31 January 2005

Random Ramblings: Online Anagram Generator

Some fun and games: a website that creates anagrams. The other day, I invited Petch to join Google Mail and he spent a few seconds trying to decide what login name he should use. I suggested that he use an anagram of his name - but of course, this is easier said that done. That's why I went searching for an online anagram generator. This one's pretty good, but of course it's not the only one out there.

01 November 2004

Random Ramblings: Lorem Ipsum

This may be the most useless thing I've ever written, but what the hell.

The other day I was working on a web page and I wanted to insert a paragraph of text onto the page. I hadn't actually written the text yet, but I still wanted to put a placemarker on the page, partly as a reminder to write the text and partly to allow me to continue formatting the remainder of the page. Rather than haphazardly generating a stream of junk characters (is there a technical term for this?), I remembered that there's a chunk of Latin text that's normally used for this purpose. I also recalled that it started with "Lorem ipsum".

Doing a Google search for "Lorem ipsum" came up with an interesting website. Not only does it provide an informative history of "Lorem ipsum", it also provides an online "Lorem ipsum" generator. You simply choose how many paragraphs, words or bytes of text you want, and the program generates it for you. For what it's worth, here's what two paragraphs of "lorem ipsum" look like:

    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vivamus feugiat nisl sit amet erat fringilla luctus. Cras pharetra dui quis neque. Sed sit amet neque feugiat magna varius sodales. Suspendisse sagittis. Integer mattis blandit ante. Cras tempor. Etiam dolor diam, lacinia ut, bibendum eget, scelerisque in, tellus. Nulla sagittis mi et lorem. Pellentesque elementum magna nec dui. In sit amet dui ac orci venenatis faucibus. Sed at pede. Nullam non nisl in mi interdum commodo. Aenean et tortor vitae risus mollis tristique."

    Fusce sed libero. Sed scelerisque, dui ut adipiscing bibendum, neque eros volutpat neque, id bibendum ipsum ante vel wisi. Aenean vel risus. Vestibulum odio. Aenean a tortor in metus semper placerat. Nunc vel nulla vel metus nonummy molestie. Nulla lorem sem, pellentesque et, pellentesque non, viverra vel, nulla. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean nulla. Aenean neque ligula, dictum eu, nonummy a, cursus sed, urna. Sed urna magna, fermentum et, sodales vel, convallis vulputate, lorem. Donec in odio. Etiam leo. Nam dignissim ante ac wisi. Donec dui libero, ultrices eu, fringilla a, laoreet id, metus. Curabitur metus felis, porttitor vitae, aliquet id, volutpat nec, ipsum. Etiam nec felis et nibh convallis aliquam. Vestibulum rhoncus iaculis eros. Curabitur porta fermentum magna. Proin ipsum ante, consequat at, fringilla at, sagittis eu, purus.

Don't bother brushing up on your Latin - the text may look neat, but it actually means nothing. Totally useless? Perhaps, but it may be interesting to note that this website has managed to receive 2 MILLION hits in just under 2 years. No doubt, that's more than Wobble will get in 20 years!

15 April 2001

Random Ramblings: Easter Eggs

Happy Easter! Although, hardly a holiday in Thailand, it's clearly a bigger deal in the U'.S., at least for candy makers who get to hawk their wares in a different seasonal wrapping (as they do for Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, 4th of July, ad infinitum). And lest we forget, there's also the religious/spiritual connotations for folks of the Christian faith. As this was my youngest daughter Wow's first full year in the U.S., I went a bit overboard and tracked down three easter egg hunts for her to participate it. Of course, easter egg hunts mean something entirely different for computerists. To them, "easter eggs" are goodies hidden inside software (occasionally hardware too) that are usually viewable by issuing elaborate keystroke sequences or code words. If you're curious what weirdness lurks inside your computer, check out The Easter Egg Archive at: https://www.eeggs.com.

10 April 2001

Random Ramblings: Tax Time

Okay, if the U.S. won't apologize, I will. Sorry folks. Wobble is back from its maddeningly annual walk-about, coma, whatever you want to call it. I really hadn't gone anywhere - I was just preoccupied with a number of unpleasant matters.

One of those unpleasantries is U.S. taxes (it's almost April 15/16, a day folks of the Yanqui persusasion know well). As nearly 20 years have past since I last filed a U.S. tax statement, I decided to visit one of the local super-bookstores to update myself with this year's H&R; Block offering. Alas, while the chairs in the store were comfortable, the book would have required hours if not days of reading, not to mention "interpreting" (tax tomes are rarely written in understandable English). No, not a practical solution.

Taking the easy way out, I bought some tax preparation software instead (specifically, "TaxCut 2000" from the self-same H&R; Block rather than the better known "TurboTax"). Aimed at non-experts (computer or otherwise), the software was reasonably organized, written in understandable language, and came complete with helpful video clips. And with it, I was able to generate a reasonable looking Form 1040.

Ironically, though, TaxCut didn't (or couldn't?) tell me that I didn't need to file a standard 1040 at all. Instead, as a non-resident, I had to file a 1040NR and in fact, had until June 15 to do so (procrastination heaven!). Furthermore, I didn't even need to file State taxes either. All of this came from browsing the IRS's website (https://www.irs.gov), plus a phone call to the state's Revenue Department. Oh well, live and learn.

31 December 2000

Random Ramblings: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year folks!

26 December 2000

Random Ramblings: Seasons Greetings With A Disclaimer

A belated Merry Christmas! I just got back from the Cascade Mountains and am nursing a cough and cold, so I've been spending my time sending and receiving Christmas/New Year greetings. An odd year, this year - I sent out 50% paper Christmas cards, 25% email greetings (with an attached family photo), and 25% e-cards.

Here's a particularly interesting email reply I received from a former co-worker:

    Hi Khun Woody,
    Thank-you very much and wishing you and your family a New Year of wealth of happiness.
    (Sender's name)

What especially tickled me was the signature line at the bottom of the email which read:

    Any opinions, express or implied, presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standard Chartered Group.

25 November 2000

Random Ramblings: Back from Las Vegas

A belated Happy Thanksgiving! I just got back from Las Vegas today. I went a week after the Comdex computer trade show ended, hoping that everything will had died down already. It had - sort of - at least until the Thanksgiving crowd started pouring in.

Speaking of Comdex, I've made the pilgrimmage a half dozen times since my inaugural visit in the early 1980's, but I've already had my fill. Comdex is such an overwhelming experience, but a unique and valuable one if you're totally crazy about computers. Unfortunately, the Comdex hotel prices in recent years have been truly predatory and that's cooled me down considerably.

Before I left for Las Vegas, my Linux Mandrake v7.2 arrived from Cheapbytes. I haven't had the chance to install it yet, but hope to do so this week. That same day, I saw the v7.2 boxed versions at the local Staples office superstore. As I was forewarned, the boxed versions only contain KDE v2.0 beta (or more specifically, v1.99), not the final v2.0. A pity.

29 October 2000

Random Ramblings: Adjusting Stuff to Daylight Savings Time

It's the last Sunday in October and here in the great Northwest, it's time to turn back our clocks by one hour because of Daylight Savings. The last time I had to do this was in the early 1970's when I was doing my Bachelor's degree in the great Northeast. At that time there were no such things as personal computers - the closest thing around was a monster "portable" by IBM that came equipped with Basic and APL and costed several 10's of thousands of Dollars.

This time, Windows 98, upon booting up, non-chalantly informed me that it had moved the time back one hour, but that I should check to make sure anyway (who said Microsoft was cocksure?). My General Instruments cable box and my Sony TiVo box also adjusted themselves with nary a peep, but for them it's to be expected since they both receive feeds from their respective HQ's (continuously for the cable box, once a day for the TiVo box). Everything else I had to adjust by hand. 20-30 years from now, assuming I'm not already ashes floating on the water, I wonder how many devices I'll still need to adjust.

09 March 2000

Post Database: Loose Use of "Hacker"

I just wrote a letter to the Post Database regarding the loose use of the term "hacker". The letter also talks about intrusion detection software called BlackIce Defender. Wobble folk can preview it here.

25 January 2000