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Tinker's Blog

  • Tinker's Blog has 160 entries (0 private) and has been viewed 243,695 times.
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December 1, 2008, 5:43 pmNo! Flash

How to disable multimedia Ads (Popup Ads, Animated Ads, Flash Ads, GIF Ads ...) in IE


Entry #160
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October 28, 2008, 10:18 pmMicrosoft: Next Windows won't be as annoying

The next version of Microsoft Windows, the software that defines the computing experience for most people, will nag users much less than its much-maligned predecessor, Vista. PC users will be able to begin testing the new edition early next year.

(Msnbc is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

The world's largest software maker also is making Word, Excel and other key elements of Office — its flagship "productivity" programs — able to run in a Web browser. The move is meant to help confront rivals such as Google Inc. that offer free word processing and spreadsheet programs online, threatening one of Microsoft's most precious profit centers.

The Windows and Office news came Tuesday at a Microsoft conference for software developers.

Windows 7, the forthcoming operating system, will let users choose to see fewer alerts and warnings from their computers. Rampant notifications and pop-up windows alerting people to potential security risks have irked many users of Windows Vista.

"We had all the best intentions of helping to secure the PC platform even more, particularly for novice PC users who needed to be protected," said Steven Sinofsky, a senior vice president in Microsoft's Windows group. But Sinofsky acknowledged that Microsoft needed to work earlier and more closely with outside companies to avoid a similar mess in Windows 7.

With Vista, Microsoft made significant design changes to the way windows and icons look, and to where certain features and functions are stashed in the system. Windows 7 keeps some of those changes, but tosses out others.

In an interview, Julie Larson-Green, a Windows vice president, offered one small example: In Vista, Microsoft took the "add printer" feature out of the quick-access Start menu, but after users complained, the company is putting it back in Windows 7.

Larson-Green said some of the changes in Vista made sense to its developers but weren't fully tested on actual PC users — a misstep she seems committed to not repeating with Windows 7.

With Windows 7, Microsoft is also making subtle but useful changes to the task bar along the bottom of the screen. The designers have taken out some redundant buttons that launch applications. And when users roll over the icon of a program in the task bar, it will be easier to see how many documents or windows are open, and switch between them.

Microsoft also showed off "jumplists," which are a quick way of organizing recently used files, Web sites or often-used program features. And it introduced a concept called "libraries," which automatically finds similar files from a single PC, an external hard drive and even other PCs on a home network, then displays them together in a single folder. That could be handy for organizing a family's digital photos that have been stored in disparate places.

The company appears to be betting on a rise in touch-screen PCs. Windows 7 builds in more support for gestures so that even programs that aren't designed specifically for touch-screen computers can be used to some degree by poking or swiping fingers across the screen.

Under the hood, Microsoft said it improved the speed of the system and cut the amount of memory it needs to run. That's been another complaint about Vista, which generally needs costlier hardware configurations than the older Windows XP.

Sinofsky held up a "netbook" — a low-cost, low-power laptop that would have a hard time running Vista — and said it's working with Windows 7.

Microsoft's early 2009 target for people to begin toying with Windows 7 was striking because the Redmond, Wash.-based software maker promised deadlines it couldn't keep when it was developing Vista. The company is trying hard to avoid a similar debacle this time. Sinofsky said there is no date yet for the next milestone, a "release to manufacturing" version of Windows 7, but reiterated that the system is set to go on sale in early 2010.

Entry #159
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October 16, 2008, 2:31 pmBrown Lawn = Go To Jail

BAYONET POINT — On Friday morning, Joseph Prudente put on a pair of shorts and his "Grandpa Gone Wild" T-shirt. He took off his wedding band and put his heart medication in a plastic Wal-Mart bag.

Then his daughter drove him to jail. Grandpa had time to do.

His crime? He had disobeyed a court order that he sod the lawn at his Beacon Woods home.

His bail? Zero.

Prudente, 66, must stay in the Pasco County jail in Land O'Lakes until the required sod work is completed, under a September court order signed by Circuit Judge W. Lowell Bray.

"He's in prison for God knows how long because we can't afford to sod the lawn," said his sobbing daughter, Jennifer Lehr.

Prudente has owned a home in the deed restricted community since 1998. The covenants require homeowners to keep their lawns covered with grass.

Earlier this year, the Beacon Woods Civic Association took Prudente to court after he failed to install new sod on his browning lawn, which had withered after his sprinklers broke. The association had already sent letters telling him to resod his front and back yards by certain dates.

In an interview at the jail Friday evening, Prudente said he thought he had made a good financial hardship case to the association: His adjustable rate mortgage went up an extra $600 a month. Wachovia repossessed his Toyota Scion. His daughter and her two young children, who had fallen on hard times, moved in with him and his wife, Pat.

"To me, keeping the house is more important than the grass," said Prudente, a retired registered nurse from New York. "I just ignored them."

He ignored them, too, after the association filed a complaint in court. He ignored a court order in May, signed by Bray, giving Prudente 30 days to sod the yard.

In June, the court also awarded the association $795 in fees, which included a $645 attorney's fees and a $150 fee for "an expert witness."

By September, there was still no sod. Bray found Prudente in contempt of court, but said in his order that Prudente could "purge himself of this contempt" by doing the required work within the next 30 days. That time expired Friday.

"It is clear to the Court that the ability to avoid incarceration is well within the Defendant's grasp," Bray wrote.

Representatives of the Beacon Woods association expressed regret Prudente had landed in jail. But they said it was his own fault.

"It's a sad situation," said board president Bob Ryan, who added that the association had followed all the correct procedures. "But in the end, I have to say he brought it upon himself."

Lawyer Thomas Gurran, who represents the association, said in a statement that the association had "just wanted Mr. Prudente to comply with the lawn restriction." He added that the contempt power of judges is essential to the system.

"Many orders and judgements … would be absolutely meaningless if they could not be enforced by a judge's contempt power," he said. "This case is an example of what happens when someone defies an order entered by a judge in our country."

Prudente's family said the case had gone too far. Pat Prudente said she and her husband knew they had chosen to live in a community with restrictions. "But they shouldn't have this much power," she said.

Back at the jail — where the population is 1,132, well above the 782 capacity — Parente said he was being treated well. He has no criminal record in Florida and said his stay in Land O'Lakes was his first time ever in a slammer.

What comes next? He doesn't know. "Should I go out and rob a bank? Then I'd be back here," he said. "But then I'd get out on bail."

Entry #158
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September 18, 2008, 4:57 pmThe World of CCTV

This is truly a learning experience for someone that doesn't know anything about electricity. I decided to put up a couple a bullet cameras to keep an eye on the property. I have a 1/4" Sony CCD Model NO VCS-B14420 and a 1/3" Sony CCD HI-CAM HC-BC332. Both take 12V DC and came with no AC adapter. I was given a box of AC adapters Model RGD-48121000. Input:120VAC 60Hz. Output:12VDC 1000mA. The 1/3" camera will work on any of these adapters. The 1/4" camera only works on some and gets rolling horizontal lines. I'm guessing not all AC adapters are created equal. Any Ideas where to buy good AC adapters? Thanks.

Entry #157
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December 31, 2007, 1:29 pmTime Zones

Time zones did not become necessary in the United States until trains made it possible to travel hundreds of miles in a day. Until the 1860s most cities relied upon their own local “sun” time, but this time changed by approximately one minute for every 12 miles traveled east or west. The problem of keeping track of over 300 local times was overcome by establishing railroad time zones. Until 1883 most railway companies relied on some 100 different, but consistent, time zones.

That year, the United States was divided into four time zones roughly centered on the 75th, 90th, 105th, and 120th meridians. At noon, on November 18, 1883, telegraph lines transmitted GMT time to major cities where authorities adjusted their clocks to their zone's proper time.

On November 1, 1884, the International Meridian Conference in Washington, D. C., applied the same procedure to zones all around the world. The 24 standard meridians, every 15 east and west of 0 at Greenwich, England, were designated the centers of the zones. The international dateline was drawn to generally follow the 180 meridian in the Pacific Ocean. Because some countries, islands and states do not want to be divided into several zones, the zones' boundaries tend to wander considerably from straight north-south lines.


Entry #156
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December 30, 2007, 7:32 pmFriends

“True friends are like diamonds, precious and rare. False friends are like leaves, found everywhere.” 

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart”

“When it hurts to look back, and you're scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there”

Last Edited: December 30, 2007, 7:34 pm

Entry #155
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October 31, 2007, 5:25 amHelp With Excel

Any Excel experts out there? How do you use vlookup to check if a day is a holiday? Thanks.

Entry #154
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September 1, 2007, 6:01 amIL Midday P4 (9-01-07)

This is a test. Looking for a straight. IL Midday P4 (9-01-07) only.

1899, 1944, 1989, 1998, 2529, 2592, 2799, 2889, 2898, 2925, 2952, 2979, 2988, 2997, 3699, 3969, 3996, 4599, 4779, 4797, 4914, 4941, 4959, 4977, 4995, 5229, 5292, 5499, 5589, 5598, 5859, 5895, 5922, 5949, 5958, 5985, 5994, 6399, 6939, 6993, 7299, 7479, 7497, 7749, 7794, 7929, 7947, 7974, 7992, 8199, 8289, 8298, 8559, 8595, 8829, 8892, 8919, 8928, 8955, 8982, 8991, 9144, 9189, 9198, 9225, 9252, 9279, 9288, 9297, 9369, 9396, 9414, 9441, 9459, 9477, 9495, 9522, 9549, 9558, 9585, 9594, 9639, 9693, 9729, 9747, 9774, 9792, 9819, 9828, 9855, 9882, 9891, 9918, 9927, 9936, 9945, 9954, 9963, 9972, 9981

Entry #153
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October 30, 2006, 11:01 pmStar Light, Star Bright

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Entry #152
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July 28, 2006, 11:46 amAn espresso has less caffeine than a cup of coffee

A cup of drip brewed coffee has about 115 milligrams of caffeine, an espresso (and percolated coffee) about 80mg, while instant coffee has about 65mg of caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee is not totally caffeine free, containing about 3mg of caffeine. A can of Coca-Cola has about 23mg of caffeine, Pepsi Cola 25mg, Mountain Dew 37mg, and TAB 31mg. Tea has about 40mg of caffeine, while an ounce of chocolate contains about 20mg.

Coffee is the world's most popular stimulant: 4 out of 5 Americans drink it, consuming more than 400 million cups a day. Consumption in Scandinavian countries is more than 12kg (26lb) per capita. With more than 25 million people employed in the industry, coffee is second only to oil in world trade.

Although coffee is believed to have been grown near the Red Sea since the 7th century, an Arabian author of the 15th century, Shehabeddin Ben, wrote that Ethiopians enjoyed coffee ever since anyone could remember. By the 16th centuries, coffee plants were found throughout the Yemen region of Arabia. After a Turkish ambassador introduced it to the court of Louis XIV in 1669, Europeans quickly acquired a taste for it. A few years later, the Dutch introduced coffee into Java. In 1714, the Frenchman Desclieux planted a single cutting of a coffee tree on the island of Martinique. Plantations soon grew from French Guiana to Brazil and Central America. Today, coffee is planted in moist regions around the world.

Coffee is the seed of a cherry from the tree genus Coffea, a tree yielding about 1kg (2lb) of coffee per year. There are more than 25 species of coffee, the 3 main commercial types being Robusta, Liberia and Arabica, the latter representing 70% of total production.

Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other painkillers, that is why it is found in some medicines. Ironically, caffeine withdrawal also is one of the most common causes of headaches. Women who drink 2 or more cups of coffee a day also have an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. This, however, can be offset by drinking milk or yoghurt to replace the lost calcium. Most studies have found that high caffeine consumption impairs fertility, and taken during pregnancy may cause premature or defected birth.

Caffeine is removed from coffee by treating the green beans with chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents. Instant coffee is prepared by mixing ground and roasted coffee with hot water. The water is then evaporated by spray dryers and high pressure, leaving only the coffee powder. In some coffee products, coffee is replaced with chicory (a wildflower herb), fig, date, malt, or barley, remotely resembling real coffee.

Entry #151
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July 28, 2006, 11:39 amProducts that took 100 years to get to the marketplace

The first fax process was patented in 1843 by Alexander Bain, but fax machines went into service only in 1964. In 1888, Frank Sprague completed an electric railway, but electric locomotives were introduced only in 1895. Eugene Ely landed a plane on a boat in 1911, but aircraft carriers weren't perfected for another 20 years.

The first parachute jump was made from a hot air balloon by Andre-Jacques Garnerinthe in France in 1793. Leonardo da Vinci made detailed sketches of parachutes in 1485. He also sketched studies for a helicopter, a tank and retractable landing gear. The first helicopter that could carry a person was flown by Paul Cornu in 1907. Tanks were first used during World War One in Cambrai, France in 1917. The first airplane with retractable landing gear was built in 1933. Da Vinci also suggested underwater breathing methods. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnon introduced scuba diving only in 1943, 458 years later.

Although Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, it was only in 1938 that Howard Florey and Ernst Chain found a way to produce it, demonstrating it only in 1942.

Adolph Fick first suggested contact lenses in 1888, and although two companies manufactured lenses out of glass, it wasn't until 1948 when Kevin Tuohy invented the soft plastic lens.

Bar codes were invented by Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland in 1948. Their system used light to read a set of concentric circles, but they had to wait two decades before the advent of computers and lasers made their system practical. (However, the bar code system in use today is the Universal Product Code, introduced by IBM in 1973. The first bar coded item sold was a pack of gum in 1974.)

Heron of Greece invented steam power in 50 BC. But the leaders of the day thought that it would cause unemployment which may lead to unrest and the invention ran out of steam. The steam engine reappeared again only in 1698 when Thomas Savery invented a steam pump. The first practical steam engine was the atmospheric machine of Thomas Newcomen in 1701. It was used to operate pumps on coal mines. In 1804, English inventor Richard Trevithick introduced the steam locomotive in Wales. In 1815, George Stephenson built the world's first workable steam locomotive.

The computer was launched in 1943, more than 100 years after Charles Babbage designed the first programmable device. Babbage dropped his idea after he couldn't raise capital for it. In 1998, the Science Museum in London, UK, built a working replica of the Babbage machine, using the materials and work methods available at Babbage's time. It worked just as Babbage had intended.

Entry #150
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July 28, 2006, 11:32 amBeer

Worldwide, 20,000 brands of beer are brewed in 180 styles, from ales, lagers, pilsner and stouts to bitters, cream ales and iced beers.

Beer has been a popular beverage for a long time. Babylonian clay tablets show detailed recipes of beer making in 4300 BC. Beer was also brewed by the ancient Chinese, Assyrians and Incas.

An Egyptian text of 1600 BC gives 100 medical prescriptions using beer. A few years ago, the New Castle Brewery in England brewed 1,000 bottles Tutankhamun Ale from a 3,200-year old recipe found in the sun temple of Queen Nefertiti.

Commercial beer making was established in 1200 AD in present-day Germany. In 1506, the German Purity Law is issued, specifying that beer ingredients must only be water, barley, wheat and hops. Bottling of beer started in 1605.

Making beer
Brewing is the process of changing water and grain into beer through a yeast catalyst. The quality of the water is extremely important. Hard water produce a bitter ale, soft water produce bitter lager. Barley or hops, or a combination of them, is used for the grain.

Getting dry grain ready for fermentation is called malting. The grain is steeped in water until it sprouts. The sprouting or germination is not allowed to end naturally but is interrupted either by drying or roasting in kilns.

Barley has been a grain of choice for thousands of years. The longer the roasting of the malted barley, the darker the beer. Barley, or wheat beers have a sweet taste.

Hops are herbaceous climbing vines and look like a cross between pine cores and artichokes. The bitter, dry flavour of hops counterbalance the sweetness of malt.

Sugars in the malted grains are converted into alcohol by yeast. Different yeast ferment sugars into different flavours. For ales, top fermentation yeast is used, while bottom fermentation yeast is used for lagers.

The beer making process starts by germinating the grain, then steeping the resulting malt in hot water to get the wort. Base wort contents means the percentage of wort in the beer before fermentation. The alcohol contents is roughly one third of the base wort contents.The wort is boiled (brewed) and hops are added. After brewing, fermentation starts by adding yeast. After fermentation, the wort is drown into tanks where it is allowed to condition or age. Yeast and hops are sometimes added in a secondary fermentation process.

Ales and Lagers
Ales, stouts and several other types of brews, like porter, are top-fermented. The top-fermentation yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, usually produces stronger alcohol contents than the bottom-fermentation yeast, Saccharomyces carlsbergi, but the latter produces more quality-consistent brew. Lagers are bottom-fermented.

Ales usually are heavily hopped, and include bitters, brown ales, cream ales, mild ale, pale ale, India pale ale, barley wine and several other types. There are two types of the aboriginal ale still brewed in Europe. They are Belgian "lambic" and Finnish "sahti", which is brewed from rye malt. They are brewed on wild yeast and spontaneous fermentation. Both have very distinct tastes.

The word "lager" is German and means "storage", which refers to the lager (storage) fermentation. The main fermentation of both ales and lager are done on the similar temperature for 7-14 days. After that time the ale, depending on the type, may be ready for bottling. With lagers, this is only the start. After the main fermentation the beer is pumped into lager (storage) tanks with temperature some 10 deg C lower than room temperature. It is then let to mature and ferment for several weeks, usually 6-10 weeks. At 270 days, the longest lager fermentation is for that of Budejovicky Budvar brewery's Bud Strong.

Best taste
The best taste usually is acquired at an alcohol contents of 4.7% ethanol per volume. Less than that results in a beer with a bland taste. More than that and the higher alcohols (butanol, pentanol etc) become overpowering and spoils the taste.

The strongest beer type by alcohol content is doppelbock, which is usually 8%-10% ethanol by its volume content. The strongest beer brand in production is German "Eisbock", with some 14% ethanol by volume.

Entry #149
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July 28, 2006, 11:27 amTo err is human. To really mess things up you need a computer

The very first bomb that the Allies dropped on Berlin in World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo, it is said. The NATO attack on Serbia in 1999 (the Kosovo war) killed more animals than people. "Smart" weapons, such the Tomahawk missile is supposed to hit a postage stamp at 300km or more (200 miles or more). But only two out of thirteen actually hit the target. One skimmed over the house of a small farmer a few kilometres (miles) off target, straight up a track, through bushes, and exploded in the farmer's field, killing seven sheep, one cow and a goat. The farmer kept the missile nosecone as a souvenir.

To err is human. To really mess things up you need a computer
On 5 October 1960 an early-warning system warned the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) of a massive Soviet nuclear missile strike approaching the United States. What happened is that a fault in a computer system had removed two zeros from the radar's ranging components, detecting the missile attack at 4 000km (2,500 miles) away. The radar was actually detecting a reflection from the moon, located 400 000km (250,000 miles) away.

On 3 June 1980 a massive Soviet missile attack was again registered by computers. 100 nuclear-armed B-52s were immediately put on alert. A computer fault was detected in time, but three days later the same error occurred and again the bombers were put on alert. The problem was later traced to the failure of an integrated circuit in a computer, which was producing random digits representing the number of missiles detected.

On 10 January 1984, Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, recorded a message that one of its Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles was about to launch from its silo due to a computer malfunction. To prevent the possible launch, an armoured car was parked on top of the silo.

Entry #148
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July 28, 2006, 11:20 amThe longest and biggest cruise liners in the world

The longest and biggest cruise liners in the world

When Ferdinand Magellan led the first circumnavigation of earth in the 16th century, his 5 ships were about 33 metres (100 feet) long, and reached 10 knots. Today, cruise liners exceed 300m (1,000ft) in length and reaches 25 knots.

Other beauties in the big league include the Norway, at one stage, the longest liner at 315,5 metres (1,035 feet), yet she's not in the top ten by Gross Registered Tonnes (GRT), registering 76,049 tonnes. The Grand Princess, which cruises the Mediterranean, is, at 109,000 tonnes, one of the biggest. She accommodates 2,600 passengers. The Carnival Destiny - at 101,000 tonnes the first liner to displace more than 100,000 tonnes - accommodates more passengers, courting 3,400 passengers at a time in the Caribbean. The two 142,000 tonnes sister ships Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas are not shy of their size, either. They cruise in at 308 metres (1,025 feet) in length. The Titanic, built for $10 million in 1911, was 265 metres (883 feet) long.

Not to be outdone in any manner Queen Mary 2, launched by Cunard on 12 January 2004, is 345 metres (1,132 ft) long, displaces 150 000 tonnes and accommodates 1 253 crew members at the service of 2 620 passengers in the grandest luxury. Queen Mary 2 was the world's largest, longest, tallest ocean liner... until Royal Caribbean International's Freedom of the Seas was launched in April 2006. Although QM2 is 6m longer, Freedom of the Seas comes in at 160,000 tonnes, is 339 metres (1,112 ft) long, 56m (184 ft) wide and has a cruising speed of 21.6 knots. She is 15m wider than QM2 and takes up to 4,375 lucky passengers.

Bon voyage!

Cunard's Queen Mary 2, featuring 17 decks and towering 62 metres (200 ft) above the waterline, one and half times higher than the Statue of Liberty, only 35 metres shorter than the Empire State Building.

Entry #147
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July 28, 2006, 11:13 amDid You Know

Traffic lights were in use before there were motorcars

Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar. In 1868, a lantern with red and green signals was used at a London intersection to control the flow of horse buggies and pedestrians.

When motorcars were introduced to the US in the late 1890s, Police Officer William Potts used railroad signals for street traffic, adding the amber light. His electric traffic lights were installed in 1920 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. They were manually controlled. The first automatic traffic light was invented later in 1920 by Garrett Morgan and first used in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Isn't it amazing that, after all these years, the only thing that can stop a 30-ton truck is a traffic light.

Entry #146
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