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Welcome to our page. By hosting a website, we hope to keep the domain rileyfamily.ca available for future generations. In the meantime, we’re just having fun.

 

ON THE CAMERA FRONT

The pictures you see on our FotoTime site are mostly taken with my Minolta Dimage 7i, a digital camera with a 5 megapixel capacity. It certainly represents the best of the consumer market for digital cameras... last year. But, as usual, the technology is moving so fast that I already have my eye on a couple of newer models.

If you’re interested in the latest camera technology, check out the new STUFF page....

June 18, 2003
TRAINS

As I cast about the town looking for subjects to photograph, I learn more and more about the city. Here’s something I just discovered: there are no trains at the Ottawa train station on Tremblay Road. Well, almost none. As a snapper of images, I was hoping to get some gritty shots of broken down trains, roundabouts, greasy, rusting parts... you know the score. The pictures here uncover the truth about Ottawa, our teeming Metropolis! Click the pic for a small slideshow....

June 10, 2003 Already!
HIBISCUS...

Postal Code Finder

FreeWare: RoboForm (in ShareWare)

RileyFamily Mobile

The one thing I can count on to warm up the summer every year is adding a new Hibiscus tree to the back yard. In Mexico, Shirley doesn’t even have to care for her Hibiscus; they just grow like crazy all over the place. So we have a little contest to see who has the most buds on a tree. Here, you can count the Canadian version!

(click to enlarge 181K)

Postal Code Finder

Nice to know our tax dollars can be used by the people, too: Today we present the Canada Post site that lets you find any Postal Code. Cool, huh? No more trips to the Post Office for this task. I notice that Canada411.com doesn’t show this info. Click below to get there...

RileyFamily Mobile

Did you know that if you have a Pocket PC or Palm device, you can take our home page with you, to fawn over lovingly when you’re not with the one you love? Just click on the image below to find out how, using the AvantGo service.

May 24, 2003
ALL MUSIC ALL THE TIME

Hey, what the heck: Since you can link to your movie listings from here, and you can link to the Movie Database from here... why not be able to link to the AllMusicGuide from here? Well, good news: I asked for it, and I got it!

May 22, 2003
SPRING HAS SPRUNG...

The lawn grubs are so bad this year, we decided to re-sod the front. Along the way we discovered a quarry full of great pieces of stone, so now our tomato garden out front even has a natural fence.

Click to enlarge (196K)

Click to enlarge (196K)

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ol’ Dawewoo is still going strong, although the trunk is looking a mite peak-ed...

May 8, 2003
WE LIKE PICTURES

Thanks to Geoff for sending this picture of one-day old Kaitlyn with Mom. Wow, now that is one p

Click to enlarge (215K)

Click to enlarge (195K)

retty baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2, 2003
MORE GOOD NEWS!

Looks like our extended family has just grown again!

Welcome  Kaitlyn Rachelle Ott

Saturday A.M. “Good morning all ! (Geoff & Jane & Ott Family)

I am pleased to announce that a baby girl (7 lbs, 4 oz and 21 inches) has been born to us as of 1 AM Friday. She is presently still responding to Jellybean.

We watched the Sens game Thurs nite, and Jane's water broke right after that (10PM). (something about wanting to pound those Flyers herself !) WE bundled Sasha and Ashley up and took them over to Lorne and family's house and continued to Queensway Carleton Hospital, arriving c 11 PM. Jellybean was born at 1:01 AM - not enough time for an epidural - heck, not even an aspirin !

Unfortunately due to SARS, only I am allowed to visit and no deliveries are accepted. Jane will be home Sat or Sunday. Staff at QCH were excellent, as they were for Ashley. Jane and Jellybean are doing remarkably well.

I will be on 3 months of parental leave, starting today and running through to Aug 5. yippee ! Thus, please send all emails to us at home.” ... (gott at echelon.ca)

In case you don’t know, Jane’s maiden name is LEECH...

April 22, 2003
DO YOU GO TO THE MOVIES?

Very often I find myself up on the Internet Movie DataBase, looking for an actor’s name or filmography. Recently I discovered I could add a direct link to their search engine.... so here it is for all of us to enjoy. Type in just about anything and click GO.


Enter the name of a movie, TV show, or person and then click "Go" to get more information about it/them from imdb.com.
 
 

Search provided by The Internet Movie Database. To put a search on your web site, click here.

This little search engine will reside permanently in the lower-right corner of our page in future. The IMDB lists every known movie, and pretty much every TV show and documentary. It is an excellent resource. Hope yo ulike it.

April 18, 2003
MORE REINSTALLING WINDOWS XP

Just like the cops in a TV show, Microsoft is always arriving right after we’ve already beaten the bad guys. Hot on the heels of this week’s tip on restoring Windows XP, here comes MS with their description on reinstalling Windows while still in Windows. Check out the Windows Stuff page in the Shareware section of our site.

April 16, 2003
REINSTALLING WINDOWS XP

Considering how often users are forced to reinstall Windows XP, it is truly a mark of Microsoft’s overall lack of concern that there is no easily-available information on how to do it. Today, we present a concise method that avoids the whole reformatting scenario. Check out the RileyCHAT forum here for the procedure.

April 15, 2003
HARD DISK NOISE THE REAL CULPRIT

The successful installation today of an Enermax whisper quiet 350W power supply, and an Antec superquiet case fan, has highlighted the stunning revelation that the two hard drives in my PC case are the real culprits when it comes to computer noise.

 

 

Yes, it’s true. Although I still have to install the GlobalWIN ultra quiet AMD CPU heatsink and fan combo, which should cut the case noise by another noticeable range of dB (I’ll get Matt to do that; no way I’m touching that chip), it is quite apparent now that my two Maxtor hard drives are responsible for at least 50% of the racket.

That’s not to say that the install of the new hardware didn’t help: it certainly did. In fact, for $54, the power supply was a major find. I can’t hear it at all. And the $15 case fan truly is super quiet. Stopping the CPU fan with my finger revealed that the only real sound was now coming from the hard drives. It’s too bad, because basic 7200 rpm hard disks have come down so much in price that anyone can now afford all the storage they want: around $180 for 80 GB, which is truly amazing. I’ll be checking around to see how much I’ll have to pay to get rid of that last stand of cacophonous fury emanating from behind closed case walls.

I got all these items at DealsDirect on Canotek Road, by the way.

April 1, 2003
GIFT FOR EVERYONE

Please share amongst yourselves...

March 26, 2003
MEXICO IN PICTURES

If you would like to see the town where Shirley lives - Ajijic - check out the Mexico 2003 album. Enter this incredible place through the magic doorway... .

 

March 13, 2003
MEXICO IN MARCH

I have lots of great photos of the town where Shirley lives, and the lake nearby, and I will put the better ones up here soon. Meantime, check out this dude who fell out of Shirley’s beach towel the other day... it had been hanging on the clothesline beside the casita. (click pic to see 78K large size)

 

March 13, 2003
WINDOWS UPDATE PROBLEMS

I reported earlier that the Windows Update site had been taken down; this could not have been entirely accurate, because many people are still using it. I received the report from a trusted Windows resource on the web; I guess they were confused, probably because many, many people had been having trouble getting the Update tool to work properly or at all when going to www.windowsupdate.com.

This problem may occur if you have a large number of INF files in your %windir%\Inf folder. In this case, Windows incorrectly searches the whole INF folder for information about which drivers to update instead of searching only for currently installed drivers

In any case, if you have been having problems, you can go here to get a quick download that will fix them all. He said.
http://www.winxpnews.com/rd/rd.cfm?id=030311CO-Driver_Updates

 

February 24, 2003
CREMATION

We are in shock and mourning today as we learn of the death of Shirley’s dear friend George, in hospital at 9 a.m. Monday morning, of internal bleeding. No other explanation has been provided.

George started feeling poorly a couple of weeks ago, but no one knew the extent of his pain or suffering. Finally taken to the hospital by Shirley over the weekend, initially he was diagnosed as dehydrated and given continual IV drips. Just after being declared ready to go home, he suffered some sort of relapse, and passed away not long after.

It leaves Shirley and George’s friends in a good deal of pain this week. George was a pleasant and very generous person who had been “dating” Shirley for the past few months. George’s daughter will be arriving in Ajijic soon for her duties. There will be no funeral services. However, Shirley’s birthday luncheon on Friday, which was arranged by George, will take advantage of the opportunity to hold a wake of sorts.

We wish George’s family all the best.

February 12, 2003
FORUM F.A.Q.

There’s a new bit of Help documentation available when you click on the FORUM FAQ link under the hot dog over on the right there. Once there, click on the Forum Logo and you will be taken to the Forum itself. I  put this info up because there really are a lot of cool things you can do with it.

February 01, 2003
NEW STUFF ON RILEYFAMILY.CA

Fun, fun, fun has just arrived. As you know, our website is now hosted by a commercial provider (www.hostdepartment.com). We have no idea yet how reliable they are, but they offer a good yearly price and a LOT of tools to make your web experience here a whole lot more entertaining. We’ll be introducing them over the next few weeks, and we sure would like your feedback. What you tell us will determine what stays and what goes.

Our first contestant: A very polished and capable Family Forum. It’s called Dad’s Dogs because I may never be able to retire and open a hot dog stand in Mexico, but I really like the name.

Our board lets you sign up with your own password and post as many messages about as many topics as you like. We’ve created a couple of Forums to start off, but this is YOUR board, and I’m hoping you’ll have your own ideas for chat topics. We can create PRIVATE forums, too, for business or circles of friends.... and we won’t be able to see inside ‘em. Only you will.

You can use cartoon characters (called Avatars) to represent yourself, and we have a whole whack of smilies to insert in your messages, with more to come. Heck, you can even put up polls to collect feedback on your own topics. Click the pic to go there now.

 

January 28, 2003
SURVIVOR 7
ALLOWING ATTACHMENTS IN YOUR E-MAIL

SURVIVOR
THIS JUST IN:
CTV is developing a Canadian version of the popular "Survivor" show.The rules are simple:

Each contestant must travel to Alberta.  Once there, they must go from Edmonton to Fort McMurray through Grande Prairie, Peace River, Hinton, Edson, Jasper, Banff, Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Brooks, Drumheller, Lloydminster and back to Edmonton again.

They must drive a Hyundai with a bumper sticker that reads:  "I VOTED FOR CHRETIEN.   I'M GAY AND I'M HERE TO TAKE YOUR GUNS.  I ONLY SPEAK FRENCH AND I'M VOTING FOR KYOTO."

The first to complete the round-trip alive is the winner...

eMAIL SHAREWARE

If you use Outlook XP as your e-mail software (called a “client” ), you may have had trouble in the last few months getting certain attachments that others have sent to you. This is because MicroSoft instituted a “security feature” last year to prevent “suspicious” files from getting onto your system and turning into viruses or worms. Trouble is, lots of times you know what the file is and who it’s coming from... but MicroSoft didn’t give us a way to let those files through.

Two tiny programs to the rescue! And they are both free. On our ShareWare page.

 

 

 

January 23, 2003
MORE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2003

Lots of interesting news still coming out on the Web as a result of the CES show last week. For you fellow geeks, here’s a link to even more cool stuff... like this 4-in-1 pocket-size video cam/recorder from Panasonic. It stores its video on a Secure Digital card. Gotta love that miniature technology!

 

January 17, 2003
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2003

CES was held this week in Las Vegas. This is a show that runs a couple of times a year where all the electronics companies introduce their new products and their prototypes. The majority of the excitement generated at the show for geeks like me centres around technology, specifically communications (cell phones), home theatre (HiDef TV), photography (digital cameras), portable audio (MP3 and video players) and stuff like that. It’s interesting and frustrating at the same time, because they keep coming up with these fantastic new toys... but most of them aren’t avaiable for several months or even a year after their introduction at the show.

For those of you who are interested, click the pic to see some of the coolest products introduced this week.

 

January 7, 2003
MORE MICROSOFT LUNACY

I just got word that explains a lot:

Several times this past week or two I've tried to update XP with the Windows Update webpage, and it would never do anything for me. I ended up having to use the manual download site for updates, which puts a whole lot of unexplained stuff in your downloads folder, and doesn't check to see what kind of updates you already have...

Apparently, MS SHUT DOWN their Update site a couple of weeks ago, and didn't bother telling anyone by posting the information when you go there: it just looks broken. Their reason: with "auto-update” running on your system, they feel they don't need the Updater page anymore!

Okay, so this means I have to accept all their auto-updates out of fear of missing something, since there is no tool anymore to tell me what I need. That means I also have to update stuff that I know has previously "broken" my system for one reason or another. Even worse, it means I have to be online all the time... what if use dial-up? What if the file is 5 MB?

What the hell is the matter with these people!

January 2, 2003
NEW REEL SHORT REVIEW

Saw the new Tom Hanks/Leonardo diCaprio movie tonight. Check it out in Reel Short.

I HATE SPAM

Every time you register at a website or buy something on the Web, you risk having your e-mail address sold to unscrupulous (and scrupulous) retards. That’s right, money-grubbing retards. Here’s a solid tip for those who don’t already know: when anyone tells you to review an only company’s Privacy Policy, tell ‘em to go blow. Unless they state the fact right up front, they ALL reserve the right to use your personal information in just about any way they see fit. If you want the product, you have no choice. The most famous example: just try and find a File Sharing service (like Kazaa or BearShare) that doesn’t include Ad or Spy software. They just don’t exist anymore.

So, knowing that your e-mail address is going to be circulated sooner or later, how can you help yourself and keep your incoming spam to a minimum? Click here for the ShareWare page to read about some anti-spam software that works

 

August 20, 2002
WOW! HOW DID THEY DO THAT?

I found a fantastic link today that people who are always sneering at movie special effects are going to love. I remember an article in Entertainment Weekly that disclosed, with the help of a surgeon, just how dead the hero of a certain popular movie would be if the injuries he sustained in the story had happened in real life. This site takes a look at Movie Physics; I particularly dig the bit where they talk about people in The Matrix jumping five feet in the air and then hanging a bit before they kick a cop in the chin... at which point he flies backwards into another cop, instead of spinning around and around as the laws of phyics dictate.

Of course, if you want to maintain the illusion, don’t go to Intuitor Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics.

On another note, I offer up my thoughts on the recent TEMPTATIONS REVIEW, live at the Casino Lac Leamy last Friday night, August 16.

And how’s this for the guest of honour at the Birthday Party for me/Chris/Matt on Saturday?

August 19, 2002
YET ANOTHER RILEY ADDITION

Sean Riley has joined us today, with his own Reel Short review on “Triple X”, now playing with Vin Diesel at theatres everywhere. Did he love it? Or did he hate it? Check it out on Family News.

And Erica Riley returns with her unique take on parents and teenagers. This should have been published over a week ago; my bad. Sorry.... Check it out on Family News.

And oh, yes... Shea jumps in with “Self Portrait”... . Kewl.

August 14, 2002
WEBSITE ADDITIONS: PERSONAL PAGES

Today marks yet another expansion of the RileyFamily WebSite. Today I am adding the first “Personal” Page. Everyone can have their own Personal Page; all you have to do is send me what you want to see, like Erica did with this EX-cellent new article, or send me an HTML file that you’ve done up. It will be posted in this area.

For now, you will find all Personal Pages under the Family NEWS page link... .

August 14, 2002
WEBSITE ADDITIONS: COOL NEW TOOLS

NEW GuestMap

NEW RileyCHAT

Trying some interactive stuff today. With all these extra doohickeys hanging around, I’m gonna haveta get rid of some things. I think I’ll make a “Stuff” page to collect everything in case some of you still want to get at them, like the Gas Price thing.

First up today: over on the upper right, you’ll see a new kind of GuestBook. It’s really a map of the World, and you can sign in by sticking a pin on the map to show where you are from. I think this is very cool.

Second, you’ll see a new button link on the left called RileyCHAT. It’s a free chatboard where we can post messages to each other, a little different than the one we had a few months ago. It’s not the prettiest, but it works and best of all I don’t have to pay for it or host it on my machine.

Please let me know what you think, gang. Peace out, Ronald.

August 11, 2002
NEW SHAREWARE

NEW Shareware: Doc Commander

NEW WEBGame: Ninja Girls

Check out Doc Commander, a tiny and solid replacement for the Windows Open/Save dialog box, today on the ShareWare page. And for those who like to play online, there’s a really cute, bouncy little thing called NinjaGirl.

 

August 8, 2002
YET MORE REVIEWS

NEW Review: Master of Disguise

NEW Review: The Hollies Live at Casino Lac Leamy

NEW Review: Triple X

 

MASTER OF DISGUISE
Reviewed by Erica Riley

Master of disguise? More like Master of CRAP! This film gives off great “WATCH ME!” vibes in the previews, but doesn't live up to the promises of a great laugh. The main character, Dana Carvey, plays Pistachio, an Italian waiter at the restaurant owned by his father, who is a retired Master of disguise. The plot falls into place when Pistachio's mother and father are kidnapped by the man who almost caught Pistachio's father 20 years ago. Now, he has to take 'disguise' lessons from his grandfather about how to become a Master of Disguise. He sets out finding more and more clues with his beautiful assistant, Jennifer.

The disguises are amusing, and there are a few jokes here and there. But unless you have a 5 year old child with you, don't go and spend the $11 on this movie. It isn't worth it.

THE HOLLIES LIVE at CASINO LAC LEAMY
Reviewed by Mike: Check it out in REEL SHORT Reviews... although this one ain’t so short. Maybe I should start a new page called Real Reviews.

August 6, 2002
MORE REVIEWS

I’ve actually seen quite a few movies that I haven’t commented on here. I’m hoping one of youse guyz or galz will send me some reviews of your own to add. You can review anything you want: the opening of a new store, if you like . Anyway, a bit of catch-up this week as I add THREE - COUNT ‘EM - THREE stunning examples of insight into the latest excesses of Hollywood. Check out Reel Short.

Down on the lower left, I’ve plunked in a language translator. Don’t ask me why it’s set to start with Russian. I think you can stick in anywhere up to 150 words at a time, so if there’s a website you come across in a language you don’t quite get, try pasting some text into the box. Just be aware that if you are translating to Japanese or a “similar” language, the result will be displayed in non-English characters. But for those of you living in Mexico, this little tool could be a godsend around supper or wine time...

August 1, 2002
SOFTWARE TODAY

If you ever chat using AOL Messenger, MS Messenger, or the others, you should try Trillium. This nifty little messenger program lets you log on to ALL your accounts at the same time, and chat with everyone using a single interface, rather than having two or three programs open at the same time. The program offers different windows in one large container, to keep things organized, if you like. You can set the same online and away options as with the other programs. One thing I like: it’s free, and there are no ads linked to it. Unlike, say, most of the others. It has a ton of smileys you can send (although unless the guy on the receiving end has Trillium too, most of them will just show up as a combinations of text letters. And you can apply a multitude of different skins to suit your own taste. Fast, clean, and quiet.

For those of you who download the odd file from the Weeb, try out Star Downloader. I’ve used a number of download tools, and I like to stick with the reputable ones (unlike Netscape’s downloader and a bunch of others that are advertised as free tools but are really conduits to filling up your hard drive with pop-up ads. And don’t you just love those pop-up ads that advertise pop-up killer software?!). Star Downloader ingeniously figures out how to split up the file and actually get different parts of the same file from different locations. This actually causes the download to speed up, in my experience, about 300% (which is a big number that really means it’s about 3 times as fast). This is a huge deal for me. But even better, when it is done downloading a small window opens asking whether you would like to install it, or unzip it, or run it... whatever can be done, it will offer to to it. You never even have to look in the directory to which you downloaded. And the interface is simple and striking, making it a pleasure to use. One more thing, Mr. Columbo: it remembers everything you’ve downloaded and where you put it, and you can check for files on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Heck, you can even tell it to download into dated directories.

July 28, 2002
RANT

Telephones are not gods. I am not a slave to the telephone.

Everywhere, people have their cell phones glued to their heads. I have one, and I leave it in the car. The only time it comes out of the car is when I am expecting an important call. Why? Because I don’t want to be “in touch”.

At home in the evenings, I rarely answer the phone. Why? Because it interrupts me when I’m watching the toob or working or reading. People wonder how I can just let it ring. On the other hand, I have Call Display and two phones that can use it, and two Display devices. So who am I kidding, I asked myself today? And the answer is, of course, that I’m only kidding Bell Canada. I pay for their services and I use them when I need them. Just like my salt and pepper shakers.

July 25, 2002
FAME... what’s your name, what’s your name, what’s your name...

We are truly blessed today: Chris Pirillio Lockergnomeof TechTV and Call for Help, and LockerGnome fame puts out a highly-informative, often irreverant, and always interesting newsletter about computers: every morning. This, on top of all his other jobs. He has a lot more energy that your average dude, that’s for sure. Every so often I have had the pleasure of discoursing with him via e-mail, usually to offer my “insight” or to rant about some point he has raised. Today I got an e-mail from a developer friend in California, Ben E. Brady (can we call him BenE. for short?), who makes a super little piece of software that actually prevents viruses from getting into your computer via e-mail (and it works!). He was congratulating me on the yummy look of the BBQd sausages on the RileyFamily website. That was interesting, because I don’t remember ever telling him about the website.

Well, you guessed it: Not only did Chris post a recent rant of mine in today’s GnomeLetter, he even included a LINK to our webpage for the overtly curious. (That must have been just before the Roger’s ISP servers went down all around the country as legions of Riley fans rushed to check out my messy little HTML display here!)

I’ve included a link to the online version of the newsletter in our site, because the actual page is live and changes every day. So it rests here now for posterity.... and for eons to come, as I brag to generations yet unborn.

July 3, 2002
CHECK OUT THE NEW STUFF

NEW Online Virus Checker

NEW The Bourne Identity Review

Stephanie’s computer today was an unwitting host to a virus that spread into her e-mail address book, and sent an infected message to most of the people in the list. And wouldn’t you know it, she’d just installed Windows lately and din’t have her Norton Virus checker at hand.

How do you go about checking for a virus in an emergency? Well, of course, sometimes it’s too late... but sometimes it’s not. Trend Micro has a free, online virus checker that scans your system right from the web. You don’t have to install anything. The site will also “autoclean” anything it finds. Let’s hope it never does, but you might want to bookmark this URL: http://housecall.antivirus.com/housecall/start_corp.asp .
 

=TEMPERATURE WATCH=

 

 

July 1, 2002
CANADA DAY!!

... just wanted you to know, in case you didn’t dare go outside yesterday (Humidex of 45 degrees, which is around a billion farenheit), just how hot it got: the sausages in the picture below?  Well, I never actually turned the BBQ on...

June 30, 2002
HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME

NEW Enough Review

We’ve been blessed with wicked warm weather for the holiday weekend. This is a good thing. But instead of going downtown tomorrow and fighting the heat, the parking, the crowds, and the $4.00 chocolate-covereds trawberries, why not do it again? That is, head back to the thee-ayter for another fine example of the best of Hollywood? I know I am. I need more review fodder...

June 25, 2002
LAZY, HAZY DAYS

NEW Minority Report Review

Man, it’s hot, ain’t it?! Nothing to do but head to the ol’ air conditioned thee-ayter.

June 22, 2002
GETTING THE LEAD OUT

NEW Buffy Review; Sweet November Review; The Sum of All Fears Review

NEW Pictures from Judi Riley

NEW Genealogy Page

You’ll have noticed that the old front page content is gone. This is probably a good thing; boredom sets in easily. If any of you want something that is now kaput, just let me know at mike at rileyfamily.ca.

The Genealogy page is where I hope to answer Lorne’s call for “smarter surfing”. The concept is that you or I might be browsing the Weeb looking for other Riley history, and we would have missed this site if I hadn’t put some hot words in the hidden “find it here” part of the site. But even after getting here, there was nothing that really talked about us or our history, other than the e-mail address page, which wouldn’t help anybody at all to determine just who we are and how fine we are.

For the moment, the G page is a placeholder only... you’ll see some names, but the organization part really requires a tool that I don’t have. Trying to sort things in a table is tedious and frustrating. But I believe Chris is ready to take up the call soon, so hang in there, everyone.

December 30, 200


NEW LOOK?!

Hey, gang... check it out. The latest attempt at a cool-looking site. Is this disgusting, or what?

December 25, 2002
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

Type or Paste text or Web address
(beginning with http://) here:

Translate from:
Powered by Systran

 

Yes, ‘tis the day. And the day after, when throngs... nay, HORDES leave their castles and hit the malls, yearning to stand in a queue with their brethren for hours on end, to exchange something so important it couldn’t wait until next week. Ah, well. Enjoy, Rileys! We’re too smart for that, aren’t we... ?

cember 20, 2002
PHOTO ORGANIZER

There are many, many software tools available for organizing your digital photographs. So many, in fact, that this reporter has taken it upon himself to help you weed through the trash and into the sunlight. Some are free and good, some cost a lot and are hopeless. Today I’d like to introduce you to a freebie that works quite simply and looks good, too.

Say hello to GAZO 9 DigiBook. Click on the picture to go to the Shareware page, where you can get more information on the program and how it might work for you. I like it because it has one of those interfaces that tries to keep the experience “natural”. But you can, in fact, change the look of the program from the bookshelf style you see at right to a small assortment of different “skins”.

If you are collecting scans of your regular photos, or have taken the plunge into the sometimes cold, sometimes warm waters of digital photography, it won’t be long before you need a good tool to keep your pictures easily accessible.

December 20, 2002
FINE NEW MUSIC, MY FRIENDS

Gotta thank Chris for discovering this one. It is SO difficult to find good new music these days. But he’s done it, in the form of a new CD release by one Norah Jones.

You owe it to yourself to give this one a listen. It’s true, her voice needs some growing, but you can hear the greatness in it already. And her selection of tunes (Cold Cold Heart by Hank Williams?) will leave you satisfied. Follow this link to her home page, where you can hear some examples using RealPlayer One.

 

December 12, 2002
GEEZ, NOTHING NEW?

At this time of year, you’d think there’d be lots to talk about. Guess you’d be wrong :-) There’s a new project in the works, though: BOOMSTICK.COM. The tech-toy geek who runs this site does a lot of net-surfing, and almost daily is in awe of the neat new stuff that keeps coming out. Like reinder with hula hoops. Since he has no one to talk to about it, he decided to start a website for it. You can check it out at http://members.rogers.com/emriley. It’s just getting started, so there are lots of holes, but hey: it’s time you got your first Christmas gift, right?

In future, you can just click on the Planet link at the top of the page, up there beside the main banner...

In other news, there’s a review of SOLARIS. And ICE AGE on DVD.

 

 

November 28, 2002
SCOTT & JENN & LIAM & ERIN ARE COMING TO OTTAWA!

Yippee! Not only do we get to see Scott and the kids, but it’s also a chance to meet Jenn, the beautiful lady pictured here. As Martha would say, “This is a Good thing.”

According to Lorne, dates are set at December 23 to 28 or thereabouts. Look for a huge Spaghetti Feed at Mike’s place; come one, come all. Date to be announced...

 

November 25, 2002
CHRISTMAS GAME

Check out Santa Balls 2. It’s another in a long line of recently-released “match 3 or more” games in the Shareware genre. But it’s a fun one, it’s got some humorous one-liners, and it’s easy to rack up points. Check it out now on the Shareware Page.

November 20, 2002
PICTURES!

November 12, 2002
HOW’S KATHLEEN DOING?

Judi reports that Mom and Baby and Daddy are doing well. Kathleen Alexa was all set to enter this world the wrong way around; thus the C-section. As of last Friday, she was learning to focus her dark eyes on those around her. Lorne and Judi spent a week or so visiting their new granddaughter.

NOVEMBER 6, 2002

Of course, the BIG news is that Lisa and Norm delivered (a little early) a healthy, bouncing baby girl: Delivered Tuesday November 5 at 8:22 pm.

Kathleen Alexa Riley, arrived by C-Section in the real  world at 9 lb 7 1.4 oz. with lots of dark hair. Eight hours of labour for Lisa, probably the same for Norm :-)

As soon as we get some pictures of the happy family, we’ll post them here. Until then, you can call them up and congratulate them yourself! Or e-mail them  at  lisa at rileyfamily.ca. C’mon... you can do it...

CONGRATULATIONS NORM AND LISA
AND BABY KATHLEEN

November 12, 2002
ERICA’S WHACKY PIX
Click here or Erica's nose to see Erica's Whacky Pics.

November 9, 2002
A RILEY BIRTHDAY: SEAN HITS 19!

Click here to see SEAN in all his pristine splendor.

... and click here for a Birthday Card from DAD....

November 3, 2002
SPIFFLE

What’zat? Spiffle is just a word for stuff. Today our Reel Shorts page is graced with an unflattering review of Ghost Ship.
... and oh, yeah... welcome to the real Ottawa autumn...

October 13, 2002
BITS & PIECES

No, not the Dave Clark 5 song... just odds and ends of notes today.

 Push, Nevada (ABC), the wierdly wonderful mystery gameshow from Ben Affleck, got the axe this week. I guess people wanted more money clues and less Twin Peaks oddities. I enjoyed the show and the extremely professional selection of actors (especially Derek Cecil in the lead)... which of course was an instant kiss of death. Me enjoying the show, that it. The website still shows upcoming episodes; I have no idea if they will run what’s left or just stop it dead.

Red Dragon: Reel Short here.
 

Gays: a new article by Riki.
 

Shareware: come and get it! How about a very cool CD Ripper, for those folks who like to copy tunes from their CDs and burn ‘em as compilations onto homemade CDs? This software is fast and friendly. No more waiting to copy .cda (CD music) files in “real time”. Visit the ShareWare page for a looksee at 123 CD Ripper.

October 9, 2002
END OF THE NEW SEASON

Well, that heading is not completely true... but the “rush” of new shows is over. I enjoyed putting up the list of new shows every day; it helped me to remember, too. The remaining new shows are appearing at odd times and places, so I’ll leave you to your own devices to find out when. The link to the TV guide site will remain, to make it easier. By the way, only ONE of you actually sent in any reviews at all, and no one commented on whether they found the feature useful...

September 31, 2002
WHAT DID YOU FORGET THIS TIME...
NEW FREEWare

Today I want to tell you about the Evite Reminder service. It’s web-based, and sends you an e-mail to remind you of a birthday or any other event you’ve scheduled... like the next six post-dated cheques for your storage unit out in the boonies.

I did a real scour of the Web looking for something better than Evite (only because I temporarily “misplaced” the website address). I found a number of others. To me, none were as aesthetically pleasing as Evite. Some offered extras, but they were things I figured I’d never use.

Evite also offers an “invitation” service, again e-mail based, but with fancy designs and invitations that you can customize. Not being much of a social dog, I don’t use this service either. But I sure find it a handy reminder when it’s time to change the furnace filter.

Check it out on the ShareWare link....

September 25, 2002
MORE new TV season
NEW SWIMFAN Review
NEW Tonight on TV

Swimfan Review: Go here...

September 17, 2002
NEW TV SEASON
NEW Windows XP Update Available
NEW What’s New Tonight?

Windows XP Update Available

Last week Microsoft popped out their first Service Pack for XP. This is a file full of patches and repairs for users of Windows XP Home and Pro. There have been tons and tons of fixes for problems, mostly security holes, posted on the Windows Update site in the last few months. This Service Pack promises to bring them all together under one giant repair. If you haven't gotten it yet you can get it here:

http://www.microsoft.com/WindowsXP/pro/downloads/servicepacks/sp1/default.asp

Naturally, apart from fixing a bunch of problems, it has generated some problems of its own, which I discuss a little later in this article.

But the big news about the update, for some people, is that it in part answers the Department of Justice's demands for MicroSoft to stop being so monopolistic with their software. Certain parts of the system are installed on your PC whether you want them or not, like Internet Expolorer, Windows Media Player, and MSN Messenger. Whether you like or use these programs isn't at issue; your choice is. Personally, I have no problem with these instllations: IE is the best browser anyway, Windows Media Player is free, and MSN is the best messenger (next to Trillium, which actually handles seven different messengers at once so you only have to have one running even if all your chatty friends use something different... click here). You don't have to use them, anymore than you have to watch that porn channel that comes on late at night. It's your choice, and there are lots of other programs out there that do the same things as these programs do.

Perhaps it's more a question of the way the general public thinks: if it's already installed, and like Mom you are not really interested in PCs beyond their e-mail ability, you probably will use whatever comes with the PC, and may never even know about competitors. I can see these arguments holding water right now, but with every kid in North America practically born with a cell phone and a PC grafted on their hands, soon there won't be any excuse for not understanding computers just as much as shoppiing for groceries. Wait, did I say that?! I forgot about foods labelled "Free" and "Lite"; I forgot about Red Dye #5; I forgot that cookies have fat but it doesn't say that on the front of the package; I forgot that peanuts cause reactions in many people but they are still widely used as a base for everything from ice cream to skin cream.

OK, let's make that analogy one of PCs vs. beds and mattresses. Everyone knows that they need a mattress to sleep on, and so we are all experts at shopping for bedding, because we do spend 1/3 or more of our lives on the thing. Wait, did I say that?! Right, of course I know the difference between Standard, Firm, and Plush. Sure, I know why one mattress that is "firm" costs $2,000 more than the one right beside it that is also marked "firm". Sure, I know that it's not important that a bowling ball go to bed with me to prove how comfortable I am.

Okay, then, let's try computers vs. car buying. We all know that buying a car is easy, right? You just go in, get lied to, try to push your manliness around, then after you get ripped off spend the next two months trying to justify the monthly cost.... hmmm....

Computers and politicians? Microsoft's promises vs. Jean Chretien's Red Book promises? What's this about proposing that the GST be pushed to 10% from 7%? Wait, didn't Microsoft say corporations would have to "subscribe" to MS Office from now on, or be forced to pay almost double every year? Is it possible to vote Bill Gates out?

Anyway...

Once installed, you get a new entry under Programs in your Start button : "Set Program Access and Defaults". This is also placed into your "Add/Remove Programs" applet that sits in the Control Panel. this is supposed to let you "turn off' the afore-mentioned MS products, and replace them with programs of your own choosing. This is a real boon for people like my friend Don, who absolutely hates having that MSN window pop up in the lower right corner of his screen all the time (especially since he never even wanted the thing. Not to mention the fact that is is like have a permanent advertisement glued to your PC. Not to mention that even though I have scoured the universe, I haven't yet found a reliable way to actually remove MSN from a PC). The problem is that it doesn't work. There are no other programs listed for you to choose, and there is no way to get at them.

MS says it's because the other companies have to write plug-ins that will hook into the MS software before it can actually work. Why they didn't let these other companies know in advance of this release is beyond me... unless of course they are still trying to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Hmmmm... . So, for now, you will just have to manually start up your preferred programs.


Problems with XP Service Pack 1

There will probably be numerous issues, but here are a couple of immediate problems. Note that I've been using the upgrade for a week or so now, on two PCs, and I don't think i've notice any problems myself. The installation went smoothly; afterwards, I noticed no visible difference. The info below comes courtesy of www.lockergnome.com:


"Generally, the SP1 upgrade was flawless... unless you happen to be one of the poor souls using Norton Internet Security 2002 and IE6. The JPGs and GIFs would get iffy about loading. You ended up with a lot of the red X placekeepers on Web pages while browsing. Microsoft's KB insisted you needed to check the "Show pictures" box in Tools | Internet Options | Advanced | Multimedia. And, of course, that WAS checked. I now use a router so don't need the Norton's Firewall. Dumping that cleared the problem for me. A forum contributor indicated that dumping Internet Security, installing SP1, and then reinstalling it had worked for them. Another contributor indicated that turning off the firewall from the configuration menu and then turning it back on worked for them. Regardless, the original challenge was connecting the loss of graphics to running Norton Internet Security at the time of the SP1 upgrade. Amazing how dumb pages look with buttons and slick graphics replaced with red Xs."

"Question: I use different identities for my family members in Outlook Express. Normally I can go to File then Switch Identity but since I installed Windows XP Service Pack 1, that doesn't work any more. Now all that opens is the main identity, is there a way to fix this?
Answer: I'm sorry to say that there is not a fix for this issue but Microsoft does acknowledge it as a problem. Don't stop reading yet though, I won't leave you high and dry as there might not be a fix but there is a workaround to your Outlook Express identity problem. What you need to do is go to File|Identities|Manage Identities. Once you are in the Manage Identities window, you need to clear the check box next to "Use this identity when starting a program" and then close Outlook Express. From now on whenever you open Outlook Express it will prompt you for an identity and this will allow you to switch identities. According to Microsoft you can use the Switch Identity option now but it will prompt you to switch identities twice. I guess you can say this is alternative therapy for Outlook Express' identity crisis! "

Here is a webpage with comments from other users: http://www.winxpnews.com/?id=43


Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1

There is also a Service Pack for Internet Explorer 6 available here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/evaluation/ie6sp1.asp

This patch fixes a lot of security issues, too. And it works no matter which version of Windows you might have. I haven't really noticed any physical differences or extra buttons or anything, since installing it on two different computers. But it seems to work fine.
 

What’s New Tonight?

Every fall, it’s the same thing: I pray that there will be at least a few good new shows on the toob, worthy of advanced intellect. Or my ability to stay awake, which is about the same thing these d
ays. Finding information on the new shows is not always that easy, even with the special TV Guide issues, but now there’s the Web. And your friendly neighbourhood RILEYFAMILY website!

September 3, 2002
MOVIE REVIEW: STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE FREEKIN’ CLONES!

A Reel Short review of one of the OLDEST movies in town. Plus:

A Reel Short review of the Ving Rhames/Wesley Snipes prison boxing movie.

September 3, 2002
MOVIE REVIEW: BIG FAT FREEKIN’ GREEKIN’ WEDDIN’

A Reel Short review of one of the hottest movies intown. Plus:

THE NEW TV SEASON: LET’S RATE IT!!

In the next coupla weeks, I’m going to post a grid of the new programs starting up soon. As usual, there are a lot interesting sounding concepts (I love Back to the Future type stuff), and a lot of others that make you scratch your head... as in yet another stupid comedy about another stupid black family, or white family, or... you get the idea.

Anyway, I will list the new shows, and I would like you guys to send me your thumbs up or thumbs down whenever you watch something new. Just email me a short note (mike at rileyfamily.ca), and I’ll add it to the count. Since we don’t have a B-I-G family, the totals may not prove overwhelming or all-knowing, but what the heck... maybe it will be fun.

September 3, 2002
COMPUTING NEWS ADDED

Yes, for all you really bored people. Click on the NEWS button just to the left. All computing news, all the time. And ... it scrolls! Wow. Just like the real thing. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything interesting on it yet...

When you get bored coming here, click to the the new NEWS page. A world of technical information at your fingertips, culled from the hottest news websites every day.

Augsut 22, 2002
LORD OF THE RINGS ON DVD
PLUTO NASH at the movies

Chris Riley puts in his two cents on the new release of LOTR to DVD. Today, in Reel Short.

Augsut 21, 2002
THE X-FILES COMES HOME

The X-Files on DVD: Love it or hate it, I still love it. Today, in Reel Short.

NEW SHOWS