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Happy Halloween

Posted on October 31, 2005 at 01:38 AM

filed from the shameless self-promotion department.

The JoeSchmidt.com Pumpkin

Note to self: Think ahead and get one of those fancy pumpkin carving sets instead of carving with a 5 inch long serrated knife. This will make the process much easier for all involved.

Posted by joeschmidt at 01:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

Pumpkin Carving Tips

Having just carved a plethora of pumpkins this past weekend I thought I would offer a few words of wisdom to anyone out there who hasn't started carving their pumpkins yet. Or if you're already done, just file these away for next year.

Having problems lighting the candles in your pumpkin without burning yourself? Just light the end of an uncooked piece of long spaghetti and use it to light those hard to reach candles in your pumpkins. (Try to ignore the smell of burning pasta.)

In the past I've used bic pens, crayons, or sharpies to draw my designs. But the best way I've found to outline your pumpkin design is to use dry-erase markers. That way, if you don't like what you've done just wipe it off and start over.

Is your pumpkin abnormally tall and skinny? You might want to start carving your pumpkin from the bottom instead of starting at the top. From my own experience, trying to put a candle in the bottom of a tall and skinny pumpkin can be a nightmare. So when I use this type of pumpkin I like to clean it out from the bottom. That way it is easier to light the candle on the ground and then put the pumpkin over the top of the candle.

Do you hate how your pumpkin starts to shrivel up over time? Try the following:

  • Cover all cut portions of pumpkin in petroleum jelly. This will help keep in some of the pumpkin's moisture.

  • Soak your pumpkins overnight to add moisture.

  • Spray your pumpkins with a pumpkin preserver like Pumpkin Fresh.

  • Coat your pumpkin with WD-40. Don't believe me? This guy's done it.

  • Try to avoid lighting your pumpkins until Halloween night. Having a heat source, like a candle, inside the pumpkin will prematurely dry it out and begin the shriveling process.

  • Realize that once carved, your pumpkin is only going to last for about a week. So if you want your pumpkins to look really great on Halloween night, try carving them just a few days in advance.

Have any tips of your own? Feel free to add your own pumpkin carving tips in the comments below.

Posted by joeschmidt at 01:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

Use Google to quickly check airfare rates

Posted on October 26, 2005 at 12:11 PM

Google flight fares
Something interesting I just noticed while using Google, if you enter the names of any two cities (U.S. or international) into a Google search query, Google will give you the opportunity to check airfares from three travel websites (expedia, hotwire and orbitz).

Has anyone else noticed this? Quite odd though that such a useful tool isn't listed on the Google Search feature page.

Posted by joeschmidt at 12:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

How much is your blog worth?

Posted on October 25, 2005 at 01:06 AM

Mine? Apparently not that much:

My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

Now find out how much your blog is worth and compare it with the Top 5 blogs on Technorati and their estimated worth (as of 25 Oct 2005):

1. BoingBoing.net - $9,386,606.58

2. PostSecret - $8,149,134.90

3. Engadget - $7,708,229.16

4. DailyKos - $5,689,434.12

5. Gizmodo - $4,344,135.30

The tool used to calculate the above valuations is based off of the Weblogs Inc/AOL deal in which it is speculated that AOL paid $25 million for the Weblogs Inc. Network.

But let's be real folks, your blog is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it (which in 99.9% of cases, that number is probably about $0).

It's just that I find it amusing to say that my blogs value is equal to that of a vintage 1992 Chevy Corsica with about 9 oz. of pure gold in one of the cup holders.

Let me break that down for you:

9 oz. of gold @ approx $468/oz. = $4212.00

1992 chevy Corsica est. value = -$260.22

Grand total = $3,951.78

Posted by joeschmidt at 01:06 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

Have you seen my tooth?

One down. 19 more to go

This blog would like to congratulate the head of its legal department for successfully losing his first tooth this past weekend. The occasion was celebrated with great fanfare and speculation of future monetary rewards to be delivered by the Tooth Fairy that evening.

While I cannot comment on how much money was exchanged for the aforementioned tooth, analysts are estimating it was at or around the $5.00 level. While that amount may seem high, they had to account for the only-child and first-tooth-to-fall-out factors.

In order to avoid filing chapter 11, Tooth Fairy Inc. (symbol: TOOF) can only hope that enough time elapses before the second tooth is extracted in hopes of causing the child to forget how much money he received for the first tooth. The results could be disastrous for the Tooth Fairy if word of this unprecedented pay out for one tooth is leaked to the public.

I've got bad news for the Tooth fairy, that kid has the memory of an elephant and he likes to talk. A lot.

Side note: The tooth in the above picture was removed by the steady hands of the Head of our Culinary Arts Department in which this blog owes a great debt of thanks. It seems as if this blog becomes quite squeamish around lose teeth and will usually not go within eye shot of someone even wiggling a loose tooth. We realize that if it wasn't for her heroic efforts, this blog's tooth extraction methods would probably consist of fishing line tied to door knobs.

Posted by joeschmidt at 12:49 AM | Comments (3) | post to del.icio.us

Use del.icio.us to help manage your movie rentals

Posted on October 21, 2005 at 01:53 AM

Since this blog is without the modern conveniences of on-demand cable movies, digital video recorders, or netflix, we still find ourselves trudging to the brick and mortar stores to rent movies. Though every time I find myself within the friendly confines of blockbuster, I've noticed that I seem to suffer from temporary movie rental memory loss. It happens to me all the time. I walk in with the intent to rent something good, and boom it hits me. Before I know it I find myself in a zombie mind trance doing the new movie release shuffle. You know what I'm talking about, you start at the beginning of the new release wall and shuffle through all the movies alphabetically until you find something you're willing to watch. Egads. And heaven forbid should you even try to enter the center of the store, which is what I like to call the pit of despair, where former new releases go to die. It's near impossible to find a movie there.

So how do you stop this madness?

If you have a del.icio.us account (or an account with various other social bookmarking sites) what you can do is create a tag called toRent, and every time you hear about a movie you want to watch (whether at home or at work) you just add that movie to your del.icio.us.

What I like to do is use the IMDB bookmarklet, which helps me find a link to the movie in the Internet Movie Database. Once I've found the link to that movie, I post it to my del.icio.us account under the tag toRent.

Accessing your toRent list in del.icio.us can be done in a couple of ways. If you're lucky to have a web enabled mobile device, just pull up your del.icio.us account the next time you're in the movie rental store. If you are without such a device, you can print out your movie rental list and keep it in your car, purse, wallet, or place it on your refrigerator as a reminder.

Once you've seen a movie on your del.icio.us rental list you can either delete the item or create a new tag called rented and move the link there. This will help you keep track of what you've seen.

I've noticed that there are a lot of classic movies in which I either haven't seen or have only seen in small parts on T.V. so I've populated my del.icio.us toRent list with a few of those movies. Also, if you tend to miss a lot of movies when they're in the theater, you can post those movies to your del.icio.us list when they hit the box office so you will remember to rent it when it comes out in DVD.

Someday soon we hope to enter the 21st century and at least start using a service like netflix. Recent events have found this blog being consumed with watching season three of 24 so I imagine our netflix days are fast approaching, being that we still haven't seen any episodes of season four.

This will be a welcomed change since I've found that making midnight runs to blockbuster, in order to rent the next disk in the series immediately after you've just finished watching four hours of the previous disk, tends to be somewhat embarrassing.

Posted by joeschmidt at 01:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

Einstein busted for not using Google

Einstein didn't use Google

Had Einstein asked a dumb question or had Al Gore invented the internet 4 decades sooner, the above picture might be plausible. Eh, then again, probably not.

In any case, you too can make Einstein say whatever you want on the Chalkboard, give it a try. And if the context of the above image looks somewhat familiar to you, you may remember that Bart Simpson was also busted for not using Google.

Posted by joeschmidt at 12:30 AM | Comments (1) | post to del.icio.us

The gada.be metasearch engine: you gada.be using it

Posted on October 12, 2005 at 12:58 AM

gada.be is a new metasearch service that searches rss and atom feeds using a variety of popular search engines. Why spend the time performing searches on multiple sites like technorati, Google blog search, or digg when gada.be combines them all into one service.

Gada.be is the genesis of Chris Pirillo who created the service in order to alleviate some of the frustration involved with trying to search the internet via a mobile device. You can see how the site's simple layout allows you to efficiently find information on the internet, no matter what size of screen you use.

So how do you use gada.be? Here is a snippet from the gada.be about page:

Try the search box on the main page (or at the top of any gada.be page). Notice how your keywords are separated by a dash when you look at your address bar? We do this for a reason: your keywords are infused with the site's results! You might be visiting Seattle, in need of good sushi. So, enter http://seattle-sushi.gada.be/ in your address bar or enter "seattle sushi" into the search box. Easy peasy!

You can use dashes or dots to separate your words. Dashes imply that you're searching for both of the words (together or apart), whereas a dot implies that you're searching for a term. This way, you can carry the URL with you wherever you go (or link to it) and the results will remain intact. You can even combine them, dashes and dots, in the URL. http://technology-cool.stuff.gada.be/ would yield results akin to: technology AND "cool stuff" (go ahead, give it a shot).

I use gada.be to search for people linking to my blog or to find the latest info on what people are talking about on the internets. Considering it was released to the public just a few days ago, it's proving to be a very handy utility !

For those of you who are into using bookmarklets, I've created a gada.be bookmarklet for you to try out. To use it, just drag the link below into your browser's bookmark menu:

search gada.be

To use the bookmarklet, just highlight some text on a web page and click the search gada.be bookmarklet. You'll soon find yourself swimming in gada.be search results. Another way to use it is to click on the search gada.be bookmarklet which will open a window on your screen. Now enter your query into the search box and hit ok. Simple!

note: The gada.be bookmarklet does not work in Internet Explorer 6. Although, the question should not be why doesn't it work in IE6, rather the question should be why are you still using IE6? Please consider switching to Firefox or at the very least Opera. They are much better web browsers than internet explorer (in this blog's humble opinion) and they're free.

Posted by joeschmidt at 12:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

An amazing panorama of Los Angeles

Posted on October 07, 2005 at 06:55 AM

panorama of Los Angeles
click on image to view the panorama

The above image is only a small portion of the massive 13548x561 panorama taken of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. One thing that is interesting to note is the lack of smog in the picture. The photographer must of taken this shot on a really clear day or used some special smog removal tool in photoshop. Hell, you can even see the Hollywood sign.

For those of you not familiar with the Los Angeles area, this map gives you an idea of what areas this picture covers.

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Test your geography skills with "Place the State"

Posted on October 06, 2005 at 01:46 AM

Being the geography buff that I am, I couldn't resist testing my skills with the Place the State game. The concept is simple, you are randomly given a U.S. state which you must place in it's exact location on the map. Your score is calculated by the percentage of states correctly placed. In the event you misplace a state, the average distance you are off will be displayed on the screen. The game ends when all 50 states have been correctly placed.

From the onset, one would take this to be an easy task. Ahh, but that's where you would be wrong. With no visual aids to guide you at the beginning, that randomly chosen mid-western state becomes an instant bombshell with regards to your score. I only gave it three tries before I realized that if I didn't quit I'd end up spending all day trying to get 100%.

A helpful hint for those of you not real familiar with the location of Rhode Island: an easy way to remember it's location is that it is in the armpit of Massachusetts (physically and literally I might add).

I've posted my best round so you can compare your results with mine.

Bonus points go out to any of you who end up wasting half your day trying to get 100%. You're a better man/woman than me. Feel free to leave your scores in the comments.

Thanks to Alisha for the link.

Posted by joeschmidt at 01:46 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

Conan O'Brien predicted the Katie Holmes/Tom Cruise love child

This blog is not in the business of discussing celebrity news, nor does it care if a whacked-out mega star impregnates a brainwashed actress via scientological conception. Though the news of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes becoming preggers was enough for this blog to take notice.

What would cause me to start caring now you might ask?

Back in May of this year, one of the best running segments on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, entitled "If they mated", depicted the possible offspring of a Holmes/Cruise union (warning: previous link not safe for those with an aversion to bulbous nose's and abnormally large foreheads).

What's amazing about this particular image is that this may be the first time an "If they mated" offspring has actually come to fruition. Through diligent research (approx. 3 minutes of searching Google), this blog has concluded that this would indeed be the case.

Congrats to Conan and his crew of photoshopping If They Mated prophets. I'm sure the Holmes/Cruise love child will be just as fugly as your picture depicts.

Posted by joeschmidt at 12:58 AM | Comments (1) | post to del.icio.us

The sledgehammer keyboard: a new way to "type"

Posted on October 04, 2005 at 01:12 AM

Off the top of my head I can think of a few reasons why having a sledgehammer keyboard would be beneficial. For instance:

  • It would definitely be a fantastic upper body workout.

  • A great way to relieve stress. Watch your tension and stress melt away as you "pound out" a flame mail.

  • Make co-workers think twice about approaching you with stupid questions (seeing that your have a large rubber mallet in your hand).

It's interesting to note that in the video of the sledgehammer keyboard in action they only show people using it with one hammer. In my opinion, using two hammers simultaneously would not only increase your productivity but balance the workout across both arms. Not to mention that using only one hammer for an extended period of time would produce an arm of Popeye-like proportions.

I would create my own sledgehammer keyboard, but trying to use it could prove to be somewhat difficult. I'm guessing that the noise generated by me pounding out 1000 word blog posts at 1am might be a nuisance to those trying to sleep here at the JoeSchmidt.com world headquarters.

Posted by joeschmidt at 01:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us

Google and Sun bid adieu to Microsoft Office

Wide speculation brewing that today, Oct. 4th, Google and Sun will announce a partnership bringing StarOffice (a.k.a OpenOffice) to Gmail users via the web.

You can watch the live webcast starting at 12:30pm CDT by clicking here.

I for one am interested to see what they name this new service since gOffice.com already exists. Not so surprisingly it too is a web service that currently offers a free word processing app, soon to be followed by spreadsheet, presentation, and desktop publishing apps as well.

My advice to the guy who own this site would be to sell gOffice.com to Google and make a nice profit. It is plain to see that any future financial windfalls hoping to be gained from gOffice.com look to be about nil once Google and Sun make their announcement.

Stay tuned to this post for more developments.

Posted by joeschmidt at 12:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack | post to del.icio.us