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27 April, 2003

Harmonica Lessons

Here's an excellent site for harmonica players (and harmonica player wannabes).

Particularly notable is a list of songs that feature a harmonica. The list shows the song key, along with the correct key harmonica and playing notes.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

An Email From a Jerk

There are many jerks in this world. This morning, I had an encounter with one of them.

Some guy sends me an email that starts out:

I have a work project due in about a week and I can't figure out a formula. Please help me out.

I get about a dozen emails like this each day. I'm certainly not in a position to answer everyone's Excel questions, so I normally reply with a boilerplate message that explains how to get answers to such questions. A copy of my message is here.

So this clueless imbecile replied:

I'm a computer trouble shooting teacher at xxxxxxx High School in xxxxxx and I was going to recommend your Excel book for next years Excel class, but you can kiss my ass since you didn't even bother to send me a personal reply to my questions. Instead, you sent and [sic] pre-typed reply. If you don't have time to answer people's questions then don't display your email on your stupid web site. You'll save people in search for answers a lot of time. Once again, thanks asshole.

Oh, so that's the way it works! Anybody who puts their email address on a web site should feel obligated to answer stupid questions asked by anyone who happens to hit the site. Stupid me.

He's a trouble-shooting teacher? As such, he should know how to find answers on the Internet. And he should also know that most people don't provide free consulting to total strangers.

The question he asked, by the way, is a common one. It's asked about a half-dozen times each week in the Excel newsgroups. The answer can be found in Excel's Help system, or by a search at Google.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

Unusual Signs

Attrition.org has a great collection of weird sign photos.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

No More Telemarketers

I figured out how to put an end to the daily barrage of telemarketing calls. I had my phone service disconnected this morning. That should do it.

From now on, I'm a cell phone only kinda guy.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

I Won!

One week ago, I clicked one of those obnoxious banner ads disguised as a jiggling message box:

Clicking that ad led me to a site called theuseful.com. To collect my prize, I was asked to fill out a short survey, which I did. The survey was not exactly short, but I was urged on by messages promising that "you are almost done!" The survey, of course, asked for all kinds of personal information -- which I provided. Of course I used a fake name, address, and phone number, and I set up a throw-away email account.

I'm still not sure what my prize is for being the hourly contest winner. All I have to show is 167 spam emails.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

Comic Book Covers: Best and Worst

Here is a collection of the 25 all-time best comic covers. And here's a collection of a dozen dumb comic book covers.

That Rifleman comic (listed among the worst covers) looks very familiar. I'm pretty sure that I owned it when I was a kid.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

The Incredible Bookman

A bookshelf shaped like a man.

He measures 70 inches high by 45 inches wide and is made from Mahogany, although other woods can be used. Shelves are best adapted to books beneath 8 inches in height.

(via Iconomy)

Posted on 27 April, 2003

Empathy Belly

The Empathy Belly is...

...a Pregnancy Simulator, which is a multi-component, weighted "garment" that will, through accurate simulation, enable male and female wearers to experience more than 20 of the typical symptoms and effects of pregnancy.

But if you're tempted to order one, read the fine print:

PLEASE NOTE: "The Empathy Belly" cannot be loaned out, rented, or sold to the general public. It is sold as part of a comprehensive teaching module, and therefore sold only to professionals in the medical, educational, and social fields.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

3D and Nothing But 3D

This site specializes in 3D imaging. This rotating 3D Girl is pretty good.

Posted on 27 April, 2003


Every once in a while, I'll read a weblog post that inspires me to take action. Here's a link to such a post. Although we lack the proper hardware, our barbecued ribs came out pretty well yesterday.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

No More Griping?

One of my favorite columnists, Ed Foster, has written his final "Gripe Line" column for InfoWorld.

Because the gripes I've been covering here show no sign of stopping, I'm not going to stop addressing them, either. It's my intention to keep publishing this column or one very much like it. To do so, I'm going to borrow a little from the open-source philosophy and publish an e-mail newsletter that is free to all who want to read it. And, if possible, I'd also like to keep it ad-free because gripes and ads don't really mix.

You can visit Ed's new site, and sign up for his newsletter here.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

New York City vs. Amsterdam

This is a great concept: A photographic comparison of New York City and Amsterdam.

Photographer Ron and reporter Jeroen go back a long time. Both living in the Netherlands, and working for music magazine WATT... They got to know each other pretty good, via e-mail. They both bought a Nikon Coolpix and e-mailed pics of their hometowns NYC and ASD, which sometimes happened to make these interesting combinations with similarities and/or differences.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

Building Big

From PBS. Lots of interesting information about bridges, domes, skyscrapers, dams, and tunnels.

Explore large structures and what it takes to build them with BUILDING BIG, a five-part PBS television series and Web site from WGBH Boston.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

I Don't Hate Flash

A few days ago I wrote a mild rant about web sites that use Flash. Just to make things perfectly clear, I don't hate Flash. Not at all. It's great for games and clever demos. Here's an example of some worthy Flash apps. And check this out (very cool).

What I don't like are web sites that rely on Flash to present all of their content.

Posted on 27 April, 2003

Web Collage

A program that displays random web images in a collage:

WebCollage is a program that creates collages out of random images found on the Web. More images are being added to the collage about once a minute, so this page will reload itself periodically. Clicking on one of the images in the collage will take you to the page on which it was found. It finds the images by feeding random words into various search engines, and pulling images (or sections of images) out of the pages returned.

(via MetaFilter)

Posted on 27 April, 2003

Happy Birthday Browser

Web browser software begins its second decade.

On April 22, 1993, a group of students at the University of Illinois released a piece of computer code designed to get information from various public networks.

Little did they know that their pet project, a humble application named Mosaic, would fundamentally change everyday life. While Web browsers with graphical interfaces had traded hands among academics years earlier, Mosaic was the first to be widely adopted and introduce the masses to the Internet.

And little did they know that their pet project would evolve into an ad-delivering mechanism that annoys millions of people every day.

Posted on 27 April, 2003