Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Tis the beginning of the New Year for me and yet today I find myself pondering the recent releases of browsers-- specifically the current browser war between Foxfire 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7-- rather than my ancestors.

I downloaded Internet Explorer 7 and was immediately confronted with tons of grief. I worked on reviving various crashed components of the main home computer for 15 hours before surrendering and calling the [free through November 1] Internet Explorer 7 Customer Support phone number.

The level one techie bravely tried to help me, even reading off the script to hack into the registry. At one point when I was already there, he insisted that I return to RUN and re-type in REGEDIT. He would not have it any other way. When his directions were not in sync with the way the registry sets up how to get into it to adjust things, he could not adjust his thinking and was unable to answer my questions. Finally, he gave up and put me on the queue for a level 2 techie to call me back.

Three days later the level 2 techie called me back. I discovered that the level one had told me to alter the wrong part of the registry. The level 2 techie got points for being polite and being able to ascertain that I was comfortable with the guts of my computer. Fortunately, his directions worked.

The fact that IE7 caused chaos did little to endear me to it. The fact that IE7 had a security patch issued the day after it came out is also worrisome. Internet Explorer 7 is all design and very little guts. There is no room for personalization in the Gates Universe. The tabs and buttons are oversized. Once again, the conglomerating monopoly which is Micro$oft and Windows/VISTA demonstrates its' belief that the computer-using public is incapable of anything other than point-and-click. And shame on the average member of the public for buying that story.

Foxfire 2.0 is open-source which automatically makes it more secure and customizable. The hackers of the 80s have migrated over to Linux and other places there-in, using their skills to provide security testing and more. Foxfire was an easy download with no trauma attached. Its' buttons are sleek, it is skinable, and there are a gazillion options for personalizing the way the browser functions. My foxfire browser functions the way I want it to because I set it up to do what I want it to do. I have options regarding scripts, blogs, bookmarks, rss feeds, adding or deleting toolbars, and web design set up on mine. I use my Foxfire primarily for websurfing and my add-ons for del.icio.us dot com [unfortunately now owned by Yahoo] and StumbleUpon reflect that. I have a sense of ownership and community with Foxfire that I have never had with any of the Gates Empire products.

I also have Flock installed on the main computer for another member of the household to use. I selected Flock partially because it is light-weight and partially because I was able to control the features for a non-techie with little clue about how computers work. Flock also has add-ons, including those at http://www.kroft.com as well as those on its' homepages. Again, with Flock there is a sense of ownership and community that is lacking with IE7. I also have a Flock installed on one of the laptops and customized for my blogging efforts.

I tried Opera 9 and although there are those who swear by it, I didn't like it. I did not find the customization options with Opera 9 that I found with Flock and with Foxfire 2.0-- though certainly Opera 9 is far more lightweight a browser [in terms of spacehogging or not spacehogging] than IE7.

I suspect that I will also be migrating to a dual-boot system on the main computer soon and be installing some flavor of Linux. For me, open-source is the way to go. I look forward to the time when I will be able to test-drive Konqueror as well as to write my own add-ons and modifications to Foxfire and Flock. Meanwhile, I just keep studying and practicing so that way I too will be able to leave my mark upon the vibrant open-source community.

- sapphoq reviews

Thursday, October 26, 2006


My latest obsession is a nifty site found at http://www.stumbleupon.com/ called StumbleUpon. After downloading the latest Foxfire release, I added StumbleUpon as an extension. Together with my bookmarks at http://del.icio.us/, I am finding more nifty stuff on the web and cataloging them.

Althought StumbleUpon has the option of having friends, I have not investigated that part of it. I am content to be presented with a new site based on my selected interests and then decide to: mark it as "thumbs up," "thumbs down," or to leave it unmarked; import it into my del.icio.us account with tags or not; comment on it for my StumbleUpon blog. My StumbleUpon blog so far consists of the sites I have bookmarked as "thumbs up." StumbleUpon also gives one the option of adding a button to ones other websites so visitors to them can refer them back to StumbleUpon. I may do so in the near future.

I am especially interested in the use of public domain textures and photos in my computer art, and in flash games. I have found both in abundance within one hour of using StumbleUpon.

sapphoq's verdict: StumbleUpon + Foxfire + del.icio.us = not to be missed!

sapphoq reviews

Tuesday, October 24, 2006



from: http://www.demonbuster.com

BOYCE and BOICE are two demons that interfere with any electronic equipment, i.e., phone, computer, printer, automibile.
If something malfunctions, BIND UP these two demons, and command them to leave your equipment, in the name of Jesus.

sapphoq reviews says: And here all this time I thought it ws the boot monster kicking us off the chatroom in my early days at http://www.tbichat.com/ . How silly of me! Now I know it was Boyce and Boice!

The rest of the site alleges that depression is a demon and that diabetes is a squid! I have heard diabetes called many things, but never a squid. It also relates such gems as paisley prints are demonic, a Pope failed to cast a demon out of a child in 1995 while visiting the state of Texas, Mother Theresa was demon-possessed, all candles are bad because they attract demons, spasms in the arms prevent people with anxiety disorders from using them, and the Narnia movie is as diabolical as the Harry Potter books.

Demonbuster is apparently the work of one "Reverend Shanks" [or his followers] and not anything to do with Gene Moody [at least we are told that the e-mail addy is not Gene Moody's anyway.] I found no other identifying information during my visit there.

The site uses a hot pink background throughout and plays organ music in the background. The one good thing about demonbuster dot com-- it does not ask for my filthy demonic american money!

Boyce and Boice, I demand you leave this computer this instant!

~sapphoq reviews

Friday, October 20, 2006


http://www.ed2go.com/ is a portal to on-line "courses" being "offered" by local community colleges. I am currently taking two computer tech courses, one writing research course, and one gaming industry course through this business.
My courses cost $90 or $119 each, depending upon the subject matter. In return for my bisexual bucks, I get 12 "classes" which are "released" every Wednesday and every Friday. There is a short five question multiple-guess quiz after each class, assignments, recommended for further study links, and an exam. The exam is the only thing that counts. If I pass the exam, I get a certificate. If not, I don't.
I quickly found that the assignments are for self-edification only, that the bulletin boards provided for student-teacher communication are e-mail based, that the writing contained within the courses themselves is syrupy and canned. I am in fact having difficulty believing that the alleged "professors" exist.
Improvements might be more varied writing styles, a real-time chatroom experience, and more in-depth coverage of the material being offered.
Verdict: ed 2 go is a no-go.

~sapphoq reviews books and more

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Google has acquired the popular video-sharing service called "You Tube." The deal was finalized on Monday October 9. Thus the beginning of the end.

You Tube has been plagued by lawsuits alleging copyright violations. That will probably end as Google along with You Tube's employees will now actively search and remove clips from someone's favorite teevee show or concert.

Google has also made deals with such media giants as Sony to that effect.

Bye bye You Tube. Hello a newer, shinier, strictly law-abiding You Tube though not necessarily better.

~sapphoq reviews

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Hail all from crisp Bennington Vermont where I am with friends. Bennington has the look and feel of not-so-faded hippies. I am fortunate that I get to see this town from the perspective of a local rather than a tourist. I get to go where the locals go.

First off is All Days and Onions, a restaurant on the main drag with homemade delicious food. Sandwiches and desserts are to die for. Clientele is primarily local. Across the street is a hospice. The older folks who live in and near the hospice frequent the restaurant also where they are treated with great respect. Service there, along with the food, can't be beat.

Next is Your Belly Deli. Wonderful subs. Places to sit down. On a side street away from the outta towners.

Bennington also hosts three thrift shoppes-- A Goodwill, Salvation Army, and a more upscale Second-Hand Rose. Plus there is a Baptist Church and a little clubhouse for people in recovery. Several strip malls, a Denny's, the Depot, a few diners, and the volunteer fire department round out the local scene.

There is a Veteran's Hospital in Bennington which has a fenced in deer park. The deer are nice to see. Not for feeding though, just viewing. Bennington also has a local hospital, mental health treatment programs, and some community residences and halfway houses.

One of my friends belongs to Curves-- a women's chain gym. There is an active womyn's community in Bennington. Wherever we go, we run into womyn that my friends know and that I am beginning to know.

Outside of Bennington to the east are mountains, state parks, and ski slopes. Also are the winding dirt roads that lead to rugged little camps where people hide out away from the tourists.

Bennington is on the scale of Woodstock New York and New Hope Pennsylvania. A rather expensive place to live but the ambience cannot be beat.

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