Friday, December 25, 2009

Playing football -- worth it?

I have to wonder if that manly sport of football is worth it, especially after reading articles like this one from Sports Illustrated.

Former Oakland Raider Dave Pear is one of many former players suffering from injuries sustained during their careers.

"Don't let your kids play football," he says. "Never."

Think about that next time you're watching a game, celebrating the "toughness" of your favorite player. Or do we really care?

As long as it isn't my kid.

work ethic

"Hard work pays off," I like to repeat to my son.

It seems that kids in the U.S. too often don't understand that, though.

Check out Kara Miller's column at, "My lazy American students."

Loved this line:

If you’re used to playing video games like “Modern Warfare’’ or “Halo’’ all night, how do you fit in four hours of homework? Or rest up for class?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Office Suite App

The SoftMaker Office 2008 office suite is currently available for free at They have versions for Windows and Linux. From their FAQ page:

What SoftMaker Office 2008 includes

  • TextMaker 2008, the friendly, full-featured word processor
  • PlanMaker 2008, the reliable, full-featured spreadsheet
  • SoftMaker Presentations 2008, an alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint
  • BasicMaker 2008 (Windows only), a BASIC scripting language
  • Unrestricted software, can be used perpetually
  • Seamless compatibility with Microsoft Office
  • Discounts on future versions

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Uncomfortable with Google? Other Search Engines

Does Google's privacy policy make you feel uncomfortable? Not me... I'm one of those who is guilty of repeating the phrase "Google is your friend." But it's a personal decision -- depends on what worries you about internet privacy.

Anyway, there are search engines that you might prefer using instead of Google. gives tells you about the info they collect in their Privacy Policy. This article at examines some of the major search companies, and ranks above AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

Mozilla vet Asa Dotzler recommends switching Firefox's search from Google to Bing. I don't know how many people would feel much more comfortable with Microsoft's Bing than with Google, though.

Some others you might want to consider:

Scroogle Scraper

Whatever search engine you use, it's probably a good idea to take a look at their privacy policy.

And, if you're concerned about internet privacy, you might want to check out the Smart Computing article, "Is Your ISP On Your Side? When It Will & Will Not Protect Your Privacy," especially the concluding paragraph:

In The End, Privacy Is An Illusion. Yes, there's a trade-off for the convenience of using the Internet and e-mail: loss of privacy. Sure, you can send messages to relatives, friends, and colleagues quickly, and you have access to the world of online shopping, information, and entertainment. If someone wants to track your movements online, however, he can. After all, it's not that hard to do, and with today's laws, ISPs have more leeway than ever to give up your privacy in the name of security. Whether this new outlook has any effect on the average user, only time will tell; but the ISP, given the right pressure, certainly has the legal right to hand over a lot of information about you. You may want to think about that the next time you go online.