Archive for October 2009

October’s Popular Posts

Published on October 31, 2009

I’ve been looking at my visitor statistics for this website (as I always do), and I thought I’d share some interesting information. The most popular posts at this website are surprising to me, and I’m not sure I could have guessed which ones were at the top. Here are the top five posts for the month of October:

  1. Batch File Exit Codes – 741 views
  2. Using NTP on a Private Network – 260 views
  3. Fixing Broken HTML Document Icons – 169 views
  4. Firefox 3.5 Slow to Start – 162 views
  5. Thoughts on Mint.com – 151 views

I find it quite bizarre that my article on batch file exit codes is at the top of the list; and by quite a large margin! Apparently, there are a lot of people out there confused about this subject (and rightly so). Also, I never would have guessed that setting up NTP was popular enough to even register. But there it is coming in at number 2! Some of the other articles are less surprising: Firefox 3.5 being slow is an obvious search (since it is indeed slow … though it’s gotten better with subsequent releases). And Mint.com seems to be gaining in popularity around the web, so I can understand people looking for reviews on the service.

I’ve always enjoyed looking at site stats and, while this website doesn’t see near the traffic that its sister Born Geek does, it’s enjoyable to see that my articles are indeed being read.

Team Fortress 2 Halloween Special

Published on October 30, 2009

It seems the good folks at Valve have released a Halloween-themed update for Team Fortress 2. I haven’t played TF2 in quite some time now, but this is a good excuse to jump back into the game. A total of 5 new achievements are being offered, but only for a limited time.

I think the holiday themed update is a very interesting idea, and it’s definitely something that not too many games have done in the past. Stuff like this always makes me hope that Valve isn’t purchased by some other entity. I can see the bean counters at a place like EA saying, “we don’t have the time or money to develop this kind of thing.” With any luck, Valve will remain an autonomous studio, and will continue to crank out great content like this.

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Blocking IE 6?

Published on October 25, 2009

I am considering blocking all users who use Internet Explorer 6 from viewing this website (support will remain for Born Geek). Viewers using this old browser would instead be given a dialog offering links to other, more competent browsers (including IE 7 and 8). Is there anyone who regularly visits this website that still uses IE 6 and doesn’t want me to block them? I see that IE 6 still accounts for 13.5% of traffic to this site, which is surprising to me. Interestingly enough, Firefox only accounts for 37.7% of the visitors here.

If you’re an IE 6 user, and you want to continue viewing this site in your antiquated browser, let me know in the comments. If I don’t hear from anyone in the next two weeks, I’m gonna drop the ban hammer and start rejecting visitors who use it.

Monkey Album Layout Changes

Published on October 22, 2009

I have updated the look and feel of the albums view in Monkey Album. Note that you may have to force a hard-refresh to get the new style sheet (Ctrl + F5 usually does it). The most recent photo album is now given a more prominent position on the page, appearing in the top left corner. To the right of the most recent album is the new favorites preview block, now showing only 4 favorites (instead of the old 7). Other album previews follow, allowing access to my “archived” photo albums. In addition, the page now shows 19 albums per page, as opposed to the 9 shown previously. I may bump this number up, or forgo multiple pages altogether (and just use one long page). We’ll see how it goes.

One other change has also been made. All thumbnail images now link to the #content portion of their respective pages. So, you’ll no longer have to scroll down to view the image when you follow a thumbnail’s link.

What do you think of these changes? Should I stick with them, or were things better previously? Are there any browsers where the look and feel appears broken? Your comments and suggestions are appreciated!

Microsoft’s Big Day

Published on October 22, 2009

Today is the big day for Windows 7: release day! I’m thinking about picking up a copy of the new OS at some point in the near future for my gaming machine at home, though I’ll probably wait until the price drops. Is anyone here going to upgrade?

I saw in the news recently that Windows 7 has eclipsed Harry Potter for the number of pre-orders on Amazon UK. That’s saying something, seeing as Harry Potter is wildly popular over in Great Britain. I’m looking forward to giving this new OS a shot. It’s definitely time for something new (XP is feeling increasingly old and clunky).

The Kindle Killer?

Published on October 20, 2009

Barnes & Noble has unveiled the Nook, their Kindle-killing e-book reader. Although I don’t read enough to warrant getting one of these devices, I have to admit that the Nook is very slick looking. It certainly has the Apple-esque design going for it, with its slick looking screen, color keyboard, and general all-around sexiness.

Do any of you use a Kindle, or wish you did? What do you think of this new device? I think B&N will be bringing the heat to Amazon which is always a good thing (we can always use more competition).

Useful Tool: Autoruns

Published on October 19, 2009

This month’s useful tool is another from the good folks at Sysinternals. Autoruns is a tool for Windows that shows you all the processes and services that are scheduled to start when the system boots up. It’s amazing how many auto-start lists reside in the Windows registry! My laptop has hundreds of entries, ranging from system level entries to third party drivers and software updaters.

What makes this tool outstanding, however, is the ability to easily disable certain processes from the startup sequence. Next to each entry is a checkbox; when it’s checked, the item will be started as usual. Uncheck the box and the process will be omitted from startup. I’ve found it incredible handy to disable some of the more annoying programs that start up (iTunes helpers and Adobe Acrobat, I’m looking at you).

Science Museum Photos

Published on October 9, 2009

I have posted a new photo album from a recent visit to the Life and Science Museum in Durham, NC. The new Dinosaur trail was a lot of fun to walk down, and the butterfly house was particularly exciting this time around (thanks to lots of sunlight). If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend visiting this museum. They’ve expanded it quite a bit over the past few years, and there’s a ton of stuff to see and do.

Testing With Private Browsing Mode

Published on October 8, 2009

Here’s a great web developer tip that I’ve discovered recently. If you’re trying to test a site that involves cookies, and you specifically want to test as a “new visitor” (i.e. you are visiting the site for the very first time), simply turn on Private Browsing mode in Firefox. This can be done with the handy Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard command, or via the corresponding menu item in the Tools menu. Using Private Browsing will prevent you from having to clear your cache, allowing you to save those cookies you really do care about.

When you’re done, simply exit Private Browsing mode and you will be returned to your previous session: cookies, history and all! This is a handy way to quickly run through tests that might otherwise be a bother to do.

Sixteen Reasons To Be Happy

Published on October 1, 2009

There’s nothing like a fresh batch of cinnamon rolls to make any day a great one:

16 Cinnamon Rolls

Add some icing (made with powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk), and you’ve got one of the best foods of all time.

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