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Stuff People Give Out at Food Drives

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Spent several hours going door to door with my son’s Cub Scout pack this morning collecting canned goods for the San Francisco Food Bank. Among the items received for donation:

  • A jar of “Goober Grape” PB&J combo
  • A bottle of Trader Joe’s Thai curry sauce
  • Multiple 12-packs of Coca-Cola
  • Bag of dried lentils from a bulk bin
  • Jelly (expired)
  • A frozen “Claim Jumper” apple pie
  • Individual snack packets of Annie’s organic Bunny Grahams
  • Boxes of frozen stuffing (thawed, rank, very expired)
  • A canned ham (these still exist!)

Why “New York Times Bestseller” Means Nothing

Monday, November 5th, 2012

What does it take to get on the New York Times Best Seller list? A lot of money, that’s all. Here’s how publishers looking to cash in on those golden words do it. The secret: “bulk sales” — where a few bookstores receive massive orders driven by a small number of buyers. The NYT now reveals the reporting of bulk orders in the footnotes of its listings.

In related news, it’s true: Nothing is sacred.

Quick Tip: Speed Up Firefox Data Entry

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

I work pretty much all day in Firefox and big text fields in WordPress. Some strange bug between the two causes performance to bog down, especially when (oddly) deleting text.

Finally I’ve found what looks like a solution.

In Firefox, click Tools > Options.

Under the Advanced section, click the General tab. Uncheck the box next to “Use hardware acceleration when available.”

Reboot and be happy.

Should You “Sleep On It”?

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Yes, if it’s a tough problem…

Previous research has shown that performance on problem solving improves over a period of sleep, as compared with wakefulness. However, these studies have not determined whether sleep is beneficial for problem solving or whether sleep merely mitigates against interference due to an interruption to solution attempts … We conclude that sleep facilitates problem solving, most likely via spreading activation, but this has its primary effect for harder problems.

If none of that makes sense, try reading the research tomorrow.

My Author Page on

Monday, September 17th, 2012

So I have this author page now. Nothing you don’t already know, but now you can buy my books more easily than ever ;)


The Shoulders of Giants

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The worst thing is thinking of an idea for an awesome blog post during the night, then forgetting it completely by the time you wake up.

Pop Quiz

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Pop quiz: Which has more in it, a barrel of whiskey or a barrel of oil? (By volume.)

Interview: James Carville, New Spokesman for Maker’s Mark |

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Interview: James Carville, New Spokesman for Maker’s Mark |

James Carville isn’t just the kingmaker behind Bill Clinton and other Democratic leaders from the last several decades, he’s now the spokesman for Maker’s Mark. Along with wife Mary Matalin, Carville is stumping for the massive Bourbon brand with a cheeky political spin, promoting “The Cocktail Part…

What’s a Pinterest with You?

Monday, August 6th, 2012

In case you want to see more funny pictures than you normally do during your workday: My Pinterest Page.

If You Use Firefox, Install This

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Lazarus has saved my butt many times. What it does: It recovers text you have filled out in Firefox forms or text boxes so when you accidentally close a tab, or if a login screen suddenly pops up when you’re in WordPress and you save a document… only to discover that, no, WordPress can’t save a thing if you’ve been inadvertently logged out. Lazarus fixes all of that with a simple plug-in.

Get it now before you need it.

Back in the Saddle Again

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Florida and Aruba down. One more trip to the ultra-hot weather (Texas) to come.

WordPress and CAPTCHA Systems

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Just installed my first CAPTCHA antispam system on today at the behest of my web host. (We don’t get much spam, but, well, long story.) Installed SI CAPTCHA and it seems to work as advertised, page loads aren’t significantly impacted, and the images are easy to read. Anyone else have in-depth experience with CAPTCHAs on WordPress? Anything I should look out for?

Chris Null: International Cocktail Magnate

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

From today’s inbox:

Dear Sir:

Hello! We are pleased to see that your company can supply The Noodle & Boo Cocktail on the Internet. And our company needs this kind of products now. However,the information about this product is limit, and we hope that your company can provide more details about The Noodle & Boo Cocktail. In addition, we want to know if we can purchase it in China?

If we cannot, shall we directly purchase this kind of product from your company?

Looking forward to your reply as soon as possible, thanks very much.


Henan Zhuliu Jiapin Trading Co.Ltd

Tel: +86-(0)371-55910420

Fax: +86-(0)371-55697092

Zip code: 450000

Add: # 67 Wenhua Road, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, China

A Funny Cat Picture

Monday, June 18th, 2012

This is our cat eating a wooden artists’ model.

funny cat picture

Eat Before Partying

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

You will obey the squirrel on campus.

birthday.swf (application/x-shockwave-flash Object)

Fun With Books You Haven’t Read

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

See, the New York Times newsroom is no better than you. (I haven’t even heard of a few of these titles.)

Books We Let Others Think We’ve Read –

How to: Change All Files from “Hidden” to “Unhidden”

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Vestiges of a virus left a computer with most of the files in the My Documents folder invisible, so the malware creator could make it appear that files were damaged (and magically “repaired” once you paid for the software to fix things).

I removed the virus but the files stayed set hidden. Online advice about fixing this didn’t work, but I stumbled upon the correct solution myself. Here’s how to fix this issue if it happens to you. This should work in most versions of Windows, from Windows XP to Windows 7.

Find the folder containing the files you want to repair in Windows Explorer.

Right-click on the folder and choose Properties.

The “Hidden” box will (probably) be clear, indicating all files are “unhidden” — which isn’t correct.

Check the box so that it has a check mark in it (not a square). Click Apply and select “Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files.” Click OK.

It will take several minutes for all files in that folder to be updated. They will now all be hidden. Don’t panic.

When it’s done, UNCHECK the “Hidden” box so that it’s clear, and click Apply again. Select the “Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files” option again and click OK.

Now, all files will — finally — no longer be hidden.

It’s Not a Small World After All

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Today I Learned: DisneyWorld is nearly as large in square mileage as San Francisco.

Claiming the Blog

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Just a formality.

T-Rex Disco

Friday, April 6th, 2012

I lol’ed.