30 November 2005

Firefox -- Why You Should Download It

So, the latest version of Firefox is out (Version 1.5) I use Firefox as my primary browser, and hardly ever use Internet Explorer anymore. Why should you?
It has tabbed browsing (so instead of switching from window to window, you can just click a tab at the top of your browser to switch to another web-page session)
It's very fast, and can be customized with lots of different extensions that will enhance it, much more so than Internet Explorer.
It's less prone to viruses than Internet Explorer is and is really easy to configure.

28 November 2005

Musical Comments

On 18 November, I was listening to Dickinson College's radio station, WDCV, and was surprised to find out that they were offering a free CD if you wanted it, you just had to call up and ask for it (you did not have to be the 51st caller or whatever. I called up, and gave them my address, and after I got back from Thanksgiving, the CD (Return to Cold Mountain) was waiting for me.
I haven't listened to the whole thing, but for now I will say that I am glad I did not pay for it. It's ok, but so far I have not fallen in love with any of the songs on it.
Besides this, I was pretty surprised awhile ago to find Alison Krauss and Union Station's "The Lucky One" and "Every Time You Say Goodbye" downloadable for free on Amazon. If you'd like to download them, just type in the song title and Alison Krauss, and it will allow you to download it. You will need an Amazon account to download it, but they don't charge you. Both of these songs are really good, and Alison Krauss has an awesome voice.
As long as we're on the subject of free music downloads, check out:
Crooked Still. I like Look on and Cry, but Darling Corey is also a free download.

And on the preventing music downloads front...

I think Sony BMG may have gotten itself into a heap of trouble with their digital rights management software. If you did not hear, Sony BMG basically sold CDs which had software on them to prevent you from turning them into MP3s, or listening to it on your computer without using their software. However, their software makes computers vulnerable to viruses and also hides itself, so it cannot easily be removed.
Because of this, Sony is replacing all of the CDs with this software free of charge (and paying shipping costs both ways), and according to their website, is, ironically, offering MP3 downloads to anyone who submits their CD.
The State of Texas has sued them (at $100,000 each incident) because they think that the software is spyware , and so have others. The link I provide above goes to Texas' lawsuit against Sony BMG, which actually has a very clear (and relatively non-technical) explanation of how the software worked, and why it was so horrible.

18 November 2005

Think Twice Before Using a Pit Bull in your Advertising

The Florida Supreme Court publicly reprimanded two attorneys and sent them to the Florida Bar Advertising Workshop because they used a pit bull in their law firm's advertising. The attorneys claimed that it was indicative of their tenacity, but the court felt that using a pit bull was inappropriate. The opinion is a PDF, docket number 04-40 on the Florida Supreme Court's website. I actually learned a bit about pit bulls from reading it.

16 November 2005

This year's way to avoid studying for finals

After going to this link, click on the left arrow, go out the door, and then click on the penguin. Thanks Caley of The Sweetest Things for this link.

15 November 2005

Song I heard on the BBC on iTunes

So, I was listening to Mike Harding's Show on the BBC the other day, and heard a song I liked. Mike Harding's Show is a folk music show. The song was a Steve Earl/Shannon Sharon with Galway Girl. Usually I have little luck finding these songs on iTunes, since many of them are
by independent artists and therefore Apple may not have negotiated whatever agreement with them. I was able to find the song, and download it, without having to buy the whole album. Here's a link to it on iTunes, if you are interested. Note that you will need iTunes to view the link.

14 November 2005

Weekend Events

Sarah's birthday was this weekend, and she wanted to see Trick Pony at a free concert that we saw in Harrisburg, at the Hardware Bar. They were pretty good, I was impressed with Heidi Newfield's harmonica skills. I was a bit surprised by how few people were there (pleasantly surprised (because I we were able to get pretty close to the band), mind you, but still surprised. It was nice to get out of Carlisle, which is somewhat necessary to retain one's sanity.

06 November 2005

Gmail Tip

If you want to add someone's address to your contacts in Gmail as you send them a message (like if you just looked them up in the Penn State directory and were typing the message to them), just type in the "To" field as shown in the comments to this entry.
(the quotation marks around the name are needed for this trick to work, and there should not be spaces between the email address and the "<" and ">" signs) Once you do this, whoever you are emailing will be added to your contacts list.
To post this and prevent Blogger from interpreting the "<" and ">"as HTML, I had to put the spaces in and post the actual address in the comments section.

05 November 2005

Yahoo! Maps vs. Google Maps

As much of a fan of Gmail that I am, I must admit that Yahoo! Maps is better than Google Maps. Even before Yahoo! Maps got its facelift, it was better. The test that I use for any mapping service is to ask it to plot a route from my house in New York to a place that I used to go on vacation in rural Maine. Sometimes mapping services have tried to plot me a route across the water on this route, but not this time. While I think both of them take me along the same route, Google Maps refers to the roads by name, rather than state road number (as Yahoo! Maps does in addition to calling it by name) It makes it much easier to spot the road if you have the road number, since you see a junction and a large sign with the road number, as opposed to just a little tiny green sign with the name, which is not easy to spot if you're moving at a good clip. Plus, Yahoo! Maps remembers previous addresses I have looked up, Google Maps does not.
Yahoo! also has a new mail service, which I'd like to try, but right now it looks like it is still in Beta and unavailable to most people.