Just Thinkin has moved.

So it’s been WordPress.com and 130 posts or so and now it’s time to move into my own WordPress install. Kinda’ like moving from an apartment into your first home which means all the problems of ownership (except at the server end of things) are now mine but on the other hand…I can fix them as well.

It also makes me free to mess things up as I see fit thus giving me badly needed training on what not to do when configuring my own blog site and for any readers I might have, a whole lot of laughs.

So for awhile I’ll put the first part of a new post here with a link to the new site and after the new site’s rank is back up I’ll stop doing that as well. This post will always be at the top.

Meanwhile, here’s the link to the new home of “Just Thinkin”:


All past post have already been transferred over but like in any move some things get left behind and as such, all the previous comments seem to have evaporated into thin virtual air. Such is life. Plenty of time for more comments on this, that, and the other thing.

Many thanks to WordPress.com for hosting this small portion of my life.

See ya’ at the new site.

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Sneak Peek!

Hello all.

I’ve got a secret…

If you want to know what it is…

Take a look over here (don’t fret now, it’s safe enough).

It’s not quite ready yet but I think it’s pretty cool.

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IE 7.0 final sneaked out

The IE 7.0 team at Microsoft put the final version of IE 7.0 on the streets before most people realized it (the sneaks). Announced earlier that the final would be available via MS’s Automatic Updates, a “sneak up behind you and tap you on the shoulder” early release was offered as a download from MS’s IE Webpage only a few days ago. Does anyone think that the soon to be released Firefox 2 final had anything to do with this?

Read the rest at the new site

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Bits and Bytes

Just some short observations after reading this weeks PC/software news.

On patch Tuesday: Record number of patches for XP. Over 2 dozen I believe split between the various parts of the Windows OS and MS office 2002 and XP and 1 for .net framework. The Windows bashers are having a heyday this week however…

Think about this:

Why in the world would anybody want to hack their way into or endeavor to infect an OS that has less than 5% of the market share (MAC OSX, Linux etc)? What’s the point? (No offense here…just  making a case)

These type of people either do it for kicks, are just plain old troublemakers or have some fanatical point to make. If I wanted to cause trouble, I would most assuredly hit the OS that had the majority of the market share in other words, the one that everybody uses be it personnel or business. If I was theoretically out for blood I certainly wouldn’t waste my time and talent on the small players.

If it were the other the other way around and say MAC’s carried the world’s weight around and Windows users were the minority, guess which OS would be “full of holes” then?

Plain and simple.

Google pays 1.67 billion for YouTube:

Well, looks like the guys at Google needed to get rid of some more of their massive profits 🙂 And  Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim (along with others) are now 1.67 billion dollars richer and in the Google tradition (most of the time anyway) YouTube will continue to operate as an independent company run by it’s current 67 employees and co-founders.

So how did this go down I wonder? Something like this:

Google: “So here’s the deal guys…You let us buy your company for tons and mountains of dough but you can still keep it, okay?.”

YouTube: “Uh…Okay.”

Not bad for three ex-PayPal employees I don’t think. And for a company less than a year old from their debut date no less. I should be so lucky.

Microsoft gained it’s current position by forcing out the competition and stepping all over them. Google is currently working to gain the same type of position by offering huge amounts of $$$ in offers to “little guy” sites that they think is a good idea. And then they give all these ideas and more back to the public with their various services, information and software.

Am I missing something here?

Hmmph! Works for me and I think I like their style over MS’s.

We shall see.

Windows Vista:

Hmmm…050/50 chance here. A winner or the death knell for Microsoft and the Windows OS?

Only time will tell. Just don’t be too ready to lose that OEM copy of XP you have.

And last but not least…

Windows Live OneCare 1.5 beta (XP and Vista):

Just another Antivirus/spyware/firewall/ internet security suite…this time from MS itself. It works, it doesn’t bother you with trivial matters and doesn’t hog your resources either. Set it, let it keep itself updated and forget it.

The difference from all the others? Lowest yearly subscription price (so far), runs basic Windows maintenance automatic routines that most users don’t bother with or know about in the first place (defrag, clearing out old data, temp files etc) plus full back up capabilities. Actually pretty good stuff.

A “set it and forget it” Internet security suite…it works.

Now if MS really wanted to set the world on it’s butt…give the program and it’s subscription free of charge. They can afford it and with the promised street prices for the various offerings of Windows Vista, I think they should give it some serious consideration.

Ah what the heck, they’d probably be hauled up on the Green Carpet for unfair practices or something.

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A note to MSN

After being told for the umpteenth time that I needed to download Internet Explorer 6 in order to view this video yada…yada…yada when attempting to view an MSN news video from the MSN.com front page I finally banged into MSN Video support and wrote them a (mostly) polite blue blazer on the fact they need to stop telling users they have to do something when they actually don’t. MSN puts that default “download” page there on purpose so it will be triggered by any user agent string that doesn’t specifically state it’s IE XX knocking at their door.

Anyway, seeing that I was as long winded like I usually am, I thought I’d turn that note to MSN Video support into a post. So…just for fun….

To whom it may concern and all that, (ok, I really didn’t put that part in) 

I use Firefox as my primary browser. I use it as my primary browser because I need a browser that has the capability of being tailored to my specific needs and frankly, I just prefer the present day Firefox over IE 7.0 (which I have been beta testing since the first preview release). IE 7.0 is an excellent browser and good work done by all so far but firefox suits me better, plain and simple.

I have been a user of MS products since the early days of DOS and through all the Windows products up to XP PRO SP2 and my respect for the company increased a notch or two when they made Windows Live Mail fully compatible with Firefox in fact I believe all of the Live services are now compatible as well. I understand that I have to use IE 7.0 to use MS update and that’s fine but there is absolutely no reason that I or any other user that prefers Firefox or Opera should be forced to use IE just in order to watch an MSN news Video (not mad, just making a simple statement) and suggesting a user download an obsolete browser (IE 6.0 SP1) that should only be installed on a pre-SP2 load of XP is just an outright insult to the user’s intelligence and makes an otherwise fine service and site (MSN) look very bad indeed.

It’s past time to change especially when the other MS services and sites are opening their doors to everyone so come on MSN, get with it. I’d like to think you’re better than that!

As always,

Kirk M

I really don’t believe my little note to MSN Video support is going to amount to a hill of beans but the sentiment is true enough. Especially when I can view any MSN news video from any of the other locations outside of MSN itself that uses those particular videos. Firefox is setup to view embedded WMP videos and also to trigger WMP 11 (in my case) when viewing is more appropriate in WMP alone rather than within the browser itself. Sorry MSN, but it’s pretty obvious that you’re barring those using another browser who wish to use your site simply because they are not using Internet Explorer.

Any opinions?


Firefox 2 theme updated

Which fox to use I say.

I have a number of foxes that reside on my desktop these days. Somehow I just can’t get away from my past of which beta testing was one of my favorite things to do. I no longer do that type of testing professionally but there are more than enough ways to satisfy my craving that exist in the good ol’ virtual world and one of them is the up and coming Firefox 2 release (sometime in October I believe).

Hence my different foxes.

Along with the current release I also have Firefox 2 beta 2 set as my default browser and the latest Bon Echo 2 beta 2 nightlies as well for keeping tabs on new developments in the browser on a daily basis each one with it’s own separate profile. Having the “nightlies” on board allows me the enjoyment of watching my current FX2 B2 extensions and themes work and not work, send feedback, get updated and work again, then Bon echo is updated the next day and things may work or not work again etc, etc. Such fun.

While banging around the Internet this am after installing the latest nightly update into Bon Echo I noticed something different about the highly complained about, not-so-great-looking default theme for FX2 (FX means Firefox). It looked better! Actually it looks a lot like the MacFox theme that is available on the Mozilla add-on site.

Now, I don’t really know how long this new theme has been part of the Bon Echo 2 nightlies since I have been running a different theme (I didn’t like the new default theme either) but this new update is a very acceptable change for the better so I thought I would do a couple of “snippets” and show you the difference.

Original theme

Original FX2 theme.jpg

Updated Theme

Updated FX2 theme.jpg

Now, if they’ll only put my Email button back in (!!), I’ll be happy.

Now of course, for those of you who are using IE, thias post is completely redundent.

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Things are getting too small.

My lady accidentally dropped her faithful old digital camera the other day breaking off the battery cover. Now this was easily fixed with a little tape and ingenuity but It got me to thinking.

She bought this “point and shoot” style digital camera (Kodak) back in 2000 and paid somewhere between two and three hundred dollars for it. It is dark gray (almost black), has straight forward “on/off” slide switch, “up” and “down” push buttons plus “select” and “menu” buttons and a small LCD small in other words; simple and straight forward. No zoom or special features, just turn it on and take a picture and the pictures it takes are usually just fine. Also, when you turn it off it actually shuts off and the batteries are just as fresh when you turn it back on days or a couple weeks later. It’s about the same size as your average point and shoot 35mm camera. Easy to handle and operate.

In 2004, she bought me a “point and shoot” style digital camera. It wasn’t even my birthday (what a gal!) but that’s not the point. This camera (another Kodak) cost somewhere between two and three hundred dollars. It’s silver, has a “turn roundy” on the top that switches between six functions including the “off” position (the other ones are “on” but each position does “on” differently), a button above the LCD display that switches between 5 different flash modes, a 4 way + center click “thumb” button on the left hand side of the LCD display, a “zoom” control rocker switch on the upper right hand side of the LCD and underneath that switch are two others marked “Menu” and “Review”. The camera and the zoom feature work fine also and the majority of pictures it takes turn out just fine also.*

*Unfortunately , like most modern consumer technology these days…it doesn’t really shut off and will kill a normal set of alkaline batteries within 2 days of sitting around in the “off” position which means the date and time have to be reset every time I put the batteries back in. I can’t afford to buy a new set of batteries every 2 days. But I do like the camera!

The problem lies not in the functions of the separate cameras but in the size difference.

You see, my camera is a bit smaller than her 2000 version which is large enough to handle comfortably. In fact it’s just that much smaller to make it uncomfortable to handle for someone who’s not too far away from fifty. And the newer cameras today around the same price range we bought our cameras at back then are smaller still and that’s ok for those  young enough to still have perfect eyesight, coordination and sense of touch but as one gets older these senses tend to dull over time (no, really? Yes…really!) and with these devices getting more and more compact these days the less we, of the older generation (not oldest, just older) have the ability to easily use them.

Unfortunately for us of the mid and latter “middle age” and older group, the PC/electronic/gadget market is 99% youth oriented yet a very large portion of people who make use of the above devices are not youths but those in late 30’s to those who still have enough of their senses left to use PC’s and various gadgets. The average users and potential users who make up a large portion of the above mentioned market are most definitely not just coming out of college or in their first two years of their first job of their new career.

I guess the point here is, is that since the tech market is geared toward the younger set who want their cell phones, computers, camera’s etc to be not only reliable but as compact as possible so it’s easier to take with them, easy to use, have as many functions as possible and can be used without any “hassles”, then that’s what the manufacturers are producing.

Now, reliability, functionality and ease of use are great for all generations but compact? How compact can you get until you’ve left half of your customers and users out in the cold? For instance; I talked to my wife at her quilt shop using my buddy’s tiny Motorola cell phone while fishing out on the lake one weekend. This phone is smaller than a pack of cigarettes  and uses a flip top lid that incorporates the speaker and an LCD display. Since I’m rather deaf and was unsure as to whether I could hear her using the phone in a “regular” manner, my friend flipped it over to “speaker” mode and handed it to me.

So here I was, out in the middle of the lake talking to my wife, holding on to something that had a strong resembled to a communicator from the original Star Trek series and I had all I could do to keep from having “Kirk here” slide out of my mouth (uh…my first name happens to be Kirk ya’ know). I was very impressed however, that my honey’s voice came through loud and clear and I could understand every word she said even though the wind was blowing across my hearing aids which make them sound like a cheap “windy” sound effect from a grade B movie.

Unfortunately, I noticed that the bottom half of the cell phone was filled with buttons. Buttons whose labels I didn’t stand a chance of making out at all without reading putting on my reading glasses. Buttons positioned so close together would have had a difficult time not punching two at a time even if I could make out what each one was for and of course I couldn’t make out anything on the LCD display as well…it was so small(!) and my eyes are really not that bad yet…just on their way to getting there which is a perfectly normal thing.

But still…I couldn’t use the same type of phone despite how impressed I was with it’s quality.

The point to this whole dissertation is that I’m becoming increasingly aware that when I really need to have something like a cell phone, I won’t be able to get one simply because it’s too small for me to use.*

*The elderly of a small town in central Vermont began pushing the county seat to find a way to install a cell tower somewhere in the Waits River valley area that would be able to provide cell access to most of the surrounding area (This whole area is nestled in the hills and mountains). The reason being is that these folks who could still work the fields or out in the woods or just plain liked to go for a walk or drive to town now and then (which was just about all of them) wanted the security of being able to call for help if their health suddenly decided to go off in another direction besides the one the they were currently traveling. I don’t know whether they got a cell tower or not but I do know that many people that I’m acquainted who are around the same age or from that area itself expressed their extreme frustration that even if they got their tower or had access already, the cell phones being offered these days that could be easily taken with them were actually too small for them to use at all.

And one day I’ll have to replace my camera but I really don’t want to have to shell out $500.00 to $1000.00 for a camera with 100 different functions and manual adjustments that I’ll never use just so I can have a camera that’s big enough for me to handle easily.

So all you manufacturers of PC’s/electronics/gadgets out there…please listen up.

You have a very large portion of your customer base that already use or would like to continue to make use of modern technology and the benefits that it offers them. It’s these customers you will lose if you don’t realize that for us…smaller is not better.

Don’t forget the older generation guys. We were your first customers to begin with and we stayed with you through good times and bad. Don’t leave us out in the cold.

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