Archive for December 2006

Savannah Wildlife Refuge Photos

Published on December 29, 2006

While in Georgia visiting relatives, my family took a trip to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (as we do every time we visit relatives in Georgia). I had my camera with me, and a new photo set is the result. The main feature of the refuge, at least for my family, is the 4-mile auto tour that the public can take. We always try to see how many alligators we can spot (we saw 0 the first day and 5 the second), and we greatly enjoy the bird watching (the number of birds that can be seen at the refuge boggles the mind). Keep in mind that all of the animals at the refuge are wild; it’s not a zoo!

The best thing about the refuge is that every trip is unique. On one particular visit years ago we spotted a feral hog, something we haven’t seen again (though feral hogs do apparently live at the refuge). Another memorable trip was only a few years ago, when we ran into a cluster of between 100 and 150 alligators, all of whom were fighting over a school of fish who were just spawning. I truly wish I had had a camera at that particular time; the sight was truly incredible and something I will never forget.

If you ever happen to be in the Savannah area, I highly recommend a trip to the refuge. It’s a great, relaxing, and (yes) educational time.

Knights of the Nine

Published on December 15, 2006

I just recently picked up the Knights of the Nine downloadable content collection for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. In fact, it has sucked me back into the Oblivion world, so most of my free time is now spent questing with a brand new character (a Breton I named Tristram). Included in the collection is the brand new Knights of the Nine quest line, which supposedly adds an additional 9 to 10 hours of game play. Also included are a number of add-ons that were previously only available for purchase online: the Wizard’s Tower, Vile Lair, Thieves Den, Mehrunes’ Razor, Horse Armor pack, The Orrery, and a collection of spell tomes (my favorite add-on so far). I was lucky enough to pick it up for only $9.95 at Circuit City (the same day I wrecked my car), but it normally retails at $19.95. If you’re a fan of Oblivion (and who’s not?), I highly recommend the collection. So far, it’s been a blast.

Link List

Published on December 13, 2006

No programming tips here tonight. Just a few great stories I’ve recently found:

First Look at Firefox 3.0
Lots of love coming in 3.0. I simply cannot wait.
Mozilla Thunderbird 2 Beta 1
Firefox’s little brother is moving forward.
Clinton in Action
This man is super great.
DS Buttons
A very cool marketing idea. I heart my DS too.
Amazon Sales From Recommendations: 35%
Can you believe that 35% of sales come from the recommender? I’m shocked.

If the list above looks a little funny, do a browser refresh; I’ve updated the site style sheet to make this type of list a little nicer to look at.

Rear Ended

Published on December 11, 2006

I had the great fortune of being rear-ended tonight while coming home from work. What a wonderful Christmas present, delivered early for my enjoyment! I wanted more than anything to spend the next several days dealing with insurance, collision shops, and going without a car. Whee!

Best Extension Ever?

Published on December 9, 2006

I recently stumbled upon what might be the greatest Firefox extension of all time: Firebug. This extension is aimed squarely at web developers and includes a number of mind-blowing features. And I mean mind blowing. Before reading any further, take a look at this short screencast of Firebug in action. Just make sure that you hold on to your socks.

How did I survive this long without this tool? And why haven’t we had something like this all along? Firebug single-handedly obsoletes the DOM Inspector extension that ships with Firefox, and nearly obsoletes the mighty fine Web Developer extension that I have relied on for so long. I can now view exactly what my CSS is doing. I can peruse through my page’s DOM without opening up the DOM Inspector and switching between windows. I can even edit the CSS and HTML for a page in real time; no reloading necessary! Want to watch your AJAX code in action? Firebug makes it easy.

This tool feels so incredibly polished, and the user interface is so streamlined, that I barely even notice that I have it installed. And it weighs in at an extraordinarily small 288 KB (as of this writing). I cannot say enough good things about this extension; just download it and give it a try. You will not be disappointed.

Yahoo Reorganization

Published on December 6, 2006

It looks as if Yahoo! will be undergoing a reorganization effort in the future. Both Matt Cutts and Greg Linden provide some interesting commentary, and there’s plenty of other news on the subject.

I am not an expert on the search industry, but it seems to me that this was the only way for Yahoo to stay alive. If their recent TV listings overhaul is any sign of their current state of affairs, then I am ready to declare the company in shambles. The old TV listings page was light weight and usable; the new one is bloated, confusing, and very ugly. Although their primary competition (Google) doesn’t have a TV listing service, I can assure you that if they did, it would be light weight and responsive. Google knows what users want; Yahoo appears to only know what they want for their users. That kind of direction can only lead to collapse. Hopefully Yahoo can turn things around. As much as I love Google, we need some semblance of competition.

A Disappointing Turn of Events

Published on December 2, 2006

I’m going to go ahead and call this one: Ctrl+Alt+Del has jumped the shark. What used to be a mildly amusing online comic has devolved into something so far out in left field, so detached from reality, that I’m not going to bother reading it anymore. The current story line is just a joke. Each character is a mindless, empty shell of what they used to be. It’s sad to see the comic take this turn, but I can’t say I’m surprised. In some way, I sort of saw this coming.

Eating Crow

Published on December 1, 2006

In a recent interview, Scott Miller of 3D Realms stated his apparent dislikes over the Steam content delivery system (owned by rival company Valve). And within 24 hours, the 3D Realms game Prey was announced as going on sale over the Steam network. How’s that for a hypocritical statement? Interestingly enough, the game is being sold for a whopping $49.95; a full $30 more than it’s being offered for over at Amazon.com.

It seems to me that Scott’s main problem with Steam is that he simply isn’t the one making money. Valve clearly had a good idea in Steam, and now they are the ones profiting off of it. Some of his points are valid (having a competitor know your revenue totals does seem a tad creepy), but I think he’s mostly whining. 3D Realms hasn’t had a truly successful release in quite some time, last I checked. Could that fact, coupled with Valve’s success, be what’s making Scott so fussy?

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