What In The Nickelodeon Is Goin’ On ‘Round Here?

Posted on June 6, 2008

I think I’ll take a page from Nathan’s book and just pretend that it’s not been (over) a year since I updated this thing. Although I think it’s fair to say that that book is just as much mine as it is his, seeing how frequently I write anything here. Maybe this time when I resolve to update more often, I’ll actually do so. Doubtful. But I’ll try.

So… February 2007. The last time I updated my own site… That wasn’t a long time ago or anything. And absolutely nothing exciting or important has happened since then. Okay, that’s a giant lie. I’m busted. When it comes right down to it, I think between last February and now has been just about the most eventful year in a good long while. Not long after that last post, actually, I sent my resume off to a friend down in Florida and within a month or so, had me a nice new job. Been working there now for a bit over a year and it’s still as good as the day I started. Gotta say, I’m so happy to be out of Hilton Head. I could stand for living in South Carolina again, I think, due to the proximity to home and Clemson and all that jazz, but Florida’s been much kinder to me as far as work opportunities go.

I could probably write and write and write here trying to get caught up on the last year but I don’t suppose that’s terribly necessary since most of the folks that read this already know all that I’d be talking about anyway. I think I’ll save myself a few keystrokes, storage space, and bandwidth, you can just pretend that you’ve already read my would-be essay, and we’ll call it even.

On that note, I’m spent. I’ll see about coming back sooner next time. How’s about I try for under a week? I’ll fail miserably I’m sure but now I’ve at least got it documented so I can try to hold myself to it.

Scariest Weapons in the US Arsenal aka Weapons So Badass It Hurts

Posted on December 7, 2007

Ohio-class Ballistic Submarine with Trident II SLBMs
Ohio-class SubmarineHere’s one simple reason why this sub is scary: the 14 boats in this class carry roughly half of the United States’ total strategic weapon inventory. Each carry 24 Trident missiles for instant nuclear gratification on whatever country pisses us off. With nuclear-powered engines, this boat rarely needs to refuel and can go 15 years between overhauls. Scary to the enemies: You never know where these submarines lurk…

A-10 Thunderbolt II with GAU-8/A Avenger
A-10So ugly that it’s called the Warthog, the A-10 carries the massive power of the GAU-8/A Avenger gatling gun. The Avenger is used for tankbusting by combining a mix of high- explosive shells and armored piercing shells. The slow speed of the Warthog is easily offset by the massive firepower carried on its gently sloped nose, which is symbolic of a penis being shoved up one’s ass when the gun is fired. The unmistakenble noise of the Avenger and the slow, I’m-know-I’m-a-bad-ass flight of the A-10 causes the enemy to ruin their pants and run away like pussies. Scary to the enemies: Say goodbye to your tanks and prepare to run…

M1A2 Abrams Tank
M1A2 Abrams63 tons of hardcore on treads. These tanks are so tough that one got stuck in the mud so another Abrams had to destroy it at point blank. Only it couldn’t destroy it because the armor was so tough. And, heck, why not use our supreme nuclear power to use depleted uranium for the shells and the armor plating? Enemy tanks during the Gulf War found out how awesome these tanks were when the M1s shrugged off shells fired by the Iraqis… and then met the nuclear-enhanced firepower of the M1s. And forget about calling AAA for gas, the engines run on diesel, kerosene, regular motor gas, or even jet fuel. Eat it suckas! Scary to the enemies: Forget about running, your ass is the Abrams’ for 4000 meters.

F-22A Raptor with AIM-120 AMRAAM
F-22 RaptorSo awesome they made the badass Starscream an F-22 in the new Transformers movie. This fighter has already proven it’s ass kicking qualities in numerous war games, taking out “enemy” aircraft with its fire-and-forget AMRAAMs without the “enemies” even seeing them. Designed with stealth in mind, the F-22 has graceful lines, missiles hidden in its fuselage, and supercruise… which means this horror from hell can sneak up on you in an instant at the speed of sound without ever engaging the afterburner. So forget about flying peacefully on your combat patrol, you’ll be dead from an AMRAAM before you know it while the pilot of the F-22 miles away laughs and eats another donut. Scary to the enemies: Don’t blink, you’ll miss yourself getting blown up.

B-2 Spirit
B-2 SpiritThey call this nuclear-laden bomber the Spirit for a reason: you can’t see it. It’s a friggin flying wing with stealth. It gives the middle finger to even the thought of having a tail. It flies on pure badassness by itself and is the aeriel brother of the Ohio-class submarine: you never know where it lurks and it can nuke whoever pissed us off back to the stone age. Plus it knows black goes with everything, including the massive mushroom cloud produced by one of its babies. Scary to the enemies: That’s not your cousin whistling behind you, that’s a bomb dropping on your head.

B-52 Stratofortress
B-52 StratofortressThis plane says to its younger brother, “Screw stealth, I go with big and scary.” This plane is so big with such a large wingspan to hold its explosive weight it has to have auxillary wheels on its wingtips. This bomber is scary with the amount of bombs it can shove up the enemy’s ass. It goes old school with simple carpet bombing. Might as well make sure you killed who you want to kill. And it will still be killing who it wants to kill 30 years from now. Yes, this scary son of a bitch was first operational in 1954 and keeps planning on hauling explosive terror into 2040. Scary to the enemies: Your terrorist son will have grandchildren that will still have to fear the wrath of this plane.

Nimitz-class Aircraft Carrier
Nimitz aircraft carrierIt’s a supercarrier. That right there sounds badass and scary. Plus it can carry up to 90 aircraft for quick, delicious air attacks on a country of its choosing. And forget attacking these bad boys: they’re protected by an awesome array of get-the-hell-away-from-me. Oh, and an entire fleet of support ships as well. Being nuclear-powered also means it can chase an enemy’s ass across the globe without stopping. The funny thing is… the enemy will have to stop… to get fuel and to get their ass blown up. Scary to the enemies: Seeing or knowing one is parked in your backyard pretty much sits your ass down and makes you cooperate.

LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM
Minuteman IIIRing. “United States Strategic Command, may I take your order?”
“Yes, I’d like an order of nuclear halocaust.”
“Coming right up, sir. One Minuteman coming at you at 15,000 mph.”
Our final answer to any situation. Luckily our other scary weapons of war makes the enemy cower before we have to use these. Armed with nuclear warheads, a few Minuteman missiles can wipe out an entire country and turn it into a glass-covered parking lot. If that’s not scary enough for you, you’re obviously out of your mind. This thing is so serious about nailing its target and killing more people singlehandedly than any battle that is has to enter space just to prove how cool it is. Then it slams down on your head. Scary to the enemies: We have enough of these to wipe out all life on the planet… but we’d rather use them all on you.

Mk 19 Grenade Launcher
Mk 19 grenade launcherGood lord, I don’t know what’s scarier: your mom running at me naked or being fired at by a Mk 19 grenade launcher. 350 rounds of explosive yumminess per minute. That’s a lot of splattered meat. And a flash suppressor and no smoke means you play a dangerous game of Hot Potato without knowing where the Hot Potato is coming from. The fact that this BMF has very little recoil means the rain of death can come from any vehicle. And it can take out vehicles with two inches of armor. Nice. Scary to the enemies: Your puckered ass isn’t safe for 2000 meters.

AH-64 Apache
ApacheNothing is scarier than an attack helicopter popping up suddenly from behind a group of trees. Combining a badass chain gun with rockets and missiles, this chopper can make your picnic in the forest a blast. This scary mofo can operate in any weather, day or night, and can bust up your pimpin’ tank. Heck, all the pilot has to do is nod his head at an enemy and he’s toast, thanks to the targeting system integrated into his helmet. Scary to the enemies: Can you stand a persistent rail of gunfire from tree level?

AC-130 Spectre
AC-130 SpectreThe enemy may think it’s just a regular C-130 transport… until it opens up with its vast array of weaponry, including gatling guns, miniguns, and Vulcan cannons, and totally destroys the enemy’s birthday party. It’s called the Spectre for a reason: it likes to catch its prey at night, lighting up the night sky with the muzzle flash of its numerous weapons and solidify its spot as the Spectre of Death. Being the only fixed-winged gunship in the world, this guy knows it needs to pack in the firepower to hold up against its helicopter kin. Scary to the enemy: The angel of death resulting from the firing of the guns is coming for you.

M249 SAW
M249So scary only a few people in a squad use it, cramming 750 rounds of bullet fun up the enemy’s ass in a minute. This is a gun people like Rambo are made for. The guys who use this gun aren’t told to fire in one-round shots. They go for the jugular, unleashing hell on the enemy, ripping bodies to shreds. Say hello to my little friend, and say hello to your god when you get there. Scary to the enemy: Fires more rounds by itself than you can afford in a month.

Two for the future

Gerald R. Ford-class Aircraft Carrier
Ford aircraft carrierThe successor of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, formerly known as the CVNX or CVN-21. Who the hell heard of a stealth aircraft carrier? Well, they’re trying with this one, reducing numerous features that created a large radar blip. More modern than the Nimitz, this carrier class will continue American ass kicking for years to come. Unfortunately the first ship, the USS Gerald R. Ford, is scheduled to replace the historic USS Enterprise in 2015.

F-35 Lightning II
F-35The F-22’s baby brother. Incorporating many of the design features of the F-22 but in a cheaper package and comes in three flavors depending on the military branch. The Air Force will use a conventional F-35 to replace the F-16 in 2011. The Navy will use an F-35 with a strengthened fuselage, wing folding, and an arrester hook to replace the F/A-18 in 2012. The Marines will use a highly modifed F-35 with Short Take-Off/Vertical Landing to replace the AV-8B Harrier in 2012. The enemy will be so confused, not knowing who is attacking them and whether or not it’s the badass F-22 coming in at them (if it decides to show itself).

And two that could have been scary until the government pussed out and cancelled them

RAH-66 Comanche
ComancheStealth helicopter, what else can I say?

XM2001 Crusader
XM2001A badass mobile Howitzer. It just oozes coolness and asskicking.

Freeware Apps I Can’t Live Without

Posted on February 2, 2007

There’s a lot of good – great, even – freeware out there. Some of it replaces the traditional apps like Internet Explorer or Norton Antivirus, and then there’s the apps that add completely new functionality that, once you live with it, you’ll never see how you lived without it. I’ve come across some fantastic stuff over the last couple months, so without further ado… Also, please keep in mind this article is nowhere near complete. There’s way more apps out there that deserve their day in the sun. I’ll probably have a version 2 of this article sometime down the road with more stuff.

Mozilla Firefox - http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/

Quite possibly the mother of all freeware. I was one of the last people to convert to Firefox, it seems like, and I’ve been using it for at least two years now. Market share in the web browser world has seen a drastic change in the last five years, going from an Internet Explorer-dominated world to one that, while still predominantly IE, shows Firefox with at least 10% share and gaining ground by the month.

Firefox has so many selling points, it’s really hard to even figure out where to start. I guess the security is probably as good a place as any. There are far fewer vulnerabilities in Firefox than IE. Standards compliance is also a big selling point, especially as a developer. My favorite part of Firefox is the extensions. There’s so many different ones out there that do so many nifty things, from controlling your music player to telling you the weather and if you’ve got new emails. I think my list of favorite extensions is probably a whole separate article, though.

Launchy – http://www.launchy.net

Launcy is one of the handiest little apps I’ve ever seen. It’s a keyboard-activated task launcher, basically. Simply hit Alt-Space and a window pops up. Start typing the name of the app you want to run and before too many keystrokes, Launchy’s figured out the most likely app you want to run. Just hit Enter and bam, you’re done. It’s so fast and easy. I’ve gotten so used to having it around that I really don’t know how I could work on a machine without it. A side benefit that I don’t take advantage of is the custom indexing. You can tell Launchy to index files of specific extensions in a specific directory.

Hamachi – http://www.hamachi.cc

Hamachi is another of my recent favorite applications. To preface this, I don’t live closer than just under 200 miles to any of my friends but we always need to share files back and forth. Enter Hamachi. Hamachi is a zero-config – just install it and connect – virtual private network. Basically, your computer thinks and works like it’s on the same network as the other machines on the Hamachi network. We’ve got Windows shares set up for sharing files now and getting stuff is as simple as navigating to the directory in Explorer. Brilliant. I have a network that’s just my computers and I use it to access my fileserver from my laptop regardless of where I am. Home at Christmas last month? No problem. Just fire up Winamp and the paths to my fileserver are still valid because Hamachi is connected to my fileserver 170 miles away.

uTorrent – http://www.utorrent.com

There’s more BitTorrent clients out there than there are BitTorrent users it seems like. I’ve tried a few of them over the last couple years, most notably Azureus, which I always thought that, while functional, was very bloated and a giant resource hog. That’s where uTorrent comes in. uTorrent is small, fast, and easy to use. uTorrent is so light on the resources, it’s amazing. I’ll be downloading a full slate of torrents and uTorrent is sitting there happy as a clam using under 10MB of RAM. Counter that with Azureus that would have been using closer to 100MB. It also comes in an installed version and a standalone version. The developers are also beta testing a web GUI for it, too, which could be fun.

ParNRar - http://www.milow.net/site/projects/parnrar.html

Lots of things come packaged up in RAR archives nowadays. I searched for a while trying to find something that would monitor a directory and as it discovered completed archives, automatically unpack them to a specified directory. I tried several others that sort of worked like I wanted but nothing was perfect until I tried ParNRar. It’s one of the most useful little apps I’ve ever used. Lazy computer users unite!

TrayIt! - http://www.teamcti.com/trayit/trayit.htm

I don’t use this one nearly as much as I thought I would but it’s still good enough to make the cut. Sometimes you just want to minimize an application to the system tray. TrayIt! makes that easy. Just right-click on the close button and it’s minimized down to the systray. How cool is that?

Taskbar Shuffle - http://www.teamcti.com/trayit/trayit.htm

This is honestly something that should be built into Windows but it’s not. This app solved a long-standing issue I’ve had. Sometimes you just have to have the items in your taskbar in a certain order. Previously, you’d have to open and close the programs in the right sequence and there’d be hell to pay if something accidentally closed or had a problem and it messed up the order. Taskbar Shuffle makes that go away: just drag and drop taskbar items around to your heart’s content.

SpamBayes - http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/

We’ve all got problems with spam in our inboxes these days. There doesn’t seem to be a way around it no matter how careful you are. I have several server-side spam blocking tools between my mailboxes but something slips through every now and then. That’s where SpamBayes comes in. Using the same bayesian detection as the server-side utilities, it learns what’s spam and what’s not as you teach it. It gets pretty good at guessing what’s good and what’s not and unlike some other programs, has a Junk Suspects category where it puts things it thinks are junk so you can go through and say “Spam” and “Not Spam.” I’ve only used it for Outlook but you can install it for Outlook Express, although my understanding is that the implementation is nowhere near as seamless as it is in Outlook. It just sits in Outlook and inspects messages as they arrive. Very nice to have in the event that something slips in.

AVG Anti-Virus - http://free.grisoft.com/

Anti-virus software is pretty much a necessity these days with all the crap flying around out there. If you’re not interested in the big corporate offerings from Symantec and McAffee, AVG is one of your best bets. Coupling a small footprint with good detection rates and daily virus definitions, AVG is a wonderful anti-virus solution.

Folder Size - http://foldersize.sourceforge.net/

Like Taskbar Shuffle, this is probably something that should be built into Windows but isn’t. Ever been browsing your files and get annoyed that you can see the sizes of individual files but not the size of a directory? Well, Folder Size fixes that. No more right-clicking to find out how big that directory is. Just install and then disable the standard Windows “Size” option and enable “Folder Size” in its place. This is a seriously sweet addition to Explorer.

Synergy - http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/

Synergy may take the cake as one of the most “Wow” freeware apps in my toolbox. I’ve recently set up a fileserver out of one of my old computers and attached my old CRT monitor to it and put it beside the LCD of my primary machine. The fileserver is already KVMed to another machine so there’s no good way to quickly pop over to the other machine short of opening up a Remote Desktop client or reaching across the desk to the mouse. Synergy fixes this and does a simply magnificent job of it. Synergy creates a KM, basically, letting you control multiple machines using multiple monitors from just one keyboard/mouse combination. The machines don’t have to be physically wired together, even; it works through the network. It’s a flawless system that is fast and configurable. You can set it up so that your mouse just flows from one monitor to the other or you can set it up so you hold the mouse there for a set number of seconds or if you double-tap the side of the monitor. Synergy is one of my favorite programs.

No-IP - http://www.no-ip.com/

This is more in relation to the No-IP Dynamic Update Client than the other DNS services No-IP offers but it’s cool nonetheless. The DUC is a lightweight service that just hums away down in the system tray, monitoring your IP address and reporting back to the main No-IP server. You just create a username.no-ip.org address and then associate your DUC with that address and you can access your home IP address by that address. This is fantastic for remoting in to your home network from work or a friend’s house. The DUC checks for IP changes every 30 minutes so you’ll always be able to get to your stuff even if you don’t have a static IP.

SyncBack Freeware - http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/syncback-hub.html

There’s a full version of SyncBack but this freeware version does everything I want. I was looking for a easy way to schedule backups of my files on my fileserver. SyncBack took a matter of minutes to set up two backup schedules that backup the entire contents of my two storage drives to another larger drive. You can set up backups or synchronizations of the files, so the ability to configure it your needs is nice. It works like a champ and has given me much more peace of mine about my files.

OpenDNS – http://www.opendns.com

Not entirely an application, but it’s free and it’s cool. A few months ago, my ISP’s DNS servers had a problem so while my internet connection still worked, it was rendered pretty much useless. I started looking for a replacement for their servers and OpenDNS is what I found. It’s a oft-updated DNS server, for starters. And it’s fast. There are two more cool add-on features in addition to just the DNS lookups. First is anti-phishing technology which comes up on the screen when you navigate to a potential phishing site. Most of us might be savvy enough to recognize a phishing site from real one, but why take the chance? The other is domain name correction. Say you accidentally type “google.con” in your address bar. OpenDNS realizes that you probably meant “google.com” and takes you there instead of a 404 somewhere. I’ve set up OpenDNS on my router so all my machines take advantage of it. Very slick.

Volumouse - http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/volumouse.html

I came across Volumouse just a couple of weeks ago and it’s already changed my computing experience. With the settings on the machine where I do most of my video watching, my volume is set up for Winamp since I listen to music all day at work on my laptop but when I get home and want to watch a video, the volume isn’t loud enough, so I’d always be opening up the Windows volume control to turn up the Wave volume. Volumouse gives you access to any of the volume controls using your mouse wheel and a hotkey. I’ve got it set up so I just hold Alt and then slide my wheel up and down to adjust the Wave volume. I wish I’d found this a long time ago.

HoeKey - http://www.bcheck.net/apps/hoe.htm

I’ve heard of many people using this app for all sorts of things but I use it for Winamp only, really. Basically, it’s a global hotkey program. You can configure all sorts of hotkeys for all sorts of functions in all kinds of programs. The media controls on my laptop aren’t well-placed and I’d like to be able to pause or stop or skip tracks in Winamp all the time without having to first make sure that Winamp is in focus so I just set up a few mappings to handle those functions. I use Alt but it lets you set up Shift, Control, and the Windows key, too, I think for your hotkeys so it’s got dozens and dozens of possible combinations.

If You Were My Teacher, You’d Give Me An Unsatisfactory In Citizenship

Posted on January 3, 2007
1 Comment

So, it’s still the first week, but here’s another post. Wow. Maybe I’ll eventually get to a point where the first line of an update isn’t me saying how long it’s been since I’ve updated or that I mean to do it more often. I kinda doubt it but that might be a fun experiment. Or something.

Unless I start to take more notes while I’m watching TV, I’m soon going to run out of quotes for my post titles. Surely the folks at Boston Legal can give me a few good one-liners for my website, hehe.

I guess the college football bowl season is really upon us now. Yesterday was a massive day of bowls. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get to watch all the games I wanted due to the fact that I had to come back to Hilton Head for work today. I usually head back around 3:30 or so which, unfortunately, was in the middle of the Arkansas-Wisconsin and Georgia Tech-West Virginia games, which kind of sucked. Also missed the first half or so of the Rose Bowl but that ended up not even mattering because when I walked in the door, it was tied at 3. USC kindly waited until I got home before opening up a giant can of whoop-ass on Michigan. The real cream of the crop, though, was the Fiest Bowl. I won’t get into the details since they can be found anywhere on the internet but wow, that really was a fantastic game. And it really makes you want to get a serious dialog about a college football playoff going. Boise State has the potential of being the only undefeated team remaining at the end of the year and might not even get into the top 5, even after winning a BCS game over a high-ranked opponent. That’s got me curiou, to see where they actually end up.

Well, I suppose if I’m going to keep updating on a semi-regular basis, I should keep my updates short and sweet so I have something at least somewhat entertaining to talk about.

It’s A Fair Fight. We Get To Shoot At Them, But They Get To Run

Posted on December 29, 2006
1 Comment

Just when I thought I was safe, I went and did it again. I had to change the site again. No, I updated. No, I changed the site. Wait a tick…. So yeah, both, once again. I just can’t make up my damn mind. I always say “this is the design I’m going with” and I’m always wrong. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually stick with a design. I wouldn’t count on it but you never know. What’s the Monster.com commercial say? Today’s the day? Maybe today’s the day I decide to go with a site design for more than a couple of months. I do sort of mean that this time, since I’ve taken my time and made sure that everything is in place and working before unveiling anything to the public. True for both the site and the forums this time around.

I added some new stuff to the forums, as well. The Arcade is new, for one, and I guess really the only new thing. Hopefully it will be fun enough for a while that people play there and try to reset the high scores and all. Could be interesting.

So Christmas has come and gone again. I got smart this year and took the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after Christmas off work so I get a nice 10 day break from work and only had to take 3 days off. Pretty happy with that as I sit here a little over halfway done with my break. Even though I was out for 2 4-day breaks in November, I needed this nice long one where I wasn’t rushing around or traveling and all. Definitely welcome.

Well, in the hope of keeping with my new plan to update the site more often, I’m going to cut this off here and maybe come back and write some more at some point in the next week, hehe.