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7 January, 2004

Misspelled Words From Dr. Language

Here's a list of the 100 Most Often Misspelled Words in English.

Dr. Language has provided a one-stop cure for all your spelling ills. Here are the 100 words most often misspelled ('misspell' is one of them). Each word has a mnemonic pill with it and, if you swallow it, it will help you to remember how to spell the word. Master the orthography of the words on this page and reduce the time you spend searching dictionaries by 50%.

(via gammatron phase ii)

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Trippy Visuals

View some impressive Psychedelic Art. Trippy animated Java applets.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Popping Bubble Wrap

I've seen a few virtual bubble wrap popping apps, but this one has a manic mode.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Viewing Comments

This new blog format has been in effect for more than a week. I'm really enjoying the comments in response to my posts. Amazingly, I haven't had to delete a single comment so far.

Today I added a new comment-related feature, which can be found in the VIEWS section of the left-side menu: View Comments. This takes you to a page that lists:

  • The top-20 entries, ranked by the number of comments
  • The last 10 comments posted, with a brief excerpt from each

This new feature uses code provided by Lynda's pMachine Hacks. Great stuff there!

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Foiled Again

It happened in Washington state: Friends foil Olympia man's home.

A guy goes out of town, and when he returns he finds that every object in his house is wrapped in aluminum foil. Well, everything except one item:

A lone unfoiled book with a pointed message sits in Chris Kirk's bookcase. The title of the book is "Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends."

(via Fark)

Posted on 7 January, 2004

The Hard Sell For Girl Scout Cookies

Here's an article about sales training for Girl Scouts: Girl Scouts prepare hard sell for cookie season.

Cookie season is only a few weeks away and some Girl Scouts are being trained not to take no for an answer this year. To prepare for the two-month season, which begins Jan. 17, a few dozen scouts gathered Sunday at a church in Plymouth for the second annual cookie-sale workshop.

And they even train these kids how to reply to the "I already bought some" excuse -- which is the one I always use.

Cookie sellers were coached to appeal to people's patriotism: You don't have to eat the cookies, you can donate them to troops overseas.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Microsoft's Anti-Linux Ads

From Wired: Microsoft Ads Called Bogus.

Open-source advocates are crying foul over a new ad campaign from Microsoft that claims that Windows-based systems cost less in the long run than Linux-based systems.

Ads for the campaign, which were unveiled on Monday and will appear in online and print publications, refer potential customers to a section of the Microsoft website where they can "get the facts" on Windows and Linux. There, visitors can view what Microsoft calls "independent analyses" of the two operating systems.

How independent are these analyses?

Of the eight research reports featured on the campaign website, five are clearly marked as having been commissioned by Microsoft; and one was written by Microsoft itself, but contains an attached audit from an independent firm. It's unclear whether the last two were sponsored.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Antique Cop Shots

Here's Jim Casey's very good collection of Antique Police Photos.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Things Creationists Hate

Here's an interesting list: Things Creationists Hate.

The following is not meant to be an all-inclusive list, nor is it meant to characterize the views of all creationists. But there are certainly some, if not most, who can be so characterized. The main objects of my satire, for so it is intended, are the young-Earth, biblical-literalist types, although other genera of creationists may detect some of their views skewered here also.

(via The Ultimate Insult)

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Celebrity Caricatures

I think this is one of the best Worth 1000 Photoshop contests ever: Celebrity Caricatures.

Caricature artists often exaggerate prominent facial features to make their subjects more recognizable, and also, funnier looking. It's an easy laugh, to be sure,  but it's fun. In this contest, you will enlarge or shrink a *facial feature* on any celebrity, preferably to amusing proportions.

Here's Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

A Tale Of Two Body Shops

This morning I set out to get some estimates to repair my recent light post vs. SUV mishap.

Body Shop #1
This place had a skuzzy-looking office, with photos of smashed cars on the wall. The guy I spoke with seemed distracted and hurried. He spent about 45 seconds looking at the damage, and then sat down at his computer to prepare the estimate. In the meantime he answered about six phone calls. Eventually he handed me the estimate sheet: $643. I asked how long it would take, and he said I'd have to leave the car there for 4-6 hours.

Body Shop #2
This place had a very nice office, with a receptionist. She paged the owner, and he came out to inspect the vehicle. He was a pleasant guy, and he spent about 10 minutes giving it a very thorough examination. We went back to his office (no crashed car photos) and he prepared the estimate. He even made a phone call to verify that the bumper was the correct one. He explained how the estimating software works, and gave me some insights into various insurance companies. Total cost: $540, and he could do it as soon as tomorrow. It would take about an hour.

Guess which one gets my business?

Posted on 7 January, 2004

A Gzip Experiment

I found an interesting article by Scriptygoddess: Compressing Webpages for Fun and Profit.

...What if I told you that you can third your content easily with no work on your part whatsoever? It sounds like a pitch I might get in a lovely unsolicited email. The secret lies in the fact that every major browser of the past 5 years supports transparently decompressing content on the fly.

The trick is to use some simple PHP code at the top of the page. This code compresses the content using gzip. But before sending the compressed content, it checks the header to make sure that the browser can uncompress it.

I made a copy of my main page that uses this technique. Please try it, and let me know (in the Comments) if you notice any speed difference. If so, I'll make the change to all of my pages. This technique seems to offer the best of both worlds: faster load times and reduced bandwidth. The difference, if any, will probably be most noticeable by dial-up users and those with slow connections.

Here's a site that lets you enter a URL, and it will tell you if the document uses gzip encoded content. You'll find, for example, that Google and Slashdot use it.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Steve McCurry Photography

Photos by Steve McCurry. I'm sure you'll recognize some of them.

Steve McCurry, recognized universally as one of today's finest image makers, has won many of photography's top awards. Best known for his evocative color photography, McCurry, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy. Member of Magnum Photos since 1986, McCurry has searched and found the unforgettable; many of his images have become modern icons.

I commend Steve on his no-nonsense Web site. Not a trace of Flash to be found!

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Opt Out With Confidence?

From the Philadelphia Inquirer: With anti-spam law, it's time to adjust e-mail habits.

For a long time, conventional wisdom was to never click on a link that purportedly offered a chance to reject further unsolicited commercial e-mail.

"You'll just be verifying that they've reached an active e-mail address," the warning went. I've offered that advice myself, and followed it assiduously. It's time to get over it, for two reasons.

One is that the law's intent is to give us a genuine opportunity to say, "Enough!" CAN-SPAM requires that every commercial e-mail include a working opt-out link. And it requires the sender - that is, the person or company whose product is advertised - to honor your choice within 10 days.

The other is that spammers weren't identifying active addresses that way, anyway - they had more sophisticated tools at their disposal.

Apparently, he's serious. He concludes the article with:

"Opt out with confidence."

 I wonder how many people are actually going to read their spam and follow the opt-out instructions? Not me. I have absolutely no confidence  in the CAN-SPAM act.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

George-In-The-Box

George-in-the-Box... $30 will get you a Jack-in-the-box toy that features George W. Bush.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Two-Letter Domain Names

Here's a comprehensive list of two-letter domain names, and who owns them.

Oddly, xl.com has nothing to do with spreadsheets. The company makes switching products.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

Drawing On Acid

What happens when an artist takes LSD? Look at this series of drawings and find out.

These 9 drawings were done by an artist under the influence of LSD -- part of a test conducted by the US government during it's dalliance with psychotomimetic drugs in the late 1950's. The artist was given a dose of LSD 25 and free access to an activity box full of crayons and pencils. His subject is the medico that jabbed him.

The drawing shown here was done about six hours after the first dose.

Posted on 7 January, 2004

CABUM

Read about this interesting organization called CABUM: Citizens' Association to Blow Up the Moon.

We are a group of citizens from all walks of life who share a common realization and thus a common goal: the Moon is our enemy and must be destroyed. We are dedicated to the pursuit of this goal via lobbying efforts, education of the public, and independent scientific endeavors.

(via Attu Sees All)

Posted on 7 January, 2004