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Have a nice day Fri, Sep 29, 2006
"Have a nice day."  I hear those words quite often.  When I buy a coffee and a muffin from Dunkin Donuts, the cashier (barista) says, "Have a nice day."  When I go through the security checkpoint at work, the guard says, "Have a nice day."  When I go out to lunch, the cashier (and/or sandwich maker) says, "Have a nice day."  When I buy a few little things at ShopRite or Walmart, the checkout person says, "Have a nice day."  When I fill up my gas tank at the beautiful new QuickChek in Hopatcong, the filler-upper says, "Have a nice day."  In my daily life, that's most likely the phrase I hear most often. #psychology

Trying AdSense again (2) Fri, Sep 29, 2006
I decided to give Google AdSense another try.  I tried it several months ago, but I wasn't impressed by my meager earnings or by the oodles of JavaScript required to display the "unobtrusive" ads.  From the very beginning of my "web presence", I've been a fan of simplicity, and ads seem to make things more complicated by adding more code and displaying a bunch of unnecessary junk.  However, I'd like to try to make some money by doing something I enjoy.  I already have a website.  I already enjoy writing stupid things.  Why not make some money in the process? 

You, the reader, can help me by clicking on some ads.  I only get paid if the ads are clicked.  So even if you're not interested in the ads or you hate them altogether, throw me a bone by clicking on them.  You'll be making the world a better place ... by putting more money in my pocket ... which, in turn, I can pass on to you ... though I probably won't. 

Update (2006-09-29 3:56pm):  I'm also trying out ADster at the bottom of the page.  Initially, I'm not too happy with some of the content of the ads, but we'll see how things go. 

Update (2006-10-02 11:10am):  Adster had too many "adult chat" ads, so I ditched them.  Next up is AdBrite

Update (2006-10-03 11:28am):  AdSense wasn't doing too well for me financially, so I replaced it with AdBrite.  AdBrite is now my sole advertiser.  I'll probably write about my findings at some point. 

Update (2006-10-05 12:10am):  I got rid of the big ads at the bottom because they were ugly and took too long too load.  Also, I came up with a way to only show ads for every 5th post or so, so they should be less "intrusive".  And I'm trying out Text Link Ads because I've heard they're good.  Plus, they make a WordPress plugin.  Zing! #entertainment

Twenty-four inch widescreen (2) Fri, Sep 29, 2006
Twenty-four inch widescreen.  These four words should bring utter exhilaration and uber-tech-geek elation.  But for the past few days, they've brought me nothing but dissatisfaction and a desire for a downgrade.  I've been using one of these things as my PC monitor for a couple days, and I have only one thing so say:  It's too big.  It's so big that I installed Google Desktop and expanded the sidebar to fill up 25% of the screen.  It's so big that I moved the monitor to the right so that I only have to focus on the left 75% of the screen.  It's a completely unusable amount of space.  My eyes can't see that much information at once.  My brain can't process it.  I actually have to move my head to see two opposite ends of the monitor.  It's ridiculous.  And once again, I'm confronted with the question of "Why?".  Why do people like widescreen?  Why is this format in use?  Ok, I understand its use in TV and movies, but why computers?  I don't watch movies on my computer.  I read websites.  I write things.  I play with engineering tools like Excel and Matlab.  I don't need 20.5 inches of horizontal viewing space.  Nor do I need 12.75 inches in the vertical.  I'm very tempted to go back to my "old" 19-incher.  It offered me plenty of space and never felt too big to comprehend.  Like most technologies, I thought, "19 inches?  Who would ever need anything bigger than 19 inches?"  They tried to pursuade me, "You don't know what you're missing."  Oh, how they were wrong. #technology

Right turn on red Thu, Sep 28, 2006
There's a traffic light at the exit of my job.  I need to turn right, so I often make a right on red.  Wikipedia says this is legal in all 50 states, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico, though not in New York City (with the exception of a sign saying otherwise).  But for some reason, some people just sit there and wait.  There's no question as to whether or not it's a traffic light or whether or not it's a right turn.  And it apparently isn't dependent on the person's place of origin because I've need several different states' license plates.  I just don't understand what the problem is.  Sure, it's a 3-lane highway with a 55-mph speed limit, but most times the rightmost lane is empty.  A few times in the past, I've beeped at the person in front of me to persuade them to make the turn.  And they made the turn, signifying that they knew they were allowed to and they really want to, but they just needed some encouragement.  Yesterday, I was sitting behind a lady who had about 40 separate chances to make the right turn, but she just didn't do it.  She even looked in her rearview mirror at me to see how mad I was.  I just took a few deep breaths and had a good time observing my blood pressure fluctuate.  It's not that I was in any kind of rush or had anything important to do.  I was just on my way home from work.  But I just can't get used to the idea of not making a turn when I know it's totally legal and I'm fully capable.  It probably has something to do with my belief that driving is a complete waste of time.  The only way I could possibly defend these people is by saying that it can be a little intimidating to pull out into fast-moving traffic.  It can be even more difficult if you have an old and/or wimpy car.  But that's not the case with these people, because as soon as the light turns green, they gun it and practically peal out of there.  It they're able to peal out, I'm absolutely sure they wouldn't have a problem making the right on red. #travel

Time measurement (4) Thu, Sep 28, 2006
I have an utter inability to comprehend quantities of time that are measured in improper units.  When somebody says, "My baby is 56 weeks old," I can't even begin to figure out what that means in normal people terms.  56 weeks?  If there are usually 4 weeks in a month, that means there are like ... 12 months in a year ... 12 divided by 4 ... 24 hours in a day ... I give up. 

I saw a commercial on TV the other day that talked about a 96 hour sale.  What?  How many weeks is that?  I know there are 24 hours in a day, but 96 isn't an obvious product of 24 (to me anyway).  I get 24.  I get 48.  But after that, I start to lose it. 

Most financial loans are measured in months.  My 5-year car loan says I'm on month 33.  My 30-year mortgage says I'm on month 345.  What does that mean?  How many years is that? #technology

Voting with marbles Thu, Sep 28, 2006
People in the African nation of Gambia vote in elections by placing a marble into a drum that represents their candidate.  As the marble goes into the drum, it rings a bell so the voting officials can make sure people don't vote more than once.  Counting the votes is simple:  All the marbles are placed into a tray with a certain number of marble-shaped spaces.  Sounds quite a bit more effective than those stupidly archaic punch cards and those painfully defective Diebold machines.  (via Neatorama) #politics

StickyKeys, FilterKeys, ToggleKeys Wed, Sep 27, 2006
If you're like me, you hate a lot of inanimate things.  One of the things I hate is when my computer does things I don't tell it to do.  For example, every new installation of Windows XP comes with the accessibility options "StickyKeys", "FilterKeys", and "ToggleKeys" enabled.  These are completely stupid and useless features that pop up a dialog box when the user holds down the shift key for more than 8 seconds or makes some other sort of strange keyboard entry.  In my opinion, these "features" shouldn't be enabled by default.  You say, "They're easy to turn off, you idiot," but I say, "Check again".  The Accessibility Options Control Panel applet show 3 unchecked check boxes, which tells me that these functions are disabled.  Wrong!  Try again.  Those checkboxes mean nothing apparently, because the real functionality is enabled or disabled by clicking on the Settings button for each function and unchecking the "Use shortcut" box.  I find it annoyingly ironic that the "Accessibility" features of Windows aren't very "accessible". 

So anyway, here's the solution.  Download this registry file (via Joho).  Double-click on it (or open it) and say yes to adding it to your registry.  Now, reset or logoff/logon your computer.  Everything should work now.  Obviously, you could just manually disable each of the accessibility functions (without resetting), but this is another way to do it. #technology

Big deal (1) Wed, Sep 27, 2006
I work with a lady who constantly makes an extremely big deal out of extremely small things.  It's really stressful to be around her and/or to listen to her.  Every little thing she does is completely blown out of proportion as she quickly waddles around and yells profanities.  Somebody forgot to fill out their time sheet absolutely perfectly, so she had to go over to him and yell at him to make sure it wouldn't happen again.  What made it even worse was that he's a foreigner and doesn't know the English language too well.  So not only was the big-deal lady difficult to understand because she was yelling about insignificant and unimportant things, but her unprovoked tirade was getting lost in translation.  My question to her is:  What's the big deal?  Calm down lady.  It's not a matter of life or death.  The problem will get fixed.  It's not that big of a problem to begin with.  And using profanity in the workplace isn't that cool.  It's normal in some jobs and in some circumstances, but it's not really that acceptable in everyday speech concerning non-joke topics. 

The other "big deal" this lady makes happens in the morning, usually around 9am.  The people in my office area don't turn on the lights for the first few hours, and this is fine by me.  Everybody just walks into the dark room and assumes it's dark for a reason.  But not this lady.  She walked in the other day and tore up and down the cubicle aisles cursing and mumbling about how lazy we were for having the lights off and how we should just stay home if we're too tired to work.  She's the kind of person who ruins a person's day. #business

Jeremy Shockey (2) Tue, Sep 26, 2006
To people in the New York area, "Jeremy Shockey" is a recognizable name.  He's a tattooed, showy, emotional tight end for the New York Giants.  I'll ask the question we're all dying to ask:  "What's your problem, man?"  Every play of the game seems to offend you or go against you in some way or another.  Did you think you should've gotten that pass?  Should the refs have thrown a flag?  Were you being held or blocked in the back?  Did you think Eli should've seen that you were wide open?  After you got tackled, did you feel like you were being held down for too long?  Do you think everybody's against you?  Were you mad that when you finally got a pass, it wasn't thrown exactly where you wanted it?  Do you hate your quarterback for being too timid?  Do you hate your coaching staff for being ignorant?  What's the deal? 

Honestly, I'd really like to know what this guy's problem is.  I'd like to get a microphone hooked up to his helmet to hear what he's saying, because I honestly have no idea.  He's constantly mad at everything, even when there's nothing to be mad about.  In his defense he says, "I let my emotions get to me at times".  At times?  How about every time.  How about all the time.  Constantly.  Never ending.  Without fail.  Ad nauseam.  If you know your emotions often get the best of you, do something about it.  Prevent it.  Drink a cup of tea.  Punch a punching bag.  Read the comics.  Letting your emotions spill out all over the football field is obviously doing nothing for your team. 

Just to set the record straight, I'm "officially" an Eagles fan, though I'm very admittedly a fair-weather fan.  Since Eagles games aren't regularly on TV in the New York area, I'm forced to watch Giants games.  Hence, I'm a Giants fan while sitting on my couch on Sundays.  Also, when the Eagles are doing bad, I magically become more of a Giants fan.  And when the Giants do bad, I become more of an Eagles fan.  Right now I'm leaning towards the Eagles. #sports

Clutter Free Tue, Sep 26, 2006
Clutter Free is one of the most useful backend WordPress plugins I've seen in a while.  All it does is simplify the post-writing screen by taking away many of the options that are virtually never used, such as Post Status, Post Timestamp, Post Author, etc.  These things might be useful for some people, but I personally never even touch them unless I'm moving them out of my way.  Cleaning up the post-writing screen is something I toyed with in the past, but I found that it's quite difficult to modify core WordPress functionality without actually editing core WordPress files.  So I'll leave that up to the people who are paid to do it.  This plugin only technically works with WordPress 2.0.5 and above (which isn't out yet), but it does a few things to 2.0.4.  Good enough for now. #technology

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