Friday, November 25, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Songs

Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people (including my wife) new permit Christmas music to be played. For the last two Christmases, I have saved my favorite Christmas songs and favorite version. Here is my current list:
  1. Angels We Have Heard On High - Chris Tomlin - WOW Christmas: Green
  2. Away in a Manger - Casting Crowns - WOW Christmas: Green
  3. Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) - Amy Grant - Home For Christmas
  4. Do You Hear What I Hear? - FFH - WOW Christmas: Green
  5. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear - Kutlass - WOW Christmas: Green
  6. Light of the Stable - Selah - Rose of Bethlehem
  7. Little Town - Amy Grant - A Christmas Album
  8. Mary Did You Know? - Clay Aiken - WOW Christmas: Green
  9. O Come All Ye Faithful
  10. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Rebecca St. James - Christmas
  11. O Holy Night - Josh Groban - Josh Groban In Concert
  12. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  13. Silent Night
  14. The First Noel - Mark Schultz - WOW Christmas: Green
  15. We Three Kings - DC Talk - Joyful Christmas
  16. Welcome To Our World - Michael W. Smith - WOW Christmas: Green
  17. What Child is This? - Rebecca St. James - Christmas
Of these, my favorite is We Three Kings by DC Talk because it is the most unique of all these songs.

You should notice that I have three songs listed without a version. This is because I don't know what my favorite version of these songs is. Do you have a favorite version of one of these songs? If so, please share it with me. Maybe it will become my favorite as well.

Do you have a favorite Christmas song that I don't have listed? Please share it with me. Maybe I will it will become my favorite as well.

Here are some new additions.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Corn Maze

Yesterday, I went to my first corn maze at Treinen Farm with my bible study group. I have heard other people describe their corn maze experiences and combined with my low expectations of corn mazes, I was mostly excited to hang out with my bible study group.

However, I am happy to say that this corn maze was amazingly fun. They give you a partial map and indicate where to go to find the next piece of the map. Here is the maze:

The start (and end) is in the middle on the right side.

Two people in our group tracked our progress using the GPS in their phone. Here is what one of them recorded us walking, which was about a mile long:

There were seven checkpoints in the maze. Checkpoints 8 - 10 were after we left the exit of the maze. The yellow in the bottom left is my addition. The GPS tracking doesn't match up well with the maze in that corner. The yellow is what I think we did over there.

I was leading the group to the first checkpoint when I got lost. I took the second left instead of the third just before the checkpoint. However, I redeemed myself later by finding the way to checkpoint 5 after someone else got us lost.

In addition to the seven checkpoints that gave us more of the map, there were eight secrete locations, unmarked on the map. I wanted to find these locations as well, but most in the group didn't seem interested.

I am already excited for next year's maze...and maybe I can find the secret locations as well!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to Save Embedded Videos and Other Files

Many sites with videos use embedded flash players to show videos. I often want to download the whole video to avoid pauses for buffering and watch when offline.

To accomplish this in Firefox, add the Live HTTP Headers add-on. Then when obtaining the video (or other file), this add-on will give you the direct address to the file. Using Linux, I download the file using the command wget.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

ItsHidden Points to Me

In the summer of 2009, a new VPN service ItsHidden was announced. At the time, there were no instructions to help me get this to work on Ubuntu.

After a while (several days as I remember), I figured out how to make it work. The steps were easy to do but hard to figure out in the first place. Both by design and some chance, I had started an Ubuntu blog about a month earlier to both share helpful information I learned about Ubuntu and (a bit more selfishly) give myself a place to post information that I may want to again in the future. The steps to get ItsHidden working on Ubuntu was exactly the what belonged on the site.

Fast forward over two years (to today). I was just looking at ItsHidden's website and noticed that they link to my blog post!

The last bullet point is my URL (without a hyperlink though).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Old graphicx Bug

I just ran into a bug using the LaTeX package graphicx. I tried to include a graphic with a file name of the form "name.txt.png" and the file really is a PNG file. However, graphicx said ".txt.png" is an unknown graphics extension. *Sigh*...thanks for the hot tip.

A quick Google and I find that this has been a bug since 2004! This is such a simple fix. Why hasn't this been done???

Friday, August 19, 2011

Past Weather

There are a multitude of sources to learn about today's, tomorrow's, or next weekend's weather. However, I have never found any source about what the weather was yesterday...until now.

I always use for my weather information. I just learned that the (somewhat new?) Monthly view not only displays previous high and low temperatures, but also the amount of precipitation.

Now if only their Android app wasn't ridiculously slow...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Favorite Video Game Music

Having fantastic music can be the difference between a video game being good or great. That said, here is my selection of favorite video game music:
  1. Super Mario World, Castle Theme (1990)
  2. Donkey Kong Country 2, Lockjaw's Saga (1995)
  3. Halo, Theme Song (2001)
  4. Warcraft III
  5. Braid, Downstream (2003)
  6. Battlefield 2, Theme Song (2005)
  7. Portal, Still Alive (2007)

Monday, July 25, 2011

LaTeX: Change Format of a Custom Counter

I just spent more time that I would like to admit trying to figure out how to change the display format of a custom counter. Specifically, I was trying to get the counter to display as a capital letter. I found several examples that
  1. claimed that this is done with the \Alph command and
  2. gave an example on how to change a NON-custom counter.
What took me forever to figure out is that the command for a counter called CounterName is \theCounterName. Thus, the command I was looking for is:
I hope this post can help others.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Google Chrome Security: Less than Perfect

One of the major features touted when the Google Chrome web browser was introduce was its vastly improved security features. Their actions triggered other browsers to implement similar features, thereby improving the web for a much larger user base. However, their security is still not perfect.

My beef with Chrome is that it frequently prompts me that the file I am downloading might be dangerous for my computer. First off, I use Linux so even if I did download a "harmful file", it still cannot do anything that harmful unless I give it sudo rights...which I won't. But even if I was using Windows, I still think that this message appears too often.

The false positive rate for this feature is something like 50% but should be no larger than 5%. This message is supposed to be a security feature, but an alarm that is always going off is ignored.

I created a bug report for Chromium, the open source browser on which Google Chrome is based, about this issue. Hopefully people will see it, take it seriously, and provide a fix.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Android Video: arcMedia

I could make this post very long, but instead I will give the short and sweet version.

(I am generalizating somewhat from my case to the mostly likely affected scenario.)

If you want to play a mov video file that uses an mp3 codec (such as the video files in the Dimensions video series) on your Android 2.2 based phone, the audio does not work when using the default video player. I (more-or-less) submitted a bug report to Motorloa about this, so hopefully future versions will work correctly. In the meantime, the (free) arcMedia app plays the video correctly.

In addition to actually supporting some audio and video codecs that Android is supposed to, arcMedia also supports many other formats that Android does not, such at wma and wmv.

This is the kind of functionality that I expect from VLC Player, which is not in the Android market yet.

To download arcMedia on your Android phone, scan or click the following QR code: