What are the odds?

•October 19, 2006 • 1 Comment

I have a couple of watches that I normally wear, and most are automatic watches (the kind that winds up as you move), and I have one watch that is a manual wind up.

I had been wearing a watch for weeks and I decide one morning that I should change, so I go pickup the manual windup watch, that I have not worn for months. I’m about to wind it up and set the the time and realize that I don’t need to, as the current time ws 7:28am and that is exactly the time that was on the watch (checked my treo also, same time). All I had to do was wind it up.

So now that I’m thinking about it and blogging this, the odds of me picking up a stopped watch at the exact time that it was stopped is 1:1440. So it’s high, but not sure how that compares to other odds, so I searched around and found some sites that listed various odds, the first is light-hearted

http://funny2.com/odds.htm

The second being very macarbe, listing all the various odds of dying at the national safety council site.

http://www.nsc.org/lrs/statinfo/odds.htm

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Xtreme Sport Shooting

•August 16, 2006 • 2 Comments

This guy is incredible. Who knew that there was an Xtreme shooting sport. Almost makes you belive in the outlandish action heroes in some of the latest crop of Hollywood action shoot-em-up movies.

SessionSaver Extension for Firefox

•October 21, 2005 • Leave a Comment

One of the main reasons I use Firefox is for the tabbed-browsing interface. Once you start heavily using tabs, you end up with lots of tabs open all the time, all with different context and histories.
If the browser crashes or you close it, then you lose all this context and history.

A great extension that I’ve been using for about 3 months now is SessionSaver , the extension remembers that state of all your tabs and restores them all when you startup Firefox again.
It remembers all the browser history in all of the tabs also, so the back button works. It even remembers text that you’ve typed. It has a simple mode where it just restores the last state of your browser. The expert mode lets you create and name sessions and switch between them.

Now what I really need is a session saver that would let me transfer sessions between computers (work and home).

Download the extension at https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=436 

DRM

•October 19, 2005 • Leave a Comment

Doug Crockford   has a really nice piece on Digital Rights Management   and why it is ultimately doomed to failure. Well worth a read.

“Ultimately, DRM will fail. The theoretical foundations of DRM are weak. In the long term, the Studios will be forced to abandon DRM, either because of consumer backlash, or because circumvention becomes so common that DRM becomes an annoyance to the Studios. For example, consumers like having the right to copy, and in some cases will pay more for content that comes with that right. Indeed, this is what the Studios are counting on. The obvious thing for a pirate to do is to produce copies that have no restrictions. This is the only way they can make product with higher value than the Studio product. So, instead of preventing piracy, DRM enables and encourages piracy.”

Figuring out what all those processes on XP are

•October 17, 2005 • 1 Comment

d25c

My windows XP boxes have all been acting up and looking at the task manager shows dozens and dozens of processes running. So much junk gets installed by the manufacturer (my Thinkpad easily has 20 custom processes that run just to make all the special features work), and other programs install all sorts of other things that run in the background. I needed to find out what some of these things did so that I could either disable them at startup or deinstall the programs.

I found 2 things that I found pretty useful. First is a freeware utility and service called What Process? (see screenshot). This utility shows you a list of all running processes on your machine, from that list you can then click thru to a web directory that gives you more information on each program. For instance this is what the programs wmiprvse.exe does.

Another service that provide a directory of processes is ProcessLibrary.com. This provides a search and directory of Windows Processes. This generally has more detail than “What Process?”, but is not as comprhensive.

After all these years of using Windows, I still feel like it’s Black Magic. I never felt that way about U*nx. Sigh! Makes you wish for a Mac…. 

Speeding up Firefox

•October 14, 2005 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been using Firefox now for about 8 months, but one of the things that always bothered me was that it was slower in rendering that IE. Two of my biggest pain points are My Yahoo! and Gizmodo .
With My Yahoo!, we actually specifically layed out the page in a certain way so that it would start rendering as soon as it started downloading, but that never quite worked with Firefox, and in fact was significantly slower. Gizmodo on the other other hand had all sorts of issues with Firefox where the page is constantly flashing and graphics move around the page as it downloads, very disconcerting and slow.

Today I ran across a firefox extension called FasterFox . It’s an extension that changes settings like the cache size, DNS cache, max network connections, pipelining and rendering delay. I tried it out not expecting much and was very surprised to see that my two pain points were much better. My Yahoo! now renders much faster and does not do alot of dynamic resizing as it downloads. Gizmodo is also much better, not all the issues are fixed, but it’s at least acceptable.

I definitly recommend this extension if you use Firefox. One thing that I would advise is to go into the prefrences and put FasterFox into Custom mode and turn off “Enable Enhanced PreFetching”. I don’t think this is a good feature as your browser will sit there pre-fetching all the links on your page. Most of the links you are unlikely to click on, so it’s not very friendly to these sites.

Ongoing using VOIP for conference calls

•October 13, 2005 • Leave a Comment

So in this weeks staff meeting we used the same Phoenix device but used Skype instead to do pc-2-pc calling to John in London. 2 things to report about the experience. First the call kept getting dropped and we had to dial in again. Secondly the voice quality on our side was not as good as Y! Messenger (from the week before). John sounded very ‘tinnny’ and it did not sound natural, sound more like a polycom conf call over the phone lines. Last week, it certainly felt like John was in the room.