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12 April, 2004

Excel Chart Tricks

Excel's charting features can best be described as "somewhat less than adequate." If you create charts in Excel, you need to know about two web sites that teach you all of the workarounds:

Both sites are excellent, and highly recommended.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Andy Rooney On Iraq

Whenever I think of Andy Rooney, the word curmudgeon pops into my head. Can't help it. But in any case, here's what he has to say about the war: Our soldiers in Iraq aren't heroes.

We must support our soldiers in Iraq because it's our fault they're risking their lives there. However, we should not bestow the mantle of heroism on all of them for simply being where we sent them. Most are victims, not heroes.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

To The Moon, Alice

From CNN: Personalized moon crash for sale on eBay.

Better hurry, and bring along at least $6 million. That's the opening bid on eBay for crashing 22 pounds of whatever personal cargo you want to lob to the moon.

Condition of the cargo cannot be guaranteed after the 4,000 mph impact, Orbital Development explains, although the cargo is contained within a special burst-resistant canister.

Everything that I'd like to send to the moon weighs more than 22 pounds.

(Thanks Craig Batten)

Posted on 12 April, 2004


Now here's an impressive collection of graphics: Mayang's Free Textures. You'll find more than 1,400 high-resolution photos that depict a variety of textures.

The 1600 x 1200 version of this peeling paint would make an excellent desktop wallpaper graphic.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

More Easter Bunny News

From FOX News (not The Onion): Easter Bunny Whipped by Pennsylvania Church Group.

A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Asteroid Simulation

Now you can determine what will happen if an asteroid of any size you choose hits the earth: Earth Impact Effects Program. Courtesy of Robert Marcus, H. Jay Melosh, and Gareth Collins of the University of Arizona.

The results are numerical values only -- No graphics.

(Thanks L.R. Fish)

Posted on 12 April, 2004


Images of women, displayed using ASCII characters: ASCII Babes.

(via List)

Posted on 12 April, 2004


You'll find some very cool products listed at Modern Contemporary Design.

For example, check out the lighting products from Jeremy Lord (unfortunately, their Web site is terrible).

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Building A Castle

Bishop Castle, in Colorado, may be...

...The Largest One Man Construction Project in the Country, quite possibly the World!


Jim Bishop is now 59 years young and his dream is to see just how much one man can build in a single lifetime!

Construction began in June of 1969 and has been a continuous process ever since, the summer of 2003 marking the project's 34th year.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Real Estate Celebrities

Since we're in the process of selling two properties and buying another, this is interesting to me: The Celebrities of Real Estate.

It's just a collection of ads by real estate agents.

I always get a kick out of the photos that show the agent on the phone (a very common pose). C'mon on... I know you're a busy professional, but just put the phone down for 10 seconds while you get your picture taken.

This is just one of several features at SharpeWorld.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

$149 To Receive Attachments In Outlook Express

From Ed Foster's Gripelog: Shame on Dell, or Shame on Microsoft?

A reader relates this story about an acquaintance who had recently purchased a new Dell for around $1,600. "Her new computer had Windows XP, Home Edition, as loaded and configured by Dell," the reader writes. "Since her old computer was Win 9X, she was a bit unfamiliar with it. She soon found that she could not receive attachments. She called Dell and they charged her $149 to direct her to open Outlook Express, go to Tools-Options-Security and turn OFF the checked box that does not allow attachments to be opened."

It seems that Microsoft is so security-conscious that they now cripple their email client, by default.

I could find nothing in the Outlook Express Help file about this. But a quick search at Google (for outlook express attachments) revealed the solution. But still... Dell's charging $149 for this information is downright criminal.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Calculating Easter

It's a day late, but I just remembered this Excel formula to calculate the date of Easter:


This formula assumes that the year is in cell A1. It will return a date serial number, so you need to format the formula cell to display as a date.

The formula was created by Thomas Jansen, and was posted at Hans Herbers Excel Server several years ago. What's interesting about this formula is that I don't have a single clue as to how it works.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Pi Experiments

Godwin Vickers' site: Pi Experiments.

In July 2000 I had a strange geometrical dream in which I could see a circle circumscribing a regular polygon. The number of sides of the polygon was increasing so much that after a while it actually became the circle itself. At that point I woke up quite intrigued and drew what I had just seen on a piece of paper so I would remember it when I wake up in the morning.

The next evening it occurred to me that this simple visual experience was a way to calculate the value of Pi. Basically the concept was that if there is a link between the perimeter of a circle an Pi then there also was a link between the perimeter of a regular polygon with an infinite number of sides and Pi. The same concept can also be applied using the area of a circle and the area of a regular polygon instead of using their perimeter.

You can read all about it, or just view the cool images.

(via Reality Carnival)

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Analyze Text

Enter some text (or a URL), and the Textalyser will analyze it.

I copied and pasted the Intro chapter for my Excel 2003 VBA Programming For Dummies book. The chapter has 1,969 words, 746 different words, 183 sentences, and an average of 1.66 syllables per word. The Gunning-Fog readability index is 7.4 (on a 6-20 scale).

The most frequently used word is you, followed by the, and Excel.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

The ID Sniper

The ID Sniper fires electronic chips.

It is used to implant a GPS-microchip in the body of a human being, using a high powered sniper rifle as the long distance injector. The microchip will enter the body and stay there, causing no internal damage, and only a very small amount of physical pain to the target. It will feel like a mosquito-bite lasting a fraction of a second.

At the same time a digital camcorder with a zoom-lens fitted within the scope will take a high-resolution picture of the target. This picture will be stored on a memory card for later image-analysis.

(Thanks firq)

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Panic Quiz

A quiz: How Panic-Proof are you?

During the 1950s, government officials were very concerned that, in the event of an atomic attack, law and order would break down irrevocably as the nation dissolved into widespread panic and hysteria. In its publicity campaigns the Federal Civil Defense Administration wanted to frighten people sufficiently to encourage them to take part in drills, but not to incapacitate them with fear.

The following government-sponsored quiz appeared in the August 21, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine as a supplement to an article about human behavior during nuclear attack. It was intended to help readers from becoming "victims of panic."

I started to take it, but I didn't finish.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Colorized Photos

Here's a recent Photoshop contest from Worth 1000: Pleasantville 11.

The rules of this game are thus: You are to colorize part or all of any black and white image from the World War 2 era (1939-1945). Do not simply desaturate parts of a color image. This is a test of your colorization skills. The more seamless and natural, the higher you will score.

Adding color to monochrome photos is not a simple task. Some of these entries are amazing.

Posted on 12 April, 2004


There are lots of recipe sites on the Net. This one seems to be much better than most: Recipezaar.

Real people from all over the world share their favorite recipes here. Get their cooking experience at your fingertips for free, while Recipezaar helps you find the best recipes to match your diet and tastes.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Name That Tune

From US News: Dialing For Song Titles.

Say you hear a song on the radio that sounds familiar, but you just can't place it. Dial a three-digit code on your cellphone, then point it toward the nearest speaker. Within 30 seconds, you'll receive a text message naming the song and artist (for a $1 fee). You might even have the option of using that song as a ringtone, downloading the full tune, or sending a version of it to a friend.

(Thanks firq)

Posted on 12 April, 2004

One Drawing Per Day

A blog / art project by dogwelder: My Bad Art Year.

One drawing a day for a year.

Here's an example, from last month.

This is really a very entertaining site.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Plans To Invade Canada

This document looks real, but what do I know? A 1935 US Plan for Invasion of Canada.

The following is a full-text reproduction of the 1935 plan for a US invasion of Canada prepared at the US Army War College, G-2 intelligence division, and submitted on December 18, 1935. This is the most recent declassified invasion plan available from the US archival sources.

(via thirdredeye)

Posted on 12 April, 2004


I don't remember exactly when streaking first became popular. But here's kind of a historical overview: Streakers Hall of Fame.

If you're offended by poor quality photos that might show some nudity, don't click the link.

Shown here is a 30-year old photo of Michael O'Brien.

Twickenham April 1974. Eng v France Rugby in front of 53,000 fans. This Aussie at the ge 25 was probably the first known streaker at a renowned sporting event.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Create A God

Create your own God at Do-It-Yourself Deity.

Here's how it works. You are invited to select from the list below the attributes which you believe God must have (or the attributes that a being deserving of the name God must have). Metaphysical engineers will then model this conception of God to check out its plausibility.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Subservient Chicken

I've seen lots of references to a subservient chicken lately. It's all explained at Snopes: Fast food chain Burger King is behind a 'subservient chicken' Internet promotion.

Actually, the chicken has a repertoire of about 300 different actions, each triggered by the entry of one of the combinations of nouns, verbs and other parts of speech programmed into its "vocabulary."

And here's a link to the actual Subservient Chicken site.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Music Is Too Cheap

From The Register: Labels seek end to 99-cent music per song download.

Remember how online music stores were going to route around the music industry? The pigopolists have barely got their feet under the table and already demanding more. The Wall Street Journal reports that the major five labels think that 99 cents per song is too cheap, and are discussing a price hike that would increase the tariff to $1.25 up to $2.99 per song.

It's a great time to be alive. We can all watch the once-powerful music industry dig its own grave.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

IPO For Gator

From Wired: Gator, er, Claria Files for IPO.

Claria, the controversial adware company formerly known as Gator, on Thursday filed for an initial public offering to raise $150 million to continue developing its "behavioral marketing platform."

Claria develops and distributes ad-serving software that presents users with pop-ups and pop-unders whenever they visit specific websites. Several top retailers and services firms, including Hertz, L.L. Bean and Wells Fargo, have sued the company, claiming Claria's software violates various state and federal laws by foisting their rivals' ads onto their sites.

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Dead Soldier Mosaic

Here's a portrait of George W., made from pictures of soldiers who have died in Iraq.

(If you are compelled to comment on this, please do so at the site that hosts the image.)

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Too Much Advertising?

If you've ever been to PC Magazine's Web site, you may have noticed that they like to put a few ads on each page. What exactly is their editorial-to-advertising ratio?

But recently, when following a link to a PC Magazine article, I was stopped in my tracks by what must be the most egregious abuse of advertising I've ever seen. Back in my days as a newspaper guy, we generally had a 60/40 split between ads and copy. What do you think pcmag.com's numbers are? I've highlighted the "story" I was after in the image below.

It looks to be about a 2-98 split.

(via Waxy.org)

Posted on 12 April, 2004

Tom Waits Live

Here's a large collection of (mostly) live recordings by Tom Waits. The quality varies. There's not much middle ground with Tom Waits. People either love him or hate him. Count me among the former group.

(via MonkeyFilter)

Posted on 12 April, 2004