Blog Format Changes, More Acer 5520-5334 XP Drivers, Flock, Freecyle Addon, Netscape, The Artwork of David Edwards, Shout-Out/Get-Well To Jon

My Blog

(This blog entry below is no longer relevant)

I’ve messed with the table of contents a bit, you may or may not notice.  Well, a lot.

I liked having them off on the right column but over time there have gotten to be way too many.

I experimented a bit with using some HTML and JavaScript to create a drop-down box with all of them in it, but the titles were too long to fit.

So I just moved the whole thing to the bottom of the page so it could take up the whole width.  And then I created an anchor link in place of the old table of contents (right under my contact link) so clicking that link shoots you down to the bottom of the page.  QED.

I also took off my Flickr slideshow script (which will speed up the blogger pages a bit on dial-up and slow computers).  My free trial ran out anyway.  Flickr‘s a great site, but I don’t want to pay to host my pics there when I can do it myself.  You can still find a bunch of my pictures there.

Next, I need to tweak the template so that it automatically expands to fit the visitor’s browser window, whatever size they have their screen/browser set at.  This also will make my quote hack look better.  I also need to add an easy SUBSCRIBE button and RSS feed button somewhere – not that either will get much use but I like to be thorough.  Maybe a better or additional search too; people always miss the blog search because it’s at the top of the page above the title logo.


More Acer 5520-5334 XP Drivers
A few notes.  I found a few more drivers.  Uhm, I wish I had kept the webpage address I got them off from now…  I’ve went through so many sites since I’ve installed XP.

One I found is the correct driver for the wired Ethernet card (Nvidia Nforce networking controller), the other was some drivers for a few more of the internal chipset devices, like for the SMU and SMBus.  I had to re-install the Atheros Wireless adapter driver after I installed the former two things.  One of them (probably the Ethernet device) screwed the wireless driver up.  Install order again.

And remember: the wrong install order (especially if it has to do with the video driver, can really screw things up.  You may even need to use Safe mode to recover, or manually change settings or use a LINUX utilities disk, or even re-install Windows at the extreme if you happen upon the incorrect catastrophe order when installing drivers).

So, there’s a few more things down.  The laptop works great, but there are a few more minor drivers I need; nothing major just a few system devices.

At some point I’m going to post these all somewhere so people can download them.  Unfortunately I did so much experimenting and re-installing I can’t list the exact order that things should be installed in; but see my previous blog entry for a general idea.

I found out my Box.net account doesn’t allow a file as large as the Nvidia driver is (they packaged a whole group of drivers together to cover their whole line in that series, so the file is 36+ meg).

It occurred to me also – if you have some devices that aren’t showing up as anything but errors in your Device Manager, or are showing up as what they’re supposed to be but with errors try getting online and doing a driver update through the Device Manager.

If that still doesn’t work try going to Windows Update – I’m talking through Internet Explorer, not the little taskbar icon – and selecting Custom and then going to the devices to see if any drivers show up there that you can’t find or can’t install manually.  Worth a try, I think.

BTW, a common problem with some computers – hibernate not working.  Had this happen with laptop I was working on right after it happened to my Acer.  No rhyme or reason, it seems (there’s an MS bulletin on this but I didn’t bother to read it, blah).  Go to a Command Prompt window (make sure you have admin access) and type “powercfg -h on”.


Flock, Freecyle Addon, Netscape
Flock.  Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe not, or maybe you’re using it right now.

Basically, it’s the Gecko rendering engine (the same one Firefox and Netscape use) wrapped in a social networking-oriented browser.  It’s got account setups that let you stay logged into popular sites like Flickr, Twitter, Blogger, Youtube, Photobucket, WordPress, Xanga, del.icio.us, etc.  There’s a photo uploader, blog editor, multimedia bar, a better feed reader then Firefox, a people sidebar that lets you see who’s online various services, etc.

In fact, just for fun – I’m writing this on the blog editor.  Nothing special, maybe no better or no worse then the Scribefire Blog editor one for Firefox (search my previous entries for more info on Scribefire).

It also does everything but take you by the hand and push buttons for you when you first run it or try something new, with popup info and help at the top of the screen.

If you’re looking for this sort of browser and you do a lot with social networking/community sort of sites; then this might be for you.

You can find addons for Firefox that do similar things, but of course they are not integrated into one browser, nor are they set up for the beginner or casual user like this is.

BTW, I mentioned Netscape above.  If you like Netscape get your last version before the site is shut down (maybe it is by now, I haven’t checked lately and forget the shutdown date).  Netscape’s certainly become an under-rated browser for all of the stuff it can do and has integrated into it, and it has the ability to use the addons for Firefox.

Leave it to AOL to run it into the ground…

And speaking of Firefox.  If you run or help to run a Freecycle group check out the addon a British Freecycle group made to help moderating Freecycle groups.    It may not interest most people but it is pretty amazing what this plugin, er, addon, does.  It can access your Yahoogroups member database and tell you how many “OFFERS” people have made, how many “WANTED” they’ve posted, etc., as well as do a query to see if they belong to any other Freecycle groups (I don’t care myself; as we have many people who do belong to many groups and I have no problem with that – but the idea is to catch spammers who join a bunch of unrelated Freecycle groups).  It does a bunch of other things, like adding colors to the types of messages and alerting you to improper formats, etc.

It goes to show what an addon can do.  Most of your addons barely scratch the potential of what can be done.

BTW, if you’re looking for a Freecycle group in your area go to Freecycle.org.  Our local Jefferson County/Watertown one is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FreecycleWatertownNY  From Freecycle’s main site: “The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,235 groups with 4,456,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free.”

Great idea, and we have around 1700 members here in Jefferson County on my group.  Rich, poor, and everyone in between are members.



The Artwork of David Edwards
Some of the artwork, even great artwork, that has been considered the pentacle of human achievement sometimes makes me say “Oh, that’s okay”, or just “bla.”  Or even – “WTF”.  I won’t give examples; I’ll get hate mail.

Anyway, here’s some stuff that’s just incredible.  At least to me.

David Edwards is the author’s name.  He uses Photoshop and rotoscoping and rendering programs and a bunch of other software to make some matte artistry  (like what many movies use for realistic backgrounds, etc) that just makes me go “wow”.

I won’t post any thumbnails here, so as not to violate anyone’s copyright, but I really want to.  If you like artwork – both stills and rendered video – definitely check out this guy’s site and his demo stills and demo vid.  Even if you don’t particularly appreciate art or care much for it, I think you’ll appreciate his works.  David Edward’s CaptureFX Studio.

My favorites: “Sky Castle” and “Fallen Beauty”.  “Lost City” and “Rescue” come in next.

I could study these pics for hours.  I could probably write a novel around each, a couple in fact.  Each one can tell a number of stories; many different ones to many different people.  At least those with imagination, I suppose.

Every time I look at them for any period of time I see more.  I wish I had more time to ponder them, I guess.

Works like “Fallen Beauty” make you feel as if you could walk right in to it and set out exploring it for a month or so.  “Sky Castle” – maybe the ultimate get-away spot, heh?

When I was young I used to love to go to the second hand store and get those “coffee table art” books that had science fiction sort of paintings, fanciful (but not fantasy) perspectives of interesting planets and science fiction-inspired locations.  Some were artist’s conceptions and visualizations of scenes from various famous science fiction stories like Larry Niven‘s Future History series (one of my favorite authors, among many).

Good stuff, and these remind me of those books (I still have those science fiction oriented “coffee table” art books).



Shout-Out/Get-Well To Jon B.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds any eye-related problems to be scary indeed.  We rely so much on sight.  I had an acquaintance who was blind and I have an old friend who is very visually handicapped, and working with some older people in my biz I get to see how hard it is to lose even partial sight.

So just a quick mention and get-well wish to Jon, who’s had a scary eye-related medical problem and is still recovering.  Hope all goes well, and that he has a full recovery.

Anyway, I’m sure everything will work out for Jon and I wish him well and a good recovery.

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