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Contest for Google Wave Invite

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I’ve had a few days to work with Google Wave, and it really is a fantastic new tool. Currently, it is in preview mode, so access is invite-only. Those who received their invites directly from Google have been granted invites that they can pass out to others. I’ve decided to offer one of mine up in a contest. The rules are simple.

  1. Follow @LockjawTheOgre on Twitter. It’s not just a good idea, it also allows me to DM the winner.
  2. Write a comment on this post saying why you think receiving an invite would be the coolest thing ever.
  3. Sent a tweet with the following text “From @LockjawTheOgre: I’m giving away one invite for Google Wave. http://bit.ly/44wK54 Please RT”

I will select a winner Tuesday night, sometime after 6pm Eastern Time. It will likely be while I’m watching Hell’s Kitchen or Shark Tank. That gives around five days for this contest to run. I will announce the winner, and DM for the email address to which I will send the invite. The invite will probably take at least a couple days to arrive, but that’s up to Google to decide.

We have a WINNER
Due to the overwhelming success of this contest, I had a grand total of six qualified entries. One failed to send the proper tweet, and one is a good friend and therefore disqualified from the contest (on the spot ruling) but qualified for an invite anyway. Hi Brad!

The winner is @SimpsonsParadox. Once I have your email address, the invite will go out. Previously invited folks have gotten the invite in a couple days, so I expect yours will take about the same amount of time.

Coding Day

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Today’s going to be a productive day. I’m working on a redevelopment of my wife’s website. My wife makes some beautiful jewelry, which you should go and buy (hint hint). My mother designed her website, and did a great job of it, back when she was getting her certificate in Internet Technology from our local community college.
The site looks great, and works well for the purposes, but has some limitations. Mainly, it isn’t database driven. Each page, and each item for sale on the page, is manually created. This means that any changes to any item for sale, such as marking it sold, requires a manual edit of the page. This is less than ideal.
I’ve been jawing about how I needed to redesign the website so it can be run from a database for a long time. This isn’t such an easy job, because I’ve never actually written any database driven websites before. I’ve maintained code written by others, installed sites, maintained the databases themselves, and tweaked things to work better for my purposes, but I’ve never started from scratch to do it myself. Today, this changes.
This morning, I’ve made the first few steps. I’ve created the database. I’ve built my first table. I’ve put in several entries, and I’ve got my php script pulling entries from the table. I’ve got the beginnings of a catalog listing going, with checks to see if the item is sold or on display in the local art gallery (with different text in the place of the price for each of those). Because of the mild quirkiness of my webhost, I had to jump through a hoop or two before I got this far. As it turned out, the mild quirkiness was solved completely by the fact that they provided much of the code I needed to solve my problems right there in the interface. I had been concentrating so hard on my reference materials, I overlooked the answers that were right under my nose already.
Once I’m done, my wife’s job will be much easier when it comes to website management. Instead of editing many pages and re-uploading, she will only need to click a checkbox or edit a field for the items she needs to update. This will mean more regular updates, better functionality, more available features, and hopefully more sales.
Personally, this means a much wider skillset for myself. I plan to put these skills to use in the future, in many ways.

Well, I’ve installed Skype. It’s Cool.

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I’ve heard a lot about it, but finally decided to give it a try. A good friend (Hi Dave!) has been talking about Skype on his blog, so I downloaded it and installed it, and gave it a try. He called me up this afternoon from Peoria, and we had a chat. All in all, I have to say that it worked very well. Internet telephony may well have arrived for real, this time.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, go to Skype.com and download. It’s free to use, PC to PC. You have the option of spending money on really cheap long distance, if you want, and they offer a very low price to have your own phone number so people can call you.
Now, I really want the cordless telephone that’s landline and Skype compatible. That would rock. Skype me as LockjawTheOgre.

Opera 8 Browser Bigger than Firefox?

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I’ve been a big fan of Opera as my browser of choice since version 5.x. It’s just a great browser in so many ways, and I’ve come to love many of the features that I just can’t get anywhere else. Apparently, I’m not alone. Over 600,000 copies of the new version 8 release were grabbed in the first 48 hours. When the downloads went over 120 per second, an hour after release, the servers started bogging down. They had to bring more servers online to handle the downloads. When I went for the download, the main page had been greatly simplified, to make it easier to handle the load. By comparison, Firefox downloads reached a million in five days, a rate that was a bit slower.
Why is Opera such a great browser? I can think of a few good reasons.


  • Tabbed browsing that is, in my opinion, superior to any other I’ve tried.
  • Extensive capability to control the browser through the keyboard. By allowing many features to be handled with keyboard input, use of the browser can go much faster.
  • Blazingly fast page loading. Opera typically has the fastest loads of any browser I’ve used. The rendering engine is really hot stuff. I always notice the slowness of Firefox when I use it, and Firefox is pretty quick.
  • Personalized form-filler-outer capabilities make life much easier. In the preferences, I have my name, address, login ID, and other information I use regularly in forms. My blog name and URL are in there, along with some other info. When I need to fill out a form with anything in that list, I just right-click in the field and select the data I want to place in that field. Much less typing to fill out most forms.
  • Pop-up-blocking that can be reconfigured on the fly is really nice. If I need to be able to accept a popup, I just press F12 and change the pop-up blocking behavior. Likewise, using the F12 menu, I can toggle gif animations, sounds in webpages, java, javascript, plugins, cookies, referrer logging, and proxy servers. I can also use this menu to tell Opera to identify itself as either Opera, Mozilla, or Internet Explorer for those webpages that care which browser you use.
  • Opera has built-in email, IRC, download manager and note-taking. It handles RSS feeds very well (improved in v8) and lets me read USENET. None of this bogs the browser down. Unlike the full Mozilla suite or Internet Explorer, the added features aren’t allowed to get in the way of the primary use of a browser, the World Wide Web.
  • Blogreading is easier in Opera. If you’re reading a blog, you might use the space-bar to page down through a page of stories. When you get to the bottom, hitting the space bar will cause Opera to attempt to go to the next page of stories. This is a feature I discovered by accident, and it ROCKS!
  • Ever closed a tab and wished you could just pull it back? Opera v8 now has a trashcan in the lower-right. Click the trashcan and those pages are there. Just select the one you want, and you can go right back to it. Whoever thougt of this one needs a raise.

Opera just keeps getting better. With v8, I’m even finding that those pages I had to load Firefox to read before, I can now read just fine. If you haven’t tried it, you should take a look now. It’s great. Download it from Opera.com.

DSL Issues And Solutions

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For some time, we’ve had an issue with our DSL. When the phone rang, the DSL would drop and reconnect. It was one of those things that happened only on the occasion of a ringing phone, so it was no big deal. Our phone doesn’t ring all that much, which pleases me greatly.
Yesterday, though, the phone rang at an inopportune moment and my WIFE was the one inconvenienced by the DSL drop that ensued. When I’m inconvenienced by such trivial things, it’s one thing, but when SHE is inconvenienced, I’m more likely to act. I’m strange that way.
At any rate, a quick search on Google turned up similar situations. The cause, they said, was usually a phone on an unfiltered line. A quick check showed that the most recently added phone in the house had managed to be installed with no filter. That’s odd, because the phone it replaced WAS filtered, but it managed to happen nonetheless. I popped a filter on the line, and things are running great.
Things are actually MUCH better than before. Bittorrent speeds for one file, before the filter was installed, ranged as high as 80kB/s. I currently have two downloads running at over 150kB/s and have seen one or the other go over 200kB/s. I’d say things are running a bit faster than before, and I like it.

Opera Browser v8.0 Released!

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For several years now, I’ve been using Opera as my browser of choice. In the days before Firefox, Opera led the way with tabbed browsing and pop-up-blocking. There are LOADS of little features that I’ve come to love, and that I can no longer live without. Opera has been the FASTEST browser for a long time, and that hasn’t changed. Comparing Firefox to Internet Explorer is like comparing the hare to the tortoise. To stick Opera in the comparison you’d have to think “bullet.”
I’m used to fast render times. I loaded Byrd Droppings in the new Opera v8.0 and it virtually flashed onto the screen.
Time to sing the Happy Happy Joy Joy song. If you haven’t used Opera, Download Opera NOW and try it.

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