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25 Things

For those facebookers out there, I recently was tagged in a note by the wonderful and talented May Park Square Pants. Apparently the new hip thing in the world of social networking is to create a list of 25 things that people may or may not know about you….err….me. Since my notes are the same as posts on my site, this is the perfect place to put up my 25 Things That People May or May Not Know About Me.

  1. I’m in a video game.  That’s right.  I have completed every boy’s dream.  I appear in NCAA 2006 (for PS2 and Xbox).  I’m the first “G” of Georgia when the Georgia intro is played.
  2. My favorite vacation spot is in New Smyrna Beach, FL.  It is nice and quiet.  Not many people go to this beach but it is close to Destin and has many great places to eat.  My memories there are great and not so great.
  3. My first concert was DC Talk at the Omni.  Thanks to Will for this trip.
  4. For a class senior trip, Will (see above) and I headed on a road trip that followed the Warped Tour to multiple venues in Atlanta, Tampa, and Jacksonville.  I can quote Flogging Molly since their set was a repeat at every location.
  5. In High School, I was the ultimate geek/nerd as I was a member of the marching band (trombone) for one year as a freshman.  The highlight of the year was when I performed a solo for Unchained Melody in Newnan.
  6. My first speeding ticket (yes, I’ve had several) included 5 police cars driving up my driveway to give me the ticket.  They thought that I was trying to illude them due to my quick speed up the driveway.
  7. The first NFL player I remember when I was younger was Reggie White.
  8. I played chicken against my brother when we were younger.  I was on a bicycle and he was on the go-kart.  I won (because he couldn’t hurt the youngest) and he lost when he swerved and ran through an ant bed.
  9. I’m terrified of having Alzheimer’s when I get older.
  10. I was a member of the Thomaston Wrestling Federation.  That’s right, backyard wrestling at its best.  I was a wrestler, announcer, and referee.  Of course, we were all required to take on multiple jobs back then.
  11. While I was in high school, I coached a U-10 team that went undefeated.  Of course, we did have 3 of the best players in the league.
  12. I can’t stand to be called Benji.  Ben Ben, Ben, Benjamin, and Jamin are all acceptable alternatives. This is not acceptable.
  13. I had my bank account cleaned out when I was hacked due to purchasing music online illegally while in college.
  14. I never originally wanted to attend the University of Georgia.  I actually wanted to attend any other college, not limited but including Georgia Tech and Auburn.
  15. When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade, I had my left hand sliced when I tried to grab a rake from the barn at our house.  It required 5 stiches.
  16. I can sing “The Distance” by Cake from start to finish without the music and stay on beat.
  17. Les Miserables is one of my favorite plays mainly due to the songs.  Sometimes you can catch me at work or home listening to a full recording.
  18. The first book I remember receiving on my own was Arthur’s Halloween.
  19. In college, I would carry Donatello with me on big test days so that he could help me.  He was the smartest.  One guy even asked to borrow him once I had finished my test.
  20. Late high school / early college, I wrote poetry.  It was really bad.
  21. When I was in kindegarten, I tried to jump through one of the holes in a spiderweb.  I ended up hitting my head on the bar and had to go to the hospital to stich my head.
  22. The best ringtone I ever had was one I had to program myself.  It was the theme to Zelda. Man, I miss MIDI ringtones.
  23. Whenever I play Mario games, I always select Wario as my character regardless of his skills, or lack there of.
  24. I had a huge fascination with Canada at one point in time.  I’ve never been there, but I’ve always wanted to go.
  25. I still wish I had my old Crown Victoria to drive.
Posted under Internet, Other

Gmail Super User Tips


Since Gmail’s inception, Google has continuously moved to enhance its capabilities.  This action is becoming even more true with the daily updates from Google Labs that provide mini enhancments that can make one’s daily gmail grind more efficient and boy do I love my life to be more efficient as well as helpful.

Here are a few of my favorite gmail “tricks and treats” that I have found most helpful in controling my influx of emails.  I’ll start with the most helpful and move towards the nice to haves.

  1. Gmail Plus (+) –  Gmail Plus is not a new version of gmail that only a certain people currently have access.  It is simply my code name for one of gmail’s greatest advantages.  Let’s say that your gmail address is john.doe@gmail.com.  You are usually required to signup to different sites using an email address.  Instead of entering john.doe@gmail.com, enter john.doe+website@gmail.com.  Gmail will ignore any value placed after you username and before the “@gmail.com.”  You will still receive the emails but it will help you track this particular site’s emails as well as who they might sell your email address to.  I have addresses for +walmart, +target, etc.  It is a very handy tool when used with item number 2.  Some sites may restrict using the “+” in the user name, but it is very rare when this happens.
  2. Labels – Gmail has labels that are similar to mail folders from other email programs.  However, an email can reside in multiple labels.  Labels can help you group messages.  I try to keep my labels generic in hopes of minimizing the number of labels, but that is not always possible.  I have setup a few for specific individuals who email me regularly.  In regards to number 1 from above, I’ve setup a “Purchases” label that will house all of my online purchase emails as well as accounts.  By tracking emails with the Gmail Plus (+) option I know which emails to assign the “Purchases” label.  Another great label is my FWD label in order to capture all email forwards that I am guaranteed to receive.  Also, implement Google Labs (Settings / Labs) and select “Right-side Labels” so that you don’t have to scroll down the page every time you want to see updates in your labels.  “Custom Label Colors” lab add-on is another helpful addtion if you have too many labels for the basic coloring scheme.
  3. Filters – Filters exist in all email programs.  I use the ones in Gmail to move emails to my labels.  Filters can be setup for past emails you have already received or emails that you will recieve in the future.  These filters will set labels and the move emails out of the inbox.  I’ve never been a fan of a cluttered inbox and filters help clear it.  I already know that I will receive emails when I purchase items so I don’t need to see that email every time.  Setup a filter to move it out of the inbox, into a filter, but leave it unread so that I know a new email exists.  Forwarded emails are nice but often over used.  Have those skip your inbox based on the email subject line.  Yet again labels can be used if needed.  I also don’t need all of the Facebook messages throughout the day either when I’m check my blackberry for gmail.  Tonight I even learned that instead of multiple filters that perform the same function I can use one filter and use simple OR/AND commands.
  4. Mark As Read – I can’t begin to tell you how many times I use this labs add-on.  I mean it is just a simple HTML button but it does so much to make the bold font style disappear from my google gmail screen.  I instead of clicking on a stupid drop down and selecting “mark as read,” I can now just click the button.  One click.  Not two.  One.  It saves me maybe 1 second but it is a great start.
  5. Forgot The Attachment? – Yet again, I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have written an email describing the attached file and then forgetting to send it with the email.  You look like a complete idiot clogging up someone’s inbox sending multiple messages for the same file.  Well, Google Labs in Gmail help alleviate that issue.  Within Gmail’s Labs, find “Forgotten Attachment Detector.”  Based on certain wording in an email, a message prompt will ask you if you forgot to attach an email.  Pure brilliance.  Now, it isn’t perfect because neither is the English language.
  6. Themes – Gmail now supports themes.  I believe in the future they will let users create their own, but until then we are left with their fantastic designs.  I personally use Ninja (3rd row, column 2).  It looks great an updates throughout the day depending on my location.  I have seen the ninjas share dinner, clean, play instruments, etc.  It’s always entertaining to see what they will do next.  The ninja stars instead of Google’s default stars are also a nice touch.  I’m also a fan of the terminal theme (6th row, column 1), but it is a bit much to stare at all day.

Other power items to come for Gmail?  Well if you follow the Gmail Blog any, you already know about several of them.  Here are some that have peaked my interest.

  • Tasks – I have this currently enabled, but haven’t had enough time to truly play around with it to see if it is worth it.  I know it is something I want but not sure if they implemented it correctly for me.  Only time will tell.
  • Canned Responses – I am quite lazy to some and others I’m efficient.  Setting up automated responses could work well if I create/design them well.
  • SMS Google Talk – Google already has my phone number for Calendar updates.  Why not let people send me text messages as well?  Of course, I don’t have an unlimited plan so I’d probably choose to block these if they got out of hand.
Posted under Internet


It’s about that time again.  Time for all legal, vote registered Americans to head to the polls and cast their/our choice for a new tomorrow.  Every election, a friend of mine does some quick research and sends out an email walking one through the elections (who is running, what’s the main issue, etc.).  With his permission, I’m going to post the email here for others to enjoy.

Please remember that “no matter who you vote for, the government still gets elected.”

Helpful Voting Links
Where Am I Registered To Vote In Georgia?
Google Helps Me Vote

Here is the guide you’ve all been waiting for. Disclaimer: this political season has left me quite jaded on the whole process which is why the guide is so late in coming out and probably has more of a cynical and less humorous tone than usual.  I’m am sorry.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government… –The Declaration of Independence

As citizens of the United States of America, we have the right and privilege to institute a new government every two years. This is no right one should take lightly. Unlike what many naively state, our duty is not to be a voter, but to be an informed voter. I decided I would share some of the information I came across in the process of educating myself. This is some of the information I encountered and my analysis of it. As an informed voter, you should investigate the candidates and issues yourself. You should NOT rely on what I have said. You should NOT even believe that all of this is accurate. However, you SHOULD vote the way I recommend.


Saxby Chambliss


Chambliss is the incumbent Senator who won the seat in 2002 by beating up on a triple amputee war vetran Max Cleland in a manner that John McCain described as “”[I]t’s worse than disgraceful, it’s reprehensible.”  Good start Saxby.  On his webpage, he touts as one of his accomplishments, his support of FISA.  He is also proud of his work on the Farm Bill that gave a ton of subsidies and he says “I actively supported the historic “Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit.”  You mean the same Benefit that could cost up to $1.2 trillion according to the Washington Post?  Good job Mr fiscal conservative.  To his credit, he is an adamant supporter of tax reform.  He not only pushes the Fair Tax but also supports the Tax Code Termination Act that would force any kind of tax reform.  He also has a nifty flash animation on his website welcoming you.

Saxby has voted with Bush (Bush can’t vote but Congressional Quarterly does a study that calculates this based on the President’s support of a bill) 90% of the time since he joined the Senate.  He voted in support of the $850 billion bailout.  Looks like he is the epitome of fiscal responsibility.

Jim Martin


Martin was a long shot to unseat Chambliss until recently.  Polls show the race might be too close to call.  In general, Martin follows the Democratic party platform pretty close.  But his website is woefully lacking in specific.  He says we need economic policy that helps the middle class and doesn’t support the special interests but doesn’t give any specifics.  He was opposed to the bailout.  He supports universal healthcare, says we should get out of Iraq, and we should fix Social Security.  How do we do all of those?  Different than Bush and Chambliss is all he tells us.  Martin is against the bailout the Senate passed.  Martin is probably too liberal for Georgia, but he’s hoping to ride the anti-Republican sentiment into the Senate by not giving any details on his views.

Allen Buckley


Buckley is your typical libertarian.  He is against farm subsidies and wants to reduce the foreign presence of U.S. troops.  He is pretty adament on immigration reform.  He does not think the government should bail out companies but does have a plan for the Treasury department to buy toxic mortgages.  Not sure how that is free market.

Eleanor Garcia

Pinko commie chick who is running for the Socialist Worker’s Party.

William Salomone Jr.

Some dude.


A month or so ago, it was a given that Chambliss was going to win and my anti-Washington sentiment would have endorsed Buckley as a protest to the two party system even though he has issues.  However, things have now changed.  This is probably the only close race I’ll be voting in this cycle.  With the way the election is playing out, there is a statistically significant chance the Democrats could win 60 seats in the Senate.  This filibuster proof majority, along with the majority in the House, and Obama in the White House gives them unchecked power.  We saw what the Republicans did with even filibuster checked power.  Do we really want power concentrated in one party?  I don’t think so.  So I will very reluctantly endorse Saxby Chambliss as a vote against Jim Martin’s party.

House (District 5)

John Lewis


Lewis has been in the House since 1987.  He is currently the Senior Chief Deputy Majority Whip.  I think they were going to give him a few more titles but that is all that would fit on the name tag.  He voted against the bailout but then Obama called him up so he changed his mind.  No joke.  Obama called members of the Congressional Black Caucus to pressure them to change their votes.  Who says race doesn’t matter?  Lewis is running unopposed on the official ballot.

Jeanne Fitzmaurice

Can’t find a webpage for this lady but from what I can tell she is a member of the Socialist Workers Party.  I think she also writes for a newspaper called The Militant.  How quaint.

Shira Kash


No details on her but it looks like she was bored and decided to see how many votes she could get by being an official write in candidate.


For those who are new to my guide, I have this assumption that there has to be more than one person qualified for office in a whole Congressional District.  Why is Lewis running officially unopposed?  Because of gerrymandering and the two party system that is designed to be pro-incumbent (amongst other things).  Therefore, in principle Lewis can’t get an endorsement (and wouldn’t have anyway because he bowed to pressure from Obama).  I’m tempted to endorse Fitzmaurice just so I can say I voted for a pinko, but in the end, I’ll write in Shira Kash because I think she had a nifty idea that I might steal come next election cycle.

House (District 4)

Hank Johnson


Hank (trivia: one of the only two Buddhists in Congress) unseated Cynthia McKinney last election.  For this, I am forever grateful.  He hasn’t really done much in terms of legislation in his first term.  He voted against the bailout bill.

Faye Coffield


You have to check out her picture on her webpage, that must have been made in 1996.  She is against the bailout, against the war (even though some of her reasons are factually incorrect), for lowering taxes, and some kind of health care reform.

Loren Collins


Loren is running under the Bull Moose party.  Seriously.  No wonder the fourth district is such a joke.  He wants to defer to the Iraqis what we should do in Iraq.  He wants to reform Social Security but doesn’t specify how.  He wants to replace Jackson on the $20 bill with Madison.  Even he realizes how stupid that is: “First, no, you’re not imagining things: this is a campaign issue page on the U.S. Twenty Dollar Bill. And second, yes, I’m serious.”

Jacob Perasso

Socialist Worker pinko commie.  By the way, pinko commie isn’t offensive in this case because he really is one, right?


As Hank Johnson has no official opponent on the ballot, he is automatically disqualified from being endorsed.  That leaves us a choice between the crazy haired lady, the kid who hates Jackson, and the pink commie.  First, I must again thank the fourth district for their great choices.  I endorse Loren Collins.  His seeing that he actually got someone else to write his name in on the ballot will probably give him the most joy he’s had since he hit puberty, which based on his picture was probably last year.

Georgia Senate (District 32)

Chris Cameron


Cameron is proud to let everyone know he is an ex-Republican who is now dismayed with his former party.  He seems to prominently tout his opposition for tax cuts.  He isn’t against them in general but doesn’t believe we should have them at the expense of funding other priorities.  Cameron supports SPLOST (special sales tax) to fund transportation projects.  He is against concealed weapons.  Cameron opposes Hill’s bill that eliminated taxes on premiums for high deductible medical insurance.  Cameron doesn’t like the bill because he says it helps the rich and doesn’t help the poor (who typically don’t have high deductible insurance).  He doesn’t specify if he’d support a bill that would eliminate taxes on both, just that he doesn’t like Hill.  Cameron also has the whole Gorbachev birth mark thing going on.

Judson Hill


Judson has a funny name and is “Pro-Family, Pro-Marriage, Pro-Life and Pro-Second Amendment.”  His website claims he “is a recognized national leader for healthcare reform” but doesn’t say who is doing the recognizing.  His website is woefully lacking in details.  He says he supports a better education for children and more jobs for Georgians.  Who doesn’t?  He sponsored child predator laws that even Cameron gives him credit for.  He promises never to increase taxes (which Cameron claims means he can never support SPLOST).  He says GA has a spending problem, not a revenue problem and he’d limit spending increases to population growth and inflation unless overridden by a super-majority of the General Assembly.  This actually sounds like a decent idea to me.  When there is extra revenue, legislatures are tempted to spend it instead of save it.  Don’t let them, if they must, there is a way to do it with a super-majority.


With Georgia facing a budget shortfall, I think fiscal responsibility is very important.  Both candidates seem to only focus on one side of the issue (each focuses on the opposite side).  But when you look at the budgets and see that the state’s spending has increased by approximately 25% in the past four years ($16,146,990,223 in 2004 to $20,545,196,148 in 2008), something is definitely wrong on the spending side.  Because of that, I will be voting for Judson Hill.

Georgia House (District 54)

Edward Lindsey


Seeing as he is running unopposed, Eddie feels that he can say “Website Under Construction” (so 1996) on his site a couple of weeks before the election and everything is all good.  Not to completely shun the voters, he links to his official page at the General Assembly’s site.


Due to not only his running unopposed, but also to his shameful website, I will not be voting for Mr. Lindsey this year.  I will be writing in myself, Akash Patel.

Public Service Commission (District 4 – Northern)

Lauren W. McDonald Jr.


He claims to be pro-nuclear and pro-alternative fuels. He supports the “exploration” of cap and trade systems for carbon emissions.  He wants to allow Georgia Power to increase fees now to pay for new nuclear power plants that won’t come online for years.  He also accepts campaign contributions from the companies he regulates. McDonald used to be on the commission years ago as a Democrat.  At that point, he proposed a plan for Georgia Power fees that GP themselves had drafted and presented it as his own.  He basically did the bidding for the company he was supposed to regulate.

Jim Powell


Powell is having issues with his residency.  The Secretary of State is fighting to get him taken off the ballot because he didn’t have homestead filed in the district he is running for.  I doubt the Supreme Court agrees with her so we’ll go with the assumption Powell stays on the ballot.  Powell worked for the Department of Energy so has lots of experience.  He does not accept donations from the companies he regulates. Even his opponent Givens (below) says this about him: “I believe he is a good man. If your sympathies are with the continuation of the regulated monopoly system as it is; I believe Mr. Powell is a just candidate for you to vote for.”  He says he is pro-nuclear but that we need to diversify our energy sources and not just concentrate on one source.

Brandon Givens


Givens claims to want less government involvement in everything.  However, he advocates extending tax credits for solar power.  He also is against nuclear (or at least has hesitations about it).  He does favor allowing greener companies to market directly to consumers.


Although McDonald sounds and acts like a cartoon parody of a Southerner and would be entertaining to watch, the PSC does not get enough publicity to make his election worth it.  Givens seems okay but realistically has no chance of winning.  I will vote for Jim Powell because he’s not as shady as McDonald, has experience, and reminds me of Tony Kornheiser.

Public Service Commission (District 1 – Southern)

H. Doug Everett


His only challenger being a Libertarian, Everett does not feel the need to maintain his website or respond to questions submitted by the League of Women Voters.  I do not feel the need to care about him.

John Monds


Monds wants to increase competition in energy.  He wants the PSC to get out of regulating the telecom business.  He only wants regulation needed for environmental and safety reasons.


Due to the lack of information available about Everett, I will be voting for John Monds.


There are numerous judicial positions on the ballot.  They make up the bulk of the 51 offices/issues on my ballot.  Almost all are uncontested.  I will not be voting for these offices as I have no idea what the positions actually entail or what would make one qualified for such office.  I suggest you either research the candidates and email me back information about them, not vote on them, or if you’re especially bored, write in someone for the offices.

Georgia Constitutional Amendment 1

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the General Assembly by general law shall encourage the preservation, conservation, and protection of the state´s forests through the special assessment and taxation of certain forest lands and assistance grants to local government?”

Essentially, people or companies that own more than 2000 acres of land can get tax breaks if they agree not to develop the land for 15 years.  This will cost tax payers $40 million.


It seems like a decent idea to preserve forests, but really, it is just a shift in tax burden from certain landowners to others.  And as I am not a forest land owner, I say NO.

Georgia Constitutional Amendment 2

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize community redevelopment and authorize counties, municipalities, and local boards of education to use tax funds for redevelopment purposes and programs?”

This is on the ballot because a lawsuit deemed Tax Allocation Districts (TAD) illegal.  These are the tools used by developers to create things like Atlantic Station and downtown Smyrna.  Basically, a special district is created and the additional taxes generated by the increased land value goes to pay off bonds used to develop the district.


This restores the law to what the legislature intended.  It allows development to pay for itself.  Sounds like a YES to me.

Georgia Constitutional Amendment 3

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to provide by general law for the creation and comprehensive regulation of infrastructure development districts for the provision of infrastructure as authorized by local governments?”

This allows cities to create districts for developers where they can develop infrastructure and sell bonds and levy fees to pay for that infrastructure.  Essentially, it allows private cities.


In general I’d be against creating new governing entities but I guess people would voluntarily move into the developments so they are subjecting themselves to such rules.  This basically lets the market decided how infrastructure should be developed.  That seems like a YES to me.


Bob Barr


Barr, the ex-Republican manager for the Senate trial of Bill Clinton, has changed some of his views and decided to become a Libertarian.  He takes the expected views on issues: less spending, end the Iraq war, lower taxes, privatize entitlement programs, stop foreign intervention, etc.  He has even adopted the libertarian ideas on drugs and has renounced his former support for the “War on Drugs”.  Although this isn’t prominently featured on his website.

John McCain


McCain was the media darling and Maverick when he ran for President in 2000.  He lost.  He learned that Maverick helps with the media but not the votes so he adapted.  He became more political.  He got more votes, he won the primary in 2008, but he lost the media.  He also lost a lot of the independents that liked him in 2000.  McCain claims to be fiscally conservative and opposed earmarks.  Yet he supported the bailout with its $150 billion or so in tag ons.  He is relatively hawkish when it comes to foreign policy.  Many conservatives assume he’d appoint conservative judges if given the chance.  Other pundits point out that McCain’s pet issue, campaign finance reform, does not mesh well with the judicial philosophies of many strict constructionist judges.  They fear he will go with judges that would support his views on campaign finance reform even if it means they are more of the O’Conner flavor than the Alito flavor.  He doesn’t want to leave Iraq until we win.  Although this is pretty much a moot point because the Bush administration will likely have agreed to a withdrawl deadline with the Iraqi government before the next President gets sworn in.  McCain wants to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent, eliminate corporate taxes, and reduce capital gains taxes.  He says he’d pay for these through cuts in earmarks (although that is only $17 billion or so).  There is also the argument that revenue goes up as taxes get cut (to a certain extent).  There is some historical data that supports this but McCain doesn’t really care because he doesn’t really plan on balancing the budget until the end of his first term, if then.  He wants to tax healthcare benefits people get from employers and give everyone a $5000 tax credit for healthcare.  This actually benefits those who don’t get healthcare from employers as they are paying for it right now.

Barack Obama


Barack Obama wants change and lots of it.  Well maybe not really.  He wants to draw troops out of Iraq responsibly, like we are going to do once the Bush admin gets an agreement from Iraq.  He supported the bailout.  He wants to roll back the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000.  But he has said that he wouldn’t do this if we are in a recession.  Looks like we are.  He wants to raise capital gains taxes.  He has recently said he would only do this on people making over $250,000.  He wants to remove the cap on FICA taxes but in a really convoluted way.  Right now you only pay FICA taxes on the first $102k of income.  Obama wants to keep that the same, then create a “donut” up to $250k where you don’t pay taxes and then above that pay “in the range of 2 to 4 percent more in total.”  With all this money, Obama should be able to balance the budget, right?  No.  He’ll spend it on things like his healthcare plan.  He offers a universal healthcare plan that isn’t a single payer plan.  Basically, it mandates that employers have to cover employees or pay a fee that the govt uses to cover those employees.

Jonathon Allen


His motto is HeartQuake.  He wants to awaken the hearts of Americans.  Not sure what that means.

Chuck Baldwin


Constitution party candidate.  Think Libertarian with a little more Jesus thrown in.

Brian Russell Brown

Some dude.

David C. Byrne

Some other dude.

James Harris

Socialist Worker.  From Atlanta, even went to Cuba to support the Revolution there.

Cynthia McKinney



Frank Moore


Um.  Mr. Moore doesn’t have all his teeth.

Ralph Nader


Yeah, that same Ralph Nader.  Green as always (but not officially).

Michael A. Peroutka

Was part of the Constitutional Party but broke apart.  Unfortunately for him, no one went with him.


As you may have noticed, the summaries of the candidates is woefully lacking.  I assume by this point, most people know what each candidate stands for, as much as you possibly can.  With conditions changing (especially economical), both candidates keep changing positions or keep proposing new programs.  (Both have supported elliminating the requirement for seniors to take money out of the market. Obama wants to allow people to take money out of their 401k penatly free.  Not sure how removing money will help the market).  In the end, chances are most of you have already decided on who to vote for.  But of course, it doesn’t matter.  Georgia is going to go for McCain.  But of course, that doesn’t matter.  With or without Georgia, Obama is going to win the election.  Who am I going to vote for?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I’ve been following this election for almost a year now and I still don’t know.  With the Democrats nearly guaranteed to win the House and Senate, and possibly winning a supermajority in the Senate, part of me wants to vote for McCain for a divided government (refer to Election Guide 2006 House of Representatives (District 1) for reasons why).  With McCain’s shift closer to the undesirable qualities of the GOP since 2000, part of me wants to vote for Obama because I believe the McCain of 2008 is a lot closer to Bush than the McCain of 2000.  However, as stated above, it doesn’t really matter since the outcome of the eleciton is near certain.  If my vote doesn’t make a difference in the outcome, maybe it can matter another way.  If I vote for Barr and he some how manages to get 5% of the popular vote, the Libertarian party will be elligible for federal funding the next go around.  That won’t elliminate our two party system but will slow it down just a little.  Of course, I’m no fan of Barr.  Maybe I’ll really waste my vote and just write-in Ron Paul.

You can also head to your local comic book store and pick up “Presidential Material” for both McCain and Obama for a story that follows each candidates story.

Posted under Internet, Other

LSU’s 12th Man

This video gets better and better the more times I watch it.

That’s an SEC referee for you.

Posted under Internet, Sports

Google has bad drivers

Earlier today I was looking at directions and I decided to use Google’s Street View.  I’ve used this feature before but I never paid too much attention to it.  Well, today something caught my eye and that is bad/illegal driving being displayed by Google.  Maybe they can be evil.

The first screenshot shows the Street View and the fully available turn lane on the right side of the image.

If I’m turning right, wouldn’t I need to use the turn lane?  Apparently not.

Way to go Google. I’m willing to bet you didn’t use your blinker either.

Posted under Internet

iMacro and its many uses

A few months ago, one of the guys at work (“Sugar” Ray) sent me an email about a new FireFox extension I might find useful. iMacro is quite simply a way to “automate firefox.” Have you ever found yourself wanting to automate certain activities you perform daily within your browser? Or are you unsure what you would need to automate? Here’s a quick sample of ways I have used iMacro to simplify my life.

  • Testing for Web Applications – At work, I often have to build new capabilities into a web application. For these capabilities I need test users that sometimes can become a very repetitious task to create. Instead of taking 30 minutes or longer to create maybe 4 users, I use iMacro. I record my actions, save the macro and then set it to run for about 20 times. I then “set it and forget it.” I can walk away for lunch or attend a meeting while my users are being created.
  • Entering a daily contest – Recently there was a contest for the chance to win a newly designed/decorated house. The contest allowed you to enter daily for more chances to win. I didn’t want to enter the form information every day so I made a quick macro to fill out the form for me. Instead of the 2 minutes to fill out the form, I was filling out the form daily within 10 seconds.
  • Wachovia / Quicken – My biggest and favorite use of iMacro is with my bank accont. Wachovia earlier this year determined that it would charge users a monthly cost for using programs such as Microsoft Money or Quicken. Anytime these programs were used to pull account information the monthly charge would be instituted. For the record, I know Wachovia would enter you into the monthly charge even if you stopped using the program. To prevent the charge from appearing, one would need to stop using Money or Quicken as well as call and have yourself removed from the monthly charge. In order to keep the simplified way of using Quicken, I created a simple macro that would quickly login to my account and download the latest account information. By “manually” downloading the information, the charge would not apply. I was once again back on top of my finances and performing the same task I was before but now it was for free.

For advanced users, iMacro can utilize javascript for more programatic features but for simple every day use, it isn’t necessary. iMacro also comes with many sample macros to help you enhance your current macros or learn the capabilities of what iMacro can do for you. If anyone has any great macros they would like to share, please let me know. I’d love to hear them.

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MOVE on Alzheimer’s

Another year passes and that means it is time for the Alzheimer Association Memory Walk. The following is a quick email I sent out to many people concerning the event. With only a day passed from sending the email, I’ve already raised $315. I hope the donations continue and I reach my goal as well as help my team reach their goal ($10,000) as well.

With this yearly email, I’m starting to feel like the IRS requesting money each year. However, I’m hoping all of you who have received this email do not have a negative feeling to this cause and to what I’m about to say.

For those who have not receive this email previously, let me give you the fresh perspective The following quote was copied from the Memory Walk website.

Millions of American families are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association, the world leader in Alzheimer’s research, care and support, is dedicated to finding prevention methods, treatments and an eventual cure for the disease.

For all of those millions of people fighting this disease, I’m participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk®. I hope to be able to raise at least $1000 to support the Alzheimer’s Association, which provides research, support and education for those living with the disease, their families and caregivers.

I am now going on my third Memory Walk. Each year I’ve looked forward to this event more than anything else. Throughout my life, I have encountered many events that have helped shape me to be who I am today. However, I feel that no other event has impacted me more than when I had to deal with my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. I was able to see first hand what Alzheimer’s does to a person and to those loved ones who care. From that point forward, my biggest fear was/is Alzheimer’s. Every day no matter where I am or what I’m doing, you will find me wearing my Alzheimer’s “Mindstrong” bracelet. This item is both my crutch and reminder that helps me to keep strong in the fight against Alzheimer’s as well as anything else that I might face in my daily life.

Now, what I’m asking of each of you is one of two things (or both). Please either make a donation or pass this email on to someone that you know has been affected by Alzheimer’s in some way. You don’t have to donate because I’m asking, even though that would be nice. I want you to donate because you care. I want you to donate because you believe in the cause. I just want you to help in whatever way you feel that you can.


Posted under Internet, Other

Internet Celebrity? Check

Well, scratch another life moment off the list. I have now become, in some sense of the word, an internet celebrity. Sure this is going to go to my head for a moment, but I think it is cool nonetheless.

Basically what happened was an old comment by me was brought to attention again and the internet blew it up. While in college, I became enthralled by a site called Digg. Digg was designed as a social news site that allowed users to share and submit news stories in different categories. Users would then “digg” the stories which would move the stories to the front page and allow others to read and “digg” them as well. It allowed users to decide what was news instead of the sites that just reported on it. I didn’t really submit many stories back in the day, but I did do a lot of digging. One particular story was about the release of Firefox 2. Digg users have been known to post repeated stories or stories ahead of their actual time in an attempt to became “famous” for submitting the story. The Firefox 2 story was one such story. Under a comment for the story, the creator of Digg, Kevin Rose, made a comment that FF2 would be live in about 30 seconds. I responded with a comment that posting “future” stories was not why digg was created. Well, the fanboys did not like this one. I was instantly slammed for my comments for assaulting Kevin Rose and my comment quickly went to the triple digit negatives.

Fast forward to the present, apparently someone decided to bring my comment back to the masses by posting a screenshot of my comment and the outlash I received for it. Quickly the story was “dugg” by many users and my once triple digit negative comment became triple digit positive and Kevin Rose’s comment was pushed to the negatives (only for a short period of time, of course).

Right now the story about my comment is the 16th highest rated story of the past 7 days. The ultimate goal would be to hear the story discussed on the Digg weekly podcast, Diggnation, but I seriously don’t see that happening. At least I have another life goal crossed off the list.

Here’s the original story and here’s the new story that is receiving all of the attention. I am “buddylee415”.

Life Goal List

  • Be a hero
  • Appear in a video game
  • Become an internet celebrity
  • Have an Aston Martin
  • …More to come…
Posted under Internet

Johnny “Wii” Lee

While searching for the possibility of a Time Crisis game coming to the Wii (no such luck), I ran across a familiar name I had seen on the internet before. I suddenly found myself watching more videos of work performed by Johnny Lee.

If you have not heard of Johnny Lee, then you are not visiting the right sites or hanging out with the right Nintendo Wii users. Johnny Lee is a Ph D graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of Human-Computer Interaction Institute and has found many cool uses for the Nintendo wii remote at a relatively low cost.

His other work surrounding kinetic typography and foldable displays are amazing as well. I’m looking forward to each new youtube video he posts surrounding his work. It is very interesting to see at the new ways we will be able to use technology and the ability to use this technology currently for a reasonable price.

Posted under Games, Internet

No More WP Comment Emails

For those who have been around my site for sometime, you’ve known about my previous work creating my own CMS (Content Management System). I tried WordPress about 3 years ago and did not like it initially due to my limited knowledge of PHP and ability to change/modify functionality that it offered. However, I soon learned how much time I needed to truly build the CMS that would accomplish all of the tasks that I needed and I soon moved back to a happier WordPress time.

Well, after several months of WordPress usage, one minor detail has continued to grow on my nerves. WordPress can be setup to notify the author of the post of any comments that are made concerning the post. I had built this functionality into my own CMS but I stopped comments from being emailed if I made them. I mean, why would I want to read my own post comments? I only want to read those that others have left.

Since I had built this functionality before I knew it was possible. I just needed to take the time to find where I needed to make the change within WordPress. One night earlier this week, I finally took the time to find the file I needed to change and so far my change has worked. For those interested, here is what you need to do.

  1. Find the “comment.php” file in your WordPress files. It is listed under the “wp-includes” folder.
  2. Inside of this file you will need to find the “wp_new_comment” function. This is the function that inserts comments into the WordPress database. It also utilizes the PHP mail function to send mails to the author’s email address to notify of any new comments.
  3. Within the function, you will find the following IF statement that needs to be altered:
    if(get_option('comments_notify') && $commentdata['comment_approved'] &&
      $post->post_author != $commentdata['user_ID'])
         wp_notify_postauthor($comment_ID, $commentdata['comment_type']);

    This statement is saying to notify the post author if certain conditions are met. This function is great but we need to alter it so that for a particular case we do not notify the author.

  4. I modified my statement to be based on the email address since that is unique to an individual. Here is the changeI needed to make:
    if(get_option('comments_notify') && $commentdata['comment_approved'] &&
      $post->post_author != $commentdata['user_ID'] &&
      $commentdata['comment_author_email'] != 'username@myemail.com')
         wp_notify_postauthor($comment_ID, $commentdata['comment_type']);

    I basically added the extra condition that if everything else is right for emailing the author about the post that the system should make sure the commenter’s email address does not equal a certain value. For those that might try it on my site, the email address above is not the one I used on the code change for Hero Inc. I just wanted to provide an example here.

That’s it. That’s all that needed to change for the emails to stop when I posted comments on my own posts. When I made this coding change, I also modified a few other sections of my site that were bugging me as well. Namely the comments section was changed from the design perspective. I have hated for a long time how the comments were displayed using an ordered list of numbers.

Let me know if you do or do not like the latest comment design changes. Man, it was nice to code for “fun” again.

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