Friday, July 28, 2006

July 29 Hospital

Ok, well I've moved on from the big birthday celebrations into enjoying a week off from my main place of toil (not the Black Stump). Enjoying, momentarily...

First day, I come down with a goddam virus - Ok, it's just a sore throat, headache, feeling lazy, all the usual crap - I'll live, I guess. Two days later....rude interruption - school calls "Your son has dislocated or broken his wrist"...bah, humbug, off the the Casualty department of the nearest hospital for the rest of the day. Eleven hours, waiting, x-rays, waiting, discussions, waiting, surgery, recovery, waiting....eventually go home around 3am, leaving my son in hospital at least overnight, possibly longer. Turns out he made (or someone helped him make) a big mess of his Radius bone and now has plaster from fingers to shoulder.

Of course, the football season at school and with his local club have just completed and finals are just about to start - no, no, no, not for him - 6 weeks minimum, no sport. Happiness, all round...

The Black Stump has Medical and First Aid pages with loads of information if you care to look this, or other medical ailments, up.

Can someone remind me this time next year that birthdays are cancelled from now on?

Happy Medicals!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 24 Birthday

Sorry about the lack of posts lately but I've been a little distracted with a milestone birthday and, well, celebrating it!

Lots of things happened on my birthday through history and I share the date with Alexander Dumas and Amelia Earhart to name just two. One day they might be as famous as me...

If you want to know what happened on your birthday, or other dates in history, there are a few sites to check out like the History Channel or Famous Birthdays or Any Day in History or maybe Those Were the Days

Don't forget to check the Daily Fun page on The Black Stump for various "of the day/week" type sites!

Happy Surfing!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 18 Weird

A few sites I run across are rather odd. I post quite a few of them on the Bizarro page but I find more than I can post on that page! Either there are just a lot of odd posters out there or I just happen to gravitate to and across them...

For example...

Ink Blot Tests with Faces in them

Extreme Pumpkins

How long will I live?

Destination Day

Nostradamus Fulfilled

The Excuse-O-Mat

Error Wear

Restroom Ratings

Taos Hum

Moggy Silly Sleeping Pose Olympics

Happy Weirdness!

Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14 Tools Part 3

People often ask me where I find the sites I list on The Black Stump and the answer is "all over the place". Mainly online, but I also scan newspapers for anything interesting as well just to get something a bit different.

Online site scanning is made fairly easy these days with a Software tool called WebSite-Watcher - basically you list the sites you want to monitor and the frequency and it really does the rest. It can watch all or only parts of sites, it highlights all the changes and it's very flexible and highly configurable - it's a great time saver for me.

With a site like The Black Stump where all the sites are personally selected (no auto submissions here!), the link quality is very important. Not just the quality and appropriateness of the content, but the link itself must be valid. Now, with a site of just over 20,000 links it's a rather difficult (in fact, impossible) task to keep everything in order at any point in time so I depend on two link checking tools - LinkBot and Xenu. I don't think LinkBot exists any more but the last version still works OK, but these days I prefer to use Xenu anyway. Xenu works pretty quickly and has some nice little features enabling you to quickly check "down" sites in the Google cache and in the Wayback Machine.

To get back to the opening question about where I find the sites, that's the subject for another day - most of the sites I scan are listed on the Black Stump, most probably in the Cool Sights page. There are probably 20-25 of the sites there which I monitor fairly closely.

Happy Linking!

Monday, July 10, 2006

July 10 Encarta

Quick post today...

A two-hour free pass to the content of Encarta is available. Just follow the instructions contained in the link....

An extract follows...

How to get your free pass
Your Microsoft Encarta free pass is available from any Encartalink on MSN Search.

For example:
Above the search box, click Encarta, or click the arrow next to the Searchbutton, and then click Encarta.
Click any Encartalink on your results page within an hour of running your search.
Click an Encartadirect answer link. Direct answers are identified by this symbol .
When your two-hour free pass expires, you can return to MSN Search, run another search or click an Encartalink. Your two-hour free pass is instantly renewable whenever you click an Encartalink from MSN Search.

Encarta Free Pass Details

Happy Researching!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July 9 Picasa

Finally found some time to check out Picasa and I gotta say it's impressive and its also free. Doesn't get any better than that!

Picasa is photo management software allowing you to organise, edit, and share your photos and it's amazingly simple to use. It scans your PC for grahics files and collates and sorts them into visual albums organised by date and/or the folder name.

You can have it scan your entire system and find loads of things you forgot you had, or you can limit the scanning to directories of your choice. For me, I just used it to scan the "My Pictures" folder. It manages to automatically keep track of changes in the "watched" folders and reflects those updates within the Picasa view. Magic!

I'm also experimenting with Picasa Web Albums which is a neat way of publishing your photos on the Web. I was impressed by the simplicity and ease of use of the software.

Picasa also has a load of powerful editing features and they all seemed pretty intuitive to me.

If you want to store or edit digital photos and/or publish and share them on the Web (easily!), give Picasa a try.

Free, Easy and Useful..what else would you want ?

Happy Editing!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4 Bus

Was sitting in YAM (yet another meeting) in the office listening to those who like to be heard and it struck me how often over the years I've heard the expression "If X got hit by a bus tomorrow, what....".

Is it just an IT thing ? It seems to be a euphemism in the IT industry for "you better do what I'm saying (now!), 'cos if something one in a trillion happens tomorrow, you'll be in trouble...." (except, of course, if was YOU that got hit by the bus, then you wouldn't really give a rats, would you ??).
Although, I think I can remember in the olden days (when I was a kid...), mothers always used to say "make sure you have clean undies without any holes, in case you get hit by a bus" - what the ?? Hey, Mum, just gimme the clean undies and we'll be sweet!

But, why a bus ? What if you got hit by a train ? or a tram ? Would that be Ok ? Just avoid those evil buses , I guess!

Anyway, all this reminds me of one my favourite sites on the Internet and that's the Urban Legends - well worth a wander through but, be careful, you might get stuck in there for days!

I'm off to do my laundry, just in case....