Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This Quarterly Round Up

I decided to change from monthly roundups to quarterly roundups because I don't write here often enough to justify doing it monthly. I also decided to list some of the articles I have updated or where there are comments, for the few people (including me) who follow this blog, but need a way to get follow ups.

Part of this is because it has always bugged me that the news would do a story on some event with significant lasting repercussions and after effects, but I would have no way to follow up to see what happened in the months and years after.

I haven't published my slimeballs list in the last few months because I didn't have time to research and find the heroes that I promised would have to go with them. Let is suffice that there are many slimeballs, but that isn't what this blog is about.

I haven't done much with discussing Bible Study lately. I have been thinking about it, but need a different direction. The "For Dummies" series of books have lists of ten in the back, and maybe I could do a take off on that. I think I could do lists of five or so.

I did updates and or got comments on about half of the articles This has me almost singing with happiness, that someone found my writings worthwhile. (Hmmm, would that be pride?) The following are links to updates and articles that got comments.

I didn't finish my year end article last year
until 5 Jan this year. (and I cheated on the
deadline for this one, but only by a few hours)

I began a book review, promising more after I finished reading it. I will now say that this is a "must read" for Christians I did another review after reading half of it I am still reading it and will review it again

I did a short note on the UN resolution biased in favor of Hamas did one update and got one good comment.

I updated an article on year 2012 hysteria after getting some good comments on it

I fleshed out (a little) my five rules for personal finances.

There are comments and updates on my article about countries one by one succumbing to the Islamist movement.

Got one thoughtful comment, and one possible spam on my article about the increasing number of security cameras in our society.

Received one good comment (from Pilgrim) on my article about the digital TV revolution and its trojan horse.

I have also written comments on some other blogs, and I think it stands to reason, that if I take the time to comment on a blog, I consider it a worthwhile blog (at least it is worthwhile to me and some of my friends).

Combat Effective

Buying Gold and the price of Gold
Obama and his lies about gun control
Honor Killings among Muslims
Economic Policy
Body Scanners in airports

Future Millionaire

Short Selling a home
Rational Accumulation of Wealth

Pilgrim and Stranger

Salvation and The Gospel are not a consensus
Paul Harvey
Economic Justice
Spending Money and Charity-Not
Nature and Relaxation
Charity and the Poor
Police State, Abuse of Power
Witches and other Ideas of Decent Behaviour
Animal Cruelty, Police State, Abuse of Power

Arlo and Janis (This is my favorite comic strip)

A discussion about facebook

Actual post date and time for this article was changed to reflect some Pacific Ocean time zone.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A search for software (pt2)

See also, part one of this series.

GEEK ALERT: Despite being written for a general audiance this article is quite technicle in nature. If you are a non-geek, simply ignore the terms you don't understand, and you will still get three quarters of it.

I have been looking for replacements for some of the old DOS programs I built years ago, and this is a discussion about my quest to find a Personal Information Manager. I found three free PIM's that seemed, at first, to fill most of my requirements.

TreePad Lite is probably the easiest to find on the Net, but it turned out to be too limited - it seems to be mostly designed to wet your appatite for the business version. The business version seems to be quite good, and if you need a business PIM, you might want to check it out. There are actually four or five versions, and if you find it too your liking, I would reccommend paying for, and using the premium business version, if you use a Windows based computer in your business.

ChaosManager is a very simple and very compact PIM and organizer. While it is really, really, simple, the help pages and documentation are on its website and clicking on the help menues caused it to access its home URL. That is the main reason I didn't go with it. Beyond just not liking the fact that you have to go continually back to the web site to view documentaion, having the help menues access the web site means that if the web site goes under, so all of your help menues. I consider this a fatal error in the author's judgement.

I finally settled on EssentialPIM (for now) I used Micro$oft Outlook for e-mail many years ago, and this reminds me of that program. This program, the freeware edition, anyway, is so much like Micro$oft Outlook(without the e-mail), that I cannot really even define the differences in look and feel. Most of it revolves around a calandar and appointment book type of function. It also has a separate to-do list. The contact manager is very robust, even including a notepad and a place for a picture of the person.

There is a "Pro" (professional) version and it, just as much as treepad, has my reccomendation for those who need it for business.

  1. Help files are not very complete, and again, refer you to the author's website, where there is a forum for users of the product. This is, in my opinion, a huge drawback, and because of that, it took me a while to decide to use it anyway.
  2. There is no direct mechanism to move things automatically from calandar (schedule) to to-do list. You can make to-do list items repeat on a regular basis, but I would have prefered those items to be listed on the calandar and at a certain number of days before the due date, add themselves to the to-do list.
  3. Even though it shows you 6 weeks in the "monthly" planner, you can only print a calandar month, week or day.

The next program I need is a general purpose database, with some calculation capability. The primary, and first, purpose of this is to handle my checkbook register. I would also use it for my journal. There are some other things I would use it for, but these are the first.

I will cover this topic in a future "software search" article.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A search for software (pt1)

GEEK ALERT: This article is quite technical in nature. Despite being written for a non-geek audience, there are just some technical things that can't be ignored and still keep the article complete and accurate. If you are a non-geek, simply ignore the terms you don't understand, and you will still get three quarters of it.

I have been looking for a replacement for the old DOS filing systems I have been using on an "off line" computer since the 90's. (Even in the 90's MS-DOS was slightly out of date, but at this point, I fear I will soon not have any hardware that it will even run on.) The biggest problem with this task: I custom built most of this over the years, and it has a lot of custom functions that are just the way I like them.

I had several requirements in mind for the replacement programs. First, I wanted freeware. I'm cheap, but also I wanted after I got my system up and running, to be able to duplicate it on others' systems, without incurring expenses. Second, since I and some of my friends run older systems, it has to be stingy on computer resources. This cuts out Open Office, as it is free, but it is a resource hog. Third, for both security and economic concerns, it has to run completely off line - never accessing the Web, except possibly for upgrades, and then only with the user's permission. Lastly, it needs to run on Win2k and WinXP, since those are my platforms of choice, at this time. (I may in a few years, switch to Ubuntu Linux, but I need something to bridge the gap)

The fist thing I found out is that most of these programs, even the older ones, balk at my old 800x600 monitor. Statistically in the technology department, I recently slipped into the bottom 10% of the Internet users, and bottom 20% of the country as a whole. The majority of the world is using either 1024x768 or 1280x800(widescreen) resolution.

I figured I would need at least two programs to replace the suit of programs I have built in DOS. First something to keep track of birthdays and other info about friends and family, with a reminder system for that and other tasks, a to-do list, and a general purpose notebook. Basically this describes something (in a big leather book) called a "Day-Runner" from the 1980's, and is known as a PIM today. The other would be a database, mainly for my checkbook.

PIM stands for Personal Information Manager, and it allows you to keep all you information in electronic form. All your appointments, tasks, to do lists, notes and contacts are stored in a graphical and easily accessible form.

In my search, I found many dead ends. Most of the download sites today are loaded with shareware, which the authors want paid for. (And rightly so, since they did the work to create those programs) And many of those "free download" sites charge for the right to browse and download freely.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


One of the little secrets I carry around is that I am allergic to ascorbic acid. For some reason, its cousin, sodium ascorbate does not cause the same reaction, namely cancor sores that set in within a few hours of ingestion. It was bad enough when I had to avoid fruit flavored drinks, but over the years ascorbic acid has been added to more and more things.

This is such a rare thing that I had never, until recently, even heard of it. It took me over 10 years (all through the 90's) of cutting things out of my diet, as each one of them caused the reaction, before I figured out what the culprit was.

Oddly enough, sodium ascorbate does not seem to bother me, nor does fresh fruit. The fact that ascorbic acid is a sugar, largely imported from China, may have something to do with it.

I am still looking for more answers, but I think this system may just be fly paper.