Saturday, December 03, 2005

Fun Research Project

So I've been helping hubby-Eric with a little research project. It seems that he's gotten requests from his Wizard of Oz page for the dates when The Wizard of Oz was on TV.

He's got an impressive list already, and we're only missing a few dates. We think that it didn't air at all in 1992, and maybe not in 1995. If that's the case, then the only air date we are missing in 1997 (possibly Fall 1996).

Let me tell you where we've looked. We hunted through the microfilm archives of The Seattle Times at the Bellevue Library. Then we got the bright idea to do some serious Google searching, and found a couple of dates from Usenet. We checked the imdb, and we also did a search for the Neilsen Ratings, but didn't find a useful archive.

If you have any knowledge of when The Wizard of Oz may have aired in 1997 (or late 1996), and if it aired in 1992 or 1995, could you PLEASE let us know? We feel like we're so close... and yet so far... so far...

-by Tegan at 7:01 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Random Thoughts

Leonard Kirk, current Aquaman artist, is blogging.

A blogger picks his own Seven Soldiers of Victory.

Another round of There's No Such Website! over at Mark Evanier's place. I got it on the second try again, but hubby-Eric picked the fake right off.

Johnny B's NFL Picks. He had a good record last week.

So wait, the Grateful Dead didn't really reverse the decision to remove their songs? Hmmm.

Science and Math songs.

The Forbes Fictional Fifteen. I had something witty to say about this list, but I forgot it, so just pretend I said something witty here.

Evil Corporation stomps on the little guys.

Gap Commercial shows wanton destruction.

Another roundup of the Sony Rootkit debacle.

-by Tegan at 4:40 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

Mostly Open Source

I'd been moving towards Open Source software on my old laptop, but I still had quite a ways to go. With the new machine, I was determined to not install any software until I first had tried the open source version of it. Thus before putting my familiar and beloved Paint Shop Pro on Artie, I installed GIMP. I figured there wasn't a shot in heck that this program could do what I needed, and I'd have to install PSP eventually, but I felt it necessary to at least give GIMP a try.

Oh. My.

I have never before fiddled with a program for only a few minutes before deciding that it was better than the one I had previously preferred. Especially a program that has such a different interface. But I tried all my usual tricks on GIMP, and it outperformed PSP by a mile on every one. I really wasn't expecting that. I've fallen in love. I have new image editing software now.

Other stuff I've already installed: Firefox (newest version), Opera, Thunderbird, Ad Aware, Spybot, Open Office, Metapad, Winamp, Tweak UI, and Filezilla FTP.

That last one I'm still not sure about. I've used an ancient and creaky version of WS-FTP for years now, and I've never needed anything more. I may go back to it if Filezilla doesn't impress me much. But so far I've managed to get a pretty solid computer system going, almost entirely with open source software. I've already sworn that I'll never ever go back to Microsoft Office.

Update: Another great program, which I may well use to replace my calendar program if it works as well as it seems to work, is Stickies. I'd never really understood the appeal of sticky note programs until I started playing with it. Now I don't feel the need to put Sunbird on this machine. And if I can get the Stickies Store add-in to work properly, I'll have an archive for it as well. I also added Lupas Rename, which I used a lot on the old laptop. Very useful for any mass renaming needs. I'm also trying out xplorer2 as a replacement for Windows Explorer. So far so good, but I need to get used to having two panes.

-by Tegan at 9:43 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

Friday, December 02, 2005

It's Here

Don't expect any blogs for the rest of the day. And maybe none 'til late tomorrow. The new laptop has arrived.

  • First thing I noticed: the new laptop, still in its packaging, is a LOT lighter than my current laptop (known as Abe).

  • The new laptop's name is Art or Artie, depending on my mood. If I'm upset, I'm sure I'll call it Arthur.

  • I got up and running on this machine WAY faster than I expected. The move from my old laptop was surprisingly simple. Open source software lends itself to being moved, I guess.

  • -by Tegan at 1:53 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Comcast Problems: More Info

    This virus outbreak is what caused Comcast to shut down outgoing e-mails to MSN and Hotmail. How many times do we have to tell computer users... if you get ANY attachment in your e-mail, make absolutely sure you know what is in the attachment before opening it. If it's from someone you don't know, DON'T OPEN IT. If it's from someone you do know, make sure they sent you an attachment BEFORE you open it, and that it's not just something pretending to be them.

    I guess people are feeling guilty, because they are opening the "FBI Warning" e-mail that claims they've visited "illegal websites". Huh. Just a clue: IT'S A VIRUS. If the FBI is concerned about your browsing habits, I'm sure they'll visit you in person.

    -by Tegan at 1:20 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    CSS... Seriously?

    This blog has been all CSS for nearly two days, and nobody has posted that I messed something up and the display was completely odd. So... either nobody has visited my blog in two days, or, more unlikely, I actually didn't mess it up.

    I'm not sure what to think.

    -by Tegan at 8:47 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Snow-Laden Linkdump

    Elayne Riggs has Breaking Comics News! Her husband Robin is now the regular inker on Birds of Prey!

    The Comic Treadmill reviews Back Issue! 5 and tells us the deep, dark secret of his relationship with Lynda Carter.

    Back Issue!

    Illusive Arts is having a first anniversary sale, with free signed copies of the Dorothy #1 reprint with every order. They also found the Scarecrow's cousin.

    Kaja Foglio announced on her Livejournal that the Girl Genius podcast is up, with the NorWesCon performance of a Girl Genius "radio show". If you aren't into podcasting, here's a direct link.

    TangognaT wants a Legion of Librarian Comics Bloggers flight ring.

    Neilalien has a ton of links, including one to his new RSS feed. Huzzah!

    Pal Dorian has a dalek.

    Speaking of Daleks, a dalek chats with the Register during filming. And best news in awhile, Doctor Who is coming to DVD in the US!

    Bigfoot sighting... the first picture looks vaguely to me like some guy in a parka with a backpack, but the second looks different. I hope somebody manages to get some comparison shots.

    This needs to go on my wall. Check out the other posters.

    Adventures in Synthetic Biology Comic Strip.

    Deadheads are happy again.

    Riverbend on Iraqi cures for sore throat and lost voice.

    No XMas For Sony

    What you never knew about Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

    I've seen this on a few sites: The Best Word Book Ever, a comparison between the 1963 and 1991 versions.

    Do not harrass bloggers. Especially bloggers who have a big following on Boing Boing.

    -by Tegan at 7:39 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Comcast Problems

    So Comcast is having e-mail issues with MSN and Hotmail accounts, and has completely shut down all access to the server if you are sending to msn or hotmail. Which in and of itself is a pretty nasty situation. But to make matters even worse, they didn't bother to tell their customers about the problem, and when you get into their chat and ask what's going on, you get an "it's not our fault!" response instead of an explanation.

    If Comcast were an actual "service" provider instead of just another money-grubbing provider, they would, at the very least, put up a notice in a prominent place on their homepage that says: "We are having e-mail problems with e-mails sent to msn and hotmail, we're trying to fix it, please bear with us." But they didn't bother to do that, and it took me some time to find the forums where people were asking about the problem and snotty Comcast "professionals" were busy saying "It's not our fault!" until somebody finally figured out the real problem and explained it.

    See, I don't care whose fault it is. I was trying to send an e-mail and was getting a strange response from the server. All I wanted was somebody to tell me what was happening.

    As a customer, when there is a problem with my internet service, I want to know two things. Number one: What is the problem and how will it affect me? In this case, they could have said what I suggested they put on their homepage above and I would have been satisfied. Number two: How long will it take to fix it? I still haven't got an answer on that one. Every other ISP I've used has had a spot for "Messages of the Day" that tell you if there are any outages or problems with the service. What's wrong with Comcast that they can't manage that minor effort?

    This is not the first time I've said that Comcast sucks, and it probably won't be the last. You would think a company like that would at least have figured out the basics by now. But instead we get clueless support staff who are kept as nearly in the dark as the customers and are told to deny that anything is wrong. Last time they had a major outage in our area I was told flat-out by a support idiot that my service was fine. He wouldn't even check for me when I asked him to, or file a complaint... when I called again three hours later after tying every single trick in the book from my side to get it going again I was told, "Oh, there's an outage in your area, didn't you know?" GRRRRRRRRRRR.

    So, if you use Comcast and cannot send your e-mail because of odd server messages, it's probably because msn and hotmail blacklisted comcast's server due to too much spam coming from it, so Comcast shut down all e-mail going to msn and hotmail in retaliation. But remember, it's not Comcast's fault!

    -by Tegan at 8:57 AM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Wednesday, November 30, 2005


    The US Post Office is going to put out a series of DC Superhero Stamps, including an Aquaman stamp based on the cover to issue #5 of the second mini-series (art by Curt Swan and Al Vey) and a stamp with Aquaman artwork by Jim Aparo.


    Here's what the post office's site has to say about the stamps. First the cover stamp:
    Aquaman #5 (of 5)
    Oct. 1989
    Art by Curt Swan & Al Vey
    Aquaman defends both land and sea with great strength, speed, and the ability to communicate telepathically with all marine life. His ultimate goal is to help both realms put aside their natural prejudices and unite in peaceful coexistence.
    And the Jim Aparo solo stamp:
    Art by Jim Aparo
    The memories of Aquaman's personal tragedies run deep after he loses his son, his wife, and his monarchy. Nevertheless, the former King of the Seven Seas remains determined to protect both the Atlanteans and surface dwellers from those who endanger them.
    Oh yeah... some other heroes are getting stamps too. Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Batman, The Flash, Plastic Man, Aquaman, Supergirl, and Hawkman. It's definitely going to be a part of my collection.

    I already updated the Aquaman Website, but then I had to update the Oz Blog as well, because there is a Judy Garland Stamp reported in the same press release. Ah, I like it when news breaks and I can fix it.

    -by Tegan at 7:37 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    More CSS Fun

    So I managed to completely update the page into a wonderfully simple CSS that probably will speed up the loading and make the look of the page more uniform over various browsers.


    I'm having a major whitespace problem. Look here to see it. UPDATE: fixed. Under the header you can see extra whitespace in both the main blog and the sidebar. Then, as it that wasn't enough, there's loads of whitespace in between list elements. Unfortunately, all the help I can find refers to an IE whitespace bug... and this is happening on every browser I've tested it on. URG!

    This is killing me. Except for those two problems, the template looks really good and works in every browser. I won't tell you how long it took to make it work in IE! But the problem won't go away, and I'm not sure how to fix it.

    Update: AAAAAARRRGHHHH!!! I figured out where the problem is coming from. Apparently Blogger loads a couple of style sheets for their navigation bar. Something in those sheets is causing that extra space. At least I know where to look, now...

    Update: Ok, so we have a completely CSS template (with some leftover table elements in links that I know about). The list problem is still there, but does anyone see anything else I need to fix?

    Update: Yay! I fixed the list problem. So now I need to hear from anyone who sees any bizarre behavior on the page. I know about the Google box being goofy, but other than that it looks really good to me. So if you find something, I wanna hear about it.

    -by Tegan at 5:43 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Massive Linkdump

    I have about a bazillion reviews to write, but I've found I can't force myself to review if I'm not in the mood, so instead I will continue to dump links on you poor readers...

    Shane Bailey sends a little love to Brian Wood.

    News from PvP: "Truth, Justin and the American Way" is a full-color five issue mini-series by Scott Kurtz, Aaron Williams, and illustrated by Italian cartoonist Giuseppe Ferrario. I would be more likely to buy it if Williams or Kurtz had provided the art, but considering the minds behind it, this one might be a winner.

    A somewhat amusing rewrite of Crisis on Infinite Earths (and a bit of the events after it, too).

    Mark Evanier provides us with a new game. It was the second site I picked. But then, I'd visited two of them before.

    Dave thinks his dog might be a puggle.

    This is the way to sell music online.

    Even more bad news about Sony's attempts to destroy your computer. In short, if you have run a Sony CD, you probably need to completely wipe your drive and start over with a clean install of your OS. In the meantime, NY might sue Sony, and Sony knew exactly what they were doing, despite claiming otherwise.

    Live-action Narnia = Blasphemy. From a letter by C.S.Lewis. I wonder what he'd think of the very non-pantomime version hitting theatres now?

    Free Wi-Fi! in New Orleans.

    The remaining members of the Grateful Dead have made their fans angry.

    Libraries and Movie Ratings.

    What Hollywood can learn from anime. More here as well. According to the RIAA and Hollywood, this kind of behavior results in lost profits. But Manga and Anime are booming. Makes you go "Hmmmm..."

    Firefox 1.5 has been released. Now, should I update or wait, update or wait... decisions, decisions.

    -by Tegan at 6:26 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    CSS Update

    As I mentioned a week or so ago, I'm working on converting this blog to CSS. I've run into at least one major problem. Namely that it's absolutely impossible to duplicate the layout of this blog in CSS because of the way the tables are set up. CSS can do a lot of neat things, but making my sidebar look like my sidebar looks now is not one of them. I will probably bow to the inevitable and change it, but not soon.

    In the meantime, I've been introducing CSS aspects to everything that I can. For example, the header up there that says "Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog" on the blue-purple background is now all CSS. And it reduced the size of the header code A LOT. I've been making other little tweaks as the mood hits as well. If you notice something really odd, feel free to leave a comment in whatever entry is at the top of the blog at the time. I'm testing on four browsers, but they are all mostly CSS compliant anyway.

    In other news!

    I'm trying to update the CSS on the Aquaman page, but it's mostly grunt work now. Just changing all the bits and pieces while updating the content. Lots and lots of work. I could easily spend eight hours a day on it.

    My blog archives for Bloggity are also getting a face-lift. I'm making the sidebars SSI (Server Side Include) to make updating the stuff that tends to need updating much easier to ... um, update. I'd love to update all the code on the pages to CSS too, but there are over 150 pages in my archives and I'm not sure I'll get around to it. In addition, Blogger's archives have become a lot more stable since I first joined up, so I really don't need the archives anymore. Not that it's going to stop me from continuing to update them.

    The keyboard on the laptop went out again, but this time I knew how to fix it. Still, if it keeps going out continually this will become a serious pain. It's freaky to have the keyboard just stop working in the middle of a sentence. This makes me even more glad that I didn't cancel the order on the new laptop as soon as I fixed the old one. There is no doubt that this workhorse of a laptop is finally getting close to retirement age. I'm thinking of trying to run Linux on it once I get settled into the new computer... just to see what Linux is like now. I would like to go Microsoft-free, just to see what it's like.

    We are supposed to get snow tonight. If we get any significant amount, the entire region will shut down. I warned the mighty mowing men who came out today to work on our yard, since none of them are from the Northwest. I don't think they believed me. Ah well, if we get snow, they'll learn.

    -by Tegan at 7:26 PM Seattle time - Permalink  


    Ah, one of my own pet peeves has a website (link removed due to persistent harassment). Bliss. Via Augie.

    Mark Evanier has information on the Claypool Crisis. Peter David posts the official release.

    Some links to Aquaman discussion over on my Aquaman site. I'm still waiting for some actual news.

    Dave likes the library. My library has also managed to have a good selection of books, but that's because it's part of one of the biggest library systems in the nation.

    Proof that Macs are dangerous.

    Elayne Riggs has found the most remarkably stupid website about The Wizard of Oz.

    A way to clear old minefields has been developed. I had thought of something like this myself, only I imagined something a bit higher tech, and thus more expensive, and thus impossible to implement. This idea is much better.

    A tragic death possibly caused by a deadly kiss.

    Snopes about Napoleon Dynamite and the state of Idaho.

    Dolphins at play.

    Living camera uses bacteria to take pictures. Of great interest to the blogging community is the choice of images to be the first picture on the camera. Heh. Ramen.

    NSFW!!! (Not Safe For Work): Lots of folks mention this story. As a Doctor Who fan, I had to check it out. Oh my. This is just worth repeating again: "Daleks do not do porn."

    One by one, the penguins steal my sanity. I don't know where the quote came from, but it really applies to me.

    -by Tegan at 4:55 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    Sunday, November 27, 2005

    I Can Never Leave Well Enough Alone

    I thought I'd tried everything in my power to restore the keyboard, without opening it up and checking the internal connections. I fully intended to do just that, but I wanted a new computer first, so I didn't lose anything. I've been burned way too many times to just open up my computer at the drop of a hat, especially since I've never opened a laptop before.

    What can I say. I was wrong. I hadn't done everything.

    Rather than give up on this laptop after ordering the new one, I continued to search on a variety of search terms for a solution. If nothing else, I wanted to find a guide to opening the computer. I've never dug into the innards of a laptop before.

    I didn't find anything about Inspiron 7500 keyboard problems, but after a couple of hours of browsing, I found information about fixing the exact same problem on an earlier Inspiron version. It involved turning the computer off, removing the power cord and battery, and then using the reset button.

    In all the years I've used computers, if a problem could be fixed without cracking open the machine, it would be fixed on a full reboot. I'd never even heard of a reset button on a PC. I figured "resetting" and "rebooting" were the same things. Apparently not. Hey, this is my first laptop, and this keyboard problem was the first major problem I had with it. When I first read the instructions to use the reset button, I assumed it was the same as the power button. But luckily, I did some checking first and discovered that, whoa, there's a different button that is used for resetting.

    So I followed the instructions meant for the earlier version of Inspiron. I'd never pulled the battery from my computer before, so that was a new experience. I couldn't tell for sure if I was pressing the reset, but the instructions even mentioned that it would be difficult to tell. Then I restarted the computer not expecting much. I'd tried EVERYTHING since the keyboard went out yesterday.

    It worked. It WORKED. The keyboard worked. The reset button, that I'd never even heard of before, restored my keyboard.

    So, if your laptop keyboard suddenly stops working in the middle of a sentence, remember to try the reset button. Hopefully, some poor sap in the future who is having the same problem will run across this note and be saved a lot of time and/or money.

    -by Tegan at 3:40 PM Seattle time - Permalink  

    New Computer

    As it's clear that my poor old machine just isn't going to last much longer, I've started moving all my files over to the external drive a friend gave us and I spent pretty much all night last night, until 1 am actually, researching computers. After a couple of hours I began to get a clearer idea of what I wanted, and once I had an idea I started doing price comparisons.

    I didn't intend to get a Dell.

    I'm not going to bore you with the specs, but I customized it heavily and got a computer that, on paper, is exactly what I want. That actually makes me nervous. I've never had a perfect computer before. It should last me a minimum of five years, unless tech makes even bigger advances than anyone expects. And, yeah, it's another Inspiron. The one I have worked all-out for two years running an operating system more intense than it was designed for, and I have no idea how much work it did before I got it. To say I stretched the specs of my current machine is a major understatement.

    This morning, after both hubby-Eric and I had some time to sleep on it, I ordered the new computer. If I understand the shipping info correctly, it should arrive by the 10th of December. Between now and then I need to find all the software I consider essential and make sure everything I want on the new machine is copied to the external drive. For the first time ever, I'm getting a new computer before the old computer had serious harddrive problems and lost data. Also for the first time, I've got a way to get all the data from the old computer to the new one. I'll be able to use this computer a bit longer, I hope, as both a back-up and for time intensive jobs.

    Despite the fact that Dell sends computers with software already installed, I intend to wipe the drive and start clean with only the stuff I want. For instance, I know AOL will be installed on the new machine, and after the troubles I had with AOL I want none of their software on my computer. I suppose I ought to go download the latest Open Office and Firefox to install on the new computer, as well.

    Until I get the new computer in a couple of weeks, posting might be a bit sparse. It's very difficult to type and read on this computer. I hope to get my reviews written, but the added irritation of having to go back and re-type half my words because the keyboard is too big might delay things.

    -by Tegan at 10:52 AM Seattle time - Permalink