Friday, 15 June 2007


Snap is British slang for a snack or a packed lunch.

"'As't purrup mi snap?" - Have you prepared my sandwiches for work?

The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse

War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death

And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death. and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth

Si finis bonus est, totum bonum erit

If the end is good, everything will be good (all's well that ends well)


[ from alt.comp.freeware ]

Here's a program geared towards folks who work on multiple projects at one time where each project has multiple sub-tasks requiring completion in a particular sequence. Its name, "ToDoList," may be plain vanilla but the program sure isn't; it can do pretty well anything with task lists you could want. Sure, there are no fancy calendar displays or Gantt charts but this is a task list manager not a project manager. While it may not have the features of a project management utility, it is, however, much more than a to-do list program; it's so capable it could be used to help manage quite large projects. I recommend everyone involved in project work to check out "ToDoList." It could be just what you are looking for. Freeware.

Backup Policy

[ from alt.comp.freeware ]

I have for years had a written policy on firmware development for my (one-man) company, primarily due to using consultants from time to time. Of course it always helps to keep myself straight too. If you're interested, here's a quote from that policy document:

Backups - The automatic backup feature available with many editors does not comprise an adequate backup system and indeed should normally be turned off if possible. The person doing the coding is responsible to ensure that the following minimum backups are maintained.

Only one of each category below need be maintained; that is, a backup may be overwritten with newer data except as noted.

  • Save work in progress to nonvolatile (magnetic) media every 15 minutes or less, or when leaving the workstation or taking a telephone call.
  • Make a copy in a separate directory under the same name after every 4 hours work.
  • Make a copy on physically separate media (i. e., a different hard disk, floppy disk, or tape) after every 10 hours work.
  • When more than 40 hours has been invested in a project, maintain at least two backup copies of the work, at least one of which should always be at least 1 mile distant from the primary working copy.

"Save early, save often."

The Seven Wonders of the World

The Pyramids in Egypt
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Temple of Artemis
The Statue of Zeus
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Mausoleum of Halincarnassus
The Colossus of Rhodes

Using Outlook Without Folders, Without Filing - Version 2

See excellent article at


This tutorial explains in detail how to use Outlook without folders or filing. We've christened this The AntiFile Methodology or AntiFiling for short. There is a single, fundamental objective with AntiFiling; minimize administration to maximize productivity. We firmly believe that people could file 95% less and be even more productive than they are now.

AntiFiling is also more than just “not using folders”. We’ve taken a hard look at the user interface in Outlook to eliminate things that tend to derail a train of thought. We wanted a method of organizing information that is universal one place to look, consistent one method to look for it, and simple so that it quickly becomes instinct. The less distracted we get in organizing and gathering the information the more focused we are in accomplishing the task.

Keep in mind, you may still use your folder in parallel with AntiFiling, but this may allow you to use a lot less of them and simplify your folder heirarchies for less filing.


Flow is a simple game for Win32 based machines based on a cellular automata algorithm which mimics the properties of a liquid. It is not a game with an object or goal like most eg; like scoring points or killing something, but it is rather more like a toy which exists merely to be fiddled with. A good example of something similar is a game used by many charities where coins inserted at the top fall through the game, hitting off things as they go. Where Flow improves on this is that the obstacles can be changed in real-time, with the liquid responding accordingly.

Real-life scenarios such as waterfalls, fountains and showers can be represented - or indeed anything your imagination allows. User-triggered events can be designed (eg; flushing a toilet) through a user-toggleable filter material. Devices such as capillary action (where liquid in a vertical narrow space tends to rise) and water pumps (up, left and right) move the liquid around the game area in a more controlled fashion. There are two different kinds of liquid, one lighter than the other if user-desired and two tools to filter one type from the other.

The World's Funniest Joke

[ from uk.rec.humour ]

At the risk of being considered a historian, I would remind everyone that on this very newsgroup in October 2003, Fox posted the following:

LONDON (Reuters) - After a year of painstaking scientific research, the world's funniest joke has been revealed!

In a project described as the largest-ever scientific study into humour, the British Association for the Advancement of Science asked Internet users around the world to submit their favourite jokes and rate the funniness of other people's offerings.

More than 40,000 jokes from 70 countries and two million critiques later, this is it:

"Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services.

He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies: "Take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."

There is a silence, then a shot is heard.

Back on the phone, the hunter says, "Ok, now what?"

Researchers found significant differences between nations in the types of jokes they found funny.

People from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand preferred gags involving word play, such as:

PATIENT: "Doctor, I've got a strawberry stuck up my bum."

DOCTOR: "I've got some cream for that."

Americans and Canadians favoured jokes where people were made to look stupid.

TEXAN: "Where are you from?"

HARVARD GRAD: "I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions."

TEXAN: "OK -- where are you from, jackass?"

Meanwhile, many Europeans liked gags that were surreal or made light of serious subjects such as illness, death and marriage:

A patient says, "Doctor, last night I made a Freudian slip, I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and wanted to say: 'Could you please pass the butter?'

"But instead I said: 'You silly cow, you have completely ruined my life.'"

Marriage-mocking also featured in the top American joke:

"A man and a friend are playing golf one day. One of the guys is about to chip onto the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course.

"He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows down in prayer. His friend says: 'Wow that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You are truly a kind man.'

"The man then replies: 'Yeah, well, we were married 35 years.'"

Death earned big laughs in Scotland:

"I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather. Not screaming in terror like his passengers."

And animals figured prominently. Take the number one joke in England:

"Two weasels are sitting on a bar stool. One starts to insult the other one. He screams, 'I slept with your mother!'

"The bar gets quiet as everyone listens to see what the other weasel will do.

"The first again yells, 'I SLEPT WITH YOUR MOTHER!'

"The other says: 'Go home dad, you're drunk.'"

The survey revealed other fun facts:

-- Of the countries rating the highest number of jokes, Germans, perhaps surprisingly, laughed the most. Canadians laughed least.

-- If you want to tell a funny animal joke, make it a duck.

-- The most frequently submitted joke, at 300 times, was: "What's brown and sticky? A stick."

Researchers said no one ever found it funny.


[ from Word of the Day, ]

polymath \POL-ee-math\, noun:

A person of great or varied learning; one acquainted with various
subjects of study.

A century after Aristotle, in 240 B.C., a brilliant polymath,
Eratosthenes, is appointed chief librarian of the Museum at
Alexandria--the most cosmopolitan city and center of learning in the
Mediterranean world.
-- Alan Gurney, Below the Convergence

Alan Kay, for instance, one of the wizards of PARC and now an Apple
fellow, is a polymath accomplished in math, biology, music,
developmental psychology, philosophy, and several other disciplines.
-- Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman, Organizing Genius

Like her literary heroine, George Eliot, Kingsolver is an old-fashioned
polymath, curious about all branches of human learning.
-- Sarah Kerr, "The Novel As Indictment", New York Times
<> , October 11, 1998

Polymath is from Greek polymathes, "having learned much," from poly-,
"much" + manthanein, "to learn."

Gizmo's Best-ever Freeware Utilities

The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

Mobile Working

[ from Gizmo's Support Alert Newsletter Issue 145, Free Edition, 24th
May, 2007, ]

I'm absolutely delighted with my new laptop replacement. It's way
lighter than my old IBM ThinkPad T42 and at $49 it's a tad cheaper as

The laptop replacement is a USB flash drive. The drive was an answer to
a conundrum I faced last month. I planned to take a two week break part
of which involved camping in the desert. The desert I figured was no
place for my IBM. Yet both before and after the camping segment I would
be in cities where I would need access to a computer.

Taking a USB thumb drive seemed like a sensible solution. As it turned
out it was not only sensible but practical. So practical I'm wondering
whether I ever need to travel with a laptop again.

While traveling I was able to do all my normal work using most of my
normal tools. The tools were on my USB drive. What was different was
that I was plugged into someone else's computer at an internet cafe or

I put quite a lot of thought into the programs I loaded onto the USB
drive before I left.

Most important was a portable version of Firefox
<> along with
TorPark <> , a special version of Firefox setup
to work with the Tor anonymizing service. Both these run entirely from
the USB drive and leave no trace of my surfing on the host PC. That's
nice but more important was the availability of my normal bookmarks,
Firefox extensions, custom bookmarks toolbar, Google toolbar and even my
surfing history from within Portable Firefox. This was made possible
simply by copying parts of my Firefox profile from my laptop to the USB
drive before I left home.

The comfort of having your familiar browsing environment available
cannot be overestimated. I've customized Firefox to work exactly how I
want so to have that available on whatever computer I was using was both
delightful and remarkable.

The comfort of the familiar was further enhanced by the use of
RoboForm2Go <> as my password and
form filler. RoboForm2Go is a portable version of the same RoboForm
program I use on my normal PC. Like Portable Firefox it leaves no trace
of itself on the PC your USB stick is plugged into. Again like I did
with Firefox, I copied my RoboForm data from my laptop to the USB stick
before I left, so all my normal passwords and login credentials were
available from my USB stick as well.

Using RoboForm2Go to automatically fill out your web session password is
a surprisingly safe procedure, particularly when using Firefox where the
speed of the typing during form completion is beyond the capacity of
keyloggers to log. I know this; I tested RoboForm2Go before I left using
five commercial keyloggers and none successfully recorded the form data.
Your RoboForm2Go master password however is more vulnerable but there
are ways to improve the security of that too. I'll be covering that in
next month's "Tip of the Month."

The other software I took on the USB drive included Portable FileZilla
<> , the
portable version of my normal FTP client, EditPad Pro
<> which is my normal text editor and
PhraseExpress <> the program I normally
use for quickly inserting boilerplate text. The latter two programs were
not available in portable versions but I found that by simply copying
the installation folder from my laptop to the USB flash drive they both
worked fine.

Handling my email was a cinch. I normally use Outlook to collect my mail
from Gmail via POP3. While traveling I simply used Gmail as webmail from
Firefox. When I got home I just collected all my mail in Outlook and had
complete copies of all my correspondence back on my laptop

Oh the pleasure of it, to sit in front of a strange PC in some strange
location and to have your normal computing environment fully available
to you. Your normal tools, your bookmarks, your passwords; everything.

And the pleasure too of not lugging around a laptop or having to worry
about it being stolen.

I suspect it's also a pleasure you may need to get used to. The future
of computing folks is going to be web based applications accessed
through your browser. In a few years you may be carrying around only one
piece of software on your USB stick: your highly personalized browser
that will give you the same computing experience on any PC, in any
location in the world.

Personally, I can't wait. After my positive USB flash drive experience
I've decided to move things along by converting one of my home PCs to
have no applications installed other than a browser. Everything will be
web based: email, calendaring, digital editing, spreadsheets, word
processing and more.

Think about the advantages: no backup worries, dramatically reduced
security concerns, no software update and licensing hassles, less
demanding hardware requirements and best of all: the availability of
your familiar computing environment from any PC.

Yes, the attractions are many but is it too early to make this bold
move? That dear readers, is what I hope to find out.

Letter order in words

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Hoi polloi

The common people generally; the masses.

Hoi polloi is Greek for "the many."

The Bathtub Test

During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the director what
the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be

"Well," said the director, "We fill up a bathtub, then we offer a
teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to
empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," said the visitor. "A normal person would use the
bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No," said the director, "A normal person would pull the plug... Do
you want a room with or without a view?"

Dave Allen's funniest routine

[ from ]

POLL QUESTION: What Is Dave's Funniest routine?

- Nun's relaxation room, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Choirboys procession/musical chairs, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Wuthering Heights parodies, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Dave & Michael as Holmes & Watson, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Dave plays Dr. Jekyl, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Confessional booth gags, 1 votes, 14.29%
- Dave as Robin Hood, 1 votes, 14.29%
- Rapunzel, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Michael as Pigsty Pete, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Auctions, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Nun taking confessions, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Interracial Hamlet, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Dave as Rodriguez, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Sardine Factory Sketch, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Ten Pounds under tire sketch, 1 votes, 14.29%
- Competing funeral processions, 2 votes, 28.57%
- Clergy on strike, 1 votes, 14.29%
- James, the butler, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Monks fight over food portions, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Wuthering Heights parodies, 0 votes, 0.00%
- Other--not listed, 1 votes, 14.29%

Pearl Harbour underground fuel dump

[ from uk.rec.subterranea ]

There is a very interesting article about the Pearl Harbour underground fuel dump at:

Most admired freeware product

[ from ]

As I sat in my home today, a bit depressed about some things, my mind
began to wander. I was wondering which piece of freeware I had the most
respect for. What freeware did I admire the most? My candidate was
Cobian Backup, a backup solution that has really made a difference in how
I approach my computing.

Anyone care to share what is their most admired freeware product?

Spybot Search & Destroy

Mailwasher (i got it when it was still freeware).
It saves me at least 10 minutes every morning (by dissing spam)

Avant Browser and Google Toolbar
I'm not sure they are my most admired but they are certainly my most used freeware.

'FreePCB' and 'LTSpice/SwitcherCAD III' in (for) conjunction (partlist).
As for the standard software (implemented into WinNT), I vote to IrfanView. (and many more software freeware, though...)

FireFox, Thunderbird, Essential PIM

CopyWipe at
(Usually rely upon Darik's Boot & Nuke but Darik's doesn't work on them all.)

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Steinbeck on Witnesses

When people are engaged in something they are not proud of, they do not welcome witnesses.
In fact, they come to believe the witness causes the trouble.
--John Steinbeck

Per pro / per procurationem

[ from WORLD WIDE WORDS, ISSUE 543, Editor: Michael Quinion, ]

Q. I would like you to tell me about the origin of the abbreviation "pp" when someone signs on behalf of someone else. I've heard that comes from the Latin "per procurationem", but is it true? [Anthony Vamvakidis]

A. This may be an unfamiliar business abbreviation to Americans, as I believe it is not much used there. It's commonly placed alongside a signature to show that it is being signed by somebody other than the ostensible author, say by a secretary in the absence of the writer.
Back when the abbreviation first began to be used in business, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, it was indeed taken to be a shortened form of the Latin phrase "per procurationem". But reference books today often say that it's actually short for the Latin "per pro", and that's how I learned it when I first came across it.
This is a more important difference than one might think. "Per procurationem" means "through the agency of" or "by proxy", while "per pro" means "for and on behalf of". Which meaning you take changes where you put the abbreviation. If the former, it should be alongside the name of the person who actually signs the letter; if the latter, it should precede the name of the true writer. Most people these days would assume the latter.
Even in Britain, an alternative form such as "dictated by Y but signed in his (or her) absence" is now common.
For completeness, it's worth noting that there's a third Latin phrase with some similarities, "in pro per", in full "in propria persona", meaning "in their own person". This is required in some legal jurisdictions to show that a person is handling their own case, without a lawyer. And "pp" may be more familiar in the sense of "pages", a nineteenth-century abbreviation from the English word "page" in which the doubling of the letter represents the plural.