“You Just Killed The HomeOwner”

Strange what you find if you just pay attention. Thanks to twitter, I found this…

PHOENIX (CN) – A homeowner says a Phoenix police officer shot him six times in the back during a 911 home-invasion call, and the 911 tape recorded the officer’s partner saying, “That’s all right. Don’t worry about it. I got your back. … We clear?” The family says the officers were not aware that the 911 call was still recording as they spoke about covering up the shooting.

In their complaint in Maricopa County Court, Anthony and Lesley Arambula say an armed intruder “crashed through the front window” of their home on Sept. 17, 2008 and ran into one of their son’s bedrooms.

Anthony, worried about his son who was still in his bedroom, says he “held the intruder calmly at gunpoint” and called 911.

Phoenix Police officers already in the neighborhood heard the crash of the Arambulas’ window. When they approached the house, Lesley says, she told Sgt. Sean Coutts that her husband was inside holding the intruder at gunpoint. Lesley says Coutts failed to pass on that information to the two other officers.

Inside the house, the Arambulas say, Officer Brian Lilly shot Anthony six times in the back while he was still on the phone with the 911 operator – twice when he was on the ground.
The officers ran into the bedroom after Anthony told them, “You just killed … you just killed the homeowner. The bad guy is in there.”

The complaint states that Officer Lilly “admitted that it was only after Tony was laying, bullet-ridden, on the ground that he assessed the situation. The 911 tape continued to record what happened even after Officer Lilly unloaded his weapon into Tony, including Officer Lilly’s post-shooting, one-word ‘assessment’: ‘Fuck.’

“Tony believed he was going to die; the 911 tape records his plaintive goodbye to his family: ‘… I love you … I love you.’ Then Tony made what he believed was a dying request to the officers; he did not want his young family to see him shot and bloodied. Officers callously ignored his request and painfully dragged Tony by his injured leg, through the home and out to his backyard patio, where they left him bloodied and shot right in front of Lesley, Matthew and Zachary.”

The Arambulas say the officers later dragged Anthony onto gravel, then put him on top of the hot hood of a squad car, and “drove the squad car down the street with Tony lying on top, writing in pain.”

According to the complaint, Lilly can be heard on the 911 tape telling Coutts, “We fucked up.”

Lilly says on the tape that he did not know where Anthony’s gun was when he shot him and that he “opened fire because he heard loud noises and saw someone who looked like he might be the ‘Hispanic’ male they were pursuing” before getting to the Arambulas’ house, according to the complaint.

The complaint states: “Sgt. Coutts knew that officers has just shot up and likely killed an innocent homeowner and the husband of Lesley, with whom he had spoken before entering the home, instead of the armed intruder. Sgt. Coutts was quick to commence the cover-up of their terrible mistake. Sgt. Coutts asked Office Lilly where Tony’s gun was at the time Officer Lilly had opened fire on Tony. Officer Lilly admitted that he did not know where Tony’s gun was: ‘I don’t know. I heard screaming and I fired.'”

Lilly later told a police internal affairs investigator that Anthony had pointed his gun in his direction, “in the ‘ready’ position,” the complaint states. But Anthony Arambula says he was facing away from the officers, who could not have even seen his gun.

The complaint continues: “Still not knowing that he is being recorded n the 911 tape, Sgt. Coutts interrupted Officer Lilly’s admission and apology with his assurance that the cover-up would commence: ‘That’s all right. Don’t worry about it. I got your back. … We clear?'”

After the shooting, the Arambulas say, the Phoenix Police Department treated them “like suspects in a drug bust,” denying Lesley, Michael and Zachary information about Anthony’s condition and denying friends and family members access to him at the hospital.

Anthony Arambula survived, but continues to suffer pain, which he expects will last for the rest of his life.

The City of Phoenix and Officer Dzenan Ahmetovic also are named as defendants.

The Arambulas seek punitive damages for gross negligence, civil rights violations, failure to supervise, excessive force, deliberate indifference to medical needs, false arrest, and emotional distress. They are represented by Michael Manning with son Morrison Hecker.

Original at CourthouseNews

Upgrade To Firefox 3

Mozilla FirefoxImage via Wikipedia

Even Great Browsers Need Updating

Mozilla recently released 2 new updates for Firefox, and 3.0.5.

Wordout recommends that if you regularly use Firefox, you should go ahead and get the upgrade to the ‘3’ version. The reason is simple – phishing protection will only be available for the ‘3’ version in the future.

From the Mozilla site:

Mozilla is not planning any further security & stability updates for Firefox 2, and recommends that you upgrade to Firefox 3 as soon as possible. It’s free, and your settings and bookmarks will be preserved.

Also, the Phishing Protection service will no longer be available for Firefox 2 users. Firefox 3 offers a free Phishing and Malware Protection service, which will continue to protect you from online scams and attacks.

If you already have Firefox 3 or Firefox 2, you will receive an automated update notification within 24 to 48 hours. This update can also be applied manually by selecting “Check for Updates…” from the Help menu.

You can pick up the latest version by clicking HERE. After the installation, Firefox will check for and update your add-ons. The procedure is painless and quick, so go do it now.

I am Jon, and I use Firefox 3.

Image 1

Awesome Shutdown Hack Video

Amaze Your Friends!

Are you the somebody that everybody in your family goes to for computer help? Have you tried to get Uncle Joe to stop using Internet Explorer but he just won’t stop? Or maybe Aunt Ethel just gets on your last nerve, or maybe it’s little cousin Ellie and her MySpace IM’s.

Whatever it is, whoever it is, sometimes you just need a good laugh. Here’s a funny little hack for you, or a prank you can play on some of your friends.

The video below, courtesy of Metacafe, shows you how to create a replacement icon for IE that, if used, will simply shut down the pc. You can’t damage the computer by doing this, and if you ever want to un-do it, just delete the icon you’ve created. Remember, you can use ANY icon, it doesn’t have to be Internet Explorer.

Have fun!

Perfect PC Shutdown PrankFree videos are just a click away
Awesome PC Shutdown Prank



I am Jon, and of course, I would never do this to anyone.





.empty space for the 1024 viewers

CeBit User Interfaces

Coming Soon To A PC Near You

Have you been wondering what the next generation of user interfaces will be like? The iPhone has already shown us some of it. If you’ve been following Wordout or Google’s Android, you’ve seen some more of it. But what if you applied that same thing to larger screens?

What if you plastered it across an entire wall? Below you’ll see such an exhibition, displayed at the annual Cebit in Europe. The demo here lasts less than a minute.

CeBit Wall Sized User Interface Demo


If you liked that, you might this one too, but I warn you… it’s about 10 minutes long. Still, it’s worth checking out, even for a couple of minutes, before you go on to something else.

Jeff Han of New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences


I am Jon, and I’m ready for some “hands-on” access.

(edit) There’s a story on practically the same subject over at ReadWriteWeb. I particularly liked the “Bump Top” video over there… so here it is.

Bump Top – Your 3D Real Life Desktop

It looks like this is a popular subject. -jon


Asus and the Micro Laptop

Asus (pronounced: uh-soos) might not be a name you recognize, but it’s probably one you’ll hear more of in the future. Engadget has a story about the new Eee PC with a 9″ screen. This is the big brother to the model they already had with a 7″ screen. Look here for comparison pics of each. For a good bunch of photos of the 7 incher by itself, look here (it may say 9 inch, but I’m pretty certain that’s the 7″ model).

Asus has been around for quite awhile, making, among other things, some of the best motherboards in the business. Chances are good you’ve had one and didn’t know it. The new laptop should be available in mid 2008, hopefully in time for the “back to school” sales, and is rumored to have a retail tag of around $600US.

This image gives you a sense of the sheer size, literally.

Many who know me have heard me extol the coming wave of micro-pc’s, small enough to carry with you in a pocket or purse. Throw a phone into one of these and you’re almost there…

I am Jon, and I would like 3 sevens, please.


RIAA Pirates

Seems They’re Keepin All The Loot…

I found this via TorrentFreak.There’s a New York Post story about the RIAA not paying artists from settlements received from P2P giants such as Napster, Kazaa and Bolt.com. I don’t normally use the NY Post as a source, but if this is true you need to know it. From the article:

“Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for,” said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others.

“Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don’t get paid soon.”

Record label sources said corporate bosses are still deciding on how best to split the money. In determining the payout, they said not every artist is owed money and it must be calculated with regard to the level of copyright infringement for each artist.

What’s more, these sources said that after the labels recouped their legal expenses, there wasn’t much left to pass along to the artists.

From Napster alone, the RIAA collected at least 270 million dollars. The RIAA likes to say it represents the artists, but does it, really? A hint can be gleaned from the full name of the organization: Recording Industry Association of America.

Does anyone see the word “artist” or “musician” in that name? This may the reason that so many artists are exploring alternative distribution channels lately, as mentioned in a piece on Techdirt:

“…perhaps the most ridiculous statement on the event came from the RIAA, who hung up a t-shirt saying “Feed a musician. Download legally.” That suggests that the RIAA still wants people to believe it represents the best interests of musicians. Such a concept becomes more laughable every day, as musicians seem to be shoving each other aside to bail out on the record labels to take their chances making money without them. The RIAA has never represented the interests of musicians, and it’s sad that so many politicians act as if it does. The RIAA has always represented the interests of the recording industry…”

I am Jon, and a rose by another name sometimes wouldn’t be as sweet, now would it?

rose full
Click to Enlarge


Play Crayon Physics

I Love This Game

EDIT 10JAN2009: Go HERE to download the final Deluxe version, Free Trial or 20 bucks for the full 70 level game!

Some of you tell me that you really like those little puzzles I post here occasionally. Below is a little demonstration of what has to be one of the most fascinating puzzle-games I have ever seen. In fact, this game won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at the Independent Games Festival. It uses a physics engine developed by Erin Catto to control movement within the game. The video below gives you an idea of how to play.

THIS JUST IN: You can play a great online Crayon Physics style game at Yahoo! It’s called
Magic Pen.

Crayon Physics Deluxe

Warning: This Game Is Addictive!


I downloaded the original Crayon Physics, which is not the version featured in the demo, and played it for about an hour before having to drag myself away for more productive things. There’s at least one level there that is pretty difficult to figure out. But then again, that’s what makes it so addicting.

Thanks to GeeksAreSexy for reminding me about Crayon Physics. You can download the original Crayon Physics at Kloonigames.com.

I am Jon, and I really don’t have time for this game…. really, I need to turn it off….. really…..

Android, 3G, The Web, Quake and More

Okay, Where’s the VGA port?

Below you’ll find a short video showing a genuine implementation of Android, demo’d by Andy Rubin, Director of Mobile Platforms at Google. The video, which I found searching the BBC, is less than 4 minutes and shows off some of the features we can expect in phones to be released later this year. You’ll see broadband web browsing, the game “Quake”, and for the 1st time on any mobile phone, Google’s Streetview. Android looks more like a desktop replacement every time I see it.

Google’s Andy Rubin demonstrates Android features with Darren Waters of the BBC.

I am Jon, and I think an external monitor is a great idea for an Android powered phone. All we really need is a USB port.


Hack Your Registry For Speed and Stability

Designed for Windows XP computer hardware logoImage via Wikipedia

You Won’t Find That Here, You’ll Find Something Better

There are many ways to make your pc run faster without messing around in the registry. But sadly, there’s an abundance of sites out there that try to lead you to believe that some simple registry editing will make your pc run faster. I’ve adopted the contrary opinion. My love for Microsoft isn’t even close to passion, but if you’re running XP (and most of you are), I believe the registry is generally best left to them. I’ve put together several thoughts on the subject, and I present them below.

General Thoughts

1. Hacks that speed you up and make you more stable don’t exist. Nearly all of the registry hacks I’ve found online either don’t work, or make the system unstable, or Windows already does it better. In some cases they can actually make things worse.

2. I’m not talking about legitimate registry cleaners. If you’ve had your machine for awhile and installed and uninstalled lots of programs like some people have, there are probably lots of entries that are meaningless, and should be removed.

Free Speed “Hacks”

1. If you really want to keep it running fast, the first step is to keep it updated. This includes Windows and all the programs you normally use. Go to their sites and look for updates, or look in the program menus for an Update function.

2. Use a good AntiVirus program and a firewall. For most of us, the built-in XP firewall in SP2 should be sufficient. Any kind of malware will slow you down. System scan at least once a week.

3. Get rid of all the bling. Windows XP features a signature look and feel. Things are so colorful. They slide and fade. Turn that stuff off and use the classic style. Right click on MyComputer and select Properties. Click Advanced and then Performance Settings.Click the button for Best Performance and hit Apply. You’ll be amazed at how much of a performance boost you’ll get out of this one suggestion.

4. Clean temp files, uninstall files and recent documents. You can look here for a great post on how to do that.

5. Disable unused devices. Once again, right click on MyComputer and Properties, except this time select Hardware, and then Device Manager. One quick place to go is your modem, if you have one. Chances are really good you’re on a broadband connection, and aren’t using the modem ever. So right click on it and disable it. Do that for everything you see that you know you aren’t using.

Not So Free, But Worth Considering

1. Upgrade your RAM speed or size. Sometimes pc’s can handle a faster RAM than they were originally shipped with. You might be using PC2700 and you could be using PC3200. They run at speeds of 333Mhz and 400Mhz, respectively. The difference in speeds is noticeable. To see what RAM speeds your machine can handle, look it up at your manufacturer’s website.

2. Install a faster CPU. Again, chances are really good that your machine can handle a faster CPU. If you’re using a Celeron, or a Sempron, you can definitely see some results by upgrading to a Pentium or Athlon, respectively.

3. Go camping without the pc, read a book, listen to some music. Spend some time away from the busy-ness of technology. Watch a bird fly, look for something in the clouds. Take your time. When you come back your pc will seem faster. Sometimes it’s not the machine that has slowed down. It’s us that have sped up.

As an Aside

You’ve no doubt noticed the many SnapShots I’ve used in this post. Even though I have found no end to the uses of SnapShots, the guys over at Snap.com put together a little contest to see what bloggers would come up with if they had to use the 12 main SnapShots in an article, in list form. Since there were several cash prizes up for grabs, and seeing as how I kinda like SnapShots and the guys over at Snap.com, and considering that I like stuff like this anyway, I decided to use this piece as my entry.

I am Jon, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

If you like this article, and you want to help me win the contest, go over to the blog at Snap.com and make a comment there! Contest runs until around April 8th. Thanks.

This article was awarded one of the three prizes in the Snap.com contest. Thank you!

Thanks much to Adam, who left the comment below, unintentionally alerting me to the broken link in item #4 above. The link now works and takes you to a post about keeping your pc running smooth through easy, regular maintenance, called 5 Things You Can Do to Start Your PC Faster. Thanks again, Adam!


Microsoft Update Faked Site Offers Trojan

Here, Have a Trojan.

Thanks to Mikko, over at F-Secure, we learn that someone is running a Microsoft Update site lookalike, trying to get you to download a trojan. Here’s a picture of the site:

Right off, the site is suspicious because of the huge “warning” across the front. Microsoft never does that. And notice, the word is spelled “intall”. Secondly, the button itself: MS doesn’t do that either. Finally, look at the address bar. The actual address of this site is on cfm48.com, not microsoft.com, even though the update.microsoft.com string does appear inside the address.

According to Mikko,

“If you click the Urgent Install button, you’ll get a file called WindowsUpdateAgent30-x86-x64.exe, which is not signed by Microsoft. (i.e. Click the button — Download a Trojan-Dropper.)”.

Next week is MS Tuesday, and many of us will be trudging off to get the latest updates. Take the extra half a second to look at the address bar and make sure you are where you think you are. And, if you have automatic updates turned on for notification or automatic install, just smile and go on about your business. You have little to fear from the fake update guys.

I am Jon, and I’m kinda surprised this took so long to happen.


Save Windows XP Online Petition

Choose XP
Wordout is jumping on this bandwagon right now.

Microsoft has decided to stop selling Windows XP at the end of June. Here’s the story, as found over at GeeksAreSexy:

“Alas, if things do not change, Windows XP may currently be enjoying its last few months of existence. Even if it still dominates the market (76%), Microsoft has decided to stop selling the product starting June 30. From this point, updates and support for the OS will slowly start to fall into Microsoft’s room for retired projects.

As we all know, many people still prefer XP over Vista, and the Euthanasia of the OS is far from pleasing everybody. Fortunately, a bunch of journalists from the InforWorld magazine have decided to take the matter in hand and launch an online petition to keep XP from disappearing into Limbo.

For the magazine and many, many other Windows users, XP remains at the top of the hill when it comes to performance and stability, so why force people to adopt the newer, performance-gobbling OS? Of course, we all know the answer to that question, but this is not the subject of this article.

If you are interested in signing this petition, head over to Infoworld.com. Do your moral duty and help our old friend XP. It’s the least we can do! He’s been doing a hell of a good job after all.”

So let’s get over there and put in a word for XP. As a pc tech, I can tell you that Vista still isn’t ready for prime time. Maybe in a year or two, then again, remembering Windows Millenium Edition, maybe never. XP is the best Microsoft has ever come up with. Give it some support.

Unless you want Microsoft to tell you which Windows will be on your next pc. Right now, you could still buy one with XP. If they go through with this, soon you will have no choice but Vista.

I am Jon, and I already signed the petition.


Wordout Gone Wayout – 5 Ruff Days To Go!

Wayout… as in What the..?

UPDATE: Go to The Thinking Blog and vote for Wordout!
Just click the link above and it will take you to the voting page. It’s free and it will really help me out! No registration, no email required, just your vote for Wordout, Entry #33!

Okay folks, it’s T-minus 5 days and counting. I’m talking, of course, about the deadline for entering the RuffPC Laptop Giveaway sponsored by The Thinking Blog and RuffPC. This is driving me nuts, so bear with me for a few minutes… follow my Wayout journey into the abyss and back out again.

I thought I had written a reasonable article on this way back in November. I was still learning how to use SmartLinks and SnapShots to enhance the reader’s experience, and only some of them did what I wanted them to do, but, all in all, it wasn’t a bad read. I had used proper sentences, for the most part, and had some success with the link drillers. I felt pretty good about it, thinking I had used quite alot of what was available to create something unique and fun.

Video Killed The Drilling Star

Then I saw Narendra’s YouTube video over at TechTreak. Man, was I bummed. My first thought was to embed it in my post (just kidding). I realized that to have a chance at this uber-machine, I was gonna have to out-video that video. So my search began.

It led me to Animoto, which provided a good resource for another article as well. You guys saw my first Animoto there, several days ago, in a video I had themed “With A RuffPC I Can Rule The Galaxy“. I thought that graphic of me ruling the galaxy was pretty good. I didn’t draw that, I don’t know who did. I wish I could give them the proper credit for it. The photo just before the ending graphic is a picture of a fountain, taken by my niece, Stesha. (Thanks Stesha!)

I Have No Life

Anyway, I worked on these RuffPC videos for hours on end. I think at one time there were more than 50 of them in my account at Animoto. And through it all, one thing became very clear to me. I want my RuffPC! It’s not that I need to login to Wordout from 3′ under water, or that the sprawling metropolis of Reidsville is going to be subjected to some really strong EMP or other radiation, but, well… you never know, you know?

So with that in mind, I present you with a few of the fruits of my efforts. You’ll recall that I was using a song freely available on the Animoto website before, called “Beautiful Freak”. I have included a couple using that music, and also a few using original material, just to up the ante as best I can. You can click the blue title below each video for a full-screen viewing, or just click the play arrow in the player.
I hope you enjoy…

The Video Parade

Gets off to a slow start, but picks up a bit at the end.
Okay, here I’m just starting to get the hang of this Animoto machine. I’m starting to think there’s
only so much you can do in 30 seconds when so much control is taken away from you.


Final Freak
Snaps right up in your face and grooves the whole way through. Yeah, I said that. “Grooves”
By now I’ve given up on the “can’t do that” concept and just thrown myself into it headfirst. I think I came up with this about 4am or something. Somewhere around 3am I realized that the system could be controlled to some extent, and I was pushing it to see how much control I could get. This one splashes right up in your face and doesn’t disappoint, all the way to the final fade to black. Definitely one for the full screen.
(I especially like the reverse logo.)


Dog Bark
Heavy Metal beat with the RuffPC logo (not-so)subliminally imposed from the background.
You know, I got to thinking a few days later when I saw Narendra’s face show up on my site… I’ll bet he’s gonna do an Animoto! Wow, what if it’s better than mine? So I decided I had to take this to the next level.
Way back in the 90s my friend Pearson and I were recording some righteous tunes, and I remembered one I had affectionately called “Dog Bark”. I dug it up from the archives and hey, it fits.


You Can Run
Slides in with a Progressive beat, more Ruff sublims in the background.
Not to be outdone by myself, I decided another old tune we did would fit in for the “heady” crowd.
A nice little rep called “You Can Run”, with more of Pearson’s screaming guitars.


You Can Run
Progressive beat without the subliminals, uses a “push” to highlight the views.
By now I’m just fooling around with different techniques. This is one that pushes the pictures right at you.


Dog Bark
Heavy Metal beat with a “many screens” effect.
I like that “Dog Bark” beat.


You Can Run End
Not really spectacular, but the ending turned out great.
More fooling around with control of the process. Used a fast pulsating on beat at the end.
Worth watching, just for that.

There’s lots more, but there’s only so much RuffPC you can look at before you just, go, nuts. You want one. You can’t sleep. When you do sleep, you have nightmares about Narendra. That wakes you up. And all you can think about is, I want that laptop! So you go to the computer, pull up the site and what do you see? Narendra! He’s been here! Your shoulders hunch down, your head peers forward, your eyes narrow and your head starts pounding again. Then you smile. He can’t sleep either.

Heh. Hehheh. Hehhehheh.

I am Jon, and I really want that laptop.


Firefox Setup, Nice and Easy

The information in this post applies specifically to Firefox versions up to version

First Things First – Get Firefox!

According to what I read and hear, Firefox has garnered between about 12 and 20 percent of the browser market so far. But from what I can see in these little charts from Feedburner and Google, more than two-thirds of Wordout readers are using Firefox. Not all you guys are up to date, though, so the first thing to do is to make sure you have the latest version of Firefox.

. .about2

Click The Thumbnails for a Full Size View
(if you need to).

To find out if you are running the latest and greatest, click on the Help menu. All the way down at the bottom of the list, click About. A window will appear. You want to look at the very last thing written there, a number. As of December 10th the current number is, so if your version number is lower than that one, you need to upgrade. (If you have any doubts, select the option “Check for Updates” in the Help menu.) If don’t have Firefox installed yet, or if you need to upgrade, click here and download it to your desktop. Or you can just choose to run it from it’s current location, if you have that option.(Vista owners, just click through all the warnings and confirmations and whatever, as long as you’re installing Firefox from that link.) If you downloaded the file, run it now.

As you’re installing Firefox, the installer program gives you a few choices. It’s safe to simply click through these choices, leaving them at their defaults. Once the installer is finished, Firefox will start. The first time Firefox runs, it will ask you if it is the default browser, and if you want to import any settings from Internet Explorer (or whatever your default browser was). Saying yes to both questions is fine with me, and ensures your favorite sites and your homepage will travel to Firefox with you.

“Firefox Is Ugly”

You’ll notice that Firefox, without customization, is rather ugly. I’ve heard that repeated alot over the last couple of years. But that’s the thing about Firefox. It expects you to mess with it. There’s very little more than raw “Go” built into it when you first get it. Luckily, messing around with Firefox is pretty easy. You go to a page and click a big button that says “Install Now“. Then another window appears and you can see it countdown your place in line. As soon as the file is available to you, the second “Install Now” button appears, you click it, and you are good to go.

Add Ons – Not Just Another Useless Toolbar

Below is a list of links that not only spruce up your new browser, but add real functionality to it as well. Trust me, none of these are just another useless toolbar to clutter your screen. (Except for one. Can you guess which?) Go ahead and click each one with your MIDDLE mouse button (that scroll wheel is a button, too), so they open in new tabs without having to leave this page. You can open them all, one by one. Note: If you click your middle mouse button anywhere but a link, your screen may start scrolling in the direction of the mouse. Just click the middle button again to stop it.

Noia Extreme – My favorite way to look at Firefox.
Adblock – I have it, but I see no need for it.
BlueOrganizer – The best way I know to store your bookmarks.
Forecast Fox – Gotta have my weather.
FoxClocks – You might know somebody somewhere else.
Foxy Tunes – Full control over music players like Winamp, Media Player.
Homeland Security (cynical) – Normally yellow bar that usually says “Scared”.
Homeland Security – Normally yellow bar that follows the DHS color scheme.
Pong – Who knows when you want to play?
Quicknote – Perfect for taking notes while you’re researching on the net.
Session Manager – Never lose a session, even when you crash.
Text Size Toolbar – For tired, old eyes. And tired young eyes.

Feed Me!

Adding feeds is easy, too. Just click the link below and go to the page. As you go to each page, look at the address bar up above. Over to the right, just before the “Go” button, you’ll see an RSS icon. Just click it, and tell it to always use “Live Bookmarks“. As you OK each one, you’ll see it appear on your Bookmark Toolbar, below the address bar. You can type in your own abbreviated names for these feeds as you’re approving them. If you forget, and want to change them later, just right click on them and select Properties. Remember, in the future you can subscribe to as many RSS feeds as you want this way. Go ahead and click these with your middle button, too. You’re getting quite a few tabs opened by now.

CNN . AP . Reuters . Wordout . F-Secure

Over on the far right of your screen, just above the top of this window, you see all your tabs and a little arrow pointing to the right. Click the arrow to get all the way to the last tab. Once you go to that tab and get the RSS feed, you’ll want to just close that tab by clicking on the little “x” on the right side of the tab. When that tab disappears, the next one will be in front of you. Go ahead and subscribe to all the RSS feeds you chose, and then install the add-ons, one by one. The last one you’ll get to is Noia Extreme, and it requires you to do a bit more.

Noia Extreme is a Theme. You can have many themes installed, but you have to select which one you want to see. When you click to install Noia, a different kind of box appears. Just agree with it. Then, in the add-ons box, under themes, you will find Noia 2.0 Extreme. Click the “Use Theme” button and close that window. Then restart Firefox.

Click To Enlarge

Just The Way You Want It

You’re going to think something has gone radically wrong. Nothing has taken this long since you accidentally downloaded that… well, we won’t discuss that here… but don’t worry about it. Firefox takes a bit of extra time during this startup. We’ve just added alot to it, and it needs just a moment to get its face on.

It will need your help. Several of these add-ons are going to need some information from you to work right. Forecast Fox will present you with a list of options, one of which is your zip code. Without at least that much, it can’t do its job. There are also options for how it should display itself, and where. I usually like it up top, towards the right of my Menu toolbar.

Look through all the options in all the add-ons. Take your time, there’s no real hurry here. You can choose to set some of them up later if you want to. There’s nothing wrong with that either. This will take some getting used to, and you will probably change things around a few times before you get it just the way you want it.


Once you’re done with the configurations, and all you have open is Firefox, you want to place your mouse kind of between the address bar and the bar above it, and right click. Select “Customize“, and the Customize Toolbar will appear. Here you see many of the features you just installed. You want to grab them with the left mouse button and drag them onto one of the toolbars up above.

Grab And Drag

The first thing I usually do is grab the Google Search bar and drag it onto the top bar, so that the address bar and the search bar are stacked. Then I grab a couple of Flexible Spaces and place them on each side of the search bar. I cram FoxClocks all the way to the top right and throw a Print button up there too. I drag the Bookmarks, Downloads, and History and place them on the left, bottom toolbar, beside my feeds. Then I grab 2 more of those Flexible Spaces and put them on either side of my feeds. I like to have the Text Size Toolbar on the right, beside the feeds.The Session Manager goes right beside my Go button, and the Undo Close button goes to the right of that. I put my BlueMark in between the Home button and the address bar. While you’re in there, you might want to change the size of the icons, and either add or remove the text. When you’re done dragging things around, close out that window.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Click on the “G” inside the Google Search Bar. All the way at the bottom click “Manage Search Engines“. In the little window that pops up, click the link that says “Get more search engines”. This will open a new tab with a list of different search engines you might like to have right at your fingertips. I like to have a dictionary, at the very least. The Mycroft link at the bottom of that page will take you to even more selections.

By now you should have something that looks similar to this:

Click To Enlarge

Don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly like mine. On 3 different computers, I have Firefox setup in 3 different ways. Once you get a bit more familiar with these add-ons, you might find that you like them better some other way. And that’s okay. That’s what Firefox expects. Once you’re comfortable with it, go back to Firefox and look through the add-ons. See if there are more you might like. Trust me, these only scratch the surface.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask away. Either leave a comment or click the AskAway! button at the top of this page.

I am Jon, and Firefox is my browser of choice.

Merry Christmas From Microsoft!

Microsoft Tuesday!

Like clockwork, on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases its latest batch of security updates. This Tuesday brought a banner crop. According to the guys at F-Secure, there are at least 7 updates you might need, so if you haven’t updated yet, be sure to head over there and get fixed.

You’ll have to pull that old Internet Explorer out of the garage to get there. They’ve got guards at the gate who don’t like strange animals like Fire Foxes. But that’s okay. You need to take her out every now and then or else she’ll fall apart. And as closely tied to your Windows as she is, well, you just wouldn’t want that, I assure you.

In keeping with the transportation motif, I offer you this little puzzle. Those were the days, eh?


I am Jon, and I’m taking the old Explorer out for a drive… a short drive.


Ruff PC – They Ain’t Skeered!

A bit of background: The Thinking Blog and RuffPC are sponsoring a free laptop giveaway contest. The rules and such can be found through the link above. Originally, I thought, “yeah, this would be a cool thing to win…” so I checked it out. I’m glad I did. These machines are some of the toughest and coolest computing devices I have seen since my days in the USAF. I would certainly still like to win the laptop, but I would write this review regardless. So enough about the something for a (little bit of) nothing. Check these guys out….

UPDATE: Go to The Thinking Blog and vote for Wordout!
Just click the link above and it will take you to the voting page. It’s free and it will really help me out! No registration, no email required, just your vote for Wordout, Entry #33!
To see the Entire Video Parade on RuffpC by Wordout, click this link!

UPDATE: The Thinking Blog and RuffPC changed the rules of the contest AFTER THE CONTEST WAS OVER! Wordout won the laptop according to the original rules, but I never was acknowledged as the winner, and I never received the laptop.
Just so you’ll know.

The New Site

First off, let me say that the site over at RuffPC is extremely easy to get around in. There’s a video that should play on their front page that I couldn’t get to work in my Firefox, but the site has only just gone public and, from experience, I know there are things that can take a bit of extra time. I’m certain, after looking through the rest of the site, these guys will soon have it all working for all of us.

The new site may have just gone public, but these guys have obviously been at this for a good while. Just look at some of their long list of customers:

US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard, Department of Defense (China Lake), U.S. Geological Survey, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research, Lockheed Martin, Rocky Flats, Honeywell, Boeing, and NASA.

These are just a fraction of their listed clients, and the entire list is impressive.

Extreme Machines For Extreme Conditions

But it’s not just the list that grabs your attention. Looking through their product page, you’ll find a portable pc for nearly any purpose. The RuffPad series includes a couple of models perfect for inventory management and similar tasks. They meet military standards for drops, vibration and temperature extremes, and are impervious to dust and water immersion. The RoughNote series are small pc’s with specs equal to or better than any I’ve ever seen, designed to meet or exceed the same military specs as the RuffPad. The RuffNote Scribe sports an Intel Centrino CPU, up to 1GB of RAM and a 120 GB hard drive, all in a small tablet form. Especially inviting is the RuffNote Tablet, a convertible laptop/tablet pc with a display that swivels 180 degrees and locks into place to make a large-form tablet.

As good as the smaller devices are, the more familiar laptop-styled models, the RuffBooks, are the real eye-catchers. The RuffBook Spec and the RuffBook Tech appear to be targeted at business users who might need a traveling laptop. Each features the Intel CoreDuo processor with 2MB L2 cache, 512 MB DDR RAM, 60GB shock-mounted hard drive, CD-RW/DVD-RW, and meets the same rigorous military standards as the hand-held units.

With a name like “Junior”, you would expect less features, but the RuffBook Junior is, as they proclaim, “the ultimate portable mini-notebook”. Do you need a machine that keeps working in temperature extremes? How about a laptop that doesn’t freak out in a pouring rainstorm? Or a dust storm? Check out the Junior.

But maybe you need a laptop with a bigger display. The RoughBook Max is probably what you’re looking for. With a larger screen size, the ability to switch between WLAN and optional 3G communications standards, and a built in TPM 1.2 chip, the Max is a secure and versatile machine. Or maybe you need the RuffBook Pro, with added security features such as a fingerprint scanner. The Pro also has the 3G as a standard feature.

At the top of the line is the RuffBook Ultra. The Ultra is simply a dream machine, in my opinion. It features all the great innovations I’ve mentioned above, plus EMI protection, expansion bays, and what appears to be every input or output connector you will ever need. Multi-layered security, hot-swapping batteries, removable hard drive… what more could you ask for in any laptop?

Final Take

My final take on RuffPC? I love what these guys are doing. Everything has daylight readable screens (Notice the image quality in their outside shots?!). Everything is designed to be water resistant, dust resistant, and drop resistant. There’s no sacrifice on performance either. They have desktop-style features in a compact package. Geez, most even come with carrying handles! What is there not to love?

These guys are not for everybody. They’re probably not even for me (unless I win the contest), but they make some of the best pc’s I have ever seen. They are pricey, but for the person who needs to know that their machine can take some abuse, these are the “go-to guys”. From temperature extremes to vibrations, drops, spills and even submersion in water for 30 minutes, these machines can handle the “tuffest” abuse you can throw at them.

With A RuffPC Laptop, I Can Rule The Galaxy!

I am Jon, and I am impressedconsidering legal action.

this post edited: added RuffPC video

5 Things You Can Do to Start Your PC Faster

Designed for Windows XP computer hardware logoImage via Wikipedia

This article generally applies to Windows XP, although the principles can be applied to any Windows based system.
Keepin It Real… Fast

Does it seem like your computer is booting slower than it used to? This is one of the most common complaints I get from new customers. Most are certain they have a virus or have been “hacked” in some way. Even though that is a real possibility, I have found that it’s usually not the case. Here are some tricks of the trade that I and countless other geeks use all the time to get Windows into high gear at the startup.

Some of this stuff may look technical, but it’s not. For it to be technical you would have to use your keyboard. You can do everything here with your mouse. (Well, there is a little bit of typing, but just a little!)

1. Scan For Malware

Any virus, worm or piece of spyware that gets on your system is going to slow it down. These things aren’t there to do nothing, after all, and no matter what they do they use up your resources. Many of them will try to attach themselves to real Windows processes, which makes it harder to shut them down and ensures to a degree that they will run every time you start your pc. Removing them is mainly a security matter, but it is certainly a performance issue as well. Always keep your antivirus up to date and perform a full scan at least once a week.

2. MSConfig/Startup Items

Instant messenger programs, pdf readers, office plugins, antivirus and other security products… you name it, somebody has made it start at the same time as Windows. If you want your pc to start faster, you positively have to cut back on some of these. Click on START and then RUN. Type in “msconfig” and the System Configuration Utility will appear. Select the tab that says Startup. You will see a window containing a cryptic list of items with little check-boxes to the left. Hold your curser on the dark line just to the left of the word “Location” in the columns at the top. Hold your left mouse button and drag the line to the right, so that you can see the middle column better.

Note: If you see an entry with no information in the center column, you definitely want to uncheck that one. Then, with an updated antivirus scanner run a complete system scan. This is probably a piece of malware of some type, and must be removed before you want to go any further.

If no one’s ever been in here, all the little boxes will be checked. These are the programs that are starting up with Windows and constantly running in the background. When you uncheck the boxes, these programs will no longer start when you boot your pc. You will still be able to use the programs, and some of them will start up on cue, right when they’re needed, without any help from you.

Look through the list. You want to make sure you DO NOT turn off your antivirus programs. In the center column, labeled “Command”, you will see the path that tells your pc to run these programs. If you’re running Norton Antivirus, you don’t want to turn off anything that has the words “Norton” or “Symantec”. If you’re running McAffee, leave the commands that have the word “McAffee” in them. If, like me, you only use products from F-Secure, then leave their commands alone. Other antivirus/firewall/intrusion detection programs should be recognizable to you as long as you know the names of them. We want to leave those settings as they are.

But you can feel good about turning off alot of the rest of them. Common boottime parasites can include anything from AOL, any instant messenging program, the Adobe Launcher for their products, Microsoft Office, Quicktime and most other commercial players. You will probably also see entries for updater services which don’t need to be started with Windows. Common entries are Jusched from Sun Java and Quicktime or iTunes and the updaters from major pc vendors. You might also find other items that you don’t recognize and I haven’t mentioned here. Turn off the obvious ones first, and see how it affects your start up time. To turn them off, just uncheck the box beside it. When you’re done hit APPLY and OKAY. A prompt will appear asking to restart your pc. We’re not done with this step yet, so click CANCEL.

Click on START, PROGRAMS and the STARTUP folder. If there’s anything in there, right click on it and delete it. Then you want to restart your pc. We’ll be restarting a few times during all this.

3. Temp/$NTUninst/Fonts

As Windows is starting up, it scans several folders on your hard drive. If we get rid of the unnecessary clutter in these folders, the pc should start faster because it’s not looking through all those useless files. One of these is the Temp folder. It’s buried deep, so getting there can be a chore for the inexperienced. But you can do this. Here’s how:

1. Open My Computer. Click on Tools and select Folder Options. Select the tab “View“. Towards the bottom of the window, check the box that says “Show hidden files and folders”. Select Apply to make it permanent, or just hit Okay.

2. Double click the C drive, then “Documents and Settings“, then your “username“, then “Local Settings“, and finally “Temp“. You can find your username normally at the top of the Start menu.

3. Click on EDIT and Select All. Then click on FILE and Delete. A box will appear confirming the delete. Just say yes. If there’s alot of buildup there, it might take a minute or two to delete it all. When it’s done, hit the Back button until you are back to the C drive.

4. Next we’re going to the place you’ve always been told not to go: the Windows folder. Open the Windows folder. A warning message may appear. Just tell it to show you the files. You will see that there are alot of them that are blue. The ones that have names starting with “$NtUninst” are the ones we want to get rid of. This probably will still leave some blue colored files in the folder, and that’s okay. The NtUninst files are left overs from all those Windows Updates you’ve been getting. You can select them all by clicking on the first one, then scrolling to the last one and while holding the “shift” key, click on it. This should highlight all of them between the first and last. Check again to make sure you only selected the ones beginning with $NtUninst. Then click on the File menu and select Delete.

5. Now that these files are gone, we need to check out the Windows Temp folder. You should be able to see it there in front of you. Open it up and select Edit, and Select All. Then select File and Delete. Some of these files may refuse to be deleted. Don’t worry about that. If you get a message saying a file cannot be deleted, just say OK and close out the window.

6. Now go to your Control Panel. Open the Fonts folder. Windows has to scan every font you have as it starts, so the fewer the better if you want a shorter boot time. Look through the Fonts folder and delete any you don’t think you will ever need. Be careful here. You can always get the fonts back, but that might not be something you want to have to worry about. When you’re done just close out that window and restart your pc.

4. Registry

Over time the registry just gets cluttered with old and useless information which Windows reads every time your pc starts up. There are lots of tools out there for cleaning up your registry, some good and some not-so good. Registry Clean Pro is a good one. I usually see a noticeable improvement when I use it on a customer’s machine. I won’t go into other registry cleaners here, except to say that Any time you make changes to the registry you should back it up first. Period. In case you want to know how, here it is:
Click on Start and Run. Type “regedit” and hit Okay.

Select File and then Export and then Save. This will save a backup of your registry in your My Documents folder. Now get out of there. Trust me, you do not want to experiment with settings in here.

If you have used a registry cleaner, then you will need to restart your pc again now.

5. Defragment

Now that we’ve made massive changes to the files on your hard drive, we probably need to defrag the hard drive. Open My Computer and right click on the C drive. Select Properties, and then Tools. Select the Defragment Now option. Select the Analyze option. Chances are, Windows will tell you that “you should defrag this volume now”. Go ahead and select Defragment, then get up and walk away for awhile. Depending on how much work Windows has to do to defrag the drive, this could take the rest of your night. There are situations when Windows will say it needs to perform a scandisk operation before it can defrag. If this is the case, you really should let Windows scan the disk.

Luckily, it’s the last step in this little dance and it will generally finish on its own. Seems like a great time to find a… a book. Good time to find a great book and relax for awhile. Remember? The way you used to?

I am Jon, and I recommend reading a great book.

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Coming Soon

Coming soon to your screen: Facts and Commentary on many things dealing with The Internet, Computers, Developing Technology, Earth & Space, Scary Stuff, and The Future!

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