Archive for September 2006

Adorable Flash Games

September 26, 2006

If there’s a site that has cuter flash games than Orisinal, I don’t wanna know about it.   You can help a furry pair of mice get their daily cup of tea, or guide a panda through a forest or even toss falling chicks umbrellas to slow their fall as they leap from nests. 

There are dozens of games at to amuse, slightly challenge and entertain you for quite some time.  You’ll find this is quite a nifty place to kill a few minutes here and there.

Happy time wasting from a random broad.


Need a Free Online PDF Converter?

September 21, 2006

Well, then, head on over to PDF Online (  This nifty Web service will convert your file to a PDF and email it to you in no time flat. 

Converting your file to a PDF file will pretty much guarantee that your file will maintain its fonts and formatting no matter what machine it’s viewed on or printed from.   If you’ve ever created a file using Microsoft Works, you probably know the frustration of the person or company to whom you’re sending your file not being able to open it.  Converting it to a PDF solves that issue and gives your document a more polished and professional feel, too.  Just about everyone has Adobe Acrobat Reader, and if they don’t, it’s available for free from

PDF Online will convert your DOC, PPT, XLS, JPG, GIF, TIFF, RTF, PPS, HTML, BMP, PNG, EMF, TXT and PUB files formats for free.  Your file cannot be larger than 2 MB. 

I converted a 75 kb Word document (about 13 pages) using PDF Online and the file was in my mailbox in less than 30 seconds.  I was quite impressed.  Because there’s no software to download and install, you can convert a file to a PDF pretty much anywhere you have an Internet connection. 

Happy PDF converting from a random broad.

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Confessions of a Commercialphobe -or- My Love Affair with My DVR

September 19, 2006

I love my DVR.  I really do.  I have a ReplayTV, and, if activist judges ever get their way, I’d be elated if it did me the honor of making an honest woman of me.

Anyway, so it’s to the point where I’d rather watch a show that I’ve recorded than watch it live.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  Much like an alcoholic who lies about how much she drinks, the truth is the situation is much worse.  It’s really to the point where I’ll pretty much only watch recorded shows.  I mean, I will wait a day or more to watch one of my favorite shows just so I can skip past the commercials.  Few things bring me more pleasure than watching a show and, at the commercial break, pressing the number three and then the QuickSkip button and being three minutes ahead in the program leaving commercials in the remote control’s wake (except when I’m watching Bravo, in which case I have to skip four, sometimes almost five minutes–what is with that network?)

Of course, this means my friends have to wait a day before discussing who got Klum-ed on Project Runway (go Michael!) or how Studio 60 wasn’t half bad, Amanda Peet’s horrible acting notwithstanding.  But we have an understanding, namely they rag on me for being a dork and I don’t have to watch annoying commercials.  It’s not a perfect system, but it works for us.

Not watching commercials has had an interesting side effect, though.  I no longer know what’s going on re upcoming movie releases, new shows, and what options are available for my cat’s suddenly-not-so-shameful herpes outbreaks (apparently, there’s once-daily pill now!).  I also miss the bumps (black and whites) on Adult Swim.  Those are pretty funny and when I am watching a show live like, say Metalocalypse (that show is so metal), I’m suddenly reminded of how much I miss reading them. 

If you love your DVR, why not give it a hug?  It does so much for you, and, in return, asks for so little.  Well, it’s time for me to run.  Me and the Re have reservations at a cozy little trattoria known for its romantic atmosphere.

Happy TV watching from a random broad.

One Item. One Day. One Amazingly Low Price.

September 17, 2006

Do you woot? is one of my favorite haunts.  This site sells one item until it is either sold out or midnight, CST.  They carry everything from speakers to MP3 players to digital cameras to small kitchen appliances. 

From their What is Woot page:

What is Woot and who’s behind it? is an online store and community that focuses on selling cool stuff cheap. It started as an employee-store slash market-testing type of place for an electronics distributor, but it’s taken on a life of its own. We anticipate profitability by 2043 – by then we should be retired; someone smarter might take over and jack up the prices. Until then, we’re still the lovable scamps we’ve always been. But don’t take our word for it: see what the online community has to say at this Wikipedia article.
I see only one item, do you sell anything else?
No. We sell one item per day until it is sold out or until 11:59pm central time when it is replaced (see next entry for details). However, each item we sell is in stock and typically ships within 2-3 business days.
What is the schedule for new items?
The short answer: we offer a new item every single day. The details: a new product is released every morning at 12am central time, seven days a week. (If you’re not a morning person, this can be described as every night at midnight. Better?) If a product sells out during its run, a new item will not appear until the next release time. You will know if a product is sold out, because the main page says “SOLD OUT” instead of “I want one”. (Clever, eh?)
I missed yesterday’s item, can I still get one?
No. Each product is discontinued at 11:59pm central time. That’s that. Period. We may get more at a later date if we’re lucky, but we offer no guarantees, we allow no backorders, and we have no waiting/notification lists. Too bad.

Video: Microsoft Zune

September 15, 2006


 This USA Today article features a video of the Zune in action.

Microsoft Talks about New iPod Rival

This device looks so sweet:

image006_low.jpg  image020_low.jpg 

I love that its screen can be viewed in portrait or landscape mode.  Sharing music and files wirelessly with other Zune owners within range? How cool is that?  I am so looking forward to buying this device later this year.


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Even More Windows XP Wallpaper Fun

September 13, 2006

Remember Windows XP Wallpaper Fun?  Well, here are a few more sites for you to explore:

National Geographic: Exploring Space =-= This link features some of the most breath-taking pictures taken from National Geographic’s Exploring Space series.  Winds of Change is particularly striking; it’s a spectacular ultraviolet image of Saturn and its rings.  There are only a few from which to choose, but they’re all pretty enjoyable if you’re a space nut.

Vlad Studio=-= has an astounding gallery chock full of wallpapery goodness.  There are photographs, computer-generated images and everything in between.  You can download lower-quality images for free or register for a fee for access to higher-quality, signature-less and a selection dual-monitor (aka dual-display) images.  Old France 2, Dreamer and Emotion 7 have all found themselves as a background on my computers at one point. 

Wallpaper Italia =-= This Italian site has some pretty spiffy wallpaper selections in their food category.  I am simply mad about this cute ad featuring some of the happiest lemons I’ve seen in quite some time.  The photos in the Toscana section are, in a word, gorgeous.

Happy wallpapering from a random broad.

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Keeping up with Your Inbox: A Few Tips

September 11, 2006

So I’ve developed a few processes to help me stay on top of my Inbox.  Hopefully, you’ll find at least one of them helpful.  First of all, if you don’t receive a lot of mail, this might not be the blog entry for you. If you receive dozens of email per hour, like I do, you might find these tips useful.

Unread Email Search Folder

I created a search folder named Today’s Unread Messages. This allows me to, several times a day, focus the unread messages I received today.  Because this is but a small portion of the ginormity that is my Outlook’s Inbox, it makes it easier for me to take care of these items.  Breaking down the day’s email into small, easy-to-digest chunks really makes a big difference.  For one thing, it’s easier to take care of a mail message folder when you’re looking at twenty items vs hundreds (or in my case thousands).  I delete, file, reply to, forward or print the items as necessary.  Before I return to my Inbox, however, my daily unread messages folder was empty.  I found that by doing this several times a day, I had a more manageable grasp on my Inbox.  Now, I just started employing this process last week, but, wow, what a difference it’s made so far!

Create Rules, but Run Them Manually

I’ve created a few rules to move items from my Inbox to the Deleted Items or other folders.  I don’t enable the rules, however, because if an email is directed to a folder other than my Inbox, the odds of me reading it in a timely fashion decrease significantly.  I still want to automate moving or deleting items to a degree though.  My solution was to create the rule and, periodically throughout the day, run it.  It makes it easier to keep my Inbox clear of clutter, while at the same time minimizing email items that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.  I came up with this process before the unread mail search folder, so there may not be a need to run the rules as often as I do now, which is to the tune of a few times a day.

Search Folder for Mail from My Boss

I created a search folder that will find email items from my boss sent within the last seven days. While most of my projects are long-term, quite a few of them have a short life cycle.  Even if they’re not short, per se, he’s usually emailed me about them within the past seven days.  This allows me to easily see what items still need action, on what I need to update him and ensure I haven’t forgotten anything pressing.  I realize I can flag messages, but, unfortunately, I misuse, to the point of abuse, the flag feature in Outlook.  I flag too many items, too few items and neglect to revisit flagged items to see what can be de-flagged or flagged as complete.  So the built-in For Follow-up search folder (with finds flagged items) isn’t always very helpful to me.  I may revisit this method and decide if I need to modify this search folder to include mail I’ve sent to him within the last seven days, too.

Printing Action Items

It seem silly and smack of the doings of a Luddite, but I’ve found if I print email messages I need to act on or refer to often and quickly, things get taken care of in a more timely and efficient manner.  Because there’s so much going on with my computer–incoming email, calendar reminders, follow-up reminders,, etc, I find I easily lose focus on important or time-sensitive items.  When I first conceived the idea of printing email items so they could get taken care of, I poo-pooed it.  I mean, why print them when all you have to do is open and, you know, read them?  Surprisingly, I found I really got more things done and in a more timely fashion when I did this.  Yes, it is a waste, but I’m sure you could repurpose the paper by flipping it over and using the back for scratch paper-whatever floats your boat.  I personally just toss them in my recycling box, as the goal is to get paper OFF my desk. 

What I do is I print the items that need to be taken care of and arrange them on my desk as if I were playing Solitaire. At a glance, I can get a rough idea of how much stuff I have to do.  If I get more information about a particular task or if I get an idea about a task, I write it right on the email I printed.  If the task can be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time and without any other input from my colleagues, I do it.  If the task needs to be delegated, I farm it out.  Once it’s done, I recycle it.  The pack-rat in me is tempted to file it.  But, if it’s done, it’s done.  Why hold onto it?

This process has really helped me focus on short-term tasks and projects.  If there’s an item I printed towards the end of the day and time doesn’t permit me to complete it, I put it on my keyboard before I go home for the day.  That way, it’s the first thing I see in the morning and I know I have to take care of it before I even start taking on new tasks.

Again, this is a method I just started last week, so I’m not sure how it will work out for me.  For this method to work, however, you really have reclaim real estate on your desk, assuming your desk was a messy as mine.  Because your desk is now clean, it’s actually a little easier to toss items once you’ve completed them because you want to continue to keep your desk free of clutter.

Good luck and happy taking care of things from a random broad.

**Update-September 13, 2006** Here’s an interesting post from a blogger who shares his email and task management strategies.

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