The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Places to Go

Posted by thedarwinexception on January 7, 2008

 Are there programs on your computer that you just couldn’t do without? Programs that you have to install on a new computer the minute you get one? Favorite programs?

My recent installation of The Sims 2 “Bon Voyage” and digging for my Zoo Tycoon disks made me realize that I have way too many installation CD’s and game CD’s – ones that I installed, uninstalled, and never used again. I need to weed through them and get rid of about 500 of them, I think.

But there are also some programs that I just love, and these don’t even require installation CD’s. These are web based programs that I use all the time and really like.

Here’s my top 5 list. If I left anything out, or you know of a great web based program I should be using or checking out – let me know.

1. Do you do regular backups? Yes? Shut up – you do not. No one does. Because it’s a pain in the ass and you never know what to back up and it takes too long and who can find the disks anyway when you need them? What you really need is Mozy. You download and install the Mozy program and it does all the work. It will automatically configure itself, allowing you to tweak as necessary.  The first backup can take hours, but after that, Mozy will continue to work behind the scenes to backup new files on a regular timetable. And it will do it while you aren’t using the computer, so it doesn’t slow down your regular tasks. Mozy also lets you view your backed up files from any PC, and let you restore files as needed. The first 2 gig of files are free – if you need more space, it’s only $4.95 a month. Well worth it.

2. Do you Stumble? If not, you need to go to StumbleUpon.com. This is a social networking/bookmarking site that is fun and addictive. When you sign up, Stumble asks you what kind of sites you like – I entered humor, crime, legal, logic, puzzles & games – and it will then install a toolbar under your regular browser toolbar. Using the buttons when you have a free 5 minutes to kill online, you can hit the “Stumble” button to be taken to a random site based on the categories you said you liked. You can then tell Stumble whether or not you actually did like the site with the “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” buttons. You can even email a link to the site to your nearest and dearest friends. Someone submitted this blog to StumbleUpon, and I get lots of hits from the site.

3. What’s your home page set to? Mine is now set to my Netvibes page. On this page I have a Google search bar, the local weather forecast, my email accounts, the latest newsfeeds, my eBay account, all of my bookmarks and my latest “to do” list. Someday I will sit down and go through the other 100,000 little modules Netvibes offers and probably find a bunch more things to put on my homepage. Oh – and you can even give the page your own customized title.

4. Do you have a bunch of different phone numbers? Home, Cell, Work….do you ever give someone your home number – only to wish you had given them your cell, too?  Grand Central is a free, one-number-ringing-multiple-phones routing service that allows you to route all your phone numbers to multiple places.  To get started, Grand Central assigns you a number (you can ask for a particular area code, then choose from a list) and you set up the forwarding rules. One obvious advantage is that when you’re at your desk, you don’t have to waste wireless minutes by taking calls on your cell phone; when you’re away from your desk, you don’t have to miss calls ringing in at the office, because all your calls ring at all your phones, all the time. You can white-list your friends so their calls come right through. You can also blacklist numbers by sending them to the Spam folder or set up a special outgoing message (“this phone is not in service”) to play for unwanted callers. You can screen calls by listening in as callers are leaving a voicemail message, and then cut in to take the call… or not. You can also record your own calls—pretty handy when you’re in the car or at the grocery store. Another cool feature is the Call Switch: while you’re talking on one phone, you can transfer the call to another without hanging up, or even interrupting the conversation. Basic services are free – some extended services are available for a nominal monthly fee.

5. So you want to learn how to knit? How about ice skate? How about expressing your dogs anal glands? Or how about just learning the secrets of all those card tricks? If there’s *anything* you’d like to learn how to do – there’s one place to go to learn how to do it. Expert Village. Some of the videos are fun to watch whether you actually want to learn what’s being taught or not, and some of the “experts” aren’t all that credentialed. The knitting instructor says “I’ve been knitting for 10 years…” 10 years? Big deal. Some of my unfinished knitting projects are older than that. But the cooking videos are really helpful and detailed, and I have the break dancing videos bookmarked, because, you know, you’ll never know when *those* will come in handy.

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15 Responses to “Places to Go”

  1. Florida Fan said

    I tried to sign up for Grand Central, but it’s invitation only. It sounds incredibly cool!

    I have a program on both my Linux set up and my Windows set up that saves all my login names and passwords, and it’s password protected itself. I only have to remember one password that way. I would be lost without it.

    I guess I don’t really have a home page. I use FireFox and it just saves all the tabs I was reading when I last closed it. Sometimes I have a bunch of tabs that I save for a while – kind of like the stuff on my desk; thinking it’s something I want to do/read/sign up for but at a later date. Often, just like the stuff on my desk, once I get to the bottom of the pile (every couple of months or so) it no longer looks as appealing.

    I love FireFox :). I have all my frequently visited pages bookmarked at the top so I can just click to each one.

  2. HT said

    Hi Kim,

    Good to hear from you, shithead. I thought you might be hospitalized with ZL or something:) I’ll check out those sites, never heard of them. You’re in the fast lane with ‘puters, I guess. Well, here’s one of my favorites, mainly because I’m a newsjunkie and it has all the newspapers and networks: http://www.hotsheet.com

    I still haven’t mailed you what I said I was. I gotta find something to put them in and so far I haven’t. But whaddaya care. You know someday, you’ll get something and say “hot damn, she finally got it in gear”.

    I’m off to Mesa, AZ Tuesday to spend just a few days with an ole work buddy. It’s 60 out there so that will be dandy since it ain’t here.

    Didn’t you love what Judge Glass said to OJ? “I don’t know if it’s ignorance or arrogance….or both” I thought that’d be a good title for one of your blogs. Surely, you can come up with some nifty humor about the ole Juice.

    Question: Can someone find out the cause of Dianne Ogden’s death? I tried but came up empty-handed.

    Karen Sue/HT

  3. Leslie said

    Thanks, Kim- I love stumbleupon-

    I do have gadgets I can’t do without like my key word highlighter (great when researching documents for genealogy) and autofill. I think my favorite program that I own is an old version of Family Tree Maker.

  4. HT said

    Hey Leslie….via Keeeeem

    I’m heavy into geneaology too. I have Family Tree Maker too. Have you managed to get your findings in a book yet? I haven’t. I just keep doing research. I’m hopeless.

    HT

  5. Leslie said

    Hey Leslie….via Keeeeem

    I’m heavy into geneaology too. I have Family Tree Maker too. Have you managed to get your findings in a book yet? I haven’t. I just keep doing research. I’m hopeless.

    HT- I feel your pain! I work on it for about 6 months then swear I’ll never touch it again because I get so frustrated…but, I always start it back up again. The family name I research the most has been in a few books but some of the facts are wrong, so I’m writing my own book someday. I’m positively obsessed with it!

  6. Dana said

    I have to have Word Perfect, because I’m a writer, and I *HATE* MS Word. It’s the standard in the publishing industry, but I can’t bear to compose in it. So I compose in WP and convert to Word before I submit.

    And I have to have MasterCook. I don’t know how I lived without it. Before MasterCook, I worked out the carb counts for my recipes thusly: Look up each ingredient in a food count book. Since the quantity listed in the food count book was *never* the quantity I used, do the multiplication or division to get the right number for the quantity used. Add up all the results for each ingredient, then divide by the number of servings. Can you say “tedious?”

    My homepage is http://holdthetoast.com. No big surprise there.

    Eric and I have… 5 phone numbers for the two of us. And, I might add, 5 televisions. Including the 7-incher playing on my desk right this second.

  7. IndyGena said

    Hey Kim,

    Are you getting my e-mails???

    The stumbleupon web-site is cool. Thanks for the hot tip!

    ~Gena

  8. AtwoodLady said

    Kim, Thanks!!!!
    Expert Village is great. This is one site I will use often.

    Nay

  9. Florida Fan said

    Just got an invite for Grand Central. I’m a convert. Thank you so much for turning me on to it!

  10. I still haven’t mailed you what I said I was. I gotta find something to put them in and so far I haven’t. But whaddaya care. You know someday, you’ll get something and say “hot damn, she finally got it in gear”.

    You’re mailing me something?? Hot damn, I love surprises in the mail!!!

    Kim

  11. I’m heavy into geneaology too. I have Family Tree Maker too. Have you managed to get your findings in a book yet? I haven’t. I just keep doing research. I’m hopeless.

    I’m heavy into genealogy too. I have another site here on WordPress devoted to Vermont genealogy. I’ve been researching my family tree for almost 30 years.

    I use Family Tree Maker 2006. I was going to update to 2008, but there’s some people in AFCA who also do genealogy and they said that 2008 isn’t very good, so I’m sticking with what I have.

    One of these days when I hit the lottery I’m going to sign up for FTM’s access to all their “World family trees” and really go crazy. I’m at a point now in my research where the only thing that will help me is another trip to Montpelier and a lot of hours in their archives, and since that probably won’t happen, I’ll have to look at the World Trees and rely on the research of others.

    Kim

  12. Eric and I have… 5 phone numbers for the two of us. And, I might add, 5 televisions. Including the 7-incher playing on my desk right this second.

    Oh yeah, I feel your pain with the TV’s, Actually I don’t know how we managed to get so many of them. I finally gave 2 of the 19 inch ones away a couple of months ago on FreeCycle. We had 4 of them sitting in the storage room/living room downstairs. And that’s in addition to the big TV in the TV room, the flip down under the cupboard TV in the kitchen, the little TV in the computer room, the little TV in the sewing room that isn’t even hooked up yet and the 27 inch TV in the bedroom. Plus Paul has 2 TV’s in the Harley barn – one upstairs and one downstairs.

    We only need 2 TV’s – one on the TV room, and one in the computer room. That should more than suffice. It’s ignorant to have all these TV’s. But that’s what happens when you end up with 4 families worth of stuff. You end up with 3 refrigerators, 4 stoves, 4 sets of silverware and tons of dishes.

    And soap. I have a lot of soap.

    Kim

  13. Are you getting my e-mails???

    I do not know. I have thousands of them. I’ll look today.

    I was going to write you anyway, I have some questions for you about your knowledge of family issues and getting custody of kids and stuff…

    Oh, and I have a mailing problem with you. Fed EX said they couldn’t take anything over 70 pounds – so now I have to split the stuff into 2 boxes.

    Bastards.

    Kim

  14. IndyGena said

    They are Bastards! I can send you another slip. I think I might have to send you one to replace the one you have, anyway (new account information). So, I will get that off to you this week.

    Sure… contact me anytime. I’ll help you as much as I can.

    ~Gena

  15. Sean said

    LOL @ expressing a dogs anal glands.. not many want to do with the horrible smell. I feel bad for those who don’t know about the smell and vomit afterward 🙂

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