Friday, February 20, 2009

Valentine Book Review

My lovely wife bought me Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better for Valentine's Day.

I'm a big fan of the lifehacker website, and this book is a good companion to the website. Depending on your comfort level around computers and your exposure to personal time management techniques like Getting Things Done, the book is a pretty quick read. I finished it in two days. The book is broken into a series of tips, called hacks. My biggest complaint about the book is sometimes the hacks don't appear in logical order. For example, Hack 74: Setting Up a Home Web Server references giving your website a hostname with a service like, but doesn't explain how to do that until Hack 76. That's only a minor gripe, when you get to the DynDNS part in Hack 74 it tells you to reference Hack 76, so you aren't lost; it's just kind of annoying.

All in all, this is a good primer book for anyone wanting to tweak their computer or time management skills, without being committed to an entire book devoted to a complex system. I'd like to forward Hack 3: Craft Effective (e-mail) Messages to most people in a corporate setting. Tips: Determine your purpose, use an informative subject line, be succinct, make it clear why everyone got the message. I've been using Hack 1: Empty Your Inbox (and Keep It Empty) for awhile, and to say it changed my life is over dramatic, but everyone should give it a try.

Bottom Line: This book isn't going to teach you how to conquer the world, but it's full of interesting nuggets like how to perform better Google searches, managing a doable to-do list, and step-by-step instructions for some pretty neat computer tricks. It's a book that would be hard pressed to be over most people's heads, yet has enough advanced stuff as to not be a wasted read for more seasoned computer geeks. If you like the lifehacker site, you'd probably like this book.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Relaxing Sunday

I'm spending a relaxing Sunday at the in-law's house today. (Happy day late birthday, Holly.)

We've got Daytona on TV. I'm always excited about the start of NASCAR season. I think it lasts too long though, because by about July, I have a hard time making myself want to follow it. But for now, I'm excited. We've got chicken wings from Holties, toasted ravioli, and who knows what other kind of junk food in the kitchen.

I've also been working on starting my family tree. It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I'm making it on this website. I'm going to have to enlist family help to go a whole lot further than I have right now, so if any of you read this, expect me to hit you up next time I see you.

Anyway, I'm off to stuff my face and see if one of my guys can pull off this race.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fixing A Corrupt Thunderbird Address Book

I had a little scare this afternoon while trying to add my new blogger email address to my Thunderbird address book; I got a message claiming my address book was corrupt.

Fortunately, the good people at Mozilla didn't delete the corrupt address book. I was able to find and open in Notepad the file abook.mab.bak

Most of the file looks to be in a format similar to this:




At the end of my file, though there was a bunch of gibberish, like the following


On a whim, I deleted all of the superfluous lines at the end of my file, and saved the edited file as abook.mab. I was able to open up my address book and get all of my old contacts back.

This is one of the most popular posts on my site, but I never get any feedback from it. I'd love to hear in the comments section if this works for anyone else or not. I'd hate to leave bad information out there.

My Next Weekend Project

As soon as Heather and I get our job situation figured out, I think I've found a great weekend project for me... building a new multimedia center.

I've been wanting to build my own custom media center for awhile, but didn't want a huge, noisy frankenmachine. This write up via DeviceGuru takes care of those fears. And it's a surprisingly cheap build, too. Although, we will need to finally buy a new TV....

Site Moving

Well, it's a bit of a sad day for me, as I move my blog from the platform to the blogger platform.

I've heard too many issues with people not being able to comment on the old website, that should be fixed here. Also, I couldn't get Google Analytics to work on my old website, so now I'll know who's watching me. ::evil grin::

I'll also be able to do some additional cool things on this platform, post by email, have more control over it's layout, etc.

It will probably take me a couple of months to get everything working the way I want here at my new home, so bear with me. Hopefully I'll actually update this one more often, too.