Archive | December 2007

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year 2007

From their site:

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.

Merriam-Webster’s #1 Word of the Year for 2007 based on votes from visitors to our Web site:

1. w00t (interjection)
expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word “yay”
w00t! I won the contest!

Other top words were: facebook, conundrum, quixotic, blamestorm, sardoodledom, apathetic, Pecksniffian, hypocrite, charlatan

2 More Reasons Why You Should <3 Google!

In case you don’t know, ❤ leet speak symbol for heart. The “i<3” (I heart) phenomenon was spread mostly with the mass sale of the I<3NY t-shirts and has since become much more commonly used.

I’m a huge fan of Google, which you may already know from some of my other posts (My Life With Google, Part I; My Life With Google, Part II). I’m also a big fan of the blog Makeuseof, who made me aware of these nifty features of Google that I didn’t know about previously.

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:

  • GOOG-411
    You dial up 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any (US) phone. After you get a friendly Google hello you follow the voice prompts which are extremely intuitive.
    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!
    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 this page here. 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 GOOG411 on MUO Directory.
    Goog411 currently only works from the US
  • Google SMS
    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 (Google SMS -All Features). Give it a shot – its free minus the cost of the text messages of course.
    To try it out via the web go here. 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.

So, whatya think now? Love Google more, less? Let me know in the comments.

My name is Athena and I have N.A.D.D.

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).

I ran across this article on a blog called Rands In Repose, called N.A.D.D.
Here’s an excerpt:

Folks, I’m a nerd. I need rapid fire content delivery in short, clever, punch phrases. Give me Coupland, give me Calvin’n’Hobbes, give me Asimov, give me The Watchmen. I need this type of content because I’m horribly afflicted with NADD.

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:

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.

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.

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.”

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:

1) You’ve checked out… you don’t own a TV and it’s unlikely you’re even reading this column.

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.

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.

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.

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. Read More >>

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!

Freeware Review: Winamp

So I’ve been a big fan of Winamp 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).

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 here.

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 agent and I have it set to play, index, and be the default player for audio files only.

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 & 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 Winamp.

How To: Have CCleaner Run Automatically

If you don’t know what CCleaner is, or you missed the Freeware Review of CCleaner please first read this post.

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.

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 > Settings > 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.

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):

  1. Click Start > Control Panel > and double click on Scheduled Tasks.
  2. Double click Add Scheduled Task.
  3. The Scheduled Task Wizard will start, click Next to begin the creation process.
  4. In the next window, scroll down until you find the CCleaner application. Click on it once and the click next.
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  5. Select how often you’d like CCleaner to automatically run. I have mine run daily, but once a week should be sufficient.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Check the box next to “Open advanced properties for this task when I click Finish.” Then click Finish. [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]
  9. At the properties window of the task we just created do the following:
    1. 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).
    2. Check the checkmark beside “Only run if logged on.”
    3. Click Ok. Also click Ok to any other messages you may receive.
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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.

Freeware Review: CCleaner

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).

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Now, I’ve never purchased software like this, I always just wrote batch files to delete temporary files and used browsers like Mozilla Firefox that has settings that will allow the automatic deletion of Private Data (see picture at right).

Moving on… CCleaner according to their website

…is a freeware 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! 🙂

Sounds pretty perfect, huh?! Following is a list (from the CCleaner website) of what CCleaner will clean for you:

Internet Explorer
Temporary files, URL history, cookies, Autocomplete form history, index.dat.
Firefox
Temporary files, URL history, cookies, download history.
Opera
Temporary files, URL history, cookies.
Windows
Recycle Bin, Recent Documents, Temporary files and Log files.
Registry cleaner
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.
Third-party applications
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…
100% Spyware FREE
This software does NOT contain any Spyware, Adware or Viruses.

I’ve used this application for over a year now, and I keep an updated version on my flash drive

ready for installation on just about any computer I touch (I do service calls as well, so I touch 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

automatically [To learn how to set CCleaner to run automatically view this post.].

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 www.ccleaner.com. I would highly advise downloading it and using it. It’s worth it!