How to Skip Commercials on YouTube

I hate those damn commercials that sometimes play before YouTube videos.

The secret of how to skip commercials while watching YouTube videos is simple:

Hit the F5 key


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How to Print Screen on Mac OSX to Clipboard

How to copy selected area of screen to clipboard

  1. While holding down Shift-Control-Command-3
  2. Hold down mouse button drag cross-hair mouse cursor to frame area of screen to be copied
  3. Release mouse button to copy to clipboard

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Creating Border Around Images in Photoshop

Using the Basic Stroke

  1. Open an image in Photoshop
  2. Click Select and then All
  3. Select Edit and click Stroke
  4. In the dialog box, select width, color, and other options for border
  5. Click OK

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Accelerated Reading (AR) List

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How to Make "Cafe Americano"

How to make Cafe Americano - Michael Eades demonstrates how to make a better tasting, less caffeinated cup of American coffee or Cafe Americano. The technique came during World War II from the Italians, who didn't have drip coffee makers, but who hosted many drip coffee loving American soldiers. In Italy, espresso is king, but espresso proved to strong for the drip coffee loving Americans, so they came up with an alternative. The alternative, which turned out even better than the original, was called Cafe Americano.

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How to Stop MediaMonkey from Overlapping Tracks - Crossfading

I love the MediaMonkey player, but it bugged me that the beginning of the next track always plays over the end of the last track. This feature is called "crossfading," but it was not clear to me how to adjust it. Here's the path to the crossfading settings...

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How to Password Protect Computer Hard Drive

I hear that password protecting your computer's hard drive is not the best protection--it can be thwarted by skilled computer hacker--but it's easy to do, so why not? Became standard practice in the companies I've worked for recently. Risk: What do you do if you forget the password?

Print and perform the following actions to reset your Hard Disk Password:

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Why Does Your Voice Sound Different on a Recording?

Why your voice sounds different on a recording - Timothy E. Hullar in Scientific American describes the reason. The sound of your voice reaches the inner ear by two paths:

  1. Sound conducted by air enters the auditory canal of the ear and impacts the eardrum, which transmits the sound down the middle ear and finally into the fluid filled spiral of the inner ear called the cochlea.
  2. Sound conducted by bone travels through the medium of bone and body tissue directly to the cochlea in the inner ear.

But there's a catch...

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Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Year - 2008

What We Didn't Know - Love the list of 50 things we didn't know at this time last year from the Tampa Tribune. Below are a few of my favorites...

The use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace on company computers leads to increased productivity.''

Stress causes human brain cells to either shrink or grow, leaving victims of serious stress with dramatic changes to their nervous systems

Hospital patients who receive a transfusion of stored blood aged 29 days or older face double the risk of developing one or more serious infections compared to those who get "fresher" blood.

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Cornell Note-taking Method

Notetaking Systems - Study Skills Library - Cal Poly

The Cornell Note-taking Method

The Cornell method involves organizing your note-taking page into two regions, left and right. After writing the notes in the main, right-hand space, use the left-hand space to label each idea and detail with a key word or "cue." When studying, use the cues to recall the material.

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8 Bad Words

8 Bad Words - Found this video by Trevor Crook kinda informative and funny--not George Carlin funny by any means, however...

(:youtube I-09D7Vi4XA:)

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Getting Things Done by David Allen - Quotes

"" | Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.
~ David Allen

There is usually an inverse proportion between how much something is on your mind and how much it's getting done.
~ David Allen

Anything that does not belong where it is, is an "open loop" pulling on your attention.
~ David Allen

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Evaporative (Swamp) Coolers - Research

Evaporative or swamp coolers are an energy efficient alternative for cooling air during a summertime heatwave. They work on a simple principle: when water evaporates, it takes a little bit energy (heat) away with it. This creates a cooling effect like the one we experience when our sweat evaporates.

Evaporative or swamp coolers use this cooling effect to create and distribute cool air in a room or home. However, as those on the U.S. East Coast know only too well, evaporative cooling doesn't happen when the air is already saturated with water vapor--a condition we call high humidity. And high humidity doesn't just occur outside; a home, room, or even the inside of a car (during an amorous escapade) can become highly humid. Because of this, rooms cooled by evaporative coolers need to be well ventilated. Without ventilation, evaporative coolers will turn your home or room into a humid sauna. Below are more tips and info...

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Get Rid of Ants - Without Pesticides or Poison

Get Rid of Ants - Superb article on Associated Content describes How to Get Rid of Ants Without Using a Pesticide. Below is a summary.

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How Long to Boil Water - So It's Safe to Drink

How Long to Boil Water So It's Safe to Drink - It's a critical issue when hiking in the wilderness or traveling in some foreign lands. Filters and purifiers can work well, HOWEVER:

The ONLY 100% reliable method for killing waterborne pathogens is boiling.

According to the Wilderness Medical Society...

  • water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and
  • water temperatures above 185° F (85° C) kill all pathogens within a few minutes.

So by the time water temperature goes from 160° F (70° C) to the boiling point (212° F or 100° C), all pathogens have been killed, even at high altitude.

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Camping Knots - How To Tie

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Tips For Handling Telemarketers

Received via email. I've edited the original. Some good tips.

Tips for Handling Telemarketers - Three Little Words That Work!!

  1. Answer phone.
  2. If no one is there, press the # key 7 or 8 times rapidly.* Otherwise...
  3. Say: "Hold on, please..."
  4. Put down your phone (instead of hanging-up) and walk away. This makes your call time-consuming and costs the telemarketer.
  5. When you hear phone company's 'beep-beep-beep, hang up phone.

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Closed Caption Missing on HD Channels - Solution Found!

Caption Missing on HD Channels - After installing Comcast cable box, we lost the closed captioning for HD TV channels.

The HD problem - Caption controls exist on two separate menus:

  1. one for the TV
  2. one for the cable box

To display captions for HD channels, you need to enable captioning through the cable box's caption menu. The TV's caption menu will NOT enable captions for HD TV channels.

The hard part is figuring out how to access the cable box's caption menu. Here's how we accessed the cable box's caption menu and restored the captioning for ALL channels, HD and non-HD.

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Avoid Hospitals on Weekends!

Avoid Hospitals on Weekends!

In the past decade, studies have found that patients treated at hospitals on weekends have inferior outcomes when compared with those receiving care on weekdays. In some cases, researchers have found, that can also mean a higher death rate.
~ If Possible, Avoid Hospitals on Weekends

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How Sewing Machine Works - Great Illustration

How Sewing Machine Works - I'd alway wondered. In fact, as a schoolboy, I struggled to understand the mechanism, and now, with this animated gif, I get it...I think...WAIT! There's something wrong with this picture.

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Firefox Extensions / Add-ons I Like

Firefox Browser
NoScript :: Firefox Add-ons
NoScript's unique whitelist based pre-emptive script blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even not known yet!) with no loss of functionality...
SearchWith :: Firefox Add-ons
SearchWith extension allows you to search selected with various search services. It adds a "Search With" sub menu on the context menu (right-click menu) with a configurable list of search services that can be used to search the highlighted text. Also enables you to view the html source of selected text.
Picnik :: Firefox Add-ons
Very cool integration with online photo editor. May take the place of picasa for editing some blog images.
View Source Chart :: Firefox Add-ons
Draws A Color-Coded Chart of a Web Page's Source Code.
Update Notifier :: Firefox Add-ons
Notifies you when updates are available for your extensions and themes. Allows quick access to your extensions and themes and the ability to check both types for any updates. Easily configurable for automatically installing updates when available...

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MKV Converter - MPEG DVD IPod

MKV converter? - Yahoo! Answers
Convert AVI/WMV/ASF/MPEG/MP4/DIVX,RMVB Converter convert ogm, mkv to avi with subtitle MkvMagic
MKV Converter - Convert MKV files to MPEG,DVD,iPod etc

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How to Download Binaries from Newsgroups

Emailed instructions from Stav.

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Get Windows Media Player Plugin Working On Flock - Vista

I can't get Windows Media to play on Flock browser. I found these instructions recently, but can't say they have worked yet for me...though they do provide some clues. Hope others have more luck.

A version of Windows Media Player is included with most Windows installations and the WMP plugin files needed for certain webpage content are normally included. In some cases the plugin files may be missing, however, and

Windows Vista installations do not include the WMP plugin files

  1. Users may be incorrectly directed to reinstall the WMP program, which is not a solution since reinstalling or updating Windows Media Player does not add the missing plugins
  2. To check for the WMP plugin, type about:plugins into the location bar. There should be an entry for Windows Media Player Plug-in Dynamic Link Library (File name: npdsplay.dll) and two entries for Microsoft® DRM (File name: npdrmv2.dll and File name: npwmsdrm.dll). If you do not see these files, follow these steps:
    1. If some or all of the files are missing, you can download the individual files from and place them in the Windows Media Player directory (usually C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player):
    2. Reopen your browser and see if the WMP plugin is now working. If it isn't, follow these additional steps (Windows Vista users, go to the last step):
    3. A Windows Media Player Plug-in for Netscape Navigator installer (not supported on Windows Vista) can be downloaded here and should resolve the issue [3] but the included files are older versions. After running the installer, copy the more recent versions of npdsplay.dll, npdrmv2.dll and npwmsdrm.dll from to the Windows Media Player directory, if they were replaced by older versions.
    4. If the Windows Media Player plugin still does not work, copy the npdsplay.dll, npdrmv2.dll and npwmsdrm.dll files to the installation directory plugins folder; for example, to the C:\Program Files\flock\plugins folder in Flock.

Monkey Lab's Radio
Your Source To Underground Music
Live Music 24/7

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Programs/Software on My Computer

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Skype Research

"" |

I want:

  1. To call people's normal phone lines (Skype Pro)
  2. To have a phone number that people can use to call me on Skype (SkypeIn)
  3. Cheap!

If you go with Skype Pro ($3/mos.), you get "up to 60% discount" on the normal SkypeIn rate ($18/3 mos.). I'm guessing that's about $6/mos. total.

Skype Pro – free calls within the US and Canada

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md5sum Instructions - Windows

  1. Install md5sum.exe in MS Windows OS.
  2. In Start menu, select Run
  3. Input cmd in form and press <enter>.
  4. Navigate to the directory containing the files to be checked. (Use dir for directory file listing and cd to change directory).
  5. Enter following command and press <enter>:
md5sum <filename>
  1. The result should look something like this:
1bd3cb2ef387818ebe0fc318c232e27d *<filename>

md5sum Resources

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Access Network Security Cameras with Google

Access Network Security Cameras with Google - You can access unprotected network security cameras using Google:

Google this search string (including quotation marks):


Try some of the results. A success will have a camera image with a remote-control-like interface on the left side of the screen. Below is a video version of these instructions.

(:metacafe 762582/google_trick_2:)

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How to Best Absorb Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ), also known as ubiquinone, is a natural, fat-soluble antioxidant produced in the body. Some reports claim that statins (Crestor, Lipitor, etc.) interfere with the liver's natural production of Coenzyme Q10, reducing quantities by up to 40 percent. As a result, some suggest statin users take supplements of Coenzyme Q10, but warn that absorption varies. Here's some help I found on eHow for how to best Absorb Coenzyme Q10.

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McGrath Video Laryngoscope - Dad's New Toy

McGrath Video Laryngoscope - Dad says this is the greatest advancement in laryngoscopes since...the invention of the laryngoscope.

(:youtube BzazUoVe6sg:)

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Online Typing Courses

Peter's Online Typing Course
Free online typing course. Okay interface. Good descriptions and guidance, if you care to read it.'s Free Online Typing Course
Free online typing course that suggests registering, but typing course can be done without registering.

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Video Codec Resources

Video codec - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Download the XviD Codec - XviD Movies

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Everything I Needed to Know - I Learned From President Bush

What I learned from President Bush - A sad statement that reflects current sentiment about President Bush and his legacy.

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Disneyland - Bringing in Food and Drinks - The TRUTH!

Disneyland Bringing Food and Drinks - Before a recent visit to Disneyland I read the rules on the Disneyland website about food and drinks. Officially, the Disneyland rules state:

With the exception of food items for Guests with specific dietary restrictions, food or beverage items are not permitted into either of the Disneyland Resort theme parks.

REALITY - This rule is not carefully enforced. Here are some clues in case you're skeptical...

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Drupal Upgrade Access Problem - Solved!

Drupal Upgrade Access Problem - After following the instructions for upgrading (logging in as user=1; site on maintenance mode; etc.), I ran the update.php script. It ran fine, but when I tried to access my site, I could only see the site maintenance/offline message--the update logged me out!

Solution - To log in again, enter:

This presents a login page. I successfully logged in as user=1. After that, the upgrade went smooth.

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Ten Best Video Games of 2007 - According to Edge

Ten Best Video Games (according to Edge magazine, 2007)

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64)
  2. Resident Evil 4 (GameCube, PlayStation 2)
  3. Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64)
  4. Half-Life 2 (PC)
  5. Super Mario World (Super Nintendo)
  6. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Super Nintendo)
  7. Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox)
  8. Final Fantasy XII (PlayStation 2)
  9. Tetris (Various)
  10. Super Metroid (Super Nintendo)

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Butt Out! - Apply Directly to the Forehead

Butt Out! - I heard about this bizzaro product or tool on reddit. After some investigation, I discovered the product is named Butt Out -- which describes exactly what the tool does. To learn more, have a look at the picture below, and if you have the stomach, the video farther down.

It sure isn't a "pleasuring device" as someone suggested...

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First Aid Myths - Useless or Dangerous?

First Aid Myths - Do NOT try these at home. Some first aid tips cause more harm than good.

  1. Myth - Pee on jellyfish sting - Since you are far more likely to suffer a jellyfish sting than a shark bite, know this: Peeing is not proven to help jellyfish stings (though testimonials abound). Instead, apply vinegar.
  2. Myth - Slather butter on a burn - Besides the obvious risk of infection, putting butter or any kind of grease on a burn can TRAP heat and cause scarring.
  3. Myth - Ice minor burns - Another bad idea. The sudden temperature change will cause more pain. Instead, apply cool water to clean and soothe the area.

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10 Water Park Survival Tips - Raging Waters

Water Park Survival Tips - Raging Waters - We spent our second Father's Day in a row at Raging Waters water park in San Jose, CA. A wonderful visit made even better because of these survival tips I learned during my first visit:

  1. Wear flip flops or water shoes - Don't let the rough walking surface turn the soles of your feet into hamburger. NOTE: Some rides/slides don't allow footwear. I either leave them at the foot of the ride, or stuff them in the back waistband of my swim shorts ;)
  2. Wear polarized sunglasses - Glare from the sun can be overwhelming at water parks. Polarized lenses reduce the glare much better than non-polarized sunglass lenses.

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Match Stick Airplane Instructions Using Flies (the insect)

Building a matchstick airplane is one thing. Building a matchstick airplane powered by flies is another.

Totally hilarious. I wish I had the patience to actually attempt these instructions; however, they are worth a look, if only for their entertainment value. Funny stuff.

Here are some highlights...

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How to Drown a Child

How to Drown a Child - It happened at an afternoon wedding celebration. The hosting home had a pool, and very soon some younger guests began jumping in. My four-year-old son didn't know how to swim yet, but was drawn by the activity and the water. He begged me to let him go in, "Just to my knees, Papa."

I found a ledge where I could sit, dangling my legs in the water, and where my son could stand "to his knees" beside me. I sat with another guest, keeping an eye on my son, who splashed about on the ledge no more than two feet away from me.

After about 30-seconds of chit-chat, I looked beside me to check on my son. He wasn't there. He must have gotten out. So I looked around the yard. But with all the people and activity, I didn't see him. Damn! I told that kid to stay close and not wander off.

Then I looked down.

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Redirecting Drupal to Root Directory

Redirect Drupal to Root - I feel so silly that I couldn't figure this out. I installed a test copy of drupal in a drupal sub-directory ( After testing, I wanted the drupal site to be live from the root ( WITHOUT moving drupal files to the root. After some searching and false leads, here's what worked for me...Your results may vary.

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Creating Transparent GIFs with GIMP

Transparent GIFs with GIMP - Really love this open source project, GIMP. Great substitute for Photoshop -- and it's FREE!

Here's how to create a transparent GIF using GIMP...

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How to Pick a Ripe Pineapple

  1. Select a plump and fresh looking pineapple
  2. Shell color is not necessarily a sign of maturity or ripeness. A pineapple can be ripe when it is practically all green outside.
  3. Smell it. It should smell fragrant but not too sweet. Smelling too sweet may indicate the pineapple has begun to ferment.
  4. Fresh, green leaves in the crown are a good sign.
  5. The body should be firm, but not too firm. Avoid soft pineapples or ones containing soft spots.
  6. Bigger does not mean better tasting.
  7. A pineapple will not ripen any further – get any sweeter – after picking. It is sugar that makes pineapple sweet after ripe. The sugar comes from the conversion of starch reserves in the stump at the time of ripening.

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Get One's Goat - Origin Story

Get One's Goat - Heard about origin of this phrase on NPR. The story starts with a horse's ass...actually, it involves the whole horse--a thoroughbred horse to be exact. Because of breeding, thoroughbred horses tend to be very jumpy, nervous animals. Goats are the exact opposite, tending to be calm and unshakable. Someone noticed this contrast and wondered if the goat's demeanor would have a calming influence on the horse. As a test, a goat was put into the stall of a thoroughbred horse. As hoped, the horse calmed a bit AND, most importantly, the horse ran better in the next race.

Next thing you knew, all thoroughbreds stalls had a companion goat.

Soon some unscrupulous owners began kidnapping (pun?) the goats of competitor's horses, hoping the disruption would help their still goat-calmed horses to win their races.

Out of this practice came the phrase "to get one's goat."

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How to Punctuate for Sex

The Importance of Punctuation

An English professor wrote these words on a blackboard:

"a woman without her man is nothing"

Then directed the students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote: "A woman, without her man, is nothing."

The women wrote: "A woman: without her, man is nothing."

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Dial-a-Human - Phone Numbers for Customer Service

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10 Tips for Business Conversation

Ben Stein's 10 Tips for Business Conversation - I always like Ben Stein's stuff. Here's his advice on managing a business conversation.

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What It Feels Like Being Shot

What It Feels Like to Be Shot - Found this on Google answers. It was written in response to a question about what happens to a person if he is shot. Does he fly back from the bullet's force and drop dead/unconscious like a rock, etc. (as portrayed in movies)? Or does the victim writhe in agony as he bleeds out? The answer is...very sad.

My name is Jesse (online name Danny Bishop). I myself was shot--in the chest--on November 27th, 1994, at point-blank range with a .22" magnum revolver (single-action, convertable--to.22" LR with alternate cylinder). The bullet was likely 40-grain; the type: .224 caliber high velocity (WMR--Winchester Magnum Rimfire, MAxiMag), with a nominal muzzle velocity of 1,550 fps, from a likely 6.5" handgun barrel (applied pressure, point blank: 324 foot pounds per sq. inch). I can tell you--not from watching it happen--but from actually experiencing it, exactly what it was like...

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What Movie Rating Would You Give Your Life?

What Movie Rating Would You Give Your Life? - If you had to assign a movie rating to your life, what would it be? Is your life R rated? G rated? Do priests live G rated lives?...I guess some have NC-17 sins.

As recipes for life, the movie rating system takes on a whole new meaning...

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Power Nap Basics from Sara Mednick

Perfect Power Naps - Sara Mednick, a napping specialist, offers these suggestions on taking power naps:

Power Nap Hints

  1. Recognize you're not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
  2. Nap in the morning or just after lunch; human circadian rhythms make late afternoons a more likely time to fall into deep (slow-wave) sleep, which will leave you groggy.

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Kurt Vonnegut Rules For Writing Fiction

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PmWiki Access Keys in Firefox

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Review of Panasonic PV-GS320 3CCD MiniDV Camcorder

Panasonic PV-GS320 3CCD MiniDV Camcorder

Panasonic PV-GS320 MiniDV Camcorder - After playing with the Panasonic PV-GS320 MiniDV Camcorder for a good while, I have to say I'm impressed.

The 3CCD processors (one for each primary color range) make an enormous difference in recorded color.

The OIS (optical image stabilization) is excellent; seems as good as Canon, which I think of as the image stabilization standard bearer. (I think Sony, for example, has an inferior image stabilization system to Canon).

The revered Leica lens further adds to the quality of the image. The camcorder's buttons take some getting used to, but I can't say I find it that complicated, though I don't think my hand/finger size is quite right for their arrangement.

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Buddist Centers In Fremont California

Padma Shedrup Ling
Box 117, Fairfax, CA 94978
Tel: (415) 485-1356
36054 Niles Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536
Tel: (510) 790-2294 or 2296, Fax: (510) 796-9043
Teacher: Phramaha Somchai
Contact: Phramaha Suchart
Tradition: Theravada (Thai)

Siddhartha's Intent Western Door
c/o Kathryn Meeske, President
P.O. Box 15566, Fremont, CA 94539
Tel: (213) 739-0246 or (415) 675-0337
Spiritual Head: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Tradition: Tibetan

Wat Buddhanusorn
36054 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94536-1563
Tel: (510) 790-2294, Fax: (510) 796-9043
Web site:
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

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Phonetic Alphabet - Alpha to Zulu

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12 Writing Tips from George Orwell

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12 Writing Tips from George Orwell

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8 Steps to Take If Identity Stolen

Looks like some common sense but helpful tips. I've updated #1 in the cache because others advise that you can't trust credit reporting agencies to cooperate--inform all of your situation, not just one agency.

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How To Break DRM

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Burglar's Advice - Best Place to Hide Money

Found this burglar's advice on a link that has since died. Most of the advice seems to serve the burglar more than the potential victim, so consider the source.

Best Place to Hide Money - Short answer: The bank. Aside from that, here is a burglar's best advice:

Understand a burglar's motivations:

  1. To steal your money and valuables
  2. To get out of the house quickly with these goods

So, don’t hide all your money and valuables too well. To quote the burglar...

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Get the Edge by Anthony Robbins

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Web Hosting Companies

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Problem Solving Flow Chart

Problem Solving Flow Chart - I love the potentially infinite loop...Can you find it?

Warning: Use of profanity makes this content not suitable for children.

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How to Train a Killer Whale

Training Whales - I found information on training a killer whales some time ago. It's a popular topic for parenting sites--and with good reason. Some of the 'lessons' we learn from training killer whales are very helpful to consider when teaching our kids.

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Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit

Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit - Here's a good intro to will, estate and trust law. Still should have a lawyer review your documents to be safe. I found it very easy to go through and understand. She has a lawyer narrate much of the text and provides excellent summaries of the main points to consider when putting together a will and living trust.

Includes all necessary forms, and seems to perform online updates. For a relatively simple estate, I think the Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit is a winner.

Suze Orman Will & Trust Kit (CD-ROM)
*NEW Suze Orman Will & Trust Kit Online Version (CD-ROM)

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Credit Card Scam Targets Men

Serious warning from post off Is there more truth to this than we care to admit?

WARNING - This post contains some mild sexual content.

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Firefox Shortcuts

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34 Fun Facts for the New Year

Rec'd by email from Ami....Could all these "facts" be true?

  1. 315 entries in Webster's 1996 Dictionary were misspelled.
  2. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents, daily.
  3. Most lipstick contains fish scales (eeww).
  4. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies, you have $1.19. You also have the largest amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar (good to know.)
  5. Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from Public Libraries.

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Solve Drupal Login Problem

I had trouble logging into my drupal 4.7.4 blog. I'd login on homepage, then as soon as I tried accessing an administrative page, it would dump me to a login page.

This post on the forum site offered possible solutions. However, it does involve adjusting core files, which is ridiculous. Must be another way...

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How to Import Large MySQL Data Files

How to Import Large MySQL Data Files

One Step: Use BigDump

I've been so frustrated at the file size limits for uploading large MySQL data files, and BigDump is the answer. Works like a charm.

More details below...

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Bittorrent Basics

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Zeer Pots - Refrigeration the African Way

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Zeer Pots - Refrigeration the African Way

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10 Things Your Casino Won't Tell You

Key points of the original Smart Money article, which explores each statement in more depth. Interesting, but no real surprises; just good reminders for casino junkies (who won't listen anyway).

  1. "The house always wins, and it's now winning more."
  2. "There's nothing complimentary about our comp cards."
  3. "Our ATM machines are the real one-armed bandits."

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Pinnacles National Monument

This place is GORGEOUS. And only a few hours away. Been itching to visit the place for years, but the recent Bay Area Backroads program gave me the itch I had to scratch. Parking gets crowed in the summer (which sucks!), but it's worth a little extra hike to see and explore the park. But it is popular, so best to explore on a weekday or off season.

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American Airlines Passenger "Jim Wilson" - Code for Coffin Jockey

American Airlines Codename Jim Wilson - If you go up to an American Airlines check-in counter under the name Jim Wilson, the agent will give you a double-take. That's because...

Jim Wilson is the American Airlines code for coffin or cadaver shipments.

No lie. Read more about the American Airlines Cargo Jim Wilson Service. Here's a Jim Wilson Service brochure (PDF).

Make you wonder, Why did they choose the name Jim Wilson?

Perhaps Jim Wilson was the first customer?

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Zeer Pots - Cooler For Camping

Zeer Pots Cooler for Camping - This looks like a ingeniously simple idea for keeping food cooler when camping or away from electricity. A non-electrical refrigerator. Excellent emergency cooling technique. I've gotta experiment with this idea.

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Passive Cooling Technique - Zeer Pots

This looks VERY interesting ideas on passive cooling. Plan to summarize. Zeer Pots are a ingeniously simple solution to refrigeration without electricity. I'm gonna experiment with that at home. Zeer pots sound perfect for camping. Photos included in the original post are helpful.

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How to Turn Off (Reset) the "MAINT REQD" Light - Toyota Sienna, Corolla, etc.

Turning Off "MAINT REQD" Light Toyota Sienna, Corolla, etc. - The MAINT REQD light goes on (first blinking, then persistent) to indicate it's time to change the engine oil. However, after changing the engine oil, the light stays on. I thought the act of changing the oil was enough to reset the warning, but not so.

After some investigation at, I discovered the answer...

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Seven Lessons Taught in School - by John Taylor Gatto

This looks very interesting. Plan to summarize...As I read it, I'm not sure it can be summarized. His words confuse me, which I think is by design, given Lesson #1...As I read more I realize this is a devastating indictment of the school system. How brave.

The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher
by John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year

Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do at the time, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. The license I hold certifies that I am an instructor of English language and English literature, but that isn't what I do at all. I don't teach English, I teach school -- and I win awards doing it.

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Is Cheap Gas Bad for Your Car

Cheap Gas and Your Car - It's a question I always ask myself when gas prices go up:

Is cheap gas bad for my car?

As I fill up the tank at Peter's Petrol, I promise my car I'll make up for this abuse and feed it better gas next time. But is there anything wrong with cheap gas?

Here's what I found.

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12 Surprising Ways to Improve Gas Mileage

There are lots of web pages offering advice on improving automobile gas mileage. The government's gas mileage tips are perhaps the most complete. Edmunds offers it's own ten tips for improving fuel economy. And Doris Dobkins' top ten list to better mileage is good.

In reviewing these sources, I found a number of surprising or out-of-the ordinary ways for improving car gas mileage. I compiled them into this list, which I hope will help you improve your car's fuel economy.

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Is High Octane Gas Worth the Money?

High octane gas is expensive - Is it worth the money?

In my post Is Cheap Gas Bad for Your Car, I discovered that in the U.S., gas is gas. The only significant difference between cheap gas and brand name gas is the price. But what about octane rating?

  • Does using a higher octane gas improve mileage or fuel economy?
  • Does higher octane gas give my car more power?

The answers may surprise you.

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18 Ways to Trick Your Body

Tricking Your Body? - I found this Men's Health article a bit misleading, if not silly...But it had some interesting kernels.

1. If your throat tickles, scratch your ear.

"When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."

2. Use right ear for conversation and left ear for music.

Can't hear what's being said. Researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine say you should lean in with your RIGHT ear, which recognizes speech better.

On the other hand, if you are trying to identify a piece of music, lean in with your LEFT ear. The left ear is better at sensing (recognizing?) music tones.

3. Need to pee but no toilet nearby? Think about sex.

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Before You Enlist - Watch This Video!!

Here's an excellent reality check for those thinking about enlisting in the military. Among the lessons you'll learn:

Recruitment Contracts Are UNILATERAL

Which means you, the recruit, are legally bound and obligated to fulfill the terms of the contract.

HOWEVER, the government is NOT.

In fact, the government can CHANGE the terms of the contract as they desire, and they routinely do.

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Why Home Alarm Systems Fail

Home Alarm Systems - Home Security Specialist Mike Jagger wrote an excellent critique of one typical home alarm system installation, explaining along the way why so many home alarm systems are useless. As he concludes:

"[This] system...offers absolutely zero security value. It's only purpose is to allow an alarm company to collect a monthly monitoring fee and hope the client does not figure out how misplaced their trust in the company was."

Ouch! The weaknesses are easy to spot - once you know what to look for. And the vulnerabilities are basically driven by this fact...

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Truth About Shampoo and Conditioner

What makes your hair look bad after using shampoo without conditioner?

It's the water, not the shampoo.

To understand why, you need to know that hair has scales, like a snake. The scales lay flat in an acidic environment, making hair look shiny and healthy--which is why some recommend applying lemon juice to the hair. And the hair scales stand up in an alkali or base environment, making the hair look dry and dull.

What determines the acid/base environment is the water, not the shampoo. Public tap water has become "harder," more base, over the years. That causes your hair to be frizzy after washing your hair.

However, shampoo removes the natural oils from the hair, and this removal is what damages the hair by making it less supple and much more brittle. So you replace the natural oils with the oils in conditioners. It helps.

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How to Survive a Plane Crash

What you do during the last few minutes before a crash can make the difference between life and death. Here is the best advice I could find...

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Hack Windows XP Home To Windows XP Professional

Hack to Change Windows XP Home to Windows XP Professional

Enable the features found in Windows XP Professional on your Windows XP Home Edition installation with this hack. It will allow you to turn your Windows XP Home CD into a Windows XP Professional CD.

Note: If your Windows XP CD does not contain Service Pack 2, you might want to Slipstream Your Windows XP CD first as you will not be able to upgrade an installation after using the CD.

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House Hold Tips

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Bee Sting Remedies

Advice below is adapted from the Dr. Greene site, which seems pretty sensible compared to others.

Bee Stings Remedies

If stung by bee, consider trying one or more of the following bee sting remedies...

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List Of Problems Solved By Mac Gyver

The Wikipedia list of problems solved byMacGyver is growing. Very cool idea. I remember watching this...How many years ago?

Resourcefulness, ingenuity, cleverness...and dumb luck. An encyclopedic mind...on acid? The cleverness of an old-time mechanic/carpenter combined with...Jame Bond? No! Indiana Jones? ....Maybe, kinda-sorta.

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Health Savings Accounts

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Bird Watching

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My Treo 650

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Recovering Scratched CD or DVD

Recovering Scratched CD/DVDs

  1. Test CD/DVD in another drive/machine
  2. Clean disc with water or water and mild detergent
  3. Test CD/DVD.
  4. If error persists, Polish with toothpaste.
  5. Test CD/DVD.
  6. If error persists, use metal polish (Brasso)
  7. Test CD/DVD.
  8. WARNING: This step could ruin your machine. If error persists, Rub Vaseline on the CD, very gently (do not press hard); start at center and move out to rim. BE SURE to remove excess Vaseline from disc before inserting into machine. Not sure I'd even try this step--could RUIN your MACHINE.
  9. Test CD/DVD.
  10. If error persists, repeat steps, focusing on scratch that is causing the error OR... buy new disc.

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The Wiki Way - by Leuf and Cunningham

The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham.

Been looking for this book for quite a while now. As with Hidden Connections, I found it at a used bookstore today.

I first encountered the wiki way on, where anyone--even me--can edit and add articles. I started a few stubs, enjoyed watching them evolve, even when my precious writing was updated. Almost always, the evolution of the articles made them better. Of course there comes a point of diminishing returns.

So I played with installing various wikis, including Wikimedia (wikipedia's engine) and PmWiki, the PHP script running this wiki. Wikimedia was a monster. Huge resource hog, database driven. PmWiki was relatively resource light, no database, flat file, which at first I disliked, but as I read the developer's reasons for choosing flat file, I bought into the idea. In fact, I've become very enthusiastic, in large part because updates are a breeze. I have a Drupal blog that is MySQL driven, and version updates are a nightmare--mostly because of the damn database.

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