Later On

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

Archive for October 31st, 2006

Warning: Windows Media Player 11

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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

Time for a little break

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 A cowboy walks into a bar and orders a whisky. As the barman’s pouring it the cowboy looks about him. ‘Where is everybody?’ he says.

‘Gone to the hanging,’ says the barman.

‘Hanging?’ says the cowboy. ‘Who they hanging?’

‘Brownpaper Pete,’ replies the barman.

‘Brownpaper Pete? Why do they call him that?’

‘Well,’ says the barman. ‘His hat’s made of brown paper, his shirt’s made of brown paper, his jacket’s made of brown paper and his trousers are made of brown paper.’

‘Really?’ says the cowboy. ‘What they hanging him for?’

‘Rustling.’

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 10:42 am

Posted in Daily life

That slant bar!

with 2 comments

Wonderfully smooth shave today. The Merkur Slant Bar with a Feather blade is just unbeatable. Used the QED Vanilla shaving stick, Simpson Chubby 1 Best brush. Smooth, easy, nick-free. Finished off with Thayers Lemon Witch Hazel. Great way to start the day.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 10:22 am

Posted in Shaving

Harmless Hallowe’en fun

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Cheney fun

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 10:19 am

Ad based on the GOP attack on Harold Ford

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Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 7:03 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government, Video

US Sen Mitch McConnell: corruption on two legs

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Just read:

Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr., a Republican U.S. senator from Kentucky, could well be the greatest argument for campaign finance reform on two legs. As it is, the Kentuckian is reform’s most vociferous enemy.

Mr. McConnell, 64, is the Senate’s majority whip, making him the chamber’s second highest-ranking Republican. We haven’t met Mr. McConnell, but we assume he is smart and capable.

But his particular genius, it seems, lies in fund-raising. A six-month investigation by McClatchy Newspapers recently concluded that Mr. McConnell has raised almost $220 million since his election to the Senate 22 years ago, much of it from special interests: casinos, cigarette makers, the drug industry, the mining industry and others.

Not coincidentally, Mr. McConnell’s agenda is closely aligned with the agendas of special interests. McClatchy reports that Mr. McConnell offered to amend legislation on the floor of the Senate at the direction of the tobacco lobby. Attorneys for the industry also helped to draft a bill, filed by Mr. McConnell, that would have protected tobacco companies from lawsuits. They even helped draft his correspondence to the White House in opposition to smoking-prevention programs.

Mr. McConnell argues his agenda is not driven by special interests. Instead, he says, it’s his agenda, shaped by a conservative and pro-business philosophy, that attracts industry. And while critics say Mr. McConnell is sacrificing the interests of Kentucky to wealthy donors, his defenders say the money has given Mr. McConnell the clout to channel millions of federal dollars to his district.

Mr. McConnell’s clout is undeniable. Most of the money he has raised has gone to support the campaigns of GOP colleagues; they, in turn, have rewarded Mr. McConnell by supporting his ascendance in the Senate. With Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee about to retire (and if Republicans retain the Senate), Mr. McConnell is poised to move into the top job as majority leader.

So far as we know, Mr. McConnell hasn’t done anything illegal. But does anyone believe that the welfare of this country and its people should be dictated by the tobacco lobby?

Mr. McConnell’s story is part of a larger, unsavory truth. The cost of political campaigning has gotten out of hand. More than ever, it seems, you have to be super-rich or super-connected to gain national office.

That can’t make for a very healthy culture in Washington, D.C. Take this month’s conviction of Ohio Republican Robert W. Ney. After six terms in the House, Mr. Ney was considered to have a promising future in that chamber’s leadership. Today, at the age of 52, he faces prison, his career and reputation in ruins. All because of the lure of campaign funds, luxury travel and other perks proffered by former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Nor does it make for good public policy. In a culture where money is king, the debate tends to get framed by those who can afford a place at the table.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 6:55 am

Posted in Election, GOP, Government

A little something for dog owners

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We’re kitty-oriented here, but I bet some readers own dogs. Should you ever have to give your dog a pill, Nerddog has found the answer: treats with a pill pocket. I don’t think this will work for cats, though. While dogs more or less swallow their food whole (they “wolf” it down), cats tend to chew their food thoroughly.

Written by LeisureGuy

31 October 2006 at 6:48 am

Posted in Daily life

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