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Switching to CMS July 19, 2005

Posted by Leita in CMS, Internet.
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I have been blogging on Blogger since August, 2002. It was just a sprout of a company back then, long before Google wisely snapped it up and added it to their growing arsenal of web thingies. While searching for the best CMS for a client, I tested several–some open source, others for a fee–and decided on Mambo. Since I’d never messed with php much except for forum setups, learning Mamboese wasn’t a cake walk, but it was tasty. I created one on my own space to test–I’d much rather crash my own site than someone else’s–and found myself finally building a site for myself. As I’ve mentioned before, advertising my own services is near the bottom of my priority totem pole, right below cleaning out the fridge and right above … hmm.. I can’t think of anything at the moment. My own site has always been sparse; there’s no information about what I do and if anyone needs information they either get it word-of-mouth or via email. Now, I actually have a little site built with Mambo. I can’t put a finger on exactly why I like Mambo over all the others, but I do. Probably the name since I like to dance. Plus it’s a happy name and I am happy by nature when I’m not pissed. The point is, I am moving this blog from here to there. A few months ago I lost all my old posts to a server crash which still ticks me off (when I’m not feeling happy by nature, of course) so it’ll be as sparse as this one until I get a few years’ posts written. But, if I give it proper attention, perhaps it’ll be more than just a personal blog. Go take a peek and let me know what you think. While it’s being built, you’ll need to register to see everything going on in there. I don’t do anything with the names–heck, put in a fake email addy if you like–and you won’t get [fwd:] emails from me with Today’s Joke. I do not mass mail a Sparktown Newsletter because I think they’re kind of dumb and I’ve never joined one that I really liked so I’ll never subject anyone to anything so ..zzzz. But I do like knowing there’s someone out there watching and reading. Who knows? I might even post something important or amusing. It’s what happy people do when they’re not pissed and at the moment, I’m pretty happy with CMS.

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Aurora spyware July 13, 2005

Posted by Leita in Internet.
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My email to an Illinois attorney regarding his lawsuit against Better Internet LLC: Dear Mr. Fish: I am a computer consultant who has spent the past four hours trying to uninstall the Betterinternet/Aurora spyware from a client’s computer and found your email address posted at netrn.net. When time permits, I will download the pdf file and read the details but in the meantime I am writing to see if there are any updates to this file located at courtbriefs.com. It will take an estimated 6 hours to remove this program from my client’s computer and I’d like to see Better Internet, LLC contact@abetterinternet.com lawfully obligated to repay her for the billable hours I will be charging her. There’s also the time lost–hers for not being able to use her computer to mind her online store and my own for holding up a substantial project I have due (now overdue) for a Chicago firm. I am sure you agree this is not just a typical malware nuisance. If my experience with this damaging software can be of help let me know what you need and whether the pdf file is current and accurate. Thank you for your efforts and good luck; this is a ludicrous way to spend a workday. Leita Santa Rosa Beach, Florida leita at sparktown dot com http://sparktown.com ———————– Mr. Fish’s reply:————— Thanks for your email. Did you or your client ever consent (through any type of license agreement or otherwise) to DirectRevenue or BetterInternet installing software or files on your computer? Did the Software or advertisements somehow impact your client’s computer usage or damage the computer? If so, how? Were you able to get the software off of the computer? If so, how much time was spent doing so? What have you done to try to get rid of the software? Do you have much experience with computers? Please detail your experience. Also, we are collecting statements from people, even if they are not located in Illinois. Would you mind if I sent you a statement to sign about your experience? David Fish The Collins Law Firm, P.C. 1770 North Park Street, Suite 200 Naperville, Illinois 60563 http://www.collinslaw.com —————-and another: Thank you for taking the time to explain how you were impacted. It is people like you who are willing to stand up and complain that will help make a difference! I attached a declaration for you to review and sign. Please be sure that everything in it is accurate before signing. If you would like, I can mail you a self addressed stamped envelope. Please fax (630) 527-1193 or mail back to me: Thanks so much for your help! David Fish The Collins Law Firm, P.C. 1770 North Park Street, Suite 200 Naperville, Illinois 60563 http://www.collinslaw.com

Hurricane Dennis comes to visit July 9, 2005

Posted by Leita in Hurricane, Southern Living.
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I live in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, about halfway between Ft. Walton and Panama City. I left town last year when Hurricane Ivan pointed its eye just west of here. I started out driving to Montgomery and wound up in Chicago. My thought: if I have to uproot my life for Mother Nature and evacuate then I don’t want to feel even a breeze. It worked. Illinois was lovely in September. After getting stuck in traffic on Lakeshore Drive (I could’ve stayed on I-10 for that) and experiencing a medium-to-severe panic attack, I headed back south to the beach. When it’s not blowing a gale and I’m battening hatches, I’d much rather be here than in a Holiday Inn Select located on a freeway offramp. (Is that a real word, “offramp?”) The windows are boarded up, the tub filled with flushing water and the doggies have enough chew toys to keep them distracted when the storm arrives. One huge tree with an ominous lean toward the kitchen window is half gone as of Thursday. The top is currently killing the grass in the front yard. I figured it was safer to leave it intact rather than chop it up and have it impale itself through the house in itsy bitsy pieces. We’ll see if that decision was inspired or idiotic. Either way, it looks like I’ve decorated for the storm. A pre-hurricane look I’m hoping Southern Living Magazine will showcase during an upcoming “Homes of Hell” feature. The treefrogs are hanging out by the front door. I think they’re waiting for a chance to hop inside. I told them they’re welcome to hang out with me. Maybe if I looked like a bouncer at a fancy club they might be more inclined to enter. Then again, the dogs were giving them the yummy look. I think they’re better off fighting off the sawed off tree branches. The local news, both stations, are pulling out all the dirty obvious tricks. To see one of them live, go to http://wmbb.com. Just in time for Dennis, they turned on the streaming live video. If that wasn’t enough to hold a viewer audience, they installed a “Titan” radar thingie that is surprisingly new and actually informative with models of the hell we’ll be facing later tonight and tomorrow. “Live streaming vidio all over the world!” says the anchor people. They’re digging on the “new” technology. Sitting in the middle of it, I can look out the window and see plenty of info. For now, a cruise down County Road 30-A is refreshingly quiet. Not surprising since the little road is right on the gulf. Franks Hardware was still open this afternoon, one employee working (I think this was the official Frank) who offered to add my gotta-have supplies on his list when he headed to the Panama City’s Home Depot later that day. The only item I was missing was a working tub plug. Needing a tub plug during a major emergency is right up there with needing a price check on tampons. It’s just not worth the bother, emotionally speaking. At the moment, there’s a Pringle’s lid sitting on the tub rim, waiting for deployment and a note Sharpied on the dining room window: Hurricane Dennis.. boarded up, staying home. UPDATE: Sunday @ noon. It’s official. I’ve received storm damage from Hurricane Dennis: First branch down thanks to Hurricane Dennis. And here I wait, pic courtesy of http://wmbb.com. Weather radar image from wmbb.com

Crazy Legs July 3, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam.
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It was 19… never mind the year. I was a high school Junior sitting in the second seat from the front on the far right side of English. My friend Julie was sitting in the desk in front of me, my other friend Junie was behind me and my other friend, Anna, was to my left. I can’t remember my teacher’s name (probably a symptom of something else.. I’ll edit when I recall).

For me to remember that much detail is a realization of how truly awful this thing is. Years ago I read one of the rare news snips about the condition. One man was in such pain* (see note at the bottom) he took a baseball bat to his legs. We all have our weapons and the energy expended while wailing on my legs probably kept 10 extra pounds off me.

My legs started to feel as if they were trying to go to sleep. I tried switching positions, crossed and uncrossed my legs but the feeling increased. Something was going wrong from my belly button to my ankles and I sat there, scared and fighting the urge to wriggle. I looked around, certain someone would notice. I don’t think anyone did, surprising considering the war that was going on below my belt.

A few years later I was accustomed to the occasional battle. It usually started at night as I was falling asleep and after an hour or so of beating my thighs and calves with a frustrated fist, I’d try a hot shower. Exhausted and still frightened, I’d eventually work myself into a fitful sleep.

It was years–decades–before mentioning it to my mother, trying to describe something so weird I fought for descriptors that do not exist in the English language.

“You have Crazy Legs, probably got it from me.”

“Fine. I get your Crazy Legs but not your olive complexion?”

Mom said my sister, Jennifer, came up with the term and since then we all talked of it often. Before she died last year, Crazy Legs plagued her to the point she couldn’t drive without medication. The meds didn’t really work; rather they kept her extremities woozy. Not a good condition to be in when maneuvering around lost tourists on Hwy 98 in Destin.

On May 10, GlaxoSmithKline announced the FDA approval of REQUIP, a med for Crazy Legs. Here’s a quote, snipped from http://www.rls.org/news/

Requip is a second-generation dopamine agonist that directly stimulates dopamine receptors in the brain. Although its exact cause is unknown, researchers believe that the underlying cause of RLS may be related to dopamine, a chemical that carries the signals between nerve cells that control body movement. When the dopamine system does not function properly, it may upset the normal communication of these signals.

* The pain from RLS isn’t the typical stabbing/throbbing/achy feeling I associate with pain. It’s creepy-crawlies on meth, similar to an extremity falling asleep but the pins-and-needles aren’t as sticky. It’s like an itch, but it’s not itchy. There are no useful words except perhaps “maddening,” along with various profanities inserted before.

It’s Always Something July 1, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam.
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Optimists know in their heart that no matter how bad things are, someone’s got it worse.

I think they’re using me for that benchmark. As I told my pal Patrick this morning, “I am the poster child of “It’s Always Something.”

More later.

The One Campaign July 1, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam.
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After viewing the commercials for the One Campaign a while back, I placed it firmly on my list of things to do when I stop long enough to remember. Yeah, I was interested but not enough to take a peek at their site.

This morning, my sister Kathy sent me the following email and a cyber nudge:

Dear Friends….. There is one thing that makes me mad, I mean really get up off my butt and do something mad, and that is a child with nothing to eat. All of the faces you see on the posters for The ONE campaign we all probably recognize, but OUR faces are just as important …NO, more important! It is up to those who reach out. Please join hands with me and reach out to help with The ONE campaign. We have so much….and we have even more to give. Thank YOU!

One doesn’t ask for money, just a voice. Give it a read.

The One Campaign Declaration:

“WE BELIEVE that in the best American tradition of helping others help themselves, now is the time to join with other countries in a historic pact for compassion and justice to help the poorest people of the world overcome AIDS and extreme poverty. WE RECOGNIZE that a pact including such measures as fair trade, debt relief, fighting corruption and directing additional resources for basic needs – education, health, clean water, food, and care for orphans – would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the poorest countries, at a cost equal to just one percent more of the US budget. WE COMMIT ourselves – one person, one voice, one vote at a time – to make a better, safer world for all.”

There’s a wristband for sale for the fashion-conscious. It’s white. I like white but what happens after Labor Day? There are a few of us out here who, despite what the style gurus say, can’t get comfy in after-season white. In my case, any white item purchased during the summer mellows into gray putty by Labor Day. I may tamp down my fear of white for this noble cause.

If wristbands and petition signing isn’t your bag, how about a concert? No? How about 10 concerts? Check out Live 8 , sign another petition, get informed and take a gander at a nicely designed site (no tables!)

Here’s what they say:

Every single day, 30,000 children die, needlessly, of extreme poverty.

On July 6th, we finally have the opportunity to stop that shameful statistic.

8 world leaders, gathered in Scotland for the G8 summit, will be presented with a workable plan to double aid, drop the debt and make the trade laws fair. If these 8 men agree, then we will become the generation that made poverty history.

But they’ll only do it if enough people tell them to.

That’s why we’re staging Live 8. 10 concerts, 100 artists, a million spectators, 2 billion viewers, and 1 message… To get those 8 men, in that 1 room, to stop 30,000 children dying every single day of extreme poverty.

We don’t want your money – we want you!

We don’t want your money, we want your face!

upload it online or send by MMS to 0044 7774 777 444 and and we will make sure your face is part of the huge G8 gallery along Princes street in the heart of Edinburgh.

One and Live 8 is a fabulous way to be trendy and cool and still give a damn about the big issues.

Go now, and do good.