A Briefer History of Time

I vaguely remember when Stephen Hawking’s first version of this book came out, but I do remember reading it. It was an easy read; the concepts were explained in ways that made understanding them a cinch.

Now with, A Briefer History of Time, Mr. Hawking out does himself by making the scientific concepts even easier to understand.

Even with science not being my most knowledgeable subject, the book was profoundly easy to understand and intuitively concise. The reading was so enjoyable that I finished the book in a couple days. I love how the book is structured, chronologically; it is riveting to see our concept of God and the universe changed over time.

Moreover, it’s up to date! It includes an explanation of the widely accepted unified “string theory” and our more modern technical achievements (i.e. satellites, telescopes, etc). It doesn’t stop there; this book has sufficient illustrations that help with conceptualizing and discerning the truth…

Review Thoughts: Rating (5/5). It’s a must read, even if you have read the older version.

Super Talent 4GB Flash Drive

About a week ago I decided that my 256mb flash drive wasn’t cutting it anymore. I got myself a Super Talent 4GB for $18 off of supermediastore.com.

The Drive was as promised and the reviews were fairly accurate. But…

1) the darn thing is too small, it really doesn’t hit you that it is too small and hard to keep track of until after you get it in your hands
2) the shiny outer sleeve fits rather loosely so the plastic gets exposed frequently straight out of the box
3) the plastic casing should actually be metal because its obvious it can be broke if handled wrong or from a serious drop to a hard surface
4) it’s write speed is super, super slow; this is especially true for folders with many small files

I’d have to say my biggest complaint is the write speed on it. It takes me 1-2 hours to write about a 1GB of data onto it. Other than that, I partially alleviated all the minor design problems with a paper clip and some shrink tubing.

Review Thoughts: Rating (3/5), that means don’t buy it. Super Talent offers a more stable looking metal drive… but the speeds are the same… 😡

Bad Godaddy Customer Service Again

The theme seems to be consistent and not changing any time soon: Godaddy has bad customer service. Just today May 5, 2008, I messed up and deleted my one and only hosting account from Godaddy. What? Yeah, I read too fast. 🙁 Anyways, luckily it was an account that had not been fully setup and in it’s developmental stage. It would have been nice to get the all the files (I had some) back but not all.

Forget asking Godaddy for any help, it would’ve cost me $150 for Godaddy to recover the files for me! So, I quickly declined the offer and was asked by the Godaddy Rep, “Is there any else he can help with?” I said yes, “The cancel items button shouldn’t be readily available through your credit-card screen (where I messed up). Because I thought I was canceling renewal of the items.”

But before I could finish, Moses started to point out how stupid I was. Lets just say before I ask to speak to he’s manager, we were literally yelling at each other. I am sorry, but it doesn’t really matter how stupid a customer is, YOU DON’T YELL AT THEM!

This is the type of reason other slightly more expensive hosts still exist. I hate the fact that they are so cheap, I can’t help but use some of their services. Well, I have finally excepted that their customer service is mediocre at best and only use them when necessary. Be careful, be very very careful.

Estimated Shipping Before Signup/Checkout

With today’s technology, it’s really sad that “big” companies are still having a hard time estimating shipping cost before signup/checkout. I mean even if its not accurate, a reasonable estimate should suffice.

I know I am not alone on this…

When you are shopping at a new “site” and found one of their products to be exceptionally priced and want to see the total (product+shippping)…

Do you sign up or just drop the cart in all?

I personally have dropped the cart over half the time. Have any thoughts on this? Drop a comment. Oh, what company am I ranting about? GNC. 😡


HP BT450 Bluetooth XP Driver

Yesterday, I spent a good 10+ minutes looking for a driver, the HT BT450 Bluetooth Adapter driver. I Google’ed, then I Yahoo!’ed, then I went straight to HP’s support website… always using the keywords: hp bt450 bluetooth xp driver. I either got nowhere or found the Vista version, here. That was until I found this page… and the direct link to the driver, here. I hope this helps someone else, because 10+ minutes of “searching” is way too long especially for a driver! -Thuan

The Subtract Join

Subtract Join

I needed a way of selecting all primary key(s) from a certain table (Table_1) that was not used as a foreign key in a sub-table (Table_2). So I went at it with my SQL know-how to no end. It was obvious that I needed to do a little catching up. 🙂

I googled the following:

• all instances of unique id not found in sub-table
• primary key not found as foreign key in sub-table
• select all rows if not exist in sub-table
• sql tutorial
• sql join
• sql reference
• sql relational databases

…and found nothing useful. However, my research did lead me to one conclusion… what I needed was the opposite of a join. I googled for it, it as in “opposite of a join”. What I found was a very useful MS KB, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/136699.

The described “Subtract Join” was exactly what I was looking for and it works! What’s odd is of all the SQL tutorials I ran into, none of them mentioned the SUBTRACT JOIN. That makes me think there might be a better way of doing this query. Is there a better way? Am I simply not using the right keywords when I search? Anyways, if there is I couldn’t find it…

Batch BOL/EOL Editing

I needed a way of adding periods to the end of every line in text documents. The text documents in question had 100+ lines, so going through each document and pressing ( END > . > ENTER ) repetitively was not ideal. I needed a program, but after some brief googling I gave up and decided that I needed to write this program. I started my project by getting some advice and direction, here, and I am glad I did or else I would have went with my original plan of working with “regex” 🙁 …

Private Sub Button1_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click
Dim oFile As System.IO.File
Dim oWrite As System.IO.StreamWriter
Dim Needy As String = tbx_main.Text
Dim Added As String = Regex.Replace(Needy, “(\p{P})(?=\Z|\r\n)”, “.”)
oWrite = oFile.CreateText(“C:\Text_to_Speech.txt”)
End Sub

The end result is a little program that adds any desired character(s) to the beginning or end of all lines pasted into its textbox. The code is as follows…

‘Make sure big tbx is not empty
If tbx_main.Text = “” Then
tbx_main.Text = “Please enter text!”
ElseIf tbx_main.Text = “Please enter text!” Then
tbx_main.Text = “Please enter text!”
‘Make sure small tbx is not empty
If tbx_desired.Text = “” Then
tbx_desired.Text = “Char?”
ElseIf tbx_desired.Text = “Char?” Then
tbx_desired.Text = “Char?”
‘Declare: file, stream and savefiledialog
Dim oFile As File
Dim oMyStream As Stream
Dim saveFileDialog1 As New SaveFileDialog
‘Set savefiledialog defaults
saveFileDialog1.Filter = “txt files (*.txt)|*.txt”
saveFileDialog1.FilterIndex = 2
saveFileDialog1.RestoreDirectory = True
‘Run nested code if user presses OK button in dialog
If saveFileDialog1.ShowDialog() = DialogResult.OK Then
oMyStream = saveFileDialog1.OpenFile()
Dim oWrite As New StreamWriter(oMyStream)
For Each LineInput As String In tbx_main.Lines
‘Core Code, add periods to beginning or end
If rbtn_begin.Checked = True Then
oWrite.WriteLine(tbx_desired.Text + LineInput)
ElseIf rbtn_end.Checked = True Then
oWrite.WriteLine(LineInput + tbx_desired.Text)
End If
End If
‘Periods added, display success msgbx, close form
MessageBox.Show(“Success: file was created!”)
End If
End If
Catch exc As Exception
‘Catch Errors, display messagebox
MessageBox.Show(“Error: file was not created!”)
End Try

Sounds useful? If you want to download the program and use it at your own risk, click here.

MS MP Visualization Removal

Today I downloaded and installed a couple Microsoft Media Player Visualizations. They didn’t turn out as expected, so I tried to follow their un-install instructions:

To uninstall the Visualizations
1. In Windows Media Player full mode, click Tools, and then click Options.
2. On the Visualizations tab, click the visualization you want to remove.
3. Click Remove, and then click Yes when prompted.

Well in MS MP 11, this is actually:

To uninstall the Visualizations
1. In Windows Media Player full mode, click File, click Tools, and then click Options.
2. On the Plug-ins tab and within the Visualizations category, click the visualization you want to remove.
3. Click Remove, and then click Yes when prompted.

But my “Remove” button was grayed out, so I had to do this:

1. Using my standard Windows Explorer, I navigated to C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\Visualizations
2. Deleted the visualizations I didn’t want
3. Then went to edit my registry: clicked on “Start“, opened “Run“, typed in “regedit“, clicked on “Ok
4. Then I navigated to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MediaPlayer\Objects\Effects
5. Then deleted the keys attached to the visualizations previously deleted.

Final Thoughts: It would’ve helped a lot if the Remove button actually worked…

Different Fantastico Versions?

There seems to be different Fantastico versions out there because my Fantastico on Lunarpages is limited on what it offers. What out any suprise, what they lack I really need.

For example: phpBB, Drupal, and Gallery are all missing from the list of scripts. I looked up other host like Hostgator, Bluehost, and Siteground to see what they offered and it seems that only Lunarpages has this version.

So I called Lunarpages and asked about it and after some time and transferring of calls… I got this answer, “Our support team removed all those programs for security reasons.” For some reason I don’t think that is a very accurate answer or a bunch of crock. If those scripts are such a threat then why are all the other host still offering them?

Anyways, I am stuck with them for another 1.75 year, lol. If I had known that they didn’t offered those scripts before signing the contract… I would probably with another host.

So if you are looking for a good host and are considering, be warned that Lunarpages’ version of Fantastico is “incomplete.”

Plugin Blues

If no one has found any problems with downloading/installing/using WordPress plugins, let me be the first to say, “I have!” and I hate it of course. The plugins I spent hours if not days carefully selecting were very useful… until I updated my WordPress version. The minute I did that many of the plugins simple stop working or didn’t work right.

After I realized it was because I upgraded my WordPress, I went to the “plugins” section in WordPress and found that over half the plugins needed to be updated. Unfortunately, the majority of them came from different providers. That means I needed to go to each providers site to download and reinstall each of them.

The thought of such a task was just too daunting so I deleted almost all of them and kept the ones I deemed necessary. With that said… there needs to be an easier way to “auto update” our lovely plugins. Hopefully, our superb WordPress programmers will think of something soon.