Global Handwashing Day, Clipart Sites, Obama/McCain, Tweaks for Vista

 
As you may or may not have noticed my blog entries are getting further and further apart.  Sorry.
 
I find myself busier and busier but having less time, it seems without really gaining on much of anything.  Isn’t that the way it is with everyone? 😉
 

Global Handwashing Day

Today is Global Handwashing Day.  The U.N. says that a simple act of a kid washing their hands more often could save more than 3.5 children’s lives in the world.  Okay, not such a big thing here in the US but I think most people don’t do it often enough, let alone kids.

After I return from Watertown I always wash my hands thoroughly, as well as from customer’s places.  Some people “dip”, but a good hand-washing is more involved then that.

And how about those times when you see someone use the bathroom and not wash.  Gah, disgusting.  Hard to believe it still happens.

Keyboards and mice and remote controls are terribly dirty, same with your steering wheel.  A little scrub once in a while with some alcohol or the little hand-cleaning lotion you can buy is all that’s needed.  Same with the faceplate and buttons on your phone (don’t get it actually wet).

Obama/McCain

I like this the above thumb came out, some interesting juxtaposing color-wise, don’t you think?

Anyway…I find myself very much disliking McCain after watching him very closely during the debates.

He seems always on edge, and on the very brink of losing his temper.  It seems to be consistent and continual.

Do we want someone who some Republicans had said was unwinnable during a previous run, because of his temper?

He’s twitchy, yet frozen, on edge and I find myself not believing his sincerity.

McCain’s like a number of people I know who project an air of holier-then-thou mentality, an air of I’m-older-then-you-so-I-know-better.  I don’t like people like that because, frankly, they usually are the last people you want giving you advice or ideas and are somewhat distasteful to be around, let alone someone you want to be the prez.

McCain – I’d probably smile and nod if he told me the sky was blue and, at the earliest opportunity, go outside to make sure it still was…

Obama on the other hand is much more likable in my eyes.  Sure, he’s still a politician but take away the politicking and I think I’d like the guy.  He’s smart, open-minded, and he’s learning in both his demeanor and knowledge in general.

I feel better about our choices as time goes on – not that I still don’t have a LOT of concern in general.

HDTV is great, especially with a big screen.  You can sit close to the TV and get a real feel for the demeanor of a candidate.  Every twitch, every glance, every eye flick is there for your interpretation.

Maybe it’s just me, but with Obama’s double-digit lead I think the issue will very soon be very moot.

Enough of my aimless wanderings about the candidates, especially when I didn’t even mention the issues themselves.   But, I believe, character is very much important in any power position.  And what could be more powerful than president of the greatest country in the world?

Stock Photo Sites

It’s always nice to have sock photos for websites, blog, etc.  Hey, don’t just grab stuff off Google – that’s stealing and copyright infringement.  Use a free clipart or stock photo site.  Like Cyclo.ps.

Cyclo.ps is an open source search engine for stock photo sites.  Of course, some aren’t free or require a membership to download, but many area.  It’s always good to check for copyrights or Creative Commons licensing info on any photos you use, especially if you’re making money off putting it on a website .

Great resource.

I still like http://www.picapp.com/ and http://www.wpclipart.com/ myself.

Tweaks for Vista

MzUltimate Tweaker is an excellent free tweaking program, with lots of support programs.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Thoosje Vista Tweaker is a bit more limited but still very good, and also free.

Another good one which is pay is here, from a company called Yamicsoft.  You can get a shareware version from the site.

You’ll also find many others, like Vispa.  A bit less user-friendly but still does a great job.

As always, be careful with these and don’t even give them a try if you don’t know what you are doing. 

Vista Quick Image Resizer

Some of us have gotten used to many of the tweaks in XP.  They’re old hat and used all of the time.  You know the things, like MS Powertoy’s Image Resizer.  Right-click on and image and you can quickly resize it to whatever you want to.  How many times have you received a 6 meg photo of something that someone should have resized on the other end with this program.

MS’s tech employees haven’t released or come up with any powertoys yet for Vista, but others have.

You can find a clone of the quick photo resizer for Vista here – http://www.powerhourgame.com/windows_vista_image_resizer_powertoy_prish_image_resizer.htm and another one here – http://www.vso-software.fr/products/image_resizer/download-image-resizer.php

The latter one does have an annoying pop-up but works well otherwise.  The first is my choice.  There are others also.

Replacing Notepad in Vista

It’s very similar to the process in XP.

Get your favorite notepad replacement program, rename it to “NOTEPAD.EXE”, search for all instances of Notepad in the Windows dir and sub-dirs and set the owner rights on them to admin, then copy your new NOTEPAD.EXE and replace the existing Windows ones (you may want to rename your old notepad to OLDNOTEPAD.EXE or something like that).

Depending on your flavor of Vista there may be a number of instances of Notepad in various places.  Do them all.

Make sure you are signed in on an admin account when you do this, and if you find that you can’t change the rights on all of the notepad versions reboot and go into SAFE mode (press F8 when the computer is booting and select SAFE MODE), then change the owner rights from safe mode.

Of course, you can always just associate textfiles and other documents with a notepad or word processor.  But it’s much better “coverage” of textfiles when just replacing it.  Also, if you are using something that has its own install dir it may be much harder to just replace the existing one, as it must reside in the Windows dirs and sub-dirs.

I recommend Metapad for replacing Notepad, with Metapad set up to allow you to do more heavy-duty editing in Open Office’s Writer and the freeware PSPad (with Metapad if you have loaded a file into it and want to do more advanced editing you use the Launch menu to open the existing file in your favorite heavier-duty editor).

Vista
I find myself having a love/hate relationship with Vista.

I love some of the new features; the history for the file management and open dialog, the built-in immediate search (with indexing turned off of course), and the speed of everyday use (with Aero and unnecessary services disabled), etc.

Sometimes when I got back to XP I think – “Wow, how primitive!”.

Yet, the architecture of Vista is bloated and way too patched.  It’s stable, but still very breakable.  And not always so good on some systems.  With the 4 gigs of mem it’s very fast and stable.  Same with my laptop, despite the smaller memory but there’s definitely more disk using on the laptop with the smaller amount of memory and a very slow shut-down and hibernate on the laptop.  Not so on the desktop.  So I normally still use XP on the laptop.  Maybe grab myself some more memory at some point.

And some common problems (one of which I ran into and finally solved) have never been addressed by MS nor resolved in Vista.

After partitioning and installing XP (and then re-installing Vista’s boot and adding XP’s boot entry) I could compare the speed of the two OS’s.  Under normal use it seems to be the same.

But once you do things like rendering large high res photorealistic landscapes you start seeing some speed differences, in XP’s favor.

For example – using Bryce 3D I rendered a small moderately complex model.  The differences between XP and Vista were consistently a half seconds difference, in XP’s favor.  Larger renderings of the same model at higher rez started increasing this by a few seconds.

Not a lot of difference but a measurable amount, and incremental.

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