Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fixing Blogger Issues

Here are a few issues I've had with Blogger, and how to fix them. I am posting this in case it might help others who have the same problem and search for a solution.

1. Images will not upload

Sometimes it seems like pictures will not upload. It just gives a red X where the picture should go. The first suggestion is to wait a while. Give it up to a minute, and sometimes the red X will all of a sudden be replaced by the picture. Next, try a different browser. Firefox seems to work much better than IE! Then try using URL instead of file name and upload the picture to a temporary URL such as on one of your other websites. Beyond that, just try it once a day. It seems like it starts working again usually after 2-3 days.

2. Message when accessing your blog "404 blog not found". Try logging in as the blog administrator, make a small change to something, and then republishing the blog. Also, try republishing the template. This usually seems to fix the problem.

3. Can't delete comments - Sometimes you don't have the little trash can for deleting comments. This is needed when spammers put unwanted comments on your blog. This is usually caused because Blogger doesn't know it is you. Try logging in again through the login page and then click View Blog to go to the blog (or navigate to it directly). Now you should be able to delete the comments.

Name That Ideologue

This is a fun game. I list some words and phrases below. The premise is that you are listening to a political discussion and you hear a person say only that word or phrase. Believe it or not, you can instantly determine with good certainty whether the person is a liberal or conservative. See how many you can figure out.

top 1 percent
post 9/11
brutal Dictator
trial lawyers
the rich
death tax
double taxation
marriage penalty
conservative media
right to choose
welfare state

I'll add some others when I hear them.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

TiVo List

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but actually a better indication is the TiVo list.

These are the shows currently on our TiVo list:

Saturday Night Live
Fairly Oddparents
McLaughlin Group
Top 20 Countdown
Tom and Jerry
Best Week Ever
Charlie and Lola
Full Court Press
News 4 at 11
Maya and Miguel
Blues Clues
Lights, Camera, Action Wiggles
The Situation with Tucker Carlson
(Christy) Monk, CSI, Without a Trace, Desperate Housewives, Clean Sweep

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Vanity Plate

When I was a kid, I came up with an idea for a vanity plate. The idea was to select a plate that would be very difficult to remember. So when I need to get away with some infraction, there is a lesser chance that I would be caught by someone remembering my license plate (I guess this is how kids think). Of course, most vanity plates do the exact opposite, as they are quite easy to remember.

So my idea was to get a plate like GVCBDP, where everything kind of sounds the same and would be difficult to remember.

However, yesterday I saw a plate that does even better. The plate was I11I1I1. At least I think that's what it was. It was almost impossible to tell the difference between the I's and the 1's. So I salute you, I-1-man, wherever you are, for trumping my idea.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Intelligent Design?

Here is an example of the argument I just came up with, which would be in favor of intelligent design.

Suppose the universe is 3 years old.
Suppose also that it took a human 2 years to reproduce.
Suppose you observe the following alleles for eye color in 3 generations of a family:

Gen 1: BB Bb BB Bb
Gen 2: Bb Bb
Gen 3: bb

Stated another way:

Gen 1: 4 people with brown eyes
Gen 2: 2 people with brown eyes
Gen 3: 1 person with blue eyes

Conclusion: Either the 4 people with brown eyes were created by intelligent design, or there is some other error (age of universe, understanding of genetic transmission, etc.). Now replace the age of the universe with 6 billion, and suppose we discover some phenomenon that, by definition, would take longer than 6 billion years to happen.

This is an example of using scientific method to prove that, in this scenario, if everything we know is true the only explanation would be a supernatural one. It is wrong to say that you can’t prove a negative – it happens all the time, Fermat’s Last Theorem, etc. It’s just a little bit harder to do.

Note, I’m not saying I believe in ID, I’m just saying that it might not be out of the question to consider it and give it fair treatment under the Scientific Method. Which I think is (maybe?) what some of the textbook changing people are saying.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bad Subject Line

I received an e-mail today with the subject line "BE like a normal MAN". I've met a few normal men, and to me this does not seem like a great marketing strategy.

Ask Marilyn

Below is a question I sent to Ask Marilyn. It was back in 1997, but I think still an interesting issue to debate.

(click on image to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Accessing Files on Home Computer

A few weeks ago I set up an FTP server on my home computer. I would strongly recommend this, if you often find yourself wanting to access files on your computer from work or some other location. There are various ways to do this - one simple example can be found here.

Google - One Hit Wonders

A fun activity is to try to type something into Google that will generate exactly a single hit - no more and no less. Of course, one way to do this is to keep typing in more and more words until the results list shortens to one. (example: melancholy eggcarton frog civil blight Halloween unfocused). But it is more fun and harder to try to do it with a reasonable search that just has some unusual words or combinations in it.

Below I will list any examples of actual reasonable searches where the result was a single hit. The ultimate is to do it with just 1-3 search words.

Date Search Words
10/21/05 trainingauth
02/20/06 "caucasian fry cook"

Send me yours and I will add them to this list!

Update 11/1/05

As expected, I am not the first to discover this concept. See for a summary of what is called Googlewhacking. I still think it will be fun to keep track of my own list, though.