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Port Wine

Sat 28 February 2009

Brother Drew completed a mission for me when he went by one of my good friend's (Steve Sessler - former college roommate) house to pick up the 11 bottles of port still remaining from yesteryear. This is the port I mentioned a couple days ago and if things go as planned, the bottles should be in Vero today with Mary Ann and Tom. I used to love port and this is some of the very best port I ever had. I plan on using it as 'thank you' gifts or on very special occasions. In years past, a "special occasion" for me would be something like...awaking or breathing.

My friend Steve has lived the great American dream. He started working in a consulting engineering company in 1971 with about 40 employees as a 'grunt' engineer and now he is the senior partner of the very successful company with 250 employees and a client list that includes about half the Fortune 500. He has a beautiful home nestled in the woods in Buckhead as well as a mountain house in North Carolina and a beach house on St. Simon's Island. He and his wife, Linda, have adopted two kids that are still young - pre-teen. I'm very proud for Steve and his family so I won't mention some of the nonsense we did in college at this point.

The other day I was reading about a technique one can use in Photoshop to focus on someone or something in a picture while 'blurring' the soundings. I still don't know much about Photoshop but I did understand the concept and was able to do it in Paint.net. So I took an old photo of a dinner plate sitting on my kitchen counter and then focused on the food while blurring the surroundings. Today's image is the result of my efforts - what do you think? It is not all that difficult to do so you'll likely see it again. I wanted to learn this after seeing it done on yesterday's image of a IRS 1040 form - I found that image; I did not make it.

Yesterday I went to my doctor to discuss my fatigue issue and how it relates to depression, etc. We had a good discussion and agreed I'd first try doubling my Cymbalta to see if that helps and if it is still not giving me the relief I seek he said I should then try adding another drug I once took - Wellbutrin. I had good results with Wellbutrin but not as good as I needed. I've never tried the Cymbalta/Wellbutrin combo but I'm very willing to give it a go. First let's see what happens to doubling my Cymbalta.

My doctor correctly suggested we should try these before adding a potential dangerous drug for someone like me - I'm afraid I might really like Adderall. I am convinced there is a drug cocktail that will be the one I need - the trick is to identify it. So I'm back to being a lab rat again. I'll go pick up my new prescription this morning and see how that works for me. It will likely take a few weeks to really know because of the nature of NSRI's. I have another appointment will him for my regular annual physical at which time we'll decide what the next step should be if this result is not getting it done.

You're wondering if I've received a check from the attorney for whom I built a web site - no, I have not. So now I'm wondering if he tells his client he's going to do something does he really do it? And if he says things that are not true just part of the time, how can you tell which "part" of the time you're in with respect to what he says? I wonder what is really going on here - is he waiting for an Obama bail-out? My buddy that referred him to me in the first place has offered to pay me what he owes by diverting payments to me he is now sending to the attorney. I'm going to consider his offer if I don't get payment.

Posted at 09:28 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Doctor's Appointment

Fri 27 February 2009

With all the doctors in my life now I decided to go back to the source - my own internist. David Fromang was very helpful in directing me but he's a urologists and not someone who typically studies or writes scripts for anti-depressant or ADHD drugs. I just think I need to go to the guy I've been going to but only a couple months early. I have an appointment scheduled for today at 10:45 when normally I would wait until my annual physical the middle of April. This way I can perhaps try some new meds and then report as to how I'm doing when I have my physical. Some of these meds take several weeks before they become affective - like 4 to 6 weeks.I'm sick and tired of being tired.

To get ready for my appointment this morning I've done extensive research on depression, symptoms, and treatments. I surely have many of the symptoms today but I think I'd have even more if I were not already on as drug (Cymbalta). I want to be prepared and specific about the way I feel and the medications I've discovered that might be worth trying. I'm still going with a SSRI but there are different drugs and each individual reacts differently - I just don't think I've hit on the right combo yet.

I started working on my 2008 tax return. Well what I really mean is I started gathering all the data in order to organize it then turn it over to my accountant. Can you believe my account worked for the firm I first hired in 1972 and now he has his own firm? Tom Westbrook worked for Mike Stern until Mike retired about 15 years ago at which point Tom took over. He is a damn good accountant and a good friend whom I trust to handle my affairs with the Internal Revenue Service. Frankly my returns have been getting simpler every year - when you don't have income and few deductions it makes things very simple!

I've discovered some interesting information about my world famous website, BillsView.com. Some of the people view the site of recent have found it via the pictures I post on my site in particular my 'Political View' section. Apparently some of my pictures have shown up on Google searches which in turn sends those looking to my site. I know because I did some testing myself. One thing I discovered is that my 'Political' pages does not render the way I want it to unless you use BillsView.com as a portal - you can go directly to the page with going through my iFrame. So I guess I need to fix it so it renders well both ways, huh?

All of you internet users beware...Mary Ann now knows how to send and receive e-mail. As soon as she figures out she can shop, buy, and have things delivered from the comfort of her home the bandwidth in her area might get plugged. Just kidding, but I do bet she'll use the internet a lot more than just as an e-mail tool. I've offered my help anytime she needs it when her usual suspects are at work, on dates, or generally unavailable - you know who you are. Now I want to convince her to install Skype and get the rest of her family to do the same. Then again there are people like Syp with Skype who never ever use it although I do find Georgia Tech Jeff on a good bit.

I've got Brother Drew doing me a favor back in Atlanta and I expect he's already done it. I still have 11 bottles of some world-class port wine stored in Steve Sessler's wine cellar up in Atlanta. Drew was to go by to fetch them for me last night and then put it on as cargo on the Brennan Transport service headed to Vero today - Tom & Mary Ann will be coming South for some R&R in sunny Florida. I want this wine so I can give it to people from time to time. Right now I want to give David Fromang a bottle for all the help he's been to me. Boys and Girls...this is really good stuff and now has some some age on it. Wine Spectator gave it their highest possible rating when I first bought it and it is only better now. I sure would like to taste it but maybe a nice smell will work as well.

Today's headlines: Leader of sex-and-massage parlors in Indian River County gets 5-year suspended sentence. The comments are funny - I made one as well.

Posted at 05:10 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Blood Work

Thu 26 February 2009

I finally called Dave Fromang whom I've known since forever - he is John's uncle thus is Starr's brother and he's a urologists. He has referred me to all the medical professionals I see here in Vero and my dentist. I want to see someone about my energy or should I say lack of energy. I thought I should go to a psychiatrist who would know all about drugs for depression because I think the right drug cocktail will do the trick for me. But David recommended I see an Endocrinologist first to have him check the hormone levels in my blood before I try other SSRI's - he referred me to Dr. Paul Graham here in Vero. I called Dr. Graham's office and asked for an appointment but he wanted a copy of my blood tests from my last physical first which I promptly faxed over to him. I can't see how having all this additional blood work could do any harm and in fact will either point to or eliminate other possible causes for the way I feel. But nooooo! His office called back and said they wanted David to order the blood work and if there was something wrong then they would see me. Of course there is something wrong you idiot - why do you think I want to see you?! Damn!

I don't feel sick but I lack a sense of 'wellness' that's why I thought trying a different SSRI is what I needed. Indeed, it may be what I need but on the other hand if I have some sort of hormonal condition a change in SSRI probably would not help. David said that there could be causes other than serotonin - or lack there of - causing me to feel the way I do. If I could describe the drug cocktail that works best for me it would include a SSRI, some sort of amphetamine to boost energy, and a opiate to increase the dopamine bouncing around in my brain while eliminating any headaches. So should I take Cymbalta, Adderall, and Vicodin...probably not a good idea over an extended period of time, huh? Leave out the Vicodin and maybe I've got something? Could I have ADHD? Now listen to this - Adderall is a brand-name pharmaceutical psychostimulant composed of mixed amphetamine salts, which works by increasing the amount of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Isn't that what I'm seeking - more natural dopamine and norepinephrine? Did you know the drug I am taking - Cymbalta - is a norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitor as well as a SSRI?

You won't believe this, but guess what happened? Someone I know takes Adderall to help him concentrate at work which is one of the primary reasons for which it is prescribed in the first place. He volunteered to give me several pills but I took just two (10mg) tablets to test. Shazam! Yesterday was the best day I can remember having in weeks and weeks and weeks. I did not feel "high" (which is a good thing) but I did have a much better sense of wellness. I felt more like I think 'normal' should feel. Nor did I have a headache until I heard about Obama's speech the night before - but I digress again. I have one more pill I'll take this morning to see how today goes. If it is good again then I'll check into get a prescription until I find another alternative. Adderall is not a narcotic but it can be additive and you have to be careful getting off it like I have to be careful with Cymbalta, Paxil, or any other SSRI - you can't just stop.

I talked to David again Wednesday night and he told me what sort of tests he wanted and I know a way of ordering them myself, so I did. There is an online facility out of Atlanta called PrivateMD where you can order just about any test you want at a reasonable cost - I ordered the Male Deluxe anti-aging panel as Dave suggested. I got a private link to a secure website, logged in, and then got a .PDF file which I printed to take to the local lab here in Vero. The lab vampires took three small tubes of my precious blood to be tested. When completed, I'll be able to get the results online at a secure site at which point I'll share the results with you, David and ultimately my regular internist when I have my physical in April.

Posted at 05:03 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Holland's Muslim Problem

Wed 25 February 2009

I have a browser helper recommendation I made that hasn't worked out very well for me of late - it is the program called LastPass. Oh it is fabulous for remembering passwords and making it easy to logon to sites but the form completion part of the package has turned out to be a nightmare for me. It might work on new sites but there are so many sites I go back to for purchasing things on the internet for which it causes conflicts. Maybe I could or should have done something different but I got so irritated the other day when I tried and tried to order something that I just ended up uninstalling the software. I might settle down and try it again some day but I'm over it for now. I hope you have had better luck if you tried it.

Remember I was testing my sites for W3C mark up validation when I found a slew of "errors" on TanzaniteAmerica.com the other day? I went back to look at the code I wrote for the site about 3 years ago and I'm here to tell you I've learned a good bit in 3 years. I had about 3 too many tables on my home page and there were unneeded tags here and there. Once I took a look at what I had done, I could see a way to fix it so I did. Now TanzaniteAmerica has the stamp of approval as having the correct mark-up language. Funny thing is you're not going to be able to tell the difference but the web spiders and other services can. Check it out if you like by clicking on the little icon.

The next question you're going to as is have I checked the other sites I've built, right? Well no I have not but I might at some point in the future. It takes a good bit of work to correct the code to make the web bots happy and I'd rather spend my time building new sites that render as they should although the language is not perfect. The analogy would be like using incorrect grammar but you still get the point across. Most of the time no one really cares expect perfectionist like me and English teachers. The reason I corrected my two sites is to prove to myself I can properly code a site if I'm careful and follow the grammatical rules of code web pages. BTW, I checked some sites like American Express, the Wall Street Journal, and the Scripts-Howard news site only to find they all had tons and tons of errors - in the hundreds. Gosh...I really am a geek!

Last evening a Dutch dude named Geert Wilders - a member of the Dutch House of Representatives. - was interviewed on The O'Reilly Factor which is on FOX News every weekday night at 8 o'clock Eastern time. He made it very clear what Syp has been saying for years and that is their little country is being invaded by Muslims. Although Muslims currently represent less that 10% of the population they act in a fashion that makes them out to be the majority according to Wilders. The number of Muslims in The Netherlands has gone from 55 to well over 1,400,000 in the last hundred years and is steadily climbing. Now listen folks...I don't know a group of people more tolerant of other folks than the Dutch but when they start to feel intolerant against a segment of their society you know things are getting really bad. I mean bad bad! And they are not alone - this is happening in other European countries as well.

In this country Muslims represent a much smaller percentage of our population but all they same they do create problems in our society as well. It's this freedom of religion thing that permits Muslims to do things other Americans would not be permitted to do because Muslims claim religious rights. Not all Muslims mind you but the ones that make a scene make the news. The problem with Islam as I see it is the religion is intolerant of any other faith which is where the problem begins. Kill all the infidels they say. A peaceful religion Islam - NOT! The worst part of this is the fanatics are willing to kill themselves to kill others who they deem to be infidels. What a mess, huh?

Today's image is one I found showing Geert Wilders expressing his view about the Muslim invasion of his country. oh, and before I forget it, there was a Dutch author named Ayaan Hirsi Ali (former member of the Dutch Parliament who is well known for defending the rights of women in Muslim society) who spoke to an overflow crowd here in little Vero Beach on Monday of this week. Here is a link to the story. Small world, huh?

Posted at 04:38 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Tue 24 February 2009

For the last couple days I've been trying to figure out how to install an Apache server either on my C drive or on a remove-able flash drive. I've tried several different applications in both locations but never quit got the hang of it. I really don't need a server on my computer but it would be a way to learn more about PHP - which was my goal in the first place. I found a video course that teaches PHP but the free server software they use - WAMP Server - doesn't want to install properly on my machine. I tried others that I did get to install but for some reason I could not get them to function like I expected. Frankly the problem is probably me and not the software. I wonder of Syp has a web server on his computer for use in development?

This was a very interesting but frustrating exercise for me. As always, I learned something in the process but I did not learn how to affectively use a server on my computer to test PHP files. Of course I can always test files on the server where BillsView.com is hosted. For those of you who don't know, you can open a HTML file with any web browser but a PHP file is a 'server side' application that does something to, with, or for a web page - like send mail when you complete a 'contact us' form. PHP is really cool and it's the language I use in connection with HTML here on the World Famous BillsView.com. BTW, PHP is a scripting language originally designed for producing dynamic web pages. How do you think I can type something into a browser page on my local machine, hit 'post', and it then appears on my website? It is all done with PHP. In fact, all of BillsView.com pages are .PHP pages with the exception of 'search hints'. I'll learn more but I decided to take a break after two days.

Yes I've been feeling better - thank you for asking. The headache attack has gone away and my restless leg/body condition has also gone away, at least for now. As usual, I've not got a clue as to what was the culprit that caused these two events in the first place. Perhaps I'm not eating enough ice cream? Actually, I've cut back on my ice cream for two reasons - I've got a physical in a couple months and Spring is on the way so I want to look hot in my slim, form-fitting speedo. Stop it! I hear some of you laughing at the visual!

Valid HTML 4.01 TransitionalThere is an organization called W3C Markup Validation service which provides help to web masters and would-be site builders like me as to the validity of code on your site as it relates to conformity to HTML 4.01 Transitional, the current standard in website coding. So just for grins I checked BillsView.com and found I had 15 errors and 3 "warnings" concerning my code. It doesn't mean it will not render but rather I made mistakes - imagine that, me making a mistake - in the HTML. After about two hours I corrected all the mistakes and now I'm 'certified' to proudly display the W3C validation icon (to the left). You've probably seen this icon before but like me did not have a clue as to what it meant, right? Well now we both know - with this validation and $1.95 I can get a cup of coffee at the Cuban sandwich shop. Now to work on TanzaniteAmerica which has 15 errors and 2 warnings!

Captain Matt has put me in touch with that wild man, Flynn. I'm going to arrange for my cousin's son, Tucker, to meet Flynn so that he can quiz him on the profession Flynn's perusing - TV production. Frankly I'm not sure what all Flynn does except to say I know he's produced commercials. Seems to me TB told me he works for Scripts-Howard. I'll know more once all this takes place.

I have to laugh at what CNBC's Rick Santelli said on air last Thursday on the floor of the Chicago Exchange:

"The new administration is big on computers and technology - how about this, President and new administration? Why don't you put up a Web site to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages, or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a change to actually prosper down the road and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water."

You can see the video here. HaHaHaHaHaHa

Posted at 03:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Security Risks

Mon 23 February 2009

From time to time I think I should bring security risks to your attention although for the most part I think my readers are savvy when it comes to computer security. I continue to get newsletters and e-mails from my years of volunteer security work on the Zone Alarm Forum as well as others. One of my favorite is the Trend Micro weekly update and this week I found it rather interesting and very timely based on the economy. To no one's surprise, there are predators that lurk on the internet seeking to take advantage of people who are desperate. In fact, experts theorize that with thousands of tech-savvy workers laid off or unemployed as a result of the global financial crisis, desperation may cause some workers to turn to cybercrime to survive. This only makes bad matters even worse.

First there is "social engineering" - a strategy that cybercriminals use to manipulate people into sharing confidential information. The term refers to criminals using socially interesting, relevant topics to lure users into sharing personal details. One such social engeering trick leveraged the offline world as flyers placed on the windshields of cars in a North Dakota parking lot included a malicious URL. Heeding the fake parking violation warning, victims who visit the website are directed to malicious sites that lead to the download of a BHO (browser helper object) which eventually prompts the user to purchase rogue antivirus or trojans to steal confidential information. Clever, huh?

Then there's the scam-at-home schemes that play on innocent people's trust, luring them into a working relationship in which victims are unknowingly coerced into committing illegal activities. The dramatic rise in unemployment is also motivating cybercriminals to create "job scams" that offer desperate job seekers the ability to work at home if they provide personal details, such as bank account numbers. The fake "employer" then uses this information to open credit card accounts, post to online auctions, and commit crimes-such as registering fake Web sites in the victim's name. Why didn't I think of that? Because I don't have a criminal mind - perverted maybe - but not criminal.

We have already witnessed nations with high unemployment rates, such as those in Eastern Europe, producing a great deal of malware. One reason for cybercrime's growing prevalence and increasing profits is the ease with which criminals can launch operations. Free Internet tools abound to create a variety of nasty Web threats-from free, pre-made phishing kits to free spam templates that exactly replicate the appearance of popular banking Web sites. In fact, researchers at Trend Micro also predict that cybercriminals will take a more proactive approach in recruiting unemployed IT personnel to come work for "the dark side." This could be especially damaging if disgruntled, recently laid-off employees leverage their knowledge and access privileges to hack into previous employers' corporate networks. So as usual... be careful .

Now I come to the point where I want to recommend a password safety utility I download a few weeks back when it was recommended by the folks at Windows Secrets newsletter. It is called LastPass because it is likely the last password manager you'll ever need. It is rich with options, functions flawlessly, and best of all, is free. I've been using it for a few weeks and thus far I think it's a real winner. It is safer and more secure that having your browser fill in your username and password. Give it a go and tell me what you think.

ALERT: Rumor has it that Captain Matt has arrived in Vero to terrorize the community. All you moms out there should keep your daughters at home with the door locked!

Posted at 07:33 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Sun 22 February 2009

Damn I had a bad headache day that even vicodin didn't want to help. It was one of those headaches that hurt so much I felt a bit nauseous as well. I had supper - great home made bean and ham soup, took a pill, had a hot bath, and then went to bed around 9 o'clock. I woke up in the middle of the night a couple times but I did not take an more medication until the following morning when I had a regular Advil. I don't know why I get these things - I wish I did know so I could stop doing what ever it is that causes them in the first place.

My Atlanta 'client' called and was "thrilled" with his new site. He said it even smelled new to him while viewing the pages on the internet. The truth is my client doesn't know how to do anything with a computer other than to check e-mail. When I asked him to review his new site last Thursday he said he'd wait until Friday when his secretary was in - I'm not sure he knows how to even find his pages. There were a few minor things he wanted me to change like put the AmEx card above the Visa card on JPEG image because he likes AmEx better than Visa - that was easy to change in Paint.net (I'm still not into Photoshop just yet). Have a look at the two in the image to the right.

The most difficult task is that he wanted the e-mail sent to him when someone used his 'Contact Us' page to be put into tables with color - he did not want an e-mail with just the info. It seems his old mail form did that although I never new it because I never say it until I put my e-mail address in and sent myself a mail. So now I really did need to get into the bowels of the .PHP code to see what I could do. Why is this so important you ask? Because he wants a 'Contact Us' mail to really pop verses all the other mail he gets so he will not overlook it. It took me awhile but I'm very pleased to say I figured out how to do it and he's right, that mail does 'pop' out at you. I went so far as to have in big (26px) red letters the message , "you've got mail ,Tom" with the data beneath it in table format. This was very satisfying to me when I accomplished writing the code to affect this results.

By mid afternoon the site was edited and up just as the phone rang - it was Jason. He wanted to come for a visit just to talk and because I could now leave my project I told him to get his skinny little butt over here. Of course he hadn't eaten at all that day so I fed him chuck roast, carrots, potatoes, and a salad with a piece of cake when he was done. The kid doesn't eat properly and the only 'home cooked' meals he gets is at my house or his sponsor's house. He needs to find a steady, dependable job that will afford him the opportunity to make plans like a steady living environment, regular hours, regular feedings, ...you know the 'regular' stuff. Now that the court issue is over he needs to move on but as we all know, the economy sucks because of the failings of the Liberals in Congress that caused the housing mess - but I digress. There are jobs, you just got to find them or make them.

I hear you....you're saying, "it's easy for you to say - you're not looking". True, I'm not looking but if I were I'm confident I'd find work. I may not find a 'position' but I would find work doing something until I could find something better. I'm pleased to hear Captain Matt is going to take the job offered although it is not what he wanted, it is a job until he can either find another job or move up within the company. Times are tough but not impossible. I understand Ryan's company is making everyone take a week off without pay in a couple of weeks so I will be seeing him and Heather when they come down to Vero for the week. Captain Matt should be here late today or tomorrow - better stock-up on Crown with vitamin B-12!

Posted at 08:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Matt's Employment

Sat 21 February 2009

So the lawyer who's website I built 6 weeks ago still has not bothered to compensate me for the work. He sent me an e-mail over a week ago saying the 'check was in the mail' - yea, right! I feel a bit silly having to write again and again asking for something I should have gotten the first time I asked. I guess I'm just not a very high priority on his list of things to do. Heck, maybe he got sick and has not been in the office for a week? Maybe he has a gambling problem? Or maybe he's just your standard New York Yankee jerk! I'm going to send my third snail-mail letter today asking for payment. This is beginning to piss me off.

Starr has an interview for a long term sub job at the high school in Wabasso next week. She is very qualified, cares about students, is a good teacher, and is reliable - she should get the job. The trouble is there are probably a couple dozen or more people looking to get the same job and so you never know what goes through the mind of the Principle that will make the hiring decision. I know that jobs are hard to come by here in sunny Florida especially in teaching. With the cut-backs there are a lot of teachers looking for work who want to live in this great Florida climate. Only today I was reading in the paper that the unemployment for the Treasure Coast area is over 9%. My fear is that it will get worse before it gets better.

I don't like what Mr. Obama is doing to our society! He's making everyone appear to be a victim with the only savior being Government. That is a path that will ultimately be very dangerous to the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Pretty soon he'll have Government in every aspect of our lives. I don't like it one bit. Mr. Obama's plans award people who either can't or won't try to make it while punishing those who do try and do make it. Government is become the blanket that covers and smothers everyone like it or not. If you reward behavior you do not like then you'll get more of the same behavior. Socialism scares me.

My solution is to watch more movies on TV and less news - the news depresses me. I'll keep trying to build websites and maybe find someone who'll actual pay me for my efforts. I'm glad I moved out of Atlanta and into this smaller more economical home - I'm disappointed I did not get more for my Atlanta home but I'm pleased I sold it when I did. There is something very comforting about not having things hanging over my head while we go through these current economic times. I'm glad I did not hang onto my house waiting for a better offer - I might still be waiting.

Tommy came by for a visit in between memorial services he was attending yesterday afternoon. I don't know any one who goes to more funerals that does TB. In part because he has lived here in Vero all of his life and has been active in the business community he knows a lot of people. I guess we area getting of the age that we know more and more people who have come to the end of the road sort of speak but Tommy has been attending funerals for years.

It sounds like Captain Matt is going to take a job offered by Equifax and will start in a couple weeks. In the meantime I think he'll be in Vero for the two weeks before he starts to visit, play, and likely fish. Tommy tells me he should be here tomorrow or the next day. Good, my cousin's son would like to meet with Matt's good buddy, Flynn, to talk about the work he's doing. It turns out that Tucker is interested in production and acting. I think he's pretty good at it but is also wise enough to know that getting on the back side of a camera is going to be easier than getting on the front side. I'll get Captain Matt to set something up when he gets here.

Posted at 06:11 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Helping Wendy

Fri 20 February 2009

The remote control utility I mentioned the other day is cool, really cool. Wendy called me from Dubai with an issue she could not resolve and asked for my help. It seems she has a copy of Windows Office on her machine that was put there by a friend of hers in Ft. Lauderdale - it is a working copy but is not licensed. The last Windows update she installed came with a Genuine Windows Notify utility that put an unwanted icon in her system tray and pops up a balloon every time she uses any of the 'Office' applications telling her they are not 'genuine". She wanted me to get rid of it and it was not a simple task - Microsoft makes it hard to terminate the unwanted icons. The bottom line is I was able to control her machine from my fabulous offices here in the Vero Villa, download a zip file, unpack it, run it, then terminate the irritating program. The lag time between when I moved her cursor and I actually saw it move was about 2 or 3 seconds but then again she's half way around the world. While I was doing that I was able to have crystal clear voice communications via Skype. Cool!

TB informs me he's going to get a slip and make reservations at the Palms for this Summer. It is unclear if Tom & Mary Ann will be able to make it this year but Tommy knows his sons want to make the trip as usual. I also think Jeff and Amy are making plans to go down again this year and will be staying at the bay side villa they rented last time - this place permits Sammy to go along and is actually a pretty neat place. I've not made a decision as to my plans but of course I always like the trip. John is uncertain as to his availability to go this Summer but like me, always enjoys the trip. He has work, summer mini-session at school, and then he plans to go to Florida State in the Fall - all this might through a wrench into his time for the Keys this year.

Do you folks subscribe to the Windows Secrets news letter? There is a free addition and a paid addition - the paid addition is worth the modest expense. Each time I get it there is valuable information in it dealing with security and updates. Plus, they are a goldmine for ideas and programs which I have found most useful...many of which I've shared with you here. If you don't get the newsletter and you use Windows I believe you are missing a truly great newsletter rich with information.

I replaced the 4 burned out landscape lights yesterday with new Sylvania light bulbs - now let's see if these named-brand bulbs last longer than those junk bulbs I've mistakenly bought in the past. I had no idea these lights had such a short life span when I first installed them last spring. Nonetheless I like the 'look' they give the Vero Villa so until I can't afford to replace the bulbs anymore I'm going to keep the lights on for you.

In his heart of hearts Brother Drew is a treasurer hunter - every time he sees an article about treasure found on "The treasure" coast he wants to leave cold Atlanta and join the hunt. In yesterday's paper he found this article about the remains of a Spanish galleon which sunk just East of where I'm sitting right now. The record shows that a lot of ships went down just of the Indian Rive county coast which is why this part of Florida is called "The Gold Coast" - gold has been found here and is still being found here. There is something very exciting about treasure hunting don't you think?

Last night I uploaded all the files for the new PeachTreeSuite.com website. I think all the links work and the pages render in Internet Explorer and Firefox although just a little different - it really is peculiar how the two browsers are different. I'll be talking to the site's owner a little later this morning to see what he thinks. Comments? Oh, here is the old site

Posted at 05:39 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Individual Responsibility

Thu 19 February 2009

Tommy came by yesterday afternoon seeking help in his car exchange events. He needed me to meet him at his riverside estate in order to ferry him to the car was in order to pick up his Porsche so he could drive out to the Barnes Estate West and fetch his Tahoe - he came by in Tom's little white Lexis sports car (like the one pictured). Moving cars around is like moving boats around - you usually need an extra hand.

According to TB, Captain Matt did have his interview yesterday with Equifax and it sounds like they will make him an offer. It probably will not be as good as his previous job but in this economy I think I'd advise him to take the job until a better job comes along. Some income is better than no income and when the economy improves he'll be in a good position to move up. Besides Equifax will likely need a new CEO soon so why not Captain Matt? I did not send the video files of LaTischa so Matt's safe at least from me.

Yesterday I spent most of the day tuning the pages I'm building for the Atlanta company. I have them all coded but now I'm going through the cross check of the rendering in Internet Explorer and Firefox - as I've come to learn, what works in IE will not necessarily work in Firefox. I guess I should check Safari and the new Google browser but I've not got them installed and together less than 5% of users have these browsers. I also found a great new 'contact us' PHP program that I'm going to use for the new site and future sites. The current 'send mail' code I'm using works but it's old and does not have the flexibility of this new one. Your eyes glazing over?

Starr tells me she had a flat tire this morning and wasn't feeling all that great. I think she and Alex might be getting the crud John has at the moment. I think I'll stay away for awhile because I don't want to get it too. There are plenty of coffee drinkers that seem to be hacking and coughing each morning so I've got enough exposure already.

I'm fed up to here with the news of late! It seems our country has turned into a bunch of whiners expecting Government to coming riding to the rescue. What happened to the proud individual who is responsible for himself or herself? Now it seems the banks, the auto companies, homeowners, people out of a job, etc. all expect the Government to fix everything and you know what, President Obama is leading the charge! This is very disappointing and in my view dangerous to our freedoms in the future - the more that Government steps in, the more control it will have over companies and individuals. We are becoming a socialist nation and the move is not a slow one.

Yesterday there were some homeowners on the news who were face foreclosure because they bought a home they could not afford in the first place. Is it the taxpayer's responsibility to bail them out because of the mistakes they made in the first place? I don't think so but Obama does think so. What do you think if you're among those people who stayed within their means and are paying your bills? It send a very poor signal in my opinion to assist people who should not have gotten into the home in the first place. And tell me, where is all this bail-out money going to come from in the first place? I don't like the economic picture I see looming ahead - it will likely just get worse until individuals start taking responsibility for themselves again.

I'm just going to have to watch more movies - the news is too depressing and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Posted at 03:15 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Rebuild a Site

Wed 18 February 2009

Let me see if I get this right. We have two submarines cruising underwater in the vast Atlanta ocean and somehow they manage to find themselves in the exact same spot and the exact same time without knowing the other one was there? What? Oh, by the way, they were not enemies - at least 'officially' (Brits & Frogs) - stalking one another. It's not like planes that get close to one another while landing or taking off - these subs were in the middle of the Atlantic for God's sake. Something about this story doesn't smell right to me. Jeez!

Damn - I got three more landscape lights I noticed were burned out last night. I'll get out this morning after the sun comes up and it warms up a bit to replace them. Yep, you guessed it, the lights that are burned out are on the two circuits with which I've had problems in the past. No, they are not the better replacement bulbs but rather older replacement bulbs so maybe when I replace these they will last longer. I still think there is a circuit problem compounded by some poor brand-X bulbs. Sometimes the 'store' brand is as good as or better than the name brand but that is not the case with light bulbs...maybe cottage cheese at Publix...but not light bulbs.

During Darby's memorial - birthday - reception on Monday I ran into some old girlfriends from high school. Some I recognized after 43 years even remembering their names and some I recognized the face structure but didn't have a clue as to their name until or unless someone reminded me. I have to say that for the most part I think women age better than do men from the standpoint of being recognized. True, the gals I knew in high school certainly looked older but the guys looked different in that they have gray, white, or no hair and were on the average 50% heavier. Of course I'm the same stud I was back in high school only a bit wiser with less hair. Ain't [sic] life grand?

Yet another week and still no pictures or other input from the two guys who asked me to build a website. The check that was to be mailed from New York last week has not arrived. But there is good news today. One of the two guys for whom I built a website without being asked called to say he was "thrilled" with what I've suggested for him. This is the site I mentioned a couple days ago, PeachtreeSuite.com soon to have a make-over into the New PeachtreeSiute.com. Frankly I'm a bit surprised that I got such an over-whelming positive response but I did. Now I have to build the other pages to go with the Home page. I was getting a little disappointed from the lack of response from my initial start but then I got the call yesterday that, "made my day".

Starr reports that John is still sick but he did go to work today at the Indian River County pool. Frankly I don't think that was smart from the standpoint of his cold but it also was his 'first day' on this new job. John will be working two lifeguard jobs knowing that the John's Island job is 'seasonal'. I think he should keep trying to stay on up there at JI because it's a good job, pays well, and he has a chance of meeting his future employer.

Sometimes I just have to laugh at the Vero Beach Press Journal - I found this headline in yesterday's paper: "Vero bicyclist charged with DUI after crash with stopped car". The guy was arrested for DUI while peddling a bicycle - store here.

Posted at 06:10 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Interview for Captain Matt

Tue 17 February 2009

Because I made a special afternoon posting yesterday about Darby's memorial service, I've decided not to go into any more detail this morning. I found myself saddened by all this and frankly think it's best to honor Darby as I did but now move on.

While I was at Darby's service I had an opportunity to talk to Matt's mom, Lina. She told me that Captain Matt has some important interviews today with what was once one of his competitors - Equifax. The details I got from Lina are sketchy but I think I understand that one of Matt's old bosses now works at Equifax and wants Matt to come work there as well. If true, I think this would be a great opportunity for Captain Matt so I hope things go well for him today. I'll do my part by not sending those compromising video files I have of Matt and LaTischa (pictured right) - Matt will owe me one for keeping quite. Then again I want him to start working again so he can contribute to Social security which I should be eligible to receive next year unless Obama cuts me off.

I suppose you've been wondering why I've not been complaining about my restless body-leg syndrome? Well, that's because it has been been bothering me in about a week. I found that if I think it might be an issue , I take a hot soaking just before I go to bed. Recently I've not even been doing that. So the condition came, stayed for awhile, and now seems to be gone at least for the present - I still have not got a clue as to what aggravated the condition in the first place. Go figure!

WOW...President's Day was a big spam day for me - my Google account got 426 spam e-mails overnight. Do you get this many or is it I'm just so damn popular? Have you stopped to think how much faster the internet would be if there it were not full of spam mailings being sent around the world? I guess there is response to these mailings but I've got to believe the percentages are really low.

Michael, the college guy John found to help me, told me about some really cool software I can use to help others on the internet. It allows me to remotely control someone else's computer from my desktop. I can transfer files instantly without having to attach them to e-mails. My thought is I can use this tool if someone has a problem and asks for my help. Michael thought of it as a means of teaching me while not actually being at my house. We could connect via this tool then chat live online via Skype. The whole system is secure and data is sent encrypted between computers. Both sides have an ID number and password number that is unique for each session. Either side can cut the connection if they choose to do so as control can go in both directions. There is a menu of how much or how little control you wish to turn over to another machine. I tried it on one of my other computers and I got it to work as advertised. The software is expensive but free for non-commercial use - what will they think of next?

Do any of you wish to be my lab rat so I can test the software on a remote computer? You can of course what what is happing by sitting in front of your computer with the option of disconnecting anytime. It is software like this that Dell (and other vendors) uses to remotely work on troubled computers. I had an experience with Dell when I first bought either this desktop or my last laptop - it sure made it easier than trying to listen to someone in India walk me through steps to identify an fix a problem. Well...any takers?

Posted at 06:11 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Darby's Memorial Service

Mon 16 February 2009

This afternoon I attended the memorial service for my friend Darby. It was a rather formal event held in the Episcopal Church here in Vero - there was not an empty seat in the house in fact chairs lined the walls. The service lasted about 90 minutes and then there was a reception of course. I think the whole affair was very fitting for someone who has contributed so much to the lives of people here in Vero.

There were a lot of people I sort of 'recognized' but I didn't know who they were. People change in the 43 years since I last saw some of them. I never ran into some of my High School teachers which was sort of fun.

Tommy and I went together so he could tell me who some of these people were. Darby would have been humbled by the turn-out I think. I'm pleased I was among those honoring his life.

Darby will be missed.

Posted at 06:17 pm in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Fool's Gold

Mon 16 February 2009

Another day without a contact from the dude who was trying to scam me. This whole event causes me to pause and think about with whom I'm doing business or trusting. I wouldn't think about pulling a scam like that so I don't automatically think others would try such a thing. But I've learned differently and today I'm a lot more cautious than I ever used to be. The years of volunteer work on the security forums has really paid off in spades for me. I've been able to learn from others' mistakes instead of my own. As the old saying goes, "if it looks too good to be true it probably is".

Yesterday I went to fetch John so he could use my car to go to work while his mother and brother used his car to visit his aunts across the State. John was sick with at least a bad cold but perhaps the flu so he wisely stayed at home. For his sake I hope it is a cold and not the flu but he had flu-like symptoms. I've not talked to him since.

When I walked into his home I had to laugh - there were bodies on the couch and floor from the night before. John's brother, Alex, had some friends over to play games and "hang out" into the wee hours of the morning. It reminded me of the living room in my fraternity house the night after a big party. I think it is cool to have gatherings like that and most importantly not drive home later at night. I don't know how much beer was consumed but there was some consumption going on. However, even if you are not driving impaired, 2 out of 3 people on the road after midnight likely are impaired. Better just to hangout then sleep over IMO.

Here I go again...designing something for someone who did not ask for it. This time my target is the Atlanta based company for whom I've done work in the past but it was always for free. I know the owner well and among the things I know is that he's so tight he squeaks when he walks. Nonetheless, I have gotten him to spend money on things I thought he could use in the past and each time it was a resounding success. His website is visually impaired and has things on it that do not work. It has not changed in over a decade but it has worked. I just wanted to see what I could do to update it a bit without making such a drastic change that it becomes unrecognizable from his present site. I know that older farts like me usually don't like change so I was very careful not to update it beyond his comfort zone.

What's that you say - you want to see the old verses the proposed new home page? OK, I can do that for you. Here is the present PeachTree Suite website and here is the shinny newer version I created. See what I mean about making it a bit more pleasing without a drastic shift in the look? I view it like getting a new paint job on an old car - it's the same old car but it looks newer. Now the question is will the owner agree and if he agrees is it worth anything to him? The effort was well worth wild for me because of the knowledge I picked up in writing the HTML with a cascading style sheet. So what do you think boys and girls?

Jason came by a couple times yesterday just because I'm such a nice lovable guy...with food in his refrigerator. Just joking - I do feed Jason from time to time because among other things the guy never has any real home-style meals. He eats fast food and take-out stuff all the time like a lot of young guys his age. He wanted to get my blower out to blow the leaves and rake parts of the yard which he did. I would be happy to have it done everyday but I'm not going to do it nor am I going to ask anyone else. Now Jason's task on hand is to find a 'regular' job working 40 hours a week that is dependable and steady. It's tough now with the dragging economy but there are jobs, you just have to find one.

I caught another movie on TV yesterday - it was "Fool's Gold" with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. It was good fun with a lot of action, wonderful diving scenes is clear water, and good humor. I will say the directors made what I believe was a big boo-boo. Part of the movie was suppose to take place in Key West but the scenes associated with the movie at the time definitely were not shot in Key West - Key West does not have islands with hills like depicted in the movie. I don't know where it was filmed but it wasn't in or around the Conch Republic.

Posted at 05:39 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Jason's Out

Sun 15 February 2009

This has become humorous - the dude implying he wants to buy a tanzanite just will not give up. He has sent me 3 other e-mails offering the full purchase price (of what I'd ask) plus an additional $100 for overnight shipping. Yea, that sounds like something I want to do doesn't it? His language syntax and grammar are consistent with the e-mail scams I've found by doing my research. I really think the dead give-away is the dudes complete lack of interest in the stone as to size, shape, color, clarity, etc. - he just wants me to send it whatever it is. Finally I sent him an e-mail saying if he did not want to use one of the three services with whom I have accounts - PayPal.com, Escrow.com, and WesternUnion.com - then I'm sorry but I can not help him. It's been 24 hours and I believe he's given up.

So how does the scam work you ask? You see, AlertPay is a valid online money transfer service but it has a shady reputation compared to the three I mentioned above. The scam artists will send a genuine-looking e-mail saying the funds have been transferred and you (the seller) can now ship the goods. The trouble is the e-mail does not come from AlertPay but a faux site looking like AlertPay. But the real funny thing is even the 'valid' AlertPay customers are not happy with the service which was started in Canada 4 years ago by a guy named Patel - isn't 50% of the population of India named Patel? The moral of the story is to be very careful with whom you deal - Buyer beware and seller too.

Good News - Jason is out of jail after just 3 days.Although he was sentenced to a week, he was given credit for the day he was arrested as a 'full' day and then the State of Florida lets people out early for 'good behavior' in situations like Jason's - a non-violet drug related offense. He came by yesterday morning and was as happy as he could be. Once this incident is behind him now he can move on with the rest of his life. Now he needs a steady job and safe place to live - meaning 'safe' for bad influences. We had a good talk so let's see what he does next; I'm optimistic at this point but then again that's my general outlook on life.

When Syp comes next month I would like him to meet and talk with Jason. For reasons I can't explain, Syp has an uncanny depth of perception when it comes to other people. He sees and understands things quicker and clearer than anyone I've ever met. On the other hand people can pull the wool over on me because for the most part I want to think positive things about people. This I got from my Dad - he was the most positive trusting guy I've ever known. I always think this trusting thing is cultural in that Southerners are more trusting than Northerners. I think that is the case because in general Southerners are more trustworthy than Northerners. My Dad did say, "trust everybody but check everybody too".

I met Michael yearly yesterday evening as planned. He turns out to be a nice young (20 years old) college student who appears to be very interested in his education. He takes an 'overload' of courses with the intent of transferring to the University of Florida next Fall. John was there as planned but came in a few minutes late - I recognized Michael fro John's description plus he was the only young guy in there with a laptop opened. We started to get to know one another even before John got there. He seems like a real nice young man and I think he can be useful to me with respect to the Adobe software. I asked him enough questions and he volunteered enough information for me to know he's not just blowing smoke. The next step is up to me - I need to get some questions I have with respect to editing then call him over for a session. Weekends are best for him and you know me, I don't care.

He showed me a site he built for someone here in Vero - it looked clean and attractive but nothing real fancy. What amazes me is how much he's able to charge for his work! If he is right, I might be selling myself way too short on my charges. I'm just going to have to do more research into what people really pay for sites - I know I'm low but that is by design until I get a few websites under my belt as they say.

Todays picture I took of Jason yesterday morning when he came by. He's one happy camper to be out of jail.

Posted at 08:36 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

AlertPay Scam

Sat 14 February 2009

Posted at 08:46 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

A Murder of Crows

Fri 13 February 2009

After a hard day in my office yesterday I decided to sit back and watch TV. The political stuff going on now sickens me so I found a movie for pure entertainment on HBO. The movie was "A Murder of Crows" staring Cuban Gooding and Tom Berenger - it was a good mystery movie and as you know, I like mystery movies. I didn't know 'who did it' until the end and it was not the person I though was guilty all through the movie. I enjoyed the escape from the depressing political news - I think I need to watch more movies.

You know I think what is happening in Washington is bad for America's growth and independence. The Liberals have dramatically increased spending and I don't mean "stimulus" spending - I mean over $200 billion in new entitlement spending and steps towards socialized medicine. A stimulus should be immediate, targeted, and temporary but this crap coming from the Liberals has very little of that - over 50% of the spending is not to begin for two or more years!

Anytime you rush something you are setting yourself up for abuse and mistakes. I'm afraid American taxpayers will be crippled by this bill for many years in the future. There is nothing I can do about this massive abuse and waste so I might as well what more movies. It will probably take years for the Obama-Liberal voters to see what they got is not what they thought they were getting. The arrogance of the Liberal leaders is disgusting. They are lying to our citizens with such regularity I'm begging to think even they believe what they're saying. Very very sad and disappointing but what am I to do? What more movies!

I sent an e-mail to my first website client about a payment and he immediately responded with "a check will be in the mail today". I believe him...I just think I'm not very high on his pecking list nor should I be. Having been in business I understand that some bills get paid before others and sometimes bill-paying comes after taking care of clients. It will be nice to actually get a check because this will be the first money I've earned since my payment for Jury Duty in 2001. Now if I could only get my other two clients to finish the picture-taking and review I'll be able to publish those sites as well. I've not heard a peep out of the computer services company for which I built a site without being asked. I learned in the process and I continue to learn each day I spend time on this stuff.

I got a call from one of my very favorite members of the Atlanta coffee klatch to which I belonged. He's a guy about 10 years younger than me and is totally whacked! I mean funny and off-the-wall although he really does need and take medication. His purpose in calling was to ask about medication I might have tried or I'm using for OCD. Actually I'm not currently taking in OCD-specific drugs but I did tell him about the others I have taken and about Cymbalta. There are people in Atlanta I miss and Hugh is certainly one of them. He falls in to the rarefied group of people I deem to be real "characters". We have a real character in my coffee group here too - different than Hugh but a real character nonetheless.

I decided to put a listing on CraigsList about my Tanzanite. I'm not desperate to sell any of my gems but you never know when someone wants to buy one. The listing is free and already I got a response. I responded to the inquiry but I'm not at all optimistic as to the results. The person sending the inquiry has very poor grammar skills and uses a Hotmail account rather than a ISP account or domain name account. But you never know!

Posted at 06:27 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Jason's Sentence

Thu 12 February 2009

Yesterday I went to court with Jason as did his coffee klatch sponsor - this was his sentencing day. He did plead guilty when we went to court last month and as such he was not entitled to have anyone there to speak on his behalf. Nonetheless this Judge, Joe Wild, permitted us to be an advocate for Jason before the court. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I thought this judge was fair - he confirmed my belief yesterday. Knowing that he could have gotten up to a year, it was his belief the District Attorney would only ask for 30 days in jail while his public defender asked for 15 days. After Jason's sponsor and I talked, the Judge sentenced him to 7 days with credit for time served. Frankly the out come could not have been any better unless he just let him go on the spot.

As I left the courtroom I could see the gleam in Jason's eyes because his outcome was so good. I wanted the court to let him go and I think I made a good case for that. Maybe I'll be an attorney when I grow up. It was very clear to all of us that our presents there made the difference. We were the only ones in court today to ask to speak on behalf of a defendant - this reasonable judge took notice. Now I'll see what the rules are about visiting him while he's in jail. I would like to see him not smoke anymore when he gets out of jail because he'll have to stop while in jail.

At 8:10 this morning I go to have my teeth cleaned. This time last year I was going every week to have all that work done but now I think I'm done with most things except the cleaning. I'm wearing my 10 year mouth piece every night except those rare occasions I fall asleep before I put it in. There are no teeth issues going on in my life now and that's a good thing. Cleaning here in Vero costs more than in Atlanta but the systems and tools they use are more up scale as well. Heck, I'm worth it don't you agree?

I've been cleaning up my own BillsView.com pages of the extraneous code left over from past years - I've slightly changed the look as well. What a mess some of these pagers were but they are better now...not perfect by any means..but better. I was trying to eliminate all the tables from my home page which by the way I was able to do with cascading style sheets (CSS). The issue that has kept me from making the changes to my page are two fold. First, the pages seem to render as I like them in Internet Explorer and Fire fox now. Second, I'm having some 'spacing' problems when I use 'head' or 'title' tags - these seem to be less flexible then go old text tags. My guess is the problem is with my lack on understanding of the way tags render so for now I'm keeping my tables. In this case, tables are in fact the easier method to design the pages.

The economy sucks and is visiting it's misery here in Vero Beach. The county's largest private employer, Piper Aircraft ( story here ), just "permanently laid off" (aka FIRED!) 300 employees yesterday. Of course this is happening all across this State, Country, and indeed the world. It will likely get worse before it gets better so my advise to you boys and girls is keep being a good employee so you have a chance of keeping your job. Employers don't have a lot of options in front of them - it will take time to crawl back out of this hole but I'm confident the economy will come back.

What I'm more concerned about is the economic and political mess that will be created by the Liberals in charge of our Government. They after all are the ones who started this whole mess by forcing lenders to make loans to unqualified borrowers which in turn caused the real estate meltdown which begat the economic meltdown. If Barney Frank and Chris Dodd had not pushed the 'Community Development Program' forcing lenders to give mortgages to anyone who was breathing this mess would never have happened at least at these levels. What is really really scary is these are the same bafoons in charge of the "Economic Stimulus" plan which is nothing more that the cumulative spending wish list of liberals. Be careful with your savings and keep your job.

Posted at 06:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Court with Jason

Wed 11 February 2009

The change has taken place with my World Famous website, BillsView.com - you the domain name and server account are the same. If you have book marked either BillsView.com or BillsPost.com you should end up on the same site. On Tuesday I made the change to auto-forward anyone going to BillsPost.com to the new BillsView. Did you get all of that? Now you made find some errors in links deep in the bowels of my site and if you do, please let me know. I have chosen to leave my PhotoAlbum hosted on the BillsPost site but all the links should work. Please let me know if you've found something that does not work.

One thing I've discovered in the transition is that my page files are a mess! They are a mix-match of code I learned as I was moving through my understanding of HTML, JavaScript, etc. The original pages were done with a free wysiwyg HTML editor with way too much code - which by the way is very typical of HTML editors. I think I'll spend some time going through the files to clean them up just for my benefit, not yours. I'm also testing a new site visitor's program written in Perl to see if the information I get might be useful to those for whom I build a site. M

In a few hours I expect to go to court with Jason where we will find out what is to happen to him. During his first appearance he pled guilty to possession of a syringe because he volunteered to the police officer he had one. If he had said nothing, he might not be in this fix because he was stopped for not having a tail light on his bicycle for God's sake. I don't believe the policeman would have "probable cause" to search him so it is his honest that got him in this fix in the first place. The whole damn thing stinks IMHO.

Supposely the 'State' ran a test on the needle to see if it had illegal drugs on it. Well, Jason tells me it was a legal drug but he did not have a prescription for the drug - I think he said it was Oxycodone but I'm not sure. But what if he had been duped by his drug dealer and it was some over-the-count something? Should he go to jail for simply admitting to a cop he had a needle while riding his bike? And what kind of message does this send to Jason who had stopped using drugs and was honest to perhaps a fault? It just smells like rotten fish to me. I'm going to court to be an advocate for Jason - report tomorrow.

The guy that was to meet John and I on Monday never showed. It wasn't John's fault 'Mike' didn't show, beside I did get a chance to visit with John for a hour - John said he will follow up with missing Mike. John had a test Monday night and one again yesterday but I've not heard from him on how he thought he did. I do know this...John really wants to go to FSU (Florida State University) in the Fall and I bet does. Going away to college at a State University for his last two years will be good for him IMO - his mother agrees and John wants to go. I'm even getting a bit excited for him because I remember the 4 years I went to Georgia Tech were 4 years of growing and developing life long friends.

Recently I discovered Bill Voegeli has a page on Facebook - why am I not surprised? I found today's picture among those on his page. It's a great shot of Bill and his son, Will who is a student at the University of South Carolina.Can you tell they are related? Doh! Bill is a pretty handsome man to be 50 years old don't you think? Like his Dad, Will is a strong, active young guy who's into mountain biking and just about anything else out doors. BTW, Bill has two more sons one of which attends the University of Alabama while the youngest is still in High School. All three are really great boys with the blessing of having good genes from their mom and dad.

Posted at 06:48 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Health Things

Tue 10 February 2009

Is it just me or do others feel the way I do ago folks who are sick? I'm sorry for anyone that is sick but if you are I think you should stay at home until you get better. People who bring their colds and flu into a closed environment when they are not required to be there are rather inconsiderate in my opinion. A few weeks back when I got that minor cold from going to court with Jason was different - people in that courtroom were ordered there by law. On the other hand, gatherings or events were attendance is optional and by choice should not be attended by folks who are sick in my opinion. Am I wrong? You folks who know what I'm talking about know what I mean.

I'm on my second week and third injection of vitamin B-12 which I believe is helping with my energy levels. Maybe it is doing nothing in reality but as long as I think it is that's just as good. Perception in the eyes of the perceiver becomes reality. This whole thing could be a placebo effect but until I think I'm wasting time and money I'm going to keep it up - at least until I run out of syringes and the vile of B-12. The process is easy, painless, and frankly not expensive. I think each injection costs about $1.50 including the B-12 and the syringe - at my doctor's office it would cost $45.

I'm also continuing with the use of salicylic acid about once every week or two for the treatment of keratoses (a pre-cancerous skin condition). The last time I went to my dermatologists he could not find anything needing to be cut, frozen, burned, etc. and in part I think my self-treatments have helped. All it does is slightly burn the very top layer of skin resulting in a very slight peeling - nothing as bad as a real sunburn. Once again the treatments are relatively inexpensive and like B-12 I don't think I can do any harm. I do have to be careful to wear sunscreen if I'm outside for extended periods of time but I should do that anyway.

I've been doing a lot of reading about search engine optimization (aka. SEO) which according to Wikipedia is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. Basically you want traffic to your website without having to pay Google, Yahoo, or MSN advertising dollars to send traffic to your site. There are several things you can do which cost nothing but the time to do research and then edit the code on your pages. I'm not clear as to how affective these steps are in practice but I've researched enough to identify the common themes from different sources. So I'm going to implement these changes on a site who's content is totally my choice and that would be TanzaniteAmerica.com - you see I just did it. What you ask? I put a link to my Tanzanite America site on another site, BillsView.com. One of the repeated common themes is to get links to your site on other 'valid' sites meaning pages with real content and not just a link farm. TanzaniteAmerica.com is going to be my laboratory for testing SEO techniques.

Another thing I'm planning on doing in the next couple days is to load all of my relevant pages you're seeing now to a new account, BillsView.com. Currently the domain name BillsView.com is now being forwarded to BillsPost.com - I'm actually going to establish an account such that BillsView.com will go directly to that domain. Now why didn't I do that in the first place you ask? Well in the beginning, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, BillsView.com was forwarded to my Comcast pages before I actually bought space on a host server. Now it is time to make the change and there are several valid SEO reasons as well as other reasons for making these moves. I'll let you know when it's done. In the meantime you should automatically be forward.

Posted at 08:13 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Syp to Visit

Mon 09 February 2009

The BIG NEWS today is that we are going to have a Dutchie invasion here in Vero Beach on March 13th - Syp is coming for a visit. His loving and caring significant other has purchased a round trip ticket for him as a birthday present. It was a total surprise to Syp when he was told Saturday night. I knew because Sjak has been in constant e-mail communications with me for about a week concerning dates, airports, time off work, etc - she did it all. She called Syp's new employer, checked for flights into Miami and Orland, then bought the ticket. In my book, I consider this a very self-less, generous, loving thing to do - send your spouse on a one week get-a-way without going yourself. Instead she will be taking care of Yari, the household, and working while Syp will have the joy and ecstasy of being with me!

This whole idea came about in Sjak's mind because they have not been able to visit in the past couple of years since Yari was born and because Yari is expecting a sibling in July their opportunity for visiting will continue to be minimal for the next few years. Young kids, new jobs, new house, responsibilities , etc all get in the way of playing in the Keys each Summer. I understand family must come first. Won't it be nice to see the Whole Arends clan when they can travel again? Maybe by then the American boys will have a spouse and kids for the Arends' kids to play with in The Palms' pool? You boys need to get busy and stop all this practicing you're doing!

I'll get Syp in Miami on Friday, March 13th around 6pm. He has promised he'll drive us back to Vero if I come fetch him - everyone knows I like to have a driver for trips longer than about 10 or 15 minutes. I'm not sure what we will do but one thing I'm pretty sure of is that it will seem like I'm driving back to Miami the day after he gets here. When Syp was young he would stay for a month or more and it would seem as if the time accelerated while he was here. I'm looking forward to his visit so if you who know Syp can get to Vero you now know the dates. Isn't working a real pain in the a*s - it gets in the way of screwing off.

Syp has been in Vero once before a long time ago. Since then I've gotten rid of the bugs that attacked that nice Dutchie blood the time he was here. I hope he'll be pleased with the fresh look of the Vero Villa even though it now has an attack cat on patrol - Sjak tells me Syp is not fond of cats. And while he's here he'll be able to have a video call with his family back in DutchieLand anytime he wants. Perhaps I can even get him to help me with Adobe given the fact that is what he uses on a regular bases at work. More information to follow.

It seems I'm not along in the restless leg-body thing - I was talking to Mike at his lake house in Texas when he told me he too had the condition. His doctors recommended a calcium supplement which I will get to add to my vitamin routine. Lina has had the problem as well but she finds relief in her massage chair. I find relief in a hot tub of water. For the past several days I've only had to have one or maybe two soakings and usually within the first hour or two of going to bed. This episode is not over yet but it has minimized since it first started.

Today's picture is one Syp and his very sweet, kind, generous, sharing, attractive spouse Sjak . I think this was taken BY...Before Yari...on one of their visits with us in the Florida Keys. If I knew how to use Photoshop I could improve this image that was scanned from a paper picture. They are still a cute couple don't you think?

Posted at 06:18 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

TV Saturday

Sun 08 February 2009

Yesterday I learned something rather remarkable with respect to programming. I discovered that with a properly written cascading style sheet (aka. CSS) you can pretty much eliminate the need for tables. All the parameters you want to set for your header, body, footer, spacing, colors, fonts, sizes, etc can be done in the .css folder. Now I know most of you have your eyes glazing over at the moment but for me this is really a cool thing. I never did much like tables mainly because I was never proficient with them. I'm not saying I'll never use tables but the CSS thing has got me fired-up. Those of you who've tried to use tables probably can appreciate what I'm saying. In addition, the cascading style sheets can be more accurate and flexible - I think! At this point I don't know enough to say which method works best for a specific application.

Saturday I think is my new favorite day for watching daytime television. The shows on TNT and USA that I like the most during the week are replayed on Saturday. Many of these shows come on after I'm in bed or about to go to bed so even if I see the beginning I often miss the end. Burn Notice, The Closer, Monk, Psych, and others come to mind. I used to like the BBC for weekend entertainment but they've fallen out of favor with me. Yesterday was a very relaxing in front of the TV day.

Do you boys and girls keep your computer updated and patched? I'm talking about applications beyond Windows. It's these 3rd party programs you need to pay attention to if you are not doing so. There is a cool, free program that will keep you on top of the patches or updates available for your installed programs. It is called Secunia PSI and you can get it free here . I found out about this program via my Windows Secret newsletter and I've been using it for several months now and I think it is wonderful. What is your excuse for not installing it? Huh?

While I'm on the subject of safety and security I will also mention the free browser helper called WOT - Web of Trust. You can get this browser helper here - it works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox. I bring this up because I've been snooping around the world of torrents only to discover there are many sites. Now here's the real interesting thing about torrent sites. Of all the sites out there I found the only one (at least thus far) that is 'safe' according to the WOT check. All other sites throw up warnings about being unsafe, scams, spammers, and a den of virus infections. My point is that if the site I went to in the first place was dangerous I would have known it. This too is something you folks should have installed - it's free and it might save you from getting a nasty thing deep inside your computer. You've been warned!

Jason called to ask if I would drive him down to Port St. Lucie to see his Dad who's in treatment there. You know how much I hate driving places even places I went to go. Although I didn't want to let him down I just said I don't like the way I feel when I have to drive places. One of the great things about Vero is everything I want to get to in this town is less than 10 minutes away.

I got an e-mail from the Florida Game and Fish commission inviting me to renew my license - I could do it online so of course I did. Yes, I included the lobster stamp just in case. I like renewing things online because it makes things so much simpler like driver's license, fishing license, money on my Florida SunPass, etc. What did I do without computers? Oops, I remember, I drank a lot of adult beverages.

Posted at 07:47 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

My Goof

Sat 07 February 2009

I had my post ready to go and then I managed to delete it or hid it in a place where I could not find it. I think I may have saved it deep in the bowels of my 500GB external hard drive. Then again I had to reboot this morning which I suspect is the culprit of my goof - I didn't first save the file. Oh well, such is life and so I wanted to put something up today to let you folks know I'm ok. I'm not going to retype everything but rather save the best parts for tomorrow.

Tom and Mary Ann came by for a visit and so Tom could share his chocolate milkshake with me. It was tough but I agreed to take half of it off his hands. When do you ever remember me turning down ice cream? I think they will be headed back to Atlanta today or tomorrow so that Tom can do what he needs to in Atlanta on Monday. At this point I'm not certain when they will be back but with the butt-cold temperatures up there I suspect it will be as soon as they feel they can. I don't miss those temperatures in the twenties and teens. Today's picture was taken about 10 months ago of Tom & Mary Ann in their Vero estate.

On Monday of this past week Jason was over and asking me what I was doing. I explained I'm been trying to learn a bit about Adobe but I needed help. The next day he came in with a business card of a friend of his so I checked out his friend's employer's website only to discover they install & repair machines - they don't work with Adobe. At the same time I noticed their one page website was rather bland for someone in the "computer" business. So without being asked and with out permission I went on to build a 3 page site for the business.

On Friday afternoon I loaded the files to one of the servers I used then sent a link to the business's owner. I don't know if he'll be happy, pissed off, or want to sue me but I didn't think I was doing any harm. I've not heard back yet but then I don't expect to hear anything until next week if at all. It could be that the only reason he has a site at all is to provide e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Perhaps all his business comes from the Yellow pages or referrals? On the other hand, he might think what I've done is a good thing - you think? I guess we'll find out next week.

Perhaps that's how I can get some business - look for rather plain sites with 50 times the code needed to render the page and no Meta tags? I could prospect right here on my computer then contact the respective business? The thing is I believe many business owners think websites are expensive and they can be for sure. But for a few hundred dollars I can perhaps create a more attractive presents and help their business as is the case with CleanHouseVero.com. See what happens when you get old, have time, and are basically a nerd?!?

I was looking around to find sites on the internet to help with my understanding of Adobe. My God - that is a whole sub-industry of the software itself. Adobe has a site called tv.adobe.com that has so much stuff on it you need to get lessons on how to find the videos that will help you learn about the software. You can buy a collection of CD's put out by Adobe that costs about $250 - $300 with nothing but help videos. I looked at some online videos and the problem I kept coming across is they expect you to have a base understanding which I do not have or that you just want to learn about CS4 already having knowledge about CS2 and CS3. Like I said, this could keep me busy way into the next decade or two.

I cooked a chuck roast with carrots, potatoes, and onions last night thinking I may have a hungry mouth or two to feed this weekend. I suspect John or Jason will come by and both of this young men are always hungry. I had some last night and it was great - reminded me of what Mom used to cook.

There is a 'Burn Notice' marathon on the USA Network today - this is one of my very favorite programs. I plan on playing with my computer a bit then take in a couple episodes of the series. I feel asleep during Monk last night so I'll have to see if it is being replayed later today as it usually is.

Posted at 09:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Adobe Tutor?

Fri 06 February 2009

Have any of you noticed how much you pay each month in the way of taxes and fees to use a telephone? I happened to look at my phone bill yesterday although I usually don't because I pay it automatically via a bank draft. My pone is only $22.45/month for a basic plan with caller ID but the taxes and fees are over $11/month. That's a 50% tax in my book! Do these taxes and fees apply to cell phones as well? Actually I think I've got the least expensive package you can have because I only pay for the long distance service I use and that rarely goes over $5/month. I know. I know. You folks spend a lot more than that so why should I complain? It's the taxes and fees, not AT&T.

I'm having a hoot playing with the new software - I mean a real hoot. I had no idea how powerful this software is compared to the stuff I've used in the past like Paint.net and Site Spinner (a wysiwyg editor I used to use). For the last couple of days I've been playing with Dreamweaver instead of Flash - it is much easier for me to understand. Damn is it cool! You can edit pages in HTML then see the results of your edit immediately in a split window. As you move your mouse around the page the other side of the window highlights the HTML that is associated with you mouse location! Wow golly gee. And I've not even scratched the surface yet.

I know I could use some help other than that which I find on Google. So I asked John if he could identify someone at his college with the know-how and skills to teach an old fart some new tricks. He found a fellow student named Mike who lives in Vero and seems to know something about Adobe software - I know almost nothing at this point. Our plan is for John to meet Mike here at my house for an introduction and then I can take it from there. I have no idea if this student will know what I want to learn or even if he's willing to teach me if he does know. I'll of course pay him for his efforts and it seems to me college kids can always use extra money. Stay tuned.

Jason found out Wednesday his public defender is gone and a new one is coming - he has an appointment on Monday and I'll go with him. It is my belief that he could help himself in front of this judge whom I deem reasonable if he's willing to do some footwork. I made the suggestions I know will help minimize his sentence and I'm suggested these steps more than once. But you know the old saying, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink". I know he can help himself and let's see what he does.

One thing about Jason's case I want to discuss with the new public defender and that is the lab results. You see the syringe was to be tested for drugs but thus far Jason does not have any results. He admitted to using drugs earlier but who is to say they were illegal drugs without the lab results? Jason might have thought he was buying a legally prescribed painkiller from someone to grind up into a solution then shoot it but what if the seller gave him something else that was not illegal - is it illegal to shoot a legal drug into yourself? I don't think so. All Jason knows is the pill was blue; I have legal sleeping pills that are blue you can buy at a pharmacy. Sop if the State does not have lab tests proving something was illegal I think he stands a good chance of getting off. He was only charged with possession of drug paraphernalia - a syringe. He didn't have any drugs on his person nor had he taken any in a few days. I think the whole thing is a bunch of BS!

Posted at 06:28 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Thu 05 February 2009

This morning I'll be the chairperson for our coffee klatch - I do this every month usually on the first Wednesday but another member asked to switch with me. So what am I going to talk about you ask? Well, what have I been talking about here all week? Addictive behavior of course. I almost never think about doing anything in the mornings except join my friends for coffee that is until my additions take over. This week on Monday morning I wanted to stay at home to explore Adobe Flash - that's all I could think about upon awaking. But the years have going weekday paid off - I joined my friends and then came back to see what damage I could do. My point is going to be that I find it prudent not to allow anything to get in the way of my morning routine. You see, if I do I'm fearful it will become too easy to let other things get in the way and suddenly I'll find myself out of touch with my coffee group.

I was talking to Bill Voegeli yesterday about Adobe CS4 when he informed me I started working with what he thinks is the most difficult application in the suite - Flash. That is a relief at some level giving me faith I'll be able to figure these things out. Bill has been using Dreamweaver and Photoshop for years in his business of professional surveys for charitable organizations. When I asked how he learned he said time, a lot of time - like me, BV is self-taught. I find now as I always do Google is my friend. There is a site I found called 5min that has a huge library of 'how to' videos on just about anything as best as I can tell. They have videos broken down into segments so as to get directly to one's questions without explaining everything that comes before or after. Of course that assumes you know what comes before and in my case I've not got a clue. I sense this site will be very useful to me.

Just for kicks I added a feature to the first image on Geek Website Designs that has become popular with respect to images when you click on them. It is called a 'lightbox' - click on the Clean House LLC image and see what happens. Do you like the affect or do you think it is hokey? I've seen online vendors use it to focus on a product once a visitor to the site clicks on a thumbnail image. This is particularly true with furniture stores, office fixtures, etc. I'm not sure I like it but my purpose of putting it there was to show the technique. The second image is not coded as yet.

I've had two good nights in a row with just one soaking after going to bed. Maybe this improved pattern will continue. Lina called me the other day with a great suggestion - she said I could likely benefit from a massage chair. I totally agree. My neck and back get sore from sitting here at my machine working all day and the massage thing would help with my restless leg issues as well. The probably is there are dozens of chairs out there ranging from about $500 to well over $6000. What is one to do? I've started some research but clearly I would want to try some chairs in person as well as talk to people who know the chairs. No, I'm not going to buy one by this weekend but I surely can see the advantages. Besides, I could use an extra chair in my bedroom suite for when I have visitors. Today's picture is that of a Panasonic chair for $2500.

Posted at 04:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Addictive Behavior

Wed 04 February 2009

My restless leg/body condition is still with me after I thought I was about over it. There is something going on in my life that is aggravating it but I know not what. I'm guessing it is my obsession of spending endless hours on my computer exploring the Adobe software - just Flash at the moment - and working on websites. Perhaps I can get a handle on the causes as the week progresses.

Some how Tom Brennan found my first attempt at a website on Google. He was looking for BillsView.com but found my old site which is where I pointed the domain BillCherry.us before I changed it this morning. Those were the days when I first tried to use a wysiwyg html editor (aka 'what you see is what you get' HTML editor) and I didn't even know how to use the editor much less understand any of the code. I just found these .GIF's and imported them into the editor then published. If you know how and are so inclined have a look at the source code for that page. Funny, huh? Now compare that with today's BillsView which by the way needs to be cleaned up a bit I must admit. I'm glad Tom found that page so I can look back at where I started and see what I've learned.

Now here's something funny about the old site - I put a link to it for you to see but my host server would not permit it to be posted. Apparently this host I'm using, which I think is fabulous, will not allow links to other hosts to be published. They have powerful filters as I've found when using certain words that could have been conceived as pornographic in nature or advertisements for such things. I don't mind - I just find other ways of saying the same thing. So if you want to see the 'old' site it is at this link without the "*" in the URL: http://www.fr*eewebs.com/billcherryatl/index.html - this is a free hosting site.

If I choose to get an understanding of Adobe as I did the first little freeware HTML editor I used, I could actually build some rather dynamic websites. That is not my plan but as the saying goes, I take things one day at a time. It's the exhilaration I feel that washes over my body as I discover how to successfully do something with Adobe Flash or any other project as far as that goes. I like to learn - it is fun for me. With this new suite of software I could be busy for years to come.

Yesterday I was talking about addictive behavior which can lead to outstanding performance in work, school, sports, etc. I'm reminded of that because of the recent news about Michael Phelps with the bong incident. A few years ago he had a DUI as well and I believe, no...I'm sure he has addictive behavior to the extreme - in his case he likes the rush of drugs which is bad but he also likes the rush of being the very best swimming athletic in the World. I'm convinced you don't get to the top of your game, your sport, your business, your hobby, unless you have additive behavior. The feeling you get of success for work well done is addictive as crack cocaine, but usually not as destructive.

Look at other individuals that are at the top of their game. Many people have God-given talent but few people are so committed to take it to the top. These are folks with extreme addictive behavior - Tiger woods comes to mind. You see it all around us - people who do things because they love it and not because they need the money...can anyone say Rush Limbaugh? So boys and girls, my innate addictive behavior is not all bad as long as I focus it in a positive way.

My spam is on the rise again. Before I went to coffee yesterday morning I dumped all the spam in my Gmail account but found 192 new ones by the time I returned just an hour later. Just imagine how fast our computers could be if all that bandwidth being used by spam were released for other things. I wonder what percentage of the spam sent actually leads to a transaction of some kind?

Today's picture is an example of the kind of skill I'd like to master with respect to Photoshop.

Posted at 05:43 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

My Addictive Behavior

Tue 03 February 2009

I think the endless hours I've been sitting at my desk with my legs all crossed like a pretzel has aggregated my restless leg/body condition. I had to get up 4 times over night when I actually thought I was about over it. There seems to be no real harm because the hot baths give immediate relief, but I don't rest all that well so I'm a bit tired the next day. This week I'll pay close attention to what I do and the results I get.

Boy do I ever have addictive behavior - but those of you who know me also know that about me - now the rest of you know. I get started on anything and I can't let go. It could be building a website, working with a new program, eating ice cream, or watching The Closer on TNT Monday nights. Too much of anything is generally not good for you including sun exposure, eating ice cream, or working on a computer - I have all of these addictions. Thus far the only side affects is the restless leg-body thing and the muscles around my neck get sore from working on my machine. Thankfully these are things I can recognize and live with them.

Yesterday I looked deeper into the website where I retrieved some software. They had dozens of links to complaints about copyright infringement, etc. There standard answer is as follows

As you may or may not be aware, Sweden is not a state in the United States of America. Sweden is a country in northern Europe. Unless you figured it out by now, US law does not apply here. For your information, no Swedish law is being violated.

Please be assured that any further contact with us, regardless of medium, will result in: a) a suit being filed for harassment, b) a formal complaint lodged with the bar of your legal counsel, for sending frivolous legal threats.

It is the opinion of us and our lawyers that you are ....... morons, and that you should please go sodomize yourself with retractable batons.

Please also note that your e-mail and letter will be published in full on http://www.thepiratebay.org.

Go f*ck yourself.

Polite as usual,


I found the letter to be rather amusing but I certainly understand the concept of intellectual property. So if I record a song from an FM station, burn it, and play it for my enjoyment or the enjoyment of others am I breaking the intellectual property concept? And is that different from making a CD from someone else's music library? The BIG stink seems to be with music and videos at The Pirate Bay. BTW, couldn't they have used a less 'in your face' domain name?

Yesterday I talked with John about finding a fellow student at the Indian River State College that understand Adobe and would be willing to give me Somme lessons. Of course I'm willing to pay and don't all college kids need extra spending money? I think I could be taught fairly quickly the things I want to learn first - the other things might very well last into the next decade. I've never ever seen software so complicated as Adobe. I thought Paint.net took some skills but that's a cake-walk compared to Adobe software.

My landscape guy, Walter Sanders, e-mailed me yesterday to say he likes the site I built for him - good say I. He wants to work with the text (of course) and wants to add pictures including the Vero Villa. My goal was to give him a complete site to edit rather than trying to start one from scratch - I've done that so now it's up to him. Same with Jim the paint contractor - it is up to him to get me the pictures he wants me to publish.

Posted at 04:36 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Adobe Suite

Mon 02 February 2009

If you read yesterday's post you'll know I'm deep into this web design junk. If I get really good at it I'll need to use my skill to supplement my income once Obama & Company create hyper inflation everywhere except in the stock market. Besides, I like the creative challenge and the nuts & bolts of programming. But to get into the big leagues I'll need powerful software to use for those really special flash sites.

I can buy flash templates but in order to edit them you need software like and including the following:

* InDesign CS4
* Photoshop CS4 Extended
* Illustrator CS4
* Flash CS4 Professional
* Dreamweaver CS4
* Fireworks CS4
* Acrobat 9 Pro
* Adobe Bridge CS4
* Adobe Device Central CS4
* Version Cue CS4

All of which comes packed in the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium software for the modest price of $1799. What? No wonder some designers charge a lot of bucks for flash work because of this pricey but very powerful software. The suite is over 3 GB in size and you need a machine that has a lot of RAM. My machine qualifies.

Well I'm not about to go there but then I got a call from John when I mentioned this very nice and very expensive software I found. He said his friends get movies, music, etc from a file-share place called Torrentz...for free I might add. So what the heck, I checked it out and sure enough the suite was there posted by a trusted user. Now is when I should add that viruses and Trojans are all over these file-sharing sites so normally I would not even think about going there. But then I have the advantage of opening files and programs in a virtual space on my C drive so as to avoid infection - I told you all about "Sandboxie" a few weeks ago. I decided to give it a go!!

This was not a simple process and your computer competence needs to be above the average user to jump through the hoops. Shaazam - my 3 years of volunteer work on the Zone Alarm Community Forum taught me what I needed to know. How to download, then unpack zip files and then use software to extract the unpacked .ISO files into a useable executable file. Then you needed to modify your 'Host' file to added the loop-back to the 14 servers used by Adobe (do you boys and girls know what and where a host file is?). Next you had to open deep into the bowels of each of the 12 programs, navigate through a minefield of .DLLs to the license key .Dll, rename the .DLL, and then install a new license key .DLL into each of the program files. You with me? Then you need a special utility to generate an acceptable and usable key. Follow that? Oh, did I mention you need to disconnect from the internet once all the downloading is done and before the installation?

Are your eyes glazing over? I love this kind of stuff - it is almost as good as ice cream and chocolate. Now the real killer is it took over 6 hours to download the files via my utorrent program followed by another 90 minutes (or more) to install the software once it was ready to be installed. But you know what - I did it! The good news is all the software seems to be working as it should although I do not know for how long - I have a suspicion it could be just a 'trail' peroid. The bad news is this software is levels above anything I've ever used before and after 3 hours of tinkering I still don't have the slightest clue...but, I can learn. If I do use this software and turn it into a money making utility then I'll buy a key for the parts I actually use in order to get continued use, updates and support. My guess is I'm months away from getting anywhere near the level of understanding needed to use these tools - that is if I get there at all. I bet my little Dutchie buddy knows how to use this stuff don't you Syp?.

Posted at 01:22 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)


Sun 01 February 2009

My newest website effort is looking better every day. This is a site I built for my Landscape guy , Walter sanders, who installed all my landscape, landscape lights, and excellent irrigation system. I sent him an e-mail after my other two Vero Beach sites and he said he'd been wanting to ask me. Well I put a complete site together finding pictures on the internet and writing the text having doing a lot of research on similar sites. It is all original but Walter is surely going to change it once he reads it. Want to see it? Have a look here at Tropical Lawn Care. Naturally I built something I like but fortunately Walter likes it too.

By now you can tell my preference for sites are those which are simple, centered in a page, and only take-up about 50% of the page or less. BillsView.com and TanzaniteAmerica.com were built the way I like them so other sites have followed. The CleanHouseVero.com and MessinaandAssociates.net take up about 70% of the page but are still both in a "frame-style" look. With the two under progress now, the frames have gotten smaller Tropical Lawn Care and QualityPaintingByJimBoineau. I know the last URL will be a long one but that's what Jim wants. By this time next week I hope to have them both published to the internet but as of today they are work in progress on one of my sites.

This whole process has gotten me to look around Vero to see who's doing what. You know what I discovered? There is very little competition I could find - and what I did find was either poorly done or over the top expensive. A local guy has a site called DNA Web Services and if you look at his work it is not that impressive to me and when you check his portfolio across browsers some site fail! He is in the $1000+ range and his hosting starts at $20/month for a third as much space, a fifth as much bandwidth as I'm able to offer not to mention all the bonus stuff. Maybe I've priced myself too low..you think?

And then there is IktomeDigital in Ft. Pierce - just have a look at what they charge! Click on the $3500 bike site (number 2 on the list) ...Jeez! Maybe I'm missing something but to build that site for $3500 seems awful high to me or...maybe I'm better than I think I am and should be charging more? And what about what you get for $6500 - Absolute Impressions - sixty-five hundred dollars?! OK. I'm not going to get out of hand here - I'm not a professional so lets just see if I even get another request. I've still got a lot to learn but when you are old, unemployable, a geek by nature, then II could become dangerous !!!

Friday night, I got a call from an old high school classmate of mine who had just heard about Darby's death. She used to date Darby along the way and was rather upset. I immediately knew who she was once she told me her name and I could 'hear' her voice as been the good friend I had in high school. It was indeed nice to talk to her again but unfortunate to be under the circumstance of Darby's death.

Now here comes the amazing part. She lives out of state and discovered Darby's death by reading BillsView.com!! Somehow, and she did not remember how exactly, she discovered BillsView last year and knew all about my remodeling, move to Vero, etc. Yet I had no idea she knew and was following my daily nonsense on BillsView until the telephone call Friday. Jeez! What an amazing thing, huh? Well, I know I get between 150 and 200 visitors everyday and except for about 10, I've not got a clue whop they are. I'd never guess an old classmate would have stumbled on my site then followed my nonsense but I think that's really cool!

Posted at 06:08 am in Uncategorized | Comments (0)