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 Like a modern day Diogenes.

2003 News Archive

New Genealogy Forms

December 3, 2003

I just posted several of the forms I've made or personalized. These are the forms that I personally use. Hope you like them.

Thanks Lisa Perkins for sending me a link to your manifest extract forms.

Orrin Hatch at it Again!

December 2, 2003

Looks like Orrin Hatch is at it again! Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said Tuesday he had put one of his staffers on administrative leave for improperly obtaining data from the secure computer networks of two Democratic senators.

Webcasters sued RIAA recently in an antitrust case for anti-competitive behavior. The response? An exemption from antitrust laws. The Register tells about efforts to get an exemption written into law. They could become permanently exempt from such a suit because of a part of a bill sponsored by Orrin Hatch called EnFORCE Act. Orrin Hatch says this bill contains 'First... an antitrust exemption in the Copyright Act [for] record companies and music publishers.'

What's the deal with this guy? Everytime I hear his name come up in the news, I know it's bad. First he wants to destroy your computer, next he's a software pirate, now he wants excemptions for one of the most anticompetitave industries out there? You guys out there in Utah really need to get rid of this guy. Looking at his record you'd think he was the senator for Hollywood not Utah.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2003

Today I'd like to share with you what I see as the true meaning of Thanksgiving day. It turns out that the Pilgrims were a bunch of communist city boys. The history of the colony was chronicled by Governor William Bradford in his book, Of Plymouth Plantation (although I could not find a complete copy online, this website has links to many of the chapters of the book, the book is available at Amazon.com). Bradford relates how the Pilgrims set up a communist system in which they owned the land in common and would also share the harvests in common.

After half of their number died during their first winter (1620) in America an English speaking member of the Wampanoag nation, an indian named Squanto, educated them about living in the wild. He brought them food and skins, taught them how to cultivate new vegetables and how to build Indian-style houses. He educated the Pilgrims on poisonous plants, medicine, how to get sap from the maple trees, use fish for fertilizer, and dozens of other skills needed for their survival.

The seeds for success were planted but they still had a hard time. You see, the contract required that everything they produced be put into a communal pile. The men were not eager to work in the fields, since if they worked hard, they would have to share their produce with everyone else. The colonists faced another year of poor harvests.

As Governor Bradford describes it, "At last after much debate of things, the governor gave way that they should set corn everyman for his own particular... That had very good success for it made all hands very industrious, so much [more] corn was planted than otherwise would have been". The Pilgrims changed their economic system from communism to geoism; the land was still owned in common and could not be sold or inherited, but each family was allotted a portion, and they could keep whatever they grew. The governor "assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end."

Bradford wrote that their experience taught them that communism, meaning sharing all the production, was vain and a failure:

"The experience that has had in this common course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst Godly and sober men, may well evince the Vanities of the conceit of Plato's and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of propertie, and bringing into commone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing, as if they were wiser than God."

Their new econimic system was a success. It seemed that the pilgrims would have a great harvest. But then during the summer the rain stopped. The Pilgrims held a "Day of Humiliation" and prayer. The rains came and the harvest was saved. The Pilgrims saw this as a sign that God blessed their new economic system, Governor Bradford proclaimed November 29, 1623, as a Day of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day should be rembered as not just a day that we give thanks for the abundance that we have, but also the reason we have this abundance.

Lunar Eclipse Tonight

November 8, 2003

A total lunar eclipse will darken the full moon for most of North and South America, Europe, and Africa. The Moon rises about five p.m. EST and the eclipse will be in penumbra. Totality begins at 8:06 p.m. EST. and ends at 8:31 PM EST and the partial eclipse ends at 10:45 PM EST. To obtain the time and location for your area, use the Lunar Computer.

There is a lot of superstition surrounding eclipses. Ancient legends around the globe spoke of celestial monsters devouring the sun. For Norse tribes, it was a wolf called Skoll that is forever chasing the sun. He will devour it at the end of the world, a time they call Ragnarok. His brother Hati will devour the moon and that will be the end of the world as we know it.

In Vietnam, it was a giant frog, in Argentina a jaguar, and in Siberia a vampire. Eclipses in History & Eclipses through the Ages have some of the major events that have happened at the same time or because of eclipses.

While checking through the history & superstitions of eclipses I found a couple of very interesting sties. GodChecker.com has compiled a lot of information about the gods of ancient culture. Gods, Monsters and Myths has compiled popular myths from Greece/Rome Egypt Japan China and India.

Japanese Superstitions

November 6, 2003

I just made an update to the Japanese Superstitions section.

BarbieOS: A Linux Distro for Barbie?

October 27, 2003

BarbieOS, a new fictional Linux distribution for preteen girls. Spoof Linux distributions are nothing new though, Jesux & MS Linux are a couple I've seen in the past. Some of the best quotes gave it away as a joke, but a great one:

"... targeted specifically at toddler through preteen girls who are currently Windows users but may be seeking alternatives, possibly due to increasing licensing fees or out of a desire to break free of vendor lock-in."

"Most girls up through adult women become frightened and confused, often hysterical when presented with a traditional command prompt,"

"If Barbie were a career-focused woman working in the IT industry in 2003, she would support open standards," he says. "She would be seeking out free and open-source alternatives to current proprietary solutions, saving her company tens of thousands of dollars on management headaches associated with tracking software licenses and preparing for BSA audits. She would be looking at deploying Linux clients on the desktop and Linux servers in the back office. She wouldn't be willing to sacrifice power for features, and she would demand a system that is stable, secure, and easily configurable."

Top 11 Things Found in the Microsoft Cafeteria

October 27, 2003

11. Age of Entrées

10. Lunch Service Pack (fixes lack of butter in mashed potatoes and leak in drinking glass)

9. IISed Tea

8. Blue Screen of Death By Chocolate Cake

7. Fat16-Free Mayo

6. Zoo Tycoon Wild Game Appetizer Sampler

5. Outlook Espresso

4. Imitation Apple Pie

3. Patch Cobbler

2. Hotmail Waiters

1. Steve-ish MeatBallmers

K-Byte USB Portable Thumb Drive 128MB

October 19, 2003

Tiger Direct has the best deal I've seen so far for 128 MB thumb drives. If like me you've been looking to pickup one of these babies, this is your chance. It's only $20 after mail in rebate.

If you'd like to really use a user linux to go like Knoppix, this is your answer. Knippix can be configured to save your home directory to the thumb drive.

iTunes Comes to Windows

October 19, 2003

Apple today released a Windows version of iTunes onto its website. In a pitch on its home page - titled Hell Freezes Over - Apple describes its new baby as 'the best Windows app ever'.

Microsoft's Digital Media division, Dave Fester, dismissed iTunes for Windows, saying it was too limited for the average Windows users. Choice quote: '[Apple's music store] is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device.' Of course Apple doesn't feel to worried about this, simply stating their products will (and have) lived up to the hype. it.

'Choice' for Microsoft means that we choose from among their produts, the word doesn't mean the same thing to us as it does to them.

How Much Office Functionality Do We Need?

October 18, 2003

Microsoft says open-source office suites have just caught up to Office 97, but what has Redmond really accomplished in the past six years?

Read the article

Stonehenge Discovery Using 3D Laser Scanning

October 17, 2003

The BBC reports - 'High-tech lasers have been used to unlock the secrets of Stonehenge.

The work at the ancient site in Wiltshire has already uncovered two carvings which are invisible to the naked eye.' The project website contains lots of images plus some nice animations of the scan data.

Israeli Government Suspends Microsoft Contracts

October 17, 2003

According to The Register, in a double blow to Redmond, the Israeli government has both suspended all government contracts with Microsoft until at least the end of 2004, and Israeli Antitrust Authority director general Dror Strum has ruled that Microsoft is subject to US court limitations. At issue in part is Microsoft's refusal to support Hebrew in Mac versions of Office.

Of course, several people at Slashdot.org took the opportunity to poke fun at Microsoft. Here's a couple of the funnier ones:

And yea, the Lord spake unto the Israelites saying unto them, 'Lo, go forth and build unto me a nation worthy of praise and power. Build thy nation upon the backbones of small bird that are black and white, that stay where the cold winds blow. And when thine enemy arrives in the night, thou shalt see him wearing portholes like unto windows, bearing wares which thou shalt not take, for I have set the aside to be a land free of gates and minions who roam everywhere in thy houses.' And the Israelites did so, smiting the foes who doth galavant in the street like large apes with too much wine, shouting that their ways are superior. And so it was good, for they did not bow down before the false idols of the Mik-roh-softi. - Deuteronimicus 13:37

They were pretty happy that MS products didn't work on the sabbath. What really got them mad was that they didn't work any other day either.

Top 10 Linux Desktop Apps

September 31, 2003

A simple simple question at NewsForge has led me to several very good Linux desktop applications. Check out the comments for lots more good links. My top ten in no particular order:

  1. Quanta Plus: The best plain text HTML editor I've ever used. I could never go back to using NoteTab again.
  2. Ximian Evolution: Best email/pim program I've ever used.
  3. Mozilla Firebird: The best web browser without a doubt. It's got tabbed browsing, popup & ad blocker, and much more. Read more in Mozilla review. Has a Windows port.
  4. OpenOffice.org: for at least 90% of what people do with a word processor, this can fit the bill. OpenOffice imports most popular formats & can also produce PDFs. Also has a windows port.
  5. Gramps: As a genealogy program, I'd say it's not as good as Family Tree Maker but it is comming along nicely.
  6. The Gimp: This is a great photo editing program. Most of the Photoshop tips that you find on the web can also be use with the Gimp. See my Gimp tutorial section for creative uses of Gimp. Also has a windows port.
  7. GNU Cash: An open source accounting package I use to manage my bank account.
  8. Kopete: A multi-service Jabber based instant messaging program. There are also windows Jabber clients.
  9. Frozen Bubble: A great Linux game much like the other bubble game. Also has a Windows port.
  10. Clan Bomber: a free Bomberman-like multiplayer game.

Related Links

September 31, 2003

I've added related links to my pages. Look at the bottom of many of my pages for related pages both on this website & external links.

Glider Pro Now Free

September 26, 2003

Since Casady & Greene Inc. went bankrupt, the rights to the game Glider have reverted to the author. To that end, Glider PRO and Glider 4.0 are now free for download on this web page.

Government Resources for Genealogy

September 25, 2003

Tracing your family tree can be a very rewarding and insightful experience. If you're stuck or not sure where to begin, there are government resources that will help.

There are links to the Library of Congress and National Archives with birth and immigration records. Was your great-great grandmother born in a small town in Kansas but you can't find it on the map? There are links to historical maps as well.

Visit the website

Reliance On MS A Danger To National Security

September 25, 2003

A panel of leading security experts Wednesday blasted Microsoft for vulnerabilities in its software, and warned that reliance on the Redmond, Wash.-based developer's software is a danger to both enterprises and national security.

New Microsoft Virus

September 24, 2003

As forecast in this story, a new Microsoft worm has indeed wriggled to the surface. The W32.Swen's claim to fame is its professional looking email advertisement that pretends to be a fake Microsoft patch. Earlier viruses have made the claim, but none of them looked this good. It appears to have infected over 1.5 million machines.

Knoppix 3.3 is Out

September 24, 2003

If you've ever wanted to try out Linux but weren't sure how to go about it, here's your answer. Knoppix is Linux on a bootable CD. Simply put the cd into your computer & reboot your system. The main Knoppix website is still down in protest of European software patent legislation (click on the link inside the English paragraph to get to the meat of the website), but the excellent knoppix.net has a detailed changelog.

Halt! Word Police!

September 23, 2003

Today someone emailed me about wanting a reciprocal link to their web page. They expressed concern about the naming of some of my pages (specifically the prefix 'jap' in the name of the Japanese cultural articles). I thought I'd post it here just in case anyone else wanted to know why I'm being so 'insensitive'.

I've been running my website for quite sometime & you're the first to ever mention that. Part of my website is called the 'Oriental Adventures Project', I've also prefixed all of my Chinese articles with the 'chin', both of which could also be misconstrued as racist terms. We could play these types of word games all day, guessing at what could or couldn't be offensive to this person or that person.

Some people want to be offended, they'll go out of their way to be offended no matter what I do. Thank you for your suggestion but I'm just going to keep naming my pages what I wish & not worry about what someone else might think about my abbreviations. If some particular individuals get offended, I'm sorry that they can't be happy with life & would rather attack every little thing that someone says.

It's not like I'm writing a web page supporting dropping nuclear weapons in Japan, setting up internment camps to house Japanese Americans, or advocating violence against people of Asian descent, I'm actually trying to educate people about what is to us a foreign culture. If you want to worry about what the 'word police' will think of you, so be it. As for me, I think my time will be better spent writing articles & educating those who wish to know about cultures other than their own.

I think we've become too sensitive about what we say. I think that a person should be judged on the content of their character. I also think it's time that people quit being so negative and live their lives to better themselves & humanity. If that makes me a racist in someone's eyes, so be it, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Popular Science: Worst Jobs in Science

September 16, 2003

Popular Science reviews some of the worst jobs in science. Suprising to to me was that astronaut was on it.

Complete Mirrodin Spoiler Revealed

September 13, 2003

Star City Games managed to get ahold of the full spoiler for Mirrodin two weeks early. The spoiler is posted in two parts, first the colored cards, then the colorless cards.

Wizards Previews More Mirrodin

September 11, 2003

Wizards has previewed several more cards for the next magic set. This artifact lets you use the same spell every turn. This artifact can generate a lot of card advantage for you. This artifact punishes people who tutor too much. This blue spell is probably the closest to Ancestral Recall we'll ever get. Imagine the fun of red's Gauntlets of Chaos type enchantment. Finally, this equipment promises to level the playing field.

Take a look at the spoiler for a list of all cards previewed so far.

Microsoft Patches Another Critical RPC Hole

September 10, 2003

Microsoft have another critical vulnerability in the Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 line of OSes, allowing a remote attacker to run arbitrary code. In other words, this probably carries about the same risk as the well-documented RPC hole exploited by MSBlaster and Nachi. A Knowledgebase article is also available.

Given the experience of the RPC exploit, this probably gives administrators a couple of weeks to patch all the systems in their organisations. Again. Shucks, we haven't even finished patching the RPC flaw yet." You might want to keep your laptop's batteries charged; this NewsForge article suggests that the Blaster worm may have played a role in the August 14th blackout affecting the eastern U.S.

Administrators with multiple machines to patch visit Microsoft's Software Update Services (whitepaper), a tool for "managing and distributing critical Windows patches."

RIAA Tries to link P2P to Child Porn

September 8, 2003

Having largely failed to galvanize public and political action against P2P systems, the RIAA has mounted a campaign to link P2P systems with child pornography (NYT, reg. required). The result is H. R. 2885 (available via Thomas), which has the remarkably clear and honest intent 'To prohibit the distribution of peer-to-peer file trading software in interstate commerce.' Amongst other things, the proposed law will require the creation of 'do-not-install beacon products' (do-not-ask, you really don't want to know), force P2P apps to include warning labels that users may be exposed to pornography, and require P2P developers and distributors to obtain and store users' personal information -- ostensibly for age verification, but one can think of other reasons that the RIAA might be interested in that info. Worse yet, even given the 'operation exemption' (Sec. (4)(b)(1)(C) in the bill), applications such as AIM and iChat appear to fall under these provisions.

d20 License Revision Creates Controversy

September 8, 2003

Wizards of the Coast, the makers of Dungeons and Dragons and the owners of the popular d20 license, have made some changes that are very unpopular in the RPG community. The new clauses allows WotC to censor d20-branded books with sexual, excessively violent, or other questionable content by revoking the book's d20 license: 'Wizards of the Coast may terminate this License immediately... if it deems, in its sole discretion, that your use of the Licensed Articles does not meet the above standards.' (The full listing can be found in a 12 KB RTF file.) Needless to say, people aren't happy. BTW, Wizard's own 'Book of Vile Darkness' violates most of the new rules." There are further details about this change, which only affects 'any work carrying the d20 logo', over at GamingReport.com.

RIAA Offers File Swapers "Amnesty"

September 8, 2003

Apparently, the RIAA is planning to offer amnesty to file sharers who promise to delete copyrighted material from their computers. To take advantage, of course, you 'have to send a completed, notarized amnesty form to the RIAA, with a copy of a photo ID.

But the EFF Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer suggests that 'Stepping into the spotlight to admit your guilt is probably not a sensible course for most people sharing music files online, especially since the RIAA doesn't control many potential sources of lawsuits,'.

Even More Letters of B. F. Hurst

September 7, 2003

This is the last letter from Alpheus Augustus Hurst to B.F. Hurst that I've got.

Read the Letter

More Letters of B. F. Hurst

September 6, 2003

This is what appears to be the second letter from Alpheus Augustus Hurst to B.F. Hurst.

Read the Letter

When Artifacts Aren't Spells

September 6, 2003

Friday's MagictheGathering.com update included an article by Randy Buehler about a new card type. Earlier this week they introduced us to equipment, this time it's a new type called Artifact Land. Along with others I've seen in the Mirrodin spoiler, it should be an interesting set.

Read the Article

Magic Wallpapers

September 6, 2003

A couple of weeks ago, Wizards of the Coast stated doing Magic wallpaper of the week with card art. So far they've done Mageta the Lion, Stalking Bloodsucker, & the best looking one so far, Ancient Tomb. They offer them in 800x600 & 1024x768.

Letters of B. F. Hurst

September 5, 2003

This appears to be the first letter from Alpheus Augustus Hurst to B.F. Hurst.

Read the Letter

A History Of Tabletop RPGs

September 5, 2003

Skotos.net has a column discussing a brief history of tabletop role-playing games, as the author, aided by resources such as the Pen & Paper RPG database, charts the evolution of the RPG from 'character modelling' in the earliest titles ('...the purpose was to create statistics, abilities, and rules which could be used to depict a character'), through 'character development' in the original 1974 Dungeons & Dragons ('Instead of having static characters, players were offered ways for their characters to evolve and change'), right up to the 'story telling' emphasis in the '80s and beyond ('player investment in individual characters was dramatically reduced in exchange for telling better stories.')

Man's Horror Firecracker Injuries

September 5, 2003

An horrific firecracker accident which left an Illawarra man incontinent and unable to have sex has prompted warnings from police and health authorities. The 26-year-old man suffered a fractured pelvis and severe burns to his genital area after a firecracker exploded between the cheeks of his buttocks.

It seems natural selection isn't working as well as it used because of modern medicine. But maybe in this case it will because according to the article the man was left sexually dysfunctional.

Read the Article

MS Launches Office Security Blitz

September 4, 2003

Microsoft issued five security alerts yesterday. Thankfully, only one, involving a buffer overflow vulnerability with the software giant's applications development suite, is serious enough to merit the dreaded "critical" designation.

And its not just Office apps, enterprise apps such as Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains 7.5 and Microsoft Business Solutions eEnterprise (versions 6.0 and 7.0) need a patching too. In all 29 apps need fixing.

Read the Article

Lice Genes Date First Human Clothes

September 4, 2003

We started wearing clothes about 70,000 years ago - at least according to our lice genes. At that time the body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus) evolved from the head louse (P. humanus capitis), say Mark Stoneking and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. The split should correspond to the time when the body louse's habitat - clothes - became widespread.

Read the Article

Mozilla's New Focus: The End User

September 3, 2003

The Mozilla Foundation this week launched a beta of the latest version of its open-source browser and applications suite, the first release since the project separated from America Online Inc.'s Netscape Communications subsidiary.

With the Mozilla 1.5 Beta, the project is promising improvements in performance, stability, standards support and Web compatibility. But new features are not the primary focus. The beta release marks the beginning of the project's journey to focus more energy on end users and promotion of its efforts now that it is an independent organization, Mozilla President Mitchell Baker said...

Read the Article

Using OpenOffice.org with Style

September 3, 2003

Many people who are trying to convert over to OpenOffice.org from an existing word processor are finding small differences to their original application. In most cases this is not causing too many issues and it is simply a matter of spending a few minutes to workout how to do that task in the new software. One area that many people are having a problem with though, is the use of styles for formatting their documents.

The main area this is causing contention is with the people who have used word processors from the softwares beginning, or at least for quite some time. Many of these users are not familiar with the concept of styles within documents. They are more familiar with the reveal code paradigm used by older word processors such as Word Perfect. This makes the concept of styles foreign to many of the new users of OpenOffice.org even though its benefits are many...

The only thing I would add to the article is that you can easily add a table of contents to your documents (Insert > Indexes & Tables > Indexes & Tables). This TOC will be built from headings you define in your documents. To update the TOC, simply right click it & click 'Update Index/Table'.

Read the Article

Wizards Previews New Basic Lands

September 2, 2003

For those of you who missed it (like me) here's the links to what some of the basic lands in Mirrodin will look like. Just scroll to the bottom of the page to see:






SCO/Microsoft's Attack on Linux is Backfiring

September 2, 2003

Microsoft has been in the news just as much as the SCO/IBM/Linux battle, and Microsoft has indeed funded SCO to prolong its IBM/Linux fight. But if you step back for a moment, you'll notice that the content of all the Microsoft headlines is due to their software being pathetically poor (according to the press). On the other hand, what's going on with the Linux press? SCO and IBM are fighting tooth and nail OVER Linux software. So in the big picture you have mountains of press about how bad Microsoft is, and mountains of press about how good Linux is, and how the biggest companies of the modern era are fighting tooth and nail to possess it.

Read the Article

Microsoft: Do Not Use Windows on the Internet

September 2, 2003

Microsoft's website was recently urging users to purchase additional hardware or software - or keep computers using the Windows OS off of the Internet altogether. Steve Suehring makes no claim that Linux has all of the answers for security. "However, attacks can be prevented much easier with Linux," he writes.

It's unfortunate for all the hot air coming out of Redmond that Microsft still can't find a clue when it comes to basic computer security. Microsoft continues to demonstrate that they are years behind Linux and open source innovators in many areas, not the least of which is security.

Read the Article

OA Project Changeover Complete

August 22, 2003

I've completed the changeover for all the pages of the Oriental Adventures Project. All articles are now in the new layout.

Magic: You Make the Card

August 21, 2003

'You Make the Card #2' has reached step 10. It's already been decided that it will be an artifact that will allow you to 'play lands in your graveyard as if they were in your hand'. What's to be choosen now is the name. Go here & send them your suggestion.

Matrix Revolutions Trailer Released

August 21, 2003

The new Matrix Revolutions trailer is now available for download on the official website. If you have plugin/bandwidth issues, there are also BitTorrent links available. For those who don't know, BitTorrent is a distributed network filesharing program which allows people to download parts of the file from each other. There is a Windows client available.

RIAA Methods Under Scrutiny

August 20, 2003

A Senate panel will hold hearings on the recording industry's crackdown against online music swappers, the chairman said Thursday. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minnesota), made the announcement in a letter to the Recording Industry Association of America. He had received information he had requested from the group about the campaign, which Coleman has called excessive.

This combined with the recent court ruling should hopefully bring some much needed sanity to the RIAA. Yeah right, a sane Recording Industry?!?

Some 'Stolen' Linux Code Revealed

August 19, 2003

As reported by Slashdot, some 'stolen' Linux code has been revealed. According to the guys at Slashdot, much of the 'stolen' code came from HP, SCO (when they called themeselves Caldera), SGI, or BSD. Much of the code goes as far back as 1973, a full 6 years before SCO exsisted.

Laws of Genealogy

August 19, 2003

The document containing evidence of the missing link in your research invariably will be lost due to fire, flood, or war.

The keeper of vital records you need will just have been insulted by another genealogist.

Your great, great, grandfather's obituary states that he died, leaving no issue of record.

The town clerk you wrote to in desperation, and finally convinced to give you the information you need, can't write legibly, and deesn't have a copying machine.

The will you need is in the safe on board the "Titanic."

The spelling of your European ancestor's name bears no relationship to it's current spelling or pronunciation.

That ancient photograph of four relatives, on of whom is your progenitor, carries the name of the other three.

Copies of old newspapers have holes which occur only on last names.

No one in your family tree ever did anything noteworthy, always rented property, was never sued, and was never named in wills.

You learned the great aunt Matilda's executor just sold her life's collection of family genealogical materials to a flea market dealer "somewhere in New York City."

Yours is the ONLY last name not found among the 3 billion in the world-famous mormon archives in Salt Lake City.

Ink fades and paper deteriorates at a rate inversely proportional to the value of the data recorded.

The 37-volume, sixteen-thousand-page history of your county of origin isn't indexed.

The critical link in your family tree is named "Smith."

OS Shootout 2003

August 18, 2003

The Tech Zone just updated their article comparing the features between Mac OS X, Windows & Linux.

Read More

Eight Again

August 18, 2003

A husband had heard his wife drop a hint about being 8 again.

So on her birthday, he told her: dress up in your jeans, tee-shirt & trainers we’re going out. Off they went to Alton Towers where they went on some rides, had ice cream, fizzy drinks & candy floss. After that it was more rides & stuff and yet more fizzy drinks & candy floss.

Later it was to a MacDonald's, where they had Big Macs, fries & milkshakes. After that he took her to the moves, & yet more fizzy drinks, popcorn & they watched Harry Potter.

Later that night in bed, he turned to her and asked: Well, what was it like to be 8 again? She opened a bleary eye and said: I was referring to my dress size you fool!

Use Windows, Go to Jail

August 17, 2003

It's a scary thought, but Windows users may actually risk going to jail if they don't protect themselves well enough from the many worms, viruses and 'Trojans' that can infect their operating system.

Read More

SCO Targets US Government, TiVo

August 12, 2003

According to SCO, if you have a TiVo set-top box, or those models of Sharp Zaurus which use Linux, someone now owes them $32, since the company wants money 'for each embedded system using Linux.' SCO also says government agencies must pay up to $699 for each copy of Linux that they use.

All Linux users, including owners of TiVo need to report SCO to their Attorney General. Ask if demanding protection money is extortion. Tell the AG that SCO won't tell you what you are buying and you have no idea if you have compiled the alledged code into your binary kernal and thus don't know if you need a binary license. Tell the AG that SCO is giving your no warrenty that the license will work the way it claims. Tell them to act fast because SCO is considering doubling the cost of protection.

Got a New Numeric Keypad

August 11, 2003

I decided I wanted to get a newer nicer keypad for my laptop. I found one locally here at Meyer for $20. The Belkin F8E466-MOB preforms flawlessly. The keys are the the same size as my old one, but it's slightly sloped for easier input & has it's own 'Num Lock' indicator. Here in linux land, I tore open the packaging (ignoring the 'Designed for Microsoft Windows' sticker), plugged it in & it worked, just like my old one. No drivers or anything. Wow, REAL Plug & Play, what a concept!

Wiki Hacking: Patch Accepted

August 10, 2003

Well, it seems that I'm not a bad newbie Perl hacker. My first patch: the Page Delete patch has been added to the upcomming 1.0 release of UseMod! Not bad for someone only a week into working with Perl.

Wiki Hacking

August 8, 2003

Sorry about the lack of updates. Eric (sort of) made the suggestion that we should have a user collaborative area for the Hurst Reunion website, so I've been working hard hacking the crap out of UseMod Wiki. Even though I'm only a Perl newbie, I've managed to make a couple of Wiki patches myself. Check them out: Page Delete & AutoUserName.

I setup Apache & Perl on my laptop so that I could do all the experimenting I want on my local computers. I'm supprised at how easy it's been for me to start learning Perl, in just a few days I've been able to add just about every functionality I've even thought about. The only problem I've had is trying to correct an error in the Improved Text Formatting Patch. It seems to have a problem with nested lists. If anyone knows Perl well enough to fix this problem, eMail me.

Working on Wiki's

August 2, 2003

Just finished up writing up a brand new wiki at Wikipedia. I also wrote up my own user wiki. If you've never heard of Wikipedia, check it out. You can write your own articles & edit others articles.

Disposable eMail Addresses

July 31, 2003

Are you paranoid about spam? Do you nee a temporarly eMail address just to recieve a few messages? Try Spamgormet.

Gates Provides Windows Crash Statistic

July 30, 2003

Bill Gates says that according to error reporting software in windows, 5% of all windows installations crash two or more times every day. Gates goes on to state that Microsoft is looking at charging for some of its software updates that it now distributes for free.

So now he's going to make software that's got more holes than swiss cheese, then he's going to charge customers to fix them? Sounds like a good racket. This gives them great incentive to not fix bugs in initial software releases.

What's more interesting here is that he picked TWICE a day to report. How many people crashed once a day? I'd wager a great many more than 5%.

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Kansas IS Flatter than a Pancake

July 29, 2003

Scientits at Southwest Texas State University & Arizona State University have confirmed what many cross country drivers have suspected for years, Kansas is flatter than a pancake. A study published recently in the tongue-in-cheek Annals of Improbable Research compares the geography of Kansas to that of a griddle cake purchased at International House of Pancakes.

Hulk Smashes, Wins Type 1 Magic Championship

July 27, 2003

Early this morning I got to see the Type 1 world championship! Carl Winter took the final match 2-0. With his deck Hulk Smash. Congratulation Carl!

Made it Back Home

July 27, 2003

Well, I made it home this morning about 6am & crashed. What a great event! I wish I could have stayed for the Sunday events, unfortunately I have to work tonight at 7 & I needed lots of sleep after a weekend of such long days. (Why, oh why didn't I sign up for another vacation day?!?). I can't wait to go back next year!

GenCon Saturday Morning

July 26, 2003

Got here a little while ago, getting ready to go finish the vendor hall. I've got another 8th edition tournament at 6pm tonight. I hope I do better tonight. Wish me luck!

Played my Two Tournaments

July 25, 2003

Well, I played my two tournaments & had lots of fun, although I got slaughtered. I went 0-2 both times. First tournament, first round was less than 10 minutes due to a massive land gut. I did get passed 2 Birds of Paradise & a foil Majhamoti Djinn & a non foil one though. So that with the two foil Rukh Eggs wasn't too bad of a take.

GenCon 8th Edition Magic

July 25, 2003

I managed to get through event regestration line in like 10 minutes. I got into Eighth Edition release tournaments at 12p &n 6p. Should be lots of fun!


July 25, 2003

Well, I'm still here at GenCon. Had a good night's sleep & looking forward to a good day of gaming. Planning on attending a couple of Eighth Edition Magic Tournaments today & meeting my cousin for lunch about the Corydon Hurst Reunion website I'm working on.

Made it to GenCon

July 24, 2003

Well, I finally made it throught the three hour line at GenCon. The drive up was fine, made it in just under 2 hours. Off to have some fun.

Well, I'm off to GenCon

July 23, 2003

Well, I'm off to GenCon early in the morning. I don't have any time to post a real update today, my preperation for going took up most of my day.

Genealogy: Everything I've Entered

July 22, 2003

Well, I've posted an update to my online family tree. Special sources inclued: Riley & Carnithan families: Spencer County Indiana records, Daviess County Kentucky records, Kentucky death index, & Social Security Death Index; Sager Family Bible: Sager, Harris, Martin, Smart, Jordan, & Hyman families.

Read more.

Etymology: French Ban Term 'E-Mail'

July 21, 2003

In an effort to stem the tide of English words invading the French language the French Government has banned the term eMail. The term to be used now is 'courrier electronique' literally 'electronic mail'. It will be used in all official government ministries, documents, publications & websites.

Read more.

More on my Linux Switch

July 21, 2003

I got tired of working on genealogy without the use of a real number pad (laptops don't have them) so, I pulled out my el chepo Micro Innovations USB numberpad & plugged it in. I didn't neeed to install a single driver, nor do any weird configuration, it just worked. How's that for real "Plug & Play"? It was always a pain to use this in windows because I could never get it to keep track of it's own "Num Lock" seperate from the system "Num Lock". Even when I could find a program that would do it, it would constantly crash.

Gramps is working better than I could have ever expected. It allows me to site several sources for the same event with extensive information on the source & set a confidence level for each source. It's autocomplete function is on par with that from Family Tree Maker. It's reporting functions are amazing. Take a look here at the website generation function. It's got several built in templates & support for user defined templates. In addition to generating reports in HTML, it can also build a variety of reports in the following formats: Open Office, RTF, Latex & more. This has got to be the best genealogy program I've had the pleasure of using. Combining Gramps with the Open Office it should be simple to create high quality print-outs, books & PDFs.

I've switched to Quanta to do all of my webpage editing. It's not a WYSIWYG html editor. It's more like Notetab, a text editor with HTML tag toolbar buttons & tag autocomplete. It also allows me to link to external scripts, so I wrote a little script to run htp & generate the pages for my website from the templates, linked it to a button on the toolbar & voila all I have to do is click the button to generate my website.

SCO to Ready Linux Licensing Program

July 20, 2003

According to this article at InfoWorld SCO is preparing a new "licencing plan" for users of Linux. Basically they hope to extort money from linux users because they believe their source code ended up in Linux. They're looking for "Protection Money" just like a common criminal. Don't believe their hype. As soon as GPL software has been "polluted" with commercial software, the GPL has been revoked. This makes it so that there is no license to do anything with the GPLed portions of the code. So it seems logically that SCO cannot possibly license Linux. They can either enforce their copyright, assuming that the kernel contains SCO code improperly, and stop Linux distribution, or they can sit back and do nothing. Collecting money is not a legal option. For more on the GPL and free software, visit the Free Software Foundation's page.

Got Gramps Working!

July 19, 2003

Well, I finally got Gramps the genealogy program working with a little help. Although it's an older version it seems to be a great piece of software. I've been working it hard for over 2 hours & haven't found a bug yet. Wish I could get one of the new versions running, but alas, guess I'm going to have to wait for a while. Hopefully the people who make the software can sometime actually provide a download that actually works with Mandrake.

OpenOffice.org 1.1 RC 1 is out!

July 17, 2003

OpenOffice 1.1 Release Candidate 1 has been released. This is the final step before it gets it's general release to the public. Get the details here. Among the cooler features are built in PDF and Flash export, better MS Office document filters & speed improvements! Open Office is a free open source alternative to Microsoft Office that runs on Microsoft Window, Mac OS X, Linux, & Solaris.

I can say that I've tested this release personally (but not much) & I must say that speed improvements are a welcome. The PDF export is really fast & it makes files which are just slightly bigger than those produced by the Adobe Acrobat Distiller (113.2k vs. 114.5k). I haven't tested the export to Flash yet, but I plan to soon. With every release this program just seems to be getting better & better. Pretty soon I think it'll climb the few remaining hurtles to become the premier word processing program.

Linux Performing Well

July 16, 2003

So now that I'm in the swing of things with the way Linux work, I can get back to making regular updates. I got my DVD player working & browser plugins installed & with the exception of of Gramps, a Linux genealogy program, & a few broken fonts I was using, everything works.

Equilibrium DVD

July 16, 2003

I rented a copy of the Equilibrium DVD the other day & I must say that it an awesome movie. It's a dark future movie about a world where war has been eliminated by suppressing feelings & making illegal books, art, & music. But one lone cop seeks to change everything. View the trailer here, go rent it at your local video store & enjoy.

Favorite Poem

July 16, 2003

I've never been a big poetry freak, but while watching Equilibrium recently I heard one that is quite memorable.

Tread Softly (Yeats)

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths,

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams,

I have spread my dreams under your feet,

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

eMail Problems Again

July 13, 2003

So get this. When you setup a mail account on Mozilla Thunderbird, the mail only portion of Mozilla, it assumes that you want to leave all messages on the server. If your provider restricts the amount of space that you can use, you need to immediately uncheck the prefrence in the account settings dialog. Because of this, if you sent me a message in the past 2 days, please send it again.

The Switch Was Successful

July 11, 2003

It actually works better than when it ran windows. There are a couple of programs which I haven't found replacements for, but for now I'll still run windows on my desktop machine (I mostly use my laptop). I've replaced NoteTab with Kate as my page editor, I'm still using HTP for templating, & The Gimp for image editing.

Switched to Linux

July 9, 2003

Well, I've switched to Linux. I'm trying it out as my primary operating system. With any luck, tommorrow I'll have most things I need figured out & will be making regular updates again.

Funny Pictures

July 7, 2003

I took some time this weekend & took a few humorous snapshots.

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John L. Hurst Timeline

July 5, 2003

This is a timeline of events in the life of John Lyonel Hurst I compiled.

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History of the Hurst Family

July 4, 2003

This is a history of the Hurst family as passed on to me by Pearl Hurst. She originally wrote it sometime in the 80's. This history of the Hurst family was told to Pearl Hurst by Perry C. Hurst. I've edited it to make the stories a bit more clear & corrected all the spelling/grammer mistakes.

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OA Second Edition: Kits

July 2, 2003

This is a conversion of Oriental Adventures first edition classes into second edition kits.

Anti-Terrorism PSA Parody

July 2, 2003

Found this on the net the other day, thought it was hilarious:

I put a mom and pop software company out of business.

I helped to destroy business ethics.

I put 10 school districts deep into debt.

I destroyed the internet by spreading email virii.

Every time you buy Microsoft, you support terrorism.

Gimp Tutorial: Microtiles Backgrounds

July 1, 2003

This tutorial is sutible even for beginners. Using microtiles files at 16 pixels square, you can make a background that looks like notebook paper, graph paper or many other backgrounds.

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OA Second Edition: Additional Hengeyokai

June 31, 2003

The Hengeyokai race was introduced in the Oriental Adventure book. They showed several subraces, but said that these are the most common, so there are more out there. This is a compilation of some of the other subraces. For those of you not familiar with the race, I put in the complete description of the race, but the original subraces are not included.

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Three Killed in California Sword Attack

June 31, 2003

According to FoxNews.com a man walked into his former emplyer (a grocery store) & killed three, wounded three with a Samurai sword. Seems the guy was a schizophrenic Highlander fan. The police shot & killed him when they showed up.

Sorry About the Updates

June 30, 2003

For those of you not interested in Gimp Tutorials, I'm sorry I haven't had anything for you the past few days. I've had to work all weekend & haven't had time to do more than post a few tutorials that I already had written up. Tonight I should have something that will interest more of you.

Gimp Tutorial: Minibricks Background

June 30, 2003

This tutorial is sutible even for beginners. Using a Minibricks tile you can make the illusion of a continuous brick wall background.

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Gimp Tutorial: Ghost Type Backgrounds

June 29, 2003

This tutorial is sutible even for beginners. Using a single ghost type tile you can make the illusion of a continuous image for the backgrounds of your pages.

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Gimp Tutorial: Metal Buttons

June 28, 2003

This tutorial is sutible even for beginners. Using these techniques, you can create cool looking brushed aluminum style buttons.

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HTML By Example: My Design Philosophy

June 27, 2003

Using standards compliant code along with CSS you can make pages download quickly, display the same on all browsers and screen sizes, and make changes to your entire website by only changing the CSS.

In part one of this series I will explain to you my website design philosophy. We'll explore topics such as interface design, what standards compliant code is, give examples of good & not so good designs, & finish with a descriptions of the tools we will use to make images, design, & template your web pages.

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Gimp Tutorial: Wooden Buttons & Background

June 26, 2003

This tutorial is sutible even for beginners. Wood buttons can add a little class to your website. You can make them in different sizes & shapes. You can make matching backgrounds, & photo windows.

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What is Open Source

June 25, 2003

You know, with all the preaching I do about alternatives to comercial application, it never really occured to me that some of you might not know what Open Source really means. A good starting point would be this article. Andreas Pour of KDE had an interview with Open for Buisness almost a year ago that made some very good points about the open source movement. Finally, the legal concepts area of the Creative Commons website will talks a little about Open Source licenses.

But what I believe that no one can really be told what Open Source is. Much like the Matrix, you have to pop some pills & see it for yourself. (just kidding ;-)

So what does open source mean to me? It means that I won't be tied into one vendor for the types of software I want to use. It means I won't have to be forced into upgrade cycles for software with the same features, more Digital Rights Management, & more bloat. It also means that I can give all my friends copies of software I use without fear of reprisal from the BSA.

Harry Potter is Out!

June 24, 2003

I guess it's about time to say something about it, the new Harry Potter book 'Order of the Phoenix' came out Saturday. I just started reading it yesterday & WOW. This should be the best book yet. If you haven't picked up your copy yet, hurry up & get it. If you haven't considered the series because you thought it might be too 'childish', think again!

Changed Images to PNG

June 23, 2003

In case you haven't noticed, I've changed all the images on my website to PNG. It's reduced the graphics sizes by over 200k, which means my pages should load faster. If you would be interested in making your website's graphics smaller, read this article. PNG is a lossless image format which is supported by all the major browsers. The Gimp seems to have the best support for PNG, making the smallest files of the software I reviewed.

FreeCraft Dead?

June 22, 2003

As of June 20th, FreeCraft is no more. The development team got a cease & desist order form Blizzard because of the similarity to their trademarks WarCraft & StarCraft. There was also some mention of a similarity of game engine. IANAL but the similarity in game engine shouldn't have been a problem if you know anything about the Microsoft Windows.

It's entirely possible the project will still live on with some changes. A quick search shows it still avilable elsewhere.

FreeCraft was a multi-platform real time simulation engine capabile of rendering emulations of popular games or entirely new games. It could even import the sound & graphics from the WarCraft II disk. I have played this game & it was showing a lot of promise. Too bad lawyers had to get involved. Hopefully someone will manage to pull together another project to continue this great game. Given that the source was available under the GNU General Public License it shouldn't be a problem.

eMail was was Down for a Couple of Days

June 21, 2003

My eMail was down for a couple of days. If you sent me anything, please send it again.

Happy Birthday to Me!

June 21, 2003

Well today is the day I turn 30. I got the Highlander First Season DVD set. Pretty cool, it's been years since I've seen most of these.

GIF Patent Expires

June 21, 2003

Yesterday was an independence day of sorts. Here in the U.S. the patent LZW compresssion algorithm Patent expired. This is the same patent which is used widely in GIF files & for many other applications.

Why is this important you may ask? LZW is a dictionary compression method. There are fundamentally 2 kinds of lossless compression techniques: dictionary and statistical. Up until this point, if a programmer wanted to use this algorithm they had to pay heafty fees to Unisys. Now with this patent expired we will see open source gif image editors, less bullying by the afore mentioned Unisys & the LZW's algorithm is good for more than just pictures.

Orrin Hatch: Software Pirate?

June 20, 2003

Tuesday durring a discusson on “copyright abuses” Senator Hatch asked asked technology experts if there was some way to damage file trader's computer. But according to the article on Wired.com Orrin Hatch is himself a software pirate. You may say he's not responsible for it, but according to this software piracy information PDF made by the BSA in paragraph 4, he is liable for this unlicensed software:

“Many businesses, both large and small, face serious legal risks because of software piracy. Under the law, a company can be held liable for its employees’ actions. If an employee is installing unauthorized software copies on company computers or acquiring illegal software through the Internet, the company can be sued for copyright infringement. This is true even if the company’s management was unaware of the employee’s actions.”

So, should we all go to the BSA website & report him for sotware piracy? Don't bother, he's in the process of properly registering his code. But it does really piss me off that someone who takes such a strong stance against “piracy” would be guilty of it himself.

Kettle? Pot here. You are BLACK!

An Encyclopedia of RPGs

June 19, 2003

Here you will find an alphabetical-by-title encyclopedia of all printed tabletop (i.e. non-computer) role-playing games. Each entry includes author, publication date, and company for each edition of the game, along with a capsule description.

Complete Guide to D&D Pool

June 18, 2003

A while back, Karl Staatse sent me this the Complete Guide to D&D Pool. If you're looking for some rules for your “D20 Modern” game, here you go.

Senator Hatch Wants to Destroy Your Computer

June 17, 2003

It looks like Senator Orrin Hatch is at it again. Durring a discusson on “copyright abuses” Senator Hatch asked asked technology experts if there was some way to damage file trader's computer. “No one is interested in destroying anyone's computer,” replied Randy Saaf of MediaDefender Inc., a secretive Los Angeles company that builds technology to disrupt music downloads. said, “I'm interested,” Hatch interrupted. He said damaging someone's computer “may be the only way you can teach somebody about copyrights."”

“If we can find some way to do this without destroying their machines, we'd be interested in hearing about that,” Hatch said. “If that's the only way, then I'm all for destroying their machines. If you have a few hundred thousand of those, I think people would realize” the seriousness of their actions, he said.

I think it's frightening that this man got elected, let alone gets to head up a Senate Committe who actually gets to decide what will be done about such things. It's clear that Senator Hatch really has no clue how computers & the internet really work, what fair use really is, & what the real solution to the problem is.

It's clear, this guy has got to be stopped. His brand of rabbid digital rights management would likely destroy the computer industry, fair use, open source, & likely the internet itself. My suggestion? If you live in Utah, register to vote & vote against him, donate to EFF, Boycot the RIAA, & keep up with the news at DigitalConsumer.org.

A Few Really Good Gimp Tutorials

June 16, 2003

Here's a few Gimp tutorials to get you started on your way to creating great graphics. If you've never used the Gimp before, maybe you should take a look at the online Gimp Book, Gimp on Google Directory, & the Gimp FAQ. Check out the Tutorials Pointer Page for links to lots of tutorials. Here is a cool little tutorial explaining layers & leading you through making the night sky, plus he's got several more tutorials. Learn how to make a Gradiant Text Logo. Finally, check here for punch-out, alien glow, & more.

Add Search Engines to Mozilla

June 15, 2003

Adding search engines to your Mozilla installition is easier than you could ever imagine. The Mycroft project makes installing search engines to Mozilla as easy as a click of the mouse. Many engines are supported, go to the download page and click "Show Entire List", then click the name of the options you would like to install. Some of my favorites are Dictionary.com, Wikipedia, IMDB.com, & Google Groups.

This information will be added to the Mozilla Firebird review.

Make Your Own Video Tutorials

June 14, 2003

Want to make you own training videos or moving screen grabs? This free file may just be the tool you need.

Bulent's Screen Recorder is a free program that can grab images of your windows in action. It records movie files in standard AVI. It has a mode that only records when the screen changes called “WatchIt” & a “Manual” record mode. You can specify the compression, size & speed of the AVI & set hotkeys for “record” & “stop”.

Free Photoshop Alternatives

June 13, 2003

Photoshop may be the standard for photo manipulation, but it's $600 pricetag has been known to scare off many. Even if you can afford the price, it's unlikely you'll ever use all it's features. Here's a few alternatives that won't cost you a dime.

Pixia is like a strange hybrid of Photoshop & MS Paint. You can work with layers, insert text, & even use filters on your images. It's good for adjusting colors/brightness, cropping, rotating, & resizing, but most web designers want more.

Oriens Enhancer Gold lets you crop, rotate, enlarge, reduce, emboss, and adjust brightness, and it includes a screen saver, AVI, image map, screen shot, and animated GIF maker. This one's also a bit feature light, so you may want to check out another option.

The Gimp looks a little primative & it's not very intuitive but it's got some very powerful features. You can work with layers, add text, work with filters, clone & do many other things you see people doing in Photoshop. This one's a definate must have.

Martial Arts Feats

June 12, 2003

Here are some martial arts feats for your Dungeons and Dragons character.

Your Internet Browser Getting You Down?

June 11, 2003

Tired of always fighting pop-up? Banner ads taking up valuable screen real estate? This free browser may just be the cure for your browsing blues.

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Cool Things to Do With Your Old Dreamcast

June 10, 2003

Is you're Dreamcast collecting dust? Here's how to breath some new life into this “old”system. All you need is a CD burner & a little time.

Over at Dreamcast Emulation they have more projects than you can shake a stick at! You can play aracade games via MAME, Pacman or Midway games, or any number of console games systems. Here's the homebrew collection including mp3 players, Tetris clones & media players.

For those that want to do something serious with your DC, you have a couple of options. You could turn this little machine into a Linux box. If you're feeling really brave, you can turn it into a Linux router with this 101 page guide.

If you have some suggestions of cool things to do with a Dreamcast, eMail me.

Have Humans Come Close to Extinction?

June 10, 2003

According to this article, at the BBC humans may have come close to extinction about 70,000 years ago, when there may have been as few as 2,000 humans. It also suggests that humans made their first jounery out of Africa about the same time. With such a small population, something could have easily happened & we wouldn't be here. The study will be published in the American Journal of Human Genetics


June 8, 2003

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia written by the readers of their website. All the articles are covered by the GNU Free Documentation License, which basically means that any part of the encyclopedia can be copied, redistributed, or even sold with some stipulations. With over 130,000 articles, you're sure to find what you're looking for.

DaVinci's Gallery of Photoshop Graphics

June 7, 2003

This guy calls himself DaVinci. He's got a really cool gallery of his photoshop drawings & photo manipulation. He's also got some great Photoshop tutorials: Embossed text, Lightning, 3D Objects, Chains, Gold Text & more. Check out his website, you might just learn something about how to work with photoshop.

Etymology: an Introduction

June 6, 2003

Whether you're looking for the origins of modern words, a new hobby, or words and names for your writings & campaigns, etymology can be a great resource.

Here's a few links to help you get started. Nothing too heavy, just some fun word origin links

WordOrigins.org list many common slang and phrase origins.

BehindTheName.com is a comprehensive list of given names and their origins.

Basque Language at Wikipedia.org the Basque language is thought by many to be one of the oldest langauges still spoken. This belief is supported by the literal translations of some of it's more interesting words like knife means literally "stone that cuts" (haiztoa, haiz being the word for stone, similarly haizkora for axe), and their word for ceiling means "top of the cavern". Some suggest that this was the language of Atlantis.

More Content to Come

June 5, 2003

I've worked hard to make my website aestheticly pleasing (and as quickly loading) as possible (I think it looks best in Mozilla but that's probably just my personal bias). Although I still have several pages to convert to the new page layout, I hope to post a few of my thoughts or just a couple of links daily.

The Oriental Adventrues Project will still be here and new content will be added as I recieve/create it, though it's no longer my website's main focus. The reason why I created the Oriental Adventures Project was to be a gathing place for Oriental D&D rules, filling a gap that TSR then WOTC did not provide. Although this sort of website is still needed, my original goal was met. WOTC (and others) are now producing Oriental D&D material.

(Hopefully) Soon I will be adding additional sections to my website, including the following topics: Computers, Etymology, and Genealogy. The computers section will include tutorials for many popular software packages, nifty things you can do to spruce up your website, software reviews, and some of my homemade software. The Genealogy section will have mini-tutorials about how to research your ancestors, forms (many of which are already online, and my personal family tree. Etymology is becomming a sort of hobby of mine. That section will have a few of my own theories on languages, some word comparisons, but mostly deal with finding words, names, and languages for fantasy settings.

If you have any questions or suggestions (flames will be ignored) about my website, my thoughs & theories, or just feel like chatting feel free to drop me a eMail or ICQ#12012529, AIM:the13ard, MSN:twbard, Yahoo:phillipriley. No, I don't run all those clients, I run My Jabber (eadric@myjabber.net).

The End of the World is Nigh

June 4, 2003

Well, I think this makes it official. The end of the world is near. For those of you in England, you probably already know about this. It called the Karma Chameleon Phone. Yes, that's right, that annoying Boy George song has been changed into this “Great” new phone. “When receiving an incoming call the telephone rings, then the chameleon starts to roll his eyes, dance and sing the chorus from the hit song 'Karma Chameleon' by Culture Club. The chameleon continues to sing and dance until the telephone is answered!” As if all those telemarketers weren't annoying enough.

Older Stuff Moved

June 4, 2003

If you want to look at some of my older thoughts and updates, you can view them here. I'll keep at least a weeks worth of updates here on the index page and move the rest there.

Started Using HTP

April 27, 2003

I've made another change to the website, which you'll probably never notice. I've started using HTP. It's an HTML preprocessor. Using it's powerful but simple macro language you can easily setup your own webpage template, keeping your content totally seperate from parts of your webpage that will appear on every page. Most importantly, to me at least, it supports conditional statements. Overall it's an amazing piece of software, you should check it out. Windows, Linux and Amiga versions are available. It's also an open source so, you can port it to any system you want.

Index Page Changed

April 21, 2003

I'm so tired of looking at the three column layout on every page I look at that I'm dropping it.

More Layout Changes

April 20, 2003

I'll be happy with this eventually! I've made more changes to the website. I thought the middle content just looked too plain & a friend of mine said the website needed more color, so I did something about it.

Code Change & Cleanup

April 19, 2003

I played with the CSS some more and cleaned up the html code and changed the colors on the left column to make it more readable.

New Style Sheet Uploaded

April 18, 2003

I've created a handheld style sheet which is available for all pages updated to the new layout. I'm not sure which devices support style sheets, so you'll have to check your program.

Links Section Moved

April 18, 2003

I've moved it here & seperated into seperate pages. D&D Links will be moved this weekend.

More Links Added

April 16, 2003

I'm nearly finished working on the links pages. I finished going through my bookmark file today looks like over half of my links were either dead or not quite appropriate for this website. I only need to add the links I have in the D&D & OA Project sections. Then I need to design a layout for this page, so it will probably still be a few days till it's complete. There are 412 links in 77 categories. It's still a work in progress and only one page.

More Links Added

April 14, 2003

Still working on the links pages it seems that MANY of my links collected over the years are now dead (or they were just duplicates). I still have about 300 left to go through. I've uploaded the current progress: 275 links in 50 categories. It's still a work in progress and only one page.

Links Categorized & Described

April 12, 2003

I'm working on a truly herculean task. Converting over 1000 of my bookmarks into links pages. All links will be categorized & have descriptions for each one. Current progress after almost 2 days: 76 links in 10 categories. Click here to see the current work in progress. This is just a single page with all the links categorized so far, not how the links pages will appear when it is completed.

Page Layouts Updated

April 8, 2003

Many page layouts updated today. Check them all out.

Interface Tweaks

April 7, 2003

More interface & css tweaks for faster page loads. White space now eliminated regardless of whether javascript is enabled or not.

Old Homepage Update Complete

March 29, 2003

I've finished converting everything from my old homepage that I'm going to. The old homepage will no longer be accessible here. You may still find it at it's original location.

Menu System Changed

March 29, 2003

I wasn't really happy with the menu system I had at the top, plus it was causing problems for Internet Explorer, so I've changed it. Massive changes have been made to the CSS to provide for the possibility of different themes. But everything looks pretty much the same.

Print Style Sheets Uploaded

March 29, 2003

Do a print preview on any page to see the results.

Warning About What's New Link

March 29, 2003

Until the changeover is complete, the "What's New" link at the top will show not only pages with new content, but they will also show all pages that were updated to the new layout.

Converted to CSS

March 26, 2003

Changed website over to a CSS based layout to speed load times and make layout changes simpler and faster. If you have javascript enabled and a resolution better than 800x600, you will really notice a difference. In the future look for style sheets for printable layouts.

What's New Added

March 24, 2003

"What's New" link added to the top menu.

Search Fixed

March 23, 2003

Website search now functional anywhere you see it.

Fear Not! All is not lost!

March 21, 2003

The Oriental Adventures Project Home Page is still here, it's just been moved slightly. You may find it here. Please update your links.

What you're looking at right now is the future look of all my websites. Over the past several years, I've been running several different websites with different layouts for all my different interests. I'm combining all them here over the next few weeks.

I hope to make the translation as painless as possible. Until the change over is complete, you may find broken links and missing images. Please be patient.

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Copyright © 1998-2006 Phillip Riley

Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007