Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2008

Video: Maker Faire - Life Size Mousetrap

One of our favorite sights at Maker Faire, back in May -- a Life Size Mousetrap game, including a 4oo lb safe which drop on the mic at end. Very, very, very cool! From the Maker Faire web site... The LIFE SIZE MOUSETRAP is a fantastically hand crafted, 16 piece, 50,000-lb. interactive KINETIC SCULPTURE set atop a 6,500-square-foot game board. This giant Rube Goldberg style contraption comes complete with a VAUDEVILLIAN style show, original MUSICAL SCORE by The one woman band Esmerelda Strange, Sexy Mice CAN-CAN DANCERS, Clown workers, acrobatic HI JINKS, and other SPECTACULAR SCENES dedicated to the pursuit of spectacle-laden FUN! Web site: iPod Ready Video

Game: Hedgehog Launch - Addictive

Beware flying hedgehogs! Oh my goodness. Addictive personalities beware! Launch your own space program using the native hedgehogs. Add rockets, parachutes and more to increase your score. Each launch brings more funding for your program. Addictive Flash game of the week: Hedgehog Launch. There's something... Addictive Flash game of the week: Hedgehog Launch . There's something really clever about the game play here but can't quite put my finger on what it is. The objective of the game -- to launch the 'hog into space -- is so beside the point the first time around that you forget all about it until it actually happens. My best time was 7 days. (via cyn-c ) Update: Woo, 5 days! My technique: upgrade to a parachute as quick as you can, use it to float for valuable multiplier, then get rockets and band/launcher. ( link ) (Via .)

Posterus - Start/Manage a blog using online email

I saw mention of Posterous on Friendfeed this morning and checked it out. ' To set up your blog, you only need to send an email to The service will then reply with links to your new blog. You can post text, photos and links to your blog and give it a more use-friendly name. My test Posterous blog is Every day there is less and less reason not to have your own blog -- and post to it regularly. Posterous takes any of the remaining pain out of getting your words and thoughts out to the world. Link: Posterous

Today's Tech Support Calls: Skype connections and email passwords

This is the first in a series where I take my client's support calls and use them for a springboard to further technology discussions. Today's show involves difficulties connecting to Skype, email and passwords. Listen: Today's Tech Support Calls: Skype connections and email passwords

Today's Tech Support Calls: Email and passwords

The second client for today was having trouble accessing their email. As is sometimes the case, I couldn't tell exactly why this was, but it appeared that after years of using the stored password in their email program, something had changed. My first test of logging in via webmail showed that it wasn't their email program that causing the troubles,though. Using the passwords we thought were correct still resulted in the error, "unknown user or invalid password." When the cause of a problem is not obvious, I typically move on to finding a solution by changing something fundamental. In this case, that meant changing the passwords for the email accounts. I did this with one account and then tested it in webmail. Sure enough, I was able to log in correctly. So, for whatever reason, the passwords the clients thought they had were no longer correct. I then changed the passwords for two other effected accounts. Then I re-loaded the correct information into their email clien

Today's Tech Support Calls: Skype not connecting

I received a call from a client this morning that Skype wasn't connecting on her computer. After a quick test we found it was working now, but I think it was being caused by being on the fringe of her wireless network. Wireless networks can be effected by building materials and radio interference from other devices and you may find that you have "dead spots" in your home or office where the wireless signal is too weak to be reliable. Try moving to a lightly different location and see if the problem solves itself. Of course, services like Skype can also have their own outages and maintenance periods, so the problem could be completely outside your control. Skype , and other good services, usually provide some sort of status page where you can find information on outages, maintenance windows and other issues. For Skype, you can find this info at Link: Skype

Do you own your domain name? The answer may surprise you

In my role as a computer consultant, I often have to deliver bad news like "Well, the hard drive is dead," "I'm sorry, but you overwrote that important file," or "I think it's time for a new computer." Frequently, in these Internet times, I have to deliver another piece of bad news. "Did you know that you don't really own your domain name?" I am always met with incredulity, by people who realize they have no ownership rights to the domain name for the personal web sites, or worse still, their business. How can this happen? It is easier than you might think. Normally, it is because when you first set up a domain, you hired someone to do it for you. If you set up your own domain name or know where it is hosted, along with usernames and passwords for access, you can stop reading now. You still might want to do the first step below, just to confirm your domain is yours, but chances are everything is ok. If you didn't set up your own

Elsewhere Online: Coffee Break- Blocked sites at Panera Bread

I've been having meetings at Panera Bread a lot recently and I also have run into issues with Panera's overly restrictive firewall blocking of certain sites. It is more of a pain than anything else, but limits the usefulness of the free wifi that they offer. Coffee Break- Blocked sites at Panera Bread I'm trying a new WiFi venue today, here at the Panera Bread in Wayne, PA with Mari Silbey . She's enjoying one of the comfy chairs while I have a small table nearby so I can prop up the Samsung Q1UP. I have my EV-DO card, but figured to just use the free WiFi which is working fine. Mostly. A few times a day, I check our website statistics that are captured by Sitemeter . Now that I've settled in with a Cafe Mocha, I hit up Sitemeter in the browser and was greeted with the message; " This content is not authorized for viewing. " Odd. Maybe Sitemeter is down? So I then turned the WiFi off on my iPhone and attempted to hit Sitemeter over the EDGE connection. Sur

Audio: LIVE from the Library Internet Seminar - June 26, 2008

Listen to the most recent LIVE from the Library Internet Seminar, recorded June 12, 2008. Listen: LIVE from the Library Internet Seminar - June 12, 2008 Join us on Thursday, June 26, 2008 @ 630pm for our next seminar. Visit to RSVP Follow Douglas on Twitter at If you enjoy LIVE from the Library, please consider a donation via Paypal

Elsewhere Online: Creative Block? Try Moodstream

I have been playing around with Moodstream for just a few minutes and found it a wonderful way to spur my thinking. Sometimes we can all get a bit insulated from the world, even though we might be communicating online all day. Moodstream gives you some random, yet fun, sensory input that can get your thoughts moving and ideas cooking. In the end, this is a service for selling the licensed content of Getty Images, but it is also simply useful, fun and free. Creative Block? Try Moodstream The world's largest stock imagery company, Getty Images , this week released a new mashup that leans on the company's vast stock image and audio assets. The flash app called Moodstream draws on Getty's photo, video, and audio collections to create what the company calls a "powerful brainstorming tool designed to take you in inspiring, unexpected directions." The mashup debuted earlier this week at the Webby Award Film and Video Awards after party in New York. (Via ReadWriteWeb

Join us for morning tech talk at the Doctor's Note get-together

Doctors Note Meet Up In Northridge, CA Originally uploaded by respres I had a great time last month talking tech (and more) with this group of people. This is a morning event, although we stretched the last one until almost lunch. Location is Panera Bread in Northridge. RSVP on

Get your script (and more) on! - Celtx 1.0

Celtx is an open source screenwriting program with great tools that easily rival commerical products like Final Draft and others. I have used Celtx to write several scripts and my television writing wife, Rosanne, recommends it to her students whenever she teaches television writing at Cal State Fullerton or UCLA Extension. Celtx 1.0 adds many new features and perfects those features we were already using. Whether you are writing TV, movies, multimedia projects or even comic books, Celtx is a great tool to get your ideas on paper. Download Celtx This video outlines the new features available in Celtx 1.0 iPod Ready Video

Elsewhere Online: Reaper - multitrack audio production software for Windows and Mac

The Red Ferret Journal points on this new, free full functioning 30 day demo, audio recording and editing software. I have been looking for an alternative to Audacity to recommend to my podcasting students and clients, so I am looking into Reaper deeply. As an aside, I love seeing multi-platform software is becoming more of the norm these days. I can never tell which computer I might want to use the software on, so it is great to have a choice. Download: Reaper Reaper - multitrack audio production software for Windows and Mac Reaper is a full function audio production program which comes with a shed load of features and tech smarts. The program is also tightly coded, which means no bloatware to contend with, a sure sign that someone is trying to do the job properly. Available as a fully working demo, and [...] (Via The Red Ferret Journal .)

Maker Faire: Jack Sparx and his Electric Toys

From the Maker Faire Program... Jack Sparx and his Electric Toys Electricity you can see and feel will thrill those that come visit me! Small and medium Tesla coils, a large Van de Graff gnerator that will shock you if you like. Learn how a Jacob's Ladder is built and see one displayed. If you enjoy lightning storms, you'll have fun as we play with my high voltage toys! Web site: iPod Ready Movie Topic(s): Science Tags: Tesla+Coil "Jacob's Ladder" " Van de Graff generator" About the Maker(s) John Dyer [ ] Dyer Electric The first word I said was plug! I have been involved with electricity all my life. I have had careers as an electrical contractor, radio engineer, audio engineer and many others. Born, raised, and remain in Sacramento. Built and exhibited art, a radio station and science at Burning Man and other venues around the area.

Oops! Accidental Gmail Lockout

I had a weird thing happen to me tonight that has ended up locking me out of my Gmail account for "up to 24 hours". In my case, my lockout had nothing to do with any of the activities described below, but rather a stuck key on my keyboard. The key had stuck down and I didn't realize it until my Mac started to beep repeatedly. I fixed the key but was presented with the message below. It is a little distressing that a rather simple computer malfunction can result in a day-long lockout and the fact that there is no appeal process for such a lockout. This is the first issue I have had since switching to Google, but it now makes me a little worried about using it. Here is the message from Google... Account Lockdown: Unusual Activity Detected This account has been locked down due to unusual account activity. It may take up to 24 hours for you to regain access. Unusual account activity includes, but is not limited to: Receiving, deleting, or downloading large amounts of mail via

Adobe Intros Buzzword online word processor and screen sharing

Today, Abobe announced their entry to the online office suite, Adobe Buzzword. Buzzword is full featured, online word processor that allows you to create and share documents with other Internet users. It also contains links to Adobe ConnectNow, a fee-based screen sharing application that allows you to hold conferences with up to 15 people. A 3-person demo of ConnectNow is currently offered on a trial basis. Documents are saved to a user's online file storage area but can also be printed, saved as Adobe PDF files or exported to a number of formats including MS Word. Using Adobe's Flash plugin as its core, Buzzword has lots of flashy visual effects when changing modes and editing your document. That said, I also found it to work solidly on both Windows and Mac computers an it supports a number of useful features including styles, tables, picture import and positioning and more. Visit today for your free account and try it out.