My View On Things

All Contents Copyright 1996-2015 by Ivory Tower Group

Welcome to my view on things of this world. This is where I get to write what I want, when I want, about things that interest me. Expect me to ramble from topic to topic, because that's what I'm going to do. If you like what you see, feel free to bookmark this site. I'll try my best to keep it fresh and updated frequently.

Magical Jelly Bean <--click for more

The other day, I had to do a reinstall of Windows XP. Fortunately, the machine wasn't completely dead, so I was able to grab the existing product key using a quite nifty program called Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder. If you've ever misplaced your product key (which is too easy to do), you'll find this program an invaluable addition to your toolbox.

Installing Windows is probably one of the most frustrating things you can do on a computer, especially if you don't have all the tools you need in one place. You've got to remember all your driver disks, updater disks, bug fixes, etc. Then, when you get Windows installed, you have to run the Updater, which downloads fixes that are necessary for your well-being. Without them, your computer becomes an immediate victim to whatever malware is out there. I have an old Windows XP SP1 CD-ROM. SP1 means "service pack 1". The latest version of Windows XP is SP2. Because of this, when I install Windows, it goes through the routine of updating SP1 with all the latest updates. Then, after it does that, it decides to install SP2. After it installs SP2, it downloads all the SP2 updates. Many reboots and several days later, your machine is up to date. Why Windows can't do this in a less mind-numbing fashion is beyond me, but it certainly makes for lots of good coffee breaks.

Magical Jelly Bean

Something wrong with this picture <--click for more

There is something inherently wrong with inkjet computer printers. I don't mean about the technology involved. It's simpler than that. For the most part, they work great. But, doesn't it seem odd that you can buy a printer, complete with ink cartridges, for about the same price as a new set of ink cartridges?

A while back, I had to buy new cartridges for my Epson R200 printer. I went to the local Staples and took a look at the prices. They wanted $69 for a set of 5 new ink cartridges for the printer. But you could buy a new Epson R220 printer for only $79 with an instant in-store rebate of $20, making it $59, or $10 less than just the cartridges. So, what's make better money sense? Buy a set of cartridges for $69 or a printer that comes with those same cartridges for $59? I bought the printer, thinking it would be nice to have an extra printer in case anything happened to my old printer. However, I still have my old printer, because I got used to it and didn't want to bother installing new drivers for the other printer (probably didn't even need new drivers come to think of it). Now, I have no idea where that new printer is. What a waste.

Snow Globes <--click for more

Let's talk about snow globes. I'm a big fan of them. If I were a collector, I might even have a big shelf of them in my home, but since I'm not a collector, I don't even have one of them. But when I see them, I do enjoy them.

However, I'm not a big fan of those huge inflatable ones that people sometimes put in front of their houses during Christmas season. Somehow, it seems a bit cheap, like they didn't really want to spend the time and effort to do some real decorating and instead opted for the plug in inflatable space-taking lawn ornament with a pseudo cheery scene inside. There's nothing cheery about a lone inflatable globe on an otherwise barren strip of land, especially when the fake snow starts sticking to the inside and obscures what it is you're supposed to see. Then, there's the ones that start leaning to one side because of a hole or other defect. An inflatable leaning tower of Pisa would give more cheer than Santa trapped inside an orb of sticky snow, looking like a sad reject from some ill-fated stage production of the Wizard of Oz, mouthing the words "I'm melting, I'm melting!" And the result of that incantation are those mounds of plastic you see on some lawns where a big inflatable globe once stood. Was it the neighbor dog that did it in, or maybe an angst-ridden teen? Or perhaps a drive-by shooter looking for targets. In any case, let's ditch the big inflatable objects and go back to something a bit more traditional.

Of course, I'm not great Christmas decorator myself. My big thing is going to be going to Home Depot tonight to purchase our Christmas tree. I'm hoping they still call them Christmas trees. I know that Lowes was toying with the idea of calling them "Family Trees" at one point. Just makes you feel all warm and runny inside, doesn't it?

Leopard <--click for more

I'm looking for a reason to upgrade to Leopard. I really already have a reason. It's called Time Machine. It's a cool, new feature of OS X which allows you to go back in time to almost any state your machine was in, or just grab a previous version of a document, or whatever. It's basically a backup program, but it has a very nice interface, and if I had the extra $99, I'd buy a copy of Leopard so I could have it. There are plenty of other features, so it wouldn't be a waste of money, but I just can't get myself to part with the $99.

If only I had friends at Apple. I used to, but that was then and this is now. Oh well, Christmas is coming...

Timex Expedition Indiglo <--click for more

I like my watch. It's a Timex Expedition Indiglo. It's a great watch, though. Has day and date and is purely analog, which is a refreshing change from my Casio Atomic digital G-Shock watch I replaced it with. However, the calendar takes some getting used to.

Right now, my watch is telling me that it's the 10th of the month even though it's really the 11th. It thinks that all months are 31 days, and you have to manually adjust it when the month has less than 31 days. I haven't done that yet. I've kind of forgotten how to, but I'll get around to re-learning it soon.

All this digression brings me to the true reason for this post. I have a fascination with time. Yes, I would call it bordering on obsession. Ever since I was little, I remember asking my father about time. One thing that really amazed me was how the days took place in chronological fashion. I really didn't understand why this was the case. I remember asking my father, "if today is the 21st, how do we know that tomorrow is going to be the 22nd?" I couldn't get it into my child-sized brain why the days of the month had to be in order. I suppose some part of me still wonders why this has to be the case.

McDonalds Coffee <--click for more

Our local McDonald's started doing something really nice a while ago.

They started putting the cream and sugar into your coffee for you, instead of you having to do it, which can be an extremely dangerous enterprise while driving, not that I've ever attempted that... However, the "in the cup" service is spotty at best and really depends on who is at the window on a given day. Sometimes, they'll get it right. Other times, they might put it in one coffee and leave the other black. Other times, they just give you a small bag with all the cream and sugar and a couple of stir sticks. Once, I specifically asked for "4 creams and 4 sugars in each coffee" and I said it several times very slowly. In return, I got 4 creams and 4 sugars in one coffee and plain black in the other. Oh well. It's McDonald's, right? What can you do about it? On the other hand, if you go to In and Out, more likely than not, you'll get someone who speaks perfect English on the other side of that intercom, and they haven't messed up my order yet. Plus, they are very polite. Contrast that to the workers at Jack in the Box who look like they'd rather stick a knife into the side of your car rather than give you one to spread that butter substitute on your English muffin.

One of my funniest drive through experiences was at the local Wendy's. The person on the other side of the intercom asked me what I wanted. I said in a very slow and monotone voice, "one small vanilla frosty." In return, he asked me if I wanted "one large chocolate frosty." I repeated "one small vanilla frosty", and he repeated, "one large chocolate frosty?" It wasn't worth the city hall fight, so I relented and got what he wanted me to get.

National Novel Writing Month <--click for more

Well, that was premature, wasn't it? I thought I was back on track, but I was wrong. Well, here will be another effort. A few days before Thanksgiving, and I'm going to try this again. Not much to say today, except that things are well, and my son Nick is back at again.

If I had a wee bit more time, I'd be doing it as well, but you know how things are...

My grand experiment is going to be to see if I can increase the amount of money I can earn each month from Google ad words. In my heyday, I was clearing over $100/month by having that small Google ad panel at the top of my blog. But that was then, and this is now. I am determined to give it a really good shot, which means I'm going to have to start putting up some useful stuff that people might actually think is interesting. It's a stretch, but I'm going to give it my best college try...

And in case you were wondering why this blog is so ugly, it's because I don't use blogging software. I hand write everything in html. Not that I'm bragging, as I really couldn't code my way out of a ziploc bag. I think the real reason I'm doing this by hand is because I'm too lazy to install some decent blogging package. I've done it for others, but when it comes to my own site, well, you know how it is. It's much easier to do something for someone else than for yourself...

Popular Request? <--click for more

Due to popular request, I'm back at blogging again! I see by the looks of things that I have a lot to catch up with, so during the next few days, that's what I'm going to be doing. A lot has changed, but a lot has remained the same these past months. One thing that has remained the same is my constant war with invading ants. I've got professionals on the job now, and I'll report on how that goes as things progress. Anyway, it's good to be back, and I'm hoping that I will be making regular contributions to this blog, as I have the time. If anyone wants to email me, none of the email addresses at work any longer. That's a purposeful change, as I was getting tens of thousands of spam messages daily to all sorts of made up names at that domain. If you want to email me, you'll just have to wait until I post a new email address or put up a form that will allow you to email me but keep my spam down to a minimum. Thanks for your understanding and patience!

Earlier Musings <--click for more

For earlier musings, see 2006

Last updated 20150303

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