Monday, April 28, 2008

Ebay boycotts

Ebay, the online auction sites, has been making a lot of changes that seem to be angering their longtime sellers.

One of the changes led to higher fees on Ebay, and a second set of changes, going in to effect next month, will take away the ability for Ebay sellers to leave feedback on a transaction. Their goal? They want buyers to rate transactions without fear of sellers leaving negative feedback.

Sellers already went through a boycott last month, and will apparently be doing another one on May 1st. This doesn't really affect buyers as much as it affects the battle between Ebay and sellers.

If there was any alternative to Ebay out there, this would really be that company's chance.

Ebay Boycott story

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Funnies: Online TV

The world of online media is definitely something that hasn't really found a place yet. However, the Web site below is trying, with short online shows including "Cooking with Coolio"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Windows Startup

Is your computer on? If so, it's doing all sorts of things that you don't realize are going on. For example, SOMETHING is keeping your Internet connection on, your printer connection alive, and so on and so forth. These are typically referred to as services.

However, for each good service, there are a bunch of useless ones that are probably switched on in your system's setup. One of the first things I had to do when I got my machine was shut off wireless configuration. Why did I shut it off? I don't have a wireless card...but system resources were being wasted looking for wireless devices!

Changing some of your services is one way to squeeze more power out of your computer. Any changes you make are reversible. You can access the list of services by going to Start Menu, selecting Control Panel, and selecting Administrative Tools.

What's that? How do you know what to shut off? Well, there is a site that someone has put together with a list of the services that exist, an explanation available on the following Web site:

Not necessarily a beginning user thing, but a good thing to check out for an intermediate to advanced user.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Back in college at Montclair State University, I ended up in this Social Problems in Sports class that I thought would be a nice, interesting "A". It turned out to be a fun class with a good grade, but the professor, Dr. Rob Gilbert, went above and beyond in the classroom. He actually had a phone number on which he recorded an inspirational message every day, so you could call in and get inspired when you were feeling down.

I checked in on it recently and it turns out he has web-ified it, and of course, it's free. If you are looking for inspiration, he's got it on the Internet in daily doses.

And, if you ever go to Montclair, take a class with this man. It will change your life. It changed mine.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


There are always ways you can tweak your operating system to be more efficient. The problem with demonstrating these things in classes is that the more powerful they are, the more likely it is that one mistake can cause problems.

One of the tools in Windows that is among those is called MSConfig. Microsoft considered it so powerful that they chose not even to create a Start Menu shortcut for it.

MSConfig is a tool that allows you to do a bunch of things, but I think the best use is to tell your computer what programs should start up when the computer boots. You would be surprised at how much junk is set to load automatically, and it can be disabled with the click of a mouse.

The nice part is that if you accidentally shut down something important, you can also come back and switch it back on - you are not deleting anything, just disabling things.

I usually demonstrate it in classes, but someone has done one better and listed step by step instructions on how to do it in most versions of Windows.

Once you visit that site, scroll beneath the ads and click on the version of Windows that you are running.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Funnies: What NOT to do in PowerPoint

My CIS 101 classes from the last two semesters will recognize this video, but for everyone else:

Don McMillan does a comedy routine about what not to do in PowerPoint. I had never heard of him, but I definitely am amused by this routine!

(Note: link updated again, if it ever stops working, go to to find it)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 17, 2008 PCCC Career Fair

Thursday is going to mark the annual Career Day at PCCC. The school will have many potential employers on campus tomorrow in the Paterson gymnasium, employers looking for potential new hires.

It is from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm - they say that you should dress professionally and bring a resume. Definitely worth checking out if you are looking for a job that is a step up from "cashier"!

Secure, Random passwords

One of the nice things about the Internet is that you have a lot of access to work that people are willing to share for free, especially in the areas of technology.

For example, if you want to create a truly random password, PC Tools (a software company that creates programs such as Registry Mechanic) has a free Web site that you can use to create a random, secure password. Now all you would have to do is remember it!

(And no, your password of password is not sneaky or clever. Humans might not think to try it, but to a computer, it's just another word in a dictionary)

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I discussed the RIAA in a previous post at some point.

Basically, they are the folks that have sued normal people for large amounts of money. The interesting question has started to arise - what happens to the money they take from people they sue?'s starting to come out that it is NOT the music artists who are getting it. The RIAA is of course claiming that after legal fees there wasn't a lot of money left, but I am really suspicious of that, personally. They are in theory an organization that is supposed to protect the rights of musicians and such, but I wouldn't be shocked if the money was just kind of ending up in people's pockets.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Taking Responsibility

I ran across this short article and I totally agree.

We all make mistakes at work (and at school), and sometimes it's not the mistake that kills you, it is how you react to it.

The article linked below discussed some strategies to recover gracefully:


Friday Funnies: The Onion

I love satire. One of the best sites I have found for this is The Onion.

Billing themselves as "America's Finest News Source", they have articles that some people have mistaken for real news.

Definitely worth a few clicks and a few chuckles.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Microsoft / Yahoo! round 2

As discussed in early February, Yahoo! turned down Microsoft's takeover offer.

Microsoft of course is not too happy about this, and earlier this week set a deadline for Yahoo! to accept before Microsoft would resort to other, less nice means - they can attempt to go around the Yahoo! Board of Directors, for example. Things can and likely will get ugly here.

Thanks to Norma for the heads up!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


DIY of course stands for Do It Yourself.

When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by MacGyver, a character who would create all sorts of cool stuff from nearby objects. It was somewhat improbable, but definitely fun to watch.

Many things now can be taught through video instruction, especially with the dawn of the YouTube age. I've always enjoyed checking out sites like for text based tutorials, but there are sites that are starting to spring up that show you how to do things via video.

For example, check out the Web site below for all sorts of videos, from things as normal as "how to sew" to things as bizarre as "how to trap eels".

Thanks to Dave M for the heads up!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Funnies: SomeECards

I always liked the idea of sending E-Cards, but the problem is so many of them are generic.

The site has a set of electronic greeting cards that are anything but generic. Also, if you are offended easily, there are some with strong language.

However, they are anything but normal, and hey, who likes normal, right?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

All About Identity Theft

Over at the Digerati Life site, someone posted an interesting article about identity theft - including ways people get your personal information, and ways you can combat it.

Some of the ways people get information (for example, "dumpster diving"), I was aware of, but even I was surprised to read about the ways people get this information getting a scanner and eavesdropping on people's wireless telephone calls.

Link to story

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Google tISP service!

Google has announced a plan to make available wireless Internet available!

Thanks to Sue for the heads up!