Soapmaking's been popular with the gourmet soap folks, but I was totally unaware.

10 Passe Graphic Design Gimmicks

10. Drop shadows.

9. Crescent swoosh.

8. Gradient background.

7. Rounded corners.

6. 8-bit video game pixel nostalgia.

5. Glassy reflection on buttons.

Blu-Ray Market Share

Does BluRay matter yet? Beats me. I'm always paying attention to this because I need to know when to buy BluRay equipment for work.

Lithium Coin Battery Sizes Explained

The common computer battery is a CR2032. The C means lithium. The 20 means 20mm diameter, and 32 means 3.2mm thick.

Jennifer Lynn Aaker on Social Media (good talk)

This is a good 10 minute presentation about how to use social media. I got it from a podcast I listen to.

Takeaway points:


Having failed at using Unity, I decided to try the Gnome Shell.

Ugh. It's just as bad. And I just found out it's the future of Gnome.

Conclusion is that I've installed KDE, then ended up loading xubuntu on top of that. So it starts up with kdm, and logs me into xfce4. The themes are simple, and the design (or lack of) is restrained. They're not trying to copy Apple, or Microsoft. It looks like a cross between Mac OS 9 and Windows XP, without the obnoxious colors and toned-down gradients.

May 1st

Tomorrow is May Day! In Los Angeles, this means an annual Los Angeles May Day march for immigrant worker rights.

C# and Comparison

This is a link to an awesome resource: a "rosetta stone" comparing VB and C#. Totally useful as a general reference, too. One of these days, we need columns for PHP, D, C++, Javascript, etc.

Bedrock, Google, and Patent 5893120

A story about Google losing a patent lawsuit against Bedrock, an East Texas "patent troll" has been making the media rounds, but I haven't yet seen an analysis of the patent. All I see is talk about Linux being at risk. If Linux is at risk, so is Windows, and so are the Apple OSs, because there's very little novel about the patent.

(Cheaper) Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Acrobat Reader

I'm on a low-volume personal boycott against Adobe because of the Dimitry Sklyarov bust 10 years ago. See Wikipedia's entry. It was a long time ago, but, it remains an attack against the First Amendment. /soapbox

Aside from that, Acrobat is expensive. Mac and Linux users don't pay anything to produce PDFs because it's built-in to the printing system. Windows users have to pay.

Also, in 2010, they were pretty lax about dealing with some security issues that led to the proliferation of malware being delivered as PDF files.

The top PDF makers are:

Convert DOC and OpenOffice to PDF, from the command line and a watched folder

Most of the information in this post is derived from It's posted as a service, because the code there needs some editing.

Also, a useful thread about executing OOo macros is at

Here's the code to automate the opening and saving of a file as PDF, using Open Office. Paste this into your standard macros.

Bytespeed Computers

I have been holding back on writing this post, but we just bought a bunch of Bytespeed brand computers at work. They're boring but nice. The boring part is the generic looking black case. The nice part is that they only use Intel motherboards, and they have a good return policy and warranty. Hopefully, they'll also be boring and not crash or break.

The other pluses are that it's put together in the US, and tech support is also domestic.

Iteration Safety

So I was reading the CRM114 documentation, and he notes that CRM is hard to DoS because iterators are designed not to use iteration indices. What an interesting thing to say.

Generate a Page of Random Passwords with Javascript

The attached HTML page is a password generator that creates a page of random 10-character passwords.

Decode php Shells Obfuscated with eval gzunzip base64_encode str_rot13

I got hacked (more than once) and they installed a backdoor php shell. It sucked (and I must suck for allowing it to happen...

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