Dealing With Job Loss – How to Help a Friend Who Gets Fired


So I’ve got a close friend who had a meeting with the Bobs today. If you don’t know who “The Bobs” are, you need to do one of 2 things: shoot yourself, or go rent Office Space. Meetings with The Bobs are never a good thing, and that’s what this article is trying to address. This is a tough subject to deal with, this first and most important thing to do is take the guy (or girl… if his hair is long, curly and/or nappy) out for drinks. No, the first step is not to ask how they’re feeling, and if they’re okay, because if you do this, they won’t give you a striaght answer.

That’s why the first step is to take them out for drinks. Once they’re good and liquored up, then you can start asking them about how they’re feeling, why they got fired, etc. And they’ll pretty much always tell you:

  • “I was working for a bunch of monkeys”
  • “No one in that company knows what in the hell they are doing”

Xbox 360 – Halo 2 Blastacular Pack Fix – Download Now


After many unsuccessful tries downloading, and even signing up an Xbox Live Silver account, I had pretty much given up on downloading the 2 newly released Halo 2 maps. I forgot about it since mid last week and over the weekend, and today (Monday evening, April 23rd) I decided to try again, and to my surprise, it actually worked this time. When I booted up Halo 2 this evening on my Xbox 360, it told me that I had an update available, so I applied it.

Then, once it started up, I went into content download and was able to download or purchase the new maps for $4 bucks. I think the problem was that the maps weren’t ready in time… classic Bungie and Halo style, so they just put up some fake download screen to hold people over while they finished the maps. A week late… I’m not complaining… but what I am going to do is go load the maps up and blast some fools. Look out ya’ll!

Blastacular Pack – How to Enable Premium Purchases on Xbox 360


As many of you have probably found out, it hasn’t been too easy to download the Blastacular Pack of new maps (Desolation and Tombstone) if you are running the Halo 2 on the Xbox 360. The problem is that Halo 2 was built and designed for the original Xbox console, so the directions that are given to help you enable Premium Purchases are far from helpful: Premium purchases are not enabled for this Xbox Live account. To make premium purchases with this account, enable premium purchases in Account Settings in the Xbox Dashboard.

Well kids, I’ve found an answer to your problem, so just sit tight and keep reading… all you little introverted gamer dorks aren’t going to have to make a dreaded phone call to Xbox Live support… you can go without socializing for another day.

Here’s what you have to do:
The content settings are located in the System section of the Xbox Dashboard under Family Settings. To make any changes to the Family Settings of a child’s profile, you must first sign in to the child’s profile. You will also have to know theWindows Live ID credentials (the e-mail address and password that you use to sign in to the Windows Live ID) for the parent’s Windows Live ID account. The parent’s Windows Live ID account determines the access to the Family Settings in the console.

To configure the content settings, follow these steps:

  1. In the System section in the Xbox Dashboard, select Family Settings, and then select Live Control. You are prompted to enter the password for Windows Live ID account that you used when you signed up for Xbox Live.
  2. Use the on-screen keyboard to enter the appropriate password for the Windows Live ID account.
  3. Select Content Settings.
  4. Select one of the following options:
    • User Created Content
      If you select the User Created Content option, you can restrict your child from viewing content that was created by other users.
    • Purchase Content
      If you select the Purchase Content option, you can restrict your child from purchasing premium content.
  5. Select from the following settings based on the option that you selected in the previous step:
    • User Created Content: allowed, allowed with friends, blocked
    • Purchase Content: allowed, blocked

The above post is available at microsoft.com:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/908212/en-us?sd=xbox

Premium Purchases Are Not Enabled – Xbox 360 – Enabling Premium Purchases


Updated 4/17/2007 10:35am PST! See link to fix at bottom of page for fix! Just like many people, I was hoping to download the Blastacular Pack today – the two new maps for Halo 2 that are remakes of old maps – now called Desolation and Tombstone. Anyways, I singed into my Xbox Live through Halo 2 this morning and saw that there was new content available to download, sweet right? Wrong! When I clicked to download the content, I got the following message:

Premium purchases are not enabled for this Xbox Live account. To make premium purchases with this account, enable premium purchases in Account Settings in the Xbox Dashboard.

Unfortunately, the problem with this solution is that this is the solution for the original Xbox, since Halo 2 was build for the original Xbox console. Xbox/Microsoft both have the following advice on their site, but again its geared for the original Xbox console, so its unfortunate that it doesn’t help the Xbox 360 owners.

Parents, or any account owner, can also disable voice communication and downloadable content with fees. With Voice disabled, you cannot hear or talk to anyone on Xbox Live. With premium purchases disabled, no downloads or other purchases that would be billed to your credit card are allowed.

Xbox Enable Premium Purchases

To enable/disable voice communication or premium purchases:

  1. Go to Account Management and select your Xbox Live account.
  2. Select Account Settings.
  3. Select Voice or Premium Purchases to enable or disable these settings.

Fix Available

Click here to see how to activate/enable premium purchases on Xbox 360

 

The Recovery Process – One Month After Surgery – 5 Week Checkup


After 5 weeks, we finally have another checkup. It was about time because our dog has been very lively the past couple of weeks – trying to run anytime we let her out to go to the bathroom, standing in her pen all day whining at us – but nonetheless, she is in very good spirits, despite being trapped in a 4×6 foot cell all day long for the past 5 weeks. Our checkup this week was with the doctor that actually did the surgery – he’s only in the office once per month, he’s a world renowned veterinarian who travels to clinics all over the country performing surgeries – we got lucky enough to have an appointment with him open up a month ago, only a couple days after our dog had originally injured herself. He apparently flies in once per month, to perform checkups, and 2 scheduled surgeries.

Today’s checkup went very well, Roxy was very happy to get out of the house, and the doc informed us that she is doing well. We unfortunately have to put her back on sedatives because she is getting a little bit to hyper now that she is feeling better (though she has been this way for nearly 2-3 weeks now… since we ran out of the original set of sedatives). In addition to the sedatives, we also got a glucosamine supplement that we’ve got to give to her 3 times per day. The glucosamine tablets are meant to help the arthritis and stiffness in her injured knee, and is also meant to help prevent the onset of arthritis in her other knee (due to overuse from staying off of the injured leg).

Overall, the checkup went well – the only bad news is that we’ve got to keep her in her crate for another month, until May 7th. Apparently the reason for this is to make sure that the injured knee joint has enough time to make a full recovery and “tighten” up completely.

Google Maps – Free Phone Calls to Any Business Listed on Google Maps


I just came across a cool new feature in Google Maps – it’s probably been around for awhile, but it’s my first time seeing it so I thought I’d write a quick little note about it. Here’s what you do – visit Google Maps and search for a business (if you clicked the link above, you’re looking for a Pizza Hut in Los Angeles). In this example, there are multiple locations, as shown below:

Google Maps - Click to Call

Now click on the business that you’re interested in and it’s details will popup, as shown in the next screen:

Google Maps - Click to Call

Once the call window has been brought up, all you have to do is enter your phone number. Google will call your phone and connect you to the business, free of charge. Nothing better than making free phone calls, right?

Google Maps - Click to Call

That’s it! It’s easy to use, and you get free calls. Obviously, you run into a problem with the free phone call if the business that you want to call isn’t listed with Google, but other than that, it’s a really cool idea, and just one more way that Google is leading the web in new and innovative ideas. And by the way, as I mentioned above that this has probably been around for awhile – It was announced November 16, 2006 on the Official Google Blog.

Xbox 360 Spring Dashboard Update – Many New Dashboard Features


I really don’t have too much to say about it, but here’s what Microsoft and Xbox.com had to offer:

Redmond , Washington —Your Xbox LIVE® friends list is about to get a whole lot bigger. Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of Windows LIVE™ Messenger on Xbox 360™, connecting friends across Xbox 360 consoles, Microsoft® Windows®-based PCs and Windows Mobile®-powered devices.

 

Chat with your friends via Live Messenger.

Chat with your friends via Live Messenger.

With this update to Xbox 360, friends and families can easily connect and chat directly from their television using Windows Live Messenger, a network of more than 20 billion relationships and more than 260 million active accounts.

“Xbox LIVE has really become the
largest social network on television.”
—Jerry Johnson, Microsoft

Beginning the week of May 7, 2007, the Xbox 360 Spring Update will provide Xbox 360 owners worldwide with access to Windows Live Messenger features, broadening the communication options on the Xbox LIVE social network.

Connected Experiences
Members of the six-million-strong Xbox LIVE community currently send more than two million text and voice messages a day and can now use Windows Live Messenger to text chat with up to six people on their contact list at one time, while playing games, listening to music, or watching movies. Text chat adds to the variety of options friends and families already have to communicate with on Xbox LIVE, including voice and video chat.

Current relationships on Windows Live Messenger and Xbox LIVE will be unified on Xbox 360 and users will see at a glance if their existing friends on Windows Live Messenger have gamertags, instantly expanding the breadth of connected experiences they can share online.

“Bringing the largest IM community in the world, Windows Live Messenger, to Xbox 360 makes sense, as Xbox LIVE has really become the largest social network on television,” said Jerry Johnson, product unit manager of Xbox LIVE at Microsoft. “For our growing community of six million on Xbox LIVE, using Xbox 360 is a very social, connected experience. They are using Xbox 360 to play games, music, and movies while simultaneously communicating with one another through video, voice, and text chat. With this announcement we are simultaneously expanding the access of Xbox LIVE users to existing friends and family while introducing Windows Live Messenger users to the benefits of Xbox 360.”

 

Know instantly which achievement you accomplished.

Know instantly which achievement you accomplished.

Beginning the week of May 7, users of Windows Live Messenger on Xbox 360 can text chat using the virtual keyboard accessible on Xbox 360, or by connecting a USB keyboard to the console. This summer Microsoft will launch a QWERTY text-input device, a new accessory that will connect directly into the Xbox 360 controller to support text and instant messaging.

Read more – get the full features list on the next page!

All-Time Favorite – Macadamia Nut Pancakes Recipe


If you’ve ever been to the Hawaiian Islands (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, etc.) or any other Pacific island, then you’ve probably had a chance to sample Macadamia nut pancakes. I’ve searched far and wide for a good macadamia nut pancake recipe and have finally come up with one that suits my liking… I think this might even make Jack Johnson switch from banana pancakes.

Serving Size: 3
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1/2 cup macadamia nuts (chopped)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter (Unsalted) (melted)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  3. Combine the dry and wet mixtures till you get a lumpy batter.
  4. Heat a non stick frying pan or griddle over low heat.
  5. Depending on the size of the pancake you like pour a portion of the batter into the non-stick frying pan or griddle.
  6. Sprinkle some of the chopped macadamia nuts onto the pancake.
  7. Once the sides of the pancake begins to harden and bubbles start to appear on the top of the pancake flip it over.
  8. Cook for another minute or two and remove.

Notes
Maple syrup works on these, but if you want that real island taste and feel, cover these things in coconut syrup. So delicious!

Best WordPress Plugins – A Late Addition to My Top 10 List


With this addition, my Top 10 plugin list will become the Top 11, but who’s counting. This late addition is a plugin that I just came across and implemented on my site called Ultimate Tag Warrior by Christine Davis. Ultimate Tag Warrior allows you to “tag” your posts, much like you can tag your images in flickr, and much like you can tag your bookmarks in del.ico.us.

This plugin is very powerful and gives you many options in terms of visualization, tag display, and formatting. I for instance really like the idea of the “tag cloud” and I implemented it on my site on its own page – check it out here. Ultimate Tag Warrior allows you to specify the colors and sizes of the most popular and least popular tags, and it figures out everything in between for you. I’ve also added the tags at the bottom of each article below the line that specifies that post category and the number of comments. If you’re a WordPress user, I’d highly recommend adding the Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin to your site.

10 Best WordPress Plugins – Better Your Blog with 10 Top WordPress Plugins


As with many people who write blogs, I also use WordPress. That being said, WordPress is a great tool to get your own blog site up and running, however there are some very powerful plugins out there that can make WordPress much better by increasing the usability to the end user, and by helping to increase search engine visibility. This list of plugins will now be known as my 11 Must Have plugins. If you feel that I’ve wrongfully omitted a great plugin, please let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

Now, here’s the list (in no particular order)

  1. Optimal Title (SEO)
  2. Google Sitemap Generator (SEO)
  3. Related Posts (User Interface)
  4. Show Top Commentators (User Interface/User Interaction)
  5. WP-PostRatings (User Interaction)
  6. Subscribe to Comments (User Interaction)
  7. Brian’s Threaded Comments (User Interface)
  8. Askimet (Spam Reduction)
  9. Adsense Deluxe (Revenue Generation)
  10. Social Bookmarks (User Interface / SEO / 3rd Party Submission)

These are the most useful plugins I’ve found in my few months working with WordPress. If you know of any other ones, please leave a comment!