Friday, October 31, 2008

PC Programs, Part I: Applications

I wrote this a while ago, and thought I'd repost it here.

This post is dedicated to giving you a list of programs I immediately download for any new PC I get into my possession. Yes, I personally think Macs are better, but there are a few features on PC's that I like, such as the vast majority of software being written for them, MS-DOS prompt, and Paint. In this list, I will be talking about PC's running Windows XP. I don't know how the programs will work on other versions of Windows, but since most Winodws user use XP, I think everything will be alright.

  1. Mozilla Firefox: as soon as the computer finishes booting up for the first time, I use Internet Explorer (shudder), and have this downloaded IMMEDIATELY. Firefox is great, being faster, safer, and generally better than IE. Also, you can throw in some great add-ons:
    • Search Engines: when the day is done, I have Google, Wikipedia, Webster,, YouTube, and Metacafe.
    • Forcastfox: Cute weather bar, very useful. Included a pop-out radar tracker.
    • Adblock Plus: Pop-up/Advertisement blocker. You can use it to disable advertisements that you see.
    • Download Statusbar: Organizes your download into a compact bar on the bottom of your screen.
    • PDF Download: 'nuff said.
    • StumbleUpon: I'm planning to write a post on StumbleUpon, but until then, get a head start, get the toolbar, sign up for the website, and start stumbling!
    • A fast video downloading tool (there's too many, find one youreself)
    • GSpace: Turns your Gmail account into an online hard drive, with over 5GB of space!
    • FoxyMeter: Counts how many pages you have visited, mainly just for kicks.
    • Google Browser Sync: Keep all of your web history, bookmarks, passowrds, and more in sync with this app.
    • Homeland Security Threat Level: Ha! Gets me every time.
    • Sun Cult: Basically, an app for astronomy nerds, who want ot know when sundown is.
  2. ZoneAlarm: A great, free program that monitor incoming and outgoing internet traffic.
  3. PCTools Spyware Doctor: Anti-virus and spyware and Trojan and ad-ware and malware program, this is a must.
  4. Google Pack: Everything at once, very useful. I only download out of it Google Earth, Spyware Doctor (see #3), Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Photos Screensaver, Adobe Reader, Google Talk, and Skype. Overall, uber-useful.
  5. VLC Player: Universal media player. It rocks.
  6. Microsoft Calulator Plus: Geek calc from Microsoft.
  7. Quicktime: just get it.
  8. iTunes: Another media player. If you haven't heard of it, what are you doing here?
  9. Audacity: Audio editor It rocks also.
  10. AIM: again, 'nuff said.
  11. LogMeIn: Remote desktop any of your computers you have this on.
  12. Tor: Hides your identity, and I've heard it can be used to get free wi-fi at Starbucks...
  13. Unlocker: simple little program tht kill processes, allowing you to delete those "Cannot Delete" files.
  14. LimeWire: It's legal! Honest! Oh, if you want it better, download LimeWire PRO, through LimeWire!
  15. 7-Zip: zipping program. Just get it.
  16. CacheMan XP: This is a biggie. Manages your PC's memory usage, improving speed.
  17. CCleaner: Cleans more intensively than Disk Cleaner.
  18. GimpShop: I'm fine with Paint, but if you love Photoshop, get this instead.
  19. Launchy: THIS IS A MUST. Awesome program, activated by Alt+Space. It pops up this cute little black bar, from which you can run all of your programs, documents, and so forth.
  20. CALCULAT: For the die-hard geek. Calculate real and complex calculations, with 100-digit accurcy, in any base from 2 to 36. Just friggin' AWESOME!!!
So there's the list. If I left anything major off, leave a comment, please.

Halloween Costume Tally, as of 4:40 PM

6 Jokers (from "The Dark Knight")
14 Iron Men
12 other miscellaneous superheros
45 or so variations on a ghoul with this mask
9 babies dressed as pumpkins
2 actually creative costumes: a tornado and a Teletubbie with an AK-47.

Note the lack of political costumes on that list. I expect that to change tonight.

Owning Freewebs

My "homepage" is set up on Freewebs, mainly because I'm too lazy and cheap awesome to pay for a real website. However, free websites have their disadvantages: in Freewebs' case, all of my pages have to have a Freewebs promotion on the bottom.

That is, until now. I tired of the banners on the pages, and have managed to disable them. Yay! Here's what I did:

1. In my source code, I located the .js file which defines the banner.
2. I opened the .js file, and copied the text.
3. I created a new page on my site which I called "strechtest.js" and pasted in the code.
4. Then I altered the new .js file, by setting all widths and heights to 0 pixels.
5. Finally, I edited all of my pages to refer to my .js for the banner instead of Freewebs'.

It works! Check it out!

In case you want to do something similar for your Freewebs account, feel free to copy my .js alteration. Access it here:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quick Thought

So today I was once again gawking at the ignorance in the now-famous event a few weeks ago when McCain had to confront his supporters over respect.

Question: In that video of that old woman who thinks Obama is an "Arab," who is that old woman? Why has she not been located and interviewed? Personally, I'd like to know what makes these ignorant bigots tick.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Viva la Evolution!

Yay! My evolution simulator is up and running! And it works, too!

I like cranking the speed and turning on auto-change environment. I ran it for over 130000 generations like that, and it was still going strong!

UPDATE: I set up a virtual computer, on which I'm running the simulation, so it doesn't slow down my computer. It's just passed 440000 generations,a nd evolution is still doing its business.

Halloween + Politics

Yeah, it's cool. I'm making a swing voter costume (I have a swing attached to a hat), and I'm making a bunch of buttons. Here's one of the templates. Enjoy!

Oh, and check this website out:

I liked Mount Rushmore.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something I Noticed a While Ago

Go to Once you're there, start refreshing the page like crazy, and look at the timer telling you how much space every Gmail user has. Notice anything? This is what I see:

Does anyone know why the counter displays that?

An Unorthodox Proxy

Proxies are a pain, mainly because a lot of websites block proxies, too. Here's a system I developed for bypassing restrictions imposed by the webmaster overlord near you.

1. Search for "source code viewer" on Google. Open a few of the first few links, as sometimes one of the sites won't work. I normally use this site.

2. Search for "HTML test bed" on Google. The first result works very well for what we are going to do.

3. In the source code viewer website(s), enter the address of the website you wish to view. When the source code of that website comes up, select the entire source code and copy it.

4. Now go to the HTML test bed, remove anything default text that might be in it, and paste the source code.

5. Hit the "test" button, and enjoy the website! (Note: Links will most likely not work, but will probably sitll show up, so you can copy and alter appropriately to render the next page.)

An explanation: this really is a very simple way to do things. HTML Source code is the code that defines the layout and content of a web page. You have two websites open: ones that fetches the source code for you, the other that displays the site for which the source code codes. And because external websites are the only ones interacting with the forbidden webpage, you can view the web page unhassled.

P.S. It is possible that the webmasters near you are rather clever, and so have blocked not only by URL, but also media content like images. The way around this requires the addition of another website: thumbalizr, which takes a snapshot of what the page looks like and brings it to you. Besure if you take this route that you click "page" instead of "screen"; otherwise, you only get a part of the page.


Hmm, maybe it would be good to set this kind of thing up as a website. *idea*

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Logical Fallacy of "What if Everyone Said That?"

I am really bothered by this argument, and I hear it a lot. The argument goes something like this:

A: "I don't want to vote because I don't feel as if my vote will count."
B: "Well, what if everyone said that? Then no one would vote! Therefore, you should vote."

In case you can't tell, this argument is rather flawed. It's structure is as follows:

A: I want to do X.
B: If everyone did X, the result would be bad. Therefore, you shouldn't do X.

This argument makes no sense. Your actions are clearly not going to change everyone else's actions.

Example: replace "do X" with "eat a tunafish sandwich":

A: "I want to eat a tunafish sandwich."
B: "If all 6.7 billion people on this planet ate tunafish sandwiches, then there would be no more tunafish! Therefore, you shouldn't eat tunafish sandwiches."

See what I mean? It's ridiculous because whether or not you do some action, others will do otherwise.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Few Thoughts on Nations

1. French is to be pronounced as if you were a smug drunk.

2. Canada should be called Canadia. Yeah, I know this was some stupid meme at some point, but it's true. Bulgarians are from Bulgaria, Austrians are from Austria, Armenians are from Armenia, Canadians are form Canadia. Alternatively, you can call it Canada, but its inhabitants shoud be called Canadans, like how Americans are form America.

3. I've never completely understood nationalism. Why are we affected by the location of where our mothers shoved us out of their birth canals?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Woo hoo!

Update on Evolution project: I'm actually talking to cdk007 about the mutation and mating system! Yay!

Oh, and I've got the background randomly changing colors working, along with the hex code systems. Yay again!

I'm now working on the evolution code now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Next Flash Project

Observe cdk007's program in this video.

Someone made a .exe program based on this idea, but I figured it might be best to make an online program that everyone could use.

Hence, my next project: a Flash-based evolution simulator.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Le Sigh

Daily cycle:

10PM: Turn off computer
10:30PM: Think of something to write about in blog
11PM: Sleep
11PM-8PM (next day): Totally forget thing to write about.
8PM: Remember that I thought of something to write about, but now I can't exactly remember what.


Oh, well. Expect a post when I can break that loop.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Atheist Math

Yes, I came up with that. Yes, it's crappy. Anything else?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Few Questions, and some Random Thoughts

1. Is it possible that Osama Bin Laden's opinion is the most listened-to in the world? Think about it: he makes a video, everybody watches it.

2. Has anyone else ever closely looked at the title font for the New York Times? It's rather intricate. And why do the t's look like backwards j's?

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain-Palin Mania!

What a day!

1. Palin is found guilty of abusing her power in Troopergate
2. McCain is booed as he attempts to calm a radically anti-Obama crowd
3. Palin is to appear live on SNL, and says she will be honored to meet the woman whom she gives so much material

Number 1 and number 3 were bound to happen sooner or later, but number 2 scares the crap out of me.

Honestly, these people are savage, barbaric, close-minded, arrogant, ignorant, uneducated, anti-intellectual, raging radical maniacs. Declaring that Obama was the Anti-Christ, that he should be killed, McCain decided to support Obama, in the hopes of quelling the nearly violent crowd.

They booed him.

Honestly, can we please abolish the minimum age to vote, and instead make a minimum IQ to vote? Please?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Origin of Life - Abiogenesis

cdk007 made a video a while back brilliantly detailing how abiogenesis works.

Here's that video, in case you've missed it:

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Owns Sarah Palin

Amazing points. Oh, and it along with this:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Internal Recording

I dislike torrents, mainly because I'm impatient. I mean, they're great for things like games, but when I just want to listen to some Bob Dylan, it's ineffective.

I little while back I find a website called GrooveShark, which allows me to listen to a huge collection of mainstream music for free. From online, that is. downloads are 99 cents a pop.

I was rather bummed out until I read about and straightened out a nice little solution to this problem. Basically, I set up a simple internal recording system for my Mac (sorry, PC users, I haven't figured out the Windows equivalent for this).

Here's what you'll need:
1. GrooveShark, open (don't bother to download the free listening software unless yu have a really slow connection; just stream it from your browser)

2. Audacity: if you don't have this, get it. It's a wonderful (free) audio-editing app.

3. SoundFlower: this is the essential piece. If you can't get this, just go back to your torrents. An it's free, too.

That's it. Now you've got to configure.

1. Launch Audacity. Under Preferences, click "Recording" and set the Input to "SoundFlower (2 channels)."

2. Launch System Preferences-->Sound. Under "Sound Effects," make sure that the box labelled "Play user interface sound effects" is unchecked. Under "Output" and "Input," set "Soundflower (2 channels)" as the device.

3. In Audacity, click "Record."

4. Launch GrooveShark in your browser of choice. Play whatever songs you want.

5. When the songs finish, in Audacity click "Stop."

6. Sleect the parts of the audio that make up the sons, and click File-->"Export Selection to MP3..."

7. Fill in the asked-for data, export, and open the mp3 files in iTunes. Tada!

Note: This system is known as internal recording, because SoundFlower is acting as a virtual sound card and redirecting the outbound audio back in as input. In other words, you can record in this manner anything that comes out of your speakers.

If you can figure this out on a PC, let me know!

DISCLAIMER: Do not use this system to illegally steal music and distribute it. This is for educational purposes only. Also, be aware that copyrighted music streamed and saved in this manner can be used only for "personal use only."


Wow, third post in and I'm already advertising. Wow. OK.

Anyway, check out my game, version 1.0.4:

AI is on the way!

At Starbucks

[One of] the Starbucks near my house runs a weekly promotion where the first ten people to correctly answer a trivia question get a free beverage.

Although I don't like coffee, nor do I like Starbucks, I don't really have a problem leeching them for free (Pumpkin Spice, FTW!) Frappucinos.

However, I am always surprised by how no one ever bothers to answer the questions. Admittedly, I don't always cash in on my rightful free weekly Pumpkin-y deliciousness, but at least I do occansionally. I doubt that there's actually been a week where all ten beverages have been given out. The really surprising thing about this is that the store alwasy has at least 5 people online inside of it.

For instance, a few weeks ago, the question was about the outside layers of a coffee bean. In the end only 3 people cashed in. And I was one of them.

Seriously, come on! You're sitting right there with the Google homepage open, and you're not going to bother to spend the 10 seconds it would take on Wikipedia in order to get a free second to your half-whipped no-fat semi-skimmed double-hazelnut-pump espresso? Come to think of it, all that money you'd be saving on coffee would probably end up paying for the WiFi!

A few days ago, I had had enough of this idiocy. I walked in, and found a woman in her twenties sitting in a chair surfing the web. I caught her attention, and explained the situation. "But isn't the special only good for ten people?" she asked. "Yes," I replied, "but nobody ever does it anyway."

She asked me for the question, I told it to her, and I walked out.

I hope she got the message.

First Post.

Uh, yeah. I've already tried making a blog the way I figured one was "supposed to" make a blog, but that didn't work, so now there's this.

There's a good chance that this will just simply be my rants about something or another.