SideTrax is a bunch of mini, tid-bit articles that are important or fun and worthy of sharing, but don't warrant a full article.
Table of Contents
The Internet can be a dangerous, even deadly, place to hang out! Sure, it's an incredible place to find more information than your brain can hold, but it is also plagued with predators. Not just spammer, hackers, identity theives and other nasties who want to trash your computer or swipe your money or personal information...but even more deadly predators. You never know who you are really talking to on the other end. They may seem friendly, but they may be someone wanting to take advantage of you...such as pedifiles!
Protect yourself. But more importantly...protect your children! The innocent users need to understand about the dangers lurking on the Internet. I was amazed to discover that some parents are afraid to talk to their kids about this issue because their kids know more about the Internet than the parents do. From the moment our kids were able to access the Internet, many years ago, I pounded facts about the dangers into their head. Make sure your kids NEVER give out ANY personal information that might allow Mr. Stranger Danger to locate them!
Below are links to several articles that have been in the news lately. Read them. Pay attention! Keep your kids safe online! Watch what they do. Don't just assume they are being good while online...make sure they are! If your kids are using computers and using the Internet and you don't understand it enough to protect them...learn!
After the predator show, talk to your kids
The "Dateline NBC" report on online predators can be a launching pad for a
serious talk with your children about the hidden dangers of the Internet.
Here's a discussion guide to start the conversation.
MySpace, Facebook attract online predators
If you don't know what it means to "facebook" someone, then odds are you
don't have any young people in your house who do it all the time. It means
to look for details about a person on any of the booming Internet sites
where people post details about themselves. It's hugely popular, but police
nationwide say if not used carefully, it poses a serious risk to children.
NBC's Pete Williams reports.
Dateline: Why parents must mind MySpace
You may never have heard of MySpace.com, but it's a safe bet, your kids
have. It's free, easy to join, and easy to message its members. Kids chat
about everything from school, to sports, to fundraisers for Katrina victims.
It all seems like innocent fun, and it can be. But many parents and teens
are unaware there are hidden dangers.
ID theft again tops list of FTC complaints
For the sixth year in a row, identity theft tops the annual list of consumer
complaints collected by Federal Trade Commission.
Hacker pleads guilty to running 'zombie' net
A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty Monday to seizing control of hundreds of
thousands of Internet-connected computers and renting them to people who
mounted Web attacks and sent spam.
If you need help learning about how to identify and/or get help when you've found safety abuse issues on the Internet or have become a victim yourself, this is the place to go.
Wired Safety Organization
Abbott and Costello Do Computers
I'm sure most all of you, at one time or another, have heard the classic Abbott & Costello bit called Who's On First. For those few of you who may not be familiar with this skit, legendary comedians Bud Abbott & Lou Costello discuss baseball, but the names of the players are as confusing as the positions they play.
In a modern remake of this classic skit, someone on the Internet came up with a similar idea. However, this time Abbott & Costello are discussing computers. And as any computer newbie can tell you, technobabble can be as confusing as this fun conversation...
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about
buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals
track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommended something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm
sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some
straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can
track my money with?
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!
(A few days later)
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on "START"....
Google now has video searches! See http://video.google.com/
Anyone can upload their own videos. From home video of a child playing in the snow with the family dog...to some of the funniest videos you'll ever see. Trust me, once you get started, you can waste hours viewing some great stuff.
Obviously, as with anything on the Internet, you can also find some stupid and raunchy videos. But we did find some that are real winners. Here are a few to get you started...
For the Love of a Mac
(Warning...a few curse words and jestures.)
The System Administrator Song
(We've all been there!)
Isn't Exercising Enjoyable?
Dumbest Dog Ever!
(Poor dog...doesn't realize he's tormenting himself!)
To learn more about Google video sharing, as well as other options to share video and photos online, see this article:
Amateur video sharing grows online
Thanks to faster Internet connections and better online video technology,
amateur photographers are sharing videos on online sites.
Big thanks to Microsoft Excel MVP, David McRitchie, who passed along some great information about dealing with color. This will be of value not only to Excel users and VBA devs who need to handle color coding issues, but also to anyone who needs to decipher color codes. From designers to web developers, there will come a day when you need to match up a color from somewhere. You need to figure out the code for the color you need to make sure it matches exactly as needed.
In the past, I have taken a screen shot of the color and then dropped it into a graphics program, such as my favorite Paint Shop Pro. (Although I wonder about PSP's future now that Corel bought out JASC?) From there I'd use the eyedropper to suck up the color code I needed. But David passed along a great free tool to allow you to do this without the extra steps. Just run this Eyedropper.exe file (which you can download, free, here: Eyedropper [48k]). Then you just mouseover any color and you'll get the RGB (3 color process) code so you can duplicate that color in your own graphics program.
But David also passes along more information you may find valuable. Here are several links to further information about dealing with color.
Some additional links and comments about color
I [David says] like Color Detector used on any application
ColorZilla for use within Firefox (also allows you to zoom active
My Excel Pages: http://www.mvps.org/dmcritchie/excel/excel.htm
If you use BlackBerry and don't know about the current legal issues that may cause this email service to halt, you'd better start adding some alerts to your email! Here are some links to catch you up on the situation.
Supreme Court rejects BlackBerry appeal
The Supreme Court Monday turned down a request to review a major patent
infringement ruling against the maker of the BlackBerry e-mail device.
Rivals cash in as BlackBerry hearing looms
Competitors are muscling into the wireless e-mail market dominated by Research in Motion, as the BlackBerry maker grapples with the possibility of a court-ordered shutdown.
Justice Dept. warns against BlackBerry cutoff
The Justice Department urged a federal judge on Wednesday to refrain from any plans to shut BlackBerry portable e-mail service until the government gets more assurances its users will be exempted.
The Cha-Ching Factor
Are you battling with your company execs trying to convince them that the company will save time and money if they use Word styles, but they just don't get it? Print this TechTrax article and drop it on their desk to help get the point across!
Yet Another "Use Styles" Verbal Beating!
Google Earth for the Mac
If you haven't heard about Google Earth...where have you been? Google Earth is a free (or paid for enhanced version) tool to let you see the world from your desktop. With a huge database of satellite photos, you can zoom around and see places you've only heard about.
And now Google has a version that works with Mac computers. Check it out!
Google Earth for the Mac
Macintosh fans let us know they were keen to see the whole Earth too,
and now it's available as a beta service for (as Mac fanatics used to
say) the rest of us, so that Mac and PC users can all enjoy zooming in,
measuring routes and lots more.
World's Worst Dog
If you're a dog lover, you have probably heard about this wonderful book, Marley and Me.
When I was at the airport waiting to pick mom up from Florida, I walked over to browse the bookstore next to her arrival gate. I turned around and here is this cute pup staring back at me from the cover of a book. Marley & Me. Never heard of it, but if it's a dog book, I'm buying it.
I knew this was going to be a hard book to read. Since I was a kid, I've had to avoid movies about dogs, because I know I'll be crying like a baby. Dogs just touch me in a way that nothing else can. Their unconditional love and devotion is amazing. Having grown up with dogs and always had them in my life, I understand them intimately and their hearts touch my soul.
This [true] story is about a young couple who realizes they may not be prepared to raise children, so they start with a dog. Unfortunately, the dog they choose turns out to be a bit off. Marley has an incredible zest for life and a strong love and devotion to his human family. Unfortunately, they soon learn he has a problem...discipline, obedience and rules are just things that don't make sense to Marley.
But luckily for Marley, his human family are wonderful people who are determined not to give up on him and refused to be defeated by this big, dopey, loving dog who spends the next decade destroying their homes in various ways. From literally tunnelling through walls due to his extreme fear of storms to slobbering spit on the walls when he shakes.
And yes...just as a dog's life is all too short and ends with a sad loss, this book ends pretty much the same way. If you have a heart that isn't cast in stone...you will cry as Marley comes to the end of his road. Me...I cried like a baby. So much so that I had to stop long enough to be able to see again to continue reading.
But don't let the pain of saying goodbye to Marley cause you to not read this book! You don't want to miss this one! Learn more here: Marley & Me and HERE.