Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Adblock for Spyware

Spyware is bad. At best, they slow down your computer with comercial-interest programs to monitor the websites you visit or occasionally provide you with a popup or two. Worst case, they install keyloggers to your system without your informed consent tracking sensitive passwords, credit card information, you name it.

Fortunately, There are Some Things We Can Do
You could buy a Mac or install and use a lesser targeted operating system, sure... This will work great, but is unrealistic for your average home user who is happy with XP.

May I recommend Adblock?

It's a free extension to Mozilla Firefox's web-browser, that I can't believe I survived without. This will cause you to download almost no spyware, eliminate most banner ads on websites and browse the web faster accessing the information you were interested in reading about in the first place. You are only a few easy steps away.

  1. If you haven't already, download and install the Firefox browser here.

  2. Using your new browser, go to the extensions page and install Adblock at

  3. Close Firefox and reopen it.

  4. Click: Tools -> Adblock -> Preferences

  5. Now you may edit your blockable elements. By default, Adblock blocks nothing.
    You can use the sample settings provided by mozdev (the Adblock developers) to get you started here. Keep in mind, that this is a very *basic* list to get you started and is a little out of date. You will want to add to this over time.

You're done! You've installed Adblock and configured your Filter List. Happy browsing with Firefox...

-T :)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Bale-man Steals the Show

To say that Batman Begins is fantastic solely because of one man's performance hardly does this motion-picture gem justice, but to walk out of the theatre and discuss the movie's success without mentioning his name in the opening sentence defies all reason. So here it is: Christian Bale is bowling over audiences world-wide.


It's tough to fill the shoes that Michael Keaton left behind. Many have tried... Need I mention the abominations to the screen that big-time names like Val Kilmer and George Clooney left behind in their sordid attempts. It seemed gutsy at best, if not suicidal, to cast a has-been teen-heartthrob from the early 90s that has been where for the past 10 years to take a stab at the role.

Maybe not... When I first saw Bale tackling the role in a trailer, I was initially surprised, but then thought "this should be good." This 30-something actor from Wales has got to be one of the most under-rated/cast actors today. I was disappointed in '92 when the musical, Newsies, failed to leave much of an impression on audiences. It was 10 years later that I saw him again in Reign of Fire and Equilibrium.

Unfortunately, McConaughey stole most of the little attention paid to Reign of Fire while I don't remember Equilibrium even coming out in the theatres. It seemed Bale would never catch a break... until now.

Batman Begins is taking the world by storm. It's blown the box office away in the UK and US alike. With a reception like this, I don't think this Bale is going anywhere soon... much to our delight.

More Contributions

Christopher Nolan is the young director that took this project on. Some may remember him from the artsy-thriller Memento in 2000. I can't say enough about his effort in this seamless production. Nolan develops an incredible amount of back-story in a believable and entertaining way, respectful of the comic and somehow makes the effort feel fresh and original.

The sole criticism I would offer is a puzzling scene where Bale seductively coaches a sexy Wayne Enterprise secretary on her putt-putt technique that may have fared better on the editing floor. The scene sticks out like a sore thumb... if anyone can guess its purpose, I'd be interested to hear about it.

Other than that, rising star Katie Holmes adds a believably intelligent, do-gooder love interest holding her own alongside spectacular notables like Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman.

According to the hails at the box-office, odds are you've seen it already; if not, hopefully I've convinced you to run and find out for yourself what all the buzz is about.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

I feel sick...

That's really the only way to describe how I feel. After coming home from the store, I find my Dell laptop shutdown on its own and unresponsive to the power switch.

Even worse, the entire machine will not pull power when plugged into the wall for AC power.

Browsing Dell's support forums, I see that this is a common problem among Dell laptops and that some people have had to pay $800 to fix it. But their server is getting hammered and tell me to attempt to logging in at a later time. The support telephone lines are just as busy; I have been on hold for 30 minutes.

This is absolutely gut-wrenching. On that note, I think I am going to bed.
-T. :(

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Psychological E-mail Profiling

I shouldn't do this, but this is one of the dumbest things I ever read and I don't think I we should pay professors anymore.

Apparently, a Queen's University Professor is working with law enforcement to come up with an E-mail analyzing program that uses keyword/phrases to catch criminals.

"Dr. David Skillicorn’s work is based on the idea that when people are trying to hide something, they write differently than people who have nothing to hide."

Supposedly, even the lack of certain words is enough to flag potential criminal activity, the idea being that guilty parties may avoid using certain words like "bomb" that is used in common innocent conversation--ie *I just bombed that test.*

The Criteria
So, engaging in the following "suspicious" E-mail activity will get you caught.

"[The program] examine[s] patterns in who e-mails whom. As an example, in criminal networks it is common to find several people communicating regularly with the same person, but never with each other. This is meant to ensure that if one lawbreaker is caught, he or she is unlikely to lead authorities to too many others. But it can also be a clue to suspicious activity."

I can imagine another scenerio this pattern could be indicative of... like a *popular college student.* But that scenerio is probably rare, right?


Sorry, Lieke... you're going down. It's a good thing you're in Germany right now. I, personally, don't know a fifth of the people on your xanga-subscribers list and our floods of E-mails to you are a smoking gun broadcasting your guilt.

Don't ask questions... It's *Magic*
My personal favorite quote is the Professor's absolvement of all responsibility. He's a mere man who designed a magical program that works in mysterious ways that even he doesn't completely understand.

I wish I were kidding.

"Skillicorn doesn’t know all the ways suspicious e-mails might read differently from innocent ones. The beauty of his approach is that he doesn’t need to know. His software is designed simply to look for messages that are different, based on word frequencies, from the mass of e-mails. It needn’t understand the reasons for the differences."

What? Are you sure he doesn't need to know? It could just be me; if we're sending people to prison, maybe someone should know why.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

I *LOVE* the Summer


My Grades Breakdown

It is so amazingly cool that summer is finally here and that last summer is but a glimmer of a memory that will hopefully fast fade away. Here's the breakdown of my teachers last semester and what I thought of them on a four star system.

InstructorClassMy GradeTeachingDifficulty
Prof. DonovanSOC 160A*******
Prof. KlayderENGL 314A*****
Prof. SchimekCOMS 130A?WorthlessAn Abomination
Prof. WarrenHIST 128A*****
Mr. OhleENGL 353B***
Prof. KongEECS 210B********+

I'm not sure why I felt the need, but I gave each of these teachers a full review you can click on to read. Also, I posted my notes for anyone taking these courses to download here. Enjoy ;)

The question mark is for the teacher that still hasn't posted my grade, so I'm not sure what I got, but I expect an A. By far, my favorite teachers were Prof. Kong and Prof. Donovan.

Summer Projects...

This should be great fun! I'm working a bit and taking 3 hrs this summer... Jeremy and I are working on a site together. I will post a link to that soon. In the meantime, check out the new Church Site I'm building here.

Other than that, here's to relaxing and swimming my days away!