The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer

NY Times original article: http://tinyurl.com/3ylwbe
June 17, 2007
By: Julian Dibbell

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It was an hour before midnight, three hours into the night shift with nine more to go. At his workstation in a small, fluorescent-lighted office space in Nanjing, China, Li Qiwen sat shirtless and chain-smoking, gazing purposefully at the online computer game in front of him. The screen showed a lightly wooded mountain terrain, studded with castle ruins and grazing deer, in which warrior monks milled about. Li, or rather his staff-wielding wizard character, had been slaying the enemy monks since 8 p.m., mouse-clicking on one corpse after another, each time gathering a few dozen virtual coins — and maybe a magic weapon or two — into an increasingly laden backpack.

Twelve hours a night, seven nights a week, with only two or three nights off per month, this is what Li does — for a living. On this summer night in 2006, the game on his screen was, as always, World of Warcraft, an online fantasy title in which players, in the guise of self-created avatars — night-elf wizards, warrior orcs and other Tolkienesque characters — battle their way through the mythical realm of Azeroth, earning points for every monster slain and rising, over many months, from the game’s lowest level of death-dealing power (1) to the highest (70). More than eight million people around the world play World of Warcraft — approximately one in every thousand on the planet — and whenever Li is logged on, thousands of other players are, too. They share the game’s vast, virtual world with him, converging in its towns to trade their loot or turning up from time to time in Li’s own wooded corner of it, looking for enemies to kill and coins to gather. Every World of Warcraft player needs those coins, and mostly for one reason: to pay for the virtual gear to fight the monsters to earn the points to reach the next level. And there are only two ways players can get as much of this virtual money as the game requires: they can spend hours collecting it or they can pay someone real money to do it for them.

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At the end of each shift, Li reports the night’s haul to his supervisor, and at the end of the week, he, like his nine co-workers, will be paid in full. For every 100 gold coins he gathers, Li makes 10 yuan, or about $1.25, earning an effective wage of 30 cents an hour, more or less. The boss, in turn, receives $3 or more when he sells those same coins to an online retailer, who will sell them to the final customer (an American or European player) for as much as $20. The small commercial space Li and his colleagues work in — two rooms, one for the workers and another for the supervisor — along with a rudimentary workers’ dorm, a half-hour’s bus ride away, are the entire physical plant of this modest $80,000-a-year business. It is estimated that there are thousands of businesses like it all over China, neither owned nor operated by the game companies from which they make their money. Collectively they employ an estimated 100,000 workers, who produce the bulk of all the goods in what has become a $1.8 billion worldwide trade in virtual items. The polite name for these operations is youxi gongzuoshi, or gaming workshops, but to gamers throughout the world, they are better known as gold farms. While the Internet has produced some strange new job descriptions over the years, it is hard to think of any more surreal than that of the Chinese gold farmer.

The market for massively multiplayer online role-playing games, known as M.M.O.’s, is a fast-growing one, with no fewer than 80 current titles and many more under development, all targeted at a player population that totals around 30 million worldwide. World of Warcraft, produced in Irvine, Calif., by Blizzard Entertainment, is one of the most profitable computer games in history, earning close to $1 billion a year in monthly subscriptions and other revenue. In a typical M.M.O., as in a classic predigital role-playing game like Dungeons & Dragons, each player leads his fantasy character on a life of combat and adventure that may last for months or even years of play. As has also been true since D. & D., however, the romance of this imaginary life stands in sharp contrast to the plodding, mathematical precision with which it proceeds.

Players of M.M.O.’s are notoriously obsessive gamers, not infrequently dedicating more time to the make-believe careers of their characters than to their own real jobs. Indeed, it is no mere conceit to say that M.M.O.’s are just as much economies as games. In every one of them, there is some form of money, the getting and spending of which invariably demands a lot of attention: in World of Warcraft, it is the generic gold coin; in Korea’s popular Lineage II, it is the “adena”; in the Japanese hit Final Fantasy XI, it is called “gil.” And in all of these games, it takes a lot of this virtual local currency to buy the gear and other battle aids a player needs to even contemplate a run at the monsters worth fighting. To get it, players have a range of virtual income-generating activities to choose from: they can collect loot from dead monsters, of course, but they can also make weapons, potions and similarly useful items to sell to other players or even gather the herbs and hides and other resources that are the crafters’ raw materials. Repetitive and time-intensive by design, these pursuits and others like them are known collectively as “the grind.”

For players lacking time or patience for the grind, there has always been another means of acquiring virtual loot: real money. From the earliest days of M.M.O.’s, players have been willing to trade their hard-earned legal tender — dollars, euros, yen, pounds sterling — for the fruits of other players’ grinding. And despite strict rules against the practice in the most popular online games, there have always been players willing to sell. The phenomenon of selling virtual goods for real money is called real-money trading, or R.M.T., and it first flourished in the late 1990s on eBay. M.M.O. players looking to sell their virtual armor, weapons, gold and other items would post them for auction and then, when all the bids were in
and payment was made, arrange with the highest bidder to meet inside the game world and transfer the goods from the seller’s account to the buyer’s.

Until very recently, in fact, eBay was a major clearinghouse for commodities from every virtual economy known to gaming — from venerable sword-and-sorcery stalwarts EverQuest and Ultima Online to up-and-comers like the Machiavellian space adventure Eve Online and the free-form social sandbox Second Life. That all came to an official end this January, when eBay announced a ban on R.M.T. sales, citing, among other concerns, the customer-service issues involved in facilitating transactions that are prohibited by the gaming companies. But by then the market had long since outgrown the tag-sale economics of online auctions. For years now, the vast majority of virtual goods has been brought to retail not by players selling the product of their own gaming but by high-volume online specialty sites like the virtual-money superstores IGE, BroGame and Massive Online Gaming Sales — multimillion-dollar businesses offering one-stop, one-click shopping and instant delivery of in-game cash. These are the Wal-Marts and Targets of this decidedly gray market, and the same economic logic that leads conventional megaretailers to China in search of cheap toys and textiles takes their virtual counterparts to China’s gold farms.

Indeed, on the surface, there is little to distinguish gold farming from toy production or textile manufacture or any of the other industries that have mushroomed across China to feed the desires of the Western consumer. The wages, the margins, the worker housing, the long shifts and endless workweeks — all of these are standard practice. Like many workers in China today, most gold farmers are migrants. Li, for example, came to Nanjing, in the country’s industry-heavy coastal region, from less prosperous parts. At 30, he is old for the job and feels it. He says he hopes to marry and start a family, he told me, but doesn’t see it happening on his current wages, which are not much better than what he made at his last job, fixing cars. The free company housing means his expenses aren’t high — food, cigarettes, bus fare, connection fees at the local wang ba (or Internet cafe) where he goes to relax — but even so, Li said, it is difficult to set aside savings. “You can do it,” he said, “but you have to economize a lot.”

This is the quick-sketch picture of the job, however, and it misses much. To sit at Li’s side for an hour or two, amid the dreary, functional surroundings of his workplace, as he navigates the Technicolor fantasy world he earns his living in, is to understand that gold farming isn’t just another outsourced job.

When the night shift ends and the sun comes up, Li and his co-workers know it only by the slivers of daylight that slip in at the edges of the plastic sheeting taped to the windows against the glare. As Li clocks out, another worker takes his seat, takes control of his avatar and carries on with the same grim routines amid the warrior monks of Azeroth. On most days Li’s replacement is 22-year-old Wang Huachen, who has been at this gold farm for a year, ever since he completed his university course in law. Soon, Wang told me, he will take the test for his certificate to practice, but he seems in no particular hurry to.

“I will miss this job,” he said. “It can be boring, but I still have sometimes a playful attitude. So I think I will miss this feeling.”

Two workstations away, Wang’s co-worker Zhou Xiaoguang, who is 24, also spends the day shift massacring monks. To watch his face as he plays, you wouldn’t guess there was anything like fun involved in this job, and perhaps “fun” isn’t exactly the word. As anyone who has spent much time among video-gamers knows, the look on a person’s face as he or she plays can be a curiously serious one, reflective of the absorbing rigors of many contemporary games. It is hard, in any case, for Zhou to say where the line between work and play falls in a gold farmer’s daily routines. “I am here the full 12 hours every day,” he told me, offhandedly killing a passing deer with a single crushing blow. “It’s not all work. But there’s not a big difference between play and work.”

I turned to Wang Huachen, who remained intent on manipulating an arsenal of combat spells, and asked again how it was possible that in these circumstances anybody could, as he put it, “have sometimes a playful attitude”?

He didn’t even look up from his screen. “I cannot explain,” he said. “It just feels that way.”

In 2001, Edward Castronova, an economist at Indiana University and at the time an EverQuest player, published a paper in which he documented the rate at which his fellow players accumulated virtual goods, then used the current R.M.T. prices of those goods to calculate the total annual wealth generated by all that in-game activity. The figure he arrived at, $135 million, was roughly 25 times the size of EverQuest’s R.M.T. market at the time. Updated and more broadly applied, Castronova’s results suggest an aggregate gross domestic product for today’s virtual economies of anywhere from $7 billion to $12 billion, a range that puts the economic output of the online gamer population in the company of Bolivia’s, Albania’s and Nepal’s.

Not quite the big time, no, but the implications are bigger, perhaps, than the numbers themselves. Castronova’s estimate of EverQuest’s G.D.P. showed that online games — even when there is no exchange of actual money — can produce actual wealth. And in doing so Castronova also showed that something curious has happened to the classic economic distinction between play and production: in certain corners of the world, it has melted away. Play has begun to do real work.

This development has not been universally welcomed. In the eyes of many gamers, in fact, real-money trading is essentially a scam — a form of cheating only slightly more refined than, say, offering 20 actual dollars for another player’s Boardwalk and Park Place in Monopoly. Some players, and quite a few game designers, see the problem in more systemic terms. Real-money trading harms the game, they argue, because the overheated productivity of gold farms and other profit-seeking operations makes it harder for beginning players to get ahead. Either way, the sense of a certain economic injustice at work breeds resentment. In theory this resentment would be aimed at every link in the R.M.T. chain, from the buyers to the retailers to the gold-farm bosses. And, indeed, late last month American WoW players filed a class-action suit against the dominant virtual-gold retailer, IGE, the first of its kind.

But as a matter of everyday practice, it is the farmers who catch it in the face. Consider, for example, a typical interlude in the workday of the 21-year-old gold farmer Min Qinghai. Min spends most of his time within the confines of a former manufacturing space 200 miles south of Nanjing in the midsize city of Jinhua. He works two floors below the plywood bunks of the workers’ dorm where he sleeps. In two years of 84-hour farming weeks, he has rarely stepped outside for longer than it takes to eat a meal. But he has died more times than he can count. And last September on a warm afternoon, halfway between his lunch and dinner breaks, it was happening again.

The World of Warcraft monsters he faces down — ferocious, gray-furred warriors of the Timbermaw clan of bearmen — are no match for his high-level characters, but they do fight back and sometimes they get the better of him. And so it appeared they had just done. Distracted from his post for a moment, Min returned to find his hunter-class character at the brink of death, the scene before him a flurry of comput
er-animated weapon blows. It wasn’t until the fight had run its course and the hunter lay dead that Min could make out exactly what had happened. The game’s chat window displayed a textual record of the blows landed and the cost to Min in damage points. The record was clear: the monsters hadn’t acted alone. In the middle of the fight another player happened by, sneaked up on Min and brought him down.

Min leaned back and stretched, then set about the tedious business of resurrecting his character, a drawn-out sequence of operations that can put a player out of action for as long as 10 minutes. In farms with daily production quotas, too much time spent dead instead of farming gold can put the worker’s job at risk. And in shops where daily wages are tied to daily harvests, every minute lost to death is money taken from the farmer’s pocket. But there are times when death is more than just an economic setback for a gold farmer, and this was one of them. As Min returned to his corpse — checking to make sure his attacker wasn’t waiting around to fall on him again the moment he resurrected — what hurt more than the death itself was how it happened, or more precisely, what made it happen: another player.

It isn’t that WoW players don’t frequently kill other players for fun and kill points. They do. But there is usually more to it when the kill in question is a gold farmer. In part because gold farmers’ hunting patterns are so repetitive, they are easy to spot, making them ready targets for pent-up anti-R.M.T. hostility, expressed in everything from private sarcastic messages to gratuitous ambushes that can stop a farmer’s harvesting in its tracks. In homemade World of Warcraft video clips that circulate on YouTube or GameTrailers, with titles like “Chinese Gold Farmers Must Die” and “Chinese Farmer Extermination,” players document their farmer-killing expeditions through that same Timbermaw-ridden patch of WoW in which Min does his farming — a place so popular with farmers that Western players sometimes call it China Town. Nick Yee, an M.M.O. scholar based at Stanford, has noted the unsettling parallels (the recurrence of words like “vermin,” “rats” and “extermination”) between contemporary anti-gold-farmer rhetoric and 19th-century U.S. literature on immigrant Chinese laundry workers.

Min’s English is not good enough to grasp in all its richness the hatred aimed his way. But he gets the idea. He feels a little embarrassed around regular players and sometimes says he thinks about how he might explain himself to those who believe he has no place among them, if only he could speak their language. “I have this idea in mind that regular players should understand that people do different things in the game,” he said. “They are playing. And we are making a living.”

It is a distinction that game companies understand all too well. Like the majority of M.M.O. companies, Blizzard has chosen to align itself with the customers who abhor R.M.T. rather than the ones who use it. A year ago, Blizzard announced it had identified and banned more than 50,000 World of Warcraft accounts belonging to farmers. It was the opening salvo in a continuing eradication campaign that has effectively swept millions in farmed gold from the market, sending the exchange rate rocketing from a low of 6 cents per gold coin last spring to a high of 35 cents in January.

Of course, nobody expected the farmers’ equally rule-breaking customers to be punished too. Among players, the R.M.T. debate may revolve around questions of fairness, but among game companies, the only question seems to be what is good for business. Cracking down on R.M.T. buyers makes poorer marketing sense than cracking down on sellers, in much the same way that cracking down on illegal drug suppliers is a better political move than cracking down on users. (Only a few companies have found a way to make R.M.T. part of their business model. Sony Online Entertainment, which publishes EverQuest, has started earning respectable revenues from an experimental in-game auction system that charges players a small transaction fee for real-money trades.) As Mark Jacobs, vice president at Electronic Arts and creator of the classic M.M.O. Dark Age of Camelot, put it: “Are you going to get more sympathy from busting 50,000 Chinese farmers or from busting 10,000 Americans that are buying? It’s not a racial thing at all. If you bust the buyers, you’re busting the guys who are paying to play your game, who you want to keep as customers and who will then go on the forums and say really nasty things about your company and your game.”

The cost to farmers of being expelled from WoW can be steep. At the very least, it means a temporary drop in productivity, because the character has to be to built up all over again, as well as the loss of all the loot accumulated in that character’s account. Given the stakes, some Chinese gold farms have found that the best way to get around their farmers’ pursuers is to make it hard to distinguish professionals from players in the first place. One business that specializes in doing just that is located a few blocks from the gold farm where Min Qinghai works. The shop floor is about the same size, with about the same number of computers in the same neat rows, but you can tell just walking through the place that it is a more serious operation. For one thing, there are a lot more workers: typically 25 on the day shift, 25 on the night shift, each crew punching in and out at a time clock just inside the entrance. Nobody works without a shirt here; quite a few, in fact, wear a standard-issue white polo shirt with the company initials on it. There is also a crimson version of the shirt, reserved for management and worn at all times by the shift supervisor, who, when he isn’t prowling the floor, sits at his desk before a broad white wall emblazoned with foot-high Chinese characters in red that spell: unity, collaboration, integrity, efficiency.

The name of the business is Donghua Networks, and its specialty is what gamers call “power leveling.” Like regular gold farming, power leveling offers customers an end run around the World of Warcraft grind — except that instead of providing money and other items, the power leveler simply does the work for you. Hand over your account name, password and about $300, and get on with your real life for a while: in a marathon of round-the-clock monster-bashing, a team of power levelers will raise your character from the lowest level to the highest, accomplishing in four weeks or less what at a normal rate of play would take at least four months.

For Donghua’s owners — 26-year-old Fei Jianfeng and 36-year-old Bao Donghua, both former gold-farm wage workers themselves — moving the business out of farming and into leveling was an easy call. Among other advantages, they say, power leveling means fewer banned accounts. Because the only game accounts used are the customers’ own, there is much less risk of losing access to the virtual work site. For their workers, however, the advantages are mixed. Though there is a greater variety of quests and quarries to pursue, the pay isn’t any better, and some workers chafe at the constraints of playing a stranger’s character, preferring the relative autonomy of farming gold.

As one Donghua power leveler said of his old gold-farming job, “I had more room to play for myself.”

It may seem strange that a wage-working loot farmer would still care about the freedom to play. But it is not half as strange as the scene that unfolded one evening at 9 o’clock in the Internet cafe on the ground floor of the building where Donghua has its offices. Scat
tered around the stifling, dim wang ba, 10 power levelers just off the day shift were merrily gaming away. Not all of them were playing World of Warcraft. A big, silent lug named Mao sat mesmerized by a very pink-and-purple Japanese schoolgirls’ game, in which doe-eyed characters square off in dancing contests with other online players. But the rest had chosen, to a man, to log into their personal World of Warcraft accounts and spend these precious free hours right back where they had spent every other hour of the day: in Azeroth.

Such scenes are not at all unusual. At the end of almost any working day or night in a Chinese gaming workshop, workers can be found playing the same game they have been playing for the last 12 hours, and to some extent gold-farm operators depend on it. The game is too complex for the bosses to learn it all themselves; they need their workers to be players — to find out all the tricks and shortcuts, to train themselves and to train one another. “When I was a worker,” Fan Yangwen, who is now 21 and in Donghua’s main office providing technical support, told me, “I loved to play because when I was playing, I was learning.” But learning to play or learning to work? I asked. Fan shrugged. “Both.”

Fan himself is a striking case of how off-hours play can serve as a kind of unpaid R. and D. lab for the farming industry. He is that rarest of World of Warcraft obsessives, a Chinese gold farmer who has actually bought farmed gold. (“Sure, I bought 10,000 once,” he said, “I don’t have time to farm all that!”) When Fan shows up at the wang ba after work, it is a minor event; the other Donghua workers pull their chairs over to watch him play — his top-level warlock character is an unbelievable powerhouse that no amount of money, real or virtual, can buy.

What makes Fan’s dominance so impressive to his peers is that he achieved it in regions of the game that are all but inaccessible to the working gold farmer or power leveler. Therein lies what is known as the end game, the phase of epic challenges that begins only when the player has accumulated the maximum experience points and can level up no more. The rewards for meeting these challenges are phenomenal: rare weapons and armor pieces loaded with massive power boosts and showy graphics. And the greatest cannot be traded or given away; they can only be acquired by venturing into the game’s most difficult dungeons. That requires becoming part of a tightly coordinated “raid” group of as many as 40 other players (any fewer than that, and the entire group will almost certainly “wipe” — or die en masse without killing any monsters of note). Each player has a shot at the best items when they drop, and players must negotiate among themselves for the top prizes. These end-game hurdles have some subtle but significant effects. For one thing, they force the growth of “guilds” — teams of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of players who join together to hit high-end dungeons on a regular basis. For another, they shut farmers out from an entire class of virtual goods — the most marketable in the game if only they could be traded.

For a long time the Donghua bosses, Fei and Bao (known even to employees as Little Bai and Brother Bao), could do no more than nurse their envy of the raiding guilds’ access to the end game. But Fan’s prowess pointed to another way of looking at it: raiding guilds weren’t the competition, they realized; they were the solution. Donghua would put together a team of 40 employees. They would train the team in all the hardest dungeons. And then, for a few hundred dollars, the team would escort any customer into the dungeon of his or her choice. And when the customer’s longed-for item dropped, the team would stand aside and let the customer take it, no questions asked. Thus would the supposedly unmarketable end-game treasures find their way into the R.M.T. market. And thus would gold farming, of a sort, find its way at last into the end game.

When Brother Bao and Little Bai put their team together in April of last year, Min Qinghai, a veteran Donghua employee at the time, was among the first to make the roster.

“Before I joined the raiding team, I’d never worked together with so many people,” Min told me. They were 40 young men in three adjoining office spaces, and it was chaotic at first. Two or three supervisors moved among them, calling out orders like generals. A dungeon raid is always a puzzle: figuring out which tactics to use to kill each boss is the main challenge; doing so while coordinating 40 players can be dizzying. But members of the team raided just as diligently as they had power-leveled: 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, making their way through the complexities of a different dungeon every day.

There was a lot of shouting involved, at least in the beginning. Besides the orders called out by the supervisors, there were loud attempts at coordination among the team members themselves. “But then we developed a sense of cooperation, and the shouting grew rarer,” Min said. “By the end, nothing needed to be said.” They moved through the dungeons in silent harmony, 40 intricately interdependent players, each the master of his part. For every fight in every dungeon, the hunters knew without asking exactly when to shoot and at what range; the priests had their healing spells down to a rhythm; wizards knew just how much damage to put in their combat spells.

And Min’s role? The translator struggled for a moment to find the word in English, and when I hazarded a guess, Min turned directly to me and repeated it, the only English I ever heard him speak. “Tank,” he said, breaking into a rare, slow smile, and why wouldn’t he? The tank — the heavily armored warrior character who holds the attention of the most powerful enemy in the fight, taking all its blows — is the linchpin of any raid. If the tank dies, everybody else will soon die too, as a rule.

“Working together, playing together, it felt nice,” Min said. “Very . . . shuang.” The word means “open, clear, exhilarating.” “You would go in, knowing that you were fighting the bosses that all the guilds in the world dream of fighting; there was a sense of achievement.”

The end arrived without warning. One day word came down from the bosses that the 40-man raids were suspended indefinitely for lack of customers. In the meantime, team members would go back to gold farming, gathering loot in five-man dungeons that once might have thrilled Min but now presented no challenge whatsoever. “We no longer went to fight the big boss monsters,” Min said. “We were ordered to stay in one place doing the same thing again and again. Everyday I was looking at the same thing. I could not stand it.”

Min quit and took the farming job he works at still. The new job, with its rote Timbermaw whacking, could hardly be less exciting. But it is more relaxed than Donghua was, less wearying — “Working 12 hours there was like working 24 here” — and he couldn’t have stayed on in any case, surrounded by reminders of the broken promise of tanking for what might have been the greatest guild on Earth.

In the meantime, Min is doing his best to forget that his work has anything at all to do with play or that he ever let himself believe otherwise. But even with a job as monotonous as this one, it isn’t easy. On his usual hunt one day, he accidentally backed into combat with a higher-level monster. Losing life fast, he grabbed his mouse and started to flee. He hunched over his keyboard, leaning into his flight, flushed now by the chase. His boss, 26-year-old Liu Haibin, an inveterate gamer himself, wandered by and began to cheer him on: “Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . go!”

Finally the monster quit the chase, and Min got
away with no consequence more untoward than having to explain himself. “It’s instinctual — you can’t help it,” he said. “You want to play.”

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Julian Dibbell is the author, most recently, of “Play Money: Or How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot.” This is his first article for the magazine.

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25 responses to “The Life of the Chinese Gold Farmer”

  1. Athena Smith says :

    <a href=’http://farm1.static.flickr.com/22/41061760_51730147c7.jpg?v=0′><img src=’http://farm1.static.flickr.com/22/41061760_51730147c7.jpg?v=0′ border=’0′ alt=” style=’float: left; margin: 0 10px 10px 0; cursor: pointer; cursor: hand; width: 320px;’/></a><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-6185199984440068296?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=bolwDyCN5YE%3AXh3vRqO3KDE%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=bolwDyCN5YE%3AXh3vRqO3KDE%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=bolwDyCN5YE%3AXh3vRqO3KDE%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=bolwDyCN5YE%3AXh3vRqO3KDE%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=bolwDyCN5YE%3AXh3vRqO3KDE%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/bolwDyCN5YE’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  2. Athena Smith says :

    <a href=’http://farm1.static.flickr.com/12/19046402_9bf887ba9c.jpg?v=0′><img src=’http://farm1.static.flickr.com/12/19046402_9bf887ba9c.jpg?v=0′ border=’0′ alt=” style=’float: left; margin: 0 10px 10px 0; cursor: pointer; cursor: hand; width: 320px;’/></a><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-4982641073122038428?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6XDyFPjL7dg%3AcCfBKHQ2NKI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=6XDyFPjL7dg%3AcCfBKHQ2NKI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6XDyFPjL7dg%3AcCfBKHQ2NKI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=6XDyFPjL7dg%3AcCfBKHQ2NKI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6XDyFPjL7dg%3AcCfBKHQ2NKI%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/6XDyFPjL7dg’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  3. Athena Smith says :

    <a href=’http://bkmarcus.com/blog/images/comics/nq060611.gif’><img src=’http://bkmarcus.com/blog/images/comics/nq060611.gif’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 400px;’/></a><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-5505637825988482867?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=bsNFt8V7S9A%3AKvsvDV36FyY%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=bsNFt8V7S9A%3AKvsvDV36FyY%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=bsNFt8V7S9A%3AKvsvDV36FyY%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=bsNFt8V7S9A%3AKvsvDV36FyY%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=bsNFt8V7S9A%3AKvsvDV36FyY%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/bsNFt8V7S9A’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  4. Athena Smith says :

    <a href=’http://yubanet.com/artman/uploads/realisticguidelines.gif’><img src=’http://yubanet.com/artman/uploads/realisticguidelines.gif’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 320px;’/></a><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-5388513572997911850?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=-kbdkIDxfrM%3ARbKzX5zrr20%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=-kbdkIDxfrM%3ARbKzX5zrr20%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=-kbdkIDxfrM%3ARbKzX5zrr20%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=-kbdkIDxfrM%3ARbKzX5zrr20%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=-kbdkIDxfrM%3ARbKzX5zrr20%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/-kbdkIDxfrM’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  5. Athena Smith says :

    <a href=’http://bp3.blogger.com/_a7jkcMVp5Vg/RrUmIfOfJPI/AAAAAAAABYI/W7iqi1Rqq2U/s1600/w04.jpg’><img src=’http://bp3.blogger.com/_a7jkcMVp5Vg/RrUmIfOfJPI/AAAAAAAABYI/W7iqi1Rqq2U/s1600/w04.jpg’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 320px;’/></a><br/><a href=’http://bp3.blogger.com/_a7jkcMVp5Vg/RrUmIfOfJPI/AAAAAAAABYI/W7iqi1Rqq2U/s1600-h/w04.jpg’><img src=’http://bp3.blogger.com/_a7jkcMVp5Vg/RrUmIfOfJPI/AAAAAAAABYI/W7iqi1Rqq2U/s1600-h/w04.jpg’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 10px 10px 0pt; float: left; cursor: pointer; width: 320px;’/></a><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-4791951449283999307?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=TnpNa86VAwE%3AA0e3xFMziL0%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=TnpNa86VAwE%3AA0e3xFMziL0%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=TnpNa86VAwE%3AA0e3xFMziL0%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=TnpNa86VAwE%3AA0e3xFMziL0%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=TnpNa86VAwE%3AA0e3xFMziL0%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/TnpNa86VAwE’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  6. Athena Smith says :

    Not that I have any loyal fans or devoted readers but… if anyone is reading this you’ll be happy to find that, as my friend Blake says, I made "poast"! I haven’t for a little while for a couple of reasons…<br/><ol><li>I’ve been real busy. No, really, I have. I’m teaching now if you didn’t know, and that has put a little additional stress on me, on top of the already somewhat stressful atmosphere of my workplace anyway… and the lack of communication in the county as a whole, though that’s a totally different story anyway.</li><li>I’ve been a bit lazy about it. Seriously. I mean, I figure all of about 3 people read the incredibly interesting posts, or lack there-of, I post here and only about, eh, 1 one of them comment. This, I’ll admit is a little discouraging, especially since I’ve shared it with friends who are a bit "out of touch" with me, generally speaking.</li><li>Also, I’ve picked up a new video game that I subscribe to (sigh). Yes, I know, I like to play video games. But this means that I now pay $30/month. I repeat, $30/month to play video games. This is ridiculous. Sometime soon I must choose. I’m just afraid of which one will loose. The new game I’ve picked out, per the aforementioned Blake’s suggestion, is EVE Online (<a href=’http://www.eve-online.com/’>www.eve-online.com</a>). I had seen it before, and now that I understand it, it’s great fun. DISCLAIMER: This game is incredibly addicting, as with most MMO’s, however this game has a learning <span style=’font-style: italic;’>wall</span>. Yes, <span style=’font-style: italic;’>wall</span>, not curve, but <span style=’font-style: italic;’>wall</span>. There are many, many websites with suggestions, tips, suggestions, techniques, and strategies. Seek them out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.<br/></li></ol>So there ya’ have it… I have posted for a while. So in accordance with reason <span style=’font-style: italic;’>numero dos</span>, I’d like to see how many people would be interested in my continuance of this blog "poast"ing. Leave a comment.<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-7504306491974533275?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=0SdyAnDT5E8%3APeoExuQgeYI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=0SdyAnDT5E8%3APeoExuQgeYI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=0SdyAnDT5E8%3APeoExuQgeYI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=0SdyAnDT5E8%3APeoExuQgeYI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=0SdyAnDT5E8%3APeoExuQgeYI%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/0SdyAnDT5E8′ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  7. Athena Smith says :

    So, I know I’ve been incredibly slack about posting… in fact, I considered canning the blog altogether, but then decided that I actually enjoy posting on here, regardless of readership.<br/><br/>According to Blogger, and far be it for me to say its wrong, I haven’t posted since Aug. 29. I know, AUGUST 29!!! Well, in those couple of months…. life’s happened. I know, you’re surprised, but really… it has. I thought this first post back to blogging that I would mention a few things about what’s been going on in life… and update if you will.<br/><br/>Hmmm…. since August 29 I have continued my adventures in Azeroth and abroad in the multiplayer online phenomenon World of Warcraft, though recently I haven’t played nearly as much as in the past. I have been teaching 2 classes here at the institution in which I am employed, which has been incredibly exciting and stressful, generally speaking. My TV programs have begun to air again, and I’ve picked up a few new shows to watch. Currently I watch: Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Heroes, Private Practice, and Grey’s Anatomy (and on occasion Big Shots). I never really though I watched that much TV, and I suppose in the grand scheme of things I don’t but…<br/><br/>I have found a tool that is quite wonderful for helping in my intense aversion for commercials and attempts to avoid them at all costs. This is actually why I don’t just sit around watching television… I can’t stand commercials, I feel it is a waste of my time and that the television companies (while I understand that commercials pay their bills) take advantage of me by requiring me to sit by the television waiting intently on the next few minutes of Heroes and having to suffer meantime by watching more and more commercials per volume than I had to watch last year. [My English isn’t perfect and that was one hell of a run on sentence but plz don’t correct me]<br/><br/>So back to the tool that helps me avoid the commercials…<br/>If you know anything about downloading with Torrents then you’ll love this application. If you don’t know about torrents, let me know and I’ll be glad to write something that will undoubtedly make you love them. Anyway, this application is called the Torrent Episode Downloader (TED for short). You enter the shows that you watch and it will automatically search Torrent databases for the requested show (every so often, and will even stop looking after it has downloaded that episode for the week if you set it up properly) and download it for you using your default Torrent application (I recommend <a href=’http://www.utorrent.com/’>??torrent</a>). You can read about and download TED by going <a href=’http://www.ted.nu/’>here</a>.<br/><br/><a href=’http://www.gameinformer.com/NR/rdonlyres/E1FA2B62-FC1A-4B31-B28B-15459DD7BA7B/12002/02pres01_team_fortress_2.jpg’><img src=’http://www.gameinformer.com/NR/rdonlyres/E1FA2B62-FC1A-4B31-B28B-15459DD7BA7B/12002/02pres01_team_fortress_2.jpg’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 268px; height: 154px;’/></a>More of the update…I’ve started playing a new game, recommended by <a href=’http://www.jusgladii.com/’>Syrion</a>, or rather a compilation of games. I bought the <a href=’http://orange.half-life2.com/’>Orange Box</a>, which includes Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Portal was fun, I enjoyed playing it and will likely go back and play it again pretty soon. Half-Life 2 is so far so good. I’ve almost finished it (but haven’t started on either episode yet). I’d play Half-Life 2 more but… I’m addicted to Team Fortress 2. It’s actually rather interesting that I find TF2 to be so dang awesome. I say this because ever since the days of Quake and Doom, I haven’t really been into first person shooters (fps) very much. This game though, it’s really the awesomest of awesomeness that could ever be awesome. Now that’s a lot of awesome! I enjoy it so much, and it has very quickly become the easiest way for me to let off Steam (no pun intended) ever since I bought it. Thanks Syrion (or Yam, whatever you prefer to be called)! If you have steam and are also a lover of teh awesome of awesomeness, add me. My username is rainbowCipher.<br/><br/>As for Azeroth, it’ll just have to wait until I quit pwning n00bs in TF2. Besides, I’m waiting on the next patch where lvling 10-60 will be WAY faster and therefore I can level some new characters and possibly get a new perspective on the game. I’m tired of being stressed out about a video game, for once… can’t we all just pwn?<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-1550190935706748697?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6xo9sJ2CGCM%3Aj2LNlZMmj4g%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=6xo9sJ2CGCM%3Aj2LNlZMmj4g%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6xo9sJ2CGCM%3Aj2LNlZMmj4g%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=6xo9sJ2CGCM%3Aj2LNlZMmj4g%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6xo9sJ2CGCM%3Aj2LNlZMmj4g%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/6xo9sJ2CGCM’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  8. Athena Smith says :

    <span style=’font-family: arial;’>So I’ve decided on a few themes to concentrate on for the next few weeks of posting. The first theme is </span><span style=’color: rgb(0, 153, 0); font-family: arial;’>Going Green</span><span style=’font-family: arial;’> – tips, ideas, and strategies for being environmentally mindful. On with the show…</span><br/><br/><span style=’font-family: arial;’>I don’t know a single person that likes junk mail. And for once I’m not talking about the digital kind. I’m talking about the kind that clutters your analog mail-box everyday with coupons, fliers, and catalog’s. I’ve noticed lately the mass quantities of junk mail not only gets delivered to my house, but also to neighbors, friends, and families houses. Did you know that some 4 million tons of paper junk mail gets delivered each year, and almost half of it is never even opened? For this reason and many others I’m sure we’d all like a way to at least reduce the amount of junk mail we get, right? Well look no further.</span><br/><br/><span style=’font-family: arial;’>How to get rid of junk snail mail:</span><br/><span style=”>DISCLAIMER: This is not all of the possible steps you could take and I do not guarantee that you will be void of junk snail mail within any particular amount of time, but I can tell you that based on reviews and results, these methods work.</span><br/><ol style=’font-family: arial;’><li>Register your name and address with the Direct Marketers Association (<a href=’https://www.dmaconsumers.org/cgi/offmailing’>DMA</a>).<br/>It costs $1 but it’s worth every penny. Think of all the trouble you’re saving.</li><li>Opt-out of all those pre-approved credit card offers (<a href=’https://www.optoutprescreen.com/opt_form.cgi’>OptOut</a>).<br/>Doing it online asts for 5 year’s, and don’t worry – you can always choose to opt back in should you want to. Choosing their snail mail option will opt you out for life for only the cost of a stamp.<br/></li><li>The last resource (and reason I categorize it under the "going green" label) is called <a href=’http://www.greendimes.com/’>Green Dimes</a>. And because it’s so cool I must tell you their slogan… "Our planet-do you give a dime?" For $15 this website will reduce your junk mail by 90% AND plant 10 tree’s on your behalf. Here are a few facts from their website…</li><ol><li>100 million trees are cut down each year to create the approximately 4.5 million tons of junk mail in the United States</li><li>28 billion gallons of water go into the production of American junk mail annually<span style=’font-weight: bold;’/></li><li><span style=’font-weight: bold;’/>Your name is typically worth 3- 20 cents each time it is sold for a direct mailing</li></ol></ol><span style=’font-family: arial;’>On average we will spend 8 months of our lives dealing with junk mail, why not take 20 minutes and get rid of it?<br/><br/>More Info:<br/></span><ul><li><span style=’font-family: arial;’>Guide to ridding yourself of junk snail mail – <a href=’http://www.obviously.com/junkmail/’>www.obviously.com/junkmail/</a></span></li><li><span style=’font-family: arial;’>Wiki-How – <a href=’http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Junk-Mail’>www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Junk-Mail</a></span></li><li><span style=’font-family: arial;’>Queercents – <a href=’http://tinyurl.com/2b8vab’>http://tinyurl.com/2b8vab</a><br/></span></li></ul><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-6215334994198953319?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=-dpAggNyKFg%3AgC0vZbTKuMs%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=-dpAggNyKFg%3AgC0vZbTKuMs%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=-dpAggNyKFg%3AgC0vZbTKuMs%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=-dpAggNyKFg%3AgC0vZbTKuMs%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=-dpAggNyKFg%3AgC0vZbTKuMs%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/-dpAggNyKFg’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  9. Athena Smith says :

    I’ve been reading a blog lately called <a href=’http://zenhabits.net/’>Zen Habits|Simple Productivity</a>. I enjoy it immensely. It has all sorts of useful tips for simplifying your life and clearing your head. I would highly recommend it! Below is one of the guest posts that was posted on 10/17/2007. I thoroughly enjoy Leo’s posts, but this one struck me as being some rules I’d like to begin following in my life. Please read:<br/><h2 id=’post-521′><a href=’http://zenhabits.net/2007/10/9-tips-to-throw-off-the-chains-of-consumerism/’ title=’Permanent Link: 9 Tips to Throw Off the Chains of Consumerism’ rel=’bookmark’>9 Tips to Throw Off the Chains of Consumerism</a></h2> <p><em><strong><img src=’http://zenhabits.net/fotos/20071017chains.jpg’ align=’bottom’ height=’272′ width=’380’/></strong></em><br/><em><small>Photo by <a href=’http://flickr.com/photos/fazen/302768013/’>fazen</a></small></em></p> <p><em><strong>Editor???s note</strong>: This is a guest post written by <a href=’http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/’>Scott Young</a>. </em></p> <p>You already have everything you need. Those of us lucky enough to have been born in this time period in the Western world are experiencing an abundance few of our ancestors could have claimed. Food, clean water, shelter, law and order are almost guaranteed.</p> <p>Why doesn???t it feel this way? Despite this amazing abundance, why are so many people dissatisfied? Are we doomed to always want more than we have, even if it won???t bring us more happiness?</p> <p><strong>You Can???t Live in a Vacuum</strong><br/>As soon as basic needs are met, your focus immediately shifts onto creating new problems. Even if poverty, exile from the population or violence are remote threats, new problems fill their place. Our cultural obsession with consumption is a by-product of this need to seek out new problems.</p> <p>The solution is to find something else to fill the vacuum. Instead of mindlessly adopting the quest for material perfection, look at it critically. You don???t need to sell all your worldly belongings and become a monk, but see what other things can fill the space consumption occupies in your mind.</p> <p>Here are a few suggestions for how to escape the chains of consumerism:</p> <p><strong>1. Process over Results</strong>. Why are you trying to get rich? Is it simply to be wealthy, or is it because the process of making money interests you. When you focus on the process leading to a goal over the results, you can be satisfied regardless of whether you succeed or fail.</p> <p><strong>2. Eliminate Noise</strong>. <a href=’http://zenhabits.net/2007/09/simple-living-simplified-10-things-you-can-do-today-to-simplify-your-life/’>Simplify your life</a>. Stop spending money on things that add noise and distract you from meaningful aspects of life. Don???t use your paycheck as the determinant of how much you spend. Lifestyle expansion erodes the base it was founded on as buying new things fails to make you more satisfied.</p> <p><strong>3. Let Go of Dust</strong>. Don???t spend your life avoiding risks to protect what you have. If you aren???t able to let go of your possessions then those objects own you. Doing a job you hate to maintain a lifestyle you don???t need is insanity.</p> <p><strong>4. Relationships and Status Also Enslave</strong>. I???m using the theme of material consumption here, but it applies equally to seeking relationships, status or physical perfection. Anytime results dominate over process, it becomes easy to get trapped.</p> <p><strong>5. Trash Regularly</strong>. Regularly go through your belongings and trash the things you aren???t using. Having a high turn-over rate of physical possessions can mean you are buying too many things to begin with, but it is still better than simply racheting up the amount you own.</p> <p><strong>6. You Aren???t Possessions, Status or Employment</strong>. If you view your identity as being your job, social status or material wealth, these things will dominate your life. Defining yourself isn???t an easy task, but these are bad ways to start.</p> <p><strong>7. Avoid ???I???ll Be Happy When??????</strong> Don???t view happiness as anything that exists beyond the present. When you start imagining that happiness exists in things outside yourself, you???ll always be at a loss when trying to find it. Focus on the now and processes over results.</p> <p><strong>8. Be Non-Competitive</strong>. Competition drives consumerism. The zero-sum game of who can have the most stuff before you die. Break the urge to compete with other people and you release the trap it puts you in. Competition can be useful as a driving force for improvement and change, but when winning becomes more important than playing you get caught in a trap.</p> <p><strong>9. Positions are Equal, Process is Not</strong>. Once basic needs are fulfilled, most positions are relatively equal given a brief time to adapt. This means you will be just as happy with a $30,000 per year as with $300,000. This seems counter-intuitive, but even new psychological research is beginning to find that positions have less influence on happiness than we believe. The difference is process. Some processes can be interesting, fun, challenging and stimulating and others dull, forced and painful. A focus on process is the best way I know to slide off the chains of consumerism.</p> <p><em>Scott Young is a blogger on learning, productivity and habits. You can check out his website <a href=’http://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/’>here</a>.</em></p><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-4732925527651894166?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=I5H_zkRvc2w%3A-bqeRdj1W3g%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=I5H_zkRvc2w%3A-bqeRdj1W3g%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=I5H_zkRvc2w%3A-bqeRdj1W3g%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=I5H_zkRvc2w%3A-bqeRdj1W3g%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=I5H_zkRvc2w%3A-bqeRdj1W3g%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/I5H_zkRvc2w’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  10. Athena Smith says :

    <p>Ten quick steps to facism:</p> <ol><li>Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy </li><li>Create a gulag </li><li>Develop a thug caste </li><li>Set up an internal surveillance system </li><li>Harass citizens??? groups </li><li>Engage in arbitrary detention and release </li><li>Target key individuals </li><li>Control the press </li><li>Dissent equals treason </li><li>Suspend the rule of law </li></ol> <p>Thank goodness we live in America, where <a href=’http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0%2C%2C2064157%2C00.html’>none of this could ever happen</a>.</p><br/>(<a href=’http://chris.pirillo.com/2007/10/21/how-to-close-an-open-society/’>http://chris.pirillo.com/2007/10/21/how-to-close-an-open-society/</a&gt;)<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-6990140324410862730?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=1I5vUgO7X7Q%3A0rVsSayd0kM%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=1I5vUgO7X7Q%3A0rVsSayd0kM%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=1I5vUgO7X7Q%3A0rVsSayd0kM%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=1I5vUgO7X7Q%3A0rVsSayd0kM%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=1I5vUgO7X7Q%3A0rVsSayd0kM%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/1I5vUgO7X7Q’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  11. Athena Smith says :

    <span style=’font-family: verdana,helvetica,arial; font-size: 85%;’><span class=’body-text’ align=’left’><p>First your phone went wireless, then your laptop, now finally, your camera!</p> <p>Never scrounge around for a USB cable again! Eye-fi is a magical orange SD memory card that will not only store 2GB worth of pictures, it’ll upload them to your computer, and to Flickr, Facebook, Picasa (<a href=’http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/eye-fi-wifi-memory/images/eyefi-online-sites.jpg’ title=’Eye-Fi works with all the popular photo sharing and printing sites. More on the way!’ rel=’lightbox[product]’>or 14 others</a>) wirelessly, invisibly, automatically!</p> <p>This little guy looks like a normal 2GB memory card and <b>works with nearly any camera that takes SD</b> memory. There are <b>no antennas</b>, no protrusions, <b>no subscription fees</b>, and no cables.</p> <a href=’http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/eye-fi-wifi-memory/images/eyefi-chart.jpg’ title=’A free USB card reader is included and setup takes just minutes. Done? Start shooting and never touch your memory card or USB cable again! (Unless you want to.)’ rel=’lightbox[product]’><img src=’http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/eye-fi-wifi-memory/images/eyefi-chart-small.jpg’ border=’0′ align=’right’/></a> <p><b>Here’s how it works</b>: You set up the card once with the included USB card reader (tell it which wireless network it should use, and type in the password if you have one), choose the photo sharing service of your choice (<a href=’http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/eye-fi-wifi-memory/images/eyefi-online-sites.jpg’ title=’Eye-Fi works with all the popular photo sharing and printing sites. More on the way!’ rel=’lightbox[product]’>you have plenty of options</a>), then slip the card in your camera.</p> <p>From then on, you never have to touch anything. Just take photos. Whenever your cameras near the wireless network you selected and idle, Eye-fi will upload all your photos (JPEGs only) to your online photo sharing service. Next time your computer’s online, they’ll download there, too!</p> <p>Yes, it is practically magic.</p> <p>It’s amazing for anyone who loves photography, but also great for computer <i>un</i>savvy parents and grandparents. Set up their photo sharing account, slip an Eye-fi in their camera, and your mom’s finally your Flickr friend!</p> <p>Wow. All this for only $99. What will you ever do with all those cables now?</p></span></span><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-6406638274561579877?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=xsYVOCvawP0%3ABc1vGYZMAgE%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=xsYVOCvawP0%3ABc1vGYZMAgE%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=xsYVOCvawP0%3ABc1vGYZMAgE%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=xsYVOCvawP0%3ABc1vGYZMAgE%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=xsYVOCvawP0%3ABc1vGYZMAgE%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/xsYVOCvawP0′ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  12. Athena Smith says :

    <strong>Description</strong>: I recently clean installed Windows XP on my laptop, and this meant that I had to re-install all the essential software that I use. It also presented an opportunity to write a posting about how you can outfit your computer with all the essential (and non-essential) software you need using strictly 100% freeware and/or open source titles.This posting could have been titled any of the following: <ul><li>How to never use a paid program again (aside from Windows).</li><li>53 essential freeware programs that can take care of the majority of your computing needs.</li></ul> I am writing this from the perspective of myself clean-installing Windows and re-installing all the software I find to be essential afterwards. <a href=’http://www.freewaregenius.com/2007/10/29/reinstall-windows-and-outfit-your-system-with-all-freeware-programs/’>Read More &gt;&gt;</a><br/><br/>Many of these apps I have never tried, but there is at least one that he left out… <a href=’http://www.getfirefox.com/’>Firefox</a>! I couldn’t live without it.<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-4037973432420129492?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=EqJ7nTerSBw%3Atw9BTpiuIY0%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=EqJ7nTerSBw%3Atw9BTpiuIY0%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=EqJ7nTerSBw%3Atw9BTpiuIY0%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=EqJ7nTerSBw%3Atw9BTpiuIY0%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=EqJ7nTerSBw%3Atw9BTpiuIY0%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/EqJ7nTerSBw’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  13. Athena Smith says :

    So this will be the first of a series of software reviews. I’m going to start with freeware because really, what’s better than free? Besides, I use almost nothing but freeware so I consider myself somewhat of an authority on the subject. Hope you’ll agree…<br/><hr/>I recently reformatted my computer and reinstalled a clean Windows XP. Once I installed all of the essentials I realized I hadn’t installed a defragmenting program, and that my friends is unacceptable. Why? Read on.<br/><a href=’http://cache.gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2007/10/3042-drive.jpg’><img src=’http://cache.gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2007/10/3042-drive.jpg’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 228px; height: 205px;’/></a><br/>First though… what is fragmentation?<br/>Well, sometimes when you install a program or create a data file, the file ends up chopped up into chunks and stored in multiple locations on the disk. This is called <i>fragmentation</i>. <p>What makes this happen?</p> <p>When you first install your operating system and programs on your hard disk, they are written to the disk, for the most part, in one contiguous block without any gaps. The exceptions are certain system files that must be stored in specific locations. Over time, as you create and then delete documents or uninstall programs, once-filled locations are left empty and you end up with files dotted all over the disk.</p> <p>Now, when Windows is writing a file to the disk, it looks for a suitable piece of free space in which to store it. What happens, then, when you copy a 40MB database or audio file to the disk and the biggest slice of free space is only 30MB? Or say you modify an existing file, appending a whole bunch of data so the file now takes up more space on the disk. To accommodate the files, Windows writes the first part of the file in one section of the disk and then scouts around for other places to store the rest of the file. The end result is that a single file may be stored in several chunks scattered about the disk.</p>And, according to Wikipedia, <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defragment’>defragmentation</a> is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems<span style=’text-decoration: underline;’/>. It does this by physically reorganizing the contents of the disk to store the pieces of each file<span style=’text-decoration: underline;’/><a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_file’ title=’Computer file’/> close together and contiguously. It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using <i>compaction</i> to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmenters also try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence. According to a survey, 42% of PC users fail to defrag their system regularly, adversely affecting system performance.<br/><br/>So hopefully after this post you’ll not be part of that 42% because you’ll have freeware ways to defrag your system.<br/><br/>I recently ran across an article called <a href=’http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/2007/05/great-defrag-shootout-vi-4th-generation.html’>The Great Defrag Shootout</a> which helped open my eyes to some free and payware defragmenting applications.<br/><br/>I’m going to jump right to the winner of that set of articles, or at least the freeware winner.<br/>The winner was <a href=’http://www.kessels.com/JkDefrag/’>JkDefrag</a>, or rather, it’s GUI version. But it wasn’t just JKDefrag that Mr. Edwards found did the trick. It was a suite of free defragmenting utilities that include JKDefrag 3.26, NTREGOPT, PageDefrag, JKDefrag GUI, and Contig.<br/><br/>I’ll have to say that after year’s of first using Windows built in defragmenter, and then converting to Diskeeper Professional edition, this suite of freeware applications is not only the best bang for your buck (especially since you spend nothing) but it’s the best combination of utilities to help keep your computer running at optimal condition.<br/><br/>If you’d like to read more about the contenders of The Great Defrag Shootout and see how your defragmenter of choice ended up have a gander at Donn Edwards <a href=’http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/’>Insights and Rants</a> blog.<br/><br/>As per my recommendation… I’ve been a faithful pay-for-defragmenter (;P) user for year’s but I have jumped ship to the one-way boat to freeware land, and this suite of applications together, I’ve found, have kept my computer at tip-top shape and defragged computers who hadn’t been defragged in over a year. I recommend downloading and trying this suite out. The best thing about JKDefrag is that you can set it to run while your screensaver is running, that way whenever your computer is idle it will defrag your computer.<br/><br/>You can download all of the applications in one easy to use setup program <a href=’http://www.openaccess.co.za/BlackAndWhiteInc/JkDefragExtraSetup.exe’>here</a>. Be aware though that there is a new version of JKDefrag. Version 3.28, which Mr. Edwards has addressed <a href=’http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/2007/11/benchmarks-jkdefrag-328.html’>here</a> (but I haven’t upgraded yet so you’re on your own there).<br/><br/>Remember, you should definitely defrag your computer, why you ask? Read <a href=’http://donnedwards.openaccess.co.za/2007/06/great-defrag-shootout-why-defrag-at-all.html’>here</a>.<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-479142672409099493?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=i-KWo9S59cQ%3AVu_hJkybTx8%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=i-KWo9S59cQ%3AVu_hJkybTx8%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=i-KWo9S59cQ%3AVu_hJkybTx8%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=i-KWo9S59cQ%3AVu_hJkybTx8%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=i-KWo9S59cQ%3AVu_hJkybTx8%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/i-KWo9S59cQ’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  14. Athena Smith says :

    Again, we’re going with software that gives us the best bang for our buck. And being this freeware app costs nothing, it certainly gives way more than it receives (relative to its cost that is).<br/><a href=’http://windows.fyicenter.com/mozilla_firefox_clear_private_data.jpg’><img src=’http://windows.fyicenter.com/mozilla_firefox_clear_private_data.jpg’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0pt 0pt 10px 10px; float: right; cursor: pointer; width: 242px; height: 198px;’/></a><br/>Now, I’ve never purchased software like this, I always just wrote <a href=’http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/~ak621/DOS/BatBasic.html#Basics’>batch files</a> to delete temporary files and used browsers like <a href=’http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/?from=getfirefox’>Mozilla Firefox</a> that has settings that will allow the automatic deletion of Private Data<span style=’font-style: italic;’><span style=’font-style: italic;’> </span></span>(see picture at right)<span style=’font-style: italic;’><span style=’font-style: italic;’>.</span></span><br/><span style=’font-style: italic;’><span style=’font-style: italic;’><br/></span></span><span><span>Moving on… <a href=’http://www.ccleaner.com/’>CCleaner</a> according to their website<br/><blockquote>…is a <b>freeware</b> system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. But the best part is that it’s fast (normally taking less than a second to run) and contains NO Spyware or Adware! :)</blockquote>Sounds pretty perfect, huh?! Following is a list (from the CCleaner website) of what CCleaner will clean for you:<br/></span></span><blockquote> <div class=’features’> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr> <td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/ie_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>Internet Explorer</b></span><br/>Temporary files, URL history, cookies, Autocomplete form history, index.dat. </td></tr></tbody></table> </div> <div class=’features’><table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr> <td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/ff_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>Firefox</b></span><br/>Temporary files, URL history, cookies, download history. </td></tr></tbody></table> </div> <div class=’features’><table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr> <td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/op_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>Opera</b></span><br/>Temporary files, URL history, cookies. </td></tr></tbody></table> </div> <div class=’features’> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr> <td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/desk_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>Windows</b></span><br/>Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, Temporary files and Log files. </td></tr></tbody></table> </div> <div class=’features’> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr> <td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/reg_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>Registry cleaner</b></span><br/>Advanced features to remove unused and old entries, including File Extensions, ActiveX Controls, ClassIDs, ProgIDs, Uninstallers, Shared DLLs, Fonts, Help Files, Application Paths, Icons, Invalid Shortcuts and more… also comes with a comprehensive backup feature. </td></tr></tbody></table> </div> <div class=’features’> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr> <td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/app_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>Third-party applications</b></span><br/>Removes temp files and recent file lists (MRUs) from many apps including Media Player, eMule, Kazaa, Google Toolbar, Netscape, MS Office, Nero, Adobe Acrobat, WinRAR, WinAce, WinZip and many more… </td></tr></tbody></table> </div> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′><tbody><tr><td valign=’top’><img src=’http://www.ccleaner.com/img/icon/tick_16.gif’ align=’left’ height=’16’ alt=” width=’16’/></td><td><span style=’color: rgb(85, 85, 85);’><b>100% Spyware FREE</b></span><br/>This software does NOT contain any Spyware, Adware or Viruses.</td></tr></tbody></table></blockquote><span><span><table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′> <tbody><tr/></tbody> </table> </span></span><span><span> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′> <tbody><tr/></tbody> </table> </span></span><table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′> <tbody><tr> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′> <tbody><tr> </tr> </tbody> </table> <span><span>I’ve used this application for over a year now, and I keep an updated version on my flash drive</span></span><table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′> <tbody><tr> </tr> </tbody> </table> <span><span> ready for installation on just about any computer I touch (I do service calls as well, so I <span style=’font-style: italic;’>touch</span> a lot of systems), and since it’s freeware it’s great for both me and the client. From experience this application can and will clean the registry, remove all of the files it says it will and can even run</span></span><table cellspacing=’0′ border=’0′ cellpadding=’0′> <tbody><tr> </tr> </tbody> </table> <span><span> automatically [To learn how to set CCleaner to run automatically view <a href=’http://pixel-8ed.blogspot.com/2007/12/how-to-have-ccleaner-run-automatically.html’>this</a> post.].<br/><br/>I’ve never had CCleaner delete anything that my computer yelled at me about at any point later, so with that being said… You may download CCleaner by visiting their website at <a href=’http://www.ccleaner.com/’>www.ccleaner.com</a>. I would highly advise downloading it and using it. It’s worth it! </span></span><img alt=”/><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-2644569584963620222?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=aIaYF4zuttM%3AEN_PwSBvVdA%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=aIaYF4zuttM%3AEN_PwSBvVdA%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=aIaY
    F4zuttM%3AEN_PwSBvVdA%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=aIaYF4zuttM%3AEN_PwSBvVdA%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=aIaYF4zuttM%3AEN_PwSBvVdA%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/aIaYF4zuttM’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  15. Athena Smith says :

    If you don’t know what CCleaner is, or you missed the Freeware Review of CCleaner please first read <a href=’http://pixel-8ed.blogspot.com/2007/12/freeware-review-ccleaner.html’>this</a> post.<br/><br/>CCleaner supports command line operation. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it. What it means for you is that we can set it to run automatically at a specified time.<br/><br/>It should also be noted, particularly if you are one who regularly turns your computer on and off, that CCleaner can be run at system startup by clicking Options &gt; Settings &gt; and checking the box beside "Run CCleaner when the computer starts." If you, however, leave your computer on most of the time, then running at startup is not going to be enough to thoroughly clean your computer and keep it optimized as it should be.<br/><br/>Much like an antivirus application, CCleaner can be set to run at a specified interval set by you. To specify this interval follow these directions (I used Windows XP for these instructions, so if you also have Windows XP then you should be able to follow these directions directly):<br/><ol><li>Click <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Start</span> &gt; <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Control Panel</span> &gt; and double click on <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Scheduled Tasks</span>.</li><li>Double click <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Add Scheduled Task</span>.</li><li>The <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Scheduled Task Wizard</span> will start, click Next to begin the creation process.</li><li>In the next window, scroll down until you find the CCleaner application. Click on it once and the click next.<a href=’http://bp3.blogger.com/_gwgyB60cyfI/R1QUan2bQKI/AAAAAAAADC8/DuB9yGqNTyY/s1600-R/Scheduled+Task+Wizard.jpg’><img src=’http://bp3.blogger.com/_gwgyB60cyfI/R1QUan2bQKI/AAAAAAAADC8/bTMnAVNI5oA/s320/Scheduled+Task+Wizard.jpg’ id=’BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5139755522342994082′ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;’/></a></li><li>Select how often you’d like CCleaner to automatically run. I have mine run daily, but once a week should be sufficient.</li><li>Select the time of day you would like it to run. Now, while CCleaner is very fast and you shouldn’t notice it running, I recommend running it at a time while you are not at the computer. Mine runs at 3:00 AM.</li><li>Enter the password for the account in which you would like it to run under. If you do not know the password, just click next, you will be able to allow it to run only when you’re logged in in a minute.</li><li>Check the box next to "Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish." Then click <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Finish</span>. [Note: If you did not enter a password in step 7, you may get an error message. Just ignore it, we’ll solve that problem momentarily]<br/></li><li>At the properties window of the task we just created do the following:</li><ol><li>In the top-most text box you will see the path to the CCleaner program. Do not change the path, but out beside of it type "/AUTO" (without quotes of course).</li><li>Check the checkmark beside "Only run if logged on."</li><li>Click Ok. Also click Ok to any other messages you may receive.<a href=’http://bp2.blogger.com/_gwgyB60cyfI/R1QX9X2bQLI/AAAAAAAADDE/BrMWW_3ddAw/s1600-R/properties.jpg’><img src=’http://bp2.blogger.com/_gwgyB60cyfI/R1QX9X2bQLI/AAAAAAAADDE/vvIJw89u6_E/s320/properties.jpg’ id=’BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5139759417878331570′ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;’/></a></li></ol></ol>That’s it. You’ve set it up to run own-its-own, at the specified interval that you set. Congratulations! Hope this has been helpful.<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-4887050383725176302?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=P1t4AcCsBmc%3AZTVebMbxVPU%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=P1t4AcCsBmc%3AZTVebMbxVPU%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=P1t4AcCsBmc%3AZTVebMbxVPU%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=P1t4AcCsBmc%3AZTVebMbxVPU%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=P1t4AcCsBmc%3AZTVebMbxVPU%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/P1t4AcCsBmc’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  16. Athena Smith says :

    So I’ve been a big fan of <a href=’http://www.winamp.com/’>Winamp</a> for year’s, which is kind of surprising since its put out by AOL. Regardless, I’ve always been a fan and have used it for… erm, going on 8 year’s now. I’ve tried other media players, or music players rather, since that’s all I use it for, but I’ve always gone back to Winamp. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s indexing capabilities could be better, but it does index the media library quite well (considering I have over 10,000 tracks for it to index).<br/><br/>Winamps newest installment, version 5.5 (it’s 10th Anniversary Edition) comes with a great new skin which allows all the individual parts of the player to be clearly visible at once. There’s a free version (which is of course what we’re all about here) available <a href=’http://download.nullsoft.com/winamp/client/winamp55_full_emusic-7plus_en-us.exe’>here</a>.<br/><br/>It typically wants to install the Winamp agent, which runs in the task tray and makes sure all of your files are indexed and by default, opened in Winamp. I don’t particularly care for this feature (which is probably why it takes it a second to update the index of my files). I don’t because I don’t like programs running in the tray if I can help it. As a matter of fact, right now only 5 programs are running in my system tray (and I wish there weren’t that many, but that includes Antivirus and Firewall). With that being said, I usually do not allow it to install this <span style=’font-style: italic;’>agent</span> and I have it set to play, index, and be the default player for <span style=’font-style: italic;’>audio</span> files <span style=’font-weight: bold;’>only</span>.<br/><br/>This is a great app that I suggest you download if you play any audio files on your computer at all. It automatically looks up the data from the CDDB on CD’s you play with Winamp, and if you buy the paid version (which is only $20, and includes some amount of updates) then it will even rip CD’s with the proper data as ID2 &amp; ID3 tags. Again, download it. There are other media players that are nice, but I dare say you’ll be hard pressed to find one as efficient as <a href=’http://www.winamp.com/’>Winamp</a>.<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-8933197023711598416?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=qreVm7eZdfQ%3Ap_IHZqzhPiM%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=qreVm7eZdfQ%3Ap_IHZqzhPiM%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=qreVm7eZdfQ%3Ap_IHZqzhPiM%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=qreVm7eZdfQ%3Ap_IHZqzhPiM%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=qreVm7eZdfQ%3Ap_IHZqzhPiM%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/qreVm7eZdfQ’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  17. Athena Smith says :

    Now, to some of you, it may come as no surprise that I have something ending in A.D.D., as I have been clinically diagnosed with this even though I no longer medicate myself for it (mostly due to insurance, or rather, the lack thereof).<br/><br/>I ran across this article on a blog called <a href=’http://www.randsinrepose.com/’>Rands In Repose</a>, called N.A.D.D.<br/>Here’s an excerpt:<br/><blockquote><p>Folks, I???m a nerd. I need rapid fire content delivery in short, clever, punch phrases. Give me <a href=’http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060987049/qid%3D1057878884/sr%3D1-1/ref%3Dsr_1_1/102-9487223-5554554?v=glance&s=books’>Coupland</a>, give me <a href=’http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0836204387′>Calvin???n???Hobbes</a>, give me <a href=’http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553293354′>Asimov</a>, give me <a href=’http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0930289234′>The Watchmen</a>. I need this type of content because I???m horribly afflicted with NADD.</p> <p>If you???re still with me, it might mean you know that you already suffer from some type of NADD-related disorder. Let???s find out:</p> <p>Stop reading right now and take a look at your desktop. How many things are you doing right now in addition to reading this column? Me, I???ve got a terminal session open to a chat room, I???m listening to music, I???ve got Safari open with three tabs open where I???m watching Blogshares, tinkering with a web site, and looking at weekend movie returns. Not done yet. I???ve got iChat open, ESPN.COM is downloading sports new trailers in the background, and I???ve got two notepads open where I???m capturing random thoughts for later integration into various to do lists. Oh yeah, I???m writing this column, as well.</p> <p>Folks, this isn???t multi-tasking. This is advanced case of Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder. I am unable to function at my desktop unless I???ve got, at least, five things going on at the same time. If your count came close, you???re probably afflicted, as well. Most excellent.</p> <p>My mother first diagnosed me with NADD. It was the late 80s and she was bringing me dinner in my bedroom (nerd). I was merrily typing away to friends in some primitive chat room on my IBM XT (super nerd), listening to some music (probably Flock of Seagulls ??? nerd++), and watching Back to the Future with the sound off (neeeeerrrrrrrd). She commented, ???How can you focus on anything with all this stuff going on???? I responded, ???Mom, I can???t focus without all this noise.???</p> <p>The presence of NADD in your life is directly related to how you???ve dealt with the media deluge of the new millennium. You???ve likely gone one of three ways:</p> <p>1) You???ve checked out??? you don???t own a TV and it???s unlikely you???re even reading this column.</p> <p>2) You enjoy your media/content in moderation. When I asked you to count how many windows were open on your desktop you either said, ???One, my browser for which to read this article??? or you made yourself a note to yourself to check this AFTER completing this column. In a previous age, you were the type of person who kept their pencils very sharpened.</p> <p>3) You enjoy the content fire hose. Give me tabbed browsing, tabbed instant messaging, music all the time, and TIVO TIVO TIVO. Welcome to NADD.</p> <p>The presence of NADD in your friends is equally detectable. Here???s a simple test. Ask to sit down at THEIR computer and start mucking with stuff on their desktop. Move an icon here??? adjust a window size there. If your friend calmly watches as you tinker away, they???re probably NADD-free, for now. However, if your friend is anxiously rubbing their forehead and/or climbing out of their skin when you move that icon 12 PIXELS TO THE RIGHT, there???s NADD in the house. BACK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.</p> I???m making NADDers sounds like obsessive power freaks and, well, we are. How else would you deal with a world where media is forced on you at every turn? You???d get very good at controlling it. <a href=’http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2003/07/10/nadd.html’>Read More &gt;&gt;</a></blockquote>And let me know in the comments whether you too are effected by this pixel-8ed popular frenzy now termed N.A.D.D. I can think of at least one of my (perhaps not so) regular readers that would most definitely be diagnosed. Speak up! Comment!<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-1069809741001240232?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=HPEkzhV0TVA%3AymD7UgRWtgY%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=HPEkzhV0TVA%3AymD7UgRWtgY%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=HPEkzhV0TVA%3AymD7UgRWtgY%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=HPEkzhV0TVA%3AymD7UgRWtgY%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=HPEkzhV0TVA%3AymD7UgRWtgY%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/HPEkzhV0TVA’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  18. Athena Smith says :

    In case you don’t know, &lt;3 <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet’>leet speak</a> symbol for heart. The "i&lt;3" (<em>I heart</em>) phenomenon was spread mostly with the mass sale of the I&lt;3NY t-shirts and has since become much more commonly used.<br/><br/>I’m a huge fan of Google, which you may already know from some of my other posts (<a href=’http://pixel-8ed.blogspot.com/2007/04/my-life-with-google-part-i-gmail.html’>My Life With Google, Part I</a>; <a href=’http://pixel-8ed.blogspot.com/2007/04/my-life-with-google-part-ii-google.html’>My Life With Google, Part II</a>). I’m also a big fan of the blog <a href=’http://www.makeuseof.com/’>Makeuseof</a>, who made me aware of these nifty features of Google that I didn’t know about previously.<br/><br/>So, if you didn’t already love Google, for their wonderful advancements in internet search, web mail, calendars, or rss readers, then here’s something that’s sure to make you love them:<br/><ul><li>GOOG-411<br/>You dial up 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any (US) phone. After you get a friendly <a href=’http://www.google.com/’ class=’kLink’ id=’KonaLink0′ target=’_top’ style=’text-decoration: underline! important;’>Google</a> hello you follow the voice prompts which are extremely intuitive.<br/>Start by saying your city and state. You hear the Google engines spinning in the background and then you will be prompted to say what business listing you want (pizzeria, repair shop, Burger King, etc.). They understood me every time even when I put on various accents. I had previously tried out 800-free-411 and they never understood me – it was infuriating!<br/>Now Goog411 will also complete your call for you FOR FREE or send you a text message FOR FREE with your listing, a link to their website, a link to a map and directions or any other information they have. For a list of all the commands check out <a href=’http://mobile.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=76436&ctx=sibling’>this page here</a>. This is all easily save-able on your mobile. The service is still in its beta stages and currently has NO ads! Suck it up while you can this is the way most services will be going in the near future. If you are interested in seeing a video demo go to <a href=’http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/goog411/’>GOOG411 on MUO Directory</a>.<br/>Goog411 currently only works from the US</li><li>Google SMS<br/>Just save 466453 ???Google??? into your phone and text it with your query and Google will hit you back with all sorts of free information. How about dictionary definitions, calculations, curency exchange rates or movie listings (<a href=’http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/google-sms/’>Google SMS -All Features</a>). Give it a shot – its free minus the cost of the text messages of course.<br/>To try it out via the web go <a href=’http://www.google.com/mobile/sms/index.html’>here</a>. It’s super easy and could be fantastically wonderful when you’re out of town or out on the town and need some quick information.</li></ul><p>So, whatya think now? Love Google more, less? Let me know in the comments.</p><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-3680895563904824493?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=BQRPW5cRAMA%3AQX5rzxanffc%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=BQRPW5cRAMA%3AQX5rzxanffc%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=BQRPW5cRAMA%3AQX5rzxanffc%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=BQRPW5cRAMA%3AQX5rzxanffc%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=BQRPW5cRAMA%3AQX5rzxanffc%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/BQRPW5cRAMA’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  19. Athena Smith says :

    From their <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/info/07words.htm’>site</a>:<br/><blockquote/><blockquote><p>Thousands of you took part in the search for Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2007, and the vast majority of you chose a small word that packs a pretty big punch. The word you’ve selected hasn’t found its way into a regular Merriam-Webster dictionary yet???but its inclusion in our online Open Dictionary, along with the top honors it’s now been awarded ??? might just improve its chances. This year’s winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t ("leet," or "elite") speak???an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double "o" in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for "we owned the other team"???again stemming from the gaming community.<br/></p><p>Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to our Web site: </p><blockquote>1. w00t (interjection)<br/>expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word "yay"<br/>w00t! I won the contest!</blockquote><p>Other top words were: <a href=’http://www3.merriam-webster.com/opendictionary06/newword_search.php?word=facebook’>facebook</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conundrum’>conundrum</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quixotic’>quixotic</a>, <a href=’http://www3.merriam-webster.com/opendictionary06/newword_search.php?word=blamestorm’>blamestorm</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sardoodledom’>sardoodledom</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apathetic’>apathetic</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Pecksniffian’>Pecksniffian</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrite’>hypocrite</a>, <a href=’http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/charlatan’>charlatan</a></p></blockquote><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-1256494899255924449?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=z3J4N18-FOY%3Ako46rR0Esog%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=z3J4N18-FOY%3Ako46rR0Esog%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=z3J4N18-FOY%3Ako46rR0Esog%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=z3J4N18-FOY%3Ako46rR0Esog%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=z3J4N18-FOY%3Ako46rR0Esog%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/z3J4N18-FOY’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  20. Athena Smith says :

    I found a site that does Leak-tests and posts the results of popular firewalls. You can find the chart<a href=’http://www.matousec.com/projects/windows-personal-firewall-analysis/leak-tests-results.php’> here</a>. A summary follows:<br/><br/>As we’ve discussed previously, my favorite kind of software is the kind that’s free. It was no surprise to me that my favorite firewall (though it may get replaced soon by the, also free, number one on the list) is near the top of this list at number 3. Below is the top 10. It should be noted that these are NOT ALL FREE, but the ones that are have notes to let you know that. To see the whole list, view their Leak-tests Results <a href=’http://www.matousec.com/projects/windows-personal-firewall-analysis/leak-tests-results.php’>here</a>.<br/><br/><a href=’http://bp0.blogger.com/_gwgyB60cyfI/R2FMyZOg6EI/AAAAAAAADD0/zSAW_b3T0vs/s1600-h/firewall.jpg’><img src=’http://bp0.blogger.com/_gwgyB60cyfI/R2FMyZOg6EI/AAAAAAAADD0/zSAW_b3T0vs/s400/firewall.jpg’ id=’BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5143476678082750530′ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;’/></a>I’ll post on my thoughts on firewall’s in the near future, but first I just may end up trying my hand at another free one.<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-175221854531582682?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=Km3rfvvGqto%3AiNKuO0VDO18%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=Km3rfvvGqto%3AiNKuO0VDO18%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=Km3rfvvGqto%3AiNKuO0VDO18%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=Km3rfvvGqto%3AiNKuO0VDO18%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=Km3rfvvGqto%3AiNKuO0VDO18%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/Km3rfvvGqto’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  21. Athena Smith says :

    I know that I’ve already posted on the fact that the Merriam-Webster’s word of the year was "w00t," but I ran into this article while stumbling today and just had to share. Because of its length I was able to post the entire link here, but to view the original in all its glory, please visit <a href=’http://tinyurl.com/yt4ktq’>tinyurl.com/yt4ktq</a>.<br/><blockquote>Did you hear?! <a href=’http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5ileUw1tWfWTY4wpRO8Ak67PixHfQ’>w00t has been named the word of the year by Merriam-Webster</a>! I wish I had some sort of short exclamation I could use to express my joy! Oh wait, I know: HOORAY! <p>As a side note, this marks the first time a word comprised partly of numbers (the O???s are traditionally zeros) has been put into the Dictionary since 2003???s inclusion of ???Sk8r Boi.??? The Definition? ???(N.)-<em>One who wasn???t good enough for her / But now he???s a superstar / Slammin??? on his guitar / Does her pretty face see what he???s worth?</em>???</p> <p>In all seriousness, I???ve got to say this is something of a troubling sign. I???m all for gamer slang; anything that keeps a barrier of understanding between them and me is all right in my book. But the fact that it???s gaining mainstream acceptance gives the linguophile in me a shiver of fear, and a vision of a day when l33t is the U.S.???s official language.</p> <p>To be fair, Merriam-Webster???s word of the year is chosen by Internet ballot, so it makes sense we???d be seeing things like ???truthiness??? and ???blog??? start making the rounds. But is that really what we want? Do we really want the same folks who create <a href=’http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/Main_Page’>entire online encyclopedias</a> just to chronicle their ???hilarious??? labyrinthine subculture deciding the direction the English language is going in?</p> <p>And by ???hilarious,??? I mean <strong>roflcopter lolcat zomg kekeke!!!1!!one!!I???m hilarious!!!</strong></p> <p>I don???t know about you, but I don???t want to live in a world where when I drop a bag of groceries while walking home from the store, there are good odds that someone walking by will mutter ???you just got RickRoll???d.??? Sure, it sounds cool now, but trust me; it???d get old REAL quick.</p> <p>To that end, I hereby nominate a word of my own creation for the 2008 word of the year:</p> <p>Roflrift-(N.) <em>The point in human history at which language becomes so fractured by subculture slang and the rapid invention of new words that no human being is capable of communicating intelligibly with another, and the world is thrown violently back into the Dark Ages.</em></p> <p>And believe me, The Roflrift is coming.</p></blockquote>Again, thank you Michael Swaim from Cracked.com for sharing. =)<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-4567209965880139577?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=O1g9va1tmvQ%3A_wvijXNzOJg%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=O1g9va1tmvQ%3A_wvijXNzOJg%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=O1g9va1tmvQ%3A_wvijXNzOJg%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=O1g9va1tmvQ%3A_wvijXNzOJg%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=O1g9va1tmvQ%3A_wvijXNzOJg%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/O1g9va1tmvQ’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  22. Athena Smith says :

    I’m sure you’ve noticed… I haven’t posted recently, mostly due to the many many things going on here at the holiday’s. I just thought I’d drop a note saying that it may be at most another week to week and a half before I post again. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderfully Happy New Year!<br/><br/>Take care! I’ll be back to the nerdiness soon, soon, soon. ;P<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-5617972528272133552?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=lV4rypLTScM%3AI0YfkKbrojs%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=lV4rypLTScM%3AI0YfkKbrojs%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=lV4rypLTScM%3AI0YfkKbrojs%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=lV4rypLTScM%3AI0YfkKbrojs%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=lV4rypLTScM%3AI0YfkKbrojs%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/lV4rypLTScM’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  23. Athena Smith says :

    So it’s been a while since my last post. And by while, I mean…. like 6 months (give or take a week or two). I could name many reasons for my delay in posting… and I think I shall name a few:<br/><ol><li>It gets a little discouraging when you feel like no one reads your blog, or is interested in anything you have to say. <span style=’font-style: italic;’>I suppose this isn’t the best reason in the world, because by stopping posting, I’ve inevitably caused those people that did read to now stop reading…</span></li><li>I was particularly busy in the spring months, what with Michele graduating and my best friend and another good friend moving to town and my service calls on the side, in addition to my nearly 35 hour (yes, I’m still part-time though) work week. <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Sure, I guess you could say this isn’t the greatest reason either, but it’s a reason nevertheless. I was busy, no joke.</span></li><li>There’s really not a 3, because the first two really covered many different reasons, so I’m just gonna leave it at that. Besides, you can’t really have a list without having at least 3, imho.<span style=’font-style: italic;’> <span style=’font-style: italic;’>Been busy, been technically/bloggingly (yes, I’m perfectly aware this isn’t a word… but you understood it didn’t you?) discouraged</span>. End of story.</span></li></ol>So there’s your reasons for my not posting until now, and I will understand if you don’t read this until a month for now, or even a few months from now, since I essentially did that to you, if you were in fact a reader before. Hopefully in the future though I will have plenty for you to enjoy. Hit me up in the comments should you want some words of wisdom on a particular subject, after-all the comments are what keeps me going. ;)<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-2711589069670902869?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6IzZfrs0dts%3AC39fj1GgTiA%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=6IzZfrs0dts%3AC39fj1GgTiA%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6IzZfrs0dts%3AC39fj1GgTiA%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=6IzZfrs0dts%3AC39fj1GgTiA%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=6IzZfrs0dts%3AC39fj1GgTiA%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/6IzZfrs0dts’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  24. Athena Smith says :

    <a href=’http://screencast.com/t/5qPsvBubDLz’><img src=’http://screencast.com/t/5qPsvBubDLz’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 320px;’/></a><a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookmarklet’>Wikipedia</a>:<br/><div xmlns=’http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml’><blockquote><p>A <b>bookmarklet</b> is an <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applet’ title=’Applet’>applet</a>, a small computer application, stored as the <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Resource_Locator’ title=’Uniform Resource Locator’>URL</a> of a <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_bookmark’ title=’Internet bookmark’>bookmark</a> in a <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_browser’ title=’Web browser’>web browser</a> or as a <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperlink’ title=’Hyperlink’>hyperlink</a> on a <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_page’ title=’Web page’>web page</a>. The term is a <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portmanteau’ title=’Portmanteau’ class=’mw-redirect’>portmanteau</a> of the terms <i>bookmark</i> and <i>applet</i>.</p><p>Whether bookmarklet <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_%28computer_science%29′ title=’Utility (computer science)’ class=’mw-redirect’>utilities</a> are stored as bookmarks or hyperlinks, they are designed to add <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookmarklet#Usage’ title=’Bookmarklet’>one-click functionality</a> to a browser or web page. When clicked, a bookmarklet performs some function, one of a wide variety such as a search query or data extraction. Usually the applet is a <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JavaScript’ title=’JavaScript’>JavaScript</a> <a href=’http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_program’ title=’Computer program’>program</a>.</p></blockquote> <p>In today’s tech day in age, we are a people of instant gratification and last minute kinds of choices and decisions.</p><p>Now, I love me some Gmail, but the one things Gmail lacks (but isn’t enough for me to jump off the bandwagon) is signature functionality. I have all of my various e-mail accounts forwarded into my one main Gmail account, and I have it set up so that it appears as though I am replying from those various other e-mail addresses. The problem is that Gmail only supports one singular signature, and it appears below the quoted message that you are replying to. This is a problem because my junk e-mail address needs to now have any personal identifying information, whereas my work e-mail address needs a signature reflecting my title, phone number, and company webpage information. You see where this gets complicated, right?</p><p>Well, I’ve found something that helps this a little. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly better than my previous solution of just going without a signature and typing required information for every e-mail.</p><p>The solution is <a href=’http://projets.geekfg.net/?/1-how+to+insert+html+signature+in+gmail.htm’>GeekFG’s Online Bookmarklet Creator</a>!</p><p><a href=’http://content.screencast.com/media/98d205f5-cce5-4a46-9e51-d740c80b5603_3005ae3b-e043-4824-bc4b-234cdac08d89_static_0_0_2008-07-03_0839.png’><img src=’http://content.screencast.com/media/98d205f5-cce5-4a46-9e51-d740c80b5603_3005ae3b-e043-4824-bc4b-234cdac08d89_static_0_0_2008-07-03_0839.png’ border=’0′ alt=” style=’margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer; width: 471px; height: 148px;’/></a></p><p>You first use the editor to create a signature. This signature can be as fancy, or not, as you want. It allows web hosted images, links, tables, css, and the like. You then click <i>Go to step 2</i>, and it creates your bookmarklet which you can then drag to your browsers bar, or simply bookmark. Then any time you want to add your signature, simply click the bookmarklet when you are at the compose screen of Gmail, and voila! Magic. Now, as far as I know this is only available in Gmail (and of course any Google Apps for your domain sites).</p><p>So the moral of the story is, the next time you want multiple signature for your Gmail account… head on over to GeekGF’s bookmarklet creator; I’m pretty sure that, like me, you’ll be glad you did!<br/></p></div><div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-7467522276497387403?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=NiB0dX39VTk%3AqooxntdxAeI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=NiB0dX39VTk%3AqooxntdxAeI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=NiB0dX39VTk%3AqooxntdxAeI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=NiB0dX39VTk%3AqooxntdxAeI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=NiB0dX39VTk%3AqooxntdxAeI%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/NiB0dX39VTk’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

  25. Athena Smith says :

    So it’s been a while – I know. That’s what I get for being a bit of a workaholic. On with the tech…<br/><br/>So I’ve been in search for way to have multiple signatures in Gmail. Those of you that have kept up with my blogging, or know me at all, know that I absolutely love Gmail – and pretty much all things Google. Google is in the process of creating what you may call Gmail "addons" through Gmail Labs; but even labs does not provide the ability to have mutliple signatures. Now you may ask – why is this so important? Well, I currently have 5 email accounts automatically forwarded to my primary Gmail account, and I’ve set up the ability to email "from" those accounts within that primary Gmail account. With that being said, I have a lot of comings in and out from that account, and I don’t want a professional email signature on my personal emails and so forth. Hopefully this all makes sense.<br/><br/>In my search I found one such Firefox addon that does a pretty nice job of allowing me to have multiple signatures depending on the address I choose to mail from. The <a href=’https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7757′>Blank Canvas Gmail Signature</a><a href=’https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/7757′>s</a> Firefox extension is still considered "experimental" by Mozilla, but its usability makes it far from experimental in my book. Create your signatures for each email address you mail from, and voila… now every time you select that email address to mail from, the signature will automagically be inserted into your email for you. And as a bonus – the Blank Canvas Gmail Signatures has full HTML support for your signatures.<br/><br/>It’s one of the few extensions that I couldn’t do without. More on that later… for now, go download the Blank Canvas Gmail Signatures Firefox extension… if you have as many email accounts forwarded to one as I do… and a need for signatures for all of them… you’ll love this extension!<br/><br/>Also – I should say that this extension is far better than the bookmarklets that I posted about last time. Bookmarklets are still pretty awesome… but as for signatures, this extension is the best solution around. See how long I’ve been in search for such greatness though?!<div class=’blogger-post-footer’><img src=’https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/8499350404434965813-6045708204728543166?l=pixel-8ed.blogspot.com’ height=’1′ alt=” width=’1’/></div><div class=’feedflare’><a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=WhYhs9DzrEw%3AsPed-hcOGQI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=WhYhs9DzrEw%3AsPed-hcOGQI%3AV_sGLiPBpWU’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=WhYhs9DzrEw%3AsPed-hcOGQI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?i=WhYhs9DzrEw%3AsPed-hcOGQI%3AgIN9vFwOqvQ’ border=’0’/></a> <a href=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?a=WhYhs9DzrEw%3AsPed-hcOGQI%3AyIl2AUoC8zA’><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/pixel-8ed?d=yIl2AUoC8zA’ border=’0’/></a></div><img src=’http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/pixel-8ed/~4/WhYhs9DzrEw’ height=’1′ width=’1’/>

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