Bacon Balogna

Am I the last to know about this? Can’t wait for the first sandwich.


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The Founding Fathers Were Bloggers

We often think of blogging as a uniquely modern activity. Only relatively recently were individuals able to create their own corner of the Internet and say anything they want, thanks to services like Blogger,, and Tumblr. Before that, you had to have the money and/or technical expertise to run your own blog.
Before the Internet you had to have enough, money and/or influence to be able to get your message on TV or radio.
Going back even further, the only way to get your message out was to have your own printing press and means of distributing what you printed.
That’s where men like Andrew Jackson and Benjamin Franklin come in.

Franklin, for instance was a prolific writer and publisher.  As a young man he was an apprentice printer, so he learned about writing and publishing early.  Later, be became a writer himself.  One of his most famous works, Young Richards Almanac, was on of the most popular publications of it’s time.  Like many current blogs, Young Richards Almanac was a compilation of both original and borrow works.  At the age of 16 Franklin was writing for his brother’s paper, The Courant.  In 1726, after returning from Europe, Franklin setup a printer and begin publishing and writing most of the newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette.

In addition to printing and writing for newspapers, Franklin also wrote and printed much more personal and opinionated pamphlets.  With names such as  “A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain” and “Necessity of a Paper Currency”, Franklin was willing to take on politics, finance, and even established religion.  Any topic was game for him to write on.

To make sure his works were read by others, Franklin worked to promote his works when possible, just as any good blogger spends time promoting their posts.

Much like Franklin, Thomas Jefferson was a prolific and opinionated writer.  Writing on such topics as religious freedom, economic and social justice, and caution in international affairs, Thomas was very controversial in his time.  In fact, many of his ideas are still the subject of debate today.

Jefferson wrote one of the most popular documents in the history of the world, The Declaration of Independence, after being chosen by his peers to do so.

In addition to this public writings, Jefferson also penned many personal letters to friends, business partners, and family.  these would have been the equivalent of today’s Facebook posts, except with proper grammar and spelling

I’m convinced after looking at the writings of men such as Jefferson and Franklin, that if they were alive today, that they would indeed be bloggers. They would use the most effective and democratic form of communication available to them, and today that is the blog.

So, if you are like me and like to share your thoughts with the world hoping that they will read and enjoy them, you can rest in the comfort of knowing that we follow in a line of men such as Franklin and Jefferson.



The Case Against the Windows Phone

It runs Windows.
What more is there to say?

Giving Up on iPhone

For a little over three hers now I’ve had an iPhone. My first version was the 3G S, and I loved it. Being able to text on a keyboard instead of a number pad was great. Having all of the apps, the big screen, wifi, and mobile Internet changed a lot of things for me.
I would look at someone with something other than an iPhone and I couldn’t understand why they would make such a choice. Why choose a Razr or other phone when the iPhone is right there. I just didn’t understand it. Aside from the apps other great things the phone did, it was also light, sleek, and stylish.
It got even better moving from my 3G S to the 4S. Faster, lighter, more everything that I loved about the iPhone. I couldn’t see me ever wanting anything else. Sure, the iPhone isn’t perfect, but it was the best thing going. Right?
Well, soon some of my friends began buying Droid phones. I thought they were crazy, or were just anti-Apple. Why else would you choose a second-rate phone?
Well, I picked one up and started playing with it and was actually impressed with the performance, the look of the screen, the design of the phone itself, and just about everything else about it.
So, at this point all of the thins I originally liked about the iPhone I find I like even more about the Android phones. They are sleek, light, well designed, have big screens, and they now have just about all of the same apps that I use on my iPhone on a regular basis.
The only thing really holding me back from buying an Android phone the next time I upgrade is the sheer number of apps that I have paid for on my iPhone. If it wasn’t for that, I think I would make the switch without looking back.
Have you made the switch? If so, let me know how it went.

Get Markdown in your Browser with Markdown Here

If you are a fan of Markdown and a fan of Chrome, then you will be a fan of Markdown Here. Markdown Here is a great tool that allows for you to use markdown directly in your browser and then convert it HTML. This works especially well in Gmail, whether your personal email or on an app domain.

If you are not familiar with Markdown you should check it out. It is a means of writing text in a plain format that is easily readable, but can also be converted to HTML so that it is formatted to look good on a web page.

I have also tested it on WordPress and it works great there, too. In fact, I used Markdown Here in Chrome to write this post.

So, go check out Markdown Here and give it a try. I think you’ll be pleased with how easy and fun it is to use.

Label Puzzle Pieces and Boxes to Save Lost Pieces

ImageIf you have kids, then you have puzzles.  If you have puzzles, then you have the random puzzle piece lying on the floor after you thought you had all of the pieces picked up and put away.

One easy way to make sure that mystery piece gets back into the correct box is to label the box and then label the pieces the same as the box.  This will make it easy to find out where that piece go and avoid in issues that arise from missing a piece.

photo credit: Jennuine Captures via photopin cc

Download Satellite Images from Space for $50 or Less

Thanks to a strong video tutorial posted on YouTube posted by Lovro, you can now download images directly from satellites.  Using a USB tuner and few other materials you have laying around, you can download satellite images directly to your home PC.

How to Download Satellite Pictures of Earth for Under $50 via [Hack A Day]

Check Out the Remaker’s Mark Podcast[Podcasts]

Thanks to Minimal Mac I found the podcast Remaker’s Mark. This is a funny and different podcast that talks about movies, but its not a review and technical discussion. Instead, the guys on the show talk about how they would first recast the movie, and each member takes a turn saying who they would recast in each of the major, and some minor, roles. Once they have covered that, they then discuss how they would shoot the movie using modern techniques and technology. Then, based on the cast and changes in how the movie would be shot, they talk about how to change the plot of the movie.
It may not sound that interesting, but it really is a fun and funny exercise to listen to the guys go through. You may or may not agree with their choices, but you’ll at least have fun thinking about it.

Making the Perfect Email Client

Ok, so I use email all day, everyday. As a Customer Support Specialist for my day job I am constantly sending, receiving, reading, writing, and generally living in my email client. My company originally used our its own hosted Exchange server, thus I used Outlook to manage my email and calendar.  However, we have since moved to Google Apps, so I am using the web client.  I like the web client and it does just about everything I want, but it’s just not quite there for me and the way I like to work.  Therefore, I have started a search for the perfect email client.  I have a lot of requirements, and I’m sure I’ll never find the one that meets all of my needs, but I can hope.

Requirements for the perfect email client:

  1. Speed.  In order for an email client to be considered even useful, much less perfect, it must be fast.  One of the fastest clients that I have used recently is Sparrow.  This is a Mac only app that is light, useful, and fast.  The engine in this app is great and, in my limited use and comparison, much faster than any other client that I have ever used.  Unfortunately, Google swooped in and bought them and I suspect that it will be the death of Sparrow.
  2. Great Calendar Integration. I use my calendar to manage my schedule, as many of you do.  I have my work calendar with meetings, my personal calendar with all of the stuff I have to do outside of work, and I link to my wife’s calendar so I can see what she has coming up.  All-in-all, my calendar is pretty important to me.  For my money, Outlook has been the leader in this area for a long time.  The ease with which I can move meetings, create invites, and generally manage everything is wonderful.  I like the Google calendar, but there’s just always been something that has made me less that happy with it.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s just something missing.
  3. Social Integration. I’m not the type of person that is constantly on Twitter or Facebook sharing every detail of my life.  However, I do read it often for news.  My Twitter stream is full of breaking news, geeky commentary, and other fun stuff to get me through the day and keep me informed.  I want to be able to easily integrate this into my email client so that I don’t have to go to my browser or other application to get this.  One of the clients that gets this right is Inbox2.  The integration of Twitter and Facebook is simple and fast, and it is easy to hide if I want to ignore it and just get some work done.
  4. Ease of Setup.  One of the things I hate about setting up an email client is the process of choosing the service, choosing the port to enter, trying to remember if it is POP3 or IMAP, etc.  I just want to choose the service, enter my userid and password, and be done.  The easiest client that I have found for setting up new accounts is eM Client.  To setup your GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or many other accounts you simply select the service, add in your userid and password and it does the rest.  It really is that simple, as it should be.  eM Client is not the only client to make it this simple.  The setup for Thunderbird is just as simple, so it deserves a mention here as well.
  5. RSS Integration.  I follow lots of blogs via RSS and I currently use Google Reader to gather these all together for me.  It’s the best RSS reader that I have found since it is simple, easy, and it just plain works for me.  I would love to have this in my email client to further my desire to have everything in one complete application.  Outlook has an RSS tool in it, but quite frankly, it’s horrible.  Thunderbird has an add-on for RSS, but it’s not much better than the one in Outlook.
  6. Google Options. I use a lot of the extra options in the Google web client that make my job easier.  One of my favorites is the stars.  This option allows for the use of stars beyond the basic yellow.  I use different colored stars and the exclamation points to mark messages that require different actions.  If I just need to reply I use the blue start.  If it needs some research I may use a question mark.  I have yet to find a single email client that supports these stars.  Outlook will let you use different colored flags, but they are harder to implement than the simple mouse clicks that you can use in the GMail web client.  I also like the options of being able to customize my keyboard shortcuts, and the threaded conversations.  So many of the other clients fail miserably in this area.
  7. Markdown Support.  While I’m not completely sold on Markdown, I would really like to be able to use it much more simply when creating emails.  None of the other email clients that I have tried fully support this.
  8. Multi-platform.  I use a Mac at home and a PC at work.  I want my perfect email client to work in both places, with no exceptions.
  9. Cost.  Free would be the best, but if you could give me the perfect client with all of the options above then I would pay $50-100 for it.  It would make that much of a difference in my life.

So, if you are a software developer looking for a new challenge, this is it.  Build the perfect email client for the pickiest email user you will ever meet and I’m sure that you will satisfy just about every user out there and be in line to make a pile of cash.  So, quit reading and get coding.

If you have found an email client that will do all, or even most, of the things above, please let me know.  If you have an email client that you love, let me know why in the comments.

Wrangling Rogue Processes with Taskkill [Command Line]

So, you’re working along and crossing things off of your ToDo list, and suddenly your PC begins to crawl and you just can’t get anything to work.  You try to get out of the program that is sucking the life out your PC, but it just sits there, laughing at you.  Well, you have a weapon in your command line (you do have that open all of the time, right?) that will allow you to kill that process immediately.

One of the most powerful command line tools that I have found and use consistently at home and at work when working on a PC is “Taskkill”.  This tool will allow you to stop any process on your PC without having to involve your Task Manager application.

In the example screenshot below, I’m going to use the Taskkill command to close Notepad.  Let’s talk about what is in this command and break it down a little.

The /im switch tells Taskkill that you are wanting to stop a process based on the name of the process.  This is the most common way that I use this command as I usually know which program is causing my issues and thus that I want to stop it.

After the /im switch is the name of the application that needs to be stopped.  In my example, it’s Notepad.  Typically the “.exe” will need to be included in this command.

The last part of the command is the /f switch.  This command is used to force the application to close without asking to make changes.  If you have any unsaved changes in the application when using this option you will lose them, so be careful.  However, since I am usually beyond frustrated with an application by the time I get to this point, I’m ready to give up changes just to get rid of it.

Also, you will need to keep in mind that if you have multiple instances of the application running, this command will stop all of them.  If you want to stop a specific instance, you can use the /pid switch.  This will allow you to pass in the PID from task manager so that you can stop a specific instance of the application. You can use Tasklist to find this value as well (more on that command in a later post).



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