Help Me Please!

I would consider myself a temporary expert...meaning that at the moment(s) in which I am trying to solve a problem I learn as much as possible about the issue in order to solve it only to forget days later how I fixed it originally. Therefore I have decided to create a link list to the places where I have found solutions or programs to fix many of the issues that have plagued my computer life. Obviously I can't remember them all (which is why I created this list) so I will simply start with today's issue and add news ones as I find them and old ones as I remember them. Honestly, this is more for me so I can track down my previous fixes should issues arise again, but I thought I would share the wealth. Also, I typically try to find free solutions/programs (cause I'm cheap like that), but sometimes you have to put up the cash so any items that you have to pay for a followed by "$$$". Good luck!

Firefox - Mozilla's Internet Browser - These are some of my favorite and most used Add-ons
Thunderbird - Mozilla's Email Client


Multiple OS Programs/Solutions
  • Control multiple computers with a single keyboard and mouse using Synergy - LifeHacker
  • Download YouTube and other video clips to your computer - DLYTV
  • Create screencasts for Twitter - Screenr
  • Free photo editing program for those who don't want to buy Adobe Photoshop - GIMP
  • Windows Office-like products without those pesky dollar signs attached -
  • Monitor your Facebook and Twitter friends and make updates without constantly logging in - Seesmic
  • Forget to turn off your Caps Lock key? Don't retype, just convert it - Convert Case
  • Find video and audio editing/converting software for any OS -
  • Free Website Monitoring - Montastic
  • Free Website Monitoring - Basic State
  • VirtualBox - a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware

Mac OS X Leopard

Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Productivity
    • Create a PDF file without Adobe Acrobat - CNET -
    • Convert image, music, and video file types - Format Factory
    • Free photo editing program for those who don't want to buy Adobe Photoshop (Windows only) - Paint.NET

Windows 7
  • Connecting to your NAS - Windows 7 Forums
  • Place fully functional Recycle Bin on your task bar - TechSpot
  • Prefer the original Windows task bar rather than the "Superbar," switch back! - TechSpot
  • Multiple Desktops (similar to Mac & Linux) - Dexpot

Linux - General

Ubuntu Desktop

Mythbuntu Media Center

CentOS Server
  • Configuring CentOS server -
  • The Nano Text Editor Introduction -
  • Secure FTP -
  • Check CPU utilization - nixCraft (For CentOS you need to use the yum command to install sysstat rather than apt-get)
  • 20 Linux System Monitoring Tools - nixCraft
  • Install & configure Cacti network monitoring tool - nixCraft



Network Attached Storage (NAS) - DNS-321

Website Design

The Wii Fit Challenge

Today I purchased the Wii Fit Plus solely with the intention of trying the Yoga portion. I don't have a problem doing Yoga in my own home...alone...but as I was going through the opening sequence it was determined that I was considered obese! At 6'1'', 193.6lbs and a BMI of 25.65 I wouldn't consider myself obese; however, there it was, right there on the screen! Oh, and it told me my body age was 38...I'm 32...

Not one to take criticism lightly I told the Wii Fit was I thought about it and then politely proceeded to enter the Wii Fit challenge. I have challenged myself to lose 10lbs in 2 months, which would put my BMI into the "Normal" range.

Since today was my first day I did try a little Yoga, ski jump, hula hoop, and some snowboarding (which I used to do for real when I was a young chap).

As they say, today is the first day of the rest of your life...and the first time I have loved and hated something at the exact time...Wii Fit, you're mine!!!

So what's this FLTG thing all about?

In the words of the founder...

$12.5M for a TV...Pocket Change!

Thanks to The Consumerist I came across this little gem as featured on and just couldn't pass it up...I'm curious if they offer lay-away...

Amazon TV Deal

***UPDATE*** Amazon finally realized their mistake after a few days and corrected, so the link no longer shows the price; however, you can enjoy the lovely screen shot.

It's ccccccold in here!

Due to the constant weather deviations we are currently experiencing in South Texas the building staff is apparently having a difficult time determining the proper temperature for our working environment. Thanks to the complaints of certain individuals, who shall remain nameless, many of the air vents were closed subsequently forcing the cold air solely into the vent above and around my desk…

…sorry for the delay, I had to wait for my fingers to thaw so I could continue typing. As a response to our complaints, my manager simply sent an email with the following link, nice!

Since I am obviously on my own on this one I have decided to make myself a poor-man’s mocha and wait for its warming goodness to thaw me from the inside out. If you were curious, here’s how you can make your own chocolaty-coffee goodness:

Poor Man’s Mocha
6-12 oz free office coffee
1 package hot chocolate mix
1 Tbsp powered creamer
3-6 oz hot water

Mix, drink, unthaw! ~ trying to save people from hypothermia and from spending $5 on a cup of coffee since 1956!

To Bing Or Not To Bing

I was in the process of cleaning out my "backup" email account, Hotmail (and by backup I mean the one that I use to register for websites and to buy stuff online so I don't get spam in my real account) and I noticed the little Bing search box at the top of the page. It made me wonder if all of Microsoft's commercials and product placement is really working because I still "Google" on a regular basis. And to be honest, I don't feel like "Just Bing it" really has the same flair that "Just Google it" does. Perhaps it's just the force of habit kicking in...or perhaps I just like the completely bland and non-intrusive feel of a Google results page. Either way, I don't know if I'll be "Binging" anything anytime soon, but if you do and you have some tips, let me know and perhaps I'll be "Binging" you!

Supreme Beings of Leisure - Mirror

I heard this on Area 54 a while back and I still cannot get it out of my head! It has a bit of a James Bond theme song feel, but classy through and through...I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

Do you need to waste some time?

I recently stumbled across one of the better time-wasting websites on the Internet today; Per the website, Know Your Meme (originally spun off from Rocket Boom) is "Documenting Internet phenomena: viral videos, image macros, catchphrases, web celebs and more."

There are certainly some very clever videos and they even have their own shirts (surprise, surprise), but all-in-all, it's some good fun so take a peak (if you have a few hours to spare).

Don't have time to catch up on all of the past hype, you can always follow them Twitter @knowyourmeme to see the latest and greatest!

Just think, you will never have to say "I don't have anything to do" again!

How do you get more Twitter followers?

Perhaps, it helps who you know...perhaps not...

Featuring Ben Stiller (@redhourBen) and Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest).

Facebook Status #Fail

Why you should always double check your Friend List before posting potentially slanderous comments...

Where's tech support when you need them?

I sat down to write "My new life with an iMac: Part 2" and started realizing that it was going to take a while to explain how I fixed the issues that I encountered by trying to bring a Mac into a Windows household. Fortunately, it wasn't that difficult, but it was a bit time consuming. This got me thinking about all of the other research I have had to do throughout the years in order to solve my computing problems and I realized that I couldn't remember where I found many of my answers. Therefore, I thought about compiling a list of as many issues as I could remember and where I found solutions. From this process I created the section "Help Me Please!"

This is my simple attempt at offering a place to find some solutions to the problems that have plagued me so it is in no way complete or do I expect that these are the absolute best solutions. Honestly, I just wanted to a place to keep track of where I found these answers and programs. So feel free to take a look and hopefully they can provide some insight into some of the issues that are plaguing you too!

Just Another Day at the Office

I was recently privy to an email thread that I had to share (names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Fred emails group mailing list (slightly paraphrased): I have a request from each of you right now and am very busy, but I will get to you as soon as I can.

Chuck's reply to Fred: I beg to differ; I don’t think I’ve sent you anything today! However, now that I have your attention I do have a question…

Scott's reply to Chuck: Your such a douche.

Chuck's reply to Scott: You seriously need to work on your understanding of proper English grammar. “Your such a douche,” is incorrect grammar and would only be correct by using the format “Your friend Scott is such a douche.” The correct grammar would actually be, “You’re such a douche” as in, “You are such a douche.”

Perhaps the book “A douche bag’s guide to the English Language” would help as sold here at ~

Scott's reply to Chuck: Alright, how about you're an asshole.

Jeff's reply to Chuck: In correct English grammar, shouldn’t the title of a book be underlined, and not enclosed in quotes?

Chuck's reply to Jeff: It was written by a douche bag; what do you expect?

My Love Affair with Windows Media Center

Thanks to the purchase of the new iMac (as previously discussed in My new life with an iMac) I have freed our old Dell Dimension 3000 to live a more simple life by reprovisioning it as a Windows Media Center for our front room. With a "simple" rekick of Windows Vista, installation of a new video card, and the purchase of a dedicated Windows Media Center remote we are up and running...and I have to be honest...I wish I would have done it sooner!

Yes, I can hear your grumbling about Vista, but honestly, I think Microsoft has nailed the Windows Media Center piece, particularly with their integration with Netflix. Eventually I hope Netflix will be able to stream all of their movies, but for now, I guess I can settle with the 12,000 titles they have available online and stick to the "old-fashioned" way of getting DVDs via USPS.

As for additional media, in particular DVDs, I did find it a bit odd that I had to modify registry settings in order to view ripped DVDs through the WMC, but other than that, I can't complain.

Also, due to our recent switch to AT&T's uVerse (which is based on the same WMC platform) I can't imagine that I will be changing out my media gear anytime the you have any DVDs I can borrow?

Little Superstar

Just had to bring back a YouTube classic!

DJ Steve Porter - Slap Chop Rap

This remix is so good it has actually been made into a legit commercial for the Slap Chop...hmm...I wonder if they edited the part about the nuts...

DJ Steve Porter - Press Hop

Outstanding remix of some recent sporting news - I wonder if it takes practice to get that good...

Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama

I want the gold! Give me the gold!

Champion of My Heart

Every once in a while you have to be reminded that 1980-89 was the greatest decade EVER!!! My good friend...okay...I have no idea who he is...regardless...some dude named Carlos Knight exemplifies the awesomeness that was the 80s with his musical gem "Champion of My Heart" as seen on his MySpace page.

A few young men took it upon themselves to create a music video for this musical masterpiece.

Of course, never one to back down from a battle, I am planning my own "Champion of My Heart" video so stayed tuned!

In the meantime, please keep in mind that the other guy knows karate, and you don't know what to will you know that your punches filled with fury and your kick is f*$@ing lethal...

That's will you know...that you're the champion of my heart?!

Whistle Tips with Bub Rub

They go woo-woo, but they're just for decoration!

My new life with an iMac

Okay, it's true, the witty Mac commercials may have started to make me question my devotion to Windows, but the dagger in the heart was the new iPhone I bought for the misses several weeks ago. I am a Blackberry user thanks to my company's need to be in touch with me every second of the day, but after toying with the iPhone for about 3 seconds, I was hooked. I started thinking that if the iPhone was that intuitive, then Macs themselves must be just as good...they are...but with a caveat...(read on)

Our new 20" iMac (read: refurb'd 20" iMac - refurb is seriously the only way to go these days) arrived on Friday night and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Within mere seconds of powering it on I was ready to go...that's right...30 seconds at the most (we had to watch the cool intro video) I was browsing the web. As a lifetime Windows user I was obviously confused as at the 30 second mark I would just start hearing the nifty Microsoft theme song...then we have to wait for it to load every program on the computer, double check that it didn't miss a program, ask me if I wanted to load all of the programs, triple check for anything else and about 3 minutes later (on a decent machine mind you) we're ready to go...:(

Could it be that my beloved Windows computer was not even in the same ball park as a machine that is literally only a screen, keyboard and mouse?!'s true...but...

If you are a fan of certain programs such as Microsoft Publisher, an IM client known as Digsby, or the owner of an HP Printer/'ve got some work to do. As I always try to do I did some research prior to purchasing our 'new' iMac a realized that although the Mac these days are pretty bad ass, they can't do least not easily.

Since the misses is an avid Publisher user and we both love Digsby...and printing...I knew I needed to find a work around...enter Parallels. Parallels is a program that allows you to Windows on a Mac...

That's right, old habits die hard and programs that won't run on a Mac suck!

Unfortunately ditching the programs and the printer was not an option so I opted for the VM (Virtual Machine) route.

My first VM attempt was to try Windows Vista...I should have known better... Now don't get me wrong, I still love Vista and think it is a great OS, if you have the CPU and RAM to support it, but when you are splitting resources (as you do in a VM) it can be a little more difficult.

Every time I launched Vista, it was fine until I attempted to open Publisher and then I waited...and waited...and waited...and waited...closed the VM...relaunched the VM...viola, Publisher...not gonna fly...

So, as I write this, I have removed Vista and am in the process of installing XP and to be honest, that shit's looking pretty good right step...Office 2007...

My New Haircut

(Parental Advisory-Explicit Language)

One word...Jagerbombs!!!

David Blaine Street Magic - Part 3

(Parental Advisory-Explicit Language)

The OFFICIAL third installment in the David Blaine Street Magic series. Blaine sets his sights on the same two effeminate idiots from the last two videos. And unfortunately for them, the third time's the charm.

David Blaine Street Magic - Part 2

(Parental Advisory-Explicit Language)

The original...David Blaine Street Magic Part Two! See David Blaine terrorize the same two idiots from the first video. Starring Mitch Silpa, Mikey Day, and Michael Naughton. Directed by David Morgasen.

David Blaine Street Magic - Part 1

(Parental Advisory-Explicit Language)

David Blaine brings his famous street magic to YouTube. Watch as the famous magician blows the minds of two Los Angeles idiots.

WARNING: This magic is amazing!

The Landlord

Will Ferrel gets served by his Landlord Pearl

Mad TV: Trapped in the Cupboard

MadTV's parody of R Kelly's Trapped in the Closet.

Why reality tv will never die!

On our way home last night from the in-laws we approached a shiny new Audi convertible with the top down in the right hand lane with its hazards on. A gentleman holding several pieces of luggage was standing on the sidewalk nearby looking a bit stunned and rubbing his head. Of course this looked a little peculiar so I slowed to make sure nothing or no one was going to run out in front of me, but as I drew closer to the Audi it began to drive away slowly. Assuming everything was okay, but still a little confused by the man on the sidewalk, I sped up to pass the Audi since the hazard signal ceased. Upon passing, Mel glanced over to see who was driving and said it was a young lady who appeared to be crying. After I passed, the young lady got in the lane behind us and put on her left blinker to attempt a u-turn. We drove off in disbelief and honestly giggling to ourselves in regards to the drama we had just witnessed. As we discussed the situation the rest of the way home we couldn't help but wonder what the story was between the two. Since it was Sunday night; was this the bad end of a good weekend or a bad start to a lifelong roller coaster ride...we most certainly will never know. As I thought about the scene throughout the night it made me begin to finally understand the guilty pleasure we all seek from seeing others in less than ideal circumstances. Whether you admit it or not, had you passed those two you likely would have thought the same things we did; ‘What drama! I would never act that way!’ when the simple fact of the matter is that at some point or another if it hasn’t already happened you will either be the driver debating on whether or not you should turn around or you’ll be the one standing on the sidewalk, luggage in hand, wondering what went wrong…until then cable TV will happily fill the void…

MidnightSpark and MySpace call it quits!

I've been debating the usefulness of MySpace for quite sometime now and after a recent Tweet I've found that many others are feeling the same way. Therefore, I officially pulled the plug on Saturday, March 21 at 10:59pmCDT. I feel that we made a clean break, but I left MySpace with these thoughts (as they always ask why you're leaving) "I think you've tried to hard to be everything to everyone and now there's just too much going on. It's like you're the Walmart of social networking...yes you offer a little bit of everything, but you are a pain the a** to navigate. Also, thanks to Ad block plus addon for Firefox you were slightly more tolerable for a while as I didn't have to see all of the banner ads. For now, Twitter and Facebook own it...clean and simple just can't beat 'em. I'm certainly interested to see what you are going to cook up next as I have no doubt you're working on something, but I'm just not diggin' it right now. Good luck with your future endeavors and if they create enough buzz I'm sure I'll be back." I mean really, what else could I say besides "YOU SUCK!" but I'm certain they get that all the time so I thought I would try be a bit more eloquent. Who knows, maybe I'll rejoin next week under the new username, jagerbomb56.

MidnightSpark, what is that supposed to mean anyway?

Ever since I came up with the name Midnight Spark oh so long ago, people have always asked what it meant. Until recently I had a hard time describing where it came from without getting strange looks, but I believe an article recently printed in Wired Magazine explains it all and in particular, point #2:

3 Smart Things About Sleeping Late
By Daniel Dumas

"1 // You may need more sleep than you think.

Research by Henry Ford Hospital Sleep Disorders Center found that people who slept eight hours and then claimed they were "well rested" actually performed better and were more alert if they slept another two hours. That figures. Until the invention of the lightbulb (damn you, Edison!), the average person slumbered 10 hours a night.

2 // Night owls are more creative.

Artists, writers, and coders typically fire on all cylinders by crashing near dawn and awakening at the crack of noon. In one study, 'evening people' almost universally slam-dunked a standardized creativity test. Their early-bird brethren struggled for passing scores.

3 // Rising early is stressful.

The stress hormone cortisol peaks in your blood around 7 am. So if you get up then, you may experience tension. Grab some extra Zs! You'll wake up feeling less like Bert, more like Ernie."

So there you have it! Unfortunately if you need further explanation you may be an "early riser" and you probably shouldn't be reading this anyway. :)

Read more from Wired Magazine at