Value Added

Posted in House, Technology on April 17th 2005 by Randy Reichardt

:: This weekend, Geoff was over again, helping me with the home renos. He cut and installed a few sections of baseboard, as well as a couple pieces of transition moulding. I stained some smaller pieces of moulding, to be installed around the piece of slate in front of the fireplace. In the evening, I visited Geoff and Kim, we had Chinese food and watched this movie on their big basement screen. Today I drove with Amelia to Smoky Lake, where we, along with her Harvest Moon Fiddlers, performed for the locals as part of a celebration in honour of town volunteers.

I was also in a spending mood this weekend. I bought one of these, to be delivered on May 27th. The model is called South Beach, but I can’t find an example on the web site. Then I went to Best Buy and bought this, this, and this.

There is more to come: new clothes, a cell phone, and a few more items for the home renovations. I think I will enjoy the laptop. My Dell 4400 is three years old, and somewhat sluggish, but still useful. I’m surprised at the ease of transition to the laptop, and look forward to learning more about it. The wireless mouse works well so far, and the wireless router is a godsend.


Posted in Technology on November 25th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The problem detailed previously with Outlook 2003 not working on my home computer has been solved for now. In Norton Internet Security 2005, I turned off the AntiSpam function, and e-mail began to flow into my Outlook 2003 inbox.

I’m now working with a template designed by Neil Turner in the UK, with the goal of moving it to STLQ when it’s ready. You can see my progress with it at, if yer bored…

:: I have a couple hundred e-mails to process (here and at work.) Please be patient with me. I’m also nearing the end of the book chapter I am writing. I estimate I’ve spent anywhere from 60-80 hours on it in the past four weeks. I underestimated how long it would take to finish it.

The Problems Continue

Posted in Technology on November 22nd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Perhaps the planets were out of alignment when I made a number of upgrades to my home computer recently, because I continue to encounter nothing but problems. To wit, I’ve loaded Office 2003, Moveable Type 3.121, Firefox 1.0, and Norton Internet Security 2005, within the last few weeks. I’ve detailed problems with Firefox already, and continue to delay facing the inevitable regarding getting new templates for my blogs, which needs to be done to make them work in Firefox, especially STLQ.

The non-stop aggravation is now with Outlook 2003 at home. It has now decided it doesn’t want to work anymore, and keeps giving me this error message:

Task ‘ – Receiving’ reported error (0x8004210A) : ‘The operation timed out waiting for a response from the receiving (POP) server. If you continue to receive this message, contact your server administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).’

Yes, yes, I’ve searched the error on the ‘net, found pages at Norton and Microsoft that discuss it, and tried to replicate the suggested solution within Norton 2005 – makes no difference. And with the new version of MT, when I save an entry, it kicks me out, back to the login page – I log back in, and the post is there, saved. D’oh! Of course, this also means that if you are e-mailing me, I may not get it, and you may not get a reply, either, until this is fixed.

I’m plugging in the iron so that I can use it on the white flag I plan to raise soon. Why is it that when you upgrade to improve the functionality of your machine, it never seems to work right?

That sound you hear is me sucking my thumb in the fetal position on my bed. First, ice cream. Good night.

Skype – Free Long-Distance Phone Calls Anywhere on the Planet

Posted in Technology on March 30th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: While browsing through Time Out New York #437, I read an article called Talk is Cheap – No-hype Skype lets you make long distance calls for free, by Lisa Sweetingham.

    Skype is a Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, program that transforms your voice into data and then transmits it over the Net. The London-based Skype company joins a string of other VoIP players: Net2Phone and Vonage (see TONY 400) already offer VoIP plans, and Time Warner Cable and Verizon are gearing up to enter the game. But only Skype lets you make calls to anywhere for free—all you have to do is download the beta program.

    Developed by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, the two Swedes who created the peer-to-peer file-sharing program KaZaA, Skype is like Friendster for your phone—but no invitations are needed. And while commercial VoIP providers use a centralized system of computers to route calls, Skype cuts out the middle man; your computer calls your contact’s computer directly.

    Skype works on PCs running Windows 2000 or XP operating systems (Apple users are out of luck for now, but Zennström says they may introduce Apple platforms in the future), and the download takes about 30 seconds. Just plug a mike/speaker headset into your computer (about $30 at any electronics store) or go speakerphone-style with a mike and your computer’s internal sound card, and you’re ready to chat it up with your long-distance Skype friends.

Naturally, I am curious to see how good it is. If you download the program, let me know. The latest version allows for conference calls for up to five people at once. The one weakness, as mentioned in the article, is that you can only call other Skype users for now – to me, not a huge issue. If you have friends or family that you call regularly, and you want to save $$$, this might be the solution. I’m looking forward to trying it as soon as one of you loads it on your machine.

Comics I Don’t Understand

Posted in Pop Culture, Technology on February 23rd 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: Garth (old Wpg friend living in Mpls area) sent a link to The Comics I Don’t Understand Page. The owner uploads comic strips published during a one-week period, the punch lines or points of which he doesn’t get, and asks readers for their interpretation.

:: Keith advises that Microsoft is offering its Windows Security Update CD free of charge. “This CD includes Microsoft critical updates released through October 2003…” It’s useful if you are have a slow ‘net connection. More info available here. As well, updated info on the Mydoom and Doomjuice worm variants is available, including a free scan of your computer to see if it’s infected with either of these products.


Posted in Film, Library, Pop Culture, Random Thoughts, Technology on January 7th 2004 by Randy Reichardt

:: The Directors Guild of America has announced its nominations for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2003. One notable absentee is Anthony Minghella, for Cold Mountain. Overall, it hasn’t been the best year for film. Sales of tickets in the USA dropped for the first time since 1991.

:: With the Spirit Rover firmly in place on Mars, the US will now move its search for WMD to the red planet itself. Meanwhile, The Beagle isn’t doing too well.

:: The Writers’ Union of Canada is “aghast” over cuts to Regina’s public library system.

:: I’m a bit cranky tonight. Last night while falling asleep, my right eye began bothering me. This morning I woke to a burning feeling in said right eye, and it has yet to subside. I know, I should have it examined.