A great laugh

Had a great laugh last night while catching up on blog reading. Rebecca of the Memoirs of a Skepchick blog started a little contest in response to A Correspondence she received. She challenges everyone to say what she has hidden in a lunch box in her apartment. The ensuing comments are entertaining but what made me nearly fall over laughing was a comment by Toolbox in Rebecca’s post So, what IS in my lunch box?.

Very nice all-in-one from HP

I’m starting to look like a Cranky Geek from writing about so many PC problems recently. So here’s a good thing, the HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One printer.

About a month ago a friend of mine was looking to buy an All-in-One printer/scanner/fax to save on desk space. She had seen a few different models from various companies that looked good to her and wanted me to check them out. I checked online reviews and specifications for them all and then recommended the HP as the best buy.

Everything works very well and it has everything but the kitchen sink built-in. Just today she told me how much she loves the printer so, I’m giving a big thumbs up to this great product.

Intervideo MediaOne Gallery = Huge Problems

I received a copy of Intervideo MediaOne Gallery when I purchased Ulead DVD Movie Factory 5 Plus yesterday. So today I decided to check it out since I’m stuck at home with a cold trying to relax and get well. I should have read this review by CNET about it’s sister application first.

This program is yet another all in one media organizer but with a twist. The installer is terrible causing WinXP hard crashes and then the uninstaller won’t work. Using information in the CNET review and my general knowledge I was finally able to eradicate the program but it took many hours. On the bright side while I was ripping out the Intervideo MediaOne Gallery, I also completely eradicated WinDVD and the Interactual player. My system now seems much faster and more stable.

I think I’ll keep far far away from Intervideo products in the future.

Free eBooks and audio books

Recently a blog was advertised on one of the technical mail lists that I read. The blog, Free Technical Books on the Net, pointed me to a great site XP Math – Math Games, Math eBooks, Math Careers. To try it out I downloaded “Hacking for Dummies” and to my surprise it is a complete PDF of the 2004 edition that is even printable.

Another new source of eBooks is Google Book Search use the “Full view books” option and then you can view or download PDF versions of the scanned book.

These new sources are nice but my favorite is still Project Gutenberg with 20,000 free books in the catalog. This includes many of the greatest books of all time.

There are also some free audio books at PG but my favorite free audio books site is LibriVox. While I’m on the subject of free public domain content I should mention The Internet Archive. It started out simply archiving web sites (for a good laugh check out these old site designs I was involved with). Currently they have 136,386 texts (includes a mirror of Project Gutenberg), 48,185 movies, 35,816 recoded live music concerts and, 108,411 other audio recordings.

Clearwater Florida becomes the City of Scientology

Clearwater Florida was a wonderful city to visit back when my parents first moved to the gulf coast about 20 years ago. Sadly the city has now been almost completely taken over by the church of scientology. It started slowly but judging from this video, it seems they have finally taken over the city government enough now so that the police department is in their pockets. 😦

Acrobat 4 and 7 under WinXP

I hit a problem when trying to get both Acrobat Reader 7 and 4 available under the WinXP “Open With” right-click menu. When ever I’d point the WinXP dialog to Acrobat 4 it would just use Acrobat 7 instead. The problem seems to be caused by both executables having the same name even though they are in different paths.

The solution is to copy the Acrobat 4 executable AcroRd32.exe and rename it, I named it AcroRd4.exe. Now the “Open With” selection works and I can choose either version to open a PDF.

On the other WinXP PC that I use regularly this problem didn’t happen. The only major difference between the PC’s is that the one that it worked on had Acrobat Reader 7 and the full Acrobat 7 program both installed.

Walt Jung's Website

IMHO, Mr. Walt Jung is one of the greatest engineers of analog electronics of all time. His IC Op-Amp Cookbook is a must have for any engineer who uses Op-Amps. I personally own two copies, the 2nd edition I bought in 1980 and the updated 3rd edition I bought in 1990. Unfortunately the currently available print editions are reported to be very low quality that is why the link above is set to find an older printing (like my newest copy). See the books page at Mr. Jung’s site for more information about this and his other excellent books.

The library section also contains PDF’s of many of Mr. Jung’s excellent articles and even a complete book written for Analog Devices. I am particularly excited to find his articles from The Audio Amateur magazine as I had to part with my complete TAA collection due to space constraints when I moved last year. Mr. Jung’s writing in TAA was one of the primary motivations for my career choice of electronics design especially my favorite work, analog circuit design. A very important lesson that was driven home from his TAA writings was the need for rigorous scientific methodology in assessing analog circuits especially audio circuits. The audiophile world has always had people who fall for pseudo-science, The Audio Amateur and especially Mr. Jung did a great job of debunking pseudo-science with science whenever it reared it’s ugly head.