Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Track your spouse 24 hours a day

Those readers who suspect that their other half may be playing away from home, or that their teenage daughter is currently getting down and dirty with some spotty ne'er-do-well are pointed in the direction of the ultimate errant female tracking device: the truly sensational forget-me-not panties with sensatech technology.

These "panties" can trace the exact location of your woman and send the information, via satellite, to your cell phone, PDA, and PC simultaneously! Use our patented mapping system, pantyMap®, to find the exact location of your loved one 24 hours a day. The technology is embedded into a piece of fabric so seamlessly she will never know it's there!

According to David, When my daughter hit puberty I nearly had a heart attack. She started looking like a woman and suddenly she was wearing revealing clothing and staying out late with her friends.

Rather than become an over-protective parent , I decided to try forget-me-not panties™.

They work wonderfully. My wife and I bought our Sarah several pairs so we can watch her around the clock, and if we see her temperature rising too high, we intervene by calling her cellphone or just picking her up wherever she is. My only comment is it would be great to have a video camera, maybe you can work that into V.2. [Via]
tamoxifen: not only is it really, really good for women in my position to take it for FIVE YEARS, it's really, really bad to take it while pregnant. they don't know exactly what fx it might have, but a "DES-like" syndrome is one possibility. I'll be 44 before I can stop taking Tamoxifen.

one day I'll have to face up to the fact that I can't get pregnant again. if I'm very lucky, I might get another baby through some other path. but the risk of pregnancy (meaning stopping treatment) is too great. A. needs his mum.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sony has a new idea to stop piracy

ABC reports: Sony tests anti-CD burning technology.

As part of its mounting United States rollout of content-enhanced and copy-protected CDs, Sony BMG is testing technology that bars consumers from making additional copies of burned CD-R discs.

Since March the company has released at least 10 commercial titles - more than 1 million discs in total, featuring technology from UK anti-piracy specialist First4Internet that allows consumers to make limited copies of protected discs, but blocks users from making copies of the copies. The concept is known as "sterile burning" and, in the eyes of Sony BMG executives, the initiative is central to the industry's efforts to curb casual CD burning. "Two-thirds of all piracy comes from ripping and burning CDs, which is why making the CD a secure format is of the utmost importance."

To date, most copy protection and other digital rights management-based solutions that allow for burning have not included secure burning.

Early copy-protected discs as well as all Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected files sold through online retailers like iTunes, Napster and others offer burning of tracks into unprotected WAV files. Those burned CDs can then be ripped back onto a personal computer minus a DRM wrapper and converted into MP3 files.

Under the new solution, tracks ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc are copied to a blank CD in Microsoft's Windows Media Audio format. The DRM embedded on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied.

How Google News works

Joi writes about a presentation by Krishna Bharat titled: Inside Google News where Bharat explained how Google News works. [Dan Gillmor pressed Krishna for more transparency on the algorithm and the list of sources.]

Google News basically crawls news sites, finds "story clusters", ranks the sources, figures out how prominently each source is running the story, figures out whether its a big story or a little story, figures out geographic references, and builds the pages for the various geographic and language editions. He was talking to an audience of editors so there were many questions about how the "editing" process worked and many people couldn't seem to believe it was algorithmic. Some people seemed afraid that Google News would replace them. The point that he made and was clear from the process that he explained is that it uses the decisions that the editors of the various media make about what story to run and where in deciding how important a story was. It was basically aggregating the decisions of the editors, not replacing them. Without the editors and the "front page process" Google News couldn't decide what story to lead with. At least in its current form.

The derivative conclusion you can come to is that Google News is just amplifying or reinforcing systemic biases in MSM editorial and NOT helping to address these issues. I think this make Google News very news media friendly and also provides an opportunity for bloggers and projects like Global Voices to still have a very important role. I guess that if Google New started incorporating more of the alternative press, they could shift the bias.

Exploring the Hidden Web

Google, one of the most popular search engines, at best can index and search about 4 billion to 5 billion Web pages, representing only 1 percent of the World Wide Web.

But officials from Connotate Technologies, said they have developed technology that can mine and extract data from the Deep Web, which contains an estimated 500 billion Web pages, and deliver it in any format and through any delivery mechanism. The Deep Web refers to content in databases that rarely shows up in Web searches.

Through the use of intelligence-based software modules called information agents, corporate and government organizations can quickly and easily target specific unstructured data from intranets and password-protected Web sites on a continual basis.

Molloy said information agents can go to complex Web sites and databases, extract information — such as dates, names or contract identification numbers — and automatically deliver that data in any format. Pricing starts at a little more than $100,000. [Going where no search engine has gone before]
as if the birth notices in this morning's paper weren't enough, the stupid ABC decides to run a piece on "welcoming the new baby" in kids' hour straight after Playschool.

yeah I'm lucky to have a kid at all. now shut up.

Inside Bill Gates House - Pictures of Bill Gates Home

Picture Gallery of Bill Gates house
- Virtual tour of Bill Gates house in Media overlooking Lake Washington. Bill Gates Family resides in this home.

Take a virtual tour of the Bill Gates Mansion where he stays with his family. Watch the beautiful neighbourhood of Bill Gates house.

The Bill Gates family lives in the exclusive suburb of Medina, Washington, in a huge earth-sheltered home in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington.

Billionaire Bill Gates home is a very modern 21st century house in the "Pacific lodge" style, with advanced electronic systems everywhere. In one respect though it is more like an 18th or 19th century mansion: it has a large private library with a domed reading room. While it does have a classic flavour, the home has many unique qualities.

Lights would automatically come on when you came home. Speakers would be hidden beneath the wallpaper to allow music to follow you from room to room. Portable touch pads would control everything from the TV sets to the temperature and the lights, which would brighten or dim to fit the occasion or to match the outdoor light.

Visitors to Bill Gates House are surveyed and given a microchip upon entrance. This small chip sends signals throughout the house, and a given room's temperature and other conditions will change according to preset user preferences. According to King County public records, as of 2002, the total assessed value of the property (land and house) is $113 million, and the annual property tax is just over $1 million.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median American house size is slightly more than 2,000 square feet. Microsoft founder William Gates III house is more than 30 times that size.

Bill Gates Mansion satellite view from Google Maps

Bill Gates House Aerial view from MSN Virtual Earth

There has been lot of speculation that the home of Bill Gates on Lake Washington was designed on a Macintosh. Pictures of the Gates' complex are both private and copyrighted, so in order to see what this place really looks like you need to go to BCJ's website. Following the "residential menu" click on the forward arrow key at the bottom of the pictures to advance to the house entitled, "Guest House and Garage, Medina, Washington".

USNews.com provides an interactive tour of home that covers the Pool building, Exercise facilites, Library, Theater, Formal dining room. Microsoft's own Seattle Sidewalk site has a birds-eye view of the project under construction. (Medina Washington project)

It took seven years to build the 40,000-square-foot Bill Gates mansion on a wooded five-acre compound in the moneyed Seattle suburb of Medina. [Bill Gates House Address: 1835 73rd Ave NE, Medina, WA 98039 map - arial photo] Much of the Bill Gates house is built underground into the hill, so the house looks smaller than it actually is. Unfortunately the hidden section underground did not escape the taxman's view; Bill paid over a million dollars last year on property taxes.

Earlier, Bill Gates organized a private party at his waterfront mansion. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a "temporary security zone" around Gates' Lake Washington home which locked down all of Lake Washington south of the Highway 520 bridge and stayed in effect for two days. Gates' homestead is approximately 48,000 square feet with a garage that reportedly accommodates 30 cars.

The architects who designed Bill Gates' famous residential compound in Washington were James Cutler Architects and the architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ).

Inside Bill Gates' Garage, you'll find a 1999 Porsche 911 Convertible and 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe. Steven Ballmer drives a 1998 Lincoln Continental. In fact, due to the 959’s questionable emissions and unknown crash ratings, it took a federal law signed by President Clinton for Bill Gates to legally drive his 959 on American roads.

Read this interview with James Cutler, FAIA, the best-known architect of Northwest Style and the designer of the Bill and Melinda Gates residence on Lake Washington near Seattle. Firm: Anderson Cutler Architects (formerly James Cutler Architects), on Bainbridge Island, off the Seattle coast.

Bill Gates House Pictures

Microsoft Office tips and tricks

Most of us use Microsoft Office, but do we know how to make the most of it? Computeract!ve reveals 100 top tips for mastering this suite.

We probably use office programs - word processors, spreadsheets, email and presentation applications - more than any other kind of software on our computers. Of this kind of software, Microsoft's Office suite is the most popular.

It can, however, be hard to get to grips with all the time-saving features; all those menus, toolbars and buttons can seem overwhelming at times, particularly if you are just starting out.

Once you delve a little deeper and discover Office's hidden shortcuts and tricks, however, you can make your software work a lot harder for you and make your life easier in the process.

My favourite MS Word trick is Scraps - You can create 'scraps' in Word, which are small blocks of text from a document. Highlight some text in an open document and drag it to the Desktop, and you will see it appear as a document scrap. You can arrange and rename your scraps on the Desktop, and simply drop them back into Word documents as you need them. The scraps can be pasted into most other applications too.

MS Word and MS Excel Tricks
MS Powerpoint and MS Outlook Tricks

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Did Google visit your website today?

I'm always curious to know how often Googlebot is visiting my website. I get maximum traffic from Google Search Engine, so it becomes very important that Googlebot pays frequent visits to my website and indexes maximum number of pages. Googlebot is Google's web-crawling robot. It collects documents from the web to build a searchable index for the search engine.

Since this blog is hosted on Blogger, I do not have any access to their webserver logs and the only way to find out if Google visited my site is check the date on Google Cache.

But looks like there exists a better way of doing things - I just came across an undocumented but very powerful syntax called "daterange" - Google did mention it in the API documentation but very few know about it.

Remember: A date-range search has nothing to do with the creation date of the content and everything to do with the indexing date of the content. And this is exactly what I was looking for.

If you want to limit your results to documents that were published within a specific date range, then you can use the "daterange:" query term to accomplish this. The "daterange:" query term must be in the following format: daterange:<start_date>-<end date>

where <start_date> = Julian date indicating the start of the date range
<end date> = Julian date indicating the end of the date range

The catch is that the date must be expressed as a Julian date that is calculated by the number of days since January 1, 4713 BC. For example, the Julian date for August 1, 2001 is 2452122. You can use this online tool to Convert calendar date to Julian Date

This simple form allows you to do a date range search using google. Rather than constructing fancy queries such as " life daterange:2453461-2453491", simply put in the # of days back. e.g. if you want to do a search for life in the past 20 days, type in life in the query box and 20 in the days back box.

I used the query below to find the pages on my site that were indexed by Google a day before.


The number of results retrieved are actually the number of files that were indexed by Google yesterday.

And don't forget that there are a few simple things you can do to help the Googlebot understand your web site as fully as possible. Read this great article at Scribbling.net.

Read this page before Microsoft sues you

Microsoft has listed all its Trademarks here.

According to MS, the absence of a name or logo in this list does not constitute a waiver of any and all intellectual property rights that Microsoft Corporation has established in any of its product, feature, or service names or logos.

The name Microsoft is synonymous with high-quality computer software and hardware products and services. Microsoft trademarks are extremely valuable because they represent the standards of excellence and consistent quality associated with Microsoft. This page contains detailed information about how to reference Microsoft trademarks in different scenarios. Read General Microsoft Trademark Guidelines.

After reading the guidelines, I found one mistake which almost all of do all the time. See the example below.

Set Microsoft Trademarks Apart From Other Words or Nouns They Modify

The common way to do this is to capitalize the product name and use the appropriate trademark symbol and appropriate descriptor. You may also underline, italicize, or bold the name.

Correct: After you install the Windows® operating system...

Incorrect: After installing Windows programs you can...

Then there is a Microsoft logo guidlines page .

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Download your favourite Programming Fonts

Every font you will find here was created by a programmer and is free.

Proggy Programming Fonts is the home of the Proggy programmer's fonts (Proggy Clean, Proggy Square, Proggy Small, and Proggy Tiny) as well as a number of contributed programming fonts (Crisp, Speedy, CodingFontTobi1, and Opti). It is also the home of two other proportional bitmap fonts for use on web pages (Webby Caps and Webby Small).

The proggy fonts are a set of fixed-width screen fonts that are designed for code listings. They are distributed in Microsoft's .fon format, the truetype (ttf) format, as well as XWindows (Linux/BSD...) pcf format. The .fon format works well with MS Visual Studio, a command prompt, Photoshop, etc. Some editors do not recognize .fon fonts, in which case you should use the ttf version (12pt PC, 16pt Mac).

Each font only comes in one size that it looks good at. The ttf fonts should also be used at their intended point size as they are basically conversions of the pixel based bitmap versions. The fonts were optimized while coding in C or C++... for this reason, characters like the '*' were placed vertically centered, as '*' usually means dereference or multiply, but never 'to the power of' like in Fortran.

The {}s are centered horizontally (as my coding style aligns braces vertically), the zero looks different from the capital oh, and there is never any confusion between ells, ones, and eyes.

Additionally, the arithmetic operators (+ - * < >) are all axis aligned... unlike the last ones you just saw.

Try software for 7 days - either buy it or delete it

Jeff writes about his passion for trying out new software. He says: I love to try out new software all the time, in fact its sort of an obsession. I'm always on the prowl for cool new applications. After seven days of use though if I'm not totally blowon away or if its not improving my PC life, its straight to add/remove programs I go.

What will make a piece of software get registered vs. uninstalled?

1. Does it play well with my other applications or does it clobber my other applications?
2. Does it have a weird user interface or is the experience sleek?
3. Is the data easily available to all of my machines or do I have to perform registry judo to get the data to another desktop?
4. Does it improve my PC experience, make me more productivity or do I have fun with it?
5. Have I completely forgotten about the application after seven days?

Edd adds: Actually, I have a similar rule. I will not install a new program when I first hear about it, no matter how tempting it sounds. Instead, I wait at least two weeks, and during that time I check the software out. Any known problems? Any unfortunate interactions with other programs? Only after I satisfy myself that the program is safe and reliable do I allow myself to install it. You'd be amazed how many programs that sound irresistible at first turn out to be completely, um, resistible.

Secure Windows login with typing a password

Palcott Software have just released Natural Login Pro that offers secure Windows login without the need to type your password every time. It works by storing your password on a USB key, which automatically identifies you and can log you in automatically. To log-off, you can simply remove the USB key and the computer will be locked. The program supports multiple users, and can also store multiple account logins on a single USB key. In addition, Natural Login Pro offers an emergency login that can be used if you forgot or lost your USB key.

With Auto-Login, a user can be automatically logged in to their computer as they insert the device into the USB port. Natural Login Pro recognizes the user, determines their access privileges, and connects them to the appropriate account on the computer. The result is powerful hardware-based security melded with convenient access. In addition, unlike other security schemes that require users to carry around hardware tokens made specifically for access-control, with Natural Login Pro the user gets all of the advantages of a hardware token without the need for a dedicated device.

If you want to tighten your security, the program also offers additional security questions, that can prevent unauthorized users from accessing your PC by simply inserting the USB key. Palcott software is the only company to propose such a comprehensive solution. It allows easy transport of your identification keys in the most natural way possible by using your regular mobile objects.

The Battle for Bloggers

As big-footed competitors like Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft enter the blogosphere, Juan Carlos ponders whether the changes they are bringing will be benefitial or detrimental to the [blogging] market.

MSN Spaces was topped only by blogging stalwarts. Google's Blogger and its accompanying Blogspot hosting site together drew 12.63 million unique visitors in April, followed by Six Apart's Typepad and LiveJournal services, which together rang up 11.47 million, and by Xanga.com with 8.26 million.

Introduced in beta form just last December, MSN Spaces now hosts over 10 million blogs, an eye-popping adoption rate that has blown past internal Microsoft expectations. In April, when MSN Spaces exited its beta period, it was already among the most popular blogging sites in the U.S. based on stats indicating 2.87 million unique visitors that month, according to market researcher comScore Networks. Microsoft is tapping mostly people who haven't blogged before, and specifically among the ranks of MSN Messenger users

In March, Yahoo introduced in limited beta a service called Yahoo 360 whose concept and design are similar to MSN Spaces. This service comes as no surprise, because Yahoo, like Microsoft's MSN, has a wide variety of online services with which to surround its blogging service. As two leading Web portals, MSN and Yahoo have an amount and variety of online services under one roof that few others can rival, and blogging is something they're weaving into their overall fabric.

This clashes with the philosophy of most original blogging services, including Blogger, which Google acquired in 2003 after Blogger had become popular. Services such as Blogger offer basic blogging functionality but also tend to be open, flexible platforms that tech-savvy users can extend, build upon, and integrate with third-party services. Howerver, Blogger to date has no native way for users to control access to their blogs, nor does it feature native image uploading, two capabilities core to MSN Spaces and Yahoo 360.

Friday, May 27, 2005

What's missing in MSN Search Toolbar

Paul Thurrott does an extensive review of MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search and says that is the best tool available to Windows users, and a must-have addition to any XP user's desktop. It's fast, free, and functional, and offers virtually every feature you'll ever need. And thanks to its open architecture, companies can create custom iFilter extensions that let WDS index any file type. This will prove hugely important for corporations that have created proprietary file types, but it also means that WDS can be instantly updated should some popular new document type hit the Web tomorrow.

No software is perfect and the missing features that Paul mentions are also an extension to my previous post MSN - You could not win my heart :

WDS finds documents (and email), and not "files." The distinction is important. If you want to find every document you've written that includes the text "MSN," WDS is a great tool. If you want to find files like msn.dll, WDS can't help you. That's by design, of course. But sometimes you need to find files.

WDS is incapable of winnowing down results beyond its stock document type filtering (documents, email, music, etc.). Let's say you perform a search that retrieves hundreds of results and would like to narrow the search from there. WDS doesn't offer a way to query only the existing results.

WDS also lacks some high-end features, like the ability to save dynamic search results in a special folder, as Apple does with Spotlight's Smart Folder feature.

WDS doesn't offer a way to open up a discrete location in the file system and launch a search of just that location (and, optionally, all of the folders logically found under that location).

Why are Bull and Bear symbols of the stock market?

For those who don't spend a lot of time on Wall Street, bulls and bears refer to opposite trends in the stock market. According to Investor Words, a bull market is "a prolonged period in which investment prices rise faster than their historical average." Conversely, a bear market means "a prolonged period in which investment prices fall, accompanied by widespread pessimism." So, bulls good, bears bad...

No one's quite sure how the two animals came to symbolize the market, but there are a few theories floating around. According to Motley Fool, a bear market earned its name because bears tend to swat at things with their paws in a downward motion (as in "the market's going down"). A bull market, on the other hand, got its name because bulls swing their horns upward when they strike (as in "the market's going up").

Another theory proposes that the animals' personalities are behind the symbolism. Bears move with caution, while bulls are bold and like to charge ahead. So a "bearish" investor thinks the market will go down, while a "bullish" investor thinks it's headed up.

Certainly no one can argue that both animals are intimidating and best avoided. Maybe they're meant to serve as a warning to investors: Unless you know what you're doing, you could be headed for pain. [Via]
A. cried when he went to childcare again today, even though dh took him in while I hid in the car.

when I picked him up, he was sitting in a corner playing alone. he cried just a bit when he saw me. one of the staff told me he laughed when they were doing puzzles today - a bit of a surprise to me as he laughs at home all the time, but apparently not at care. so maybe he isn't as happy there as I thought.

I picked him up as soon as I could after an afternoon rest - I could have done more work, or read, but I wanted a bit of baby time. and then I felt guilty for treating "baby time" as an option beside those other things.

anyway, tonight, sick or not, I'm going to the movies with some girlfriends. you have to make the effort sometimes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

feeling sorry for myself post: stomach cramps, headache and general unwellness, but still I dragged myself in for my first appt with the radiation oncologist. luckily I asked dh to come with me at the last minute. because the whole thing was a bit of a lose.

they want to irradiate my neck as well as chest wall. this means visible burning, blistering etc and probably redness later in life. I had hoped it would be confined to an area that I can hide. the lymph glands in my neck can't be operated on, and are just as likely as the ones they took out to have cancer in them - I hadn't really realised that. that means they are really quite likely to be - infected? I guess that's not the word? - and all this will only give me a 2-3 % greater chance of survival overall, though greatly reducing the chance of a local recurrence. in other words, the real risk is in the rest of my body. and the chemo has been delayed and downgraded due to my white blood cells. and the fact that I have no new lumps means nada while I'm in chemo. the waiting period starts after chemo. and of course he referred to me having hopefully five years of Tamoxifen, which is the real bar to another baby.

most of all, I find it hard to go through the blow-by-blow of lump size, nodes, surgery and yet another examination of my scar. it all just brings to the fore something I'd rather push aside.

oh, and NO SWIMMING for the whole period of radio plus a few weeks, unless I can get down to the saltwater pool at St Kilda. that really sucks. and reconstruction? not for a YEAR, he says. I had my heart set on doing it before I was 40 (39 tomorrow). and of course various small risks associated with radio - bone thinning, new cancers, 5% of my lung function will be gone forever. it seems like a lot of trouble for a small benefit, but I guess I'll do it - I couldn't live with myself if I didn't and we got a local recurrence.

I have an appointment for another CAT scan in a few weeks, followed by six weeks of treatment that will make me tired and rundown, starting early July. oh joy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Simplifying the complex amazon.com image URLs

Nat Gertler has done a complete investigation of the Amazon.COM URLs which are really difficult to understand. According to Nat, the details of size and format are built into the image's URL. What that means that, if you want, you can create URLs that generate odd and unlikely Amazon images. The proper combination of product choice and added elements and effects could create an interesting visual.

The foreign Amazon sites all seem to use the same method; the only difference is that instead of starting with the http://images.amazon.com/ domain, the amazon.jp images start with http://images-jp.amazon.com/ while the amazon.co.uk and amazon.de images start with http://images-eu.amazon.com/ - Amazon.ca uses the same domain as Amazon.com.


http://images.amazon.com/images/P/ - doesn't vary. That points to the right place on the Amazon servers.

0762423374 is the ASIN, the identifier that Amazon uses for every item it stocks.

01 is an odd duck of a field. It selects the image and the format of the percentage off bullet.

_PE20_SCMZZZZZZZ_ gives information on the size of the image and adornments added to the image. I've found three formats that this field can have.

Before you start experimenting, there's a word of caution: Abusing Amazon images for decorative art on your own web pages makes use of Amazon's processor and bandwidth. While Amazon is generally good about letting people use their systems for interesting projects, it should be remembered that they make access available in order to ultimately sell more stuff. Read the details here - "Abusing Amazon images".

Images in Google Adsense Text Only Ads

Jensense reports that icons, better known as 16 by 16 pixel favicons, have been spotted in AdSense wide skyscraper ad units (160x600). Register.com, eBay.com and Amazon.com are among those advertisers whose favicons are being shown.

This could have a negative impact on the earnings of Google Adsense publishers. A text link with an image on the left would attract more attention of the visitor and is more likely to be clicked than the one without an image. And premium advertisors might be paying less per click. So your Google.com Adsense CTR may go up but the EPC may fall.

Or, might be still testing this adsense feature and may eventually allow all adsense adwords users to use favicon in their ads. In that case, the skyscraper units will definitely catch the eye of the person viewing the webpage, which will be good for publishers as well as the advertisers who are using them to attract clicks.

DigitalPoint members have seen favicon icons even in LeaderBoard style. See some screenshots of Google Adsense ads embedded with icons here or here

Try the free Favicon Generator - Simply select a picture, logo or other graphic (of any size, resolution) for the "Source Image" and click "Generate FavIcon.ico"

Bloglines developing a blog search engine

In an interview, Mark Fletcher, the CEO of Bloglines (now a division of AskJeeves) says that his company will release a blog search engine this summer which will surpass the likes of Technorati, Feedster, and PubSub. "The challenge," he says, "is to create world-class blog search, which we don't think exists now."

Bloglines is one of the most popular online news aggregator but faces strong competition from emerging players like Pluck, Newsgator, Microsoft's Start.com and even Findory which learns from the articles you read and surfaces other interesting weblog posts and news articles.

Bloglines has one big advantage - It has a huge subscriber base, they know what blogs are popular and what posts are most frequently viewed or emailed. This could be potentially a very big parameter in ranking blogs. We can also see a site search box from bloglines similar to Technorati Searchlet.

But how does Bloglines expect to make money ? Jack Krupansky has an interesting point - Google is now beta-testing AdSense ads that eventually I can put into my blogs and that users of Bloglines (and other aggregators) will then see. That will let me make a little money, but where's Bloglines going to monetize their infrastructure and services?
warning: hugely immoderate proud parent post.

dh is out for the night. A. and I spent 15 minutes on the couch, reading books and looking at pictures of people we know. just after 6.30, I took him into his bedroom and put him in his sleeping bag. and he lay there, with a mouthful of dummy, a teddy under each arm, looked up at me and started laughing gently. and I don't think I could be happier than leaning over him, face to face, laughing with him. about what? life, I guess. it's pretty good.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

what I could really do without right now: national palliative care week. I JUST DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT, OK??

who I'm envying: Kylie. no, really. wish my surgeon could have fronted the press and declared my op a complete success.

dreaming of: what I saw in the mirror this afternoon as A played with his reflection. two babies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

FlashPaper to become a feature in Acrobat

FlashPaper allows easy creation of both PDFs and Flash documents - SWF files that are interchangeable with PDFs for most Web purposes. Look for Adobe to rapidly make FlashPaper go away as a standalone product, replaced by new functionality in Acrobat: the ability to save documents as SWF files.

This is predicted in a report by the Forrester research group on the future of Flash after the Adobe-Macromedia merger Adobe's PDF standard is already facing the heat from Microsoft's Metro which is being called by some as a potential "Adobe Killer".

Similar to NPD prediction, this report also carries good news from Flash users. Adobe Systems’ impending purchase of Macromedia has raised questions about the future of Flash. But the acquisition makes prospects for Flash-related products even brighter than before as Macromedia gets a much-needed infusion of marketing clout along with some intriguing opportunities for tool synergies.

Flash Player will keep its sacred status. Adobe knows that this is the crown jewel that makes all of the Flash-related products so compelling. Flash MX tools slowly transform into part of the “Photoshop family”. Adobe will add support for Flash Video to its video tools namely Premiere Pro and After Effects. Adobe will put the format squarely in focus for Web designers who want to create streaming video.

Download the full report "With Adobe in Charge, What Will Happen to Flash? (PDF, 96K)" here.

Say No to Software Piracy - Downloading Serials or Cracks from Internet Could be Dangerous

Say No to Software Piracy
Do not download pirated software or patches from the internet - When you download a crack, you can be almost certain that some bad things will be included.

If you really can't afford the software you are looking for, contact the author and explain your situation. There is a big chance that you get a reduction or that you get the software for free.

Most crackers will include trojans that they have written themselves and are therefore not detected by virus scanners. Many cracks will include spyware.

The trojans allow the cracker to access your computer. If you use your computer to make payments by credit card or to do online banking, the cracker will have access to your passwords and pin codes and will use your credit card or bank account to buy things.

The spyware can break many things in your computer. It can make your browser unusable. There is also a good chance that viruses are included.

Now you may think that serials are safer. You don't need to install anything on your computer to use them. But if you think this, you are wrong. The web pages where you find the serials are a dangerous place. Many of these web pages exploit security holes in your browser, and can install trojans, spyware and viruses on your computer just by visiting the web page.

Just searching on the web for web pages that contain serials can damage your computer, can give the crackers access to your credit card, and can install spyware that tracks everything you do.

Better Safe than Sorry. Alway buy original software.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

my mother tells me it's good that I have some work, it will keep my brain going.

I say I'm using it anyway (thinking of my writing, my blog, my reading)

she says: "when I had (small) kids, I thought about cabbages."
something else the singing budgie and I now have in common (we share a birthdate; she's two years younger than me.) reading between the lines, I'd say it's a tiny lump and she'll be fine. not that that makes it any more fun for her to hear the line "it is cancer".

Monday, May 16, 2005

I've just done two hours of work hiding up here in the study while the sitter plays with A. in the other room. quite a strange feeling, hiding from my own son.

so I'm earning money again, albeit a tenth of what dh does, and with a fairly nondemanding piece of work. another venture I have is starting to look like it might even pay for itself (long story). the real world will drag me back in, I suppose, and in a funny way maybe I'll look back at this time when no one expected anything of me as a luxury.

MSN - You could not win my heart

Nor a place on my desktop.

The MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search was officially launched today. The toolbar also includes a pop-up blocker and form fill functions to enhance the browsing experience. Users of MSN's line of services, such as Hotmail, Messenger and Spaces, will find one-click access within the product. To address some privacy concerns, you can control which files the software indexes and how often.

But are there enough reasons for me to switch from Copernic to MSN ? No, not yet.

1. MSN Desktop Search is only available on machines running Microsoft Windows XP/Server 2003/2000 & Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 or later. If you are a Firefox fan like me, stay away from it.

2. MSN added a preview pane similar to the one in Microsoft Outlook. This is a useful enhancement but according to SEW, Microsoft's preview is painfully sluggish compared to Yahoo's, to the point of being virtually unusable.

3. There is a toolbar everywhere. (See the image on the right) The suite includes three toolbars, one for Microsoft Outlook, a toolbar for Windows and Internet Explorer, and a toolbar for the Windows taskbar. Why not a standalone program ? I can't live without the Google Toolbar and installing another toolbar decreases my browser preview area further. Why would I want to look at a toolbar all the time even though I would use only 2% of my time.

4. MSN doesn't automatically index PDF files - Most of my official documentation is in PDF format but MSN requires you to download a separate plugin for indexing PDF files. I see some rivalry here. Microsoft is expected to release its own Metro document format which is being touted as Adobe's PDF killer. Maybe that could be the reason for Microsoft not adding native support for PDF in their search suite. When MSN DS can index 200 file types, why not 201 ?

5. Microsoft plays some hide n' seek - One of the non-public betas reviewed by PCMag actually added tabbed browsing to IE, a useful feature that has, unfortunately, been held back for further security testing. Hopes dashed.

6. Can I search for files in any language? - Not yet. MSN Toolbar Suite and Deskbar Search supportU.S. English only.

7. Do I really need MS Desktop Search ? No, It's already there.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Some amazing software will cease to exist

In the battle for "Survival of the Fittest" - Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Flash are expected to survive the Adobe-Macromedia merger, while Fireworks, Freehand, and GoLive will be eliminated.

This is predicted in an NPD report cited by MacNN. Photoshop and Dreamweaver customers will be least affected by the merger, as these products will remain largely intact. However, the FTC regulations may require Adobe to sell GoLive, Fireworks, FreeHand to another vendor.

NPD believes that customers will "most definitely" benefit from the merger. For example, integration between Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Flash would enable animators, Web designers and advertising professionals to "streamline their workflows." In the short run, the customer using both Photoshop and Dreamweaver "won’t need to do anything differently." Later, this customer will "probably be able to buy a single suite of tools from Adobe, resulting in significant cost savings."

Recently, sold off its font editor creator software Fontographer to Fontlab. Fontographer is a software for creating fonts while , the leader in digital typography, sells fonts. A software for creating fonts may not interest Adobe much. Fontographer along with Freehand were both products originally born at Altsys.

Screencasting Software Guide - Review of Desktop Screen Recording Tools

Screencasting to help your mom is a software buying guide to help you choose the right software for screen capture and for screencasting or recording movies of your desktop screen activity.

How often friends visit you to learn how to use email, how to search Google or how to install a software. Or how do you teach Microsoft Office to mom who is sitting miles away. Well, the answer is simple - just record a screencast video of your screen with voice narration (aka screencast) and upload it a website like YouTube.

What is Screencasting (Desktop Screen + Broadcast)

Screencasting (see glossary) is a process of creating interactive demonstrations and software simulations by capturing a series of screenshots of any running software application. The screencasting software (like a video camera) records all your actions and instantly creates a simulation or screencast. These screencast movies can be exported in a variety of formats like Standalone EXE, SWF, Flash Video, Windows Media, AVI, QuickTime or MPEG-4 incase you want to distribute your screencast on a portable device like an iPod or a cell phone. These formats are widely supported so you may easily import screencasts into any video editing software for more advanced editing.

Screencasts can be used for describing software features, reporting bugs, or for interactive e-learning. Just as a screenshot is a picture of a user's desktop screen, a screencast is essentially a movie of what a user sees on his or her monitor. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, a movie is worth a thousand pictures. Software Tutorial companies like TotalTraining.com, lynda.com and vtc.com also use one of these screencasting tools to create their instructional video DVDs.

Screencasting Software - Tools for Recording Screencasts

Here's a list of some of my favorite screencasting tools along with a quick review.

Commercial Screencasting Tools

1. Qarbon Viewlet Builder - Qarbon patented the Screen Capture technology and prefer to call their flash movies as Viewlets which are basically .swf files. Qarbon seems to have the best Flash file compression algorithm around. However, another software called ViewletCam is required to enable moving screen captures. This is Windows only as Qarbon recently discontinued ViewletBuilder for Mac.

2. Camtasia Studio - From the developers of SnagIt, Camtasia is probably the best screencasting software for Windows. Camtasia Studio can produce 720p HD screencasts with minimal effort and Camtasia for Mac is expected soon. Camtasia can also record and export your PowerPoint presentations as a movie.

3. Turbo Demo - With Turbo Demo, you can create screencasts in either Flash or Java. The screencasts projects can be exported to plain text files, that are editable and can be imported back into Turbodemo. In the screencast editing mode (after screen capture), you can change the cursor style or reposition the mouse anywhere on the slide.

4. Adobe Captivate - Captivate (earlier RoboDemo) is a screencasting cum e-learning program and at $800 a license, Captivate is the most expensive screencasting software tool that I know of. Other than basic screen capture, you may use Captivate for creating interactive simulations, soft-skills training in organizations, quizzes and e-learning courses. The software can export your screencasts as SWF, FLA, FLV (with closed captioning), and MP3 (for audio podcasts).

5. Camtasia Relay - University professors can use Camtasia Relay to record and publish their classroom lectures on the web in almost real time.

6. Demo Builder - It sports a very pleasing interface and can record full motion videos (like in Camtasia) or through manual screenshots (as in Qarbon Viewletbuilder). Demo Builder can automatically add visual hints (in the form of text balloons) at relevant points in the screencast (like closing a button with the mouse). You can also edit cursor motions after the screen capture.

Free Screencasting Software

7. Capture Fox - This is a free add-on that turns your Firefox browser in a screencasting application. It can record Firefox as well as the entire desktop screen and will save it as a video file.

8. Screen Toaster - This is an excellent online screencasting tool that requires no installation and works on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. You record the screencast on the desktop and it instantly becomes available on the web as a flash video. ScreenToaster can directly upload screencasts to YouTube and they also a community site like YouTube.

9. Community Clips - Another free screencasting tool from the Microsoft Office team that is not as polished a Screen Toaster or Jing but can used for creating quick screencasts from within Microsoft Office.

10. BB Flashback - This was a earlier a paid software but now the basic screen recorder software is available as a free download. BB Flashback installs a separate capture driver for Windows Vista to record the Aero effects of Vista at a high frame rate even on a slow PC.

11. Tip Cam - It's a free screencasting software that can also record a remote computer screen provided your computer is running the VNC server.

12. Go View - From the developers of GotoMeeting.com, Go View offers desktop screen recording (with audio) as well as free hosting for your recorded screencast videos with no bandwidth limitations.

13. Debut - This can transmit your desktop screen or webcam video to a remote computer and can therefore be used as spy camera for monitoring the desktop screen from any internet connect camera.

14. Live Screencasting - Procaster from Mogulus is a free software that helps you broadcast your desktop screen (live streaming) on the Internet to any number of users.

15. Techsmith Jing - Jing can capture a still snapshot of your desktop screen as well as record screen movies. Jing Pro can record HD screencasts and both versions are available on Mac and Windows. Related: Compare Jing with Skitch

16. Demo Studio - GPL-licensed screen capture application for Microsoft Windows (open source). DemoStudio records by default to AVI format, but you may use Demo Studio Producer for converting screencasts into Flash (SWF) files.

17.  Windows Media Encoder - encodes other formats to WMV which can be progressively download and can even broadcast a live event from your webcam.

Open Source Screencasting Software Programs

18. CamStudio- GPL-licensed screen capture application for Microsoft Windows (open source). CamStudio is a simple, straightforward program to record screen activity to AVI or SWF format. You can also record audio from your speakers or microphone.

19. Wink (freeware) - Wink, available for Windows & Linux, can capture screenshots, mouse movements and you may also add annotations to your screencasts. You can also add voice narrations at the time of recording and screencasts can be exported as Flash, PDF or EXE for distribution on a CD.

20. vnc2swf - This can capture live motion of a screen through VNC protocol and converts it a Flash movie. Implementation available in Python and C - the former supports Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Windows while the C version of vnc2swf only runs on platforms which support X11 (i.e. Unix, Linux or Mac OS X).

21. Istanbul: GTK-based Open Source Istanbul for Linux can record the desktop screen into an Ogg Theora video codec. The software works on GNOME, KDE and XFCE.

Screencasing Resources

U.S. Government RSS Library

The U.S. government's official web portal now offers an RSS Library.

My favourites are the NASA RSS feeds available in the Science Section.

General Science Information from NASA

Image of the Day

At the time of writing this post, the link to U.S. Army News was broken. You can even suggest a Feed here.

Guide for Google AdSense Publishers

If you are a regular visitor to my site, you might have noticed some changes in the style. Well, I drew most of the inspiration from the picture above also known as the "heat map".

This “heat map” illustrates ideal ad placements on a sample page layout. Google folk have published an elaborate Optimization Tips page for publishers.

Google Adsense Placement Tips Looking at my recent adsense statistics, I must admit that the above illustration is fairly nice. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance). All other things being equal, ad placements above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.

Google has done an impressive presentation to woo new Adsense Publishers.

Adsense for Content remains my primary source of revenue from this blog. I do not use "Adsense for Search" as Googlebot doesn't index my site too well. Yahoo! spiders do a better job, atleast in my case.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I'm a paddidle, apparently.

have been searching for breast cancer blogs that don't mention recurrences. depressingly few. otoh, my six-month checkup (breast area only) yesterday was fine, followed by the fourth-from-last chemotherapy session. my low white cells are dragging this out; it will be at least ten months from initial surgery to the finish of radiotherapy. and don't ask what it's all costing. I won't be able to do reconstruction until next year, I'm told, which is a bummer as I'd really hoped to get it done by the one-year anniversary.

baby sick still. me all chemoed out. a tough day.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Danae, who is currently shooting up hormones and will, in due course, be the bearer of grrl's news. just for reference.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Microsoft Office 2006

Microsoft has established an internal Office 12 ship calendar that pegs Office Beta 1 availability for August 29, 2005. Beta 2 is slated for December 5, 2005. The internal release-to-manufacturing target is May 22, 2006. And the target for "street" availability for the Office 12 System is July 17, 2006, the sources said.

Looks like Microsoft is sticking to the deadline. The next version of Microsoft Office would be coming in 2006.

With Office 12, Microsoft is expected to release more server products designed for workgroup collaboration. Industry observers and analysts have speculated a new Excel server might be in the works, for example, but Microsoft has declined to comment. Existing server products in the Office System family include Project Server, Portal Server and Live Communications Server.

originally planned to ship Office 12 alongside the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn. The Office release is now likely to come before the new Windows version, which Microsoft has said will be broadly available in late 2006. [Via]
no way do I have time to read and report properly on the Law Reform Commission's discussion paper on access to ART

it seems to be giving with one hand - removing the marriage requirement and allowing same-sex couples in, f'rinstance - and taking with the other - bringing in rules that would prevent "unsuitable" people getting access to ART.

Monday, May 9, 2005

X1 or Yahoo! desktop search ?

If you are wondering why X1 is charging for features that Yahoo! is offering for free, think again.

X1, the big brother of all offers some unique features including special versions for Government and Enterprise users who have valid security concerns.

To help consumers choose which desktop search tool is right for them, X1 provides of comparison summary here.

Yahoo! Desktop Search - Gives consumers the power of X1 Desktop Search, including the ability to:
• Find all of your emails, attachments, files and contacts on your computer - spanning over 200 different file types.
• Instantly preview results - as fast as you type.
• Search directly from within Outlook.
• Customize and control your desktop search experience.

X1 Desktop Search - Provides professionals and businesses with additional unique features, including the ability to:
• Index and search network drives.
• Index and act on email messages stored in external PST archives - even if they're not loaded in Outlook!
• Integrate Eudora or Mozilla email software products, which are fully supported by X1 Desktop Search.

X1 Desktop Search, Enterprise Edition includes all the capabilities of X1's award-winning desktop search product, enhanced to provide "as-fast-as-you-type" search solutions across shared networks, is extensible, offers better data security options and a centralized server deployment options with a browser-based client.

Read more about Yahoo! X1 partnership in a letter from the X1 President.
as my erstwhile employer's opinion editor says this was "good" but they'd run enough on IVF lately, I may as well air it here.

In an article on this page last Friday, Dr Amin Abboud is certain to
have made many infertile couples' blood boil – including, I admit,
mine, with this advice – "They just needed to relax and do what is
naturally necessary to conceive."
"Just relax" is the most common, and most infuriating, piece of advice
suffered by infertile people, and in most cases, as useless as it
He suggests that IVF in Australia needs a review going beyond the
financially-driven reforms mooted, then sent off to an expert panel,
by the Federal Government recently.
Dr Abboud says that one third of infertile couples whose condition is
"unexplained" would become pregnant without IVF if they pursued "other
treatment options."
But can he tell us which third? And does he really expect women in
their late thirties who have been waiting years on the "natural"
platform to pass up the IVF train when it arrives, and agree to wait
another couple of years, by which time their chances of motherhood
will have shrunk even further?
He doesn't specify those other treatment options, but they would
certainly include fertility drugs, with associated risks of multiple
births, and alternative treatments such as acupuncture, lifestyle
changes and herbal or naturopathic assistance – most of which can be
pursued at the same time as IVF treatment.
Technically speaking, when I underwent IVF 2 ½ years ago, I was in
that third of patients whose infertility was "unexplained", not having
fallen pregnant after a year of carefully timed natural attempts. But
the fact that two attempts had managed to get not even a drop of fluid
to traverse my fallopian tubes gave me a clue which way I should jump,
and our success on the second embryo transfer, shows that for many
"unexplained" patients, IVF is a shortcut well worth risking.
Dr Abboud suggests that the "general pattern" of IVF treatment in
Australia is similar to the "vicious" and unregulated competition in
the United States. I don't know what kind of Australian IVF doctors
he's met, but the fine, caring and extremely cautious medical staff
who worked with me during my treatment showed no signs of any of the
sins of the US system, most particularly the push to transfer
excessive numbers of embryos, risking high order multiple births.
As an aside, if IVF in Australia were to be restricted by number of
cycles, I believe many would-be parents would be more likely to risk
twins and even triplets to get the most out of their allocated
chances, resulting in more premature births, among the many problems
with multiple births.
Dr Abboud quotes a Sydney IVF clinic director as saying that in the
future, sex will be for fun and IVF will be for babies. He – Dr Abboud
- hints that issues such as sex selection will help push this supposed
Dr Abboud has clearly never undergone weeks of hormonal pummelling of
his body, mind and emotions, weeks of injections, followed by painful
egg pickup and invasive embryo transfer procedures. Any woman who
would choose IVF over the fun path, even or particularly to choose a
child's gender is, I believe, in need of counselling. It hurts, it's
unpleasant and no one in their right mind would choose it if they
didn't need to.
His called-for "scientific review" would presumably come up with
suggestions like "relax and wait" – I can feel my blood warming up
In his article, Dr Abboud pointed out that the Access Infertility
Network, an advocate of easy access to IVF, is funded by the IVF
industry. Fair enough. But before taking Dr Abboud's suggestions on
board, we should look at his background. In 2002 he was quoted on the
Australian Catholic Weekly's web site as saying "good science is
ethical science" as he criticised stem cell research.
In 2003, he was acknowledged as helping Reverend the Hon. Dr Gordon
Moyes of the NSW Parliament write a speech opposing embryonic stem
cell research, and he has made his stand against that research clear
in numerous other forums. Would it be cynical of me to detect the
anti-IVF bias that often accompanies opposition to non-reproductive
uses of embryos?
In a submission to a federal senate inquiry on human cloning – and I'm
not going into that issue here – Dr Abboud said: "Inadequate research
has been done on the development of the human when conceived and born
out of what has been traditionally understood as family dynamics."
Would that be the good old missionary position, Dr Abboud?

Sunday, May 8, 2005

To Read or Not to Read: That is the Query

To Search or Not to Search: That is the Query - Robert J. Boeri writes his views on in this article on EContent.

I have been following the desktop search tool market for quite sometime now and would like to comment on this article.

Robert is right in pointing out that the desktop search market is hot. PC hard drive space has increased a thousand-fold. Google has become a common-place verb for searching, and with PCs always connected via broadband or DSL we simply have more to search for.

The rest of the article is however embedded with not-so-correct information. It seems the author has little or no knowledge about the desktop search companies and their tools. To Read or Not to Read this article ? That is the Query.

As of this writing, Google's desktop search tool is a "beta" edition, and is still being fine-tuned.
The article was posted on May 09, 2005 and GDS was completely out of Beta on ..... - Yes there are security concerns with GDS but it is definitely not in Beta.

If you use a free desktop search appliance on your work PC, you may receive a deaf ear from the software (or your IT department's) help desk if things go wrong
Forums - That's the place to go when you have a problem. There are people (or geeks) all around the world to answer your queries as soon as you post it on a forum. And they don't charge you for the help. And vendors offering free tools do offer support - I know of atleast two companies or Filehand that respond to your email.

Besides Google, ISYS is the only vendor I know that provides both desktop and enterprise search tools.
Robert, you need to update yourself - X1, dtSearch, Copernic - all of them offer enterprise search tools.

free desktop search tools have most enterprise search vendors on the defensive.
It may be true or may be not. There are two kind of markets - one for the standalone PC user and the other for Corporate or Enterprise users where the actual money is. True because there has been lot of talk on how desktop search companies plan to make money if they continue to offer software for free. Infact some Windows users argue that Desktop Search Programs shouldn't exist as file indexing is already built-in and with Longhorn, most of the desktop search companies will have to close shops. Untrue because big corporates remain worried of security and privacy issues and rely only on enterprise versions. And yes, there are even home consumers willing to pay for desktop search tools. X1 charges around $75 for it's desktop search tool even though a similar version, released by Yahoo!, is available for free.

Your comments are welcome.
what does Martha Stewart have to say about removing melted plastic bibs from clothes dryers?
there's been some talk about last posts lately. I'm not writing one of those. But I've been thinking...

this is a draft. I want to work it up into something that makes sense. it probably doesn't right now. but when I feel for the core of what I'm trying to mean, I feel comforted.


When the gods were angry with us, they’d exclaim “Mere mortal! How dare you?”

But we do. We know we are going to die. We are mere mortals, those for whom our very existence is an issue, (1) and we do it anyway.

And this (I wrote in the dark in the middle of another sleepless night) is the meaning of life (which I abbreviated as 42). To do, knowing that it will end.

Which is why sex and death are related. Sex is pointless in the face of death. It can’t last. But we do it anyway. Sex procreates, defies and overcomes death. The sexual urge is reproductive, death-defying, though as living humans we have reinterpreted it so many ways.

So the meaning of life is to do what we are. You are a poet, a painter, a cabinet maker, a grower of vegetables. You won’t last.

Which is why Douglas Adams’ writers’ block was so ironic. His best joke was about the meaning of life, but he couldn’t write – and that was what he was for.

And it’s why I’m writing now. I am doing what I am, being a writer. It’s what I am and I will live my life, writer and mother, though I am going to die, quite possibly very soon, too young. I’m a mere mortal, I face that fact, and I dare.

I wonder about postnatal depression. About making life, on the face of it the greatest victory over death, but then having to deal with the sheer banality of the act. Giving birth is the ultimate in life – and that’s all there is? (2)

In the dark, I think of songs about life. The Violent Femmes: “He said yes to life for all his life, then one day he said No. I’ve gotta go…”

The meaning of life is to say yes. Which is probably why Joyce’s Ulysses ends with that one word.

Yes I am, yes I will, yes I do, turning one’s back on the fact of death, denying and defying in full knowledge – that is what life is for.

So I have an argument with suicide (apart maybe from those who suffer deeply and irreparably, and I know that’s a relative matter).

In a way, I started learning to live when I met my first freaks, new friends who weren’t standard-issue, but who embraced what they were, chose to live what they were – gay, musicians, artists and other lost, searching souls. That’s when I began to see the project of life as being self-fulfilment; not selfish hedonism, but living out what might once have been called one’s fate; looking into oneself, seeing the truth and honouring it.

And all I can do now, in the face of death, is to keep saying yes, keep passing the open windows(3), keep on daring to be even though I’m a mere mortal.

(2) Peggy Lee?
(3) Garp?
poor little A. still has the stomach bug, as he didn't get super antibiotics as I did. which meant he pooed and cried several times last night, and had a temperature, and screamed the house down this morning. he's now napping peacefully. if it recurs, I'm demanding antibiotics for him from the dr, if only to ensure I don't get the bug again once my course finishes. the midnight thought after a bleary nappy change/panadol administration/cuddle: the reason dh and I have conflict when A. is in a crisis, and the reason I get so annoyed with him is this: I am a professional now, I know how to drive A. dh is an amateur, messing about, reading Panadol labels while I hold a crying, squirming bub on my full bladder. must be more patient with him. no man is perfect.

Tools for generating email signatures

is getting generous and tons of GMail invites are now available. You don't need to be a expert to generate that cool looking GMail signature graphic. Just check out these two Gmail Signature Generator sites:


Playtime allows you to download the source code of the gmail signature generator script but I personally like the styles of gizmo967.
email address of amit agarwal

Both these services are very simple to use: Enter you GMail username, click the 'Create' button and save the generated graphic as a .png file. Convert it other formats like .jpg or .gif using free tool like IrfanView. Done ! And putting a graphic instead of the email prevents you from spam as well.

Some more services for GMail and other popular email services.

1. http://www.nhacks.com/email/index.php - Get email graphic signatures for GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, ATT, Bigfoot, RocketMail, QQ, Comcast, Netscape, Blueyonder, SBCGlobal, Earthlink and Lycos

2. http://www.hkwebs.net/catalog/tools/gmail/ - Only for GMail

3. http://createsigs.com/ - Generate a cool looking signature for free to use on GMail, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo!, AOL, ATT, Bigfoot, QQ

The last page on the Internet

So many websites claim to be The End of Internet.

You can even shutdown the internet by clicking the red button.

The message is clear: Leave the computer, do something productive or just go out and play.

You have reached the very last page of the Internet.

We hope you have enjoyed your browsing.

Enjoy the rest of your life.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

what I got for Mothers' Day: 15 minutes of screaming first up, woken up from the afternoon nap and a slightly sick, off-colour baby all day. c'est la vie.

he's down for a third nap (as is his dad) and I have a few minutes to try to catch up on my blog, my reading (gotta read getupgrrl every day as she's not publishing archives right now) and my "other" writing. ah, what would Virginia Woolf say?

lessee, cancer issues: conversations I imagine #1: when someone challenges me for using the "disabled" private change room at the pool and I explain to them that I'm using it so as not to shock other patrons with my disfigured chest, and that they should mind their own business in future. but no one ever does challenge me. either a) everyone is just getting on with their lives or b) people are more considerate than I realise. did I mention how many topless sunbathers there were in Thailand? I saw more breasts in public than I've ever seen in my life. not all perfect, mind you, not at all, some great, some old and floppy and fat. but all in pairs.

conversation #2: walking up to a smoker on the street, a feckless young gal with great skin and a fag in her hand, and explaining to her how chemotherapy feels, and how the dr at the hospital on Friday (I had a stomach bug and had to go in for blood tests, a drip, etc) pushed the needle right through my vein and out the other side.

and what the notes below are about: this article, by a religious anti-IVF, anti-female reproductive control idjut masquerading as a doctor and ethicist. I can pick them a mile off now. it's (free) subscription-only, so I'll give you a sample, much as I'm loathe to reproduce such rubbish:

"A study by David Dunson and his colleagues published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2004 concluded that sterility did not increase with age. The authors found that even the most difficult demographic, the 35 to 39 age group, could still conceive within a two-year period in nine out of 10 cases. They just needed to relax and do what is naturally necessary to conceive."

yep, RELAX!!! aargh.

and finally, one thing I did in Thailand. we visited the Big Buddha on Koh Samui, where for 20 baht you can buy a brick for their temple and put your names on it. I put on my name, dh's, A's and a tiny dot. for the baby who may or may not be, but is still just a tiny dot right now.

(I also had aches in my armpits and a rare cry over the small matter of what's left of my right breast. but basically the holiday was not about sickness and very much about food, swimming and playing on the beach with A.)

Google relaunches an old service with a new name

You would have read about the "new" Google service called Blogger Mobile where you need to do to use it is send an email or MMS from your phone to go@blogger.com - your blog is automatically created, and whatever text or photos (or both) you send in the message becomes your post.

Before you say "This is cool" - think again. Such a service existed even when Google purchased Blogger from Pyralabs. It just had a different name Mail-To-Blogger - I really see no difference in Blogger Mobile and Mail-To-Blogger except that the former automatically create a blog for you the first time you use it and it send you confirmation notices of your posts.

Such kind of marketing is rarely seen from which itself admits the similarities in the two features. Once you have a blog set up, posting through go@blogger.com will be equivalent to posting with your Mail-to-Blogger address (since Mail-to-Blogger now supports image attachments).

This service is not for everyone having a mobile phone. It will work with your phone if you are a US customer of Verizon, AT&T, Cingular, Sprint, or T-Mobile. Photos are currently limited to 250K in size each. If you exceed that, your message will bounce and let you know so that you can try again with a smaller picture.

I still don't find any convincing reason to switch from Flickr which has tons of mobile blogging features. You can even surf Flickr from any web-enabled cell phone or PDA: just go to http://flickr.com/mob/ on the web browser. Take a peek at all the Flickr Tools.

Friday, May 6, 2005

and the submission that gives his game away. note bettina arndt reference!
the speech in question

X1 desktop search countinues to impress

X1 Technologies, Inc., a recognized leader in solutions, today announced the immediate availability of X1 Desktop Search with support for the IBM Lotus Notes® email messaging system. The more than 118 million users of Lotus Notes now gain access to critical knowledge stored in their email, attachments, contacts and files via one of the most robust, award-winning desktop search tools currently on the market.

X1 is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bill Gross, who conceived and developed a similar product, called Lotus Magellan in 1989. Bill Gross is the founder of Idealab, a company that incubates Internet startups such as X1. Idealab founded Overture, which of course was acquired by Yahoo in 2003.

When Yahoo! released their desktop search product, I was a little concerned over the fate of X1. But X1 developers continue to impress and and X1 remains one of my my favorite desktop search tool. No desktop search tool comes close when it comes to file preview (Contextual previews). X1 has practically support for every filetypes that I have encountered so far. It can even show Adobe Illustrator drawings with the Illustrator program. X1 displays search results in their native format without requiring users to open the application it was created in - or even have it installed. With each new keystroke, results are displayed and refined immediately with search terms highlighted in contrasting colors

X1 5.0 was a major upgrade with a new, more standard, interface; an integrated index, allowing a single search across all of your data; huge performance improvements, no limits on the amount of data that can be indexed, tighter integration with Outlook; support for Thunderbird (and coming support for Lotus Notes). X1 fulfilled the promise in their latest release 5.2.

Enterprise Users with privacy concerns can consider the X1 enterprise edition. For beginners, X1.com has tutorial, a printable Quick Start Guide and excellent customer support alongwith very active user forums (They even have a RSS Feed for X1 Forums)

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Google Blog has a new home

Googler insights into product and technology news and our culture.

Eric Case of the Blogger team writes about Google Blog's to new home at Blogspot. However, you don't need to resubscribe - the old Atom feed is being redirected to its new URL.

The old blog at http://www.google.com/googleblog/ is no longer updated. folks have even added a blogroll in this new blog which to my surprise includes blogs of their main competitors - AJ, MSN and Yahoo!. Scoble was also present.

A picture is worth a thousand pictures

Photomosaics are also referred to as photo montages, photo-tiled pictures, mixed mosaics, random mosaics and photo tapestries.

Photomosaics is an image creation process where a final image is formed from a collection of smaller images called tiles. The tiles are blend together to form a larger image completely unrelated to the individual images that form it.

The small tile images can be seen up close, but at a distance, an entirely different image can be seen. See this popular photomosiac of George Bush.

Photomosiac creation software was initially developed by Robert Silvers at the MIT labs and he does not license the technology which is protected by US patent 6,137,498, which also protects photomosaic's "look and feel". Since then over 100 of the Fortune 500 companies have been clients of Runaway Technology. Silvers has created covers for magazines such as Life, Newsweek, and Playboy and has created commissioned portraits for Vice President Al Gore, H. M. King Hussein of Jordan, and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

USA Today comments: "If Leonardo da Vinci had lived in the computer age, he might have created Photomosaics. Instead, it was left to Robert Silvers to discover a digital way to combine art and science."

You can view the gallery of photomosaic done by Robert Silvers himself.

Read more about the history of Photo Mosaics.

Arno provides a list of software programs for creating photomosaics. These software create professional level picture mosaics from any photo collection.

For Mac: MacOSaiX
For PC: Centarsia, RS, AdreaMosaic
ah, this is not the way to get readers. but for those who came here via Cancer, Baby, via Getupgrrl - and there's enough there to rename the Slashdot Effect the Grrl Effect - hi. it's a little crowded in here. I usually only entertain a visitor or 2 at a time.

I know how annoying it is to try to read back through archives to find out why the hell you're at a site anyway. so this is me (said the Phantom): ttc through 2002, IVF, baby born late 2003, breast cancer diagnosed a year later, surgery, yada yada, currently slogging through chemotherapy with the lowest white blood cell counts ever seen in a living human (yes, I failed again, maybe chemo next week). this has all put a hitch in my plans for ttc #2, I can tell you.

and like Bomb in My Belly, I am not strong. I am not giving thanks for cancer. I am, though, a bit humbled by what I see in the other ttc/cancer/both blogs I surf around. Other than that, I'm just getting on with it and trying not to let bad shit make my life suck. a bit like the amazing Sabine Dardenne, who is my new heroine.

now go back and give Cancer, Baby some love.
great. I finally email Getupgrrl because I can't get at the posts I missed while I was away, and in my attempts to be clever and impress the coolest ttc blogger on the blog, I misspelled "competitive", as in Competitive (aka Competive) Boy. now she'll think I'm stupid and snub me in the lunchroom and I won't get to be a cheerleader and no one will dance with me at the prom. damn. oh wait, that already happened 21 years ago.

can I just say that this whole picking on IVF thing that the Health Minister is up to stinks of anti-female sentiment? that it's all about control of fertility? that infertility is not a fucking lifestyle choice, it's an affliction? and that yes I know Australia has the best damn IVF funding around. and that it should stay that way?

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

oh shit. I feel ill. surfed over to see what Getupgrrl was up to and it turns out she's also a reader of Cancer, Baby. and the news there is not good. shit. and yes, part of the ache in my gut is fear. but part is empathy. if infertility is unfair, cancer is just plain senseless.
fabulous holiday. exhausting flights. baby now can say "plane" and has swum in the warm Thai ocean a number of times. yawn. he's napping now, which is a sign that the sleep realignment hasn't been entirely successful yet. did some interesting thinking about Life while we were away, but right now I'm flat out trying to organise myself to do some actual freelance work which has fallen in my lap and is too good to be passed up. will probably put A. in a second day of care, with babysitters in the few weeks before that becomes available.

back into chemo tonight. damn. I nearly managed to forget about all that.