Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

One of the regular mailings I get is the “Motivational Quote of the Day” from Nightingale-Conant.  In today’s political and economic climate, truer words have never been spoken:

"Look to the present. The great disease of 'I will be happy
when ...' is sweeping the world. You know the symptoms.
You start thinking: I'll be happy when I get that ... BMW ...
promotion ... status ... money. The only way to cure the
disease is to find happiness and meaning now."
— Marshall Goldsmith: a world authority in management

Saturday, January 10, 2009

K-B Toys Gift Cards Expire Sunday 1/11/09

If you have given or received any K-B Toys gift cards, you better move fast and use them because after tomorrow you won’t be able to and they will literally be worthless. 


(WXIA) -- K-B Toys, who announced late last year that they were liquidating their stores, will stop accepting gift cards after Sunday, Jan. 11.
The Massachusetts-based retailer has informed state officials in Washington and Oregon that they had planned to stop taking the cards.

Use Your K-B Toys Gift Card By Sunday -- Or Else - | WXIA | Atlanta, GA

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blog This in Windows Live Writer :: Firefox Add-ons

If you’re a blogger, there’s a good chance that you’re using Microsoft’s very excellent Windows Live Writer for writing your posts.  If you aren’t and you haven’t given it a try (and you’re using Windows) you really should check it out.  It’s an offline blog composer that has really made a difference in my ability to blog, especially since I have some blogs on different platforms and I can use the same tool to write those entries.

Likewise with Firefox, the open source browser by Mozilla.  It’s an outstanding alternative to Internet Explorer, and unlike Google Chrome and Apple Safari, it’s mature and stable*.  And don’t get me started on Opera.  Also, Firefox has thousands of add-ons to customize your browsing experience.

So if you’re using Live Writer and Firefox, you’ll be glad to know that Microsoft has finally updated their Blog This extension to work with Firefox 3:

Adds a button to Firefox which starts a new Windows Live Writer blog post prepopulated with content and title from the current web page. Blog the whole page, or just selected snippets. Interacts with other registered plugins to parse and structure web content where appropriate. Blog quickly when you find something of interest on the web.

It’s still listed as “experimental” because it’s so new, but it’s from Microsoft and it’s stable.  You just need to create a Mozilla account and log-in to download it.  Once they have a certain number of downloads and reviews they’ll be able to promote to regular status and remove the old one.  So make sure after you’ve tried it out that you rate it and review it.  As a matter of fact, this post was created using that very extension.

Way to go Microsoft!

Blog This in Windows Live Writer :: Firefox Add-ons

* Safari isn’t stable enough on the Windows platform, in my opinion.  This is my blog and you Apple zealots are free to disagree.  :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Google Gets Its Act Together

Finally!  After at least 6 different attempts, Blogger finally listened to me and realized that this is not a "spam blog".

So, I'll probably be resurrecting this very soon.

Go us!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Where there is a will, there's a way - Protect yourself

I realize that I'm not offering any concrete advice aside from "be careful" but it's still useful to know that a false sense of security is just that.  Be careful with your debit cards, folks!

You think your personal information is priceless. But everything has a price, even your stolen bank account information.

McAfee Avert Labs has discovered a price list that criminals use to buy and sell credit card numbers, bank account log-ins, and other consumer data that have been filched from unsuspecting Web surfers.

For example, a Washington Mutual Bank account in the U.S. with an available balance of $14,400 is priced at 600 euros ($924), while a Citibank UK account with an available balance of 10,044 pounds is priced at 850 euros ($1,310).

There's even a guarantee that if the buyer is unable to log into the account within 24 hours, maybe because the owner of the data canceled the account, the buyer can get a replacement stolen account to use.

What is your stolen data worth? | Tech news blog - CNET

Monday, February 25, 2008

Do Not Call is Now Permanent

A while back, I did a post telling everyone that they needed to renew their entry on the federal government's Do Not Call Registry


The list is now permanent (as it should have been in the first place) and you don't ever have to renew it.

If you're not familiar with the Registry it's a list that telemarketers are mandated by law to check (after you've been on it for 3 months) and they have fines if they call someone on that list they get a nasty fine.  Unfortunately, there are exemptions for fund-raising and surveys (which includes politics and charities).  Regardless, it can't hurt and you really should have your number on it.

Federal Do Not Call Registry

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I've decided to take a hiatus from this blog for a couple of reasons.

When I first started this, it was out of a generalized passion for things that are useful.  I would see something and say, "wow, that's great!" as well as have ideas for things that aren't typically written about.  Hence, Always Useful.  It's grown, but I've always been dissatisfied with it.  The problem is that it's TOO general and I don't want that.  Like the ADHD individual I am, the blog lacks an essential focus.  As much as I'd like to, I don't think "Whatever shiny penny I see" is a niche.

I enjoy this blog quite a bit, but for me to grow it, I'd have to do something that I don't want to do and that's become a blog that has 99% of its content pasted from somewhere else (like Lifehacker does, and I'm not going to link to them) and essentially that's what Always Useful has become.

I need a niche, I need a focus.  I have to find out what my writing passions are and I can tell you "Jack of all trades, master of none" isn't it.  So basically, Always Useful is probably going to be finished.  I just don't see a place for it.  I'll probably start a couple of more blogs on much more focused subject.  If you're interested, keep watching this space.  Until then, thanks for reading.