New programs to play with

Odd PC issues here, today. Last night I was noticing a major lag in speed. I thought it was my connection but when everything locked up I knew better. I ran SpyBot’s Search and Destroy, which rids the system and immunizes against spyware. Its a great piece of freeware, a definite must have on your system. After removing the spyware and temp files I still noticed somewhat of a pause in the sytem. I had two programs running, Firebird and iTunes for the PC. The system was locking up and iTunes kept “not responding”. I closed the programs, ran a disk cleanup, then set the disk to defrag and went to bed. I got up this morning and went about life as normal. I was running the same programs and the shit started happening again. It seems they don’t want to play nice. I’ll be damned if I am getting rid of Firebird. So, I scrapped iTunes. I was a little sad but I have plenty of other music players. I will probably grab another copy of WinAmp and be more patient with it this time. After ridding the system of iTunes I was checking my CPU usage via the Task Manager. I was seeing huge spikes. 2…4…7..11…67. Damn! So, I remembered reading in PC World about a program that lets you manage what processes start when you boot your PC and what is currently running. I fished around on their site and found it. It’s called Code Stuff’s Starter.

“… Starter lets you view and manage all the programs that start automatically whenever your operating system is loading. You can disable or permanently delete selected registry entries, edit existing ones, and create new ones. The software also lets you monitor and terminate running processes…”

You can also check within the program each process’s RAM usage and how vital it is to the system. You can check out Starter’s ad-suported Lycos page for more info and to download. Starter is also freeware.

In searching around PC World’s site I came across another great freeware program. It’s a RAM manager. It shows how much free RAM you have and it will attempt to free more RAM at a scheduled interval. It minimizes to the system tray where you can watch an icon with a running number of the free RAM your system has. It’s called FreeRAM XP Pro and it can be grabbed here.

“…When ill-mannered programs don’t release your computer’s RAM after you run them, FreeRAM can do the job. FreeRAM XP Pro is a freeware application that frees and defragments your computer’s random access memory. As you use your computer, open applications, surf the Internet, and navigate Windows, your system’s memory usually decreases. FreeRAM XP Pro frees up this memory, thereby increasing system response time, stability, speed, and efficiency…”

Starter and FreeRAM work perfectly together. If your RAM is low, open Starter and check what’s running. If it’s an unnecessary program, cut its lifeline and watch your RAM take a big boost. Then, run FreeRAMs “Auto Free” function to round up miscellaneous lost RAM.

My PC seems to be back to normal. I can’t believe iTunes fucked me like that. Aaaah well. All of the PC problems prompted pretty promising programs.

My new icons are prettier than yours

firebird_o.jpg The original Mozilla Firebird icon (pictured at left) is a tad ugly and boring. I ventured out to find a replacement and I did. I greatly exceeded my expectations as well. Here are a few gorgeous alternative icons for Firebird, which can be grabbed at the WinCustomize site. Have a gander:

firebird_icons.jpg

Beautimous, no? I am using the icon on the left. I like the contrasting colors and it looks very sharp in the Quicklaunch bar. And if you swear that it can’t get better, there are also icons for Mozilla Thunderbird which can be grabbed here. Check em out:

thunderbird_icons.jpg

So you have them and you want to know how to implement them? Well, you should head here for that info. This will change the icon on your desktop shortcut and your quicklaunch to firebird.exe. For some reason unknown to me, all other HTML and XML are still using the regular firey blob icon. I will have to research how to change that tomorrow.

I can’t get over how great they look.

I’m going to the birds…

The Birds are taking over my computer. Mozilla has been naming all of its little brother and sister programs bird names. A while ago, I was in need of a new browser. Meet Firebird. Firebird suited me to a tee. It has completely changed the way I interact with the internet. So, I was looking for other programs from Mozilla and stumbled upon a great opportunity to try one.

I was going to scrap Incredimail due to this one fucking error message I got every time I tried to get mail. Meet Thunderbird. Thunderbird is a stand alone e-mail client. After importing my contacts, I started adding accounts. I didn’t immediately take to the “account section” and then realized that I had to have the program running in a tab to get alerts?? I looked for a way to send it to the system tray but never found that option. Also, there are individual boxes for each account. I want a catch all. So, I went back to Incredimail and deleted a few accounts I no longer use. This corrected the error message problem. Thank God. I was disappointed Thunderbird didn’t make me happy. It’s still beta so I will try it later when it’s updated.

I needed a calendar to stay organized. Meet Sunbird. Sunbird doesn’t have a permanent page yet, which is crazy! But you can download it from the link in this MozillaZine Forum post. So, without a page you can’t retrieve much information. It’s an extremely basic calendar and yet it has that good Mozilla feel to it. I love it. Add events on the fly, categorize them and set reminders. You can even run multiple calendars in Sunbird. Very handy and definitely worth a download.

I wonder what the next bird will be….

Kahl?a and a phone…bad mix.

What happened last night? What was so intoxicating that would make me do that? It must have been the KahlĂșa. I hate White Russians and there I was drinking them in your car. We were chatting about old times, past relationships, my “problem” and normal crap. Why did you tell me to call her? What would make you say that? And so I did. I called her and we had our normal opening conversation.

Hello?
Hello..
Who’s this?
Mary…
Mary who?
Mary Mary.. Mary Mary
Awe.. what are you doin, baby?

She wants me to come look at her computer. I told her I was in the “no zone”. I am not available, not dating, not seeing anyone. I am self-imposing a dry spell. So, why am I going? Is it because she said she missed me? Is it because she said I gave great head? I’m unsure but I do know I will show up with necessary software in hand, showered and shy. I will tinker for an hour and then we will get to chatting. And then it will be time for me to go. I am so dumb. I am buying my sister lunch in trade for watching the kid. She better make this worth my while.

cPanels, domains and mass confusion

I registered grittykittye.com for Lori today and now I await propagation. I am thinking since I am going to get into reselling that I should probably start getting used to it and upgrade to a reseller package to see how all of these domains get managed. I have 4, now: aeonnfluux.com, regressing.net, collegehost.net and grittykittye.com. I only have one cPanel for all of them which sucks. The tree is set up so that aeonnfluux.com is the primary and all of my “non-primary” sites show up as sub-folders and sub-domains. Although externally, when you visit one of the sub-folders it appears you are on a site unto itself. Confused, yet?

Take regressing.net for example. It appears to be a separate site, correct? Well, this site can be accessed two other ways. You can get here via aeonnfluux.com/regressing which is a sub-folder (of the primary) or you can get here via regressing.aeonnfluux.com which is a sub-domain (of the primary). So, why, why why? Well, well, well because I only have one cPanel to control all domains and therefore they are under ONE account. But you can register a domain name and have it point to sub-domain and give it its own… err, name. Main name name main.. blah blah blah. Still confused? Yeah, it’s kinda weird, but if you saw the FTP tree you’d get it. They’re running together, literally. Everything is cramped into one place, but yet each has its own space (Is this rhyme time or something?). Adding the latest domain, I have decided they need separation. Enter WHM.

WHM, aka Web Host Manager is cPanel’s mother, for lack of better words. “… WHM allows you to but is not limited to administering individual accounts, reseller accounts & performing basic system & control panel maintenance via a secure interface..” Okay, so what benefit does this have? Well, WHM gives you a cPanel for each domain, firstly. There you can set up e-mail for each domain, control the separate databases, and keep tabs on each domain within its own controlled enviroment. There are no more redirections to sub-domains or sub-folders. Also, in WHM you can partition off diskspace and bandwith for EACH domain which is awesome! So, if regressing.net is only using 60 Megs of diskspace and 2 Gigs of bandwith a month, you can partition it as such.

From the above, hopefully you can see the advantages of WHM with reselling. If someone signs up with you for a webhosting account you first add them into WHM. From there, you partition to them what they ordered. You can set up how much diskspace, how much bandwith, how many databases, e-mail accounts and all the other jazz. WHM is your control panel to all the other cPanels. So, before I start selling I have to learn how to use WHM. It doesn’t seem that hard. The hard stuff is going to be Nameservers and DNS. All that crap is for another day, though.

Images and Graphics and Fireworks, Oh My!

I added XJ-9 to my logo above. Doesn’t she look cute? I think I might leave her up there for a while. She in no way symbolizes regression, but she makes me happy. So I added her using Fireworks MX. I took the template, then added her as a layer and then text. So there are three layers. Make sense? It makes sense when I explain it like that. I have all of this web design, image editing, image creating, flash creating, animation creation software and I have no idea how to use it. Absolutely none. I just figured out how to delete all of the green crap surrounding her (which I was wondering for the longest time how to do), make her transparent and set her on top of another layer. The image in the logo started out as the image from yesterday. Yeah, I know.. not all that impressive. But to me, it’s like magic! I have great ideas but I don’t know how to use the software. I should take a graphics class. Maybe I will look into taking one in the spring. I am ready to go back to school and learn all of the magical things I can do with images and software and crap.

My fantasy of XJ-9

xj9.jpg I am not much of a cartoon watcher but it seems Nickelodeon is always on in the house with kids around. Yesterday a show came on and I think I may be victim to its fan base. The show is called My Life as a Teenage Robot. Based on the title, I think you get the gist. She’s a girl. She’s a teenager. She’s a robot. She’s a teenage girl robot. Her name is XJ-9 but her friends call her Jenny. Her mother is a mad scientist and created her wanting a “child”. Check out the full premise on Animation Insider. Well, I don’t care if she’s a robot or not. She’s hella cute and I can’t wait to watch again this evening. The show just launched this year and I am going to try to watch it from here on out. I’m kinda mad I just found out about her yesterday. I have a thing for anime/cartoon girls and evidently I also have a thing for robots! In doing some catching up, I came across TvTome’s show page where I checked the episode list and read the episode guide. It seems I have only missed 10 since I watched two yesterday. New episodes of My Life as a Teenage Robot are shown on Fridays at 8:30PM and then repeat on Saturdays at 12:00PM and Sundays at 7:00PM (these are Eastern Times). All of the reviews I read gave good remarks. EntertainYourBrain gave it 4 TVs out of 5. The poorest review I found was a score of B- from SciFi.com. There is a lot of info about this show. Editorials, reviews and other story shorts. The best site to check out is TvTome’s Page which has a lot of info. Or, run a Google Search! If you get a chance, tune in to Nickelodeon and watch it!

grittykittye

Lori came over last night and we were talking about web sites and Christmas and presents and all the blah blah blah junk. I then mentioned building a web site for her for Christmas. She was pumped.. deciding what she wanted to add and have and then wether she wanted members. Everytime she would say the word “members” she would raise her eyebrows up and down and with a smirk on her face would do that rolly tap finger thing. Something is exciting about being a site admin. If you build it they will come…. So she is going to do a site on music with music reviews and songs of the week and blah blah blah. It’s all been done before.. but never has it been done grittykittye style. She is going to post flyers at her work (a music store). She said she would put flyers up for my hosting business and she would give out business cards for me at public functions. I am excited. I need to register her a domain name and try out some different CMSes. I need to find one geared around reviews and news and forums. I have exhausted PHP-Nuke so I may try something else. Christmas is going to be here soon so I will have to get cracking. Grittykittye…..

Aggreg8

Yesterday I was talking about RSS Feeds and today I was researching even more. I was checking out the Mozilla Firebird Extensions looking for something neat-o to add that would affect my browsing experience in a positive way. I came across an RSS Feeder called Aggreg8. I ran the install, restarted my browser and was unable to locate the extension in my tools or options. Damnit! Searching around Aggreg8.net I stumbled upon the reason. When installing in basic Mozilla it adds it to the tool bar but when using Mozilla Firebird you have to access it via a link. Easy enough. So I can run an aggreg8er in a background tab while surfing around doing whatever or call it up when I want. Handy! The real problem, as stated yesterday is finding Feeds. That is something I will have to do this evening. Also, Aggreg8 has a User Manual which explains how Feeds can be added, edited and broken into categories. This is by far my favorite Firebird Extension. RSS, RDF and XML come in plain text format and are rather unappealing. But its great to be able to call up an extension and read all of the headlines in one place and then open tabs in the background of the stories you want to read.

Feed me more….

RSS Feed Me….

I finally figured out how to use RSS Feeds on my site. stands for Really Simple Syndication. I have 4 Feeds running to the left of the story you are reading now but they are only for Admins. I finally have a place to come, read all my gidget and gadget news, all my web shmeb news and syndicated news from other sources. Both aeonnfluux.com and regressing.net can be syndicated. Check out the RSS Feed of regressing.net. The process is rather simple. You link to that document in a block or section of your site. It displays that document on your site as a series of links with each link being a title of a story that was recently posted. PHP-Nuke’s default display is 10 stories I believe. Every time a new story is posted the RSS Feed is updated and everywhere it is syndicated will display an updated Feed with a link to the most recent story. Get it?

When perusing sites today on your pursuit for.. I dunno.. a story to read, a game to play or whatever you do in your daily peruse, look for RSS Feeds. The link to them can normally be found at the bottom of the site or even up towards the top of the site. They are often hidden so that you can’t find them all to well. There are several types of syndications as well as several versions. In the past hour between writing this story and getting information, I have been soaking up the gist of RSS, RDF which stands for Resource Description Framework and XML which is Extensible Markup Language. These are the three main types of syndication, with RSS being the most widely used. Since I am not a technical jargonist in the slightest and feel that there is no way I can explain the differences in a short entry you will have to check the links I have provided for information regarding these types of syndication.

When searching for Feeds you would normally go to your most frequented sites and search for the Feed address itself. But what if you’re just looking for Feeds on a certain subject? Well you can use a few RSS Feed Search engines like Feedster. It’s used like a basic search engine and then when you find a site that is relevant you can grab its RSS Feed in the search. BUT you will rarely get relevant Feeds. It seems to turn up blogs and commentary sites before it will turn up a factual based site. Do a search for a RSS Feed Directory sorted by relevance. Check out all the blog crap! Kinda disheartening on your search for Feeds. A better resource is NewsIsFree which separates links into categories. If you want unlimited access to all of the RSS links then you have to pay but you can browse for free.. so, why not just click through to the actual site and then get the RSS from there? Umm.. yeah… Still, the best way to find Feeds is to do a basic search in Google on a topic. From there, find relevant sites and then on those sites look for its Feed. They can be basic links or frequently appear in the form of images. The most popular images are:




Living up to a name?

I used to be really sharp all around. But it seems I am getting duller in all aspects every moment of the day. My hair is falling out.. not drastically but enough to mention. My eye sight is fading beyond belief to the point where I have to hold certain texts at a certain distance to read them comfortably. My hands sometimes do that shaky thing that you see in old people. I noticed it again this evening when I was smoking a cigarette and I wasn’t cold. I’m even becoming clumsy. I don’t know what happened to me or when it started and I am unsure how to establish a reversal.

Am I regressing??

Paying for RAM with Pottery

For the past week or two I have been cranking out pages for the hosting business I am going to start. I have been questioning how I will take care of the ordering/billing crap. I not only found a solution today, but I managed to install it, configure it and am now editing pages within. I’m a genius. I figured I would use osCommerce to wrap the ordering/billing all into one. This way I can keep track of who has ordered what and when. Eventually I think I am going to move to either ModernBill which runs about $179 or ClientExec which is $99. Both of these have support ticket systems integrated within so your customers don’t have to log in to multiple systems which is nice. They are both designed specifically for web hosting sellers which is exciting.. kinda like a custom tailored suit. Of the two I think I will end up going with ClientExec. It’s customizable and seems to have a pretty nice interface. I’d like to have everything set up before launch so I may just outright buy it. I think the osCommerce will work out for right now and maybe after I get this job I will upgrade to a “real system” a month or two after launch.

I’m excited. Lori got these two towers from work and she said I could have one if I was interested. She is bringing it over to me this week to check out. If I don’t use it, I am going to rip it apart. Lori needs RAM so badly in her PC. I told her she might be able to combine the RAM in these towers and use one of them as a PC. She doesn’t know what OS they run but I am determined to get the girl some RAM. She is thinking about purchasing a new computer, or financing one. I feel sorry for her. I can’t imagine going a day without being on-line or touching the keyboard. But, I am sick.. so that doesn’t count!

She is also bringing me Bowling for Columbine since she said I absolutely must see it. I guess it’s fabulous or something…

I caught the late show of Carnivale last night and managed to fall asleep about half way through it. I think they repeat it on Tuesdays nights which is perfect. So, since tomorrow is the final we won’t have a full class and I can get home early and watch it. I registered for three classes in the spring and am thinking about registering for two more. I asked Lori if she wanted to take a pottery class with me next summer and learn how to operate a wheel. She was all, “Hell yeah!”…. So I am going to have to check out the Continuing Education catalog. I think it will be interesting to learn how to operate a wheel and create something. It will probably turn out like a 7th grade project but I don’t give a shit….

Battle of the browser

In my most recent blog entry I said I had found a soultion to IE’s bad habits. It’s called Avant Browser. As much as I loved it for it’s intuitive interface, ability to be skinned and all around ease of use I had to let it go. It was having Java problems which is mentioned all too often in their own forums. Another reason I had to drop it was its inability to be consistent with page loads. Sometimes it would load the page, sometimes it wouldn’t. Sometimes it would load the text and completely forget about the images. All it did was piss me off but I looked for solutions. I really did. I searched high and low for patches, a fix for Java problems. Also, it claimed to be faster than IE but I deemed it slower in a lot of areas. I was on the hunt for something new. I installed MyIE2 which is a tabbed browser but encountered the exact same problems. Images were not loading and Java problems everywhere. I tried Opera a month or so ago and decided it was out. I found it to be too cluttered. Also, using Opera, I was having issues with a particular block on aeonnfluux.com and that drove me nuts.

So searching around today I was reminded of Mozilla which I had installed around the time I was playing with Opera. I didn’t like it for some reason and i couldn’t remember why. So I grabbed a copy of their most recent distribution, Mozilla Firebird .7, and decided to give it another try. Importing my Favorites was easy and I began customizing. Upon further exploration I found an extensions page where they have mods for the browser. Some of them are rather handy. I added an extension called Tabbrowser Extensions which allows you to re-order your tabs, lock tabs, un-close tabs, group tabs and a lot of other features. I also grabbed an extension called Mouse Gestures. You can click your left mouse button and scroll to the left to go back in a browser. Click your mouse button and scroll up for a new tab. Kickass! The only annoyance thus far with Firebird was the fact that I had to install a flash player for it and a java exe. But both issues are resolved so I am happy! Mozilla releases nightly builds for Firebird so I will have to check and see what that is all about.

Mozilla has a number of projects in the works. These range from Browser Components with Java Integration, Browser Infrastructure and Non-Browser projects. One of the non-browser related projects I am going to check out is an e-mail and news client called Thunderbird .3. I’m ‘cited!

IE Organization

I have a tendancy to run several programs at once. SEVERAL. At any given moment I have AOL Instant Messenger running, three IE windows, iTunes and another program running. I hate IE. I hate the fact that it takes up so much room on my little taskbar where all of my program tabs are. I need organization and I remember reading in PC World about an IE “tabber”. So I grabbed it today. It’s freeware and it’s called Avant Browser. I messed with it for about ten minutes and decided I was sold or, since it’s freeware, I was freed. Freed from IE’s constant need to take up so much room. Avant Browser is a program that tabs the windows you have open and you can bounce from them with a click of the mouse. You can cascade them, tile them vertically or tile them horizontally. It has a pop-up blocker, flash media blocker, image blocker and a few other neat-o features.

You can also SKIN it if you want to express yo’ self. I am currently using the Chrome skin and I am so so on it. I am probably going to switch to the Hornakapopolis (say that three times fast) skin. I was so psyched that I wrote the author to comment on his brilliance. Does he have any idea what he has created here? This is a truly revolutionary program and I am having a very hard time believing it is freeware. I have noticed a few bugs. Well, for sure, one. It is giving me trouble with javascript. I was having a problem viewing my newest venture which has a script running on it. That sucks, but oh well…. oh frickin well. I have been freed!

And now since I have so much room I am feeling the need to open more programs. Ooooh.. what’ll it be? Dreamweaver, Fireworks, iTunes and IM running along side EditPad Lite? Sure! Aaah… Another great freeware progam. EditPad Lite is the ultimate text editor. Notepad Shmotepad. EPL also has a tabbed interface. Check the Screen Shots and see what I mean. Those are actually shots of Edit Pad Pro which I will have to get a code for. It seems to have a few more features than EPL including “find and replace”. I’ll never go back to Notepad… it pulls diappearing acts of files and you have to resize it whereas EPL uses tabs. Tabs are the way of the future. Tabs are God-like…. tab me baby.

Tony Hawk Underground

This Tuesday, Neversoft releases the next chapter in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater Series, called Tony Hawk Under Ground (T.H.U.G.). GameSpot did an excellent review of the game in the Xbox section of their site. It seems Neversoft managed to further develop the career mode with cut screens and an emphasis on story development. You start off as an unknown skater from Jersey and the goal is to go pro. This chapter in the series lets you develop your own tricks which should be interesting. I saw a screen shot of a character doing a SackTap (pictured at left). Gross! I was checking details and managed to stumble across the Playlist for the game. Rock, Hip-Hop and Punk lace the chapter with artists like Jurassic 5, DJ QBert, KISS, Nas, NOFX and Social Distortion. You can turn particular songs off or completely cut out an entire genre. T.H.U.G. is supposed to be the best in the series with cleaner graphics and smoother transitions. Activision, the game’s publisher is spending more money. on advertising for this chapter than any other. It seems like they have a powerhouse of supporters behind them including AT&T Wireless, DC Shoes, and QuickSilver. The article states that “… The game will also be advertised on 5,000 movie screens during previews for such movies as Matrix: Revolutions and Scary Movie 3…”

I am wondering what all of the hype is. I am a hardcore THPS fan. I used to play it on the Dreamcast like an addict. But, in this chapter, you don’t play any of the skaters. You will never skate as Bob Burnquist or Chad Muska. I remember when 3 came out and I got to skate as Bam Margera.. or was that 4? Hmmm…. Now I am getting them screwed up. Naahh.. I think he was in 4. Anyway, I remember being excited that I got to skate as these guys. I may have to run out and get Tony Hawk Under Ground next week. Or the week after. When i get some cash. I am interested to see the “story mode”, which seems to be the MAJOR hype, come to life.