darkoshi: (Default)
A while back while squirting toothpaste onto my toothbrush, a tiny bit of it splashed into my eye (don't ask me how). It burned for a moment, then was ok.

A few weeks ago, while filing away some papers, the corner of one sheet of paper hit my eyeball (don't ask me how). It hurt like hell. Worrying that I've got a severe injury always makes it worse, too. I kept thinking that my eyeball must have gotten a paper-cut. After some minutes, I was able to look in a mirror (with difficulty) to verify there was (probably) no shard of paper still stuck in there. The eye kept tearing up, so I had to press a washcloth against it for a couple of hours to soak up the tears, as well as to block the ambient light which was painfully bright.

The incident with my eye happened 40 minutes before a scheduled Spectrum appointment, for my intermittent connectivity problem (which since that last appointment has not recurred, hurrah!) That was the 4th appointment for the same problem; the 3rd time was not the charm. I didn't want to cancel the appointment. So when the tech came, and for most of the time he was here, I kept holding the washcloth against my eye. The tech was unperturbed.

After a few hours the pain was mostly gone and my vision seemed normal. For the next few days, the eye ached only slightly and sporadically. Then it felt completely normal again.

Last week, toothpaste accidentally spritzed into my eye again. This time, it hurt quite bad, and continued to hurt badly for 10 to 15 minutes even after rinsing out my eye as well as I could. It was the same eye which had the paper-cut. Maybe the cut wasn't completely healed after all, and the toothpaste irritated it again. This in spite of it being the wintergreen-flavored toothpaste which is fairly mild. The peppermint and spearmint flavors are too strong for me; they make my mouth burn.

One of the pages I found while searching on "toothpaste in eye" mentioned that most toothpastes shouldn't be dangerous to the eye... except perhaps if it's one of the whitening kinds with silica, as those are more abrasive. I thought to myself, well I know mine doesn't have silica. I purposely don't buy that kind, because their whitening power comes from sanding off the outer layer of tooth enamel. I'm trying to increase my amount of tooth enamel, not decrease it.

But yesterday I happened to look at the ingredient list on the toothpaste tube. Surprisingly, the main inactive ingredient after water was "hydrated silica". I could have sworn it used to be calcium carbonate. Did they change the ingredients?

Then I remembered that I have a small box full of empty toothpaste tubes. They can't be put with the regular recyclables, but there's a place - TerraCycle that takes them for recycling, if I ever accumulate enough of them to make it worthwhile to send them.

So I checked the box, and found an older tube, which indeed has a slightly different ingredient list. Both the old and new tubes mention "whitening" on the front, but somehow I'd never paid attention to that.

(OLD) Inactive ingredients: glycerin, water, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, xylitol, carrageenan, natural flavor (wintergreen oil and other natural flavor), sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, zinc citrate.

(NEW) Inactive ingredients: water, hydrated silica, sorbitol, xylitol, glycerin, natural flavor (wintergreen oil and other natural flavor), sodium lauryl sulfate, zinc citrate, xanthan gum, titanium dioxide, carrageenan.

The Tom's of Maine (my toothpaste brand) website says:
In our Antiplaque Tartar Control & Whitening flavors, the hydrated silica we use is milled to produce a slightly larger particle size (an average particle size of 10 microns, versus 8 microns, on average, in our children's and Wintermint flavors). This makes it a better cleaner, so that it can help to remove stains that have formed on teeth.

So at least the silica in my toothpaste is small-sized. If it were only that, I might continue using it. But with this new propensity for splashing into my eye, I'll be looking for an alternative. (Is it unreasonable to think that brushing one's teeth or doing paperwork shouldn't require wearing safety goggles?) Now when I brush my teeth, I've started holding the tube at arm's length and pointing it away from me.

All About Whitening Toothpastes - has a chart comparing the abrasiveness of different brands of toothpaste.
Setting the record straight about toothpaste abrasivity - says there's no difference in tooth-wear, as long as the toothpaste is under 250 RDA. I don't quite believe that.
darkoshi: (Default)
I bought a USB modem to use for back-up in case my broadband goes down again... It works! It really works!

It gave me a little thrill, hearing the modem noises while it was connecting, and seeing some web pages load successfully (even though the first few attempts were unsuccessful; I may have been too impatient).

I plan to also get a newer cell phone with a bigger data plan for backup too, but frankly the idea of trying out a phone-line dial-up connection again, like in the old days, was too good to pass up.
darkoshi: (Default)
This is the 2nd night in a row my internet has gone down. Yesterday it was from about 12:30am to 1:07am. Today it was from 12:20am to 1:30am.

You might think that would be a good nudge to get me to go to bed a bit earlier than otherwise. But no, it leaves me too distraught to want to go to bed. I end up staying up even later than I might otherwise. I was in the middle of looking stuff up! How can I just drop everything and go to bed? Why isn't it working? Trying to see if rebooting the modem will fix it, etc. I hadn't even gotten to the point where I could relax by reading some LJ pages, before it went down.

Without the internet, I can't even play Words With Friends, like I sometimes do while brushing my teeth.
Without the internet, I can't even look up what the weather will be tomorrow, to decide what clothes I'll wear. Though I could have brought it up on my phone.

Pondering whether I should buy an external phone modem to use when the cable modem goes down... do ISPs even still have back-up dial-up modem numbers?
Pondering whether I should open accounts with both TWC and AT&T, just so that if one of them goes down, hopefully the other one would still be up. Bah, no. Are there any other affordable options?

I suppose I could get a cell phone plan with more data, and use that for backup.

Now that the internet is working again, reading reports from other people that it must have been a fairly widespread outage, and that their internet went out yesterday too, is soothing. It's not just me. It will get fixed. Hopefully it won't happen again tomorrow.

I put that outage website link in my phone so that I can at least check it if the house internet goes down again.
darkoshi: (Default)
No More 404s! Resurrect dead web pages with new Firefox add-on

If you use NoScript or some other JavaScript blocker, you have to allow JavaScript for the archive.org website, for the above add-on to work.
darkoshi: (Default)
It's so easy nowadays with the internet to look up information and to share information with others.

When I was a kid, if I wanted an answer to a question, I'd have to ask people, or look it up in the encyclopedia or dictionary that we had at home, or go to a library and search through books. But even if you did all that, the answer might not be found.

That isn't to say that I spent much time as a child searching the library for answers to hard questions.

But still. Even if you had a whole library of books, where would you look up the answer to a question like, "Why do my shoes squeak and creak, and how can I make them stop?"

Sometimes you can figure out answers by yourself. In the past, when my shoes squeaked, it was usually due to friction between the tongue and the top of the shoe, or due to small holes in the sole. I found ways to prevent those noises.

This time, the culprit was neither the tongues nor the soles. Internet searching provided some answers I hadn't thought of. The foam layers on one of the insoles* were coming apart. So I glued them back together with silicon sealer. That fixed one of the squeaks. I also sprinkled talcum** powder under the insoles, and after a few repetitions, that got rid of most of the creaks. One of the creaks kept coming back, which I now suspect was due to a thick thread that was under the insole, perhaps letting air in. I trimmed the thread. For the time being, the squeaks and creaks are all gone. Yay.

*I originally thought that insoles are glued in, but in many cases they aren't, and you can simply pull them out.
**Corn starch didn't sound like a good idea, as it might get pasty when wet. Nor did I want my shoes to smell like baby powder. Luckily, I found that non-baby-scented talcum powder can be found in the pharmacy foot-care section. The one I got smells like wintergreen!

Anyway, I was thinking about the above, and also thinking about what will happen to that kind of data over time. People die. Then what happens to the data they've posted to the internet? If they had their own website domain, and if no one takes over paying the domain fees or web hosting provider fees after they die, their website will be gone. If they've posted data on other sites, then it will depend on how long those sites stay around. Websites are not permanent, and most will disappear or radically change over time. Some data may get archived on various sites. But the Internet Archive, for instance, while it has old webpages, isn't very searchable in the normal sense. Google's cache is sometimes useful, but I'm not sure how long Google maintains cached data, once the original websites are gone.

So the answers that I can find today while doing an internet search, may someday no longer be there to be found. Or may no longer be found in the same places. New people will have to post the answers in new places.

Another useful piece of info I found today is that if your Lotus Notes locks up for a long time whenever you paste rich text from a webpage into an email, check the Lotus Notes proxy settings. Make sure it doesn't list an old proxy server which is no longer valid.
darkoshi: (Default)
Even big companies like American Express can have lousy website navigation.

I have one of their pre-paid Bluebird cards. When I last logged into their website looking for monthly statements, I didn't find them. There was only a list of recent transactions.

Today I got an email that my monthly statement was available. The email says that the statement can be found under "Transaction History", but there is no such link on the website. So I finally clicked the provided link in the email. And what do you know, there *is* a Statements page!

It turns out that the link to the Statements page is on the Settings page. Who would expect that? Especially when the Statements link on the Settings page is described as "Manage and edit transaction categories". Viewing statements is not the same as managing and editing categories.

Then I wanted to leave Bluebird some feedback on their website navigation, and the fact that their emails mention a Transaction History section that can't be found on their website. But their website doesn't have a link for leaving feedback. The "Contact Us" link only provides a phone number for contacting Customer Support.

I don't need support. I don't need someone to placate me. I simply wanted to give them some helpful advice. But I suppose they don't really want to hear people's feedback / opinions. I can understand that - it would cost them extra money to employ someone to read and respond to that kind of stuff, and most of it wouldn't be useful to them.

So I simmered for a minute, thinking that I should just let it drop and get on with my morning. But no, I couldn't let it drop. I had to write it down somewhere before getting on with my life.


Sunday, December 16th, 2012 03:37 am
darkoshi: (Default)
These scissors which I had were useful for cutting open clamshell packaging - the angled handles kept my hands safely away from the sharp edges of the cut plastic. But as can be seen, one of the handles broke off:

I searched for a replacement in a few stores, but failed to find any similar scissors. The so-called "offset scissors" that are available have only one of the handles angled upwards, not both.

Then I searched the web, but still failed to find any scissors like these. Who knew that I had such a unique pair of scissors? They were previously Forestfen's, but I don't know where they originally came from.

The closest thing I have found is trauma shears. I've read that they also work well for cutting open clamshell packaging. So I'll try a pair of them.

Update: Found this somewhat similar pair of scissors: Fons & Porter Chenille and Applique Scissors. Still plan to get the trauma shears - they sound sturdier.

This is one of those cases which serves to remind me that there are many things which exist or have existed, without ever having been photographed, documented, and indexed (to be easily found by me) on the internet, or at least on the part of the internet which I access.
darkoshi: (Default)
GeoCities went away in late 2009, but someone who should be commended went thru the effort of backing up what they could of the site. They made it available at ReoCities.com. If you have an old GeoCities link that doesn't work anymore, you can change the "g" to "r" in the URL, and see if the page is found.

www.geocities.ws is another such archive. To use this one, change the ".com" in the original GeoCities URL to ".ws".

Update 2:
oocities is another such archive. To use this one, try changing "geocities" to "oocities" in the original GeoCities URL.

Apparently some torrents also exist, of some parts of GeoCities. See this page for more info.

(Yay, I can now update the broken links on my website!)

is something afoot?

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 11:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Both Dreamwidth and Netflix are experiencing technical difficulties.

I was quite tired today after work, considering that my body had only been sitting around all day. Too tired to even go for a walk. But I did manage some exercise.

internet forums

Friday, November 12th, 2010 01:04 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I've noticed that when people reply to old threads in various forums, they are often admonished or ridiculed for doing so. For example, today I read a useful reply to a 3-year old thread, but someone subsequently responded to it with "Zombie Thread Alert!"

It's true that the person who originally created the thread or who originally asked the question, probably no longer needs the answer or information provided. However, those answers can be quite useful to other people like me, who are having the same problem/question, and who have found the thread through a search engine.
darkoshi: (Default)
I'm in Florida this week at a customer site for meetings. My hotel room is very nice. It is being charged to the customer, at the "special" rate of $119/night (I wonder how high the regular rate is). The meeting today at the customer's office went fine. Now I'm back at the hotel trying to connect to my work VPN, and the hotel internet connection is so slow that I haven't been able to connect. The speed is currently about 23 kbps - slower than a slow dial-up connection. (Hmmm, I wonder if my cell-phone's internet speed might even be faster than that...?) The front desk said it is due to them having a "full house".

It's disappointing to have a nice fancy hotel room - without a bad smell in the air (that's the most important thing); with real glass drinking glasses instead of disposable plastic ones; with little accent lights and nice wood furnishings; with a thin-screen TV; with a nice clean rug; with a nice desk - but without good internet access.

I've got work to do to prepare for one of tomorrow's meetings, but I'm not able to do it because of this.

ETA: I tested my cell-phone's internet speed, and it got 19.1 kbps. Now I have the hotel room's window open and am hearing an unusual calling sound. I wonder what kind of animal is making it. At lunch-time at the customer's office, I asked if there were benches outside, and they said yes, out back by the pond, but to watch out for the alligator that lives in the pond!

network problems

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 08:23 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Is anyone else having problems with YouTube lately, with it doing a lot of pausing while playing back videos, while it buffers data? My download speed is good (~6.5 Mbps), so I'm wondering if it is a problem on the YouTube side.
darkoshi: (Default)
I'm working from home, and Forestfen calls me about a computer problem she is having. She is trying to listen to a webcast presentation, but it isn't working. So I disconnect from my work network and connect to her computer with VNC. The webpage she has open shows a window with play, pause, and stop buttons. The buttons are labeled with the standard icons for play (triangle pointing to the right), pause (2 parallel bars), and stop (square), rather than any text. I click the play button. Forestfen exclaims that it is now working, and that she didn't know that she had to click on *that* button, and that she had instead been clicking on the square. I wonder if there was any hover text over the buttons that would clue the user to knowing what each one did... I didn't think to check that.

Moral: Never assume the users of your web application will know what those icons mean, even if they are used in the real world too.

The button

Sunday, October 18th, 2009 11:40 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Here is an amusing video about a button (I'm too lazy to figure out how to embed it in my own post). It made me LOL... I ought to feel so ashamed, but I don't.

This comic made me laugh too.

Hmmm... Not related to the above links, but I just realized that when other people post links using URL-shortening, such as ones crossposted from Twitter, I rarely feel much curiosity to click them. Not being able to see the actual URL or domain name makes me not want to click... I must like knowing where I'll be taken to, when I click. Or maybe it is that the URL that I see looks like gibberish, and that puts me off.

Now I need to shut up and stop posting things. Except I still wanted to post a picture....! Gah, maybe later.

not on the internet

Saturday, October 17th, 2009 09:55 am
darkoshi: (Default)
It seems downright odd nowadays, if I do a websearch on a product and get absolutely no results found. I mean, how unlikely is it that a professionally-packaged product available in the United States would have no mention on the internet?

Someone gave Q a curious Halloween novelty candy. It is a clear plastic test tube filled with orange goo and candy gummy eyeballs. Another odd thing is that the label says that for Nutritional info, write to such and such address. It's a U.S. address. But no ingredients list nor web address is on the label. I was curious about the ingredients - it probably contains gelatin and is therefore non-vegan, but you never know. So I did a search on the product name and company - "gummy eye balls" + "imaginings". No results found! I did find out that Imaginings 3 is another name for Flix Candy. Flixcandy has a website showing their candy products, but these gummy eye balls are not included. A search on "flixcandy" + "gummy eye balls" also yields no results. The fact that I didn't find what I was looking for is no big deal. But the fact that no results were found is an oddity!

Now that I've posted this entry, if Google indexes it, there will no longer be no results found. Heheh.
darkoshi: (Default)
On my desktop computer, I basically tried to follow the instructions on this page at www.booststuff.com.

However, it did not work exactly as described, because
1. I already had the USB drivers installed.
2. (more importantly) On my cellphone, I had the USB Reader mode enabled. So when I connected the phone to the computer, it was just acting like a USB drive instead of a modem.

Because of #2, the network connection I had created based on the instructions kept trying to use my regular dial-up modem instead of using the cellphone as the modem. So I temporarily disabled the dial-up modem, and manually added a new modem entry for "Motorola IDEN USB modem" under Control Panel - Phone and Modem Options. But when trying to connect with that modem entry, it still wasn't working. I kept getting the error "Error 692: There was a hardware failure in the modem (or other connecting device)".

To correct #2, on the phone I had to open the menu item Settings - Memory Card - USB Connection and change the selection from "Reader Enabled" to "Reader Disabled".

Once I had done this, then when I reconnected the phone to the computer, I got the popup "Found New Hardware (Motorola iDEN USB Modem)" and XP did whatever was necessary so that the phone could be used as a modem.

Note: With this tethering, the cellphone is not used as a dial-up modem, rather it provides the connection to the internet which is already available on the cellphone.

Then I still was getting the same error, because the modem entry I had set up manually was using COM2 (since I didn't know which port to select when I set it up). Once I changed it to COM3, the tethering worked fine.

On my laptop, getting the tethering to work was much easier. However, based on how I had done it on my desktop, I thought I had to set up the modem manually on the laptop too. That presented a problem, as the wizard didn't have any ports listed for selection. So I wasn't able to add the modem manually. The thing to keep in mind is that once you have the drivers installed, when you connect the phone to the computer (with the phone *not* in USB card reader mode), the modem entry gets added automatically - you shouldn't have to add the modem entry manually. The Motorola driver download page makes it sound like the driver installation will prompt you to connect the phone to the computer. But I didn't get any prompt. So once the drivers are installed, you just connect the phone to the computer and let the device be discovered.

As I mentioned before, the internet speed on Boost is relatively slow - as slow or slower than dial-up. So I'm not planning on using the tethering except on rare occasions. But I tried out Opera 10 with Turbo enabled on my laptop, and it worked well. It's still like dial-up used to be though, where you have to wait a while for the pages to load.


Now, with Q's cellphone, a Clutch i465, we had a different problem. We were trying to install Opera mini on it. That phone doesn't even have a USB card reader mode. But when we connected the phone to the computer, we didn't get the sound you get when you connect a USB device. Turns out that the plastic part of the plug on the Rocketfish universal USB to micro-USB cable we had bought was too big - it was preventing the micro USB plug from going all the way into the phone socket. So it looked like it was connected, but it wasn't really.

Q tried another cable which had the same problem, so now we've ordered one which is made specifically for the i465.
darkoshi: (Default)
Q's got a new Boost cellphone, and I've been looking up how to install Opera Mini on it like I did on mine.

I ran across a thread on tethering, which is connecting your cellphone to a computer and using it as a modem in order for the computer to connect to the internet. This is supposedly possible with Boost phones, and if you're paying for a plan which includes internet access, it might even be allowed by Boost's TOS - I found conflicting reports about it. I found a section in the TOS which seems relevant, but it isn't totally clear to me whether it disallows tethering or not, especially if you only use it once in a while, not as your main internet connection:

Specific Terms & Restrictions On Using Data Services
In addition to the rules for using all of our other Services, unless authorized by us, you can’t use our data Services: (1) with server devices or host computer applications, or other systems that drive continuous heavy traffic or data sessions; and (2) as a substitute or backup for private lines or frame relay connections. We reserve the right to limit, suspend or constrain any heavy, continuous data usage that adversely impacts our network performance or hinders access to our network.

Of course, the internet connection from Boost is rather slow. But hey, it could be better than nothing, right? And if for some reason using the browser on the phone doesn't suffice for something, being able to connect it to a laptop would be cool.

Opera 10 was recently released with a Turbo feature which speeds up browsing on slow connections by compressing the data that is sent to the browser. I think I'll try connecting my laptop to my phone, and try it out!


Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 08:56 am
darkoshi: (Default)
with my cell phone, I can access the internet even during a power outage.