Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 2006

Warning: Windows Media Player 11

with 9 comments

I just installed Windows Media Player 11. Wish I hadn’t. According to their on-line help, it will play videos with this format:

mms://server/filename (for example, a file with a .wma, .wmv, .asf, or .mp3 extension)

But, based on my own experience, it will not play this particular video:

mms://mgs.mgnetwork.com/wsls/video/allenscuffle.wmv

I have no idea what the problem is, but Microsoft is willing to fix it for a minimum charge of $35. You can probably play it if you haven’t installed Windows Media Player 11. The link is on this page.

UPDATE: Well, I used CCleaner to uninstall Windows Media Player 11, which rolled me back to WMP 10. That doesn’t play it either: same problem. So I guess I may as well upgrade to WMP 11 after all.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Software

An anti-bane for the modern worker

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The bane of a worker’s existence is, IMHO, the timesheet, that invention of accountants. This post offers a solution, if you’re a computer-oriented worker (e.g., a programmer or some other office worker who sits at a computer keyboard). This lets you to track your time in a spreadsheet, from which you can later complete the particular forms required by your company…

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Sophie greets a visitor

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Sophie initial greeting Sophie ready for phase 2

Sophie is a charming but naive little enormous girl. When a visitor enters, she immediately throws herself on the floor, squirming in what she believes is a “pet me, pet me” pose. Note that she offers lots of warm, furry kitty tummy to rub, and she delivers on the promise: you can rub her tummy, tickle her armpits, play with her paws—whatever. She adores being petted.

Finally, she’ll stagger up, and rush into the living room and throw herself onto the chaise lounge, ready for phase 2 petting: the same thing, only more so. When she’s had enough, she’ll squirm to the edge and slide off to land on her head.

Very endearing, but I fear she’s a candidate for the short bus. Still, she does have her rules and standards. I tried the other day to go directly to phase two. She was willing to follow me into the living room, but she stoutly remained on the floor for the phase 1 petting—wouldn’t consider getting up onto the chaise until phase 1 was completed.

I mean, you start with skipping phase 1, and it’s a slippery slope that ends who knows where?

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 6:03 pm

Posted in Cats, Sophie

Recommendation, with a caution

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The little freeware program CCleaner (donation requested) does a lovely job of cleaning up your hard drive—getting rid of file fragments, .dlls no longer needed, desktop icons not attached to anything, etc. Basically, it strips the crap from your computer: all that stuff left behind when you uninstall programs.

BUT: you must be careful, specifically if you use Cloudmark (as I do) as your anti-spam program. The support I got from Cloudmark was exemplary—they responded quickly, and got me back up and running. What finally worked was uninstalling Cloudmark totally, rebooting, running Outlook’s Help, Detect and Repair… utility, and then reinstalling from a new download. I then went to Cloudmark’s “My Account” to notify them that I do have a subscription—and discovered, to my surprise, that the subscription is now $4/month (on month-by-month basis) rather than $2. When did that happen? But if I buy a year’s subscription, it’s $24—back to the $2/month that I thought I was already paying. So that’s a silver lining right there: $24 saved. And for $24 you can get a very nice shaving cream.

Back to CCleaner: When you start it up, it shows you what it’s going to clean: those things that are checked, and the default checks need some unchecking. There are two tabs: “Windows” and “Applications”.

On the “Windows” tab, I just unchecked “Clipboard”—might as well leave that holding whatever it does. On the “Applications” tab, I should have unchecked: everything under Firefox except “Internet cache”—no problem in clearing that. Also—and this is what I hope will protect me—I unchecked “Office 2003″, which means that CCleaner will stay away from that.

When I did run it, though, it freed up 681 MB of hard-drive space—not trivial. I also ran the Registry cleaner (separate thing: “Issues”), and this is what Cloudmark support believes might have created the problem. I won’t be running that again anytime soon.

So: use it with caution.

LeisureGuy: screwing up so you don’t have to.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Software

When Republicans start to lose,

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They lose it all the way. A constituent of Senator George Allen attempted to ask the Senator a question in public. Bad mistake: three goons working for Allen grabbed him and threw him to the ground. For asking a question. Of his Senator. On their side: they didn’t like the question, which was about Allen’s sealed divorce records. (The common rumor is that Allen spit on his wife, and that incident is in the records. Allen did come close to spitting on a reporter who once asked him a question he didn’t like.) Pretty thin reed for assault.

You can see the incident here, and here’s the letter Mike Start wrote after the incident:

My name is Mike Stark. I am a law student at the University of Virginia, a marine, and a citizen journalist. Earlier today at a public event, I was attempting to ask Senator Allen a question about his sealed divorce record and his arrest in the 1970s, both of which are in the public domain. His people assaulted me, put me in a headlock, and wrestled me to the ground. Video footage is available here, from an NBC affiliate.

I demand that Senator Allen fire the staffers who beat up a constituent attempting to use his constitutional right to petition his government. I also want to know why Senator Allen would want his staffers to assault someone asking questions about matters of public record in the heat of a political campaign. Why are his divorce records sealed? Why was he arrested in the 1970s? And why did his campaign batter me when I asked him about these questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

The GOP: Defender of the Strong

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Now the Federal government is dropping a lawsuit against Chevron to recover millions of dollars in underpayments—i.e., Chevron was stealing. The only reason: to help Chevron.

The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.

Interior officials said on Friday that they had no choice but to drop their order to Chevron because a department appeals board had ruled against auditors in a separate case.

But state governments and private landowners have challenged the company over essentially the same practices and reached settlements in which the company has paid $70 million in additional royalties. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 11:39 am

The GOP opposes having sex

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At least if you’re a single adult. The GOP really, really wants to dictate your behavior. Adults having choice for themselves? How liberal (bad word) can you be?! Get with the program and get your moral code directly from the GOP. The good news: everything is okay if you’re a Republican: taking bribes, sex outside marriage, spitting on your wife, assaulting a cocktail waitress, hitting on minors, lying—well, lying is mandatory. The story:

The federal government’s “no sex without marriage” message isn’t just for kids anymore.

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it’s a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.

“They’ve stepped over the line of common sense,” said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. “To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It’s an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health.”

Abstinence education programs, which have focused on preteens and teens, teach that abstaining from sex is the only effective or acceptable method to prevent pregnancy or disease. They give no instruction on birth control or safe sex.

The National Center for Health Statistics says well over 90% of adults ages 20-29 have had sexual intercourse. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 11:19 am

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