Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thought of the day

There comes a time in every man's life when he wants to dress like an adult. I've yet to reach that point in my own life, however, I do want to dress less like a little girl.

Monday, November 5, 2007

WORD!

I was fooling around in MS Word again, and I found a quick shortcut that I think everyone should know. It's one that I've never bothered to search for, but I've always wondered what it is... So, fire up those word processors and I'll let you in on the secret.

You can easily toggle between ALL CAPS and standard caps!

•Step 1 - Type a word... any word... try "Word".
•Step 2 - Place your cursor over in the middle of the word and hit "CTRL+SHIFT+A"

Neat, 'eh? Try it again... IT REVERTS BACK! Yeah, it's that simple.

You can thank me later.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Crop & Rotate Your Prospective

In my line of work, I see a lot of desktop backgrounds. I've seen everything from default Microsoft backgrounds to terrible MS paint "artwork", but there is NOTHING that annoys me more than terrible photographs.

It astounds me that someone could choose an out of focus or poorly composed photo to be the poster child of their personality. Your background is an extension of your self. It speaks volumes about you. I cringe when I see a non-rotated, stretched, or squashed photograph haphazardly applied to a user's desktop. If a photo is so special to you, why not take the time to display it with the respect and dignity it deserves? Let's say you lack the skill set to click the "rotate" and "auto adjust" feature in Picasa, then ask your friend to modify it for you!

Don't even get me started on how ugly your children are. Seriously, ugly people... I'm talking to you... It's bad enough that you've reproduced - Must you plaster your ugly baby's face on your computer screen?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The WORD of the day is 'Macro'

Ok, so I've always hated that when I paste something in Microsoft Office, it comes with the origional formatting. I'll admit that most of the time, it comes in handy, but it's frequently annoying. There are many times when I want to paste without formatting. Tonight, I did some research and stumbled across this article.

Thanks to this article, I've also found a quick and easy way to "Save As". Because the majority of applications I use have implemented "Ctrl+Shift+S" for "Save As", I've now added that as a shortcut key. Note that office already does this with the F12 key, but that's just not intuitive enough for me. I also added a shortcut for paste without formatting function: "Ctrl+Shift+V". That way I can easily paste without formatting if I need to. I used this macro:

Sub PasteUnformattedText()
' PasteUnformattedText Macro
    Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText
End Sub

For Office 2007, The macro button is under the "View" and "Developer" Ribbons. The "Customize" option is under the Office Logo (File Menu), then "Word Options", then "Customize", and There is a "Keyboard shortcuts" button at the bottom.

Do you know any awesome Office tweaks?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Stall your conversation

The development of wireless technology has given birth to a cultural phenomenon that I can't understand. Toilet Talk.

Recently, I had a disturbing restroom encounter. I had just entered a stall and slid the latch into place when I heard a hushed sound from the next stall over.

Stranger: Hey. (pause) Hey, can you hear me? (pause) Hey, I need you to do me a favor.
Me: Are you talking to me?
Stranger: I said, I need you to do me a favor.
Me: Hey, buddy, you've got to buy me dinner first.
Stranger: Hang on a second, some jackass thinks I'm trying to talk to him.

At that moment I realized that the stranger on the other side of the partition wasn't hitting on me, he was hitting on his friend...

What I don't get is how you wipe your ass with a cell phone in your hand. what if you get mixed up? That could get ugly fast. And how do you explain to the person on the other end that you're not angry, you're just trying to squeeze out a loaf?

Social tradition, as I know it, dictates that men do not speak to each other in the men's room. Perhaps light conversation and acknowledgments can be exchanged once you reach the sinks. Even the best of friends will stop talking once they enter the restroom and resume discourse upon exiting. Even making eye contact is rare in the men's room. So, how is it suddenly acceptable to have a complete conversation via telephone while on the can?

My Pleasure...

I eat a lot of Chic-fil-A. These cow-free sandwiches constitute at least one meal a week. As part of my frequent visits to this popular chain, I've noticed an annoying habit. All of the employees lie. Every time you ask them to do something for you. No matter how demeaning, they always respond the same way. Seriously, Try it out. Next time you walk into a Chic-fil-A, walk up to an employee and ask them to bring you some napkins. Nine times out of 10, they'll reply the same way: "My pleasure".

Today, James Mitchener and I tested an employee.
Employee: Can I get you anything, maybe a refill?
Me: Sure, Ice Tea.
Employee: No problem. (Walks away with my cup)
James: See, he said 'no problem'.
Me: Just wait.
Employee: (Returning with my drink) Here you go.
Me: Thanks.
Employee: My pleasure. Can I take your tray?
Me: Yes, please.
Employee: My pleasure. Anything else?
Me & James: No, thanks.
Employee: My pleasure.

A few weeks ago, I had a similar experience. I was sitting with James and a different employee came up and asked if I needed anything. I asked him for "some ketchup, please". He responded with "My pleasure" and I couldn't just let it slide. I had to call him on it.

Me: I call bullshit.
Employee: Pardon?
Me: I don't think it really is your pleasure. I don't think you find ANY pleasure in bringing me ketchup at all.
Employee: (Smiling) Just between us, you're right.

I was thankful for his honesty.

I hate that all Chic-fil-A employees are spoon fed ONE frick'n pleasantry. How about you work a few other niceties in? Try "no problem" or my personal favourite "no worries"... sorry James... I had to steal it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Puntification

If you've known me for any amount of time, then you're quite aware of my love for puns. It is, perhaps, true that I overuse this literary device, but can you blame me? I mean, come on! Puns are everywhere. Not to mention, they're funny. One of my favorites is the visual pun. In high school, I actually carried around a picture which I used to answer questions. I'd pull it out when ever possible just to get a laugh.

Teacher: "Did you do your homework, Mr. Schwirian?"
Me: (pulling image from my pocket) "A frayed knot..."

Another classic story was related to me by a friend. He described a situation where one of his professors walked into class threw his test papers on the ground and stood on top of them saying "Today, we're going to go over the test".

Bravo, I say. Bravo!
I hope this entry hasn't been too pungent.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

That's good internet!

I don't often come across a blog that screams "READ ME!" but I've been fortunate enough to find several fantastic blogs. Yesterday, I stumbled across a one such blog. Check it out. Seriously. If you like the bullshit I write, you'll love Hobo Teacher. I recommend this entry to get your feet wet, but I've red several and I've yet to dislike any. This guy is an asshole, but more importantly, he's smart. Just my kind of person.

Here are links to the other assholes I read on a daily basis:
James R. Mitchener's The Mitchener Mind
Scott Adams' The Dilbert Blog

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Agenda Setting

It's common knowledge that the media often dictates topics of political discourse. This manipulation is called agenda setting. These hot topics are seldom of any real importance to the American Public, however, much time is devoted to debating them. I'm sure you can think of a few of these topics.

How far can this go? Imagine the next presidential debate. How do you think the candidates might respond to a question like "Should Paris Hilton have served more time for her crimes?" or "Isn't Katie Holms too young for Tom Cruise?"

Saturday, September 15, 2007

US Foreign Policy is a lot like football...

Football is played all over the world - Europe, South America, Africa... EVERYWHERE... Americans think we're the best. We call our teams the world champions, but in the end, we're not even playing the same game.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dominance

Today, we had an assignment to define various characteristics in a way that can be measured. My group left class early, so I was forced to find new partners. They welcomed me and we began. Our first word was “dominance”. The first definition I gave was the likelihood to ignore other people’s suggestions. The guy in my new found group clearly had dominance prior to my joining. He promptly shot down my idea saying dominance does not imply that you’re an asshole. I decided to let it slide and let him keep his dominant role, but I felt he did a good job of demonstrating my point.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RSS Feeds

So, thanks to Andrew, I figured out that Blogger puts a footer at the end of RSS feeds. I've found and eliminated the issue. Now my blog should display properly in Google Reader.

Thanks Andrew!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Taco Night

Ok, so I don't understand this... Every time I got to Taco Cabana, they ask me "do you want hot sauce with that?" and don't get me wrong - I like the stuff, but they're spooning it into a paper sack. Thin red water all over my foil makes me a bit uneasy. I don't like having a soggy bag of tacos - so I always say no... and yet somehow they ALWAYS manage to throw the shit in there. Now, I'm not saying that they shouldn't give me condiments, but if they're going to ask, they could at lest pay attention to my response. I mean how difficult is it to just NOT PUT FUCKING HOT SAUCE IN MY BAG?! GAH! They just want to taunt me.. like "this could all be avoided... but FUCK YOU! - I'm not listening!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mike's Helpful Guide to Avoiding Blame

Today's Topic: Avoiding Blame.

There are many times in life when people will try to blame you for something. Sometimes you deserve the blame. Other times you don't. One thing is certain, however. You never want to be blamed for anything. I've got a few surefire ways for you to avoid being blamed for your mistakes and the mistakes of those around you.

Step 1 - Hide the evidence:
  • Don't let anyone know what you've done. Just cover up the mistake and forget about it. If someone asks about it, just pretend you have no idea what they're talking about. It's much easier than it sounds.
Step 2 - Blame the intern/new guy:
  • Sometimes, you get caught before you have the opportunity to destroy the evidence. If this happens, blame someone else. Don't have anyone else to blame? Make someone up! Memorize this phrase: "If [insert name here] had done what I asked [him/her] to do then this never would have happened!"
Step 3 - Think fast:
  • Always have an excuse ready. It is good to prepare several of these in advance. Try not to use the same excuse every time. Make it believable, but don't be afraid to exaggerate a little bit. If someone has recently quit, been fired, or is frequently in trouble, try to work them into your excuse. Chances are nobody will ever doubt your story. Be creative!
Step 4 - Act cool:
  • Pretend like there isn't anything to be blamed for. This approach makes you look innocent. If you pretend you can't understand how it's your fault, people will find it harder to blame you. Acting innocent makes you look innocent. Try looking at them like they're crazy when they confront you. Say things like "This is how I was told to do it!" or "Can you show me what went wrong?"
Step 5 - I told you so:
  • Set yourself up for an "I told you so" situation. Before you start on any project, make sure you file a list of objections. Try and think of every possible way the project could go wrong. This way, when you screw up, you can always say "I told you so!"
Step 6 - Lie:
  • Say anything to save your ass. You've got to look out for number one!
There are many other ways to avoid blame. How do you get out of trouble?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Finally, a great blogging application!

I've finally found a quick and easy way post Blogger updates. It's not exactly what I was looking for, but I like it. If you use Firefox and Blogger, go download the "Deepest Sender" extension (available here). With a simple hot key (ctrl+\), you're posting a new entry in no time. I'm using it right now!

It's loaded with features, too!
There are 3 tabs in the pop-out window.
Normal - This is the edit window where you compose your message
Source - Here you can edit the HTML source for your post
Preview - See how your finished post will look!

There are options for bold, italic, and underline as well as left, middle, right, and justified. Additionally, there are bulleted and numbered lists.

You can easily add URL links and images (with an array of options and details). There are also increase/decrease indent buttons and font color options.

The program is compatible with several popular blogs (including Live Journal) and features a post history option that actually pulls your history from the web! Not only that, but you can edit your old posts directly from Deepest Sender!

There are a few other neat features, but you'll need to play around with the program for yourself to see them all. David Murray did quite a good job on this one. Highly recommended.

Cons:
  • As of this post (DS version 0.8.0), there is a date/time error when posting to Blogger accounts. This has already been brought to the attention of the creator, and there is a fix. (Todd Brannam was nice enough to figure this out for us.) I've listed the fix details below.
  • This extension is primarily designed for LiveJournal, and does not support all Blogger options. Font selection would be a great addition to the application.
  • When opening blogs from the history viewer, it automatically adds the text from your RSS Feed Item Header - by default, "Thanks for reading my Blog! I hope you find it as interesting as I do." I found this to be quite frustrating because it would add it each time I edited a post. After editing the beginning of your post 3 times, you might end up with that footer 3 times! This can be solved by removing the footer under Blogger's Settings - Site Feed. If not for this problem, I wouldn't have realized that there was a footer option.
Blogger Date/Time Fix:
  • Make sure Firefox and Deepest Sender are closed.
  • In windows XP, navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\[current user name]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\hz4x3hq1.default\extensions\{B9DAB69C-460E-4085-AE6C-F95B0D858581}\chrome
  • Please note that this path may differ on your computer and you may have to hunt for it manually. It should be similar, however.
  • The file you're looking for is "deepestsender.jar" - this is an archive file. the easiest thing to do is rename it from .jar to .zip and then extract the files to a temporary folder. (Note that if you use WinRAR then you will not need to change the file name.)
  • Next, you'll need to locate the "atom.js" file. (Located in the content/protocols folder)
  • Edit atom.js in notepad or your favorite text editor (I recommend Notepad++).
  • Find and replace "var iso8601 = this.date.toISO8601String(4);" with "var iso8601 = this.date.toISO8601String(5);"
  • Save your changes and zip your files back up (Right click on the folder and select send to - compressed folder). Rename the archive to "deepestsender.jar".
  • You're done. Restart Firefox and crank up Deepest Sender. Happy Blogging!
Please keep in mind that David Murray has a great system for reporting/fixing bugs in the program and does a very good job of creating fixes.

I hope this review/tutorial is helpful!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mike's Helpful Guide to Starting The Day Off Right

Today is the first in a series of "Mike's Helpful Guides". I hope to enlighten you, the reader. With luck, my words of wisdom will somehow permeate your skull and you may benefit from my way of life.

Today's Topic: Starting The Day Off Right.

On a good day, I tend to adhere to the following routine. The key to following this routine is improvisation. If it feels right, change it up!

Step 1 - An alarming situation:
  • If you've set an alarm, or in my case several, make sure to hit that snooze button multiple times. I'm pretty satisfied with 3-4 snoozes. When choosing to postpone the day, it may be best to turn the alarm off or unplug it altogether. This will insure an optimal delay in rising and shining. Lord knows I hate shining.
Step 2 - Clothing optional:
  • No shirt, no shoes, no problem! I like to sip my morning coffee (or day old brew, as the case may be) in the buff. Putting on clothes is part of my post shower routine (assuming I make it to step 4).
Step 3 - World News:
  • I've got an insatiable lust for knowledge. I must start every day by logging onto the interweb and checking 3 things.

    • First, I check to make sure the world hasn't exploded. The best test is to simply verify I've got an internet connection. If you have access to the internet than you can safely assume that everything is OK.

    • Next, I check for messages and emails. If something horrific has happened, chances are that someone I know is already aware of the situation. Come on, I hit snooze like 4 times! Someone out there is bound to work for a living.

    • Finally, I check my lifeline to world news - Google Reader. (If you aren't using Google Reader to organize your RSS feeds then you're living in the past.) Here I find the foremost authorities on world events. For example: Dilbert Blog, Penny Arcade, Bunny, and The Mitchener Mind, just to name a few. I feel I cover all the major bases with these comics and blogs.
Step 4 - The three S's:
  • This portion is optional if you're running late for work, but trust me when I say it's worth it (to you and your coworkers). Invest the time.
Step 5 - There's no step 5:
  • Like I said at the start, improvise! Let step five take you where it may. For example, I seldom eat breakfast, but I guess you could work that in if you have the time (and food).
I hope this guide has been helpful to you in some way. Please stay tuned for my next installation - Mike's Helpful Guide to Avoiding Blame.

I'm going to hell...

I wonder if anyone has ever discovered the cure for Alzheimer's and promptly forgotten it. The only thing worse than not finding the cure is not remembering it. Imagine. It's right there, you had it! You were just about to write it down... But now it's gone.

The people most likely to develop a cure are those directly affected by the disease. For example, Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's research or Christopher Reeve's paralysis research. In the case of Alzheimer's, someone suffering from its affects wouldn't be a prime candidate for the research team. It would suck to start every day thinking, "I'm finally going to start on that research," only to find that you'd already started... Several hundred times. You plumb forgot.

Sure, family members of an Alzheimer's victim might be good candidates for research, but think about it... Why would you cure something that makes it so easy to screw with your loved ones? Who doesn't get a good laugh when grandpa forgets to wear pants? Hell, I'd try to convince him that pants went out of style years ago!

Where was I going with this...?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Almond Joy's got nuts

Did you know it was possible to unearth mounds? Seriously, have a look: Ancient burial mounds unearthed in Armenia. Yeah, I was shocked too. I'd have thought that a mound, once covered, couldn't so much be unearthed. Think about it. How? How do you know you unearthed a mound? It's a freaking mound! You add dirt to a mound, and it becomes... A BIGGER MOUND! Unearthing a mound is like leveling a mountain and saying "Hey, look, we've unearthed a hill!"

How does someone explain that they've unearthed a mound, anyway? I'm assuming the conversation goes a bit like this:

Guy: Friend, get over here!
Friend: What is it, Guy?
Guy: I've unearthed a mound!
Friend: Then I suppose you've still got some digging to do...
Guy: No, there is a dead body under there!
Friend: How the crap do you know that?
Guy: Because it's a mound!
Friend: It was a bigger mound when we started... you didn't know there was a dead guy under there two hours ago.
Guy: But I do now.
Friend: Bloody How?
Guy: It's a mound! what else would be under there?

I wonder if you can unearth a crater...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Service Industry

There is an interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed about the service industry. If you’re a seasoned veteran, you’ve likely complained about this many times.

Lies. Customers are liars. Ok, not all of them, and they don’t always know they’re lying, but the vast majority of them are doing it straight to your face. This is an excerpt from a conversation I overheard today:

“I haven’t used the computer since you gave it back to me 3 weeks ago.”

“Have you installed any programs on it?”

“No, I haven’t.”

Pointing to the screen, “Did you install THIS program?”

“Yes, I did.”

How are you supposed to troubleshoot a problem for someone who lies to you? I feel sorry for doctors, especially. I’m sure they get this more than anyone. People make an appointment with their physician and when asked, “Have you had any sexual activity within the past 3 weeks?” reply, “No, doctor, I didn’t sleep with multiple partners today… o-o-or yesterday. …or last week.”

Come on! You’re only making the problem worse. Just be honest. Don’t lie to the auto shop guy. He’s going to figure out how you screwed up your car. It’s only a matter of time. You’re going to feel so much dumber when he calls saying, “Yeah, we found the problem with your Ford Pinto. It seems there were some chunks of animal lodged in your wheel well. It may have been caused by hitting a dog, or perhaps multiple dogs. It’s hard to tell how many different animals these chunks came from.” Now the only excuse available to you is, “Yeah, I was really drunk that night and there were so many dogs on the street. I had to hit them all!”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Munchies

Are you ever up at 1:30 am wondering why you're hungry. That's the case with me right now. I am wondering why I'm hungry. I mean, come on. I've had 2 meals today. That's twice my usual daily food intake. I don't understand why I'm suddenly getting hunger pains. I'd eat, but I'm tired and I'll likely head off to bed soon. They say it's not good to eat just before bed. What do you think?

Let's say that you go all day without eating. Does that justify eating just before you go to bed? Which is worse for you... eating just before bed or not eating at all? All this talk about not eating is making me hungrier. I'm going to grab a snack and then it's straight to bed!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Words to live by

I feel inspired when I hear or read Apple's mantra...

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, quote them, disagree with them
disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you can't do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Apple
Think Different

Photos

Photography fascinates me. A Photo, reflected light channeled through a lens and captured by chemical or electronic means, is very powerful . Photos can invoke a broad range of emotions. Often, they remind us of the past. Perhaps you're thinking "sure they do, photos are records of the past." ...and you're right, but that's not what I'm getting at.

When I see a photo of a beautiful landscape, foreign or otherwise, something in my brain kicks into motion. Hypothetical gears mesh and drive my thoughts forward (or backwards as the case may be). I'm often reminded of my 2004 trip to Japan. More to the point, I am reminded of Mount Fuji. The picture could be of the rocky mountains in 1932, but through the power of photography, a trick of the light, I am reminded of my own past.

Photography has a powerful hold on me. I love taking photos. I love being in photos. I love viewing photos. These impressions, records, what ever you want to call them, they are precious. They are sacred.

Friday, June 8, 2007

iGoogle

iGoogle (the google personalized homepage) is awesome. There are so many great things about iGoogle, it is difficult to pick one feature that stands out as the best. This having been said, I think the best feature (shut up) is the ability to add Google Reader to the page. Google Reader is one of the best tools available on the internet. It singlehandedly gathers all of my favorite blogs, comics and news feeds into one location... it even sorts them and allows me to view them without going to their respective websites. This tool saves me time and reminds me when it's time to read a new entry. My only complaint is that not everyone has RSS feeds, but that isn't google's fault... some people are just stupid.

There is, however, a feature I am dying to see made available for iGoogle. As of yet, there is no iGoogle gadget that directly integrates Blogger... See, if I want to put up a new post, I've got to go to Blogger... I can't just type what I want into a text box in my homepage and then post from there. Please, for the love of god, someone program this gadget before I have to learn how to do it myself!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Transitions

Wouldn't it be great if life had transitions?

Think of how much nicer it would be if you could cut out the boring car ride to the supermarket. Think about how it happens in the movies. The character looks in the refrigerator and realizes there isn't any milk. Next, he grabs his keys from the table and walks out the door. BAM! Segue to the grocery store. He may already be cashing out by this point. I wish I had the power to transition past the boring crap and get chores done faster.

Other film techniques would be great too. Time-laps for example: I've always wanted to watch my beard grow to full length in fast motion.

The possibilities are limitless. If only I could control the world around me in the same way we control cinematic adventures.

What film techniques would you use?

Friday, March 16, 2007

First Post

I'm always excited to try out new technology. I've been wary about trying Blogger, however... You see, it wasn't too long ago that I finally started a LiveJournal account. I liked it so well, that I copied all of my posts over from my old journal into my new one. I guess I'm afraid that I'll like Blogger so much better that I'll make the move again. (That is a very tedious process, I might add.)

So, we'll see how well I like this "Blogger" thing... I assume I'll love it since it's from google... and I love all things google...

And now, I will be hitting the sack... so, good night...