Friday, May 13, 2005

Linky Dink

Buenas tardes, amigos. Happy Friday. If yours are anything like mine, you spend the day toiling at work - sweat oozing out your pores while the phone ceaselessly rings. Higher-ups lurk around every corner waiting to pounce and demand your tasks be finished yesterday.

By the way, is there a more annoying language than office speak? Words like "quota", "budget (not in the)", "power lunch", and "C.E.O" are among the most annoying in our vocabulary. It's all become so predictable and foolish. A couple of years ago at a former employers, we had one of those ridiculous all-day department meetings focusing on what could be done to improve employee morale. In the middle of it, each person was asked to write down their own suggestion on a piece of paper which would then be handed in and read aloud in front of everyone else. Almost all of them had to do with more money and benefits, but about midway through, the department head picked up a the next slip and read aloud this little nugget:

"Flush. Twice if necessary."

Now THAT'S what I call a positive step forward.)

So, in light of all the hard work that's taking place on this most trying of weekdays I thought I'd provide you with a few links of merriment for you to view at your leisure (meaning off-hours, on your own free time, when you have finished all your work, of course. Wouldn't have it any other way.) Basically, these are all links which I had planned to throw out there at some point but couldn't figure out how to work into a post. So - without further ado:

Bug Me Not - I can't say enough about what a wonderful little piece of programming this is for the average Internet surfer. It seems these days that almost every web site wants you to register with it before it will actually provide you with the content enclosed within. Bug Me Not skirts this little issue rather nicely. All you do is type in the URL of the website that wants you to register, and Bug Me Not will spit back a fake username and password that will work in it's place. Just be aware that all of these fake accounts are created and submitted by individuals - some with sick senses of humor. Often the username and/or password will be something rather nasty or profane (Think "Jacque Strap" but worse) so if your that faint of heart, just register. Also, the vast majority of them work on the sites they're supposed to but some have expired. If that's the case simply click the "This login didn't work" button and it will provide you with another one. If your a Firefox user, it also provides you with a nifty little extension whereby you right-click in the field and select "Bug Me Not" and it provides the information for you. Which brings me to my next link....

Mozilla Firefox - You should all be using this browser. It is FAR AND AWAY better than any version of Microsoft Internet Explorer that's out there. The reasons I could list are numerous - but not wanting to bore you I'll provide you with just a few:
  • It dramatically decreases both spyware and popups. That alone is worth the price of admission (which happens to be free) It has a built in pop-up blocker which gets pretty much everything but is also easily shut off for those websites that require popups. Further, much of the spyware (nasty little programs that track your computer usage and web surfing and then report back to the mothership - not to mention screw your computer up no end due to poor code writing and malicious code writers) you get these days is written to exploit Internet Explorer - not Firefox.
  • It has lots of neat built in features like search bars for Google, Yahoo, Amazon,, and eBay. These are also highly customizable and you can add virtually any major site that has a search capability. I've added Merriam-Webster, IMDB, the All-Music Guide, and CNN on mine.
  • Extensions - I hate to keep repeating this - but again - highly customizable. Extensions are basically programs you can add-in with great ease (double-clicking in most cases) which make the web surfing experience more enjoyable. They range from anything like the aforementioned Bug Me Not to having the ability to view web pages in "Swedish Chef" language (I wish I were kidding)
  • Tabbed Browsing - New windows appear as tabs at the top - not as windows in your taskbar down below (can be switched off if you like it the other way)
As someone who works in computers, I'm always getting asked by people what they should do to avoid virii and spyware. Installing this browser is always my step #1. Somewhere down the line I'm going to write a post which includes Steps 2 through 'whatever', but in the meantime do yourself a favor and install this browser.

Time to switch gears entirely....

Enfield, Massachusetts - Were you aware that the Quabbin reservoir was not a natural phenomenon and was actually man made? Oh - I guess you were. Well, I on the other hand wasn't. Apparently four towns had to be leveled in order to make room for the reservoir. Enfield was one of them as you'll find out. Click on the "Quabbin Page" link at the bottom to find out more about the other unfortunate locales. I love websites - or even photos - like this which show old pictures of places either no longer in existence or that were simply forgotten. Even better if a history is included. Along those lines we have....

Abandoned Subway Tunnels - I've always wanted to go exploring in the old abandoned MBTA subway tunnels and stations many of which are still around and you can see from some of the existing platforms. I don't want to be placed under arrest however, or devoured by rats - so I figure this is the next best thing - black & white photography (much of it dour) of the tunnels. Some boring, some not. The photographer also took photos of various other abandoned places in Boston. Among them, the now no longer abandoned Amory St. brewery right near my house.

Vertigo: Then & Now - Sean posted this link a while ago but I liked it so much I thought I'd repost it. I've never spent any meaningful time in San Francisco. However, I'm a HUGE fan of Alfred Hitchcock's films - particularly this one. Even though I don't recognize any of the locations it's still cool to see how the areas have changed and how things have progressed. Like I said, I'm a sucker for these sorts of things.

Airfare deals - I'm trying to plan a vacation right now, and I'm not independently wealthy. I find the following two pages very helpful in finding cheap deals. The first one - Travel Guy Air Fares - I read about in the Boston Herald. Apparently, he's just a regular old blogger like many of us but he wants to make this his full time job. More power to him. His site provides a great up to date listing of some fantastic deals... as does the airfare deals page. This one you'll need Bug Me Not for if you're not a registered user... Basically some poor sap, probably an intern, gets to peruse all the major airline website and write down their lowest fares and deals out of Boston, Manchester & Providence. Sucks to be him, but we're thankful regardless.

Trillian - For you people who use more than one Instant Messenger service (I use both MSN and AOL.) Trillian will combine them for you into one program so you don't have to load both up and get all confused. Just dandy.

2save247 - A website for all you web shoppers out there which compiles all the available major retailer coupons out there and posts them on the site - complete with instructions and expiration dates.

Teen Girl Squad - This is absurd. Flash animation at it's most bizarre. I still can't help laughing every time I see it, however. Very infantile and stupid. Comes from the Homestar Runner website which is just as infantile and stupid. Teen Girl Squad is the comic book one of the characters draws every so often.

That's it for me today folks. Have a nifty weekend. Try to avoid the impending rain showers (once again.) Talk to you soon. For realz yo.


Blogger Eric said...

Indeed - great single. Can't wait for the new album to be released either. Excellent stuff from Msr Albarn & Co. Best animated band out there....

9:21 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

An excellent hodge-podge of links and thoughts. A smorgasbord, eeeeven.

12:36 PM  
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