archive for January, 2005

Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware

Microsoft recently released a beta version of their AntiSpyware software. I don’t have any spyware problems and have been very happy with Ad-Aware and SpyBot, so I haven’t tried it out yet. I have a hard time trusting Microsoft to cleanup viruses and spyware when it was their software that allowed the computer to be infected in the first place. It also seems like a good way for Microsoft to install spyware of it’s own.

Wanted: Blog Title

Jesse’s blog, The Millionth Word comes up first on a Google search for “The Millionth Word”. My blog is ranked at about 30th Google when you search for “Aaron’s Blog”. I guess it’s about time I come up with an interesting and unique blog title.

Wired's 2004 Vaporware List

Every year, Wired News lists the most hyped technology that never materialized. It’s hard to make predictions about when a product will be ready to ship, but some of these products have become classics in the realm of vaporware (and by realm, you know who I mean).

Six Apart (Movable Type) buys LiveJournal

This is probably the biggest blogging news in a while. The two most popular independent blog companies have merged. Six Apart has a press release, and LiveJournal has a blog post about it. Six Apart is more professional and LiveJournal has a stronger community, so by combining the two, they can become even stronger.

Of course, the acquisition is going to make make a lot of people in the LiveJournal Open Source community mad. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to fork and create a new community. Time will tell.

For those keeping track, the big players (that I know about) in the blog software world are: Blogger (Google), MSN Spaces (Microsoft), and Six Apart. I’m sure Yahoo!, and AOL either have blogs services of their own, or they’re working on them. There are thousands of other small companies that are trying to carve out their own piece of the market. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the audio, photo, and video blogging world as more people get camera phones and want to spice up their blogs.

Free Anti-Virus

A few days go Asa asked about free anit-virus software. I’m actually surprised about how much free anti-virus software is available. The only anit-virus applications I’m really familiar with are Norton and McAfee, and I’ve only used Norton for long periods of time.

Based on the comments in Asa’s post, here’s a list of what seem to be the most popular free (for personal use) anit-virus applications:
AGV Anti-Virus
Avast!
AntiVir

I probably won’t switch until my Norton AV subscription is about to run out, but I think I will give at least one of these a try. As long as it scans my email, lets me easily scan any file I download and periodically scan my whole system (without destroying anything in the process), I’m happy. Of course, the scan needs to be up-to-date so that it can detect any virii that might be attacking my system, but it looks like all three of the above keep up to date.

Link Roundup: Jan. 4, 2005

Dan Gillmor on Grassroots Journalism
JPL Open House
VoIP Predictions
Permeable Pavements
How to fix Mom’s computer
Awareness of Blogs Grows Among Net Users
The 2005 Edge Question

Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

I made Chicken Pot Pie last night. It’s one of my favorite dishes, so I thought I’d share it with you (at least the recipe). I use some cheats to speed it up, but you can go the long way if you want.

Ingredients:
half a chicken (or a couple chicken breasts)
flower
butter
milk
vegetables
2 pie crusts (top and bottom)
seasonings to taste

The Rue:
Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a pot or pan. Add enough flour to absorb all of the butter. Keep heating the butter-flour until it starts to brown. Add about a pint of milk, and mix well to dissolve all of the butter-flour. Add enough milk so that it becomes a thin white sauce (probably another pint). Cook it down so that it gets nice and creamy.

The Chicken:
I started by frying and simmering a whole chicken in herbs for a chicken soup. I cooled and broke up half of the chicken into bite size pieces and refrigerated it for later. If you want to use chicken breasts, just chop them up into bite size pieces, and fry them with whatever seasonings you like (salt, pepper, and celery seed make a good combo).

The Filling:
Add chicken pieces and vegetables (I use 1 can of Veg-All, but you can use fresh or frozen veggies) to your white sauce. Cook in pot or pan until it gets really thick.

The Pie:
Line a 9 inch pie pan with a pie crust (I use Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust because it’s easy, and I don’t know how to make a better one). Pour the filling into the pie pan until level (or maybe just a little more). Put the top crust on, and crimp the edges with your fingers. Remove the extra crust, and pierce the top crust with a knife several times. Bake the pie in a preheated 350° F. oven until golden brown (about 35 min.). Remove from the oven and let it cool for at least five minutes before serving.

I like to eat my slice of the pie with cottage cheese and Tabasco sauce. It’ll thicken up even more in the fridge, so it makes great left overs. Enjoy.

Tom's Toothpaste

I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine toothpaste for a while now, probably close to a year. I’ve tried several of their flavors, and my latest new tube is the best so far. First a note about the flavor of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste: it’s milder than regular toothpaste, so it may take a few days before you really taste how good it is.

Back to the new tube. I had to switch flavors because my grocery store stopped carrying the flavors I was used to. I tried their Peppermint Tarter Control and Whitening, but I wasn’t very impressed — it was almost chalky. This time I decided to try their Peppermint Anticavity Plus Whitening gel toothpaste (I can’t find a link to the exact product, but I think this is close). The gel is almost clear, tastes great, and leaves my teeth feeling great.

Oh, one other difference between Tom’s toothpaste and most other brands: it doesn’t foam up as much. It took a little adjustment because I was so used to my mouth filling with toothpaste suds. Tom’s is so much nicer. Now, when I use regular toothpaste, it feels like I’m brushing my teeth with soap instead of toothpaste.

If you’re interested in trying a new brand of toothpaste, I highly recommend Tom’s of Maine. Not only do they make good products, but they’re a good company too.

Late Night Commercials

The FCC regulates what’s allowed to be broadcast on TV. I don’t know the exact rule, but I know indecent material may be broadcast late at night. The problem with this is that TiVo, and other digital video recorders make it easy to time shift TV shows.

This weekend, we’ve been watching a Monk marathon. Our TiVo is setup to record Monk whenever it’s on, and apparently a few of the episodes were broadcast late at night. Monk hasn’t been indecent, but some of the commercials sure have. I’m not offended by these commercials, but I’d probably feel differently if I had kids in the house.

The FCC and cable companies are going to have to re-evaluate what the broadcast at any time because of the growth of PVRs. Late at night is no longer a meaningful test for appropriateness.

Adobe Reader 7

If you’re tired of waiting for Adobe Reader 6 to open every time you click on a PDF, upgrade to Adobe Reader 7.0 Basic. You can read some suggestions by Asa on how to make it even faster. I went ahead and left the browser plugin because I want to be able to view PDFs in my browser tabs.

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