Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My First Smart Car

Smart Car
It's the day after Earth Day and I just saw my first Smart Car. They actually look better IRL than they do in the pictures I've seen.

These babies get 33mpg city and 40mpg highway, not quite as good as my Honda Hybrid but not bad at all and they are a lot cheaper. So once again, thinking of the environment will save you money!

Read more here: Smart Car Offers Drivers New High MPG Option

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day and Me Being Smug

I'm not the sort of person to be smug and "I told you so" when it turns out that I'm really, really right. But as today is Earth Day, I thought I'd make an exception :)

In 2004 I bought a Hybrid car: a Honda Civic Hybrid. Now with the price of gasoline over $3.50 a gallon I see these gas guzzling SUVs driving around and I feel a sort of smug glow of righteousness. Not only am I saving myself money, not only am I helping reduce the reliance of the USA on the Middle East for oil but I'm also helping the environment by driving a PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle). Am I cool or what? :)

In addition to that, we just got a water filtration system last week which means we no longer have to buy bottled water. This also achieves the three things I listed above (money, Middle Eastern oil, environment) because we don't buy water in plastic bottles and we don't put those bottles in the trash to mess up the environment with more land fills.

So, don't just look at being environmentally conscious as something to do "because it is right", look at it as a way to save money!

Have a great Earth Day!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Setting up PHP on IIS

All you non-techies probably don't want to read this post. But techies may appreciate it.

Setting up PHP and other open source products on Microsoft's webserver, IIS, has always been ... how shall I put it? ... a challenge, you know like trying to climb Mount Everest with two broken legs. So when I saw a link to "Setting up FastCGI for PHP", I was a little sceptical about my chances of success.

When I got to the page I saw that it had a video presentation on how to do it. I watched it and it seemed incredibly simple. I knew it couldn't be that easy. I just knew that when I tried it there would be problems. There was just no way it would work as advertised.

But it did! It WAS that simple. I now have PHP running happily on IIS on my Vista laptop. There was not one hitch, not one problem, not one weird error message, not one gotcha!

I have to say also that the new IIS 7 Manager UI is sooooooo much better than anything I've seen before. I haven't done a lot of web stuff recently, the last IIS I dealt with was 5, so if 6 had this same manager then just switch the 7 for a 6 in my comments. So far, IIS 7 looks like MS finally hit the mark on making it easy to find where things are so you can manage IIS easily.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ayreon - Through the Wormhole

Here is a video accompanying the song "Through the Wormhole" from the album "The Universal Migrator - Part 2" by Ayreon.

Ayreon is a brilliant project created by musical genius Arjen Lucassen. He creates rock operas, plays most of the instruments, gets great vocalists and records a masterpiece.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pagan's Mind - Aegan Shores

Here is a great video from the band Pagan's Mind. The song is from the album Celestial Entrance (show on the left).

This was the first album I bought by PM and I instantly fell in love with it. In fact I even reviewed it back in 2003: Album Review - Celestial Entrance by Pagan's Mind. It's one of those albums that I never tire of. I was close to wearing out the CD, but then I transfered it to my iPod and now I'm close to wearing out the electrons :)

So now, quit reading, play the video and enjoy!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Income Tax - Didn't we have a revolution about that?

I seem to recall that sometime in the late 18th century we had a revolution that had a lot to do with taxes. Oh yeah, it was called the American Revolution. I wonder what the people who took part in it would think if they were alive today: Federal Income Tax, State Income Tax, Tons of other little gotcha taxes and the horrors of April 15th.

Was the revolution worth it? Two hundred and thirty two years later we have far more taxes and far more government intrusion into our lives than the founding fathers could ever have dreamed.

But there is a way out. We have a system called "Representative Democracy" that allows each citizen (via an elected representative) to have a say in how the country is run. A pretty neat idea we have to thank the ancient Greeks for (Greek Democracy).

So, if you are fed up with Income Tax, here is what you should do, click on this link and follow the instructions: The Fair Tax .