Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

DownThemAll Causing Firefox Problems

A few weeks back, I started noticing that, after some initial, trouble-free browsing in Firefox, subsequent page loads would just stop working. It wasn't a full hang, as the browser was still responsive, but pages would take an inordinately long time to load, or just time out completely.

The problem persisted through, and disabling all extensions didn't seem to help. I did find that toggling "Work Offline" would clear things up for a little bit, and I used it as a workaround for a while. But that got old pretty quick.

I took a look at my about:config network settings, and stumbled on to the fact that my network.http.max-connections had set itself to 74. I moved it back to a more reasonable number (48), and that fixed it. Regular browsing resumed, and I disabled FasterFox, which I figured (incorrectly) was causing the trouble.

The problem started recurring intermittently. Since I knew what to look for, it was easy to fix, but I did a little more looking and finally found that the problem was coming from DownThemAll (not "down the mall"), and that it was a known issue. So now I know. And knowing is approximately 50 percent of the battle.

DownThemAll is a stunningly useful Firefox extension, in that it makes batch downloading of files linked from Web pages really easy. So, if you're looking at a page that has lots of, say, image thumbnails that link off to source images (alright, I'll say it: porn. DownThemAll is really good for downloading porn), DownThemAll is a quick way to snag them all.

I'm sure it's also useful to other photography enthusiasts and such.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

Social Matchbox DC

There's an item in Techcrunch right now about Scalr, some sort of open source server management thingy by a company called Intridea.

Scalr, Scalr. Why does that sound familiar? Oh, right: The company was one of those presenting at Social Matchbox DC on Monday. Good on them.

So now I have a hook on which to hang a quick entry about Social Matchbox DC.

Like I'd said, since TeqCorner is in McLean, right down the street from where I'm consulting, going was a no-brainer. I went as a Socializer, as opposed to Job Seeker.

It was a pretty big crowd. Plenty of blue (or was it green, I forget) badges (the aforementioned job seekers) stalking the red badges (people with, um, openings).

During the pre-presentation mingling, I did talk to a bunch of people, handed out some cards and got some in return. I note that, especially in the DC area, if you ask someone what they do and they say "government," they either work in law enforcement or intelligence... or they want to make it sound like they do.

Folks, since the followup question is invariably "What part?", you might as well just come out with it.

As to the companies's 3-minute presentation pitches: Most were okay, some were good, and a few were really bad.

I'm far from the best public speaker (a lot of times I speed-talk my way into a stammer, and my posture is pretty bad, until I remember and overcompensate, sticking my chest into the front row, which I guess would be more effective if you're a woman), but at least people can hear me. (A few years of high school drama in the age before body mikes will do that for you.)

I should reach out to a few of those companies and offer my services as a presentation coach.

Anyway, I don't have cards I collected on me, but some of the companies that were there included the secretive Pseuds; the ever-present Shashi of Network Solutions; WhyGoSolo (who I likewise see everywhere); fantasy politics provider Publi.us; Foliofn (I know someone who used to work there, back when they were known as Folio[fn], which was a great name until you realize that the brackets don't actually work in URLs and people aren't going to get the math reference); more than a few IP TV-related ventures; Hungry Machine; Searchles (note: not "search less"); Loladex (another recent Techcrunch mention); Investors Without Borders (I guess Kiva with an ROI); Positive Energy (working to apply peer pressure to energy conservation); Mobile Posse; and a bunch of others.

So, it was a good event. Needs beer, though.

Remember, presentation coaching services available. Real cheap (and you definitely get what you pay for). Inquire within.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Pocket Full of Lithium-Ion DEATH

Saw this story in Slashdot today:

Exploding cell phone battery may have killed South Korean man: officials
"SEOUL, South Korea: An exploding cell phone battery may have killed a South Korean man, police said Wednesday, although the phone's manufacturer said it was highly unlikely.


Kim Hoon, a doctor who examined the body, said the death was probably caused by an explosion of the battery.

"He sustained an injury that is similar to a burn in the left chest and his ribs and spine were broken," Yonhap news agency quoted Kim as saying." [emphasis mine]
Okay, so we know that cell phone and other types of batteries have been known to explode. But if your spine breaks due to an exploding cell phone battery, one of two things happened:
  1. The cell phone was attached to a block of plastic explosive (because you were making an IED).
  2. You were driving, the phone blew up, and you drove into a tree. (Falling off a high ledge or scaffold would also work.)
As a commenter noted, you have to remember that many South Korean doctors also believe that running an electric fan in a closed room will kill you.

Obviously, something else happened here. But you know, I'm thinking that anything to moderate the pace of cell phone usage (especially loud, public cell phone usage) may not be a bad thing.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

It Started With the Blackwater Wife and the World Gold Cabal

It's been an up and down day today (which, despite whatever time stamp shows, is still Thursday).

I woke up in the middle of a dream confrontation with a blonde cafeteria worker (who I think I'd seen recently guest starring on CSI) who was married to a Blackwater contractor and who was trying to add a $1.75 surcharge to my meal to offset the global conspiracy that's trying to corner the world gold supply.

(Maybe I should send that in as a Ficlet.)

Up and down. Call it a wash.

I was a few minutes late to my session at the outplacement center, which was basically "So You Wanna Set Up a Consulting Business?" I saw a few familiar faces, and it was actually pretty useful. I don't know that I want to go the full-time consulting/contracting racket, but I'm looking at my options. It's been a month since the layoff -- I'm starting to get bored, so I'm trying to actually, you know, look for a job now.


After that, I picked up a few groceries, got home around 1pm, and then... hit the wall. I just could not stay awake. I guess I should have stopped in and got that cup of coffee. I was fading in and out until about an hour ago.


In an update, after being balky yesterday, my new printer seems to be working again. On the one hand, that's good, and on the other hand, it makes me a little nervous -- hardware problems generally don't spontaneously fix themselves. So I'll need to keep an eye on it and decide if I'm going to return it or not.


Lastly, I see that Apple released its last Tiger update. As I still have the Leopard DVD sitting on my desk, I was debating installing it, since I was waiting for the first Tiger update, but lo and behold, it's out today. So no more excuses -- I guess I'll back up my drive and install it tomorrow.


Oh, and my credit card statement arrived yesterday -- I saw a 5 dollar charge from AOL. I'd had AOLbyPhone since forever (hey, freebie for internals) and forgot about it until I saw the charge. So I called to cancel. I think I got the Philippines call center -- the rep was very competent and courteous, and it went smoothly once I spelled my screen name using the military phonetic alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc). I guess I could have tried to get a refund of the last charge, but I decided not to push it.


A few folks are meeting out tonight, and I basically slept through Refresh DC, so I think I'll just stay in and keep a little bit ahead of the game today.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Welcome, You've Got Dammit! 24 in 1994 (Video)

Here's a CollegeHumor.com video that's far funnier than it has any right to be:
24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot (link via TotalFark):

It's a 24 short that portrays the people at CTU trying to do what they do now, except using early 90s technology -- dialup, one-way pagers, pay phones, dot matrix printers (with tractor feed paper), etc.

As a tech user during that era and a former AOL insider, it was especially fun to pick out the anachronisms (though I could not for the life of me remember the term "anachronism" -- unemployment is making me soft).

If you want to get picky, AOL 3.0 didn't come out until 1996 (I was still using 2.5 when I started); Geocities wasn't really Geocities in 1994; they did, you know, have fax machines in 1994; and people were able to get stuff done before online (And even before computers. Or so I heard.)

Oh, and you can see they're using AIM (on a Windows 3.1 machine?) instead of an AOL client -- AIM didn't come out until 1997:


Since I don't even know if you can run AOL 2.5 or 3.0 on a modern machine (I couldn't, the last time I tried -- don't remember if they were ever officially sunset or just allowed to die... assuming you could find an installer -- need an install floppy?), chalk it up to "revealing mistakes."

The references to Lycos, Encarta, and such, as well as a contemporaneous event or two (Nancy Kerrigan, anyone>) were amusing. I got a few chuckles. (But why did the terrorists just disappear?)

College Humor's production values have been pretty good and are getting better all the time. Good job.


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