Saturday, December 31, 2005
At this point I should probably mention that I have three kids, and at one time we tried the "Let's all go to the movies together" idea. We went to see Polar Express, and I ended up walking around the theater lobby for an hour and a half with my restless baby. Lesson learned. Last night I watched two parents looking on as their toddlers ran right under the silver screen, yelping and squeaking. The parents finally scooped up their kids and stood in the lower aisle, determined to keep watching the movie. The kids eventually broke free and ran a few more laps around the theater. As a parent with young kids I am used to plenty of ambient noise, and I certainly don't expect any theater to be totally silent, but this was different. There seemed to be several parents who had come to the movie with the intention of letting their small children run and play while they watched a movie. Unbelievable.
I should also mention that I am not normally the type who makes a big deal about these kinds of situations. I usually wait until someone else says something, but the fact that no one was doing anything finally got to me. (Frankly, this little situation was more interesting to me than the movie anyway.) I ended up leaving the movie to talk to the management and ask for my money back. Even though that made me feel a bit better, I was still bothered by what happened. The theater manager said he would send someone to talk to the couple that was allowing their kids to run wild (I didn't see if that really happened). I went back in and watched the second half of the movie, partly just to see what would happen with this situation. The end of the movie wound up being just as noisy as the first half. Kids were still running under the screen with no parent anywhere in sight.
So the main thing I learned from this experience is that a majority Utah/LDS crowd will tolerate kids ANYWHERE. As far as I could tell I was the only one who was bothered enough to request a refund. I also learned that it's NOT a good idea to go to the last matinee of the day. There seem to be quite a few people who want to save a couple bucks on tickets this way. These are apparently the same ones who are too cheap to spend money on a babysitter, even if it means ruining the experience for a few hundred people. Hopefully this wouldn't have happened at a later showing. I don't think it would have been tolerated for an entire movie in any other state. In any event, I found another reason to be confused by "Utah Mormon" culture last night. (I know I am generalizing here, so if this happens in other places/cultures I would like to hear about it. If so, please ignore this last paragraph.)
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Friday, November 18, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
One more thing that has been on my mind is that I want people to be able to find what they need quickly and efficiently. I need to look into this more, but has anyone found a way to organize blogs (other that just broad categories or chronologically)? Perhaps carefully selected categories are enough. Any thoughts?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
This blog also gave me a reason to try out WordPress, and I am sold! I've been getting excited about how WordPress makes blogging more organizeable. This will be important for my learning objects project when I need to categorize different types of basic computer FAQs. David, if you are reading this, do you know of a WordPress plugin that can generate crossreference links automatically within different articles?
Friday, November 04, 2005
OK, I'm back. I think that was my first time ever experiencing "blog-envy." All I can say is, "Way to go, bro. Google Ads was built just for you."
Monday, October 31, 2005
I had to throw this on my blog for the hundreds of fellow teachers who are subscribed... the silent, lurking masses that do not register on any of my counters.... Anyway, this screencast is a must-see for anone who is new to this stuff, especially for teachers seeking new ways to reach students. I loved that the podcast of the quantum physics lecture ended up on the top 100 podcasts list. People are curious. One more thing: this screencast didn’t work for me in Firefox, so you may have to use something else.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
I received a spoof email yesterday from “PayPal” that was so convincing that I almost fell for it. I am concerned that many other people will fall for this particular scam because it is so similar to a genuine PayPal email. Here is what is makes this spoof trickier:
- It didn’t ask for personal information in the email itself. These kinds of emails are a more obvious form of what is called “phishing.”
- The email, which didn’t have my name on it (another clue I missed), told me that my PayPal account been accessed from a foreign IP address and that I needed to verify my account.
- The site it took me to when I clicked the link looked EXACTLY like www.paypal.com’s log in screen. Most of the links on the page still linked to PayPal to make it even more convincing.
- Everything it the website asked me for seemed legitimate EXCEPT it also asked for my credit card’s ATM PIN. This was very suspicious, and I stopped filling out the form. I don’t know for sure if my PayPal account info or credit card number were compromised, but I decided to play it safe and close both accounts.
- After looking more closely, I also noticed that I was not on a secure connection (https://), even though the spoofers had cleverly inserted the same yellow lock graphic that is on PayPal's secure site. Although the web address contained the name paypal.com, it was preceded by this combination of numbers: 22.214.171.124 (an alternate IP address).
- I looked up the spoofer’s IP address (126.96.36.199) using WhoIs, and it belongs to Asia Pacific Network Information Centre, located in Australia! Sound “phishy” enough?
In the past I have received legitimate emails from PayPal asking me to go through a similar verification process, so I was fooled by this copy-cat spoof email and website. Beware that spoofers are getting trickier!
Above is a screenshot of the fake PayPal log in. It looks and works just like the real one, except you are not on a secure connection. (It's hard to see in the screenshot, but the address starts with "http://" and not "https://")
Once you "log in" (and they get your PayPal password), you are prompted to update your credit card. The only thing that has been added here is a space at the bottom for you to enter your ATM PIN number. Once they have this information, they can go to town on your credit card!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
"Pork Chop" in Logan, UT and again at Laguna Beach, CA
So I’m back to nothing for a title. But I taught French and Computer Science in the public schools for seven years! Doesn’t that count for anything? Still, if I just wanted “Teacher” under my name I would have stayed at Redlands High School. So what else can I put on my Office Depot brand, premium matte, ivory business cards? I got a master’s in instructional technology while I was a school teacher. Does that make me an instructional designer? I don’t think so. I need job experience. Maybe I can get a $6/hour job at USU doing instructional design work to feel worthy of the title. Nah, I’d rather have extra time to go fly fishing. Besides, the one job I’ve had at USU only lasted a day…
I got one of those $6/hr computer jobs at the start of Fall semester because I felt guilty about not working. (In the past I have almost always worked at least part-time as a student.) That night I was at the used CD store and couldn’t bring myself to buy anything because I knew buying a $6 used CD represented an hour’s worth of work. So I quit my job the next day. I haven’t felt guilty about spending money ever since.
OK, time to make a decision. Here are my top three idea for my business card:
Instruction Designer Wannabe
Nearly-matriculated PhD Student
Unemployed by choice
Forget it. I’ll make business cards later.
- What is System Restore and how do I use it?
- What is spyware and how do I get rid of it and then prevent it from coming back?
- What is the difference between XP Home and XP Professional?
- What are cookies?
- What are Windows updates?