Friday, March 31, 2006

Verrrrrry Interesting

At a March 2 analyst meeting, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt dismissed the idea that his company would compete with eBay, focusing instead on the benefits of a payment system that would allow advertisers to streamline sales.

“The quickest way to improve the quality of an ad is to have the ad instantaneously turn into a purchase that is 100 percent perfect,” he said. “We now have a solution that we believe enables advertisers to offer a digital product on the Web so that when people click on it, through a credit-card mechanism, it is automatically taken care of.”

CD Holdin' Wallpaper


Great Idea !
seems kinda pricey tho.

I think I could make my own from the inexpensive pages in a W-M CD binder. Or just order the right kind of CD sleeves from a big time supplier and glue or double stick tape to cheap Home Depot plain wall vinyl.

This will probably make it to Trading Places once Hildy reads my blog.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Whole Wheat Radio



Listen tonight for a house concert broadcast live.
Whole Wheat Radio

Diane Zeigler who have not heard and Brooks Williams who I have heard live & I know is really good.
Listen live at 10 p.m. Central time.

Broadcast from Alaska !

And don't forget that tonight is one of my fav shows the Night Train w/ Charles, 9-12 p.m. from my fav station WEVL 90 (89.9) Memphis--listen live

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shootin' Squirrels

Squirrels are not cute.
The squirrels have been driving me crazy.

Before Ivan, I had tall evergreen foilage on both property lines and the constant flutter of colorful birds zipping across the yard.
After Ivan, I have had almost no birds in the yard, so I put up some birdfeeders which have worked really well to lure some of them back. But the squirrels have ripped and chewed into the birdfeeders, not to mention, being complete hogs and terrorizing the birds.

It is time for the squirrels demise.

Bill brought a really nice pump pellet gun that he borrowed from his good friend, but wouldn't you know it, this weekend the squirrels didn't come around for the first time in weeks.

So, with his friend's permission, he left the gun here for me to use this week.

Since the last time I shot any similar gun was in 7th grade summer camp, I figured I had better get in a little practice. I have taken the screen out of the kitchen window so I can shoot right out the window. The squirrels usually show up right at the base of this tree. I made this dandy target w/ some clip art. The squirrel image is actually smaller than the real thing, so I figger that if I can hit the target, I can hit the rodent.

You can see my first two shots this morning. I'll get better, and while pumping the gun, develop a little arm strength at the same time.

And don't tell me to makemy birdfeeders squirrel-proof by adding all sorts of ugly barriers and so forth....this is Alabama after all (high time I was waving a gun around) & this is WAY more fun.

Bike Trail Near Completion

Over a year late, due to hurricanes, the Ft. Morgan bike trail is almost complete from the entrance to Peninsula Golf Course to town. It runs right past my place which is great. The weather is bike-perfect.

We took a little side road off Ft. Morgan and found a super boardwalk out thru the marsh to Oyster Bay. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.







Even tho parts of the Gulf Shores area are getting rather over-populated, because of the BonSecour Wildlife Preserve and National Seashore designated areas, I think we will always have fun places to bike where other humans will be scarce.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Google User Interface


Google in their quest to experiment in a zillion different ways, is offering up various looks to the search results and search input page in a select and random (seeming) way. You never quite know what you will get.

I had read about the experimental sidebars and just got it on my Taylor Hicks search. I was seeking an image, but as the screenshot shows, they are trying to tell me the relative relevance of the various catagories of SERPS w/ the green bars on the left. I can choose from Web, Images, Groups, News, Froogle, or Local. If I click MORE, I get a whole host of specialized search options.

For anyone who just climbed out from under a rock, the results on the right hand side are all PPC ads. (PPC=pay per click. It can also mean pills,porn & casinos in certain web discussion circles)

Vote for Taylor Tonight


Usually one to be totally oblivious to what is on television, tonight I know that local favorite, Taylor Hicks will be in the final something on American Idol at 7 p.m. central time zone. I have a news clipping alert service that sends me press releases and newspaper articles for keywords that I specify. And, 'gulf shores alabama' alerts got this info to me. So I am now telling you, so WE CAN ALL VOTE FOR HIM !

Joni Hicks reports the official Hicks friends-and-family South Alabama "Idol" viewing party will return to Lester's in Orange Beach tonight before going back to Lulu's at Gulf Shores next week. "Idol" airs at 7 tonight on WALA-TV10 locally.

So since we couldn't vote our favorite basketball teams into the Final Four in NCAA tournament, lets at least do the vote thing when we can for our favorite home boy. I have never done it before--I think it is a toll free phone call to vote. I'm sure instructions will be on the TV screen following his preformance.

CALL 1-866-436-5704 to vote directly for Taylor

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Google Finance Launch

Google Finance is an early beta product that offers a broad range of information about North American stocks, mutual funds and public and private companies along with charts, news and fundamental financial data.

Google says:
Google Finance offers an easier way to search for stocks, mutual funds, public and private companies. Further, Google Finance also offers a broad range of company news and information in order to deliver more relevant, unbiased results in a clean, uncluttered user interface.

Not likely to be something I'll be using.

But it might interest you to know that a former Yahoo Finance employee stated:
"virtually all of the new/innovative/cool features in Google Finance are things we talked about YEARS ago. Many of them I'd lobbied for repeatedly. Some were even prototyped. "

* A ticker search that doesn't suck.
* Charts with overlays for news events.
* Blog integration.
* Featuring discussions more prominently.
* RSS support.

he further states, ...It makes me sad because I end up thinking about how Yahoo! Finance has stagnated for a long time. It never really recovered from the pain of the dotcom crash.

Gulf Shores--Taylor Hicks


Gulf Shores is all fired up about American Idol and Alabama contestant Taylor Hicks. Taylor has made it into the finals and all around G.S. restaurant and bar TV's are tuned to A.I. on Tues and Wed nites.

I was lucky enuf to walk into a Mexican restaurant on Tues. nite just as Taylor's preformance was beginning and got to see the whole thing. I had meant to watch, but had forgotten all about it (as usual, me being Ms. HardlyanyTV.

Taylor is from B'ham but his grandmother lives down here and he plays local places like Lester's on Canal Rd. This week at Lulu's they had a special night to watch him on TV and cheer him on. His grandmother and family were there. I didn't make it.

Taylor is only 29 but he started going grey in his teens. It would be amazing if he won, as that would be two big A.I. stars from B'ham.

Gmail Tutorial

This guy has put together a Gmail Power User tutorial.
Stuf like:
Managing multiple email accounts with Gmail
Using keyboard shortcuts

Be sure to read all the good comments at the bottom of his blog entry--lots of extra info.

Old Favorite from the 70's

Best known for toothpaste, Tom's of Maine got its start in 1970 by making a phosphate-free laundry detergent.

Tom's of Maine -- a niche brand whose renown as a socially responsible maker of natural products exceeds its market share -- is selling itself to Colgate-Palmolive Co. for about $100 million, the company said yesterday.

War Between the States

For people interested in research on The War Between the States, this database search tool seems very comprehensive.

Cool Sinks & Tubs

Check out these cool sinks and tubs. They come in six colors and all light up. Price includes shipping. The website uses frames so Click on Wet Products from left navigation. The text says that faucets and lights are not included, so I wonder how twinkle lights might look.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mona Who ?


Hundreds of variations on the Mona Lisa, and you can create your own....
Monas of the World

Monday, March 20, 2006

This is Liberating

Scientific Study:

On Making the Right Choice: The Deliberation-Without-Attention Effect


Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not always advantageous to engage in thorough conscious deliberation before choosing. ....choices in complex matters (such as between different houses or different cars) should be left to unconscious thought. Named the "deliberation-without-attention" hypothesis, it was confirmed in four studies on consumer choice, both in the laboratory as well as among actual shoppers, that purchases of complex products were viewed more favorably when decisions had been made in the absence of attentive deliberation.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/311/5763/1005

Gladwell's Blog

I only just now ran across Malcomb Gladwell's blog.

Should be some interesting reading if you are a fan of his. The current discussion is centered on Freakonomics.

The Freakonomics book is quite popular I understand, I have not read it.

I am looking forward to seeing Malcome Gladwell in Boston at the WebmasterWorld conference in April. He is the keynote speaker and I finally made up my mind to go. Big decision for me as the expenses will be about twice what the New Orleans one was.

I really enjoyed Gladwell's Tipping Point and then Blink.

And Google throws a great party there ! I hope to get an invite to the Yahoo one as well since I am in the YPN beta program and doing pretty well in it. ...And I have never been to Boston and it is a business trip, after all.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Look Quickly !


This probably won't last, but it is a good concept.

http://www.googleidol.com/

See a site that lets the public vote for lip-synced videos of popular songs.

The idea is simple and great: people lip-sync into a webcam, upload the video to Google Video and submit their entry to the Google Idol competition.

Some of the videos are hilarious, others are sad, all are funny. Notice the disinteresteed roommates (usually using computers) in the background of so many of them. The site is getting attention in the blogosphere and I'm sure it has the potential to become a big hit.

But will it last? Google Idol is not related to or owned by Google Inc., so there may be a trademark issue. The 'artists' that upload the videos to Google Video probably have not asked authors and record companies for permission to use and broadcast the songs, so there may be copyright issues. There obviously is a big chance that lawyers will have the site shut down and the videos removed from Google Video. Bye bye popular site.

BUT... Google sends automated legal emails to anyone registering a domain containing "google" in it. And sometimes, they leave you alone if you place a disclaimer on the page as this site has done.

This concept could lead to other variations, where one lets Google carry the burden of the server space for the big video files, and you generate lots of traffic and sell ads.
Remember that you can mannually run the slide along to any part of the video to speed things up or 'get to the *good* parts.

What variations of this concept can you come up with? Lets be partners :o)

Kathy is a true friend !

Dearest Kathy K. (Nymph of the Lagoon) sent me this great letter to tell me what a true friend she is. I believe her. This is the stuff that MATTERS....

DEFINITION OF A "TRUE FRIEND"

Are you tired of all those namby, pamby, girly, sissy,completely wet "friendship" poems, that never come close to reality?

Well, here is a series of PROMISES that really speak to true friendship.

There are only eight PROMISES so here they are:

1 When you are sad - I promise that I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you that way.

2. When you are blue - I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile - I will know you've finally had sex.

4. When you are scared - I will tease the crap out of you about it every chance I get.

5. When you are worried - I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be and tell you to stop your bloody whining.

6 When you are confused - I promise to use little words.

7. When you are sick - I promise to stay the hell away from you until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall - I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

Send this to 10 of your closest friends, then get depressed because you can only think of two, and one of them isn't speaking to you right now anyway.

Remember: A good friend will help you move. A really good friend will help you move a body.

Overloaded Vehicles


See some amazing photos of vehicles loaded in ways the manufacturer never intended.


Some applications seem to work, some have not.

South by Southwest via the Web

Are you somewhere besides Austin and missing SXSW ?

Are you out-of-it and don't know what SXSW is? Well, it is over a thousand music showcases, hundreds of film screenings, and hundreds of panels, interviews, music conversations and mentor sessions . Happens every year.

Go to http://2006.sxsw.com/music/ and look in middle of the page for a continuous stream of music from SXSW.

Harry is in Austin w/ a friend of his from Canada for SXSW, they are on their way to Tuscon, AZ for a spring practice baseball thing. Hope they have fun.

Well, I am in G.S. but able to catch a lot of the music via the web. I am listening now....as I type this and work on my tax stuff.

and if you have an ipod (I don't ) you can download a massive (2 gig +) BitTorrent file of hundreds of high quality sound files from SXSW. There is also a smaller file of fewer songs. See full WIRED article.

I have been hearing about Bit Torrent for years, and I have an mp3 player but it isn't an ipod, so I will have to see if this file is ipod specific or what, I do want to learn more about Bit Torrent. I installed the program and plan to experiment.

Email if you have good info to share w/ me about Bit Torrent (I have always like the name)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Puma Loves me !

See what they think of you ....

Click Here

Whew--big job on Thurs.

I got an email from Google that said I had non-compliant text on my biggest site and that I had 72 hours to remove it. The text was on just a few pages and refered to the fact that the scrapbooking sets that I used to charge for were now free as the site was advertiser supported.

I jumped into action and spent hours and hours and hours hand inspecting every page on that site, about 250 pages. I only had to edit the offensive text off a handfull of pages, but I did find numerous spelling errors, etc... so I fixed a lot of that too.

I was glad they gave me a warning and 72 hours (good thing I was not on long trip) & am glad to know they know I exist.

My scrapbook site was back in number one position for a search for scrapbook supplies after slipping to number three for a few months on some Google datacenters. I just did a search and it was #2 & #3 just now....that works too :o)

This is out of 4,580,000 listings it says.

Relief Sculpture Made of Eggs




But I find the design on the floor almost as interesting as the egg concoctions.

The Marimba Ponies

Watch little kids in A-C-T-I-O-N !!

Ages 4 thru 12.

Sabre Dance !!

Maybe the Honest People Should Move In


This jail, completed almost 2 years ago, has yet to open its doors.

Multnomah County, in charge of Portland jails, can't afford to open it.

"We held a ceremony, cut the ribbon — then locked the doors," says Sheriff Bernie Giusto, who attended the dedication in the summer of 2004.

Flat-screen televisions adorn the walls in each dorm, where the ceiling soars 30 feet high. The county spent more than $600,000 on art for the jail, including the sculpture — meant to evoke river pilings — out front.

"The public has this image of inmates rattling tin cups on bars," Giusto says. "Take a look around. There aren't gun ports on the ceilings. Look at the colors. Private showers. If I didn't tell you this was a jail, you'd never know. Right?"

Multnomah County last year released a record 5,000 criminals: drug dealers, burglars, car prowlers and assorted con men, many of them drug addicts or mentally ill. Police say the situation has fueled an explosion in property crimes and has increasingly meant the release of dangerous criminals.
The revolving door is the chief reason that Portland's rate of property crimes — burglaries, car and identity thefts, vandalism — has risen to double the national rate in recent years, police officials say.

Sounds like Oregon has some serious economic troubles.
Read the LA Times Article

Friday, March 17, 2006

Chamber After Hours







Once a month the Chamber has a Thurs evening get-together called After Hours.

I understand that chambers all across American do this. But I also hear that most don't have quite the 'good times' that a Chamber at the beach does. It is always especially nice when a bank is the sponsor. They seem to put on the biggest parties, and Vison Bank of Gulf Shores was the sponsor this Thursday night. Hazel's was the caterer.

The main food was all inside, as was the bar. Outside were crawfish, tents , tables and a tight band from Mobile called the TipTops. They put on a good show & there was lots of dancing.

My friend Marti Tate Choate who is here visiting from Huntsville gave the Chamber Pres a big hug. The other photos is Mark w/ Dannie Eisenhauer who with her husband own the 1928 Beech biplane called The Bird of Paradise. They are based at Jack Edwards here in G.S. and give people sight seeing rides.

Staying Popular

I have had a very busy week and now this weekend, I HAVE to get my tax info in some organized manner for a Monday app't w/ the CPA. So I am digging thru zip lock bags, unopened envelopes, thru files, piles of mail that I meant to deal with, etc... and playing on the calculator.
But I do think it is important to have a look at the Univ. of Oklahoma's little 1947 film on how to maintain popularity w/ the other girls and guys.


And wonder where I could get a sweater like the one on the hotdog eating guy?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

How they do it

You know when you pop a CD in a computer and one of the media players tells you the list of songs on the CD? I always figured that the info was encoded on the CD itself, but it turns out that what happens is that when the computer communicates with Gracenote's CDDB catalog, it's a very simple process. The only data iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc. send are the number of songs on the CD and the length of each song. Turns out that the possible variations of these numbers is pretty endless and varied and the CD is identified by that information. Wired Blog

MSN Live Mail--Beta

Going head to head w/ Gmail, MS is working on their new webmail offering. I just got an invite to the beta. MS wants you to convert your current Hotmail account over to the new format. They have one million users so far and are seeking a second million from whom they desire feedback. I read all the FAQs and the developer's blog, but don't see any mention of mail search features. The fast, powerful mail search feature of Gmail is the best thing about it IMHO. MS is offering 2 gigs of storage for mail but unless they add good search, it will still be an inferior product.

I noticed too that the 'sign up' button in the email they sent to my Hotmail acc't was not functional in Firefox....how tacky is that !

Wanna try LiveMail--go here

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Amazon offering a Personal Tank



See this 20,000 dollar personal tank on the Amazon site.

Be sure to read the customer comments & reviews, pretty funny, they vary considerably.

Example:
Talk about a badmofo from another dimension, I used to have one back in the early 90's during the first Gulf war. I wasn't in the Gulf war but me and my buddies would drink a bottle of Absinthe get good and hallucenating and drive it through the Arab sections of town so I guess you could say I am a Gulf War vet! Anyhow this tank is also fun to take to mall parking lots on a busy day and send all my friends with body shops some business. highly recommended vehicle for family fun/combat/ or just when you feel like kickin someones ass for no reason!

Note too that 'customers who viewed this item also viewed":
Absinthe Kit w/ Spoon, Glass and Bottle
Green Devil Absinthe
"Stick Bombs'--Loftus International
If you order one, please use the Amazon link on www.mosaic-tile-design.com, I'll get a little commission.

The Thing is just the THING..








Perfect for a beach car. Hope this raises my cool quotient.

Picked it up today. Georgous day for it too. New top, new seat covers, completely re-wired, brakes working now, new tail lights, new turn indicators, new radio, runnin' good. And an amazing thing is that just yesterday I was looking around in my mini-storge for something and spotted a new AM/FM radio and cassette player & speakers still in the box. I pulled it off a top shelf ( Who knows where it came from) and threw it on my back seat. I had no idea what I was gonna do with it, in fact, the Goodwill crossed my mind since the set doesnt' have a CD player.

When I went to ck out the car, Gary Norman, the mechanic mentioned something about radio and I said that i had one on my back seat....So see, the subconscience is a powerful thing. Undoubtably, my subconscience KNEW I'd need a radio in the Thing and now I had one on hand. Gary installed it today in the open dash area. How 'bout that? And for the concerned commenter--Gary attached it firmly w/ a bracket or something. It is just that both speakers face the passenger so he/she gets a full dose of "Sweet Home Alabama" (assuming the radio is what you are listening to) , because the driver must play it loud to hear.

Learn Bike Safety w/ Monkey Kids

VERY bazaar 15 minute video from 1963 that was supposedly shown in schools to teach bike safety. Nothing in it about calling for medical help when the kids get bumped off one by one. They just keep riding along, one less, after each accident,.... guess that's the monkey way.


Pi Day


Just a few minutes left. Watch the Giant Pi drop-LIVE -it only happens once a year.
If you miss it, you can watch the instant replay.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Google and Mars

Google just threw up this image and a link to info about Percival Lowell and his maps of Mars. I thought it was a pumpkin, but upon close inspection, i see what appear to be two worms just hanging out on the surface of Mars. One is reading a book...wonder what the title is?

Google says:
This map of Mars, published by Percival Lowell in 1895, was the result of many years spent carefully studying the Red Planet through his telescope. Now you can do the same through your web browser. In collaboration with NASA researchers at Arizona State University, we've created some of the most detailed scientific maps of Mars ever made.

If you have half as much fun exploring them as we did making them, you're in for a great time.

See the colorful maps here

Additional Computer Problems

On Sat, Heather was working at the new office when she called to say that the computer over there was having complete hard drive failure.....just what I need...NOT. We had just put a new DVD/CD writer in it and a second hard drive, but had not been backing up as we should have. (I know---idiot me....)

We tried to use the recovery disks to load Windows on the second hard drive but got blue screen and error that we would not be allowed to install Windows again. Probably some issue with the fact that the new HD was not OEM equipment (of course). Not Sony brand. I just couldn't see trying to get Microsoft support on the phone, on a weekend esp. and the machine is about 4 yrs old, so Sony isn't gonna talk to me about it, at least not easily...so I just went to Ubid and in haste, bought another Sony VAIO desktop without even reading up on the model, etc... I could barely focus on the text on the page and got Heather to read over the desktop's configuration, and she thought it should be just fine. It has 2 Gigs of ram, so that will be nice for photo editing and all. I was 'beside' myself and about to either cry or pass out as it was. I figured the time saved by just ordering one asap was worth the hassle of not trying to deal w/ the old one any more. I didn't even do the auction...I just click the 'Buy NOW' button.

The new parts we had recently put into the old computer can be salvaged and used in other machines. I hope the new one arrives on Tues or Wed, if I am lucky. Heather has spring break coming up and said she would work some extra hours the week after this one.

Flora-Bama, what is left of it










After the PIAA dinner , we went down to the Bama to hear some music and watch the fun. The main building is completely gone (post IVAN) and all that remains is the outside deck areas. We sat on the elevated part that looks down onto the deck stage and picnic style tables below.

As usual, it was pretty entertaining. An arm wrestling competition broke out in the center of the room. One female on the left side of the table had various challangers, both male and female. The band was the Beat Daddys and there was dancing on the floor and on the tables. The Bama is always a hoot.

National landmark and all...most famous roadhouse in the States they claim. Probably true.

Busy Weekend....





I have gotten a couple emails inquiring about the weekend down here. For me it was a full weekend and a fun one.

The Pleasure Island Art Assoc had their annual outdoor spring art fest and Ihad agreed to make centerpieces and decorate the tables for the dinner on Sat night when they feed all the artist participants. While I was in Memphis, Momma and I rounded up some Dollar Tree items like little pin-wheels and I bought additional stuff like little paper parasols at AL's 5 & 10 here. I used the beach buckets & paper fans that I had in my mini-storage and assembled colorful centerpieces to place on the colorful plastic sheet tablecloth material that Momma and I had bought. They really jazzed up the look of the community center where the thing was held. Today I disassembled them and will just hold on to the ingredients and use them again next year probably. My friend Bill came over from New Orleans and was a big help w/ set-up. We showed up at the shrimp dinner later which had very so-so food. But it was donated, so I guess the art assoc can't complain about free.

Spring Break is beginning to crank up. Should start this week for some schools.