Category Archives: Assorted Ramblings

Government Insecurity

Attempting to contact my representative in congress via the House of Representatives’ web site, the browser displayed a security warning, “The security certificate is not from a trusted source.” Well no, of course it’s not a trusted source. Like I said, I’m trying to contact my representative in Congress….
I wasn’t even trying to be silly; silly found me on its own!

One for the Scrapbook!

I got my picture in the paper! You can see it on The Gazette’s website in several editions, along with an article about the Jaycees’ event where the photo was taken.
Now if you look at that photo (it’s the group standing in front of a brick wall), you won’t actually see me anywhere. That’s because I’m not in it. Instead, it’s “my picture” in the sense that I was the photographer. (I was also responsible for the press release the article is based on.)
This is the fifth time since January ’09 when The Gazette has printed one of my photos. It’s also the first time I’m aware of when they’ve put one of my photos on their web site.
I think it’s kinda cool!

Here’s a larger version of the same photo:

Your 2010 Gaithersburg/Germantown Jaycees Board of Directors:
(left to right) Individual Development Vice President, Valerie Lefor; Chairman of the Board, Jason Silverberg; Community Development Vice President, Kara Farrell; State Director, Vicente Lopez; Secretary, Valerie Palmer; Treasurer, Dean Lefor

The Four Seasons

Someone asked me to identify my favorite season. After some thought, I don’t think I have one.
In Spring, when the rain comes and the winds start blowing, it’s like the planet itself is waking up from a nap. You can just feel the potential for new life.
In Summer, life slows down and you can get outside and enjoy the light. It feels like daylight will go on forever but when night finally does fall, it’s a cool and friendly darkness.
Fall has all the colors and comfortable temperatures. And although the evenings start to get a bit crisp, that’s just perfect for warm apple cider and bonfires.
Winter gets a bad rap for the bitter cold (I don’t like it either), but when there’s a few inches of new fallen snow, and no tracks through it yet, the world looks like a Currier and Ives card. It’s just gorgeous.
What about you? Is there one particular season you favor over the others?

Software Reinstall

Choosing to go from 32-bit Vista to 64-bit Windows 7, also meant choosing to do a “custom” installation of Windows. Meaning that I have to reinstall all my programs.
Still more to be added over the next few days, but here’s what I’ve got so far.
The List:
General Computing

  • Open Office – compatible with MS Office
  • Mozy Home Unlimited (paid version) – after a horrendous support experience this summer, I’m not as big a fan of this company as I used to be, but I do like the concept of automatic offsite backups.
  • Avast! Anti-virus – free alternative to the various paid security suites. (The main deterrent to malware is still a healthy degree of skepticism when clicking links.)
  • Foxit Reader – alternative PDF reader
  • VLC media player – plays dang near everything in terms of video or audio, and doesn’t bring unwanted baggage.
  • Paint.Net – Image editor.
  • 7-Zip – Fairly universal archive/extract tool. Even opens ISO files!
  • InfraRecorder – Burn CDs and DVDs
  • Picasa – photo management.
  • VMWare Workstation – For software I don’t trust, for experimenting with other software environments (e.g. Linux), and other situations where my primary computer isn’t the best choice.

Internet Tools

  • Firefox – Web Browser
    • Firebug – Debugging tool for use with Firrefox.
  • Thunderbird – because I like desktop email
  • Putty – Client for Telnet, SSH and FTP, plus it’s scriptable. (I’m not sure where to find this anymore.)
  • Chrome – Web Browser from Google.
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • FileZilla – Both regular and Secure FTP.

Developer Tools

Google Paper – Out of Beta!

A few years back, Google introduced “GMail Paper” as an April Fool’s prank. The idea was that by clicking a “Paper Archive” button, you could have any or all of your GMail messages printed out and delivered to you (for free!).
It’s not quite GMail Paper, but this year, for Christmas, Google is letting you send a for-real paper Christmas Card to anyone in the US. It’s limited to one per person, but that’s still a fun idea.

Bowing to the Inevitable

At this point in time, I think there are perhaps a dozen people in North America who don’t have Facebook accounts. Up until 5 minutes ago, I was one of them.
I’ve been noticing a trend lately: If you want to know what’s going on, you have to be on Facebook. I’ve missed out on a lot of news because of that, and frequently have to ask people to resend photos so I can view them. (I frequently receive photo links which lead to Facebook pages which say “You must have a Facebook account to view that page.”)
So I’ve decided to bite the bullet and join Facebook, at least until the next fad comes along.