Monthly Archives: September 2010

Guido the Geek Performs Hit on Twitter?

President Barack Obama talks with White House ...Image via WikipediaWhen White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted his Twitter account had been compromised, a host of feelings popped up for me. Having had one of my websites hacked a while back, I thought well if a site as huge as Twitter could have left its guard down what had happened to me wasn’t that bad. It could happen to anyone. The thought of such “huge” people as Gibbs and Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown‘s wife Sarah getting hacked goes to show how wide spread technology crime has become. Still, don’t you find the media’s attempts to describe technology a bit funny? I do. In a New York Times article — Twitter Is Hacked Tuesday Morning – — the writer states:

Other attacks, including the first worm to strike the iPhone, launched in November 2009, also paid tribute to Mr. Astley. In rebel-Web parlance, clicking to see Mr. Astley is known as being “rickrolled.” Twitter has since disabled @matsta’s account.

I love that description “rebel-Web parlance.” ROTFLMAO.
The article also suggest a mafia-like cybercrime organization, which elicits in me visions of Guido the Geek completing a hit on Twitter account holders. Is there really a “cybercrime organization?” Well, sort of. There are a few groups who’s sole purpose is to steal identities. That’s what the Justice Department‘s division of  Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property define as cybercrime organizations. If there is a Cybercrime Mob, is there also a “Godfather?”
I know its not funny to those who were infected. The matter might appear less humorous to me if I’d visited twitter that day. Yes, I have a twitter account, but rarely post any tweets simply because I can’t write sentences that short. And, by the time I think of something to say, the subject is too old to comment on. I also don’t read tweets off of the website. Like many, I use an app (I prefer NAMBU) to keep up with those I found interesting enough to follow. However, I can go weeks without even firing it up. But, now that I know there’s a cybercrime mob, you can bet I’m going to follow @guidothegeek so I can keep up with them.

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The Physics of Farm Town

Holy Cow in Black Hole

Old hats of the Facebook/MySpace game called Farm Town are familiar with this but its new to me. The geek in me finds it fascinating enough to write about it.
I think about all the years’ physicists like Stephen Hawking have been working on this and its right there on a silly facebook page. A Farm Town glitch knocks a hole in the space-time continuum. BELIEVE IT . . . OR NOT.
The glitch allows you to have unlimited dimensions on your farm. In one dimension you can have a crop of pineapples and on the same farm you can have another dimension of crops of tomatoes. These dimensions are not aware of each other, they don’t interact in any way. There are no dualities. And, almost, no rules.

Farm Town Logo

OK, stop laughing at me. In order to write this, I have to come clean and admit to being a Facebook gamer. Yikes. There’s so little time to do everything I do and yet I often find myself looking at my watch thinking, ‘Oh no, I’ve got to go harvest my (some crop here). Betty White said on her SNL debut, (Facebook) “sounds like a huge waste of time.” I actually have gotten a lot out of social networking sites, but that’s another column. I was introduced to Farm Town’s multi-dimensional universes recently, while assisting a neighbor who’d hired me to harvest her crops. Helping out in Farm Town is beneficial to both parties. Both receive cash and crops, while saving on the valuable fuel commodity. So back to my discovery over the physics of Farm Town, my overall-clad avatar was going along, minding her own business, harvesting this person’s crops when suddenly the world started disappearing. It was as though my character was being swallowed up by a black hole! Frightened, I typed, “What’s going on????!!” and my neighbor explained what Farm Towners know as “Layering Farms.”

Layering farms

Here’s the info she sent to me:

Farm #1, completely harvested and plowed.
Open farm in 2 to 4 tabs…depending on how much you wish to layer
tab 1, plant 4 day crop if you have opened 4 tabs
tab 2, plant 3 day crop if you have opened 4 tabs
tab 3, plant 2 day crop if you have opened 4 tabs
tab 4, plant 1 day crop if you have opened 4 tabs
At this time all tabs are still open
All farms are planted
At tab 1, click refresh
when the farm reopens the crop planted on the last tab..(tab 4 – 1 day crop) will be showing. Close other tabs.
When crop is ready to harvest:
harvest crop and delete fields. Refresh, crop showing should be crop planted on tab 2. Once this crop is ready to harvest, do so and then delete fields. So on, so on… After harvesting 4 day crop, plow and begin again. This can be done with all 6 farms…therefore each farm has 4 separate days worth of crop for a total of 16 harvest in 4 days.

I’ve done it with more than the 4 crops – added 8, 4, 2 hr ones sometimes if I needed them.

I tried it, and even though it’s a bit confusing, it worked the first time out. Something happened I should note for those who want to try it. When I did it, it said I had gone offline and asked if I wanted to reconnect. I took a guess and said no. I finished following the directions and it still worked. Now all I have to do is make sure that I harvest the “layers” (I much prefer my definition of alternate dimensions) before they whither. I can’t wait to see the black hole effect again.

Never to Old to Avoid the Trekkie Redshirt Effect.

I ran across the link for this at Huffington Post. It is hilarious. But, it reminded me of a lesson I’d learned from my teen-aged son. To confess, I never considered myself a Trekkie–sure I loved the series and had seen all of them along with the movies but I wasn’t hard core. I did, or so I thought, know a lot more about Star Trek than my son. But at one of the ComicCon’s or other comic convention we attended, I was about to purchase a Star Trek T-shirt, when my son took it out of my hand and told me absolutely not. Puzzled, I looked up at him and he said, “Mom, the red shirt always dies.” Don’t laugh, but I’d never heard that before, nor had it occurred to me. I’m embarrassed to find out that its common knowledge. Apparently, redshirt is a writer’s slang term for a minor character who’s sole purpose is to dramatize a dangerous situation with his brutal death. It was apparently first used in Star Trek, but has become such a common technique among writers that it has a Wiki named after it, a book about it, and so on. Just goes to show me how much I don’t know.

This is a site I’d heard about before, but really had no need for it nor did I want others to have the ability to access my computer. Now that my parents-in-law have bit the bullet and gotten a computer, I have found out the need to be able to see their computer when they call. Being able to move the mouse is a major accomplishment for them, so to say the least they are in need of a lot assistance. The only problem right now, is I’ll have to go down there and install the logmein software before I can test it out. So stay tuned.
Note: I did install it on my laptop. I had one tiny glitch. I’d forgotten to turn off norton’s firewall and the first install failed. Once I’d given the permission to open a port on the network (sorry I didn’t write down which one), I tried again to install and it went well.
Check out (its free unless you want more features).

Creating a Blogger Template with Artisteer

I decided to test out the blog template creator using the great program called Artisteer. It took some trial and error, but I got it to work. First, I tried to re-create the look, keeping the same color scheme and header features. That wasn’t too difficult. Then I saw that Artisteer supported flash now. (Honestly, I don’t care for lots of bells and whistles, but since I was playing around I used it.)
Next, I tried to publish straight to blogger, using Picassa to hold the art work. This is the default in the Artisteer program. It does give the option to export the files to ftp or ImageShack. Since I just wanted to test it out, I went with the default option. Unfortunately, it failed. It didn’t like the flash header, so I dropped it and tried again.
The software said it had been published. So I clicked on the view page and the template was there. All the posts were gone, though. So, I bit the bullet and took a look at the code. All appeared to be alright. Sure, Artisteer puts a lot of extra stuff and left out some of the new blogger features, but I can live with that.
So, back to Artisteer. I took out the menus, and other extra’s and this time saved the file to my computer instead of publishing directly to my blog.
Then, back on blogger, I went to my dashboard. Then to the Design tab, then selected Upload file. Found the blogger.xml file that Artisteer had exported to my computer, and followed those commands.
It worked.
That piqued my curiosity. Maybe it was just my layout and Artisteer could publish it directly? So, again, with the trimmed version of the layout, I attempted to publish directly to blogger. Once again, it said it was successful, and once again, there were no posts in the blog. So, I reverted to the old layout out.
To make a long story short, if you’re going to use Artisteer to create Blog templates, export the file instead of trying to publish it automatically. It shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes and you’ll have a functional and, completely personalized, template for your blog.
I think you’ll be able to add additional widgets after you get your Artisteer-created template up and running. To do that, you go through your blogger account dashboard and click design, edit pages and then add widgets.
Note: I am using Artisteer version 2.4.0 and there has been an update since then that may have fixed the problem of publishing directly to blogger. I just am short of funds at the moment, but that’s another story.

Note to self


You keep complaining that you can’t find the notes you made about such and such. So, I started this blog to send yourself notes. I’ve installed the Safari Extension and the Firefox Addon for Scribefire. Now, when you’re surfin’ and run across a cool feature or anything else you take notes on, you just hit the little note bubble next to the url and start typing.
Hold on, hold on. I know you also surf with Google Chrome, but I haven’t had a chance to look for the extension for that. First thing’s first. Scribe fire’s extension requires you to put in a url so there’s somewhere to put the information in. So, I’m just setting it up right now.