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Todd's Blog

  • Todd's Blog has 674 entries (4 private) and has been viewed 2,114,499 times.
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January 8, 2016, 11:45 amStill running Windows 8? Time to upgrade, or else

I see from the Lottery Post web stats that many people are still running Windows 8 on their computers.  If you're one of these people, you really need to do the free upgrade to Windows 10.

Here is the link to an article that came out today describing WHY it is so important to upgrade:  http://www.zdnet.com/article/still-running-windows-8-time-to-upgrade-or-else/

You should leave yourself about an hour to do the free upgrade.  When you're ready, go to the following link and get started:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

Last Edited: January 8, 2016, 11:46 am

Entry #674
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April 6, 2015, 7:16 pmNew Microsoft Surface 3

I've been a huge fan of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 ever since it came out last August.  I purchased one of the Intel i7 models, and it was able to successfully replace my laptop, just as Microsoft claimed it could.

It's an incredible computer/tablet.

Now Microsoft has come out with the Surface 3 (note the word "Pro" missing), which is available for pre-order, and ships in early May.

I was at a Microsoft store in the mall today, and Microsoft has a bunch of the new Surface 3's that you can play with in the store.

All I can say is wow, they have done it again.  The thing is a perfect replacement for an iPad, as the size is very similar, and it's extremely light-weight -- and silent, due to the fact that it is fanless.  And it starts at $499!

While the Surface Pro 3 does offer the ability to be just a tablet when you remove the keyboard, the new Surface 3 is that tablet you can just chuck in a bag to read a book someplace, and easily lounge around on the couch and surf the Internet on.  The fact that it is so light and portable makes it even more amazing that the thing is a full Windows computer also, able to run anything that a desktop PC can run.  And the screen is spectacular -- great colors and better than HD (1080P) resolution.

Now, I love Apple hardware, particularly the iPad and iPhone.  But the thing I hate about Apple products is the operating system.  I really dislike how Apple forces you to use everything within their "walled-off" ecosystem, and if Apple doesn't specifically allow something on their devices, you're out of luck. 

You have some music on your computer that you want to put on your iPhone or iPad?  You practically need to be a rocket scientist to get it into iTunes and then synchronized onto your device.  It's great for Apple, because it "forces" people to buy their music through Apple's store, but not so great for users who want to be able to use what they already have.

So the fact that Microsoft is starting to make really terrific products that can match (and exceed) what Apple has out there is great news for me -- one step closer to living Apple-free!

Last Edited: April 6, 2015, 7:17 pm

Entry #673
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August 27, 2014, 10:45 am64-bit version of Google Chrome finally available

Google has finally released a 64-bit version of its Chrome web browser.  Also included in the latest release is improved font rendering, meaning that text appears much crisper, especially on high resolution displays.

They do make it a little tricky to upgrade to the 64-bit version though.  It doesn't automatically upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit.

To do it, you need to re-install the browser, which is not as bad as it sounds.  Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Google Chrome download page for 64-bit Windows
  2. Download and do the install (pretty simple)
  3. Restart the browser after the install is complete
  4. After restarting, to verify that you are running the 64-bit version, click "About Google Chrome" in the main menu, and you should see the version number as "Version 37.0.2062.94 unknown-m (64-bit)"
Entry #672
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April 5, 2014, 8:50 amHow wolves changed an entire ecosystem

This video, less than 5 minutes long, is pretty incredible.


Entry #671
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March 3, 2014, 9:56 pmSwitching back to Internet Explorer

After using Google Chrome as my daily Web browser for the last few years, I'm now switching back to Internet Explorer, at least for a while.

Chrome is a fantastic Web browser, but as of the past few versions, something is wrong. 

I always keep many tabs open, because during the day I constantly need to switch to various Web pages.  It's part of my work stream.

The problem is that Chrome seems to have developed some memory problems -- or something like that.  I have gotten to the point where I need to restart the browser at least once a day, just to "clear out the gunk".  I restart the browser and all of those dozen tabs or so are running snappily again.  And then they start slowing down until I need to restart again.

So it's back to IE.  I'm now using IE 11 running on Windows 8.1.

IE11 has most of the features that I love about Google Chrome.  Mainly the ability to automatically syncronize bookmarks, settings, and tabs between computers.  Plus at this point it's just as fast as Chrome, and it supports most of the same modern Web standards -- so you won't have to be left in the stone ages anymore.

And now that I mention syncing bookmarks and such, I should mention that's one great feature about Windows 8.1:  complete intergration of SkyDrive (which has recently been renamed to OneDrive).  What a great service.

Everything is setup to be able to automatically save to the "cloud", which is like an extra hard drive attached to your computer, except it's stored on the Internet.  So you never need to worry about losing your documents in SkyDrive, because Microsoft automatically backs everything up.  And because it's stored in the "cloud" you can access all of your files on any computer instantly.  The IE11 Web browser uses SkyDrive (OneDrive) behind the scenes to automatically syncronize all your bookmarks, settings, tabs, etc.

So I guess we'll see how this works out.  Who knows, maybe I'll be back on IE for a few years.

Entry #670
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January 30, 2014, 1:10 pmMitt Romney the front runner for 2016? I hope so!

He may have lost the 2012 election, but I am still as firmly convinced today as I was back then that Mitt Romney has the potential to be a truly great US president.  It would be rare to see a candidate come back for another run after a general election loss, but in my view it would be most welcome.


Entry #669
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August 22, 2013, 10:25 amYour perilous future on Windows XP

If you are still using Widnows XP on your computer, you need to read this article.  Especially if you are under the impression that you don't need to upgrade because "you don't need new features", or because "it works fine right now as it is", or any other reason.


Entry #668
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July 11, 2013, 9:05 amBest product demonstration of 2013

How many times can you say "WOW"?

The best part?  You can buy it now right here!

Last Edited: July 11, 2013, 9:08 am

Entry #667
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May 6, 2013, 11:37 amVideo: How the new Corvette interior was designed

This is a really interesting presentation that shows how the new C7 Corvette interior was designed, starting early on with sketches, and proceeding to clay and real material mockups.  There is a great amount of detail in the second half in the Q&A part.  It sounds like the audience is made up of dealers who want to know the details.

Entry #666
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April 22, 2013, 3:53 pmeBay letter points out dangers of proposed internet tax law

The Democrats in the US Senate are scheduled to introduce Internet tax legislation that will be extremely harmful.

Can you image trying to sell something on eBay, and then getting audited by some lawyer on the other side of the country because you didn't collect and pay sales tax?  Get ready:  if this thing passes, that's what you'll get.  Everything sold on the internet will be taxed, and, like always, it's individuals and small businesses that will be broken by it.

Here's the letter I received today from eBay:

•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

Congress is considering online sales tax legislation that is wrongheaded and unfair, and I am writing to ask for your help in telling Congress "No!" to new sales taxes and burdens for small businesses.

Whether you're a consumer who loves the incredible selection and value that small businesses provide online, or a small-business seller who relies on the Internet for your livelihood, this legislation potentially affects you. For consumers, it means more money out of your pocket when you shop online from your favorite seller or small business shop owner. For small business sellers, it means you would be required to collect sales taxes nationwide from the more than 9,600 tax jurisdictions across the U.S. You also would face the prospect of being audited by out-of-state tax collectors. That's just wrong, and an unnecessary burden on you.

Big national retailers are aggressively lobbying Congress to pass online sales tax legislation to "level the playing field" with Amazon. And, as they compete with big retail, Amazon is advocating for this legislation too, while at the same time they are seeking local tax exemptions across the country to build warehouses. This is a "big retail battle" in which small businesses and consumers have a lot to lose. But eBay is fighting, as we have for more than 15 years, to protect small online businesses and sellers and ensure healthy competition, value, and selection that benefit consumers online.

The solution is simple: if Congress passes online sales tax legislation, we believe small businesses with less than 50 employees or less than $10 million in annual out-of-state sales should be exempt from the burden of collecting sales taxes nationwide. To put that in perspective, Amazon does more than $10 million in sales every 90 minutes. So we believe this is a reasonable exemption to protect small online businesses. That's what we're fighting for, and what big companies such as Amazon are fighting against.

I hope you agree that imposing unnecessary tax burdens on small online businesses is a bad idea. Join us in letting your Members of Congress know they should protect small online businesses, not potentially put them out of business. Click here to make your voice heard. Together, I believe our voices can make a difference.


John Donahoe
President and CEO
eBay Inc.

Entry #665
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April 22, 2013, 12:31 pmVideo describes how Internet works

This is a pretty cool description of how a web page is delivered on the Internet.

It's cool because it makes the process fairly easy to picture, but in reality it is much more complex for a sophisticated site like Lottery Post, because a web page doesn't just come from one server, and there are dozens or maybe even hundreds of "round trips" like the one described in the video to dozens of servers for every web page you see.  For example, the web page you are viewing right now has elements that come from perhaps a dozen different servers from several companies.

A large part of my job is knowing how all these "pathways" for data and images from different servers will be requested for each page, and structuring the pages and requests so as many can happen as possible at the same time, in order to reduce the amount of time it takes for a page to assemble and load.  Also, I try to structure pages so that the minimum number of requests can happen before a page can be shown to you and you can start to use it, even when there are parts of the page that have not finished loading.  That's why you may see the browser's "loading" icon (a spinning icon) continue to spin even after you see the page for the first time.

Entry #664
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April 20, 2013, 1:08 pmUncle of bomber is a stand-up guy

I'm very impressed by everything this guy has to say.  Too bad his nephews turned out to be monsters.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Entry #663
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February 26, 2013, 10:03 amIE10 finally released for Windows 7

Four months after delivering Windows 8 that includes IE10 (Internet Explorer 10), Microsoft has finally released IE10 for Windows 7.

I really, really like IE10.  It's very fast and has just about all the latest web standards and bells & whistles.

If you are running Windows 7, I strongly recommend that you upgrade to IE10 right away.

If you previously installed the preview version of IE10, the process will smoothly upgrade you to the final release -- no need to uninstall the preview.  (I tested that out myself.)

Here is the link to get started with the free upgrade:


Entry #662
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January 14, 2013, 12:10 pmLP Flash content approved by Microsoft for Windows 8

In Windows 8, you have two choices for your web browser:  regular desktop mode (the same as you use in Windows 7, Windows XP, etc.) or full-screen "Modern UI" mode.  The full-screen mode is what most computers will use when you buy a new computer with Windows 8 installed.

Full-screen mode is actually much safer to use, because Microsoft purposely disables the ability to add browser plug-ins to it.  (Browser plug-ins, like Flash or Java, are the biggest cause of viruses and other malware on PCs.)  If you want to use plug-ins like Flash to your heart's content, then you need to use the desktop browser.

When Microsoft was developing Windows 8, there was a bit of concern among Web site owners, because many sites rely on Flash to display all or some of their content, and if the Web browser did not support Flash (because plug-ins are no longer allowed), then many sites would not work.

So Microsoft made a compromise:  They added Flash as a built-in component of the full-screen IE Web browser, but it would only work for certain pre-screened Web sites that Microsoft has deemed "safe".

I am happy to announce that Microsoft has included Lottery Post on that list, so all the Flash content that is on the site is available in both the regular desktop browser, as well as the full-screen "Modern UI" browser.

An example of Flash content on Lottery Post is the clickable map that appears on the main Lottery Results page.  If you do not have Flash, a list of links will appear, but if you have Flash, an animated map appears.

Another example is the graphs on the site, such as the graph showing the past year of Powerball jackpots on the right side of the Powerball Jackpots page.  If you don't have Flash available, then you don't see the graph at all.

Inclusion on Microsoft's Flash list is especially important for tablets, since most Windows 8 or Windows RT tablet users will rarely use a desktop browser.  It's also a neat feature for Flash to be included on tablets running Windows because, by comparison, the iPad does not have Flash at all, so Flash content is never visible on an iPad.

I have tested Lottery Post's Flash content on both regular Windows 8 as well as on a Windows RT tablet (Microsoft's Surface tablet), and it works perfectly in both.  A nice thing to know if you are contemplating an upgrade to Windows 8.  (Something I definitely recommend!)

Last Edited: January 14, 2013, 12:11 pm

Entry #661
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December 29, 2012, 1:52 pmThe Sopranos ending explained

I just saw an article that came out a couple of weeks ago called "The Sopranos ending explained".  It is from an interview with the series' creator, David Chase.

I remember watching the final episode barely able to breathe as the final minutes were counting down, and I was waiting to see what would happen to Tony.  When the screen went blank with no sound for several seconds my first thought was, "Oh my God, I just sat on the remote control and changed the channel right as it was ending!!!"

Then the titles came on.

What?  That's the ending?!!!

It was like a cruel joke, but I was sure the show's makers were trying to make some kind of point — I just couldn't figure out what it was.

Now, years later, comes this interview with David Chase, and with two sentences plucked from his interview it all makes sense.  And it's really clever:

"All I wanted to do was present the idea of how short life is and how precious it is. The only way I felt I could do that was to rip it away."

Some people might read that and still think "cruel joke", but for me, that's like the light bulb moment that suddenly makes the whole series much, much better.

If you watched The Sopranos and enjoyed the show, hit the link below and check out the entire interview.  It's not very long, but very interesting and thought-provoking.

The Sopranos ending explained

Entry #660
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