Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tired of The Briefing mini-newspaper and phonebooks?

The Dallas Morning News started delivering a mini-newspaper called The Briefing some months back in a new marketing attempt to appeal to young people (because Baby Boomers will let you have their daily paper and coffee when you pry it from their cold, dead hands, according to a recent Modern Marvels entitled Retro Tech).

The delivery subcontractors for The Briefing have the throwing skills of a drunken robot with a few too many broken servos. Most of these things end up as mini-speed bumps. I even saw one paper stuck to a dew-moistened, high-angled hood of a mini-van across the street. Whether these things are actually getting to your sidewalk or lawn, they're really piling up everywhere.

The Dallas Morning News has evidently relented and is giving us a way to feel better about their litter. If you call 214-977-8333 and give them your address, they'll theoretically stop delivering The Briefing to your home.

To stop the phonebooks from piling up, try this:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seattle seems a bit far away

It's been a little over two months since Kearstin and I visited Seattle for our tenth anniversary. It was basically our first real vacation/trip ever (not counting camping or in-state travel). I've either got to repeat that experience or the blackjack in St. Louis (brief layover took us to Harrah's) relatively soon.

Maybe just making good on our idea of going to the Farmers Market more frequently would help.. Seattle's Pike Place Market is quite a bit different, but I'm betting we'll at least appreciate the Dallas FM more now.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Great site with tech, tweaks/optimization, free app list, free game list

I came across this site because I was searching for some computer hardware that was hard to classify into or glean out of technical specification documents.

"Andrew K.," as he likes to be called, has put up an awesome website on his Comcast personal homepage space. Here's a sampling of the categorical links on the site.

  • Free Games - Andrew breaks the list down into lots of categories, describing each game with a mini-review, and providing direct-download and homepage links for each. Every game in the list is pre-qualified as being fully-functional rather than a demo or shareware (anybody remember the floppy-playable Wolfenstein 3D?).
  • Free Programs - Lots of useful programs, arranged much like the game list. There are solutions for problems you really didn't know you had--like "Flexible Renamer" (come on, everybody's got their own favorite way of naming MP3s they'd use if they didn't have to rename them by hand, one at a time--this program gives you that ability!). I also found a zip program (IZArc) that I'm now recommending in place of my beloved 7-Zip.
  • Windows XP Optimization - Even the novice can benefit greatly from some of these simple modifications. Andrew doesn't bog you down in lengthy detailed instructions--instead presenting the information very clearly and in a linear fashion when necessary. Some of these procedures are slight variations on things I already do, so keep an eye out on my blog for some of my own tips.
  • Windows XP Myths - Like most everything on this site, these myths lean toward "hidden secrets" that are useful for the Power User. He covers the 4GB memory limit being experienced by more people because RAM is much cheaper and boards support more memory than they used to. Most , defrag 'tips', and generally a lot of constructive criticism of performance 'tips' that have crept up over the years from geeks training each other.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fast food tweaks

WARNING: This post is about one of those inane little things that blogs have become known for.

I have a couple of preferences when ordering from Taco Bell. One of these is that I order my bean burritos without "red sauce," but I ask for Hot and Fire sauces.

My initial reason was that I didn't like the taste of that crimson curse to the burrito. I also used to be sensitive to spicy foods.

Now, I know that it's the best way to get a fresh burrito because they pre-make the regular and no-onions varieties. How's that for a tweak? Anybody else have fast food tweaks for getting better, fresher, faster, or otherwise adjective-adjusted food?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

90 degrees of vertical

Friday started very strangely.  Nathaniel and I were in a bit of rush.  I had things
to do and he needed to get to school.

We were in my 1991 Ford Ranger extended cab heading south on Plano Parkway out of
The Colony. We didn't quite make it to Carrollton. We stopped about 100 yards short
because my truck wouldn't move any further.

We had come over a hill and around a big curve. Approaching the Windhaven Parkway
light always makes me a little nervous because you never know what the traffic light
will do. This time it changed when we were about 100 yards from Windhaven, which (again) is
about 100 yards from Carrollton.

With an impending red light and my driving sense of lawful duty, I slammed on my
brakes. The incline and forward dip of the braking pickup further lightened the
light truck's rearend. As a civic-minded individual bound by dividing lines, both literal and
metaphorical, I turned my wheel slightly to the right to stay within my lane. This
allowed the rearend to beginning swinging forward on the left--my vehicle now
careened closer to the right curb (I don't think this is the first time I've
careened, but that's a musing for another time.). One of my front tires struck the
curb and the truck tipped.

This is the point where we were airborne for a brief time. While my taillight
waited to collide with the street and my fender anticipated a curb impact, my front
bumper tried to take out a couple of dry desert plants in the flower bed. Then we
landed and came to a fairly quick halt after a momentary rocking.

I paused and kind of took inventory of the situation while kicking myself for
allowing the loss of control. Looking to the right at my son involved looking "up."
Nathaniel said, "I'm scared." I told him there was nothing to be scared of and
that everything was going to be okay. Of course, I hadn't thought of the other cars
that might not see us or otherwise collide with us and I wasn't the one hanging
sideways from his seatbelt.

I have to say that the belts definitely did their job. Officer Martin later
commented on how improper seatbelt usage has made rollovers into pitiful messes.

Several physical forces and events aligned that morning to allow my truck to tip
over. The hand of God prevented us from going over all the way or somehow becoming
much worse. Folks, I'm driving this truck again. I've got a broken taillight and a
couple of small cracks in the corner of my windshield, but no broken bones or glass.
Praise the Lord.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

boy: "I love my ears"

This is from a really old cell phone video of my son, Nathaniel, being quite silly. Picasa loaded up my videos along with my photos. I was hoping the "blog this" option would post the video, but it looks as though it's ended up as an image.
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