Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Villain Motivation

I just have to say it was totally worth it to build a new character from scratch on DC Universe Online just to hear Mark Hamill reprise his role as Joker.  Unfortunately his last voice acting Joker role was for Batman: Arkham City.

By the way, most people don't know it but Mark Hamill is a MAJOR player on the voice acting scene. Take a look at his profile (which I thoughtfully provided earlier).  I should probably put Arkham Asylum and Arkham City on my to-play list.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Rundown

Often people ask me what they should do with a new computer.  I usually respond that if they didn't know why they bought it for they might as well just give it to me. :) 
Just kidding.  My laptop's probably better than yours anyway. :P

But seriously I do have a set procedure for whenever I get a new computer playground to play in.  So here goes:

  1. (Optional Step) Whenever possible I like to wipe the computer clean and install a fresh operating system.  Do do that all willy-nilly though.  You should back up the drivers beforehand.  I use Driver Magician Lite.  It's the free version of the software.  It'll back up your drivers but it won't restore.  I do that manually anyway through the device settings.  Why go through all the trouble?  For me, it's the easiest way to clear up all the pre-installed software I don't need and will probably never use.  If there is something I want to keep, I take note of it and go to the support website for the computer and download it there.
  2. Uninstall whatever Antivirus came with the computer.  If you did step one then this isn't a concern.  Again you ask why?  For starters the Antivirus that came with your computer is a trial.  You'll only be able to use it for a few months before it starts asking you to buy it or activate it.  Most users pay these warnings no mind and happily go about their business not realizing that the software has stopped protecting them.  If you stay on to of paying for your Antivirus you can keep it.  Most people don't.  I use Avast Free.  The paid versions have more features but I'm fine with virus and malware protection.  Avast requires yearly registration though (still free) and I found that too many users would pay the warnings no mind.  Fortunately Avast doesn't stop working but it does stop upgrading and that's still pretty bad.  That's why I've switched to giving users Avira.  I think it's actually better at malware detection than Avast and it doesn't ask you to register every year.  All for a nag screen every time it updates.  Small price to pay for the protection it provides I say.
  3. I like to give people options so I also install an alternative browser.  I prefer Firefox but I'll give you Chrome too.  There's also a few plugins that I save you trouble of worrying about.  Adobe Flash and Reader immediately springs to mind.  Since I mentioned Reader, I also tend to install something that allows you to create your own PDF files.  My favorite is DoroPDF.
  4. There are people who swear by the built-in Windows burning features.  I'm not one of them.  That's why I also install CDBurnerXP.
  5. Almost everyone has an Apple product of some kind be it and iPod or an iPad so I save them the trouble of installing iTunes.  While I'm at it I install it's companion Quicktime.  If you want Safari though you're on your own but chances are you'll eventually have it as an option in your updates.  That doesn't mean I endorse iTunes as a media manager though.  Personally I prefer MediaMonkey.
  6. Productivity comes next.  If you have Microsoft Office I'll install it for you.  Most people don't because Office isn't cheap.  That's when I turn them on to OpenOffice.  It does a lot of the things Office can do and can even open and edit Office files.  One thing it doesn't include though is an email client like Outlook.  While Windows does have an integrated email client that mirrors the old Outlook Express you might want something a bit more robust.  Look no further than Thunderbird.
  7. I have to admit that Windows Image Viewer has come a long way, but I'm old fashioned.  I like having the ability to do things with pics besides just look at them.  My go to program for years has been IrfanView.
  8. My final install is a relatively new one on my list.  Chances are someone is going to call me up with a problem and will want to bring it back to me for a relatively small thing.  That's when I go "I wish I could just log in to your computer from here and do it cause it'd only take me a sec".  Well now I can.  I install TeamViewer which allows me (with the owner's permission that is) to log into computer securely via the Internet.
  9. From here on out it depends on the needs of the person the computer is for.  There are tons of software out there for doing a variety of things.  You just need to know what it is you want to do.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Manga List Update #2

Sadly, RRR's run has ended. It was still a splendid series.  I just started reading Katekyo Hitman Reborn.  The plot is a little surreal to describe so you'll just have to check that one on your own.  I also added My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute, which I'm caught up on but since it's been so long since a new issue is released I forgot to put it on my initial list.  What are you reading?  There's lots of room for more on my list.

Naruto Bleach Beelzebub The World God Only Knows History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Ratman
Cage of Eden Fairy Tail Noblesse Bartender Holyland The Breaker: New Waves
Hajime no Ippo Hunter X Hunter Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to Karate Shoukoushi Konihata Minoru Medaka Box Toriko
Freezing Sekirei Gamble Fish Liar Game Zen Martial Arts Academy The God of High School
Rave Master (Finished) Eyeshield 21 (Finished) The Breaker (Finished) Veritas (Finished) Defense Devil (Finished)  RRR (Finished)
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! My Little Sister Can't Be This Cute

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Karaoke Report 3-26-12

Sunday nights have been really staying busy at Fatty's.  Thanks to all the patrons who come in and support me and the establishment.

Epic Awesomesauce Moment of the Night/Buzzkill of the Night

What you're looking at through the lens of my really crappy cell phone cam is filming for The Real World: St. Thomas.  While it was epicly awesome that they came to film during karaoke, it was also a buzzkill for one simple reason: nobody wanted to risk being captured on camera singing karaoke for national television.  Mind you, the only way they put you on TV is if they get your consent first.  A lot of people don't know that do so they immediately get gun shy when the cameras show up.  Either way, can't wait to see if they're going to use footage from Fatty's on the show.  Oh and before you ask, no I will not be famous anytime soon.  I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

WTF Moment of the Night

On one of the very first pages of my song books I include for perusal some of us in the biz refer to as The Golden Rules of Karaoke.

1. Thou shall never allow your mic to 'make out with the speakers, it makes them squeal' and
2. Thou shall always sing into the mic - "MAKE IT HAPPEN"
3. Thou shall never go to the bathroom or outside when on deck to sing just to see if you could "TURN BACK TIME"
4. Thou shall never ask if the mics are on - they are on "ALWAYS"
5. Thou shall never walk in front of the monitor when someone else is singing. It is disrespectful and very rude - "I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER!"
6. Thou shall always applaud every singer. Some day you may be up there - "R-E-S-P-E-C-T"
7. Thou shall never sing back-up for someone unless they ask you. We do not need
8. Thou shall never ask the KJ if you can sing out of turn just because you've got "LEAVING ON YOUR MIND"
9. Thou shall not continuously ask the KJ when it will be your turn to sing - "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"
10. Thou shall not change your song once you get on stage and it is all keyed up - "LET IT BE"
11. Thou shall not go to karaoke and drink only water. Support your Karaoke establishment, whom is paying for your entertainment, by just having "TWO MORE BOTTLES OF WINE!"
12. Thou shall not swing the mic by the mic cord, nor drop it, nor "BEAT IT"
13. Thou shall not get up on stage to sing with a drink or a cigarette in hand - "NA NA, HEY HEY, KISS THEM GOOD-BYE!"
14. Thou shall not try to take over the Karaoke show just because your parents or friends are in town. Go to a recording studio and make a recording if they want to hear "ONLY YOU!"
15. Thou shall never blow into the mic! "IT WAS NICE SEEING YOU!"

Even though these are loosely enforced nobody ever reads these because I get offenders at every show and some of them are repeat offenders.  I want to draw your attention though to #7.  I've had to enforce this one a lot lately but there's an unwritten code of etiquette that comes with that rule: asking EVERYONE who comes on stage if you can have the second mic is just bad form.  So from here on out I may start to ignore rule 7 and only award the second mic to people who indicated from the start they'd be singing as a duo.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why Wait For Windows 8?

I had a friend this week show off his new Lenovo Tablet PC that he got for work.  It wasn't something I haven't seen before.  I once had a tablet for work and for what I needed it to do it was great.

But along came iPad and the image of the tablet that Microsoft was trying to define was shattered.  Turns out people wanted to do a lot more than just be able to take notes on a virtual notepad.  This is a recurring problem for Microsoft.  You may not remember but before smartphones we had Pocket PC phones.  It was essential a combination of a phone and a PC but never the twain would meet (well maybe not NEVER).  The phone and the operating system were separate things that occasionally worked together.  The iPhone came along and shattered THAT for Microsoft too.

Anyway, back to my friend.  He lamented that he couldn't make his tablet be more like tablet-like.  He complained that even though he had a touch screen he was still bound by the way Windows 7 lets him interface with the computer.  I had to be the bearer of bad news.  Windows 7 was only their second incarnation to embed tablet functions.  All the while they were trying to build a better PC operating system, they were losing the ground war on tablets.  And by losing I mean getting straight up massacred.  In short, Windows 7 wasn't capable of offering the interface he was looking for.  Microsoft realized they missed the boat and thus Windows 8 will be focusing on a tablet interface.


I did offer one glimmer of hope though.  That perhaps there's software available to make a Windows tablet mimic the functions of today's traditional tablet interfaces.  That's how I found FrontFace.  Check out the video preview below:

I kept digging and found another one:  ExoPC.  They take things a step further.  They even have a whole app store!

I found this video that compares the two:

While it looks like ExoPC came out on top, it looks like the ExoPC GUI is available only on the device they sell.  Sooo again I dug deeper.  Turns out at some point ExoPC stopped making the software available for download but the path to the download remains active.  You can download it here.  Surprisingly it's freeware.  Just in case they got cheeky and moved the file I downloaded a copy myself.  Ok, just installed it (oh the magic of blogging).  It's pretty slick.  Check it out if you have a chance.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Top 5 Microsoft Excel Tricks

Got a crazy spreadsheet in my email today and it reminded me of just how intuitive a spreadsheet can be if you know how to navigate it.  Having taken part in train-the-trainer courses myself I can tell you there's a lot anyone can learn.  So today I'm going to share the top 5 Excel tricks I use most often.

5.  Freezing Panes

Everyone has seen spreadsheet like this before.  Imagine your spreadsheet has like 100 lines of data.  Unfortunately after you go past about 20 items you can't see the header at the top of the page anymore.  The answer you seek is to freeze the panes.

As you can see, that item lives in the View tab in the latest version of Excel.  If you were lucky enough to be graced with a standard format spreadsheet you can use the Freeze Top Row or Freeze First Column preset.  More than likely, you'll need to use the Freeze Pane option.  First choose the cell where you want to freeze.  Keep in mind that the freezing occurs to the left and above the cell you choose.

In the example above, I've frozen the pane at B2.  Everything in the first row and the first column will now stay stationary as I move down and to the left in the spreadsheet.

4.  Cell Formatting

You're not stuck with just plain old numbers in Excel.  You can actually make a cell or a block of cells specially formatted to your tastes.  Right click on a cell and choose Format Cells.  A whole world of options will open up to you.

I just formatted the Price column for Currency.  Now I can see up to two decimal places AND the dollar symbol.  You can do other things with the Format Cells option too but you'll have to experiment with that on your own.

3.  Fill Cells Shortcut

Imagine you want to take an item in one cell and put it in about 10 more cells to the right or down.  You could copy and paste the item in each separate cell but who has time for that crap.  Use the Fill Cell Shortcut.

First click on the cell you'll be copying and hold the mouse button down.  Then drag your mouse over all the cells you want to fill.  They'll all be highlighted.  Now if your dragged to the right hold the Ctrl key and press R.  If you dragged down, hold the Ctrl key and press D.  Viola!  Filled!  This is a handier trick that you'd initially think.  It works with formulas too.

2.  AutoSum

There are a wealth of equations you can use to do calculations on a spreadsheet, but the one that I'm asked most often is how to make things in a column add up.  It's such a common task that Microsoft saved you the trouble of creating an adding equation and just gave you an AutoSum button.  It's really easy to use.  Just highlight all the cells you want to add up and press the AutoSum button (it's in the Formulas tab).

In the cell directly below the highlighted cells the sum total of the highlighted cells will appear.  It'll even have the same formatting.  You've gotta have all your ducks in a row/column though and make sure no cells with letters get in the path otherwise you'll get an error.

1.  Conditional Formatting

This is easily my favorite trick.  Instead of rifling through each and every number of a series, you can go through everything at once and immediately pick out the variables you're looking for.  In the example below, I want to find all the names with IQs less that 50.  Sure it's easy on this list but imagine a much MUCH longer one.  Here's how you make it pop.  Click on the column letter to highlight the entire column.  Go to the Home tab and look for Conditional Formatting.

Once again, lots of options but once again there are a lot of presets to make it easy.  Move your mouse over Highlight Cell Rules and then pick Less Than.  Enter 50 in the box that pops up.  You can keep the preset formatting or pull it down for more options.  Hit ok and you're done.

There's a lot you can do with Conditional Formatting but again I'll leave it to you to experiment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Many Times Do I Need To Repeat This?

I got a call yesterday from someone who had been referred to me...because I got mad computer skillz. :D

Anyway, she described the problem and was ready to bring me the computer and give me a little something for my time.  You know me though, I rather see people do for themselves.  So I suggested he download Malwarebytes Anti-malware, run a scan and see if that clears up her problem.  It's been almost 24 hours.  I think it's safe to say by now that it worked.

So, once again: Malwarebytes Anti-malware.  GET IT!  And if you've already got it, go ahead and do an update because I know y'all haven't since the last time I suggested it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Karaoke Report 3-19-12

Seems like even though people were partied out from St. Patrick's Day, we still had an active, rowdy crowd last night.

Epic Awesomesauce Moment of the Night

Oh yeah.  I went there.

WTF Moment of the Night

Lately people are getting a bit to familiar with the extra microphones.  Seems like I'm going to have to institute a strict return-the-damn-mics-to-the-host-when-you're-song-is-done policy.  As one of my Golden Rules of Karaoke, no one is allowed on the second mic without the permission of the person already singing.  Problem is people on stage feel pressured to let people who want to sing with them sing even though they'd rather sing alone.  Resolving this will take some brainstorming on my part.

Buzzkill Moment of the Night

Noise complaint lady is at it again.  We got the call around 1 about noise.  This woman must be part dog or something.  I don't see how she can hear anything from where she lives.  She choose to live in an commercial area.  Sucks to be her; she doesn't have the right to complain.  Yet she does.  From what I hear she started doing this again this week after about a couple month's hiatus.  Guess I'm going to need to keep my sound meter handy.

Yeah, that bad boy.
Random Party Pic

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lessons In A/V 3: 3rd Strike

I knew it was only a matter of time before ordering stuff direct from China would burn me. I've been keeping you guys up to date on my attempts to get a signal from my new computer to a TV since my new computer doesn't have an S-Video port. The solution I eventually came to is that I needed a specific device. You know the old saying: good, fast, cheap, pick two? I thought I was going with the good and cheap option. Here is it, direct from China:

First problem, the output isn't stellar at all. It's passable. It's the second problem that really seals the deal for me. After a while, my computer loses the signal to the converter resulting in whatever I was projecting in the extended desktop being relocated to my main. This is unacceptable for what I need to use this computer for. Looks like I better bite the bullet and buy "American" (I only say that because most of our stuff comes from China, Taiwan, etc...but at least this way I get a warranty and technical support).

Friday, March 16, 2012

My New Ringtone

I finally got bored with my old ringtone and went in search of a new one.  Here's what I decided on:

For those of you who've never played Metal Gear Solid, it was a game centered around espionage. Normally there's no music as you play but if by some chance you mess up and you're spotted by guards this is what you hear.

Snake?  What happened?  SNAAAAAAAAKKKEEEEE!!!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Manga List Update

Naruto Bleach Beelzebub The World God Only Knows History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Ratman
Cage of Eden Fairy Tail Noblesse Bartender Holyland The Breaker: New Waves
Hajime no Ippo Hunter X Hunter Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to Karate Shoukoushi Konihata Minoru Medaka Box Toriko
Freezing Sekirei Gamble Fish Liar Game Zen Martial Arts Academy The God of High School
Rave Master (Finished) Eyeshield 21 (Finished) The Breaker (Finished) Veritas (Finished) Defense Devil (Finished)  RRR

Yep, I've added RRR to the list and I've fallen in love with it big time.  The emotional drama is really heavy.  Seriously, it had me in tears for a couple issues.

Here's the write-up for it from MangaFox:

Rikitaro is a musician whose dream is to become a rock star just like Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison, but at the age of 27 that dream is fading away rapidly. Ooishi is a 3 time world boxing champion who recently retired and is now in the entertainment world, shooting a boxing reality show. These two unlikeliest of people cross paths one day but both of them think nothing of it until weeks later. Rikitaro is given one last shot by a record label to sign a deal but before that, they need him to get into better shape so that he is easier to sell. He stumbles upon a boxing gym which also happens to be the same gym Ooishi is filming his show. As fate’s wheels start to turn, neither man realizes that they will work together to train the best boxer ever, even better than Ooishi himself.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Karaoke Report 3-12-12

Yet another wild night at Fatty's.

Epic Awesomesauce Moment

We had such an enthusiastic crowd last night it's really hard to pick just one.  I think that in itself deserves the Epic Awesomsauce crown.  But if I really had to pick just one moment, it would have to be midnight.  If you're a regular to the show, you know that we always kick off midnight by playing Shots by LMFAO. This is followed by a brief DJ set totaling about 4 or 5 songs (debuted I Fink U Freeky by Die Antwoord last night too; naaaiiilled iiiitttt!).  After the set somebody ask me what the last song I played was.  It was Loca People by Sak Noel.  I love it when I play something and someone likes it so much they ask me what it was.  That's just awesomesauce.

WTF Moment of the Night

Ok, this one was kinda weird.  Somebody had their bookbag behind the counter.  Apparently somebody friendly with the bar; friendly enough that they're allowed behind it.  So, like most of the guests he was quite inebriated.  I turn to get his bag and immediately go back to taking requests for songs.  It only took about 30 seconds but by the time I got back to my station I find that someone has lifted my beer.  See what happens when you don't open those things right away!

Buzzkill Moment of the Night

What are you looking at?  That, my friends, is one of the antennae of my microphone receiver.  It's bent.  No, I didn't bring it that way.  See the girl in the black and white dress kinda outside the focus.  Her boyfriend was beyond wasted and when I wasn't looking proceeded to start nibbling on the antennae.  Yes, nibbling.  The only thing he needed to be nibbling was his smoking hot girlfriend who, bless her heart, put up with him and even sang Barbie Girl with him.  *sigh* It's always the jerks that get the girl.

Gratuitous Party Pic

One of the tamer moments last night.  Note to self: Buy a smartphone with a flash and image balancing in the future.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Zuckerberg Note Pass

Ok, so technically this themed post falls into schedule.  So sue me.

Confession time: most of the memes I mention are a Google search away.  However, I've been mostly relying on  So instead of me rehashing stuff, here's the meme:  Zuckerberg Note Pass.

Ah, but here's the twist.  This time I got in on the action and made my own note pass.  Check it out below.

Get it?  No?  Ok, here.  I'll spoil it.

Format Change

As of now I'm doing away with the weekly scheduled posts.  The only one I'm keeping is the Karaoke Report.  I liked the themed posts but I haven't seen much feedback if any from them.  I'll revisit the topics again but I won't do them on a fixed schedule.  I don't want to feel boxed in by having to post something on certain days.  This is supposed be be fun, dammit!

However, I'm more than willing to take requests.  If there was a segment that you liked let me know and I make a special effort to post more stuff like that in the future.  Otherwise I'm just gonna put up whatever the hell I want. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Karaoke Report 3-5-12

Wow, last night was just one wild, crazy night. As opposed to these guys, who are just two wild and crazy guys:

Epic Awesomesauce Moment

In between singing sets I play bumper music.  Bumper music is designed to create ambient background noise so we don't get any dead air (because dead air is a buzzkill).  Generally I don't put much thought into what songs I pick as bumper music.  I just cue up something from my electronica collection.  Completely by accident I picked Macarena.  Imagine my surprise when the crowd dug it so much I had to turn it up and play the whole song.

WTF Moment of the Night

I had to clean up spills near my equipment THREE times last night.  It got so bad I started to ninja bottles before people had a chance to knock them over.

Buzzkill Moment of the Night

So the sound goes dark right in the middle of the entire crowd singing Party Rock Anthem.  Fortunately yours truly is a master troubleshooter.  Looked at the board; sounds fine.  Looked at the board in the back; yep still kicking.  Checked the speaker; still on.  Finally checked the cable going TO the speaker.  In all the raucous someone managed to unplug it.  Took me all of 30 seconds to figure out but still a major buzzkill (salutes).

Gratuitous Party Pic
One of the tamer moments last night.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Time for your 2fer. 

Thursday Trivia

Yesterday was Leap Day, that extra day that occurs every 4 years during a leap year.  Why do we have leap years?

Viral Video of the Week

This week I've got a whole series for you: Jersey Shore Gone Wilde