Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recent updates

I know its been a while, and possibly the blog has appeared quite boring of late, but I have recently made updates to my typegeek and iteachvr blogs for those who are watching.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Make Money in your Pyjamas

Actually that should be "Make Money While Still Wearing Your Pyjamas" but you know what I mean. Check out the new site I've created and this post about CashCrate and pyjamas.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Make Money from Home with CashCrate

After doing a bit of research, I've found that CashCrate works, and its not a scam.

I know this is the kind of post you'd find somewhere else, but I am pretty impressed with the CashCrate system. I had heard about it in the comments to a post on Problogger. But after reading a couple of other sites, I decided to give it a try. I have been interested in trying out a pay-per-post or online survey system, but I found evidence that CashCrate was effective and not a fraud so I checked it out.

My account became registered at about 3:47pm (as noted by the email in my inbox) and by 4:13pm I was notified that I had made $10.75 in payments! All I did was fill out a survey and sign up for one product. Now, I admit that it is not a product I would probably use but at least I have learned a bit about the system. One of the survey's happened to be for IPSOS Canada, and I firmly believe that its important to take part in certain kinds of surveys that provide demographic information when its used in a meaningful way. I had filled out a $10 payout survey, and a $0.75 payout survey.

The program includes a very high rate for referrals on a two tier system. The different offers include filling out surveys or signing up for some sites or products. Many are free, but there are some really high payout offers that require you to either provide credit card payment or make a purchase. If you are only looking to make money and not spend it, I recommend only signing up for programs you are TRULY interested in... or at least remember to cancel a membership before you start getting billed. Just a friendly tip there. :)

I think CashCrate is the perfect solution to people working from home especially if you are a student, looking after children at home or just plain have lots of time on your hands!

Now, I wonder if they really will send me that $100 gift certificate for RockStar? :)
I'll post when they send me a cheque around the 20th of next month. Perhaps by then it will be higher than $10.75!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Star Wars Fonts

Today I've written a quick note at http://typegeek.blogspot.com on where to find free Star Wars Fonts.

As an interesting aside, I've also learned that if proper physics were followed, then the explosion of the Death Star II in the Return of the Jedi would effectively end all life on the small, wooded moon of Endor. Yes, we are talking the death of all Ewoks via something called "The Endor Holocaust". :)

Special note, this has not actually been merged into the "Star Wars canon" as far as I can tell, but many works make reference to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ASUS EEE PC Overview Review

A friend of mine recently asked what I thought of the Asus EEE PC so I took the time to write out my basic thoughts. I've included them here because other people might be curious as well.

To be honest, the EEE PC is the wickedest piece of computer I've ever bought. I heard about it from a friend at work who bought the Linux version (without the webcam) and he installed Windows XP on it. Works great. It even does this weird "Smart scroll" think that happens when you can't see the task bar or bottom portion of the screen on such a small display. UPDATE: One of the great things about the EEE PC is its solid state hard drive which has no moving parts (so no head-crashes or damaged plates). No CD-ROM, put it has 2 USB ports for storing data or connecting other devices.

We bought ours in the spring because my wife wanted something that would allow her to work more flexibly at home. We've got wireless to her office upstairs, but the room gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I don't keep track of the model numbers, but Asus EEE PC is white, with a webcam, and pre-installed with Linux. However, the interface is just a collection of icons and tabs. This is perfect for what my wife does with it.

It contains some fun games, has a PhotoManager and should also contain the GIMP but at the moment you can't access the Gimp from the Photo Manager. I haven't bothered trying to fix it yet.

The Work tab contains icons for Web (which will open Firefox to a default page), Mail (which will open another tab, and it contains icons for various web mail hosts {Gmail, Yahoo}... they all open Firefox). As well as a Documents icon (which opens Firefox and takes you to GoogleDocs).

At first I was worried if my wife would be able to use Linux (since I hadn't seen the EEE PC run before) but I knew at least that I could install XP if I had too. But after 1 week she asked "Why do we even need Windows?" :) In reality, using the EEE PC as a user has nothing to do with Linux, as everything is point in click. Even setting up the wireless wasn't difficult, though if we have power failures due to storms (which happens a lot at my place) then it can take time to re-initialize the WiFi connection if our router goes down). However, you wait a few minutes and it comes back.

There are also plenty of sites that talk about hacking it. You can set the machine to boot to a standard Linux desktop (Start button, no tabs, clean desktop) and if it ever screws up you can easily reboot it to factory defaults (which clears the hard drive from what I understand).

You can easily get to a Linux console and edit some config files (in a program that looks like Pico... GNU Nano I think!) and alter the icons and tabs. There is also a CTRL-ALT-DEL feature to kill processes that might hang. Doesn't happen often, but some websites can be stubborn or try to do weird things.

This article contains links to 3 or 4 reviews:

So there you have it. If you have any specific questions just ask.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Easy Video Conversion - Make DVDs

I've just spend the last few days using Windows Movie Maker to create a video of some students who have been visiting for the past two weeks. Yesterday I ran a workshop where they got a chance to build robots and then create a movie using WMM and a webcam.

I've got all the movies complete, and for a free package Movie Maker has a lot of features and does a very good job. The limitation is that it only creates Windows Media (.wmv) files.

One of the students asked me if I can make the movies playable on a DVD so I figured I would look into how it can be done. I've got some calls in to my people and I'm waiting to hear back from them, but I did find some free software that might help.

First off, this one is time-sensitive: If you've never been to Giveaway Of The Day before, you should definitely check it out. Today's offering is a video and audio converter that lets you join video clips of different formats into one file, then save the whole thing in one of many options for a final format.

The deal with GAOTD is that you have a limited amount of time in which to download and install the software. After that, its not free, but you can buy the software from the vendor. So check it out for great software.

Now, after searching the comments very briefly, I found one COMPLETELY FREE piece of software you might want to check out: MediaCoder.

Not only is the software free (the author is of course asking for donations) but it appears to be extensible, and even programmable in XUL! I love XUL!
Oh I see. The guy is offering the software free because he has bigger products available for purchase. More power to him!

So if you are looking for media conversions or ways to make DVDs, check out the software I've just described. Also check with GiveawayOfTheDay and you might find a great new peice of software you've been looking for.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A computer graphics blog

One of my biggest interests for a long time has been computer graphics, and I WISH I could spend more time on it. I've just started a new blog on the topic hopefully there will be some artwork and more tutorials in the future.

The blog is at http://iteachvr.blogspot.com/ and today's post is a quick look at Google SketchUp.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Using Snadboy's Revelation

Using Snadboy's Revelation can help you in some situations, but it doesn't always work.

Just a quick update on my A+ Certification training, because I couldn't think of which blog to put it in!

Last week I began my A+ Certification training which my company is paying for. I'll blog more about that in a different post. Anyway, the instructor showed us a tool for recovering passwords that a client/user has forgotten because it has been automatically saved into their software.

Scenario: You have been asked to move the email for your client from their old computer to the new computer and finish setting up the software. Problem is, the client doesn't remember the password.

Solution: With Snadboy's Revelation, you can reveal the password that is hidden in a password text box (hidden by asterisks). Its quite a simple tool, accept I haven't got it to work yet.

The demonstration in class was simple enough. Very handy. Last night at home I downloaded and installed it on a USB key (the only files you need are the .dll and .exe). I tried it on my Google Notify window, but it would reveal the password. Ok, so its not perfect.

I tried it at work this morning because I have another actual use for it.

: I have a number of websites configured in Dreamweaver, and they all have the password save into the server settings. One site I haven't updated in a long time and I recently started updating it and I wanted to be able to update it from home. Except I don't remember the password. So that would leave me with only being able to update it at work, which isn't too useful. (The story is more complicated than that but I'll leave it at that.)

So I installed my USB drive to try and run the program and a dialog box said "File not found" appeared. I checked behind the dialog box after closing it and sure enough it was gone. Turns out my Symantec Antivirus deleted the file off my USB key because it treats it as a Hack Tool!

I went into settings and the default action for HackTools is to Quarantine the file. I tried changing it to "Leave Alone". Then I installed the utility again on my hard drive, and again Symantec deleted the file!

Luckily, I just tried playing with Symantec again and I was able to restore the file, but who knows if it will get deleted again.

(NOTE: I don't have full control over Symantec, its installed remotely be our IT people)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wedding plans and classes

If you didn't know it already, I'm getting married in June of this year and the planning is well under way.

This weekend we met with the photographer and went over the order of the photos, and the meeting only took half an hour. It took us 1h45min to get there! That's ok though since we had dinner with the in-laws, which are really great people, I'm very lucky... and so are they! Yesterday we picked up some shower gifts that my parents and sister had sent down (they live 5 hours away) since the shower is in 2 weeks so that was fun. Had to go back a second time because the guy at Home Outfitter forgot one of the boxes! But we did get a nice rug for my computer room here in the rec room.

Then we addressed all the envelopes and put together all the invitations. Most were already made we just had to add the reply card and envelope, but even that didn't take very long so the invitations should go out in the mail tomorrow. And that means we didn't have to mess with them today!

But we did have to do yard work today :( Finally time to get outside when it wasn't raining. We didn't get all the weeds but at least the garbage is gone and the leaves are raked... and even the front flower beds are done.

Next week should be good, but it will be busy. Classes are finally over (I work at a university) but I'll begin my Comptia A+ Computer Hardware/Software Technician certification training. For the next 17 days or so, my afternoons (12:30 - 4:30) are dedicated to learning how to fix, install and troubleshoot computers! No big deal, I've been doing it for years, even though its not technically part of my current duties. But there is a chance I could create a new course after this and teach it to some of our computer students! So nothing wrong with upgrading skills that could lead to better pay in the future. Or something like that anyway.

I've heard the tests aren't that hard, and I already know most of the material, but the tests have been updated as of 2006. I've already gone through some of the readings and it is a mixture of old and new stuff but I feel even the old stuff is still relevant... I've had to work with it in the past so I know what's out there.

Even got a computer from my future father-in-law that will be donated to my future wife's museum (she works at one) so I get to practice my computer technician skills on it. Actually, right now it won't boot of the Windows XP Home CD without keyboard interaction, and the only keyboard I had around is my Apple USB keyboard and unfortunately, the USB ports don't kick in when it tries to boot of the CD or the floppy. So I'm going to download a Linux LiveCD and see what I can do.

Wish me luck! What brand of Linux do you use? Leave feedback in the comments!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Have you seen my manhood?

When I got home from work today, I wasn't too hungry (big lunch, bad stomach) so I snacked a bit while reading some articles in the recent issue of Women's Health that my fiancee had laying on the table.


  • I fixed the shower curtain
  • I folded and put away the laundry
  • I through out old clothes that don't fit anymore (put them in storage for donation/sale)
  • Cleaned the bathroom
  • Dusted the ceiling fan in the bedroom
  • Watched the Women's Network while eating a bowl of frozen yogurt.
  • Now where did that manhood of mine go?

Gee I wonder when my next yoga class is ... ok maybe fixing the shower curtain was more manly.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stand up for Tibet: A Moment of Action

I never expected to blog about the situation in Tibet, but I find myself suddenly moved to do so. For the article that made me think, read Pema Chodron's article at

On March 31st I had received a message via one of the mailing lists I'm on for LampOnThePath.org, the organization I received my Five Tibetan Yoga Facilitator training from. It was a message from an organization affiliated with the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). Just checking my old messages... it was from Foundation for Developing Compassion and Wisdom (FDCW).

It was asking people to take part in Stand Up For Tibet, which simply entails that you stand up for a minute, or a few seconds, or as long as you can holding a Tibetan flag or just a piece of paper with the word "Tibet" on it.

I figured since I read the email a few days late (I am notorious for being behind in my email) it as now the 31st so I decided to do it. I'm not exactly new to activism, although the only thing I've done lately was show up for a rally to support some of my co-workers who are on strike (separate bargaining unit, I'm still required to be at work so yes, I had to cross a picket line but not to do their work).

I found an image of the Tibetan flag then went down to the main courtyard of the building I work in. Since I was the only one there, holding a printed flag with the words "Free Tibet" underneath it I didn't feel silly, but I did feel incredibly uncomfortable. Talk about moving out of your comfort zone! After only 3 or 4 minutes, I couldn't really take it anymore and I went back to my office. I cut the "Free Tibet" part off the flag and then taped the flag to my door.

You can find out more about the flag of Tibet here:

And a large image of the flag that might be good for printing can be found here:

All sorts of things went through my head. How would the Chinese people I work with react? Are they anti-Tibet? Pro-communist? Would I get any flack from people? I have to really learn how to stand up for myself (and others!) if its something I believe in. Regardless of consequences.

Just another one of the many issues I have to deal with and hopefully transform I suppose.


PS: On a local note, the KW Lama Yeshe Ling Buddhism study group will be putting an event together to show support for Tibet so if you are interested in finding out what they plan, let me know by posting a comment or emailing me.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A day in the life of a blogger: What's it like?

I was fiddling around on the web today during some down time at work when I came across a blog by skinnyjeans who had written about how her obsessive blogging had caused her insomnia. She writes about other great things too. Mainly I was drawn to the article because I have been thinking about how to monetize my blog and wondering how much money can really be made, regardless of what web-gurus try and tell you about problogging.

Her comments don't make it sound like the prospects are good.

She seems to have an interesting site, with lots of ads, and targetted content that appeals to niche markets (female bloggers). She has multiple blogs, but she doesn't appear to making all the money that the web-gurus state is out there.

What I did find useful (possibly in another article) is her description of "the Big 4": the four biggest topics of blogs are technology, politics, celebrity gossip and business. Unfortunately lifestyle blogs are not in the top 4, and what you are reading right now happens to be mainly a lifestyle blog, but hey, now it has a term associated with it!

It does appear however that I'm lucking out due to my situation in terms of blogging, though not necessarily for reasons that I'm altogether happy about:
  • I'm male (actually I have no complaints that I'm male)
  • I'm a geek (or more specifically, technically oriented)
According to skinnyjeans, men have it easy when it comes to getting traffic (although I have read some of her other posts that deal with the total assholes that seem to live on the net and I try not to be one of them).

The other benefit is one I never really considered until the past few weeks. I have been hoping that one day I too will not work with computers or technology, but I happen to very good at it, and I should learn to take my skills as the gifts that they are. Since technology is a market that lends itself very well to blogging, I think I do have skills that can be shared with others, be of use, and possibly lead to passive income!

And since I actually do enjoy playing with new technologies and writing about how to use them so that everyone can understand it (which is in fact, what I get paid to do on a daily basis in a sense) than I really could get paid for doing what I enjoy, which is really what I was looking for in the first place.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Genetic Ancestry

I came across an interesting article today that talked about the Most Recent Common Ancestor, which according to Wikipedia is a traceable ancestor that can be found by analyzing either female mitochondrian DNA (yes, the "powerhouse" of the cell!) or male Y-Chromosomes. Some of the research was spearheaded by Dr. Spencer Wells.

I wanted to find out more so I googled him and found an interesting link on the National Geographic site.

The Genographic Project allows you to participate in genetic research by submitting a cheek swab. I took part in a similar test earlier this year which was a way to determine if I have a genetic pre-disposition to heart disease (if you are interested in this test, let me know as I can sell them as a distributor).

I had been interested in submitting a DNA sample to a genealogical site (there is a Clan Henderson Society and they have a DNA project going on I believe) to see about common ancestors or to help trace my own family tree, but the Genographic Project is way more interesting, or in fact would help fill just another part of the story. You can't find your great-great-grandparents with it, but it will help you learn about your "deep ancestry" and find out how your ancestors traveled over the globe anywhere between 60,000 - 150,000 years ago.

Wells' research indicates that all living humans are descended from a single man living in Africa between 60 - 90 thousand years ago (1) and also a single female who lived 150,000 years ago(2).

Simply amazing!

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spencer_Wells
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

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Friday, March 14, 2008

A "Secret" Video

I got this from www.deos-shadow.com and wanted to share it. Hilarious, and even I love the guy's accent!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Searching for a blog niche.

I have so many interests that its hard to really stick with one topic to have a comprehensive blog. Added to that is the fact that I rarely stick with something consistently, like writing blog entries. It had been months since I've updated my LiveJournal up until this past week, and those have been mostly private entries for me to keep track of things.

If I was to keep a semi-regular blog... what do you think it would be about?

Then again, I already have about 5 blogs on the go. Plenty of people write individual blogs on seperate topics, why would I be any different?