October 2007 Archives

Quick updates

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No updates on Tai yet, and I don't expect anything to be known before Friday. The good news is that it's still so easy to feed him his daily meds, that it surprises me again and again.

I've updated my work schedule for November, so if anyone is wondering when best to contact me, you should now be able to figure it all out. I'll try to get that date off in December, but it may be hard or even impossible depending on what dates colleagues have requested.

Tai, the sequel

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I think a new name for this blog may be in order soon. Instead of friedkitten I should name it peekitten or wetkitten, who knows? Anyway, this morning I called the vet to see when they had a consult today and it turned out my regular vet was on holiday (I should have known) and that a colleague was filling in for her. She told me to come over around ten and after I gave her a quick overview of his history she examined Tai. He'll be staying in for a couple of hours - I didn't expect to go so the vet till this afternoon, so he had been eating - to sober him up, sedate him and draw blood and urine. She'll also make an echo of his bladder and if that looks good, no x-rays will be made. If she sees something that looks suspicious, x-rays it is.

I'm awaiting a call in the early afternoon to see if I can pick him up again. One option is that he suffers from FLUTD. When she has taken the urinary sample she'll check if for infection and crystals. If none are present, one option is cat pheromones which should reduce stress levels and may aid in solving the problem. I definitely hope those pheromones help reduce my stress levels too, because dealing with a cat that pees all over the place is not my idea of fun.

To be continued...

Update 14h34 : I just picked him up from the vet, he's still asleep. Photographs can be found in the Photo Gallery in a couple of minutes (photo's now online). Blood and a urinary sample have been taken and will shortly be off to the lab for examination. I hope to know something more on Friday - Thursday being a day off for most people. I've stopped at the pharmacy to get his medication as well, but they weren't in, so they're on order and should arrive around 4PM. Apart from being asleep he's also gotten a pain killer. The vet had taken a look at the sample herself but didn't see any crystals in it, though she admitted not being a trained lab person.

What was quite obvious is that the sample had a very distinct red color (quite probably indicating blood in the urine, which I had told her about). The sample was also quite clouded, more signs that an infection may be the cause of it all.

Oh, in case you wonder, the reason he now has a shaved belly is because it's quite hard to take a good echo of a furry abdomen - nakedbellykitten.com anyone?

Once again... to be continued.

The end of procrastination

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I've had several days off from work over the past 2 months, yet I managed to keep some tasks ahead of me. One of them was - and you probably know how it is, the longer you postpone them the more challenging they become - filing all my bank statements. Today I woke up and decided to work on them till they're done. As I write this, I've just sat myself down at my computer to update my monthly expense sheets. Last time I properly did so seems to be March 2007. Ouch!

Sure enough, some things were noted and kept up to date, but as the majority of data is easy to retrieve from the statements, I had not bothered. I'll spend the next 30 to 45 minutes going through spreadsheets and entering numbers, lots of numbers.

Tomorrow I'll be taking Tai to my old vet, because the last antibiotics he got haven't helped either. He's still peeing all over the place and generally not feeling too well. He's still playful, so that's a good thing I assume, but we both need a permanent solution to his illness. The vet I was seeing before had told me to call her in case it wasn't getting any better so she could refer me to a vet who has the option to do x-rays. Well, my old vet can do x-rays, so I'm not gonna bother with the call and head straight over there. More updates hopefully in the late afternoon tomorrow.

Off to crunch numbers!

Real Life Presentations in Second Life

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I've just spent quite some time attending a presentation in Second Life by the World Bank Group titled Doing Business 2008. Data and information can be found on the website Doing Business. Most of the data presented was new, but the mechanisms and underlying ideas were not, at least not to me. I've read a couple of books on these subjects (The Mystery of Capital, The Corporation : the pathological pursuit of profit and power, ...) so I was getting some other work done while listening to the audio stream. Which was buggy at best and had to be restarted a couple of times. Those things happen in SL though, so it was no surprise. Others that were attending their first mass event were less patient and understanding and kept on demanding to start the presentation. Ah well, either they will stick around and learn how SL sometimes is what it is, or get frustrated and leave.

While the Activ8 sim soon filled up as the presentation was about to commence, when I headed out, a lot of chairs had gone empty again as well. Was it due to technological problems, a topic that was not what they had expected, or something else? I don't have a clue, but my best guess would be that some people left because they found the presentation not too interesting and totally unrelated to their own Second Life business or experience.

I think that it once again shows that you can't just take a real life institution or company with their ideas, brands and reports and drop them into this virtual world. Unless they really tie into the whole experience and "get" it, they'll be disappointed and so will their SL visitors be. In this virtual world, they don't call the shots, they don't make the rules or dominate the playing field as they do in Real Life.

Impressive, but

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not there yet. I had installed POPfile on the machine of someone who is far from an experienced user a while ago and today he sent me some usage statistics that I requested.

Messages classified: 635
Classification errors: 14
Accuracy: 97,79%

Not too bad for a light e-mail user with not that much exposure to spam, but we ain't there yet. I'd like the installation to reach well over 99% accuracy before I'll even consider turning on automatic trashing based on POPfile classification.

For comparison, here are the stats of my POPfile install :

Messages classified: 13,880
Classification errors: 29
Accuracy: 99.79%
Last reset : June 25th 2007

So now you immediately understand why I need to run a mail proxy and various other related tools at home... close to 14,000 messages in under 4 months time - a bit scary, ain't it?

Oh, while I got your attention, make sure check out these links to security advisories and update your installed versions accordingly : Java Sun JRE (1.6 update 3), Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader (8.1.1) and Real Player (10.5)

For those that consider these patches trivial or non urgent : POC or exploit code is available and in the wild.

Roar!

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After careful consideration and reading up on the subject of polyphasic sleep, I've decided not to attempt going down that route. My current shift schedule is wicked enough as it is and while that could be seen as prior experience to deal with the changed perception of time, it would also affect my ability to find and follow a stable sleeping schedule with naps every 4 hours. If I were working from home and on my own, I would definitely give polyphasic sleep a try.

For those of you that have not yet read the articles I posted below (thanks again Nadia!), I do suggest taking a look at the Steve Pavlina blog entries on this topic. A very interesting read for sure.

I'm gonna go see The Simpsons Movie later this afternoon. While I'm not a big fan of afternoon movie trips, it's only being shown at 14h15 so I fear that if I don't catch it this week, I'll have blown my chance to see it on the big screen.

That's all folks...

Polyphasic sleep

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Thanks to Nadia I now have a couple of very interesting articles to check about polyphasic sleep. For those of you interested, here are some links she sent me, and I've added some other articles I dug up.

Whether or not I will attempt this remains to be seen. Going by the bits of information I've already read, a very strict schedule is required to successfully keep it up, and unfortunately a nap every 4 hours is out of the question for me. I don't think I'll be allowed to doze off for 20 minutes in the midst of my shift at work. Then again, maybe there are ways around it. If one can train the body to go through all the sleep cycles in 20 minutes every 4 hours, I take it it may be possible to train towards 40 minutes every 8 hours as well, wouldn't you say?

If anyone has attempted or successfully lives their life using polyphasic sleep, I'd love to hear your experience with it.

Uh, bed? What's that?

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Man, I don't even recall when exactly I made the change from enjoying virtual worlds to working in a virtual world. One things is sure though : time zones are killing me. Every time I'm about to head off to bed, a bunch of Americans pop on, requesting help and support and the clock just ticks away, second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour. I managed to log out, finally, about 45 minutes ago. If I were at work, I'd hop in my car now and drive home. Since I'm at home, I'll hop out of my clothes and into my bed.

Public service messages to some people :

Kleine : thanks for the fun evening and I must add that I = QT.
Nadia : find me that article about sleep training, quickly ;-)
Ash : Lol, you know me all too well - sorry for not accepting your myspace invite, I'll have to hunt down my login information and password, which I seem to have lost. I didn't bother looking for it yet, I admit.
Jerome : I've saved your mail but haven't gotten round to actually replying to it. Bad me!
Girls that want me : tell me. Don't assume I'll pick up the hints. Listen to what Ash had to say.
Bed : get ready, here I come!

Inventors wanted

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I'm looking at a long day in which I'll try to get some sleep even. It's close to 7AM as I write this and I got home from work about 30 minutes ago. Between 7 and 8 I'll be tidying up the place a bit, then I'll be waiting for the people that take up the yearly heating meters to arrive. If it's anything like previous years, they'll be here around 8 which would be nice. That way I can take Tai to the vet again around 8h30 coz he's still suffering from his urinary tract infection it seems, and I fear there may even be some blood in his pee. I'm not all that certain, but it doesn't look healthy either.

Once I get back from the vet I'll try to get in three to four hours of sleep, then I have to make some calls to set up a meeting for Monday morning. And look at some dumb idea I had on the way over from work.

While I'm writing this post, the new firefox version 2.0.0.8 is downloading and I'll be installing it once I'm done here. So many things to do and so little time. Can't anyone just invent a body that doesn't need rest or sleep?

Update : There I was with my my cat at the vet, but there was no vet to be seen anywhere. Probably because she doesn't have an AM consultation hour on Fridays... Will try again around 5PM. Nadia, if you happen to find that article again, definitely forward it to me, I need longer days, or shorter nights.

Literal vs. Figurative

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Nadia submitted a review that she thought I could have written about the movie "The Girl Next Door", and I must admit... it definitely sounds like me. Read along, will you?

In short the movie is about a Porn Star that moves in next to a somewhat geeky kid and, surprise surprise, they hit it off together. Whereas the plot is a little too fairytale-ish for me - he runs off to Vegas to save her from the evil porn industry - I did enjoy the movie, in a it's-Friday-night-so-I-don't-need-my-brain kinda way. Although if I were the kid, I'd probably have stayed in Vegas and started a business of my own. Oh, did I mention he gets filthy rich at the end with the earnings of his own "porn movie" (read: sex ed tape)? Volunteers can contact me via the known ways :-D"

But, of course I wouldn't have had that challenge posted if I hadn't taken a break from my regular tongue in cheek yet to the point style of writing. Here's my review after watching the movie (for the second time) :

"The Girl Next Door has everything a classic mainstream movie needs :a cute woman/girl, a shy boy who falls for her, some jokes and bad guys. Stir it all up, add something resembling a plot and off you go. Nothing worth mentioning, let alone blog about, right. So, what makes me like it?

Is it the insanely sexy Elisha Cuthbert? I've gotta admit that it probably has something to do with me liking the movie, but I think there's more to it. It almost seems as if the flimsy plot appeals to me - go figure. The shy kid gets the cute girl. Not instantly, there have to be a couple of bumps and trouble along the way, but in the end things turn out well. Isn't that what I'm looking for subconsciously? Isn't it what we all are looking for at some level? Love and be loved?

Yeah, that must be it : find a girl that you just hit it off with, that challenges you yet stops you from doing really dumb things. Someone who's there to cheer and celebrate, and to comfort when things are rough. Someone to hold and cherish, to let go and be a free soul.

Crap, did I just write down my own definition of "love"? Did I tear down those walls, even if just for a second? It scares, surprises and makes me happy me at the same time..."

So... that's my review, kind of. I guess that if I was to write it again in a couple of months, it could look entirely different, who knows. I must admit that I like Nadia's idea in the review to start up a business myself, however if I had to make the choice between the girl and the cash at some point, my reply would most definitely be "screw the cash".

Wait, that is a bad choice of words I think. Let's give it another try, shall we : "however if I had to choose between the girl and the cash, I'd most definitely pick "screw the girl".

Better? Still a bit vague and open for interpretation, ain't it? Ah well, you can keep the cash, as long as I get (to screw) the cute girl ;-)

B minus 1

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I've got a little story to tell about how everything that could go wrong seemed to wrong last night.

I head off to work a bit early because I plan to pick up some bread from a vending machine - I did have the time to go get bread during regular shop opening time, but I lost track of time so I forgot. I take the car out of the garage, drive over to the vending machine to find it empty. Grr... nice start. If I don't find some bread, it'll be a long night.

But, don't despair, there's another vending machine on the way to work, so I'll stop there and make a second attempt to change my coins into bread. I arrive at the second vending machine to see that it's empty too! Wait... no, it's not empty, yay! I pop in two 1 Euro coins, clang clang, and I get a 10c coin back. I open the door and... there's no bread. The stupid machine has offered me access to an empty compartment!

I close the door and - can you guess - the damn thing rotates to the next compartment, which does contain a nice bread. Arrghh. Of course, by now I had run out of coins, so there was no way to give it another try and I seriously considered using my size 43 boot to gain access to what I paid for after all. However, being the easy going guy that I am, I decided to chalk this one up to bad luck.

What else can we do? Aha... pick up some cash from the ATM about half a mile up the round and stop over at the fast food outlet to have something to eat after all. I arrive at the ATM, which is "out of service". Nice, this is what I needed. By now the early start that I took has turned into a 5 minute delay. Back off to another ATM that I know should work, which is located... 250m from the first vending machine. Finally I get some cash, and off we go to the fast food restaurant.

Let me assure you that it has got nothing to do with fast food when you have to wait a long time to actually get your food. Eating while driving to work (not safe, I know) I arrive only 10 minutes late, but still on time. What an evening...

While driving to work, I've got the nagging suspicion that I've forgotten something important, and then it hits me : October 15th, my mate Joco's birthday. I considered calling him around 21h30, but decided against it coz he'd probably be asleep already, so I sent him a mail when I got home this morning, and will be calling him in about an hour... after I do some shopping!

Nadia, thanks for your review, it'll be posted tomorrow after I finish my own review.

Oooh shiny!

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Lol, I start working night shifts again tonight, even though I was awake and out of bed around noon - it'll be a long night, especially as I'm yawning already. Could be a lack of food too though, so I'm gonna have something to eat and see if that helps, grin.

Nadia, I'll be looking forward to your review written as if you we me. Confusing, ain't it?

Here's a video made by Alex, Michael, Joco and Eef : Jumping at Alex Disco. Quite a creative bunch, ain't they?

Choices

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I get home from a day at work that actually went by pretty quickly and as I eat some Chinese food, I turn on the telly and have the following options :

Yasmine, licht ontvlambaar on Eén (Concert recorded on February 2007)
Sporza, België - Finland on Canvas (Football)
I am Sam on VTM (Movie featuring Sean Penn)
Unfaithful on Kanaal2 (Movie, thriller)
The Village on VT4 (Movie, directed by M. Night Shyamalan)

What would you watch, and what do you think I'm watching right now?

Update : thanks to Marianne and Hilda for the comments. Both of them guessed that I would be picking The Village, while I was actually watching the Licht Ontvlambaar concert by Yasmine.

None of the movies really sparked my interest and football is definitely not my favorite way to waste time. When I turned on the TV, I landed in the midst of the Yasmine concert and I stuck with it. I actually have a Yasmine CD at home (the real deal even, not some download and burn to an empty disk rip off CD), surprising as it may seem to some.

Answers and a short challenge

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Just a quick answer to two of the comments left on that previous entry :

Anon : maybe, if you are interested, send me your proposal. My e-mail address is on this blog.
Madame : I agree. There is also another saying : if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

I'm still pondering which one applies more to me... I'm not one that likes heat, but I like cooking ;-)

Ok, something entirely different now. Did anyone happen to see The Girl Next Door on TV today? Or maybe you did see it in the cinema when it first released? Anyway, I'm thinking this : if I was to review this movie, what would I write? Do you think you know? I challenge you to write up a pretty short (4-5 lines, that's all) impression of the movie, which could be written by me. Yes, I'm challenging you to pretend to be me for a couple of minutes, and write what you think I'd write. Those of you that haven't seen the actual movie but think they're good enough to write "my" review based on the information they can find about it on the web, here are some links : The Girl Next Door on IMDB - Elisha Cuthbert

There's nothing to win, but I promise to post my review of the movie later. Here are some tips that may or may not help you :

I like the movie. I won't be focusing on technicalities. I may even compare the fiction of the movie to (my) Real Life, who knows. Or maybe I won't. Be creative :)

ready - set - write!

11

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hours of work a day is enough for me. I'm tired and got home to find a tax bill for over USD500 in my mailbox which didn't really cheer me up a lot. Next year - or rather this year - I need to either earn less, or make sure I got more costs to deduct, otherwise I work more to have less in the end. Mind you, I don't mind paying taxes at all, but there is a limit to everything. Once you exceed the level people tend to find acceptable or fair, they revert to cheating and magically disappearing numbers, and that ain't good for anyone in the long run.

I did run into a very hot lady in the supermarket though and we exchanged smiles. On the parking lot it turned out we were parked next to one another and we exchanged smiles again, but that was it. I'm so gonna approach her next time, promise!

Now it's time to lay down and rest. Blog for you all later...

Flexibility vs Principles

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I got a call around 17h30 from one of my superiors to see if I could work some extra hours after my shift on Thursday. Contrary to popular belief, I don't oppose changes or things I feel are incorrect just to cause trouble or give people a hard time. I just don't bend over and let anyone screw me over if there is anything I can do about it.

So when he called to ask about Thursday, I could easily have said no, but as I had nothing else planned there is no point in doing so. If he had asked on Thursday during my shift, I would have declined, purely on principle : if someone doesn't show me some courtesy, I tend to become quite inflexible and to the point. So, extra hours on Thursdays, no problem!

I added my schedule to the blog - finally - so people actually know when to contact me.

Tai seems to be doing a bit better today, as he's been playing and running all over the place like crazy. Right now he's asleep at my feet while I blog this entry and watch the two sexy ladies Ilse Demeulemeester and Cara Vanderauwera in Huizenjacht on TV.

Too interesting a study to skip

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If you're not up for a rant, don't read this post - you've been warned ;-)

According to a study released by CREG on October 4th - an institution that controls and regulates energy use in Belgium - there could be a shortage of electricity of as much as 2000MW in 2008, which would result in an increased reliance on import of energy into the country, as well as operating older and more polluting sites for a longer period of time.

It goes without saying that purchasing electricity abroad is usually more expensive compared to producing it yourself, so if I jump to a conclusion here : in 2008 we're all looking at increased costs for electricity.

The study is available in PDF format (dutch|french) and as soon as I'm done reading it, I'll add to this post.

1 hour later

I just finished reading the 25 page study and I'm not going to comment on it after all. The study in itself is too interesting yet complicated enough that I feel I wouldn't it justice by trying to summarize or highlighting aspects. There is however one quote that I want to put into the spotlight - something I feel was sorely overlooked in the reporting about the study in general media :

De nodige hulpbronnen worden in deze studie voorgesteld onder de vorm van productiecapaciteit van het centrale park, al is het "in fine" uiteraard aangewezen een oplossing te overwegen die tevens in hogere mate beroep doet op hernieuwbare energiebronnen en op maatregelen ter beheersing van de vraag en ter verbetering van de energie-efficiëntie.

In short, I blame the media for creating spectacular headlines stating that we're heading towards an electricity shortage in 2008, while a part of the solution is within the grip of each and every one of us : stop the yearly increase in demand for electricity (currently projected at 0.96%)

Lines that Count

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I don't know if glam rock, leg warmers and jackets with shoulder pads make you think of the eighties, but they do bring back memories for me. Another thing that I connect to that era is barcodes. Which is kind of surprising if you realize that modern barcode technology dates back to 1948, but was only commercialized around 1966.This makes the same technique that we still rely on almost 60 years old, and it's far from gone, even with newer solutions - such as RFID - peeking their head around the corner.

Of course, all the slim and broad lines and numbers mean nothing without some barcode verification equipment to read the codes and let the system know what product is being scanned. Each time a code is read, a hand held or static reader sends the data to a central system and stock is updated. This can be used to track incoming (deliveries at the warehouse) as well as outgoing (sales passing the register) goods and be tied to automated order processing, making the margin of error much smaller.

You probably wonder why a technique that's over half a decade old still stands in this day and age of new technology and constant improvement? Barcode verification is all over the globe and not all that easy to replace, even if one really wanted to do so. Sure, you could move to the emerging RFID technology - where each item separately can be uniquely identified - but apart from a need for a huge investment, there are quite some concerns about the tracking of goods and people when turning to RFID. From a business and economic point of view, RFID gives one the ultimate tracking ability, but when it comes to privacy, barcode still has the upper hand, and I don't see that changing in the next 5 to 10 years.

In that regard, one of the limits of the barcode system - the need for short distance interaction between the barcode itself and the barcode verifier - serves as a benefit, and not a disadvantage.

Initially developed as a tool to automate and facilitate business, one cannot neglect the impact barcode has made on our everyday life. Some people even go as far as having a barcode tattooed on them, whether it be as a statement of their uniqueness and non-conformity or because they like the beauty of the concept.

Golden Boy

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Tai got two shots, but was being a real baby about it. I spent most of my visit at the vet with a cat in my neck, which was rather funny but not the easiest way to treat him. After his antibiotic shot, he also got some preventive vaccinations that I had forgotten all about and I got him a new bag of food as well. Total bill was close to 100 euro, hence the Golden Boy title.

The infection should clear up in about a week but if it returns in two to three weeks, he'll have to get an x-ray to see what is causing the bladder infections.

I'm trying to solve some issues with an Acer Aspire 3000 laptop that a colleague brought with him yesterday, as it "didn't boot into windows". One check disk later it boots into windows without a hitch. That was last night though... After installing a bunch of windows and Office patches, the machine is slow as hell and barely reacts to any movement on the touch pad or keyboard. When I attach a USB mouse to it, that works just fine.

I suspect some core components of Windows XP got messed up somehow and/or faults on the hard disk. I had already verified that there were no serious virus nor spyware infections, so I'm kind of clueless what could be the problem now. I'm gonna run a full disk check now, but the outlook is not too bright.

Update 1 : 56% of the disk check has been completed and while looking for solutions, I found this entry on the internet : Acer Aspire 3000 keyboard failing, which rather surprisingly points to the battery being the cause of it all. I've removed it so that the machine is running without it and draws current directly from the main grid, to see if that indeed helps things.

Update 2 : with the battery removed, the laptop boots and runs very smoothly. I will look into performing a BIOS update to see if there is anything to gain from that, but if not, the machine will go back to the original owner with the remark that it has been checked and updated and that the issue is hardware (ie battery) and not software. Then it's up to them to decide if they want to take it up with Acer or Acer Support.

Update 3 : BIOS flashed from v3a24 to v3a32 - with the battery installed, the problem returns or rather remains. End of the ride for me - this laptop is going back to it's owner.

How can you fix...

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something that's broken by design? From a European view on things, credit is a bad thing, no matter how you look at it. However, in the USA, you ain't alive if you don't have a credit record. It even appears as if you don't owe anyone anything that you are simply non-existent as a consumer, and no company seems willing to sell you anything on a payment plan.

Imagine walking into a dealership and wanting to buy a new car, but they don't want to sell it because you have no credit history. Even if you want to pay for it in cash, you may be refused. Hence, as far as I can see, the whole credit business is flawed by design.

If you are forced to work with this flawed system and play along, you could run into a "bad credit" situation that prevents you from obtaining your goals. Enter legal credit repair, a service provided to erase damaging information from your credit report. According to the information I was able to gather from their FAQ, it mostly boils down to doing a full audit of your credit records and making sure that all the information kept by the credit institution is compliant with federal laws.

While they even admit that you can do it yourself - after all, you are only executing your right as a citizen to verify and correct information gathered - it is a bit like going to court and defending yourself : you have the right to do so, but using specialized services such as a lawyer will greatly affect the chance for success.

So, let's take a deeper look at the procedure to erase bad credit. I think it is quite clear that the service offered is not for free. According to information I was able to dig up, they first audit your credit history, then request removal from all entries held by credit bureaus that are non-compliant with federal law, and finally they come up with a plan of action to improve your credit history and increase your credit scores by going for the most damaging items first. Does that sound a little vague to you?

It definitely does to me... I can understand that they don't publish their business secrets for everyone to copy, and there is much money in bad credit repair, no doubt about it. On the other hand, their promise to educate and encourage clients to take their lives back in their own hands makes me hopeful that people will start standing up against what is a predatory (credit) industry to start off with.

Another trip to the vet

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It's still way early in the morning according to my body, yet I dragged it out of bed to make sure I make it to the vet around nine. Last night Tai was meowing like crazy and he keeps on peeing wherever he walks so I can only assume that he has a urinary infection or something like it.

I hope the visit to the vet will confirm and help fix the problem, for Tai and me, because he must be getting as fed up with it as I am.

Hey

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I feel much better today after sleeping a good 7 hours, I guess I needed that. The sun is shining and as it is Saturday, the market is out so I may actually head over there and do some shopping. I need food anyway, so I think I can combine enjoying some sun and shopping at the same time.

I've got the option to write another sponsored post, as requests keep on coming in. I know those may not always be the most fun to read, but they do cover a part of my monthly bills, so you're gonna be stuck with them every now and then. I don't accept all of them anyway : last month I turned down one about satellite and dish networks, and 1 about marriage and divorces. I felt I had nothing worthwhile to write about those topics anymore so by accepting the opportunities I wouldn't do my readers nor the advertisers a service. I don't mind accepting some cash to review a site or a service, but not at all cost, well on the contrary :-)

OK... and now I totally forgot what else I wanted to blog about. Crap, gotta love the attention span of a goldfish!

Video Conversion

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Everybody loves technology, right? Well, maybe not everyone. I know - not many though, I admit - a few people that are challenged by the setup of their VCR, and if they get a new dryer they have to have someone from the shop come over to explain what all the buttons mean.

Nowadays there is DVD, DVD-R, DVD+R, Blu-ray, HD DVD, and a ton of other formats out there that compete for your attention and use. Some of them will make it, others won't. Some of my readers will be too young to remember the Betamax - VHS battle that went on in the mid seventies and eighties. Betamax was the technological more advanced solution, but VHS came out the winner. Around the same time, 8mm film was hot and miles and miles of pellicule have been used taping anything of interest. Good luck finding a way to actually play an 8mm movie in this digital age :)

Is there a solution to that? Of course there is! You can convert 8mm film to DVD. If you want to have a go at it yourself - do you still have that 8mm recorder to play back the film? - you will probably succeed in the end, but having a professional company handle your memories may be the best option. After all there is more to it than just a film transfer from one format to the next. 8mm films were often stored for years in a box, prone to be forgotten and no one pays any attention to humidity and heat, which are two important factors that affect the life cycle of pellicule.

A simple 8mm film to DVD frame by frame copy using software would decrease the film quality 30% to 50%, which would be unacceptable in most cases. To archive film at the same or even better quality, hardware frame by frame copy is the only way to go. When using that technology, each frame is captured as a digital image and later recombined to a movie. It takes much more time then a software real time copy, and thus is more expensive, but if you are committed to save your 8mm memories anyway, why not do it properly?

Resolutions, not revolutions

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It's been a long week and I've got two more days to go. For no specific reason I come home and feel burned out, physically tired even though the only physical activity done all day consists of walking from my car to the entrance, cycling to my office, walking up the stairs (1 floor) and all of that in reverse 8 hours later. Maybe that's exactly they problem : a total lack of physical exercise.

A healthy mind in a healthy body, wasn't that something the Ancient Greek already knew? I could make plans to actually start working out, but I know how that usually ends up : a plan, which is soon forgotten, disbanded and thrown overboard. I'm good at resolutions, yet back at actually executing them, lol. There is this one lady at work though that I wouldn't mind doing some physical activity with though ;-)

Out of my league? Possibly. Especially if I keep on playing in the 29th division class I currently play in. Or rather where I act as a replacement or stand in if everyone else couldn't make it to the game. I think I need people skills. There you go, another resolution.

I think I need a revolution though...

Online Casino Top 10

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We've all heard about a casino, you may even have set foot in one before but have you checked out an online casino yet? Of course, those online entertainment outlets can't mimic the atmosphere of the real deal, but some of them get pretty close. The setting and service is part of the global experience, but you have to admit that just the looks and not the odds are not what going to a casino is all about. If you play, you play for fun.

But you also play because you've got a shot at winning, beating the dealer or breaking the bank. There are tons of online casinos out there, so you wonder what each of them has on offer, don't you? Do you just head over to your favorite search engine and start clicking away, or do you go take a peek at onlinecasinobluebook.com?

I didn't know the site, but if you are a bit like me and love being and staying informed about everything web and gaming related, online casino bluebook gives you a Top 10 of online casino's and what bonuses they offer for playing with them. It's no secret that online casinos are big business and millions of dollars are spent and paid out every day, so the existence of a site such as online casino bluebook is not surprising.

While the site is far from flashy or even good looking - the font face used is so prehistoric internet that I have flashbacks to Pong - it has a review about each of their top ten entries, and a payout percentage listed. I couldn't find where they get the payout percentages, so they could be unverified and just taken from the casino site itself, or they could be verified. No real way of telling as far as I know. That sort of information is rather important, so it should be obvious and clearly stated, though I must admit that I didn't bother to contact support - to which a link is provided at the bottom of each page.

Is online casino bluebook your one stop site for everything that related to online casino gaming? I can't tell, and while your mileage may vary, the idea itself isn't bad.

1, 2, 3, 4,...

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I'm not counting the hours till work calls again, I've got a clock radio to wake me up in due time. Yep, another week of holiday has gone and I've accomplished... nothing. Lol, that's not totally correct, but not far from the truth either. Today, I took out the trash - or was that last week? - cleaned out Tai's litterbox, emptied the dishwasher and did some laundry. After all that "hard work" I felt I had accomplished enough and decided to go get some take out Chinese food.

Grin, all that in over 8 days of not going to work. I think I need a certificate as Master of Procrastination.

But, because I don't want to leave you totally empty handed, I give you : Kama3D (also known as "Regards sur la bête" or "Aspects of the beast")

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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