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Question Answered: Windows Anytime Upgrade = Good Idea

I decided to upgrade Windows Vista from Home Basic to Home Premium. I took the risk and ordered the DVD to upgrade Windows and even though I have had bad past experiences with Vista, this one actually wasn’t a bad experience. I decided that I was not going to re-format, but instead upgrade Vista from the current state. The current state that I have the computer is that most of the folders in the User folder, like documents, videos, and pictures, are mapped onto another partition. UAC is partially off, and I have Windowblinds installed along with LogonStudio. All updates were installed including SP1. So that’s the state I had before upgrading.

Despite that it took a total of 2 weeks to get the upgrade DVD in the mail (there was no express shipping option), I managed to be patient and after 2 whole hours of installing, Vista finally came to the login screen. It installed quite nicely. I was expecting it to corrupt my system or delete my programs or something, but it did what it was suppose to do. All my modifications were intact, there were a slight change in settings, but other than that, everything else was the way I had set it.

Things that were changed after upgrade: Power Options were set back to default, LogonStudio’s login screen was set back to default, Security Center’s icon and alerts were set back to default, Task Manager was set back to default.

Complications: One of the updates (KB947562) would not install through Windows Update after the upgrade process. A simple Google search brought up how to manually download the update, which worked.

The Salmonella Mystery Continues

It might be tomatoes; and it might not be tomatoes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not know what is causing the salmonella. The investigation into the source of the salmonella broadens to other produce, as the number of reported illnesses reaches a thousand people – with the numbers increasing:

“…Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say it is premature to declare jalapenos the lead suspect, and still list it with tomatoes, cilantro and serrano peppers as one of the common salsa ingredients under investigation. Officials also have stepped up testing of cilantro and serrano peppers, but “there is no specific ‘prime suspect,’ ” FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said.

As the number of illnesses tops 900, the stakes are high. If federal officials wait too long for proof, there’s a risk that more people will get sick. But if they single out the wrong food, a mistake could cost an industry millions of dollars. The tomato industry says it already has lost $100 million.”

link: Salmonella probe turns from tomatoes to jalapenos

This means that other food sectors, in addition to the tomato industry, might suffer a staggering financial set back. Understandably, people who are producing these perishable items are angry at the handling of this salmonella outbreak. As this investigation drags on, as millions of dollars are lost and as people are becoming ill from some food source, it is abundantly clear that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs a major overhaul. Presently, the agency can not fulfill its mandate of protecting citizens from unsafe products. This salmonella problem is a clarion call.

Catherine Forsythe

How to Screen Cast

You may have seen someone else do it or maybe you just want to know what all the hype is about. Well the hype about screen casting is this. You can record your screen with audio which is the best thing to do when you are trying to help someone out. So this is what I do for all of my videos. If you are wondering how you can do this yourself there are a few ways.

The first and the one this video talks about is Screencast-o-matic website This is a website that allows you to take screencast of your screen and post them to websites like youtube. The unique thing about this is that it requires no installation; thats right it runs in your browser. All you need to have is a modern browser and the latest version of Java installed. The only drawback here is that there is a very low frame rate and the UI is terrible.

The next way to do a screen cast is a little more advance, but in return it gives better more professional results. To do this you need a program installed on your computer. On a Mac there is a really good and FREE program called CamTwist CamTwist Download. This is also what Chris Pirillo uses so you can check out an example here: Live.pirillo.com. The catch is that this program is only for mac.

For Windows users you need to try one of the two:

  • Webcam Max This program is not free but is better than superwbcam.
  • SuperwebcamThis program is free, but lacks a lot of features

So now you may be asking how do you use these programs. Well, for the windows programs i don't know, but they are pretty easy to use. For the mac when you download and install CamTwist you open it and select desktop as your source then you can add a whole bunch of effects. Then you open your recording program and select the camera "camtwist". Note: CamTwist will not work with iChat or Photobooth.

Thank you for taking the time to look into my blog and I hope you will come again.

Obama Challenges America: Where Are You?

On July 7, 2008 Barack Obama challenged the American people to vote their heart. If they were satisfied with the way the country has been run for the last eight years, under the Bush Administration, he told the citizenry that they should vote for John McCain. If they weren’t happy, however, then they had the opportunity to vote for change.

That statement alone would give me pause to think long and hard about the choice I will make in the November 2008 presidential election. Another thing that Obama had no hand in that gave me pause was an Internet joke that asked if you wanted to vote for a lawyer, who was married to a lawyer, who was being supported by lawyer or if you wanted to vote for a military man, married to a beautiful lady with big breasts, who just happens to own a beer distributorship. Think about it, a military dictatorship where the huge war machine continues to eat up our valuable tax dollars in the aimless quest to find deadlier and more dangerous ways of annihilating the human race or an administration where the economy, infrastructure, and equality are focused on?

Americans, it is up to you. You can say enough is enough. Let’s put the big brains of NASA onto solving the problems of America. What are they? How about finding an affordable source of alternative fuel or a way to stop global warming? These great minds are being wasted. Who cares if there is ice on Mars if there is no affordable food on Earth to feed the masses? I surely don’t. Who wants spy satellites that cost billions of dollars if we can’t afford shoes or education for our children? I don’t. How about you?

Please don’t listen to the rhetoric being slammed down your throat that is aimed at controlling your vote through fear. Obama is not the anti-Christ. Obama is not Muslim. Obama is not a terrorist just waiting to destroy America or that he is going to send all of our tax dollars to Africa. Most of us don’t want to think that we are racist and we do want to consider followers of Jesus’ teachings.

If this is true look at the comments I have just made and ask yourself if you have heard them during this campaign. Now ask yourself if they are why you are afraid to take Obama at his word. He has run a clean campaign that has been financed not just by black Americans but many like myself who desire change. Where are you? Remember, if you are satisfied the way things have been run over the course of the last eight years you should vote for John McCain. If you aren’t satisfied then you do have a viable alternative to vote for Barack Obama.

PinGoat – Where have you gone?

Pingoat.com, a free service that pings various blog websites when your blog is updated, has been offline for almost a week now. If you go to their website you will be greeted with a canned message explaining that they are doing some maintenance. For the maintenance to last over a week must mean that they are having some sort of large problem.

With PinGoat being down, I have not been able to ping my blog with other services. I guess I could go to individual websites and update them; however that is a huge pain. I am on the lazy side, especially since it is finals week, so I do not want to go out and locate a new pinging service.

Do you know of any decent websites that ping blogging sites when your website is updated? I know WordPress notifies a few locations, but that does not seem to produce many results. Do you think that pinging services such as PinGoat are actually useful? In other words, do they supply traffic to the smaller blogs?
Comments welcome,


A friend of mine recently traveled to Europe for a few weeks and was able to visit a number of the top spots that tourists think of in connection with Europe. When he had time to do so, he sent out updates to his friends and family via e-mail, and it was enjoyable to read his experiences and see a few of the pictures that he had taken along the way. Using e-mail to communicate in this way is one option, but there are also special services that have been built to help people record the details of their trips for others to see. For example, Mapness! helps you to build your online travel journal.

Using a combination of text, pictures, videos, and a map, you’ll be able to give others a taste of what you’ve experienced on your trips. Each stop is represented by a point on the map, and you can follow these points and click on them to see any content that is associated with that particular location. I like how easy the service is to navigate, and your contacts will enjoy following you on your journeys.

Twitter, Friendfeed, etc: The Noise Ratio Solution

I find that following somewhere around 50 people on Twitter is a “sweet spot”. I don’t like to follow to many people because I inevitably miss things. It’s hard enough forgetting to check my replies. I miss enough of those as it is.

There are so many ways to connect to social networking, microblogs, and other web based services these days. When you sign up for Friendfeed or Socialthing or any of the updaters like ping.fm or hellotxt, you are greeted with a sea of icons for many many different services. You have video, social, micro, news, rss, pictures, music, books, misc, and just about any other web service out there.

If you’re like me, you use many of these services. If you’re like me, you do want to share this info with everyone. But it has become increasingly harder to keep track of it all and even more difficult to filter out the noise. In some respects it goes hand in hand.

Take Friendfeed as an example. I’m currently only following about 10 people on that site. By default “friend of a friend” updates are shown, so you can multiply that 10 people by 2 or 3 at any given time. Friendfeed is just a sea of text. If you follow any of the “weblebrities”, their posts usually yield many comments. Those posts keep getting to the top of my page after being commented on for over 24 hours. So sea of text plus a few weblebrities equals a lot of noise. I’ve been reading about everyone’s favorite peanut butter on Friendfeed for the past two days because it keeps floating to the top. I suppose I could just hide it.

A service like Friendfeed needs something like groups that you can create and customize. This way, I could make a “weblebrities” group where I would add Kevin Rose, Veronica Belmont, Chris Pirillo, and iJustine and keep them and all of their ever growing popularity in a “cage”. Furthermore, I could keep real life friends in the “real life” group.

Friendfeed isn’t the only service that would benefit from this. Um…like…everything in which you add people could benefit from this. In turn, all of the apps and services that connect to these benefited outfits would…uhh…benefit. Alert Thingy would be more than just a prettier copy of the sea of text.

So it’s easy. Too much noise equals disorganization. How to you organize disorganized data? With groups baby. Or labels, or containers, or folders, or whatever. We’re just looking for some kind of UI options that make many things easier to see. Kind of like how folders work in the gReader. I’m sure the minds behind these services will figure it out and implement “groups” in an even cooler way than I’m thinking.

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What Do I Do When The Do Not Call List Is Ignored?

I keep getting phone calls from automated telemarketing systems even though I registered my number on the Do Not Call list.. Can I look these numbers up on the Internet to find out who these people are and report them? — Allen

When the government announced the creation of a national “Do Not Call” registry as a means to reduce the number of telephone solicitations, many cheered their efforts.

While creating this system helped in the beginning, the bad guys have been constantly looking for loopholes to get around the system.

Some are moving their operations off-shore and using inexpensive Internet based phone technology to continue to harass you. In these cases (and at this point they are rare), the Do Not Call list is a treasure trove of real numbers for those that have no intention of observing the US regulations.

U.S. based firms are skirting the law by setting up elaborate “affiliate networks” that exploit the provision in the system that allows businesses with a “previous business relationship” to contact you up to 18 months after the last contact, payment or delivery of a product or service.

Some have even setup complex contest offers in shopping malls and sporting events to get people to essentially sign away their rights to the Do Not Call registration.

Others are using call blocking so you can’t figure out who they are and where they are calling from.

Legally, those conducting surveys, non-profit organizations or political solicitations are permissible even though you registered your number on the Do Not Call list. The latest scam is posing as an organization that is taking a survey in hopes of opening the door to a solicitation by asking if they can call you back.

Another area where they can still bug you is at your business. The Do Not Call list is designated for consumers only, so business-to-business calls are still going to occur and that may include your cell phone.

You can enter your personal cell phone number in the DNC registry, but if it’s a business cell phone, it’s not covered by the DNC regulation.

There are a number of Internet resources for determining who is calling you when the caller ID shows up, but be very careful where you go.

There are many Web sites set up that will charge you to determine who a phone number belongs to, even though you can get what you need for free.

I prefer sites where others have gotten the same call as you (based on the caller ID number being the same) and have already done the homework for you.

Check out sites like CallerComplaints.com and 800notes.com to quickly determine if you are getting the same calls as others and what they have determined them to be.

Another way to fight the automated telemarketing companies is to put a special tone that sounds like the “disconnect” sound at the beginning of your voice message greeting. This will tell an automated system that the number has been disconnected via the tone and to remove it from their list, but humans will hear your answering message and realize that it is valid.

You can download the “disconnect” sound file from the Data Doctors site.

You can report anyone that you think is violating the DNC registry parameters by clicking on the “File A Complaint” link here.

Ken Colburn
President of Data Doctors Computer Services, Host of the award-winning Computer Corner radio show, and Author of Computer Q&A in the East Valley Tribune newspapers.

Quickly Open Network Connections In Vista

When seasoned XP users begin navigating around Vista, one of the things you will notice (and likely become annoyed with) is that Network Connections list that shows all your adapters is tucked away deep in the Control Panel. This is unlike XP, where you could right click Network Connections and click Properties.

If you want to quickly open the network connection list in Vista, you can go through several clicks in the Control Panel, or you can just type ncpa.cpl in the search field on the Start menu. Press Enter and the network connections list appears. You can also take this one step further and create a shortcut on your desktop to the network connections list.

CursorFX 2.01 – Change Your Windows Cursors

Just wanted to give an update that CursorFX 2.01 was released today. 

CursorFX is an application that lets users easily change their Windows cursors to one of thousands available for download. These can range from simple mouse cursors, to cursors with very detailed graphics and animations. CursorFX also includes a powerful, yet easy to use, editor in which you can create your own cursors which you can use on your own, or share with others.

What’s new in version 2.01:

  • Sounds on mouse event embeddable into themes
  • New Ghost Trail effect
  • Main User Interface updated
  • Theme Editor UI updated

Free and Plus versions available at www.cursorfx.com.

CursorFX 2.01