 2 alarm clock radios, a table radio, a Desktop Computer, 2 Laptop Computers, 3 Wifi Routers, 2 Cable Modems plus one owned by Comcast, 3 Hard Drives (80GB, 120 GB, and 240GB), a cassette tape deck, 2 stereo tuners, a VCR. I'm sure there were other things that were lost in the general background noise of life.

That may sound normal to someone else living here, but in the 13 years I lived in the City of Philadelphia, I lost zero equipment. None, Nada, Zip, Zero. Sure things would wear out but I can repair most of that sort of thing.

We finally got tired of losing equipment. It got to the point where we'd have a twice weekly "Power Pop" where the power would just cut off inexplicably and then back on in rapid succession. Usually around 2 in the afternoon. If there were a storm of any strength, my power would do all sorts of things like dim, brighten, turn off, or strobe. It was like being in a disco or club.

Our final solution to the FPL Dirty Power Problem was to get APC Power Conditioners. APC H10 and APC H15 specifically. They weigh quite a lot, have a lot of heat sinks, capacitors, and blinky lights to entertain the passers by. My house at night has a wonderful eerie blue glow as a result of the things. Those entertaining lights show me just how bad the power is in this city. During a Thunderstorm, the Over Voltage light comes on regularly telling me that instead of a nice 120v, I get 150V Plus. I can be here listening to music and hear a relay SNAP! and the music may or may not get cut off because I will still get a few seconds of power as the capacitors drain into the equipment filtering all the spikes.

I do have to wonder how many pieces of equipment on a daily basis are lost in this area every time the daily thunderstorms fire up and march across the land making mosquitoes and watering the land.

The real solution would be to weather proof the power lines and bury them under the swales of the streets instead of having them strung across the landscape waiting for a flying coconut to hit them in a Tropical Storm. FPL has a reputation of saying they're trying to keep up with the weather and have a creaky infrastructure as a result of the tropical storms, but if other parts of the country and other utilities made this step, I have to question whether its just a bad decision on the level of their Executive Managers to keep the profits higher and they'll just muddle through so they don't have to take the hit on their bonuses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I live in a swamp

Ironic. Everyone wants to live in the sunshine these days. See the demographics trend since WWII for proof. People left the Northeast for places like Phoenix, Fort Worth, and Fort Lauderdale.

So I got the bug the first time I visited here in the early 70s with my family, all piled into a beast of a 1973 Buick Limited and we did a tour of Florida after getting off the Auto Train. Great excitement for a kid, I'll tell you.

That bug I was speaking of? I fell in love with Fort Lauderdale (area) when I got here and never wanted to live anywhere else. We stayed at a motor court style hotel, adjoining rooms with a door in them, swimming pool and all right off Federal Highway. No matter that it now is run down and kind of a No-Tell Motel, it was one of the best memories of my childhood.

In 2006, I finally moved. April 11, 2006 at 8:43am to be precise, I crossed over the St Mary's River into North Florida and never left. We bounced around and ended up in Wilton Manors, a quirky city with a reputation that is only partially earned outside, and like anywhere it is different when you live here.

Growing up in South Jersey, there were never as many creatures trying to get into the house as there are here. Other than field mice after the first cold snap, we never had to tent the house or worry about anything other than the brown mosquitos getting in. I have personally captured five geckos this last month and released the little things into the garden, have been invaded by armies of ants going after whatever was left in the sink the night before, and spiders and unidentifiable creatures of a variety that even my own habits of going to The Pond when I grew up didn't quite prepare me for.

Fishing Iguanas out of the pool, seeing flocks of Parrots flying by through the day, the Mourning Doves watching me while I walk around the pool, and many other critters I am just learning about are some of the experiences of living in Wild Florida.

Being one of those people with Sweet Blood, and I've been told that its got something to do with relatively high Potassium intake (anyone have any bananas?), I am the first person in a crowd to get bit by Mosquitoes. I noticed early that our yard was chock full of those aggressive Tiger Mosquitoes and stopped going outside. The problem was that we were much worse than other places around the block for them and when our Pool filter gave out it turned out we were the local captive breeding program for the little blighters. Pool filter had a steady drip of pool water onto the pavement, and into the ground. Water dried up, and so did the skeeters in that part of the world.

The other thing is that with all the rain we get in the Wet Season (A.K.A. Hurricane Season - Duck and Cover!) everything grows with a ferocity that I'm not used to. You can practically watch the grass grow and not take a day to do so. Being someone who always liked plants and planting, I noticed that about 4 out of 5 of the cuttings I take from the Screw Palms (A sort of Dracenea related to the lucky bamboo) would root if I would stick them in the ground deep enough to hold them vertical. So now I have a garden of the things. Not the best for a hedge but when you live in a place where house plants grow as accents to your garden you can have a bit of fun.

Anyone need some house plants? If I ever come North, I'll be bringing some to my family.