The Google Ad Experiment

Maybe I’m a little late to jump on this ship but I’ve never had ads on any of my sites. Finally (with server expenses being what they are) I decided to try Google ads. I put them on Silverfish Longboarding, a site I created a few years back that now gets about half a million page views a month.

As much as I’d like to make a little cash off it, I’m also curious as to how people react to them and how much the bother me after they’ve been there for awhile. I’m also really curious to see if anyone actually clicks them. Personally in my entire Internet career I’ve probably clicked fewer than 20 ads. Updates to come.


Unsanity WindowShade X 3.1 Frustrations

Despite the title of this article, I love WindowShade X. It’s software for Mac OS X that brings back the functionality of rolling up windows to just the title bar that OS 9 had. Not only does it do that, but it also lets you shrink windows down to small boxes you can place anywhere on your screen.

What frustrates me is that when WindowShade X is running, windows get “stuck” behind other windows. I happens sometimes with pretty much every program I use, but it seems like Firefox and Dreamweaver are the biggest culprits. Even newly created windows will sometimes appear behind existing windows and they’re impossible to get at unless you minimize the windows in front of them. It’s frustrating.

Even more frustrating is that I emailed them a few months ago and they replied saying they’re aware of the problem but have still done nothing as fix it. It’s not so much that I’m frustrated at them, but more at the fact that a program that has almost eliminated my need for the dock (and that I paid for) is almost unusable because of this pretty major bug. I hope they work it out soon, or that someone comes up with some competition. The concept is excellent and overall, so is the implementation.

For Windows, Winroll does a great job of Window Shading.


Effective Management – Four Simple Rules

Work has been interesting lately. If I ever become a manager, I hope I remember the following things:

1. Don?t mention changes to employees unless you have a firm plan, and more importantly, a date for implementing them. No matter what the plans may be.

2. Talk to your employees. Especially if they have shown a desire or hinted at wanting to talk to you.

3. Offer incentives and a clear, reasonable path for advancement. Don?t always make your employees come to you for rewards; go to them.

4. Know your stuff. You don?t have to know how to do their job, but you do have to be able to tell the difference between an excellent, good, mediocre and poor job (and about how long it should take to do it).

That?s it. Managing 101 from a firsthand perspective. Speaking of managing…it?s time for me to go get managed.


The Best Pocket PC Freeware

The best Pocket PC Freeware (and non-free software
where there’s no good free alternative) available. I’ve sorted through
dozens of programs, weeded out the buggy, useless software and this is
what remains. If you’ve just purchased a Pocket PC, this list could save
you hours.

This is a continuation
of a page that I created
for the Psion Revo
a few years ago.

– Outliner
This is an outliner that is more than an outliner. It has a tree view that
allows you to place text notes, voice recordings, sketches, file attachments
and to-dos that link to Pocket Outlook. Excellent software.
gsplayer – mp3
Simple interface, but all the features you could possibly want. A full equalizer,
surround sound and 3d effect, reverb and echo control, bass boost and presets.
It can play local files or stream them. I like this much better than its non-free competition.
icBar – Start Bar Replacement
/ Program Launcher
Icbar is an indispensable startbar replacement. It
allows you to quickly access open programs (and close them completely)
with fully customizable buttons to execute other often used commands. Powerful
and lightweight. There are several wisbar forks out there, this one is
the best.
NetUse – Network Neighborhood Browser
If you have a wireless access that is indispensable. It allows you to freely browse
your local network on your Pocket PC. Basically it does the same thing
Resco viewer does, but for free. Their site is down so I’m making it available
for download here (ARM cab file).
– Painting Program
The most powerful painting program I’ve found for the Pocket PC. The interface
threw me off at first, but the more I got used to it, the more I like
– Drawing Program
The most powerful pencil drawing program for the Pocket PC.
NoteM – MP3 recorder
This program does an excellent job
of recording great quality mp3’s. I’ve recorded up to an hour with no
problem whatsoever. This program deserves much more attention.
PocketTV – mpeg player
Plays mpegs with a fullscreen mode. You have to go through a strange registration
process but it’s free and very useful. I use it to play mpegs recorded
off my digital camera.

– Wireless Network Finder
Easily search out and connect to wireless networks. Check internet connectivity
with the push of a button. The light version does everything I’ve ever
wanted to do and does not feel crippled.
[UPDATE] PC magazine has changed their download policy… they now require a magazine subscription to access this file. See WiFiFoFum down at the bottom of this page..

Freeware Light Version
Requires Magazine subscription
Total Commander – File Browser
A very powerful file browser. It
has built in unzipping and a built in notepad. It also has a very fast
find files function. Desktop version available.
uBook / µBook – e-book Reader
This is quite possibly the only ebook reader you’ll ever need (for free
ebooks that is). It supports a wide variety of filetypes with an interesting,
skinnable interface. Desktop version available.
Viewer – Image Viewer
This photo viewer from PDA Mill is very basic, but I love the interface and
it’s super fast. Supports image viewing and slideshows.
XnView – Image Viewer
A powerful picture viewer that supports many popular filetypes, basic image editing
and manipulation functionality. Ability to view and create exe slideshows and
take screen captures / screenshots.
YanCEyWare Reader – Scripture Reader
LDS oriented scripture reader. Very powerful and simple to use.
Non-Free – Apps that couldn’t be replaced with freeware…  
Text Maker – Word Processor
Full featured Word Processor. Full support for native Microsoft Word documents.
This blows Pocket Word out of the water.
(around $50 USD)
There are several wallet programs available, this one seems like the simplest
to use and works fine. Free desktop version (even if you don’t buy the PocketPC
version). Customizable templates and icons.
About $20 USD
PocketInformant – Outlook Replacement
If you use the built in PIM applications a lot (calendar, contacts, tasks,
notes) you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Pocket Informant provides
a better and more efficient way of viewing, organizing and entering data.
It also offers many new features such as pictures attached to contacts
and icons attached to events and tasks. Maintains Outlook and ActiveSync
About $35 USD
Freeware ResourcesFreewarePPC and
PocketPCFreewares are
the two best resources for Pocket PC Freeware. Both are updated daily.
The disadvantage is that they haven’t filtered through everything and
placed it in a nice list like you have here :).

Other Freeware Notables:
WiFiFoFum – Another free wireless
network detector. Cool radar feature.

PocketExplorer – File explorer with tree view.

– File explorer with split view. Mounts network drives
(Pocket PC 2002 only).

Winampaq – Mp3 player.
If you’re a Winamp 2.0 diehard, this brings it to the iPaq with great
faithfulness. Supports most Winamp 2 skins.

VadeMecum – Plucker
eBook reader.

Project time tracking

[NEW] Crosswords – Freeware Scrabble clone for the Pocket PC. Gameplay is great and you can use the excellent dictionaries provided or create your own. I’ve noticed occasional crashes when using this program but I have not been able to conclusively decide if this it is Crosswords that is causing it.

[NEW] PocketNotepad – Just like windows notepad. Sometimes Pocket Word or any other program is an overkill. PocketNoetpad is great for quick, simple notes.

[NEW] Agile Messenger – I’ll admit I haven’t had a ton of experience with this one, but I can verify that it connects to AIM, MSN and Jabber and chat seems to work fine. Could be an excellent replacement for memory hungry AOL AIM and MSN – especially when they’re running at the same time.

I think this is the best Freeware available for the Pocket PC. If you
can prove me wrong, I’d be happy to credit you with notifiying me of any
applications I’ve missed. Email me at marcus |at| vorwaller |dot| net.
With suggestions.