Everything Blog

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Top Ten coolest things seen with google earth

Google Earth is the best free app on the net. get it free in google pack and you will never be sorry.

1. Capsized Cruise Ship Captured in Google Earth / Maps

2. KC-135 Caught Refueling C-5 Galaxy in Mid-Air in Google Earth!

3. Huge Scale Model of Disputed Border Region of China Found in Google Earth

4. Lancaster Bomber Caught Flying in Google Earth

5. Flying Car? Not Really

6. Nude Sunbather caught by google earth.

7. Firefox Crop Circle in Google Earth

8. Google Earth Las Vegas

9. Shipwrecks Around the Google Earth

10. See African Animals in High Resolution in Google Earth

Get Google earth free and join the see your house from space club.

Top Ten Grammar Errors that Haunt Web Pages

By Robin Nobles

With all of this talk about content, don't you think it's time to have a frank discussion about grammar? Our Web sites are our online store fronts—our online images. If our sites are full of grammar errors, what does that say about the professionalism of our businesses?

The Internet tends to be a more relaxed atmosphere, so should we expect to see a more relaxed use of grammar on the Net?

No. Just because the Internet is a different publishing medium, and just because we've gotten a little lax in our editing or forgotten some of our grammar rules, that doesn't make it correct.

It's time to pay attention to our own Web pages and relearn some of the basic grammar rules that we may have forgotten along the way.

Let's look at what I consider to be some of the top grammar errors that haunt Web pages:

1. it's = it is

Example: It's perfectly okay to bring your dog to work at Google. (correct)
Example: It's goal is to increase productivity by 100 percent by the year 2007. (incorrect)

In example #2, replace it's with it is. It is goal is to increase productivity . . .

Doesn't work, so you know it's wrong. This is one of the most common errors I see, so comb through your Web pages for this one.

2. Web site (or page) vs. web site/page vs. Website/website (page)

The Chicago Manual of Style states that Web sites and Web pages are correct. After all, we're referring to the World Wide Web, so Web should always be capitalized. The book uses Web pages (sites) as two words.

Webster's New Dictionary of the English Language published in 2006 agrees with Chicago.

However, the online version of Chicago states, "But generally, I would recommend Web site for formal writing, but website for informal writing or friendly writing. Unless, of course, you prefer Web site even when you're being friendly."

Now let's look at it from a different slant. How do people search?

Capitalization doesn't matter, because the major engines aren't case sensitive at this point in time. However, if you're in an industry where your keywords contain Web site or Web page, you may want to use both variations (one and two words) on your pages, because people certainly search in both ways, no matter which is correct.

Think about your target audience and how they're searching. After all, you want a professional Web site, but your ultimate goal is to sell your goods and services.

TIP: The titles of books should be italicized.

3. Periods and commas: do they go inside or outside of quotation marks, or does it depend on the sentence?

Example: She said, "Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, just like this." (correct)
Example: This is "incorrect", because the comma is outside of the quotation marks. (incorrect) It should be: This is "correct," because the comma is . . .

4. E-mail vs. email, plus what is the plural of e-mail?

E-mail stands for electronic mail. According to Chicago, e-mail should contain the hyphen, and it doesn't have to be capitalized (E-mail).

Here's where it gets interesting. The American Heritage Dictionary considers e-mails to be the plural version of e-mail.

Chicago says that either is correct. After all, the plural version of mail is mail. Here are some examples straight from their Web site:

"How much e-mail do you get each month?"
"Send me some e-mails when you get a chance.

If e-mail is a keyword for you, you may want to include email on your pages as well. Again, remember your target audience and the words they will be using when searching for your products and services. Honestly, if I could make a prediction based on being an Internet person, it would be that e-mail evolves into email due to popular usage. Do you know anyone who uses e-mails? I sure don't!

5. SEOs or SEO's

This is one of those rules where I ran into some contradictory information. In The Wordwatcher's Guide to Good Writing & Grammar by Morgan S. Freeman, he states:

"How to form the plural of letters and numbers is a stylistic decision. There are no rights and wrongs, merely eye appeal. Some writers would write the plural of O.K. with no apostrophe, and follow suit with the plural of letters (the three Rs) and numbers (the 1930s). Others think the apostrophe makes for clarity (the three R's, the 1930's). Consider 'Hooray for the YMCAs.' Take your pick."

Chicago thinks differently. They believe that capital letters used as words that contain no interior periods can be made plural by simply adding an s. However, lowercase letters do require an apostrophe and an s.

However, every source agrees that if interior periods are used, an apostrophe is required, like Ph.D.'s.

My recommendation? Do whatever works for you and be consistent. Personally, my choice is SEOs.

6. Spelling spot check

receive (remember: i before e except after c)
all right (alright is not a word)
a lot (should always be two words)
cannot (preferred way to spell)

Visit yourDictionary.com for 250 of the most commonly misspelled words.

7. Hyphens

This is a confusing one—whether to hyphenate compound words, combine the words as one word, or use them as two words. As it states in Chicago, the best place to go for answers is the dictionary. Hyphens also depend on readability and trends, such as the trend from on line to on-line to online.

compound adjectives + noun—hyphenate when the adjectives appear before a noun but not if used after

Example: The newsletter contains the most up-to-date material in the SEO industry. (up to date is hyphenated because it is used as an adjective modifying the noun material)

Example: The material in the newsletter is kept up to date. (There's no noun following up to date, so it shouldn't be hyphenated.)

8. Additional spot check

Their vs. there vs. they're – Their is the possessive version (their house—not they're house); they're stands for they are; and there is a filler word.

Example: There goal is to give they're members the best online experience. (incorrect)

Example: Their goal is to give their members the best . . . (correct)

You vs. your vs. you're – Using the search function in your word processing program, search for you and make sure you didn't mean your.

Example: If your looking for the latest industry news, visit his blog. (incorrect)

Example: If you're looking for the latest industry news . . . (correct)

9. Singular vs. plural (getting close to ad nauseam by now)

Data vs. datum

Data is plural; datum is the singular version. So technically, if you're talking about multiple pieces of information, you'll need to use a plural verb:

Example: The research data are being collected as we speak. (correct)

If you're talking about one piece of data, the correct form is datum, the singular version. Example: The datum shows that the Yahoo! search engine visited the site during the last twenty-four hours. (correct)

However, popular usage has come into play. Because data is considered a mass noun, it is now being treated as either singular or plural except in formal writing and in the sciences. Because we are in the data industry, this is important to know.

Example: The research data is being collected. (correct)

10. Commas

When you read your content out loud, do you naturally pause at certain places? The best rule of thumb is to insert a comma in those places. Grammar can actually be quite logical.

Let's look at some common uses for commas:

a. To separate words in a list (apples, oranges, bananas, and grapes). Notice that I used a comma before the and. Grammar sources such as Chicago strongly recommend inserting the last comma. Here's an example from Chicago:
"I want no ifs, ands, or buts."

b. Introductory phrases and words. Use commas after introductory phrases and words, especially if a slight pause is needed.

Example: At the end of the day, he left the office.
Example: Therefore, the next SES Conference is in December.

c. To separate compound sentences. Use commas to separate compound sentences, which are sentences that could be divided into two separate and complete sentences. Example: Search engine optimization is both art and science, and it requires both creativity and technology to be successful.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The 25 Funniest Analogies (Collected by High School English Teachers)

by Judy Rose

I have to share these “funniest analogies” with you. They came in an e-mail from my sister. She got them from a cousin, who got them from a friend, who got them from… so they are circulating around. My apologies if you have already seen them.

The e-mail says they are taken from actual high school essays and collected by English teachers across the country for their own amusement. Some of these kids may have bright futures as humor writers. What do you think?

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a ThighMaster.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Top Ten Reasons NOT to Choose a College

Deciding where to attend college is a huge decision because you will probably be spending the next four or more years there. Often times, students choose a college for all the wrong reasons and end up transferring to a different college or maybe even dropping out of school altogether. Don’t become one of those students. Here are the top ten reasons not to choose a college:

1. Your boyfriend/girlfriend is going there. Not to burst your love bubble, but chances are you are going to have many boyfriends/girlfriends after your high school relationship is over. Although you may be completely in love now and think you are going to spend the rest of your life with your current boyfriend/girlfriend, your life is really just beginning. Think of all the different people you are going to meet in college. You may get to college and realize that you want to be single so you aren’t tied down, or you may realize that you want to date someone else. Since you don’t really know if you are going to be with your current boyfriend or girlfriend forever, don’t choose a college just so you can be with that person. If you do, you may end up resenting him/her later.

2. Your best friend is going there. If you and your best friend want to go to the same college because you both like the courses and extracurricular activities that are offered, then that’s great. Just don’t choose a college solely because you want to go to school with your best friend. Going away to college means meeting a lot of new, unique people. If you choose a college so you can be with your friend, the two of you may spend everyday with each other, and you may not take the opportunity to meet other people and make new friends. Making new friends will help you grow as a person.

3. It’s a party school. While school should be fun for you at times, it is also a place for you to learn new ideas and earn a degree. If you want to succeed in life, you can’t spend all your time at school partying. You need to pick a school that is conducive to your educational needs and ignore the party schools.

4. The student body is attractive. Don’t choose a college based on how cute or pretty the students were during your campus visit. Chasing members of the opposite sex or having an attractive girlfriend or boyfriend will not help you get a college degree.

5. Your mom and dad are alumni. Don’t let either of your parents persuade you to go to their old alma mater if you don’t want to. You need to pick the college that is right for you. Your parent(s) may be disappointed at first, but he/she will get over it. You need to live your own life.

6. It has a good football team. Unless you want to be on the football team, don’t choose a college just because you like the team. While school spirit is important to have, you need to base your decision on what the school can offer you, in regards to academics, extracurricular activities, and so forth.

7. Your guidance counselor told you to pick it. Even though your guidance counselor may know quite a bit of information about a lot of schools, he probably doesn’t really know the whole you. While he can let you know which schools offer the major you are interested in pursuing, he doesn’t know your personal preferences. What if you don’t like the campus atmosphere at the college that your counselor picks? It’s best for you to take suggestions, research the schools, and then make a decision on your own.

8. The school is prestigious. Just because a school has the reputation of being prestigious, it does not mean that you are going to like it. What if the school doesn’t offer the major that you want? What if it doesn’t offer the extracurricular activity that you really want to be involved in? You need to consider aspects that are important to you when choosing a school instead of worrying about how whether or not it is a high-status school.

9. The tuition is low. Money is often a big factor when choosing a college, but keep in mind that a school that is more expensive may offer you a larger financial aid package with more gift aid (depending on your financial situation) than a school where the tuition is lower. Apply to the schools you really want to attend, including schools with high and low tuitions, and then compare their financial aid award letters in order to make a decision. Don’t forget that you can also get a student loan to help you pay for tuition.

10. It looks good in the guidebook. Do not choose a college without visiting the campus first. While guidebooks and virtual tours will help you narrow down your choices, it is important to visit your top two or three schools in person so you can get a feel for what the campus atmosphere is like.

When it comes to choosing a college, students can give many good and bad reasons why they picked a certain school. Instead of choosing a college for the reasons listed above, take the time to research schools and find out what they have to offer. You want a school that will get you well prepared for the future, as well as one where you feel comfortable.

from here

Thursday, November 23, 2006

20 FireFox Extensions That Every Web Designer Should Know About

Here is a list of 20 useful FireFox extensions that all web designers should know about.

Web Developer Toolbar

Brings most FireFox options to your tool bar. It allows for a quick disable of cookies, cache, JavaScript, and a ton of other things. This is very useful when making a login script.


It gives a spell check option when you right click in forms. I use this for WordPress, since it has no spell checker without a plugin.

RankQuest SEO Toolbar

SEO tool. It gives information on search queries including page rank. Check how your site ranks on Google with this tool bar.


Yup we’ve all heard about IEView, so why not Opera view. This extension gives an Opera tab in your FireFox browser. Different browsers render things differently, so make sure you check in all browsers.


Yup had to include it. Same thing as OperaView except you can open a new tab with IE rendering.

Total Validator

Validate your code for XHTML compliancy, check for spelling errors, broken links, and even take a screen shot of your site with this extension.

SEO for FireFox

This extension directly adds more info into Google and Yahoo search results. Some things it adds are page rank, alexa rating, how many people link to you on Technorati, del.icio.us book marks, and much more.


Directly edit your headers with this extension. You can capture, and POST back the headers you’ve sent and received. This is a great script to find out why your forms aren’t working.

View Cookies

View the current cookies for the site you’re browsing. Good plugin to check if the script you’re making is setting the proper cookie, for the correct time.


Open images, js files, CSS, and HTML source files of a website in your favorite editor.


Performancing for FireFox is a full featured blog editor that sits right in your FireFox browser and lets you post to your blog easily. You can drag and drop formatted text from the page you happen to be browsing, and take notes as well as post to your blog.


If you’re trying to write a script that deals with referring information, this might be useful. It allows you to click a link without the browser having any referral information.

Load Time Analyzer

Load time analyzer gives detailed statistics on how your page loaded, and how long it took. After it’s done analyzing it produces a sleek graph of the results.

User Agent Switcher

Are you making a script that needs to know what kind of browser the person is using? Test if it’s working by changing your user agent.


EditCSS puts a side panel with your style sheet in it to allow for easy editing. It’s simple, but a very useful extension.


Debug your code, including JavaScript and CSS.


It renders a ruler across the page so you can measure the length of the object in pixels.


Turn your browser into an FTP client. Easily upload your new code, without a bulky FTP client.


This extension is awesome. It gives you an eye dropper, so you can get the exact hex code of a certain color on a website. I’ve forgotten the hex color of banners on my site many times. This will come in handy sooner or later.

Copy as HTML Link

Copy as HTML instead of a normal hyper link. Makes posting links in your blog slightly easier. Not the best extension, but it should be mentioned on the list.

from here

10 Features You'll Find Only In Opera

by googlesystem

Everyone says that Opera is an innovative browser, but most fail to say why. So I created a list of ten features that are really helpful in your everyday browsing and are available in Opera. Some of them are available in Firefox, if you download extensions, or in other browsers, so you may say they're not unique to Opera, but Opera used them first and they are a part of Opera's innovation.

Here's the list:

1. Page zoom
Some sites have almost unreadable font sizes, others have huge pictures. Opera zoom feature maintains the site integrity and allows you to view the site without losing the visual presentation.

2. Duplicate this tab
You visit a page and you want to read it later. For the moment, you want to go back to the previous one. What do you do? Copy the address of the page, create a new tab and paste the URL in the address bar. In Opera you just click Duplicate. The new tab will also duplicate the history.

3. Go to URL
You see a web address in a page, but it's not not hyperlinked. How do you visit the web page? You copy it and paste it in address bar, then press enter. In Opera, select the address, right-click and select "Go to URL".

4. Reload every 30 seconds
You go to a site that shows the live score of a baseball match and it doesn't reload periodically. So you'll have to press F5 every 30 seconds to see the score. In Opera, select "reload every 30 seconds".

5. Fit to window width
Nobody likes the horizontal scrollbar in a page, but some webmasters don't bother to view their sites at different resolutions. In Opera, select "fit to window width" to remove the horizontal scrollbar and shrink the content.

6. Rewind
You search for something at Google, discover a great site, you visit 20 pages from that site and then you want to go back to the search results. You can click Back 20 times or try to locate Google in the list next to the back button. Or you can just hit "Rewind" if you use Opera.

7. Nicknames for collections of sites
How do you visit you favorite sites? You bookmark them and then try to locate the sites in the Bookmars menu. Or you enter the first letters of the URL in the address bar. In Opera you can associate nicknames to sites or collection of sites. Picture this: type "news" and see your favourite news sites opening in their tabs.

8. Tab closing
You visit site A, open a link to site B in a new tab, but the tabs A and B aren't next to each other. If you close tab B, Firefox won't revert to the tab A. You'll see site C in a tab at the left of tab B. Opera shows the previous active tab.

9. Instant back
When you click Back, the browser tries to refetch the page. Opera shows the page from the cache, so the "Back" action happens instantly.

10. Crash recovery
Your browser crashes and you want to go back to the sites you were visting before the crash. In Firefox, you have to go History and open them one by one. Opera automatically saves last session so you'll see the tabs in the same order when you open the browser.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Top Ten Tips on how to become a Rockstar Programmer

by Mikael Grev

You will notice that there are no micro coding tips&tricks below. No info on how to make a fast for loop or such. The tips I post is what I think you should do to learn how to learn those tricks for yourself. In all, this list is a little softer around the edges and goes mostly for the background things.

Most noticeably you will see things that are totally opposite to what most recognized people say about how to code. This is probably because there is actually a difference in target audience. This is about you , and how you should become a great coder, maybe even a rock star coder! They often say how you should do to write good and portable code that other coders can understand and maintain.

#1 Do development on a fast computer
Wicked fast even. Compiling should take at most a couple of seconds so that you do this often. In fact what is most important is how long it takes from you hitting that �Run Project� short key until your application shows up. The lesser the time the more you will run the application and the more keen you will be to try new things, which is how you learn. If running takes too long you will go for, not safer, but code you know to work, and you will evolve more slowly. A good advice is also to keep a crappy computer around for testing. Your GUI might feel snappy on your super fast developer monster machine, but your customers might not be so lucky as to have one of those.

#2 Use a big TFT screen
Code is talking to you in more than characters. With a bigger screen you will get more overview and this helps your right side brain into the game. You will see patterns more clearly and you can see the structure of a whole method and not just parts of it. You should have such a big screen that your methods will fit, in most cases, on one page. Eyes move fast, editor scroll panes do not. I use a 30 inch Apple CinemaDisplay and a 20 inch Dell rotated 90 degrees as a second debugging monitor.

#3 Learn your IDE
It matters less what IDE you use, today they are all above the good enough bar. Be ashamed every time you do something in a way you know you can do faster another way. Learn a new feature of your IDE until you have learned them all, or at least learned enough. Use short keys but don't over exaggerate. Be super lazy and create short cuts for everything you do. All to keep down the waiting time and minimizing the most important code-to-show time.

#4 Don't learn APIs too well
The APIs might change and/or you might start to use another API. Learn how to find information about the APIs really fast. Use your IDE for this where appropriate. Use JavaDoc for your own code and mount the JavaDocs in your projects for imported APIs. Knowing how to find information is good for everything, storing APIs in brainRAM is bound to get old. If for instance you don't use some sort of parameter help/completion you have a long walk ahead.

#5 Write smart cool compressed code constructs
And test them thoroughly! You will learn what works and what don't. You will evolve, not to use the smartest and coolest code, but in terms of knowing that smart code constructs is seldom the way of the rock star programmer, other than for showing off. Less code, in a smart way, means less to maintain. Over-smart code that is just for show will make your fellow code maintainers put "fart bags" on your chair just when the new super-hottie from the Rocket Scientists Department comes over to ask you a question (which would be a bad thing).

#6 Read books
You might be good at what you do, but knowing only that, whatever it may be, is seldom enough to really shine. Knowing enough about more fields than the field you are about to shine in is golden. Take for instance a GUI coder that knows nothing about databases. He might be almost useless since he can't interact with the guy doing the backing store, and so on. It takes as much effort to be 90% good in five fields than to be 99% good one one.

#7 Go back and enhance your old code
Not that it is sound from an economical point of view but because you learn oodles of things reading you own crap, which old code always is. Code gets rotten after a couple of years, it really does, since you evolve. If you can't find bad things in your old code you either already are a rock star programmer, or maybe more probable, hasn't evolved much lately.

#8 Eat your own dog food!
If you create APIs, create some applications using that API. If you create applications, ask your friends/wife(s)/husband(s)/children to try it. Don't say you did it; say that your crappy no-good overpaid work mate did it, so you get some honest feedback. Honest feedback is golden.

#9 Don't ask people for advice
Learn how to get that answer yourself instead, it is way more useful. Finding out how to get information about something is a value in itself and may pay you back more than the solution to the problem in the first place. Ask only if you must or if the question in itself is more a discussion and you are actually spreading information. Of course you shouldn't take this too literally, but I see lots of people asking pointless questions they could have found out faster by ten seconds of googling.

#10 Do micro benchmarks
But know that they are useless for almost all purposes in the real world. It will increase your knowledge about performance though, and next time you have a higher probability of choosing the fastest construct for new code. Don't do premature code optimization but learn how to write fast code from the start, without sacrificing readability.
#11 And last...
Eat right, exercise more, don't drink too much coffee, and all that other crap that matter more than you think, but you won't do because I said so.

Have you got things to share?

Mikael Grev

www.migcalendar.com and www.miginfocom.com

Monday, November 13, 2006

Top ten Tips on Saving Money

Going hand and hand with an effective household budget is saving money on those things that you truly need. To start saving, take an inventory of your needs to see where you can shave the dollars. Begin with the biggest items first, where the most potential for savings is, and move down the scale to the less expensive items. A moderate savings on one of the big items (houses and cars) combined with savings on the smaller items (food, clothes, etc.) can reap a large reward in your total budget. The following are some thought starters:
General Tips

Distinguish between Wants and Needs: You will save a ton of money if you don't mistake wants for needs. Needs are pretty simple to identify--those items that are necessary to sustain: Shelter, food, clothing, transportation. Wants are those things that enhance or possibly improve our family life. A car is a need. Unless necessary for your business, a $40,000 Sport Utility Vehicle is a want, even if a lot of people don't see it that way. Have you ever heard (or said) "I absolutely need...?" when the actual meaning was "I really want?" This is not to suggest that you shouldn't be able to have the things you want--only that to delude yourself into believing that a want is a need--and busting your budget in the process--is a recipe for financial disaster.

Is less better? Perhaps it was due to the booming economy, perhaps "keeping up with the Joneses", maybe its ego, but for many of us, we often seem to insist on the biggest and the best, no matter what the cost. When a $15,000 new car may be more than acceptable, we stretch the seams of our budget to afford a $25,000 vehicle. We buy $25 shirts with $35 designer labels attached. We opt for the $100 dinner at the trendy restaurant when a $20 meal would have been just as delicious. Think about where you are spending the family money--and how--to see if there couldn't be savings found with minor changes in habits.

Try before you Buy: This goes a long way in helping to avoid the silly purchases of things you rarely or never use. Before you buy something, especially items with big price tags, borrow one, rent one or try one out before you plunk down the cash. If you are bored with it, or determine that it truly is not something you need before you buy it (and you will be on a certain percentage of items) you will definitely be bored with it, or find it not that necessary, after! Example: You feel that you absolutely must have a new Jet-Ski, at a cost of $4500 (and that is before financing and taxes). You go to the lake, rent one, and 45 minutes into a one hour rental you are saying, "geez, this is a long hour." Saved: More than $4500 (perhaps a year of college fees for the kid!)

Specific Tips
The Big Ones

House Mortgages. In all probability, your mortgage will be the largest single expense in your budget. Obviously, getting the best deal here is of ultimate importance. Not comparing could cost you thousands of dollars over the term of the mortgage.

Cars. For most families, the next biggest expense is their car(s). Mistakes made here can often be as costly (on a monthly basis) as mortgage miscues. Take a look at the vehicle(s) you presently own. Do you own too much vehicle for your needs? Do you have equity in a car that you no longer use frequently? Could you downsize and save money, not only in monthly payments but also in maintenance, insurance and operating expenses? With the vehicles that you do own, are you getting the best deal on your repairs, maintenance and insurance?

Food. Not only do you need to eat food to live, the expense of it for the average family can eat you alive! Since food is a necessary and recurring expense, just saving, for example, $20 a week on your purchases can convert to over $1000 in savings over the course of a year.
Try to plan in advance. By knowing what you need, you will be able to buy in larger quantities (almost always less expensive) and cut down on convenience food purchases (always more expensive).
If you use national brands, spend a little time clipping and using coupons. $1.50 invested in the Sunday newspaper could save you $20 or more at the checkout. Organize the coupons by type, so as you develop a shopping list you can make a notation if you have a coupon.
Consider store brands or generics. You may find the quality is equal to (and sometimes better than) the national brands, and store brands/generics are generally considerably less expensive.
When it is on sale, stock up. Of course this only applies to those items that you use on a regular basis. Stocking up on an item which you use once a year doesn't make sense (and robs you of spending money, not to mention shelf space).
Shop at the store that is the cheapest overall. Surveys have shown that there is sometimes as much as 10-15% difference on identical grocery orders at 2 different stores in the same area. If you spend $500 a month on groceries, that can equate to $600 to $900 a year in savings. Don't throw away your money just because it is your habit to shop at a certain store.

Clothing. Although many consumer items have actually reduced in price over the last few years (most notably, computer and electronic items) the cost of clothing has seen a continuing upward spiral. In addition, a purchase price that not too long ago bought a good quality garment now seems to buy virtually "throw away" clothing. With some planning, though, it is possible to maintain clothing purchases that are in line with your family budget.
Buy separates that coordinate. You can make numerous combinations with a few well matched items. For women, jackets, slacks, skirts and blouses can be mixed and matched to create many different outfits. Plus you can change the look of these outfits with accessories such as jewelry or scarves. Men's clothing offers a wide variety of separates that can be coordinated: blazers, slacks, shirts and ties can all be interchanged to create a versatile wardrobe with a minimum of expense.
Buy a season ahead. Buy next year's winter clothes at the end of this season and save. The styles won't change that much (if at all) and you will pocket a big difference in the price.
If you are "hard" on clothes, buy quality. Buying an $80 pair of shoes that will last saves money in the long run instead of having to buy 3 pairs of $35 shoes that don't hold up.
Stay away from trendy fashions. Stick with the basics. You can always be sure you clothing styles will last from year to year when you buy perennial stand-bys such as medium length A-line skirts and solid tailored blazers for women or neutral color shirts and tailored to semi-tailored sports coats for men.

Telephone. In most areas of the country, your local phone service is currently regulated and has a fixed price. The difference in long-distance costs, though, can be eye-opening. Many consumers simply stick with their current long-distance carrier because it is convenient and they feel that it would be a hassle to change. By shopping around, however, you may find some considerable savings that can really add up. We were able to find a plan that gives savings of about $16.75 a month and $200 a year, a fairly considerable amount. Switching over was simple and not time consuming--a pretty good return on time spent!

Comparisons. It used to be that comparison shopping was a long and drawn out process. Driving from one store to another or making numerous phone calls could be a real time waster. Even if you were able to make an adequate comparison, sometimes it wasn't worth the hours you needed to invest to get the comparison. The Internet has changed much of that. Now you can make quick comparisons on most items, usually within a matter of minutes. What would once have taken hours to accomplish now happens at the click of a mouse, a real time and money saver. Don't forget online resources. For example, a site such as Ebay could save a lot of money for a couple of reasons: First, you can make comparisons among a number of sellers and second, you may be able to find second-hand merchandise which can save you a bundle.

Travel. Price differences here can be enormous. The difference in costs on the same trip--same airline, same hotel, same car rental--between two travelers can run into the thousands of dollars. Take a little time to comparison shop to assure the best possible deal.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Top Ten Places to Build a Snowman

10) Where prohibited by law.
9) Right smack in the center of I-95 during rush hour.
8) Next to the one your pet monkey built!
7) At the end of the line for the women's restroom looking as though its bladder is about to explode.
6) At the beach.
5) Near the equator.
4) Inside the phone booth with a receiver in hand.
3) Any third world country where a snowman is considered a religious symbol.
2) Outside the Taco Bell drivethru with a sign saying "FEED ME!"
1) In a hospital elevator with a sign saying "HELP ME I'M FROZEN INSIDE THIS SNOWMAN!"

Sunday, November 05, 2006

28 Ways to Kill Your Neighbor

by Ben Gleib

Lots of us want to kill our neighbors. Here’s how!
  1. Push him down the stairs.
  2. Poison his coffee.
  3. Convince him he’s dying. I mean really convince him.
  4. Encourage diseased hamsters to run amok in his apartment.
    (I heard you could die from that.)
  5. Stab him.
  6. Make him watch any show on the Disney channel.
  7. Watch an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” with him. Then when it’s done, turn to him and say, “I wonder when they’re gonna solve your mystery.” When he gets freaked out, say your just kidding. Then when he relaxes again…Kill him with a broom.
  8. Let a cat loose in his bedroom. (This works best if he has a cat allergy that is fatal.)
  9. Hire a hitman.
  10. Smile at him in a very creepy way for 30 consecutive hours until he kills himself.
  11. If your neighbor is easily swayed by peer pressure, tell him all his friends just jumped off a bridge.
  12. Push him off a bridge yourself. For this one, you can either
    a) Follow him to a bridge. Or
    b) Pick out a random bridge he might someday cross, and wait.
  13. Put needles in his Halloween candy. Then go over to his house and continually say, “Man, that candy looks good! I’m full, but you should have some.”
  14. Hire a prostitute to f*ck him to death. (This is only if you also kinda like him.)
  15. Get him into a persistive vegetative state, and just bide your time. After several years, you will be allowed to pull the plug. Congress may get involved, but they won’t stop it.
  16. Introduce him to Robert Blake.
  17. Get into his apartment and leave banana peels EVERYWHERE!!!
  18. Choke him to death.
  19. Make him listen to nothing but Tori Amos and Avril Lavigne.
  20. Send him to Iraq.
  21. Replace his powdered sugar with Anthrax! (For $39.95 I’ll sell you a map to Anthrax selling farms. Or for $42.50, I’ll sell you a map to Anthrax selling farms and celebrity homes!)
  22. Poke out his eyes with twisty straws.
  23. Send him on vacation to Aruba.
  24. Fill his apartment with water, and then unleash deadly eels.
    (If he can’t swim, save money on the eels.)
  25. Tell a street gang he called their bandanas gay.
  26. Spray him in the face with death spray.
    (Although this is bad for the environment.)
  27. Take him bungee jumping, and tell him it’s really extreme if you don’t use the bungee.
  28. Or, lastly, shoot him in the face.

Good luck everybody!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Afraid to Commit: Young Men Want to Wait on Marriage

They want kids, houses and sex. And they want women, too -- but not in the form of wives. Not until they're older.

So says the latest study to probe the minds of America's young men, aged 25 to 33. The study found 10 reasons men won't commit -- from the ease of finding sex partners to the desire to avoid financial risks of divorce.

Men do want to marry and have children eventually, the study found, and men greatly value the institution of marriage. But they love their single life and experience few of the traditional pressures from church, employers or society that once encouraged them to marry. Then, too, living together gives men many of the benefits of marriage without the obligations, the study said. And society accepts cohabitation.

The authors of the study, called The State of Our Unions, said they were puzzled by their findings, based on face-to-face group interviews with 60 heterosexual men in Chicago, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Houston. The majority of the men are employed full-time with reported annual incomes between $21,000 and $35,000. Most have had some college or hold a BA. None of the men were married; three had children.

"Marriage is a fundamental social institution. It is central to the nurture and raising of children... and the 'social glue' that reliably attaches fathers to children," noted the authors in their 32-page report. "[Marriage] contributes to the physical, emotional and economic health of men, women and children, and thus to the nation as a whole."

10 Reasons Men Won't Commit

Reason 1: Men can get sex without marriage more easily than in times past. The men reported that meeting women is easy: at bars, through friends, at work, and on the Internet. Though men want to become friends with a woman before becoming seriously involved, casual sex, they said, is easy to come by.

Reason 2: Men can enjoy the benefits of having a wife by cohabiting rather than marrying. Men think living together is a good way to test out a marriage prospect. They also view living together as less risky than marriage. At the same time, the men in the study like the convenience of having a regular sex partner. And several said they appreciate the domestic benefits of cohabitation, and the ability to share expenses, but thought marriage unnecessary at this point in life.

Reason 3: Men want to avoid divorce and its financial risks. Men feel that their financial assets are better protected if they cohabit rather than marry. They also fear that an ex-wife will take financial advantage during settlement proceedings.

Reason 4: Men want to wait until they are older to have children. Although men understand that women worry about their biological clocks, they say they don't have to. And they don't want to be pressured into marriage by women who want marriage in order to have children.

Reason 5: Men fear that marriage will require too many changes and compromises. The men savor their freedom to enjoy hobbies, late nights out and freedom from extra financial burdens. They want to postpone absorbing extra responsibilities until they are on extra-solid footing in a number of areas.

Reason 6: Men are waiting for the perfect soul mate and she hasn't yet appeared. A soul mate, the men said, is a woman who accepts them just as they are and won't try to change them. The men said they don't want to settle for second-best. In some cases, the men even said they were living with a woman who was their version of a second-best partner. These men are continuing to hunt for the perfect soul mate.

Reason 7: Men face few social pressures to marry. Today's young men encounter few traditional pressures from religion, employers or society to marry. Some said they have been mildly teased from parents who want grandchildren, but most of the men said their parents are willing to help support them -- and even allow them to move back home -- until they are ready to marry.

Reason 8: Men are reluctant to marry a woman who already has children. Men said they feel badly if they establish a relationship with the children of a woman and then break up with the mother. They also want to avoid competition and conflict with the children's biological father. One man says that it is easier to date a woman with children if the father is entirely out of the picture.

Reason 9: They want to own a house before they get a wife. Men want to be financially "set" before they marry. For many men, this means home ownership should come before marriage. Most of the men interviewed are living with a parent, relative, roommates or girlfriends.

Reason 10: Men want to enjoy a single life as long as they can. Men fear losing their solitary pleasures by marrying, the study found. And they become accustomed to their own space and routines. They enjoy the freedom of not having to be responsible to anyone else.

Other Findings

The study also reached some additional conclusions. Among them:

Men believe it's best to become friends with a woman before asking her out on a date. Several said they are uncomfortable talking to strangers in bars and appreciate the benefits of a meaningful relationship that grows from friendship.
The men are generally opposed to having a romantic relationship with a woman who works in their place of employment.
The men want their wives to work outside the home. They think a wife who works will be a more interesting companion.
Though the support working wives, the men were less supportive of working mothers. The concensus among the men interviewed is that one parent should stay home or care should be provided by a relative.
The men were highly critical of divorce. But they feel that couples should break up if they fall out of love, even if kids are involved.
The men were not optimistic about the future of marriage as a lifelong commitment. They said people continue to change and grow and this makes it harder to stay married to one person for a lifetime.

What Men Are Saying

Here's the reaction we've received from men nationwide.

"You should have an article on why divorced men will not marry again. The responses would be very interesting. For example:

They've already been taken to the cleaners at least once by a prior wife.
If a woman has kids, she really has no use for a man. She's got the house, the BMW, the kids, and his support and alimony.
The women of today have taken the place of the man from yesteryear. They are today what they thought men were 40 years ago.
They run the risk of meeting a female divorce attorney.

I'm not bitter, just realistic."

"It is no surprise that young men are unwilling to commit to marry when their partners are willing to live with them and provide sexual and domestic services. The old and crude adage is still true: 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?'"

"First, let me say that the problem exists for both men and women. The single life has its challenges at any age (I'm 50), and I have had trouble meeting 'Ms. Right.' In the old European days, we had the infamous 'match maker' and now we have dating services, Internet dating, and of course 'Have I got a friend for you!' In all cases, it's a roll of the dice and requires a great deal of luck. It's a sad reflection on our society that there are so many of us out there, trying every possible way to meet the person that will fill that void."

"I'm tired of the b.s. that it takes to even try to find a good woman. In 90% of my prior relationships, I gave 110% to trying to forge a marriage. But that was only good for some half-hearted affection that soon disappears after the ring is brought forth. Then it's all about what she needs, or worse yet -- what her children need. I'm tired of trying to weed through the predatory women. It costs too much to the kind man's heart. So I quit."

"Most of the guys I know have watched their friends get married and see all the problems, arguments, and b.s. that married men go through. And then they see the divorce, alimony, and child support. Case in point is my own situation. I'll never marry again."

"You forgot this reason: Getting raked over the coals for child support should divorce occur. The current system does not judge each circumstance on a case-by-case basis, and guys usually end up having their financial lives destroyed. In my opinion, men should refuse to marry until the insanity of the legal system is removed."

"The article on single males slow to commit was straight on. My reasons are the same as the men you interviewed: I still believe my destined girl is out there; I do not want to deal with another man's children; and I am afraid of the financial impact of divorce."

What Women Are Saying

American women have strong feelings on the issue as well. Here's what they had to say.

"Am I the only woman for whom a husband is not a badge of honor? I have noticed the looks on faces of my more traditional friends when I say that I do not have to be married. I have been married, and it was not what they talk about in Hallmark cards. Fortunately, my current beau is a gorgeous and fun divorcee who is also marriage-shy. This may be the most in sync I have ever been with a man!"

"I have lived with my boyfriend for eight years. We share everything, but he will not take that last step and get married. If something was to happen to him today, I would be out in the cold. I have helped him establish a home, fixed it up, and take care of it, but my name is nowhere on anything."

"The article 'Afraid to Commit: Young Men Want to Wait on Marriage' makes all women sound like they are desperate to "hook" a man! It insinuates that this is all women live for and men have total reign over this. Please get with the times! "

from here

Friday, November 03, 2006

Top ten Friday online games

After hard working week everybody wants to relax. There is a list of the best online games.

1) Battlefield 2
The best online shooter by far.

2) Guild Wars
Simply the best Free MMORPG today. Not quite as good as World of WarCraft game-play wise, but Guild Wars' lack of a subscription put its over the top in this category.

3) Half-Life 2 and Mods
Tops the original in nearly every way except Steam.

4) World of Warcraft
The best online game today that you have to pay for.

5) Half-Life 1 Universe (Counterstrike, DoD, TF, NS, and other mods)
The mod community continues to drive the popularity of this seemingly ancient first person shooter. Besides blockbusters like Counterstrike and Day of Defeat, popular mods like Natural Selection make Half-Life one of the greatest Internet games ever.

6) Diablo 2
Although this game looks ancient compared to some of its recent counterparts, the Diablo 2 community is still alive and well on Battle.net.

7) Unreal Tournament 2004
The best installment of this vaunted series thus far with tons of replay value, an extreme sports theme that really worked this time and the introduction of vehicles. Best of all, online game play is free.

8) Neverwinter Nights
You don't even have to like the original campaigns to enjoy countless hours of gaming bliss with NWN. Internet players are driving the value of this top RPG by making thousands of different modules for everybody to play. NWN also redefines the Online RPG genre by opening up the possibility of player-made MMORPGs.

9) BattleField 1942
Innovative online shooter that puts you right in the middle of World War II action with several other players acting either as enemies or allies. The ability to command a wide assortment of vehicles and act as one with other players puts this game near the top of the genre.

10) Sacred
Lacks the hardcore fan base of the Diablo series or even Dungeon siege but the developers continue to support this well-done retail online RPG with solid patches.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Top ten things you can do to Defend Oceans

by GreenPeace

1. Become an Ocean Defender! Sign up and start taking action today. Get your friends to sign up too!

2. Urge politicians to support the creation of “no-take” marine reserves to protect marine ecosystems and restore fisheries.

3. Eat less fish, and ask questions about where the seafood comes from. What kind of fish is it? Where's it from, and how was it caught? Avoid fish that come from a depleted stock, were caught illegally, were caught with bottom trawling or were caught in a process that results in a lot of by-catch. Avoid farmed products such as prawns and salmon.

4. Help fight global warming, which is causing havoc to marine ecosystems from tropics to the Polar Regions. Reduce the use of private cars and use public transport (or bicycles) instead, switch to renewable energy sources, buy locally grown and produced food and goods, and avoid flying when possible. See our "12 steps" page for more tips on painless ways to save energy.

5. Reduce the amount of nutrients that flow into the ocean , causing algal blooms and dead zones in the seabed, by avoiding the excess use of fertilizers and by buying organically grown products.

6. Keep the oceans free of rubbish. Minimize your use of plastic – don’t use plastic bags, for example, and recycle as much as you can.

7. Reduce the poisons flowing into the ocean. Don’t use pesticides, and urge manufacturers and policy makers to phase out persistent pollutants like PCBs and chlorine.

8. If you buy tropical fish, make sure they were bred in captivity and not stripped from reefs. Tropical fish are often caught using cyanide or other destructive methods, and a huge proportion die before reaching the market. Ask at the pet shop.

9. Help save the whales! If you are from, or regularly visit, a pro-whaling country please let the government know that you are opposed to whaling and believe their position to be objectionable. If you are from, or regularly visit, an anti-whaling nation congratulate the government and also ask that they increase pressure to stop all whaling given the imminent possibility of a take-over of the International Whaling Commission by the pro-whaling lobby.

10. And last but not least - spread the word! Talk to friends and family about the problems - and the solutions – that impact our oceans. Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers calling attention to marine issues

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween: Facts And Misinformation

The Halloween season of October 31 to November 2 each year is unique. It includes:

A Neopagan Sabbat:

Samhain, usually celebrated on or near the evening of October 31. It was originally a celebration of the final harvest of the growing season among the ancient Celts. It was also their new year celebration. Today, it is mainly celebrated by Wiccans and other Neo-Pagans

Three Christian holy days:

All Saints' Day (a.k.a. All Hallows' Day) on November 1. The holiday was first celebrated on 609-MAY-13 CE when Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome to the Virgin Mary. The date was later changed to November 1 by Pope Gregory III who dedicated a chapel in honor of All Saints in the Vatican Basilica. Pope Gregory IV (827-844) later extended the feast to the whole church. The Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate All Saints Day in the springtime -- the Sunday after Pentecost.

All Souls' Day (a.k.a. the Day of the Dead) which is normally celebrated on November 2. When November 2 is a Sunday, as it was for the year 2003, the celebration is held on the following Monday. This is a day for prayer and almsgiving in memory of ancestors who have died. Believers pray for the souls of the dead, in an effort to hasten their transition from Purgatory to Heaven. It is primarily celebrated by Roman Catholics. The day is believed to have been selected by "St. Odilo, the fifth abbot of Cluny...France because he wanted to follow the example of Cluny in offering special prayers and singing the Office of the Dead on the day following the feast of All Saints."

Some Protestants celebrate Reformation Day. This is the anniversary of 1517 October 31 CE, the day that Martin Luther's published his 95 theses. These were criticisms of beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic church, particularly related to the sale of indulgences. He is widely believed to have published them in a dramatic manner, by nailing them to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Actually, that never happened. He did write a letter to his superiors attacking the sale of indulgences; the 95 theses were merely appended to the letter. This triggered for the Protestant Reformation, leading to a decades-long war in Europe, enmity between Catholics and Protestants, and the fracture of Christianity into thousands of individual faith groups. A secular celebration, Halloween on the evening of October 31. In some areas, if October 31 falls on a Sunday, Halloween is celebrated on the evening of October 30. Stores love Halloween. It is the festival when the largest amount of candy is sold. It is second only to Christmas in total commercial sales. The total sale of costumes, candy and other Halloween material reached almost $7 billion in 2003.

more info here