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[16-December-2009]

HP Laptop launches MS-Excel

Filed under: Tech Tech — @ 10:34 UTC

My HP HDX18 laptop launches Microsoft Excel every time I press the “soft touch” buttons across the top of the laptop (mute, volume, etc.).  I’m not the only one with this problem.  The problem is with Microsoft’s IntelliType Pro keyboard driver, itype.exe.  I can kill this executable and the problem goes away, but then the fancy keyboard buttons no longer function.

To solve the problem for good, I edited the \Program Files\Microsoft IntelliType Pro\mscmdkey.xml file (make a copy first, fool) and searched for “excel” and found the XML Command node name=“OFFICE_EXCEL_COMMAND”.  I removed this node (Everything from <Command name=  … </Command>) then stopped itype.exe and then restarted itype.exe (command line: cd "C:\Program Files\Microsoft IntelliType Pro, then “start itype.exe).  This works a treat.

[26-March-2009]

Someone else wants this domain

Filed under: General — @ 22:07 UTC

gmx.com wants to buy this domain for 50 bucks. Naw, I don’t want to sell it right now.

[2-December-2008]

Playing with the camcorder

Filed under: Pater Familias,Things From Wood — @ 7:48 UTC

Playing with the video camera.

YouTube Preview Image

[28-July-2008]

A 130lb. Right Tackle

Filed under: Pater Familias — @ 19:57 UTC

My son, Éamon, is starting to play (American) Football. He’s 8 years old and I don’t know what position he’s going to play, but he’s really quite small and my hope is that he won’t get crushed lke a bug. I dug out my father’s 1950 High School yearbook and showed Éamo some pictures of his grandfather playing football — my father was a 130 pound right tackle his Junior year!

In paging through that yearbook I noticed, for the first time, that the hand-drawn separator pages were my father’s work. The drawings are unsigned, but the style is unmistakable.

[16-April-2008]

I Got Your Overweight Luggage Right Here, Pal….

Filed under: General — @ 20:27 UTC

With the rise in aircraft fuel prices, the weight limit on individual pieces of luggage is now being strictly enforced and, for international flights, the allowable luggage weight has been reduced. The thing that is really, really irritating is that you could arrive at the airport and find that you have to pay a LOT extra for an item of luggage that is one (1!) pound over the weight limit, but then you find your 160 pound body crammed in next to a sweaty 300 pound man with under-weight luggage. So … which one is costing the airline more in fuel? If the airlines are serious about fuel savings they need to begin weighing the passengers along with the luggage. Everything by the pound, boys, it’s only fair!

[11-April-2008]

Confessions of a 2nd Grader

Filed under: Pater Familias — @ 13:21 UTC

We were having a discussion at dinner last night about 2nd grade and I thought I’d share a few stories that I was compelled to share with my son’s 2nd Grade Teacher.

For me, 2nd grade is when everything started to go wrong. I was a 7-year-old student at Thomas Alva Edison Elementary School in South Bend, Indiana. So was my friend, Reggie Bain. Reggie and I had known each other since we were 2 years old and we were, as they say, “thick as thieves”. All I can say is: though the antics of the boys in the Captain Underpants books seem to be extremely naughty and exaggerated, they hit uncomfortably close to home.

(more…)

[9-April-2008]

Song Ordering Is Dead

Filed under: Making — @ 13:01 UTC

… or at least seriously wounded.

At first it used to be that when an artist completed a record, the record company would select the song order on the record, often picking the “hit” song for track 1, side A. Eventually the artists themselves took control of the process and agonized over the song selections for each side of the record. Some of it was the physics of record pressing: the grooves could only be so close together so there was a real limitation of which songs could be placed on which side. All of these rules also applied to cassette tapes.

The era of the compact disc, of course, changed the entire song selection process. Song order was important, but there wasn’t a “Side B”. This actually made the song-ordering process a bit more difficult because the artist had to consider the ebb and flow of all the songs that were being published. You need to look no further than Radiohead’s “OK Computer” to understand how song order can take a great record and make it timeless. Some artists even went so far as to release an entire record as a single CD track in order to preserve the ordering of the songs and to guarantee that they would be heard in what the artist deemed as “the correct order”. This is what we could call “clever, but annoying”, but really short circuited a CD player’s “shuffle” mode.

The digital era has changed the process again. Individual mp3 tracks are being bought and traded without regard for the rest of the songs that comprise an artist’s recordings. This is like evaluating Picasso by viewing a single “Blue Period” painting and not considering the rest of the collection. It’s seriously annoying, but what can be done? Here we are on the cusp of a Method of Frobenius release and there doesn’t seem any point to making song ordering decisions and placing the songs on CD. I wish there was a way to keep the songs in order, somehow, someway.

[22-October-2007]

Make them sing in “fake opera”

Filed under: Pater Familias — @ 20:15 UTC

If the children are being a real pain at dinner, I’ll only allow them to say something if they sing it in “fake opera”. I can’t tell you how much this helps their behaviour! Not only that, but it makes everyone smile and it’s especially funny when we have guests. Everyone should try it.

[20-October-2007]

I’ll give you a dollar if you make your mother laugh

Filed under: Pater Familias — @ 20:13 UTC

Sometimes, when my wife is in a bad mood, I’ll tell my children that I’ll give them a dollar (or a Euro when we’re in Europe) if they can make her laugh. I’ve never actually paid-up, but it does help. It might work for your family, dunno.

[5-October-2007]

The oddity that is Northern Ireland

Filed under: Irish Culture — @ 3:09 UTC

I spent some time in Northern Ireland recently and it wasn’t the experience I had expected. The people of NI have a cultural problem in that they can’t decide if they’re Irish or if they’re British. There, amid the Mountains of Mourne, is set the legendary Ulster cycle, the Táin Bó Cúalnge. The people of Northern Ireland are proud of this this ancient Celtic epic and want to tell you all about it at every opportunity. I’m good with that; everyone loves a good story. Yet some of these people who are so quick to embrace this epic myth are the same people that don their orange sashes every year and march down the street to intimidate the Catholic minority. Until they decide which culture to embrace, they’ll never make much progress.

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