24 Nov

Cognitive Breakage


What pulls the reader out of your story?

From critters.org, I certainly have read many efforts that caused the literary equivalent of whiplash. Reading along and suddenly, a voice from the background says, “Like a hunter*,” and my beleaguered brain locks up. Who said that? Was that character always there, but I just didn’t notice? Or my personal favorite, the main character just happens to be carrying a sonic screwdriver or whatever perfectly fits the need. Where did they get that? Another that gets me involves the unreasonable reaction. One character bids another a cheerful “good morning,” to which the second character turns red in fury and shouts, “get bent, you lout!”

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24 Jul

Safeguarding Family Internet – Firewalls


Yep.  Jack Bauer uses them all the time.  Every movie, TV show, novel, and newspaper article talks about them.  Apparently, they exist as some magical device that at one time both renders a “server” impenetrable and throws open secret files to terrorists.  Depending on the character in our little drama, there seems to always hide some trick or pathway around this “firewall” thing, and the description usually relies on pseudo-technical jargon to explain it away.

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09 Mar

Safeguarding Family Internet – Overview


My wife and I home school our children using excellent videos from Abeka, and it works out very well.  They can travel with me when the opportunity arises, work from the dentist’s waiting room, or whatever.  Except for the problem of how to let the kids get to the Internet safely.  Well, there’s all kinds of thoughts out there on the subject.  Everything from “Don’t” (absolutist) to the school of thought that says “They’re Going to See It Anyway” (defeatist).  Then there are the people who say, “My kids would never do anything like that…”

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12 Aug

Wilbur Curtis and the Warmers

Wilber Curtis and the Warmers broke onto the scene back in 1987 with their first album, “Ready to Brew.” Taste the music the way it was before the commercialism and the “pop” sellout.

This album has percolated around my attic for years without much play, now I find that it’s strong and dark flavors keep me up at night.  Some cuts are sweet and sugary, some are dark and bitter, but the cream of the crop are probably “Up for the Daily Grind” and the nutty-flavored “Rain Drips”.

Man.  I think I like coffee.



04 Aug

Buried In Time – Running in Windows XP/Vista/7


This is the second game in the Journeyman Project trilogy.  And, for me, the most memorable.  The artwork seems a bit dated now, but at the time of release it looked beautiful to me.  The acting didn’t bother me either…back then.  Now, well, any time an actor (in this case the main character) stops to smack his lips between phrases, you know you’re in for a treat!  The best part was the news editorial that was in no way editorial–the “news anchor” had no opinion of anything.  He just reported what other people thought.  Fortunately, the player may suffer through the video clips early on in the game and leave them far behind.

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19 May

Use Google SketchUp for 3D Drawings


I’ve never claimed to be an architect, but I love great tools that work well.  One such tool belonging to that category is Google SketchUp.  In the past, I’ve fiddled with 3D software before.  I think that Blender is awesome…but it also has a steep learning curve.  Almost a learning cliff.

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04 May

Linux.com Article: Using Windows, Xbox, and iPod as Alternative MythTV Front Ends


Originally published at www.linux.com on December 09, 2008 at 09:00 AM; reprinted with the author’s permission.

Digital video recorders (DVR) are becoming more and more mainstream. TiVo, in fact, has passed the truest test of any popular technology — having its name transformed into a verb. MythTV, a free and open source application that lets you turn a computer into a DVR, burst on the scene a few years ago, and has found fans among Linux users. However, with a little effort, it’s possible to run MythTV front ends on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Xbox, and even an Apple iPod Classic.

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