Friday, October 31, 2008

Spider Cake

Spider Cake
Originally uploaded by idogcow
Behold our mighty Spider Cake for 2008, our contribution to Britta's party. Unfortunately we left before anyone cut into our friendly neighborhood web slinger but I can tell you the leftover parts we had at home were good.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

see the world

Sometimes carrying a camera on holiday can actually distract from the place you paid for are trying to see. I know when I have a camera I tend to see places as a series of snapshots I might take and miss "the forest for the trees" as it were. That's why sometimes I leave the camera duties to others and take along some binoculars thanks to the Nikon ATB Promotion.

You may think binoculars are for football games and bird watchers but you should know that the new Nikon All Terrain Binocular (ATB) line has earned quite the reputation among serious users for precision optics, unheard of ruggedness plus incredible value. Plus, just in time for the end of the year, Nikon has Gift Cards for buying Nikon Pro Gear, which means you can get some coolest gear there is for free. Get a $50 gift card when you purchase Monarch ATB binoculars, and $25 when you get either a Trailblazer ATB, an Action Extreme ATB, or a ProStaff binocular.

This Nikon ATB Promo offer runs until December 31, 2008, see more details by visiting the Nikon ATB Promotion Details Page. Register your gift card by filling out the Nikon ATB rebate form at and follow the directions provided to redeem your card for whatever gear you wish like high-quality men’s and women’s outdoor and casual clothes, optics accessories and other high performance gear.

More information can be found at:

See better, farther and look good doing so for less than you might think. What's not to like?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Minor Annoyances

Today I spent the better part of twenty minutes trying to get the paper back on the pins of the dot matrix printer we still have in the lab, trying again and again to align everything just so and when that failed pulling out the little part along the side that balled up and jammed up the works.

Were these printers as bad back in the 80s and 90s? Perhaps I have forgotten, or maybe the relative ease of laser printers just makes the experience feel all the worse?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Less Than Helpful Folks at Dell

You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
 12:30:12 PM    System   System 
Connected with ATG Marco

 12:30:17 PM     Agent  ATG Marco 
Thank you for contacting the Dell Employee and Student Purchase Program. My name is Marco, I will be your personal assistant . Are you purchasing a laptop or a desktop today?
12:30:42 PM  
 Customer   rob reeves 
I was trying to back to the 1525 I had put in a cart last night but now it seems to be gone
12:31:07 PM  
 Agent   ATG Marco 
To be sure that I can further assist you, may I have the name of the company or institution that you work for/assist?
12:31:15 PM  
 Customer   rob reeves 
▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ University
12:32:32 PM  
 System   System 
Thank you. Your Dell Chat session has ended.

Monday, October 27, 2008

MTV Music, huge music video collection with a Hulu-like interface

This could be greatness waiting to happen, as long as there is someone still at MTV that remembers when music mattered.

MTV Music, huge music video collection with a Hulu-like interface

22,000 videos, embeddable and streaming; how cool would it be if someone did a mash up with the 120 Minutes Playlists archive [via kottke]

Sent from Newton 2.0

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vernors Soda

> Diet Vernors zero calorie ginger soda.
> Less of a gingerale and more of a cream soda with a hint of Ginger.
> Or so I have decided after lunch today.
> OK, back to work.
> ---
> Sent from Newton 2.0 (iPod Touch)

Sun PDF Import Adds PDF Editing to

If you have version 3.0 of Open Office then this extension is a must have. I am downloading as I type.

Thanks to Tim for the tip!

Sent via Google Reader:

via Lifehacker by Adam Pash on 10/22/08 only (Windows/Mac/Linux): The Sun PDF Import extension imports and edits PDFs with the free Microsoft Office alternative Rather than import the PDFs into the Writer program, the extension works with's Draw application. Once imported, you can still edit text or other portions of the document. The extension isn't perfect, but it appears to be under active development and could come in really handy under the right circumstances. The Sun PDF Import extension is free, works wherever 3.0 does. If you're looking to add more great functionality to, check out previously mentioned extensions like OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs, Writer's Tools, and LanguageTool. Want to learn more about whether can replace Office, check out our first look at the latest release.

Sun PDF Import Extension [ via MakeUseOf]

Fwd: Motorola Krave ZN4

Since the ipod Touch is the same form factor as the iPhone I was holding it up to my ear the other day to see if I could deal with giving up my flip phone. Honestly it still feels weird, somehow a phone that doesn't open like a clam shell to me just doesn't feel like a mobile phone.

Saw this the other day and wantd to remember it as a possibility in the future, that is, when it is time to retire my RAZR.

Best of both worlds, maybe?

OK, Maybe I *Do* Want a Wii

From a great comic book and almost great TV series and now to the Wii. Look what just showed up in the mail today....

Published monthly from the offices of Telltale Games in beautiful California. Visit us:!
Vol IV, # 6 Oct. 2008


If you're in North America and you're a Sam & Max fan, you're in luck! The game has shipped.

"Sam & Max does everything that a great game of this ilk should do and more besides, plus it's damn funny to boot," says the Official Nintendo Magazine, giving the game a score of 85%. GamesRadar scored the game 8 out of 10, stating that the ability to play Sam & Max "from the pleasure of your sofa with a remote in hand is the cherry on a rather fine custard pie."

Now all I need is the free time and less books to 'have' to read before I go do this.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Join Me and Please Vote Yes on California Prop 2

[, ]

Thank you! We've received your contribution.

"Thanks so much for your generous support to YES! on Prop 2 - a campaign led by Californians for Humane Farms and sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary (major funders), and other animal protection groups, family farmers, veterinarians, and public health professionals."

With everyone's help, on November 4 we'll defeat Big Agribusiness and win with a YES on Prop 2 -- and secure the most basic freedoms and humane treatment for more than 20 million farm animals.

have a safe journey

With the Dollar is coming back in value against the Euro and as we approach the end of the year, many people's thoughts are turning (back) to international travel. In the rush to get on a plane and see (or is that flee) our far flung friends and family one thing that may slip off the to-do list is to check the level, if any, of medical coverage you take with you on holiday. Does your health insurance plan cover you and your family should a medical emergency arise? Perhaps you should examine international travel insurance

At they offer same-day coverage for these trips for as little as $1 per day, and that even include emergency medical evacuation coverage. Coverage that can be provide real peace of mind, especially when traveling in areas with questionable medical facilities or where your language skills are not up to the level of a local.

You have nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain so why not give it a look. Click here for a FREE travel insurance quote.

Even if nothing goes wrong, you'll be more relaxed and can enjoy your time abroad. Happy traveling!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Thatz not tru!.... Thatz IMPOSSIBL!"

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #967, latest in the series from Adam Koford. Koford, one part George Herriman and one part meme may be best known as part of the 700 Hoboes Project, an internet meme that originated with a recording of Hodgman's recitation of the 700 hobo names from The Areas of My Expertise.

There is already one book devoted to the hobo cats. fans are eagerly awaiting his next printed endeavor.


Sent to you by idogcow via Google Reader:


via HOBOTOPIA by Adam Koford on 10/21/08

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #967, originally uploaded by Ape Lad.


Things you can do from here:


A Unique Alcohol Beverage


Sad news in the weird-ass beverage world: The joint venture between SABMiller's U.S. unit and Molson Coors Brewing Co. told distributors in a letter Monday that production of the malt liquor beverage was discontinued as of Oct. 10 2008.

Chief Marketing Officer Andy England says the decision was due to weakness in the "malternative" segment and declining consumer interest.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

HOW TO - Realistic scar with stitches

Since most of the costumes we saw in the shops this year were more horror than dress-up...

via Google Reader: HOW TO - Realistic scar with stitches


Here's a tutorial for creating your own convincing stitched wound makeup with neat results. But instead of using the article's recommended glue and acetone(!), it might be wise to try spirit gum + spirit gum remover for a more skin-friendly approach. - a VERY easy to do VERY convincing scar!

Read more articles in Halloween |

Sent from Newton 2.0 (iPod Touch)

The Great Beyond

I wonder what ever became of that those minidiscs that came with that one issue of Rolling Stone and all the "Digital Compact Cassettes."

via Google Reader:

Things you can do from here:

who's there

On Halloween, when the doorbell rings you can check to see who it is (young kids, tick or treaters for UNICEF, parents holding their small kids on their first Halloween or large groups of surly teens) and decide if you want to answer. When the phone rings you have less foresight.

Which is why, even before the election moves into the final phase we have decided to simply just not answer our phone and let the machine pick it up. Partly because the phone is on the other side of the house and partly because most of the time it is simply not a call that we want to answer. The most annoying was the robocalls that would leave voice mail on my mobile phone. There was a number at the end of the call supposedly to opt out of receiving more of these calls but a check of the leading site where you can Report Annoying Callers showed that they unwilling to do so.

The calls did stop after about a month or so, I believe as a testament to all the users comments about calls from certain number. Even before they did stop it was comforting knowing that other users had similar calls from that number.

If you get a sales call or a wrong number, you owe it to everyone to log it at and together we can make a ringing phone something worth paying attention to.

Apple's System Preference icon goes "Green"

Apple's System Preference icon goes "Green"

Filed under: , , , ,

With the introduction of EPEAT Gold rated MacBooks and MacBook Pros last week, Apple has definitely been warming up to the environmental movement lately. So, it was only fitting that they would change a small part of System Preferences to reflect the EPEAT rating.

That's right, the Energy Saver icon has changed from an old incandescent bulb to a newer, more energy-efficient fluorescent bulb. Now you will only have to change the energy saver icon every 7 years, but be careful when you dispose of the old icons because they contain mercury (just kidding).

This change has only shown up on the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Do you think Apple will eventually update their entire line to have this new icon (and, of course, be EPA Gold rated)? We definitely hope so!

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

Sent from Newton 2.0 (iPod Touch)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Years or Months

Seems there is a youtube video (aluded to on On the Media) where a man asks atendees at a Palin rally how well they know Barack or Palin. Seems the people there either feel they know SP better (or feel they have to) despite her short time on the world stage as compared to BO.

Race as a factor or something else. Food for thought. ...

Sent from Newton 2.0 (iPod Touch)

Do You Yahoo!?
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Robbie Coltrane: Incredible Britain

On Weekend Edition Sunday, (October 19, 2008) NPR interviewed Robbie Coltrane, (perhaps best known for playing Hagrid the Giant in the Harry Potter films) to talk about his new DVDs. In Robbie Coltrane: Incredible Britain, the actor and comedian drives on country roads from London to Glasgow, Scotland, uncovering unusual local traditions along the way, including a motorcycle hearse and the weighing of the Mayor.

Any bets as to whether Netflix has this? If they do, how long of a wait do you think it will be after this interview ran? Somehow I think NPR listeners and Netflix subscribers have a high correlation.

go with the pro

I got my haircut this week end and the woman looked me up in their database, commented how long it had been since I had been there (I mumbled a quick 'sorry' and an "I was busy,' although I am not sure why, exactly.) and then asked me if I wanted a 'number four' again. I said, sure and she started to get to work. After a few moments I thought to myself, what exactly is a number four and since it had been something like two months since I had been there I doubt she remembered who I was.

After a bit of a panic I decided to relax and just let them do their job, since I rarely have to look at my own hair (thus explaining the state I let it get to) and eventually it would grow out no matter what the result was. Besides, I had been there before and liked what they did so it was not too important to worry, especially since I had a coupon so the total cost would be minimal. When it comes to more expensive and important things like web hosting I like to think I would be more choosy, which is why even if you already have a provider it never hurts to check the web hosting rating score of the many providers out there.

If you are looking for a new web hosting service or want to see how your current one stacks up against the competition, you need to take a look at Even if you are not due to renegotiate your contract any time soon, insightful articles like "The Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux Hosting" can make you a more educated consumer and more education almost invariably leads to saving money. These days, you can never save enough money and money in your pocket at the end of the month can make all the difference in staying in the black and on the web.

Found on the Web: Truthful TV Title Cards


Over at someone more clever than I decides that if TV shows had to tell the truth they would have title cards that look like this. From their post it seems that they knocked these out while waiting for the phone guy to leave.

I don' t think I could have made these given a month of Sundays. Check out all the rest. Those who watch more TV than I will appreciate the others not shown here.

Apple TV

The new mac ad. Well done, Apple but does make Mac look a little petty?

Does Apple still have their massive t-shirt budget or was that 'steve-d' long ago? I wonder how well these ads are helping the cause. Glad to see they are still running them despite the latest ads from Microsoft mocking them for it. Reminds me of the old days, when choice of OS really felt like it mattered.

VMware Fusion Evaluation

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enjoy the software!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

BBC Television


Watching reruns of Doctor Who ( "The Age of Steel") in preparation for the 2008 Christams special I noticed that their creator, " John Lumic" looked somewhat familiar and sounded very familiar. Turns out he was played by Roger Lloyd Pack who after a bit of searching *was* familiar because he was Owen Newitt on The Vicar of Dibley as well as Barty Crouch, Sr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (making him David Tennant's on-screen father.)

Oddly, this showed up as a headline in today's Daily Mail, "Vicar of Dibley could return to TV screens as a bishop, Dawn French reveals." The Vicar of Dibley could be making a return to our TV screens - as a woman bishop. Dawn French told an audience at Cheltenham Literature Festival that she believes writer Richard Curtis has a new series about her best-loved character up his sleeve, despite the show (currently) having ended with Geraldine's wedding.

Albert Frey Fun Fact

[, ]

This fun fact is brought to you by the wifi at Starbucks, the San José Public Library system and Alan Hess. Albert Frey was once the employee of architect Le Corbusier. You may know Mr. Frey from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Valley Station and the iconic "flying wedge" canopy of the Tramway Gas Station at the foot of the entrance to the tramway on the northern edge of Palm Springs– now used as the city's visitor's center.

When at Starbucks, try the oatmeal with nuts and brown sugar. I did and I approve this message.

Friday, October 17, 2008

hand free makes light work

If you look at the pictures of the latest Apple MacBook in its disassembled state you see just how small motherboards and the guts that make up a modern computer have gotten. I myself have just bought an iPod Touch and am amazed at how it has in many ways supplanted my laptop for casual lunch time browsing, and given the number of other people I see outside or on the train with the iPod, iPhone or other smart phone you know I am not alone.

The biggest drawback as far as I can see and from what I have read is the keyboard. At some point when you need to do moderate to serious data entry you will have to interact with your tool of choice and that usually means typing. The smaller the device the smaller the keyboard - whether a real keyboard of sorts on the Google / T-mobile Android G1, the Palm series or a EEE or a virtual one like the Apple iPhone and small keyboards means loads of backspacing and retyping. Plus, if you are driving you really should not be typing at all.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 10 PreferredSo wouldn't it be great if there was a better way to enter data? If you are looking for a better way too, don't raise your hand, raise your voice: why not try Dragon Naturally Speaking? Use it to capture articles and blog entries on the go. Dictate articles in airports into a computer, use a voice recorder to capture my on-site observations or story notes and transcribed by Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred into text. Read the Dragon Reviews and see for yourself, better yet try Dragon’s typing speed test!

John Cleese Calls Sarah Palin a Parrot

[, , ]

In a recent interview Monty Python's John Cleese compared Sarah Palin to a parrot, saying this whole situation could have been written by them only it wasn't.

He also claims the Alaskan governor is funnier than former Python Michael Palin - agree with him or not, the guy does know a thing or two about parrots.

Deer Delivered by Caesarean After Mother Killed by a Car


Born three weeks early after his mother was hit by a car, Rupert was just six inches tall and 500 grams, a little more than a bag of sugar. But staff at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire believe Rupert, as he has been named, will make a full recovery after his dramatic arrival.

Full story and pictures to just melt your heart available at the Mail Online. Lots of other great stuff there as well, plan to stay and read awhile.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

help is out there

While most other PC makers fight viciously over pricing, perhaps because it’s the only factor on which they can differentiate, few of them bother trying to make better computers — just build bland, plastic wrappers around Intel’s latest chipsets. (Sony and Lenovo, this time I am not talking about you.) None can offer better software because they all ship the same version of Windows, that is they are stuck with whatever version of Vista is shipping from Microsfot. Additionally, they all seem, for whatever reason so far, incapable of producing Apple-like marketing or advertising. And none of them who’ve tried have been able to do their own retail stores successfully, remember the Gateway 'farm' stores? This leaves price as all they have.

At the latest Apple laptop event, Apple COO Tim Cook showed two pie charts. One showed the Mac’s unit share in the U.S. retail market at 18 percent, up from “a single digit number, just a few years ago”. Cook then drops the bombshell and the key point you need to grasp in understanding Apple’s Macintosh business: “... what’s more impressive than this is if you look at revenue share. Because we focus on fully-featured systems, and we don’t compromise on quality, our revenue share is over 31 percent. That means that one out of every three dollars that’s spent on computers in U.S. retail is spent on the Macintosh. What a difference a few years makes.”

Of course, when you have a computer question and can't find an Apple Store or Dell retail location, you may want to turn to Answers Portal. has an extensive collection of answers related to computing, one of them is sure to get you back up and running fast! Need help straightening out the difference between a VCD and a DVD? The surf over and discover a technical portal designed to educate computer users on all the hot issues present and the great technologies available in our world today.

Learn from others while helping yourself and others yet to come at

Palin As President Fun

The Washington Post calls, "arguably the most elaborately detailed spoof of the Oval Office's possible future inhabitants yet created. The carefully constructed interactive site appears to have hit the Web in the past 24 hours (just in time to be played during tonight's final presidential debate) and pokes fun at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. [...] But this much is clear -- the creator is no Palinite."

Click through to the site to see a smiling Palin sitting behind a desk, an American flag to her right and an Alaskan flag with a beauty pageant sash spelling out "Miss Wasilla" to her left. A rifle falls from the drapes, which brings the eyes to a framed photo of Sen. John McCain in a cowboy hat and a flat screen. Click on the computer screen and you get a stock ticker showing teen pregnancy up and the Dow down. (Keep watching the scroll and it shows war up and ice caps down.)

There's plenty to click on - and listen to, too.

Odd Dream

The other night I had a very odd dream. I was at the DMV and was taking a test for a new licence and the last question was "this movie from 2002 made this profession popular." Before I could turn my test in and get the answer I woke up.

I managed to get bck to sleep but still never got to get the question answered! Any help from the blogosphere?

Sent from Newton 2.0

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama Plays the Race Card


A first many thought this was a clever Photoshop hack but now it can has been taken as fact.

“I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout (Paradise),” said Holly Rockwood, director of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, the game’s publisher.

Reported at Gigaohm. Full disclosure: I was not clever enough to come up with the headline.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

take me out

When it come to picking out your Halloween Costumes for the year, I always like them to be topical, comfortable and affordable. Sure a gorilla suit is always in fashion but what fun is that after the first five minutes and it is time to have some snacks or drinks? It was always much easier when you were a kid, you simply dressed in your favourite TV or book character or else you simply went as a pirate or 'an Indian.' And you always did the Tick or Treat for UNICEF because it meant more candy, er, it was the right thing to do. (It took us a while to see why but we did in the end).

As an adult the rules are all different. There is the 'couples costume' issue to think about, if that applies. If you are a woman there is also the 'Sexy ___' issue. You know, where you take a men's costume, show some cleavage or a little leg and it becomes 'sexy.' Easy but do you really want to go to work as a sexy elmo? I mean, you do have to show up to work again on Monday.

Me? I always wanted to go as Adam Ant but could never find just the right "dandy highwayman" jacket. Fortunately, with the great selection and low prices at I may have to rethink this year's endevour....

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Picassa Albums

After a recent post I noticed a note that said my blog has its own album. So I decided to go through my Picassa album attached to this blog and found a whole bunch of favourites and things I had forgotten and some I have absolutely no idea why they are there.
From Cheap-ass guy for the Poor Guy

I was hoping it would show me a link to the page that I had used this image in but no such luck. Sometimes I wonder what they do all day at Google and then sometimes I hear about 'email goggles' and I really wonder what they do all day at Google. On the plus side, when my train broke down yesterday I was more than happy to use their free public wifi to use my iPod to send emails.

Don't FireWire Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes


So it looks like I have an obsolete MacBook now with he release of the newest product from the good folks in Cupertino. I knew it was bound to happen sooner rather than later given the 'free ipod' inducement but in reading the specs of the new gearI am not so sure I have been burned.

No FireWire on the new non-pro gear? I guess you can claim that it is becoming a novelty and less of a must-have but if so, then why do the MacBook Pros still have the connector???

Monday, October 13, 2008

stretch that dollar and work the euro

Regular readers of this blog know that when I am not on top of my soap box I am stressing free and cheap goods and services. But every now and then I feel like it is important to point out that cheap in and of itself is not always a virtue. Frugality is a much better value to cherish since cheap people rarely have fun and quite often end up kicking themselves for missed opportunities. Heaven knows I have done my own share of self-abuse (no jokes please).

Which is why again today I stress that when you are looking for web hosting, don't just look at the total cost but at the vale received for the money spent. The best way I have found to do this is to look at the offers at and see how to make your money go as far as you can. They measure things like customer satisfaction, affordability, reliability, uptime and technical support so you can see exactly where your check is going toward each month.

So if they are looking for a web hosting service or a new web hosting service, check them out. Be sure to read their article section, especially the one on the Calculating the Cost of Colocation. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised and have a better ROI to boot.
idogcow. Get yours at

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