Archive for category Fun

Dear Santa, I want an Amazon Kindle and an iPod Touch

With today’s introduction of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader, I’ve decided that there are two products that would cover all my personal entertainment needs this year. The new Amazon Kindle is simply amazing, and would be the single-most reason I could get back into reading books other than technical manuals. The iPod Touch would provide all my video, podcasting and music needs, all in one small package. So, if anyone is feeling generous this year, I’m also providing a couple handy links where you can purchase these items for someone you love.

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Dilbert’s 9-Point Financial Plan

Before I go any further, yes, it's been a while since I last posted here on my site. There's been a lot going on in my personal life in the past year and let's face it; I'm not going to post stuff just for the sake of posting. That being said, I'm going to try and make a concerted effort to be more active here. Yes, I've said it before, so who knows what will happen…

Now,  I came across what I initially thought was a joke while reading through some feeds I routinely keep up with. It turns out that in Scott Adam's book "Dilbert and the Way of the Weasels.", there's a simple 9-point plan puts in very simple words how to manage your financial freedom. Paul Farrell, of Marketwatch had this to say about the small blurb:

Adams boldly states that this is "everything you need to know about personal investing." In just 129 words, nine simple points, one page you have the unabridged "Unified Theory of Everything Financial." That's it. Everything!

 Here are the 9-points:

  1. Make a will
  2. Pay off your credit cards
  3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support
  4. Fund your 401k to the maximum
  5. Fund your IRA to the maximum
  6. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it
  7. Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account
  8. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement
  9. If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issues), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges a percentage of your portfolio

There you have it. That's all you need to do! You can read the Marketwatch article at…

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That Song in Your Head

Musical NotesEver have this nagging song or even just this rhythm looping in your head and you have no idea what the song is named? Now you have a chance to find out! By using your keyboard’s space-bar, you ‘tap‘ the ryhthm of the song and the website will search its ever-growing database of songs (currently at over 7600) for a match. Head out to The Song Tapper and try it out. I tried tapping Where It’s At by Beck which has been in my head since I woke up this morning for some reason and the site accurately identified it. Incredible! I love it! 

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Dual-LCD Monitors

DELL UltraSharp 2005FPW 20.1-inch Wide Aspect Flat Panel LCD MonitorI've been using an LCD monitor at home for about 4-5 years now, ever since my old CRT monitor started acting up and began being sensitive to anything electrical being turned on in the house. Recently, my wife and I decided to transform our seldom-used dining room into a full office; lots of Ikea office furniture and accessories later, I was able to double my deskspace as well as have a place to be a geek on the same floor where we spend most of our time as a family. Of course, all that extra deskspace was the perfect opportunity to purchase a new LCD monitor. A great sale and some online coupons later, I was the new owner of a fantastic DELL UltraSharp 2005FPW 20.1-inch Wide Aspect Flat Panel LCD Monitor. This morning, as I was sitting in front of my computer, it hit me; I have a perfectly good 18.1" LCD monitor just sitting upstairs in my old office gathering dust! I cleared a little bit of space to the right of my Dell LCD and brought the critter down. I use a dual-monitor setup everyday at work, using my laptop screen and a large external CRT monitor. It's a great productivity booster for me, since I can have my Instant Messenger and email clients on my extra screen, while my main desktop holds the applications I currently need to complete whatever job is at hand. A dual-monitor setup is simply incredible if you have the opportunity to set one up for yourself. The use of LCD's is even better, since the power consumption of the two monitors combined is still under what my old CRT beast used to suck out of the power-outlet. Not to mention the negligible heat produced… UPDATE: My new monitor setup meant that a change to my online status page also had to be made. Also, since I was moving the monitor down, I decided to finally move the old webcam down also, so the home-office webcam is also back up and online. Enjoy!

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Face Transformations

Another great link from my good friend Dan, who seems to have way too much time on his hands to be able to find cool sites such as this one…
The St Andrew’s Face Morpher is a site which enables you to upload a shot of your face (or anyone else), set a few data points, such as the location of eyes and mouth, and transform the face into over a dozen different styles. The Java applet works amazingly well, producing some of the funniest, and in some cases almost eerily accurate, transformations of one’s face that you’ll be able to find anywhere… Definitely worth a look.

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Patient Cats

Came across another one of those “Why didn’t I think of that!” kind of sites…
You’ll understand; just go to

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Star Wars Episode 4 – in ASCII!

I’m not sure exactly what to think about this; is this an incredible feat of programming patience, or the creation of a developer with absolutely no social life? See for yourself; fire up a command line in either Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, or whatever you love to use. Type the following:


Enjoy the show!

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How iTunes Changed the way I Listen to Podcasts

PodcastingMy good friend Matt introduced me to Podcasts a few months ago, telling me how they had totally changed his listening habits, to the point where he had stopped listening to regular radio except for the occasional traffic report now and then. As is always the case, when Matt starts preaching about something, I start listening, since many times, he’s onto something. So I started looking into this Podcast phenomenon and at first couldn’t really understand what the big deal was.
To me, it just seemed like a bunch of people simply recording shows of specific interest into MP3 files for people to download and listen to. A couple shows piqued my curiosity so I listened to them a couple times on my laptop and thought it was kinda cool. One afternoon, upon entering my car leaving work, I realized that I had left my satellite radio at home. Desperate for something different to listen to on the way home, I realized that I had synced my iPod with my PowerBook and had 3-4 Podcasts sitting on it that could be listened to. So I pulled out my old cassette tape interface, plugged the iPod in, started the first Podcast and drove home. A few minutes later, I realized what this whole phenomenon was all about; it’s not just the fact that you can download these shows and listen to them. The magic is that you can listen to them anywhere and anytime!
At that point, I became what I now call a “Podcast Junkie”; I subscribe to 13 different Podcasts which I listen to religiously. Some of these are released weekly, others are released every other day or even daily. This gives the whole thing a level of variety that makes it a little difficult to listen to the same old thing everyday (unless that what you want!).
With the advent of iTunes 4.9, podcast listeners have been taken to another level in regards to the simplicity of finding, subscribing, listening and syncing their Podcasts. Prior to iTunes 4.9, I used another client which worked, but was clunky and didn’t provide the seamless integration/experience I wanted with iTunes. Now, everything is done from one interface in a clean and simple fashion.
If you’re interested in some of the Podcasts I listen to, take a look at the list on the right of my site.

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Build your Own Safety Signs

Warning SignI was reading through my regular list of blogs this morning when I came across a small image of an hilariously funny safety sign. I happened to move my mouse pointer over the image and noticed it was actually a link somewhere. One click later, I was at this wonderful site with lots of evil potential.

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The Sweet Smell of Battlefield 2

Eric Bazerghi and his copy of Battlefield 2Amy and I decided to head out to Sam’s Club this morning to pick up a few things for the weekend, including some light bulbs and various other sundries. As is always the case, we walk through the DVD and PC software aisles to see if there’s anything that catches our eye and to get some new software for Sara to play with during ‘computer time’. Low and behold, right next to some cool Blue’s Clues game we decide to get for Sara, there’s a stack of Battlefield 2 game boxes. Amy looks at me and tells me how some kid has been posting a bunch of stuff on our community forums about how good this game was, etc. I tell her that I’ve been enjoying the demo and that I’ll probably buy it later in the month, and we continue our morning of shopping in ‘bulk’. While unloading the cart to pay, right there under the Blue’s Clues game is a Battlefield 2 box. I look up at Amy and all she says is “You’re welcome.”, smiles, and continues to unload the cart. Dammit, I love that woman! So, THANKS AMY! Here’s to another few weeks of going to bed late while playing a computer game until the wee hours of the night… Oh, and we forgot to buy the lightbulbs…

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Happy Birthday Papa!

Just wanted to take a minute to wish my dad a wonderful birthday. While he and mom might be 1052 miles away from us, he is always in my heart. Thanks Dad, for being the perfect example of how I in turn should be a father to my daughter. Bonne Fête Papa!

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Happy Canada Day!

Canadian FlagHappy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians! I may be calling the US my home, but having been born and raised in Canada, I still take pride in its culture, its people and the land that made me who I am today. Bonne Fête, Canada!

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