Thursday, April 29, 2004

Wayback, Way Cool! 

The Wayback Machine is just too much fun! Internet Archive is working to preserve home pages in the same way that a library might preserve newspapers on microfiche.

Read this article Way Back When (New Scientist) http://www.newscientist.com/opinion/opinterview.jsp?id=ns23701 and then visit the Wayback Machine site and give it a try. I looked up my own URL (karinrex.com) and was shocked to be able to see my home page all the way back through 1996! WOW, was my site ugly, not to mention full of HTML coding errors, and useless for business purposes What was I thinking?
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Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Wanted: Quietude 

Sometimes I just hate the suburbs.

Is it wrong of me to wish for one warm, sunny day without the drone of lawnmowers? Is it petty to crave a few hours in my garden without the blare of leaf blowers? Am I wicked for entertaining fantasies of shoving my neighbors’ weed whackers up their collective noses? (Or, more accurately, up the noses of the lawn service guys who seem to show up around the clock in one yard or another?)

All I want is a little freakin’ peace and quiet, for god’s sake! Is that too much to ask?

Did you know that the word “noise” comes from the Latin word “nausea?” That little factoid sure as hell doesn’t surprise me. I totally believe noise can make you sick. Sometimes when I sit in my backyard I can actually feel my blood pressure rising from the surrounding suburban din.

Science has proven that noise can actually change your blood chemistry, raise your blood pressure, and make us anxious, tired, and distracted. (Don’t believe me? See for yourself -- try doing a Google search on “noise and health” -- I am not making this stuff up.)

I am not a noise weenie or anything – I used to live in Center City Philadelphia, and anybody who’s ever lived within city limits is on very familiar terms with noise. The bus brakes squealing, the car doors slamming, the car stereos shaking your pictures off the walls, the police car sirens, the ambulance sirens, the fire truck sirens, the car alarms, the babies crying, the honking horns of irritated drivers, the televisions blaring through open windows, the jack hammers working on the next street over, the snowplows scraping the streets, and let’s not forget the always entertaining neighbor arguments and subsequent makeup sex.

God, I miss the city.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Who's On First Circa 2004 

Abbott and Costello Meet the 21st Century
By Lincoln Spector

ABBOTT: Ultimate SuperDuper Computer Store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up a home office in the den, and I'm thinking of buying a computer.

COSTELLO: No, the name is Bud.

ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.

COSTELLO: I told you, my name is Bud.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Does it get stuffy?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What do I see when I look out the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software that runs on Windows?
COSTELLO: No, on the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses. You know, run a business. What have you got?

ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommended something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?

COSTELLO: For my office?

COSTELLO: Okay, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office.

ABBOTT: Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office and it already has windows! Let's say I'm sitting at my computer, and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?

COSTELLO: If I'm writing a proposal, I'm going to need lots of words. But what program do I load?

COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: The Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in "office for windows?"

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue W.
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your big W if you don't give me a straight answer. Let's forget about words for a minute. What do I need if I want to watch a movie over the Internet?

ABBOTT: RealOne.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real movie, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. But what do I need to watch it?

ABBOTT: RealOne.
COSTELLO: If it's a long movie I'll also want to watch reels two, three and four. Can I watch reel four?

ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great! With what?

ABBOTT: RealOne.
COSTELLO: Okay, so I'm sitting at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?

ABBOTT: You click the blue 1.
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?

ABBOTT: The blue 1.
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue W?

ABBOTT: Of course it is. The blue 1 is RealOne. The blue W is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in "office for windows!"

ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world.

ABBOTT: Yes, although to be fair there aren't many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words.
COSTELLO: And that word is the real one?

ABBOTT: No. RealOne has nothing to do with Word. RealOne isn't even part of Office.
COSTELLO: Never mind; I don't want to get started with that again. But I also need something for bank accounts, loans, and so on. What do you have to help me track my money?

ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: No, not really. It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What comes bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Exactly. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer at no extra charge? How much money do I get?

ABBOTT: Just one copy.
COSTELLO: I get a copy of money. Isn't that illegal?

ABBOTT: No. We have a license from Microsoft to make copies of Money.
COSTELLO: Microsoft can license you to make money?

ABBOTT: Of course! They own it.
COSTELLO: Well, it's great that I'm going to get free money, but I'll still need to track it. Do you have anything for managing your money?

ABBOTT: Managing Your Money? That program disappeared years ago.
COSTELLO: Well, what do you sell in its place?

ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: You sell money?

ABBOTT: Of course. But if you buy a computer from us, you get it for free.
COSTELLO: That's all very wonderful, but I'll be running a business. Do you have any software for, you know, accounting?

ABBOTT: Simply Accounting.
COSTELLO: Probably, but it might get a little complicated.

ABBOTT: If you don't want Simply Accounting, you might try M.Y.O.B.
COSTELLO: M.Y.O.B.? What does that stand for?

ABBOTT: Mind Your Own Business.
COSTELLO: I beg your pardon?

ABBOTT: No, that would be I.B.Y.P. I said M.Y.O.B.
COSTELLO: Look, I just need to do some accounting for my home business. You know--accounting? You do it with money.

ABBOTT: Of course you can do accounting with Money. But you may need more.
COSTELLO: More money?

ABBOTT: More than Money. Money can't do everything.
COSTELLO: I don't need a sermon! Okay, let's forget about money for the moment. I'm worried that my computer might... what's the word? Crash. And if my computer crashes, what can I use to restore my data?

COSTELLO: Okay. I'm worried about my computer smashing and I need something to restore my data. What do you recommend?

COSTELLO: How many times do I have to repeat myself?

ABBOTT: I've never asked you to repeat yourself. All I said was GoBack.
COSTELLO: How can I go back if I haven't even been anywhere? Okay, I'll go back. What do I need to write a proposal?

COSTELLO: But I'll need lots of words to write a proposal.

ABBOTT: No, you only need one Word--the Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in...Oh, never mind.


ABBOTT: Hello? Hello? Customers! Why do they always hang up on me? Oh, well. Ultimate SuperDuper Computer Store. Can I help you?

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Spell Czech 

Read this poem aloud:

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin not sea

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar Wright
It shows me strait a weigh

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
It rare lea ever wrong

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My Chequer toed me sew

(Sauce Unknown)
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Monday, April 12, 2004

A Three Gravy Dinner 

Easter was at our house this year, which is where we like it. I love Easter -- not only for its religious roots (after all who can resist the allure of a resurrected savior?), but also because it brings along with it the promise of spring, not to mention substantial amounts of chocolate).

When I was a little girl I would wake to an Easter table unlike any other on earth. My mother transformed our table to a breathtaking feast for the eyes. It wasn’t just the Easter baskets full of chocolate and jelly beans that got my attention, it was the hand-painted egg cups and the tri-chemed table linens (tri-chem was big in the 60’s and my mom was great at it!), and the sweet smell of fresh hyacinths, and the shiny new shoes for church – I loved the whole Easter package.

So most years I try and recreate that at my house for my nieces and nephew and my mom and brother. I do up the table in a big way. In fact this year I did two tables – one for the breakfast and candy (how wrong do those two words sound together?) and the other for dinner. I bought new table linens and centerpieces and bunny dishes and unboxed loads of old favorites (bunny rabbit salt and pepper shakers, carrot candle holders, baskets).

We colored Easter eggs the night before and even made our family specialty – onion eggs. Each year I trek in to the supermarket and clean the onion bins of their loose skins. And every year the checkout clerk asks me what they’re for and looks at me like I am bizarre when I tell them. I wrap a layer of onion skins around a raw egg and secure the skins by wrapping layers of thread around the egg. I then hard boil the eggs per usual. They come out like little tie-dyed eggs in shades of oranges and yellows and greens – gorgeous. You can see an example at FabulousFoods.com, but they look better in person. (And no, they don’t taste like onions at all.)

We made ham and lamb and yam yet again this year. Partly because they rhyme and partly because that’s what we always make, along with asparagus and broccoli and roast potatoes. But this year we had to make three gravies – I ruined the first batch with too much celery seed; then my brother ruined the second batch with too much salt. Finally we gave up and put the job in Mom’s hands where gravy belongs. And of course it came out perfectly.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Google vs. Yahoo 

Did you ever wonder which was the better search tool? (I know I have, but then I am a bit obsessed with the topic of Internet search techniques). I came across a a strange little tool that allows you to do a simultaneous search in both of these tools and then creates an interactive graphic comparing the results between the two:


Go to the above site and type in something you are interested in (your company name, your own name, whatever) and then click the compare 'em button. Give it some time to come up; the results are not instant because it needs time to create the graph. When the graph comes up, move your mouse over the various dots. To view a page, click on its corresponding dot. The dark dots designate pages that are in both search results.

Pretty neat!
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