For several months now I’ve been lazily blogging here at WordPress.  During all of that time, I have configured external web site links to open in a new tab/window while setting my internal links to open in the same tab/window.  But, now I’m not so sure if that’s the best setup, and I need your help.  (poll at bottom)

FYI:  External links are those which take the user to a web page on a completely different site (such as this link to a Nazi-killing Chewbacca riding a giant squirrel); Internal links are those which take the user to a different page but remain on the same web site (such as this link to my about me page.)

As the blogger, I must decide whether or not to configure these links to open in the same window or to have the links open up in a separate window.  The issue at hand is whether or not you (the bloggee) would prefer to have external links opened in the same window or not.  Here’s why it has become an issue:

Not all web browsers are created equal.  I really dislike Internet Explorer and I’m not alone.   Many people have come to understand the limitations of this Microsoft product and have opted to use another web browser instead sticking with the default web browser provided with the Windows Operating System.  I prefer browsing with Opera or Firefox.

When I use either of the latter two browsers, links that are configured to open in a new window just conveniently open a new tab.  I love tabs.  However, when I hopped on my mother’s PC today and logged into my blog with Internet Exploder (hereafter referred to as IE) and began clicking on external links, it proceeded to pop open several annoying browser windows instead of just opening a new tab in the same window.

I’m sure I could have figured out a way to configure IE to open links only in tabs, but that’s not the point. Even though Firefox is currently winning the browser popularity contest, a vast population of people unfortunately still use Internet Explorer and probably don’t know how to configure it at all.  Therefore, since most IE users are the default setup kind of people who hate annoying IE windows popping up every time they click a link, my blog is obviously annoying to the majority of Internet Explorer users.

I don’t want to annoy my readers, so I’m considering changing all of my external links to open in the current window. Personally, I hate having to press the back button 20 times to find a page that I linked away from 30 minutes earlier, but that’s just me. The reality is that it really doesn’t matter what my preferences are; My readers are all that count. So, my question for all of you fine people is: What’s your preference?

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OK, so it’s Saint Patrick’s Day.  Yay.  Unfortunately, I’m not doing anything this year.

Since I’m not currently passed out in a puddle of green beer vomit and can’t join in with all of the other lucky drunks singing “Danny Boy” and giving out free hugs, here’s my little blog-homage to the dude that supposedly drove all the snakes out of Ireland.

This is my all-time-favorite rendition of “Danny Boy” as performed by the Swedish Chef, Animal, and Beaker.  Happy Muay Thai Day!

Designed by Karl Tate, Our Amazing Planet: Top to Bottom is a cool infographic that looks at the scale of things from the upper atmosphere to the deepest ocean depths.  It’s also timely with recent events, showing the depth of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill, and drilling depth.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mouse Art

February 7, 2011

This picture was made by a mouse.

Not the cute fuzzy kind that love cheese, but the kind that we all use everyday to navigate the web and/or do our work.  Whether you’re paying your bills, checking your email, annoying your Facebook friends with inane status reports, searching for a recipe, or just wasting time on the Internet, your computer’s mouse makes a journey each day of which you are unaware.  A journey of miles in some cases.

Check out this interesting study about computer mouse fatigue for some intriguing facts like this one:

“One ounce (of grip) is very little and fingers and thumbs, when gripping a mouse, can and typically do, apply much more. But if just one ounce of grip is applied (each second) for a total of three hours a day, it is equivalent to 6,700 lbs of grip (if it were all applied for one second) or 3.38 Tons of ‘mouse grip’ a day, some 750 Tons a year.”

Back to mouse art.  The following freeware turns your “mousing” into “art” by running a little mouse tracking application in the background while you go about your business.  The “art” above was made over a period of about 3 hours while I was web surfing.  Though the program is obviously not Earth-shattering in importance, I am still intrigued by the simplicity of the program as it turns an otherwise innocuous act into a visually stimulating graphic.

I’ve checked it for viruses, but I encourage you to check it again as a cautionary measure.

Download for PC here

Download for MAC here

Download for LINUX and other here

Or, go to their website and download it directly from them!  Make sure to leave them a donation if you like it.

If you thought the mouse fatigue study was interesting, or if you are prone to repetitive stress injury from mousing too much, you should check out Designer Appliances Inc and see if any of their products will work for you.  I’ve never tried any of their products, but they look interesting.  If any of my readers have used any of their products, please leave a review down in the comments.

Thank you, craftsmanship and innovation!  Now I just need $50K in loose change so that I can buy this marvel and get rid of my boring table that does nothing but keep junk mail off of the floor.

See more tables by D.B. Fletcher Design.

Of Eels and Jesus

December 18, 2010

I can remember a friend from my Army days telling stories about how he could sometimes catch eels in his dad’s farm pond in New Jersey.  I knew almost nothing about eels back then, but I was pretty sure that they didn’t breed in ponds.  So, how did they get there?  My friend couldn’t explain it even though this is apparently Read the rest of this entry »

Vladimir Horowitz 1985

December 14, 2010

For those of you who are not familiar…

Vladimir Horowitz (1903 – 1989) was a Russian-American virtuoso pianist who came to fame in the 1920s in Russia and then throughout the world.  He was a legendary pianist and many of his recordings are renowned as being the definitive performances of frequently played pieces by well known composers such as Chopin, Liszt, Scriabin, and Rachmaninoff.

His performances were often exaggerated and dynamic;  Frequently overwhelming audiences with waves of sound, then immediately contrasting with phrases of incredible delicacy and gentleness.  His dynamic style and virtuosity earned international esteem and he consequently performed for kings and queens, emperors and presidents, and multitudes of adoring fans over a 70 year career.

In my opinion, Chopin’s Mazurka, Op. 17 No. 4 is a relatively simple piece.  I’ve heard several recordings over the years and have mostly ignored it.  It’s not very dynamic, it is short, and I always just thought of it as just sort of plain.  Until I heard Horowitz play it.

The following video is among the last of his recordings before his death in 1989 and has become one of my favorites.  It is from the 1985 documentary film Vladimir Horowitz – The Last Romantic.    This clip is just a little scrap of the film that I found on YouTube.  Before the Mazurka actually begins, it shows a brief bit with his wife talking about her ability to listen without being influenced by personality, and then shows him playing a little snippet of Mozart’s Rondo alla Turca from Sonata 11 while the recording crew are getting everything set up.  He misses a few notes and makes a joke about not being Heifetz after his wife mentions it.  Sweet.  Enjoy.

“Is very intimate now…pshhhh” – Vladimir Horowitz

Awesome.