Thinkgeek has the coolest stuff…

Check this out:

Even on sale for $70 ($20 off), it’s too expensive for me, but still…want!

Browsing Thinkgeek because I need a new wallet; had wanted one of the stainless steel wallets, but they cost too much so I ended up picking a duct tape wallet instead. I did have a hard time choosing between that and the dot matrix wallet! If Amanda and Raelene hadn’t given us some nice salt and pepper shakers as a wedding gift, I would totally be getting this set:

Salt and Pepper Shakers

Windows 7 Settings

So I ran across a cute little trick today that was apparently doing the rounds in January, but I never ran across it. It’s to make it easier to get to all the settings under Windows 7. It works with earlier versions of Windows as well, but apparently will crash 64-bit Vista.

What you want to do is create a new folder with the name XXX.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}, where XXX can be whatever you want (I called it “Master Settings”, but the rest of it, from the . to the closing }, should be exactly as written. This is a developer feature built into Windows; if you create a folder with the extension {YYY}, where YYY is a class ID, only the first part of the filename is shown and it does cool stuff. In this case, it gives you a search folder containing all the various controls you’d normally find in assorted folders in the Windows Control Panel.

If you’re like me, it can be difficult to remember where everything is. You can use the search to find it, which actually works pretty well, assuming you remember what it’s called, but it’s cool to have all the options available in one place.

One thing people have reported is that, should you decide to delete the folder, you might need to start the computer in safe mode. Additionally, while I haven’t tried it yet, there’s the possibility that this trick could allow users to get into settings that they normally shouldn’t. Depending on how you look at it, that could be a good thing or a bad thing; I’ve definitely been in situations where I had to tolerate a minor annoyance because I didn’t have sufficient access to change a setting!

Anyway, not exactly world-shaking news, but I thought I’d share. I’ve been using Windows 7 since the beta and I’m pretty happy with it; on the whole, it seems to work pretty well.

Granted, my websites are still going to run under Apache! :-)

Up to 1 year free webhosting at 1&1

I’ve been using 1&1 webhosting for about a decade now; I got in on a “3 years free” package they were offering and never saw any reason to leave afterwards. I actually ended up upgrading from the basic plan to their $10/month business plan, which includes 3 domains and 250gb of web space, and I have about 30 domains with them. Someone who just wants to hold a small personal site would probably be happy with the beginner plan, which provides 10gb of space for $4 per month. As of last year, all plans offer unlimited bandwidth.

One possible issue is that while they provide a reasonable number of mySQL databases (50 with my plan), they are limited to 100MB apiece, which may be restricting for large dynamic sites; I’ve only recently started putting up WordPress sites, so we’ll see if that actually becomes a problem.

Anyway, the current promotion is 1 year free for a home account (150gb, 2 domains, $7 per month regular price) or 3 months free for the business or developer accounts. If you’re looking for a new provider, they’re probably worth a look.

Upgrading Old Sites to WordPress

I have a book review site that I’ve been updating on and off for over half a decade now; in fact, out of curiosity, I looked up the original (part particularly good!) 2004 design in the Wayback Machine. I’ve gone through, I believe, three different HTML editors, starting with NetObjects Fusion and eventually upgrading to Dreamweaver; my wife actually created the last design. The site never seemed to get updated much, though, partially because it’s a pain to do.

Enter WordPress! A quick installation, a few minutes moving over some of my reviews, and bingo..a shiny new site that couldn’t be easier to update! While I’m in the process of learning to create my own themes (the plan is that Brit will design new WordPress themes and I will code them), for now I used one of the free themes available on the net. It’s not exactly what I want – if nothing else, where are way too many links on the main page (although that may have changed by the time you read this, as I’ll be doing a bit of editing) but it works, was easy to install, and it looks good.

Why am I ramping this up now? I’ve recently been added to the list of regular reviewers with O’Reilly, so I’ll be getting a number of books from them; I’ve been wanting to get into web programming and thought that forcing myself to do regular reviews was a good way to do that. I’m also looking into possible book review columns in a few magazines and I needed some reviews to demonstrate to interested editors.

Anyway, this is what I love about WordPress: even for a site that’s not really a blog (at first I wasn’t even going to turn on comments), it makes keeping your content updated very easy. People think of WordPress as being just for blogging, but it really is a complete content management system.