Monday, December 21, 2009

Ancient Greek Philosophy and Modern U.S. Politics In Three Cartoon Panels

Where was this when I was teaching Philosophy 101 at Washington State U.? My classes would have been so quick and effective:


HT: Right Mind

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who Shot Quicken?

A bit over one year ago I wrote a blog post about my troubles with the One Step Update feature of Quicken, and in particular a few error codes I was getting, such as OL-221-A, OL-221-B, OL-254-B. Click here to read the original post if you would like to.

I generally receive a few dozen hits per week on my blog from people searching out those error codes, some variation on search entries like "one step update not working," etc. Lately, the frequency of these searches has jumped to several dozen hits per day. When I logged on this morning I saw the latest batch of them that had come in throughout the night, and now I am curious: what happened?

If you're here looking for the solution I came up with for my own troubles with the One Step Update feature, please let me know what happened to yours, when the trouble started, and if you installed any new software or changed anything on your system in general. My Quicken is still working just fine, but maybe I can help figure out what is going wrong with yours if the solution I used does not work for your particular problem.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roomba Art

I've owned a Roomba for about 1.5 years now and I really enjoy having it. It's nice to be able to do whatever else I need or want to do while my Roomba carries out a needed task that would otherwise prevent me from doing anything else while doing it myself.

I saw a link a friend posted on his facebook account to some Roomba art. These are long-exposure photos of people's Roombas working their way around darkened rooms. Here's one of the photos:

You can see the rest of them here:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Field Capture: Female Wolf Spider

I see lots of interesting stuff in my line of work, pest control. Today was one of those days.

I arrived at a client's house and was promptly informed that there was "a really big spider on the front step." Usually when people say "really big" and "spider" in the same sentence, their varying degrees of arachnophobia increase the actual size of the creature by quite a bit in their mind's eye. I put down my spray wand and went to have a look.

Turned out to be a "pregnant" female wolf spider:

That white sack you see attached to her abdomen is specifically how you can know that this is a female wolf spider - other than such obvious clues, identifying the sex of a spider frequently requires such things as microscopes. Inside of the sack are eggs and/or hatched spiderlings. Once they have undergone their first molt, they'll emerge and climb onto their mother's back where they hitch a ride until they're big enough to fend for themselves.

Now, as to her size, to many folks she really is "really big." To people in many parts of the world, they probably wouldn't even take notice of her. In any case, I put a U.S. quarter dollar next to her to establish scale:

She'll now get to live out her days in a nice terrarium, going along with us (the pest control outfit I work for) to home shows and whatnot.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Quicken One Step Update Problems: IE 8

Recently I've noticed a sharp uptick in the number of hits my blog receives on a post I did a long time ago in regard to a problem I had with Quicken's One Step Update function. That post, Quicken 2008 One Step Update Problem: Privoxy, Vidalia, Internet Explorer Link to OL Error Code Issues, can be found here.

A comment left for me by a reader indicated that the reason I've seen a wave of hits on this post in recent weeks is that the release of Internet Explorer 8 may be to blame. I didn't install IE 8 on my machine so I haven't familiarized myself with whatever its default settings must be, but I know from experience (what I detail in that earlier post) is that IE settings can affect the functioning of other programs, particularly if you play around with LAN settings like I did.

If you're here because of a problem with Quicken and you recently installed IE 8, check your connection settings. Check out the post I wrote about my issues with IE and Tor for pointers.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bugs On The Windshield

I deal with insects and rabbits in my pest control work, amongst other things, and I splatter lots of insects on the windshields of the vehicles I drive, so this one got me laughing this morning.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Online Privacy Through Virtual Private Networks

It's very easy for others to find out what you've been doing online. I know this makes a lot of people shrug and say, "but I'm not doing anything illegal, so who cares?" That's not a bad point, really. However, to those same folks I say, "How much do you like spam?"

Not the canned variety, of course, but the digital kind that fills up your inbox. Want a no document mortgage? You could flip those houses and grow rich, if you sign up for the super-secret e-course that hundreds of thousands just got an email about. And you'll probably want to get certain bits of yourself enlarged, because all of that money is going to get you a lot more action - never fear, you've got mail on that subject, too.

How many of you catch your "delete" key on fire each day from pressing it so much? Probably a lot.

One way to avoid the prying eyes of annoying marketers is to use a virtual private network, or vpn for short. A vpn is essentially a group of computers which grant exclusive access to each other, transmitting their encrypted data back and forth over a larger, third party network (the Internet). This allows an organization to enjoy the functionality of a private network without having to invest in actual physical connections between parties, allowing effortless scalability and reach.

In terms of internet privacy and general use, a vpn can act as an anonymous intermediary between your computer and the wider web. Your data (search requests, URLs, etc.) travel a secure, encrypted "pipeline" between you and the vpn's servers, which go out and fetch your data, then return it to you over your secure connection to the server. The site on the other end only sees the vpn server arrive, not you. This isn't a total fix for securing your identity from those annoying marketers, but it helps (I like to turn off third party cookies, too - this eliminates a lot of crap that is tucked away in banner ads and whatnot).

Sunday, January 25, 2009 Feed Your Inner Entrepreneur

It might not seem like the thing to do in a bad economy, but frequently when economic downturns happen, many people go into small business. Though it seems counter-intuitive on its face to do so, a simple reason this occurs is that, having lost regular employment, many decide to try and be their own boss instead. It can be (and frequently is) a very rough and tough road to follow, but for many individuals it leads to a lifetime of success (not to mention that it helps bring about economic recovery, something no government bailout scheme is ever likely to accomplish).

You could start with a Free copy of Retailers Forum Magazine, which is a publication aimed at those who want to begin a business or who want to take their existing business to the next level. Each issue is packed with ads and information that could help you take the next step. For example, a commonly featured ad in Retailers Forum is that of wholesalers, sources of cheap inventory which could be sold online through venues such as Ebay.

Check it out today if you are thinking about starting a new business or if you already have one. The magazine is free to read and could be a valuable resource to you.

Search Paul E.

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