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"Murphy was an optimist!"

New Lost Website revealed in today’s Podcast July 31, 2006 3:02 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Lost, Of Interest, Podcasting, TV / Movies
, 2comments

Today’s Lost Podcast was very entertaining. They put a stooge in the audience to reveal http://www.hansoexposed.com/. I love this show!


Dreamers that dream, dreamers that do – Move over Stephen R Covey! July 31, 2006 10:12 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Philosophy, Video
, 2comments

Move over Stephen R Covey and David Allen! Ze Frank sums it up for us in his show on Brain Crack. After watching this show, my introduction to Ze Frank, I became very aware that I am addicted to Brain Crack.

Standard Ze Frank warning! Ze Frank borrows dialog from George Carlin‘s dictionary. The beginning of this movie is fairly safe but ends in a song staring words that begin in the letter F with a guest appearance by a word beginning with the letter A.

the show with zefrank


Another reason to love Firefox July 31, 2006 9:23 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Humor, Of Being Dad, Philosophy
, 1 comment so far

So I described a day in our lives. A highlight of Friday’s funnies was a sudden and dramatic power outage. I would say we had lightning very near the house. We lost the upstairs cable box (try living without your digital guide a couple of days! How 90s! How did we ever live before?) and my Linux server was scrambled (after reseting the cmos and some integrity checks, it lives again).

What does this have to do with Firefox? I had been on BusyMom’s site typing a long comment and was moving my mouse to press the post button when the power went out. When I restored all the machines my window came up with all my typing still in the form field. I believe I have SessionSaver .2 to thank for this!

I can’t wait to start making this house more self-sufficient regarding power.

1 comment so far

Webcam Bingo Lives! July 29, 2006 11:16 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Daily Life, Of Interest
, add a comment

Want to have some fun with our webcams? Get a bingo card and check out Fresh Food, Fresh Blog in the sidebar. While playing, be sure to sponsor us in our efforts to raise money for Farm Aid.

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Watch me shave! July 29, 2006 9:00 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Of Interest, Philanthropy, Sex, Touchy Subjects
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Cathy and I were pondering ways to get our sponsorship commitments above $1000. Latte Man has offered to do anything. We both concluded that perhaps offering to have sex on camera if someone committed $1000 would do the trick! Of course, in the name of decency and the fact that our family and possibly children reads our blogs, you would only be seeing our clothed top halves. Of course, if you have been reading us for any length of time, I am certain you have already seen my wife’s breasts.

Upon further consideration, we decided that if we made such an offer, someone would rapidly make a $1000 sponsorship and simply never pay. So we decided that if we were going to have sex on camera that it would have to be for someone serious which meant we would do it if the sponsorships totalled $10,000. But they we realized the same person who would lie about $1000 would also lie about a $10,000.

So! I am going to shave on camera! That’s right. You heard it. At 9:17am I will shave on camera in the name of Farm Aid!

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Get rid of viruses, spyware, malware and other nasties July 28, 2006 9:16 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Of Interest, Software, Technology
, 4comments

One of the things I do that often helps with cash flow is cleaning PCs. That doesn’t mean dusting (although I do that) but means removing viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, malware, popups, and other things that slow down your machine and generally cause you to curse a lot. Busy Mom has found herself in a position to have to clean a machine. It usually takes me 5 hours and I charge $95 but am going to start charging $135 per machine. That is comparable price to BestBuy’s Geek Squad which gives the machine a couple of hours then declares it needing a reformat (which turns their job into a non-labor intensive automated process) removing all your photos, data, banking information, document and other things you probably have not backed up ever and will never see again. I also do not do upsales since that is not my business but I do love your referrals for web applications (web pages, business automation processes, and such).

This was my comment to BusyMom:

More and more of late I have had people ask me to clean their machines. It usually takes me 5 hours to make the machine presentable enough that I feel confident the viruses/malware/spyware and other garbage won’t return in a week.

Here are my trade secrets.
1) Go to http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/ and make a CD from the iso. (I prefer the windows version http://www.ubcd4win.com/ and often use both).
2) Make sure the bios is set to boot from the CD first.
3) Boot to the ultimate boot cd (I’ll assume you chose to use the windows version) and enable networking
4) Run all the virus scanners. When they prompt to update, do so! Not all will work. Skip the rootkit detector.
5) Run Adaware and Spybot.
6) Run EZPCFix, load the hives, delete temporary files, remove downloaded program files, update winsock/winsock2, and very important clear all pending file rename operations.
7) Reboot making sure to remove the UBCD from the cd drive.
8) Within Windows, go to http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ and start a virus scan from your browser.
9) Go to http://safer-networking.org/ and make sure you have the latest SpyBot Search N Destroy. Be wary of anything that is not SpyBot SND, Lavasoft’s Adaware, or Microsoft’s Defender (all 3 do similar things and overlap but one might catch something another missed).
10) Go to http://lavasoft.com/ and make sure you have the latest Adaware. Also get the VX2 cleaner from the addons.
11) Search google for “Microsoft antispy” and get the latest Defender (I hate this thing and often uninstall it when I’m done).
12) Get CWShredder http://www.trendmicro.com/cwshredder/ and run a scan.
13) Get HiJackThis http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/downloads.html When you run it, simply google EVERYTHING that it returns and be certain you understand its purpose before removing something. When in doubt, probably best to leave it and rely on a detection and removal tool.
14) Start->Run->regedit Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run and remove any suspicious items. Google and use caution. Do this also for RunOnce, RunOnceEx, RunServices, and RunServicesOnce.
15) Repeat 14 for HKEY_CURRENT_USER
16) Update the virus definitions for whatever virus software you use. Although Norton and McAfee used to be the top dogs, I no longer recommend them because they bog systems down too much with their “good intentions.” I advise people toward Grisoft’s AVG http://www.grisoft.com/ and AVAST http://avast.com/ (free). Run a full, intensive virus scan.
17) Run Windows Update and get all the latest security patches. It amazes me how many people have never run Windows Update or Microsoft Update.

I’m sure I have left some things out. Good luck!

An update was necessary after another user advised BusyMom to remove Adaware and Spybot and to reformat.

Sara’s comment “Oh and Adaware and Spy Bot add lag time as well as blocking certain sites.” is inaccurate.

There are two types of protection. Passive and Active. Active protection is a program that runs in the background all the time. Since it is running, active protection can cause performance issues. This would be akin to a doorman letting people (programs) into a night club. It would be faster if the doorman wasn’t there and just let everyone through but then you get the riff raff. Active protection checks everything as it goes.

Passive protection works only when you tell it to. With active protection you have no doorman at the club and people come and go. Perhaps some riff raff come in and vandalize a bit, steal some information, and when you start to notice the disturbances you run your passive protection. You turn off the music, make everyone stand still, and have the doorman and security sweep the place removing the riff raff.

Adaware and Spybot are passive protection. Adaware Plus (the paid version) has a wonderful piece of active protection called Ad-watch which I run all the time. Ad-watch does some blocking but mostly warns you if something is trying to make an unauthorized change to the registry.

Adaware and Spybot are not blocking applications. They do not block sites. They are scanners that look for and correct problems. They are the most valuable tools in your arsenal against malware. Ad-watch does some popup blocking but it is not a firewall and does not filter sites.

Reformatting to recover a computer is almost NEVER necessary. Sometimes it is easier and it is nice to start fresh but not required. I used to reformat and start a new every 6 months to a year but then again I had regular backups of my data.

Two other topics of consideration are virus protection and firewalls. Using our night club analogy, virus protection can also be active or passive. Software like McAfee, Norton Antivirus, AVG, and Avast are active. They reside in the computer’s memory and run all the time. They are the doormen that stick a tongue depresser into everyone’s mouth as they enter the club and make sure no sickness gets in. The online scanners at Trendmicro (http://housecall.trendmicro.com/) and Symantec (http://sarc.com/) and other are passive. They scan when you tell them to and it would be the equivalent of calling in the doctors after you notice your guests falling ill. I few Norton and McAfee as doctors that have gotten carried away and give everyone an anal exam even if they just came in for a splinter. Norton and McAfee both come with large staffs that consume a lot resources (ie. their Security Centers)

A firewall is like a guest list. That’s the big ugly bouncer who turns people away at the door. When a person tries to enter the club that isn’t on the approved list, the bouncer sends them packing. Some firewalls have VIP lists which are the programs that can run even if they appear on bad lists (this would be called your “exception” list). The firewall might trust most programs (depending on the instructions you’ve given it). These programs are called white listed. And might absolutely refuse some guests based on a blacklist typically maintained by not for profit organizations and the company from which you purchased your bouncer…er, firewall.

Btw, I see your header fine in Firefox.

And lastly:

One final tidbit, I forgot to meantion that you should go to the control panel->add/remove programs and confirm that each program is supposed to be there. There are some nasties out there that install themselves to your system and give names that sound appropriate. By searching google on each program name you will find out its purpose and may be surprised by some that should be removed.

Now you all know my secrets to cleaning a machine! Well, a lot of them.


Captain Kirk Would Be Proud July 28, 2006 8:29 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Gadgets, Technology
, 3comments

Sony via Make (rss) is taking questions on their Reader (PRS-500) ebook reading device. Wow that’s pretty! Looks like it is right off the bridge of the Enterprise. Here’s hoping that DRM does not kill this device.

I know that if buy a paperback book that I can pass that book onto my children’s children. I also know that tomorrow when I wake up that the book will still be on my bookshelf instead of a note that the book has expired and must be repurchased. I hope that they choose to model the real world in their e-reader. Of course, in the real world my book can get destroyed or worn out. I do have books that have been purchased multiple times. An argument for a repurchaseable ebook can be made but I think their efforts would be better spent selling me quantity of content rather than repeating the same purchase.


Blogathon starts in 13 hours and 45 minutes! Please sponsor. July 28, 2006 7:17 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Announcements, Daily Life, Of Interest
, 3comments

Blogathon food

I am turning on the heat. We have this week ONLY to find sponsors for Blogathon 2006! I have joined forces with Barry, Jay, and Cathy to help raise a contribution to Farm Aid by blogging every thirty minutes starting at 9am EST on this Saturday July 29 and continuing for 24 hours.

The mission of Farm Aid is to keep family farmers on their land. Family farmers are our only guarantee for fresh, local food. Our goal is to bring together family farmers and citizens to restore family farm-centered agriculture. Family farmers ensure safe, healthful food, protect natural resources, and strengthen local economies. [Source]

I once thought Farm Aid was just something Willie, Neil, John, and others sang songs about after Band Aid sales went down. I have since learned about Farm Aid and corporate farming. I feel the family farm is important to our culture, the quality of our food, and local economics. I believe in Farm Aid’s mission and ask that you support me during Blogathon 2006 with a donation to our cause.

blogathon banner

Thank you Michael Silence for the announcement!


I was warned…Ze Frank is coming! July 28, 2006 5:58 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Of Interest, Video
, 3comments

First there was Amanda Congdon at Rocketboom. When she parted company with RB, I pondered, "could a guy pull off what a female host can?" Several weeks ago an online friend gave me an electronic nudge and said, "Yes!" Ze Frank is undeniably the next video blogging hit. Of course, there still is Ask a Ninja but he’s…uh..you know…a cubby ninja. Be warned Ze Frank uses language that many of us pretend we don’t hear daily.


I love the Internet! July 28, 2006 5:44 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Daily Life, Of Interest, Video
, 3comments

Oh.. How did we ever get entertained before the Internet? Why does our government want to screwup such good stuff?

Yes. Video blogging (Ze Frank uses adult language) is in Reality Me’s future.


Spend campaign money on the needy! I know the next president. July 28, 2006 5:29 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Politics, Touchy Subjects, United States
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I don’t know about you, but I’ve clearly decided that I’m voting Jon Stewart as our next president.

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Code Monkey has it nailed! July 28, 2006 4:03 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Daily Life, Humor, Of Interest, Philosophy
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Can I thank Barry enough?! Code Monkey by Jonathon Coulton brings it home for the programmers! This is really a great song and Jonathon provides the cords. Now where’s my guitar?

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The US House of Representatives Is Run By Predators July 28, 2006 2:24 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Politics, Touchy Subjects, United States
, 1 comment so far

“Social networking sites such as MySpace and chat rooms have allowed sexual predators to sneak into homes and solicit kids,” … [Source]

NO! It is NOT the social networking sites and chat rooms that have allowed the sexual predators to sneak into homes…It is the parents! The parents the parents the parents! You cannot legislate parenting or morals.

Secondly, does anyone fact check anymore! (ironically, I am not going to fact check my next statement) I bet that the above quote is sensationalism and that if you measure the actual rate of incidents concerning sexual predators that you will find it to coincide with the real world. People naively continue to think of the Internet as a game or a book. It is not a game. It is not a book. The Internet is a reflection of the real world! If your 13 year old daughter said, "I’m going to go hang out at a bar near the college." would you give her your credit card and shrug her off in a taxi so that you could focus on all that busy stuff you need to attend to? Of course not! Then why are you doing the same thing with the Internet? Do not allow the greatest technology, the convergence of world knowledge, be crippled by some scared, power hungry technology ignorant people manipulating your vote with hype.

A free society remains free because of the unhindered exchange of information. Burning the books is how to control knowledge and remove freedoms. Filtering software does not work. It filters the wrong information, allows for unfair competition, and is often easily circumvented by those seeking to ignore the filtering.

We have real world predators attacking you right now. Those predators are your senators, lawyers, your president, and other people in government seeking to remove your freedoms and change America forever in the name of leveraging their own beliefs and powers. A government of the people and for the people is only of and for as long as the people keep the government in check and the moment people become too busy to worry about it and being taking sensationalism and generalizations as fact is the moment that the foundation of our society begins to crumb. We are at that moment now!

Contact your representative and ask them just what they were thinking!

Thank you Tom for the link!

1 comment so far

Can a ripoff machine teach the children? July 28, 2006 1:18 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Cool Sites, Gadgets, Of Interest, Science, Technology, Video
, 2comments

Every time we see one of those claw games the children jump and down begging to play. I disappoint them explaining that they can’t win. Maybe I am wrong. And maybe they can win in multiple ways. Apparently, they can learn patience, and some science skills as well as a prize.


If you can believe the stats July 28, 2006 12:55 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
, 6comments

According to the statistics provided by my web host, Cathy had 1,144 unique visitors to Domestic Psychology on Monday. I had 1,143 to Reality Me. Alright, who is that one person who reads Cathy and ignores me!

Oh, frankly I don’t believe those numbers. I am more inclined to think that both blogs are somewhere between 50 and 200 visits a day but I don’t have anything to prove it one way or another.

I do highly recommend 1and1 for inexpensive web hosting for anyone looking to switch from Blogger to WordPress (remember, I’ll help you set it up for free!).