TiVo Hacks

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If you have a TiVo, then you will love these two simple hacks done completely with the remote control. If you don’t have TiVo, then what’s wrong with you?

To turn on the on-screen clock, press: Select -> Play -> Select -> 9 -> Select. You can turn it off with the same sequence of keys.

To enable the 30-second skip that is perfect for skipping comercials, press: Select -> Play -> Select -> 3 -> 0 -> Select. Now the skip button (looks like ->|) will forward the playing 30 seconds.

511

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I had no idea this existed until today. If you are in Utah, dial 511 to get traffic, road conditions, public transportation and other information. It all works off voice commands so you don’t have to press buttons on the phone as you drive. I’m pretty tired, or I would write loads more about this.

Merry Christmas!

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A big and hearty “Merry Christmas” to everyone! I came out pretty well this year, despite the fact that my wife and I didn’t get each other anything. The present I was most happy with was the repair of my favorite watch (thanks Celestia). The other awards follow:

Biggest Surprise: A 160 GB Western Digital 7k RPM hard drive. (I’m stunned).
Tastiest: Chocolate letter “N”
Most Meaningful: A tie clip that belonged to my great-great-great grandfather.
Most Portable: Costco Gift Certificate
Most Unusual: Iron Chef board game.
Most Entertaining: LotR TT Special Edition and Tomb Raider – Cradel of Life.

I hope you all had a good Christmas!

Cubicle Decoration

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I think that now days most people in our field work in cubicles. Some lucky ones have offices, some unlucky ones work in shared areas. It seems that magagers believe that the closer employees are physically to each other, the more improved the communication. This way of thinking has two serrious flaws. First, I have been as close as physically possible with my wife, and it hasn’t improved communication at all. Second, managers feel that the closeness principal works the opposite with them — they have to have a sealed office so they can get their work done. Idiots.

Nevertheless, most people are in cubicles and every once in a while a daring soul will muster the courage to express their individuality by decorating it.

I remember when Rob Bennett put up a Japanese curtain (properly called a Noren) in the doorway of this cubicle at the LDS Church. For those who don’t know what a Noren looks like, here is a picture. Rob was told to take it down by Brent Maddock because it presented a fire hazard. When Brent Maddock was presented with the obvious fact that he was just making up an excuse, he countered with “It presents an attitude of non-conformity. If we let you do it, who know what other people will do!” Rob was ordered to take it down. I applaud Rob for being a couragous non-conformer.

But others have gone far beyond a Noren in their cubicle. And of course, these people have web pages.

Scott Kuma made his into a christmas house.

Greg Minshall objected so much to moving into a cubicle, his boss made his more like a house. Now there is a boss that cares (or is sick of the whining).

Jamie Zawinski worked for Netscape during the golden years and had a “tent of doom.”

InfoWorld Does It Again with Crappy Review of Anti-Spam Products

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Issue 49, December 15, 2003. Page 40.
I have to hand to InfoWorld for another creative review of anti-spam products. This time it is MailMarshal. (For those who are interested, it is written by the same loser who wrote the last article that was just a crappy).

This review praises MailMarshal for its ease of install which is Windows only. “Installing MailMarshal is straightforward. It requires MMC (Microsoft Management Console, Active X Data Objects 2.5, Microsoft Data Access Components 2.5, Internet Explorer 5.01, and SQLServer 7 or later for reporting and logging — the free MSDE (Micorosoft Data Engine) run-time version can be used for smaller sites.”

Yeah. Sounds easy to me. I would bet money that the author has absolutely no idea what any of those are nor how to check the versions of any of them.

What I find disturbing is the graph included at the end of the article which has categories for comparing Brightmail, FrontBridge, Postini and NetIQ. The on-line version of the article seems to have left it out (???). So I’ll include it below:

  Total Messages Total Spam Spam Blocked Critical False Positives Non-critical False Positives
Brightmail 1106 835 805 0% 0.09%
FrontBridge 3058 825 746 0% 1.24%
Postini 1045 695 651 0.29% 3.25%
NetIQ 2250 766 688 0.18% 2.30%

The first thing I find odd is that the Total Messages and Total Spam is different for each product, leading me to believe that no test was actually done, rather numbers were pulled from already installed systems and culled from everyday use. This being the case, there is absolutely no validity in comparing different products based on completely different data sets. This is an afront to engineers and intelligent people everywhere!

Next is the category called “Critial False Positives” and “Non-critical False Positives.” These are new types a classifications for me. I have heard of spam and ham, and I have heard of Hard Spam and Easy Spam (both define how spammy the content is so you can help tune filters but both are, nonetheless, spam). To me a Critial False Positive is just a regular false positive. A Non-critical False Positive is still a false positive. I can only assume that these categories are created for some reason to better show off statistics for a particular product. But even if this is the case, NetIQ still sucks as seen by the numbers in the graph.

Who is this Logan G. Harbaugh?!?

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