Grgah!, originally uploaded by J. D. Harper.

Yes, please. It’s disgusting that Target needs this sign.

Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

Meat Cake

While we’re talking about health food: How about a nice meat cake?

Meat Cake

It looks like a cake, but it’s actually meatloaf, frosted with mashed potatoes and topped with ketchup. Click the photo for illustrated instructions.

Flash Project: Battlelore Line Of Sight Checker

My brother and I have been playing this game called Battlelore a lot lately. One thing that can be kind of tricky in the game is figuring out whether or not your archers have line-of-sight on their targets.

Since I had recently bought a copy of Flash CS3, I wanted to take some time and learn how to use it. So, after taking a couple of basic tutorials and doing a lot of searching on the internet to figure out how to write ActionScript, I put together this thing:

If you click on one of the green hexes, it will turn red to mark that hex as having an obstruction in it. All of the hexes that don’t have line of sight then turn gray.

It’s still pretty buggy, and it gets really slow if too many hexes are obstructed, but it’s mostly working, and I’m pretty proud of it.

Helpful Vista/Outlook 2007 Feature: Preview Pane

There’s a feature in Windows Vista that isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves. I think it could be a tremendous time saver for a lot of people. That feature is the Vista Preview Pane.

To activate the Preview Pane, open an Explorer window, click the Organize button, select Layout, and click on the Preview Pane. Now click on a file, and you should see a preview of that file in the right sidebar.

In the past the preview feature was limited to very small thumbnails of photos in the XP sidebar. Now the preview pane lets you preview office documents, text files, HTML, and media files like MP3’s. In addition, there’s a plug-in structure that lets you add more file types to the preview pane, such as PDF files and Photoshop Documents (PSD’s). (Since Photoshop takes a long time to open, the PSD plug-in is especially helpful.)

I’ve created a quick YouTube video that demonstrates how the Preview Pane works. (For some reason, when I uploaded it, it compressed the time from just under a minute to just under 30 seconds, so you’re seeing this in double time.)

Another cool thing is that you can actually select and copy information out of the preview pane, without opening the file at all.

Outlook 2007 uses this same preview technology to let people preview attachments in their email. Just single click on the file instead of double clicking it, and you should be able to see a preview without opening the full program.

I’m just amazed that so few people seem to know about this. It took me nearly three months of working with my new Vista laptop to discover this, mostly because the button to turn on the preview pane is in such a bad location. (Why isn’t under the Views button, Microsoft?) But now that I’ve found it, I believe that its going to save me all kinds of time.

Kids stuck at home

The UK’s Daily Mail reports on how children lost the right to roam.

When George Thomas was eight he walked everywhere.

It was 1926 and his parents were unable to afford the fare for a tram, let alone the cost of a bike and he regularly walked six miles to his favourite fishing haunt without adult supervision.

Fast forward to 2007 and Mr Thomas’s eight-year-old great-grandson Edward enjoys none of that freedom.

He is driven the few minutes to school, is taken by car to a safe place to ride his bike and can roam no more than 300 yards from home.

This is just sad. Check out the Daily Mail’s map:

Shrinking Boundaries

Why do parents let themselves be controlled by fear? There has never been a generation when kids were safer away from home than this one. If a child in the 1920’s sprained his ankle in the woods, he would have to lie there in pain until someone found him. A child today could call 911 on his cell phone.

I lay a lot of the blame for the terrified parents at the feet of the news media. They have scared parents into thinking that they must know their child’s location at all times, lest they be kidnapped.

The default emotion that people feel towards strangers isn’t trust, friendliness, or even curiosity, it’s fear. Every adult male over the age of sixteen is a perceived threat, even though the vast majority of people are fundamentally decent folks.

Turn off the news. Talk to strangers.

(Via reddit, where you will find a comment very similar to this post.)

Safari for Windows

I had just written a post about Apple releasing Safari for Windows into the world. (Safari is the Apple equivalent of Internet Explorer.) Naturally, I did this from Safari, which I had just been trying out. When I clicked Publish, the post title went onto my blog, without the several paragraphs I had just written.

Which was too bad, because those paragraphs were mostly favorable. Safari is fast, but right now, it’s buggy. (It is just the beta, after all.) And it doesn’t have extensions or an integrated spell checker.

I want to like Safari, but it needs a couple of rounds of bug testing first.

Post by email with Postie

I’ve just reinstalled the Postie plugin to the blog. This plugin is a massive upgrade to the WordPress default post by email function. It handles multiple categories, images, and HTML, and it blocks unapproved email addresses.

And it actually seems to post the text of the email instead of just the subject line, which is a big plus.

I love knowing that I can blog from anywhere!