Feb
17
2009
1

Website updates and other random things

Refresh for updates

Refresh for updates

In no particular order:1

  • I often refer to myself as a Workers’ Compensation nerd.  The other day I realized that would be a GREAT website name!  Unfortunately, WCNerd.com is already taken by “white collar nerd.”  Bummer, no?  What a great e-mail address that would have been, too!
  • With well over a 100 posts and counting I thought it was time to include a “tag cloud.”  Its on the bottom of the right sidebar of this website.  Its basically a grouping of the common words I use to tag various posts.  The more common a word is the larger it appears.  The top contenders are pretty telling
  • To help with the website navigation and use of the “tag cloud” I’ve started being more liberal with how I tag my various posts.  Its actually kinda fun.
  • I’m  using a new e-mail contact form.  I was using “Contact Form 7,” which has a truly impressive feature list. While effective, I didn’t much care for this plugin because of its complexity.  What I really wanted was a quick and easy way for website visitors to send me e-mail.  Recently I found “Tiny Contact Form” by Tom Braider to be exactly what I needed.  It is small, simple to configure, and easy to include.  I’m actually using a modified version of the really fantastic “Tiny Contact Form” plugin.  I’m rather proud of my modification on this plugin and even sent Tom Braider my changes which he ended up incorporating into the next version!
  • Google recently swallowed up Feedburner.  I was using Feedburner to manage the RSS feeds for this website.  The only problem was that it was causing all kinds of problems.  My RSS reader wasn’t picking up the new posts from my own blog!  So, I scrapped the Feedburner management of my RSS feed and went back to the native WordPress support for RSS (which is pretty damn good).
  1. Photo courtesy of RandomChu []
Feb
06
2009
1

Ogilvie v. City and County of SF DFEC Rebuttal Calculator

Need help with a workers compensation calculator?

Need help with a workers' compensation calculator?

I put out the call for help testing my Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculator and got a bite! 1 I wrote it two days ago and refined it a little bit last night.2

If anyone else is interested in helping test this Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculator, please drop me a line and let me know.

The ideal tester is someone who:

  1. Has read Ogilvie and understands how to do the Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculations
  2. Is willing to use the Ogilvie DFEC rebuttal calculator this weekend
  3. Is willing to e-mail me with feedback this weekend so I can launch it on Monday to the public

If you’re not a registered user for this website, its free to sign up and free to use all the workers’ compensation calculators.

You heard me, free as in free.

  1. Photo courtesy of Joy of the Mundane. []
  2. Because I’m a total workers’ compensation nerd. []
Jan
07
2009
2

How to Buy a New Computer: Part II Netbooks

New Laptop

New Laptop

Yesterday I discussed the basics of buying a new computer.  The most important first step is figuring out what you need and what you want out of a new computer.  There are three main types of portable computers available these days: netbooks, basic laptops, and high-end laptops.  Today is all about “netbooks.”1

(Scroll to the end to see my picks…)

Netbooks

A netbook is a very small laptop designed to extremely mobile and portable.  They are optimized for portability and wireless connectivity.

Netbooks typically have a display of 10″ or less. 2 They usually don’t have any CD or DVD drives. 3  They usually have very small solid state drives or mid-sized hard drives.  On the plus side, they usually have bluetooth, media card readers, and WiFi.  They’re typically between 2 to 3 pounds, depending upon brand and type of battery.  They’re also relatively cheap – between $350 to $500.

My requirements may differ from yours.  If I were to buy a netbook, I would want:

  • Minimum 2 USB ports, preferably 3
  • Minimum 100 GB hard drive
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Bluetooth
  • WiFi aka 802.11a/b/g, and preferably also 802.11n
  • Ethernet port
  • Modem port

Other things people might care about (but I don’t):

  • Webcam
  • Keyboard size
  • Monitor size

Keep in mind, I’ve never used any of these laptops – I’m just evaluating them based on their prices and my own opinions as to their respective brands and specs.  Although, I’m enough of a nerd that I put together a spreadsheet to compare those five netbooks as well as about another dozen or so models and submodels.  If anyone is interested in seeing the spreadsheet, mention it in the comments below or drop me a line.

Dell has a new netbook too, but it only has solid state drive options – which are too small to be of use to me. 4 However, I’m sure it would be perfect for some people.

My picks are, in rough order of preference:

If I were to buy a netbook today, I’d probably go for the Acer Aspire One.  It occupies a sweet spot in terms of price, is a decent brand, and has very comparable specs to the higher-end models.

Next, basic laptops!

  1. Photo courtesy of Ciccio Pizzettaro []
  2. TV’s and monitors are always measured by the diagonal. []
  3. This means they’re no good for watching DVD’s or playing CD’s. []
  4. 8 GB of hard drive space is barely enough to run an operating system and a few programs these days… []
Oct
08
2008
1

Presidential Debate 10/7/2008, Post Mortem

Obama McCain Fight*

Obama McCain Fight

First, my advice for the candidates (you know, from my years of political experience):

  • Obama: Way way too many “uh’s”.  It makes you look unprepared.
  • McCain: Don’t wander around in the background.  At best it is disrespectful, at worst it makes you look befuddled and lost.

By any of the polling numbers, Obama went into last night’s debate so far ahead in the polls that the only way for McCain to really come back would be for Obama to commit some terrible blunder. 1 I imagine it would have taken something like this:

My impressions from the debate:

  • McCain said last night he wants to purchase all the bad loans in the United States and renegotiate them?  He’s suggesting resetting these loans to the present value of these homes.
    • First of all, where the hell was this guy before we spent $700,000,000,000.00???
    • Second, this sounds like a really tragically flawed idea.  If you buying loans high and then forgive hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, you’re basically giving hundreds of thousands of dollars per bad loans to those banks who had poor judgment in the first place.
    • Third, if you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per bad loan, why not just give them to the people who purchased the homes rather than the bank?
    • Fourth, if you’re going to buy the loans and then forgive a large chunk of them, why do you need to buy them?  Just tell the bank to adjust those loans.
  • Obama thinks the government invented computers so our defense department could communicate over long distances.  The defense project DARPA was invented that way, not computers.  I’m wondering if Obama lost the nerd vote there.
  • McCain wants to put medical records on the internet.  We can NOT put medical records online.
    • Government and business websites get hacked every day.  The last thing we need are our records posted on Craigslist.
    • As it stands, medical records enjoy a special protection in our system.  If that information is all online, it would be a simple task for our government to tap into that information.  This may sound paranoid until you recall that the NSA under the Bush administration has already done something far more invasive.
  • Tom Brokaw is a terrible, terrible moderator.  When someone is over their time, you cut them off.  Better yet, shut off their mike.  Don’t whine about it after they stop – that just invites apologies and “witty” comments.
  • McCain says he’ll double the tax exemption for each child.  Yay!  More babies!
  1. Photo courtesy of DaveHogg.  Photo editing, all me! []
Oct
02
2008
2

Nerds Are The New Cool

Nerds

From Uncool Nerds...

Yeah, I said it. And, I don’t care that it sounds ridiculously self-serving. Frankly, I think iTunes, MySpace, and instant messaging are to blame. These three things, more than anything else, made computers cool.

You think mechanics and handymen were always considered cool manly-men?  No way.  First cars and home improvement had to be cool. THEN the guys who fix/maintain those things became cool.

There was a day when computers and the internet were only good for word processing and searching libraries.  When these things were not indispensable, there were no real uses for nerds.  You know, besides copying their homework.

I think the first time anyone ever thought I was cool for being a nerd was when I was in law school.  A fellow law student had a floppy disk (yeah, it was that long ago…) that stopped working.  The campus tech guys were unable to do anything about it.  I asked if I could take a look – and was able to recover the data.

To Cool Nerds

...To Cool Nerds

These days a nerd can save your iPod, iPhone, laptop, recover your lost passwords, convert your files, and set up your wireless network.  They keep your computers virus free, network humming along, and your e-mails arriving right on time.

Heck, sometimes they even build online web-based workers’ compensation calculators which crank out permanent disability ratings and let everyone use them for free.

So, why not hug a nerd today?

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