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Computers and Internet

My anti-SOPA Post

I just spent a bit of effort and time to post this on Facebook but want to go ahead and share it with the internet via their search engine of choice.  It’s easy and won’t take much time to email your Representative and Senator and voice your opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”).  So here is a repost of my Facebook activity from earlier today:

Reject SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act”. It’s a heavy handed attempt which gives the government wide powers to shut down websites and over-burden site owners. It will have wide and dramatic impact on the sites you visit day after day. Just like most reactionary things Congress seems to do, this will have little to NO IMPACT against true criminals who are pirating movies and music. Visit this site to quickly find contact info for your Representatives and Senators. It will give you a quick message you can use to call or, as I choose to do, email them from their website.
  1. Go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation website and input your Zip Code.  This will return your Representative’s name and phone/fax number.  If you like talking on the phone, you’re almost done.  But I like to email them.
  2. Open up a new browser tab and search for your representative’s names.
    12-30-2011 10-14-40 AM
    Bing actually gave me a few helper shortcuts to get right to the “Email” section of my representative’s website so I clicked right on that.  Your mileage may vary.
    12-30-2011 10-21-29 AM
  3. Fill out the forms required to show your constituency proof and then you’ll get the form where you can type your message.  Go back to the EFF tab and you can copy the Subject line and Message body they provided. 
  4. Go back to your tab with the Congressman’s Email Form and paste that into the respective fields.
  5. Hit Submit and you’re done!  Thanks for your time. 

If you’re reading this at work and it’s really quiet because it’s the last day of the year and there’s nothing going on – why not take a break from Facebook and YouTube and let your Congressmen and women know that you have an opinion and it matters. 

Here are link links for my Texas visitors.


    Thanks for reading.


    How To Force Office Documents to Open in their Client Applications

    Users started reporting an error this morning when they attempted to open an Excel spreadsheet or other office file in their personal document libraries on their My Site.  The error basically says that the operation failed and to try again later.

    What’s happening is that Office Web Applications (“OWA”) have been enabled on their site collections (each users’ My Site is their own personal site collection). 

    UPDATE: Close – the Office Web viewers are the default viewer for Office files in a SharePoint 2010 installation.  In discussing this with a former coworker and our 2010 upgrade procedure document I was reminded that one of the steps we took during our upgrade was to go into our main Site Collections and make the change below for each one.  Well, not each one – we didn’t make the change on the 4600 My Site Site Collections. 

    The easiest way to fix this is to activate the feature “Open Documents in Client Applications by Default”.   This is easily done by clicking on the Site Collection Administration > Features link here:

    To get there manually, go to the user’s My Site (or your own) and click “Site Actions”


    Then scroll down and select “Site Settings”.  Click “Site collection features” which is located in the right hand column under the “Site Collection Administration” heading.


    A list of features will appear- each with a corresponding “Activate” or “Deactivate” button.  Don’t get too click happy here but scroll down to the “Open Documents in Client Applications by Default” and click “Activate”.


    You’ll know it worked when the Activate button changes to Deactivate and the blue “Active” label is added.


    Now test opening your Office document and it should work as desired. 

    UPDATE: I’m now looking for a way to automate this change on everyone’s My Sites.  Your feedback is welcome.  I will update this post with that information when I find it.

    Entertainment Games Movies Podcasts TV Video Games Xbox

    Two and a Half White Guys Podcast–Episode 5

    Episode 5 – “The Return of Eric”

    Okay, the delay in getting this episode lies fully on me, Jason, for my delay in producing and whatnot.  It’s been busy at work and all that malarkey but here you go – Episode 5.

    Show Notes

    I’m going to try and do show notes for you this episode and going forward.  We’ll see.

    Episode Highlights Episode 5

    • Welcome back Eric from your absence
    • Wedding Talk
    • Will Eric survive the Rodeo Run?  Who knows? (Hint: he did)
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops Map Pack chat (it was still new when we recorded this)
    • Going Prestige?
    • Naughty Girls Need Love, Too
    • More Games that aren’t Black Ops
    • Tom Selleck’s Stache
    • Threat Level Midnight
    • TV talk
    • Oscar talk (We pick the Oscars in a half-assed manner the Friday before they aired.  How’d we do?)

    Note to self – we teased some ideas for future episodes; if I don’t write them down here we’ll forever forget them so forgive me.

    Coming soon:  Classic video games, 100 all-time greatest toys

    Thanks for downloading.  We welcome your comments.


    RSS Feed change

    I’ve changed the URL of this site and would recommend that you change any subscriptions you have to this site and the 2.5 White Guys podcast.

    Sorry for the inconvenience but it’s good to do this now before we get totally famous and are podcasting for a living.  Also, I’ll be using that money to feed my pet unicorns.



    Oh, the feed is at the right of the page over there.  


    Two and a Half White Guys Podcast–Episode 4

    Episode 4 of the 2.5WG podcast is available for download via your internets.  Click here to download or subscribe to the RSS feed in your podcast consumer.

    Games Movies Podcasts TV Video Games

    Two and a Half White Guys Podcast–Episode 3

    What!?!  That’s right.  But Jason, how can I get this podcast loaded into my ipods?  I don’t know but I think the right answer is to put this RSS Feed into your MP3 management software and subscribe to it and it will download the episodes for you automagically.  I tried it on my Zune and it worked for me.  So, go ahead and subscribe and then it’ll autoload itself into your MP3 player every time a new episode comes out.

    About this episode:  Meatball Sandwich Horseplay – Stuart tries to introduce a new segment and a witty title although I don’t think we ever get around to explaining either.

    Please leave your feedback (after you listen, you wiseacres!) we’d love to hear from you.  Also feel free to suggest topics for discussion in our next episode(s).

    Media from this episode – Here’s the photo of Stuart’s gift basket we thoughtfully threw together at the last minute.


    Thanks for listening.

    Computers and Internet Gadgets Games Movies Podcasts TV Video Games

    Two and a Half White Guys Podcast–Episode 2

    What?! There’s an episode 2 of some show I’ve never even heard of?  Oh yeah- you know it!

    2.5WG is the brain child of a couple of buddies from work and myself.  I need to figure out how to make this into an RSS feed and post it onto various podcasting sites (Zune Marketplace, that other place where you get podcasts that I can’t say).

    But for now, I’m posting it here.   Enjoy.  (Click to play or right click –> Save Target As to download and save)

    NOTE: You do not have to have heard Episode 1 to appreciate listen to Episode 2.  In fact, I’m trying to find Episode 1 right now.  It might be lost.

    UPDATE: I guess I should actually post a little of what this podcast show is about to get you to click the link.

    About Two and a Half White Guys

    Eric, Stuart and Jason talk about geek stuff.  TV, Movies, Video Games and the Internet

    About your hosts: These guys work in IT and are gaming, comic-book, video games, sci-fi (or sports) nerds.  If that describes you, you might like our podcast. 

    Kinect Xbox

    Quick Note: Avatar Kinect on Xbox 360

    I’m just watching through the 2011 CES Keynote address given by Microsoft and I’m looking at the segment on a new feature coming soon called Avatar Kinect.  It’s a multiparty chat program that included your avatar and you friends avatars inside some pretty cool virtual environments.

    MsComicChatThis immediately reminded me of a fun, silly and short lived IRC client Microsoft included back in the Windows 95 days called “Comic Chat”.  That app built an on the fly comic book based upon your hand typed text messages.  You selected a character to represent yourself in the strip and if you put in an exclamation mark or a question mark in your text the program would change the expression of the character accordingly.  If you types “haha” or “lol” it would make your character laugh.

    Fast forward 15 years and now you can do the same with with the Kinect and your Avatar.  The Kinect will soon be able to watch your facial expressions and translate those onto your Avatar.  Your Avatar will be able to walk onto a virtual environment and interact with your friends Avatars in cool, fun ways.

    Check it video of this here: skip ahead to about 14:45

    Here’s a clip of the different “stages” that will be available.  Looks kinda like the Comic Chat settings from days of old.

    avatar kinect stages

    So it looks like some old ideas never truly go away.  They just look for ways to get renewed and made cool again.

    Oh, and for my Twitter friend who commented he’d rather just have a video chat with someone and do without the Avatars.  Think about this scenario.  You just woke up, it’s early, maybe you’re not fixed up and presentable to people outside your house yet. 

    This is a way you can (video) chat with people without having to look presentable. Who cares if your hair’s not perfect or heaven forbid you haven’t put on a clean shirt yet?  Your Avatar is impeccably dressed at all times!

    It’s the future, man.

    Dungeons & Dragons RPG

    Dungeons & Dragons: Fortune Cards

    Recently, Wizards of the Coast has announced a new product to add-on and enhance your role-playing experience.  Fortune Cards

    1-3-2011 1-30-09 PM

    According to WotC, “Fortune Cards are a new D&D gameplay enhancement that showcase the chaotic and unpredictable nature of adventuring in a fantastic world of danger and magic.”

    A recent discussion between myself and fellow DM and experienced D&D player Matt started out like this.  I’ll paraphrase Matt – He hates this and will never buy a single pack of these cards.  I hear ya, brother.

    So this is my take on the Fortune Cards.  I don’t inherently hate them.  I see them as offline-Twitter buffs. (Twitter buffs, for those who don’t know, are being used to the organized play “D&D Encounters” program held each Wednesday at your local game store.)  Twitter buffs are mostly helpful to the players and introduce a variable effect like an environmental effect (rain, frogs jumping out of ponds (which they’ve used twice)) and are usually detrimental to the monsters the players are fighting but occasionally effect the players, too. 
    Regarding the Fortune Cards specifically, I don’t quite understand building your deck before the game or how or when they’ll exactly be called into play so that’s a little disconcerting.  I’ve liked the twitter buffs during D&D Encounters for the most part.  [Okay, so I read the link above and it says you draw from your desk at the beginning of play.]
    Now, I am cursed by the “omg I have to have these” types of situations.  My mostly unused D&D miniatures are evidence of this.  I hope I don’t buy a lot of these cards.  In my current D&D role as DM I have like zero use for them.  And that’s probably a good thing.  But they’re a low price point and that makes them attractive as a ~$5 purchase at my local gaming store.  It helps out the store.
    That’s why I bought a pack of Gamma World cards last week.  I wanted to just check them out as I knew I was about to stick my toe in the GW pool.  (I bought the $40 box set for $35 on Amazon with a $25 gift card – my out of pocket investment $10 – Yay!)  They look cool – I got 3 character trait perks and 5 items for use in game.
    Wait, where have I seen this before?  /flashback video effects as I touch my chin and look upwardly/
    Star Wars Galaxies TCG
    I played Star Wars Galaxies off and on for their first 5 years.  In my 3rd and final visit to the MMO they introduced this trading card game which was very Magic-like (I think, I don’t play Magic the Gathering) but rewarded you with rares in your card packs that could be cashed in for in-game (MMO) loot.  This was a neat and exciting way to introduce items into your game that you might not otherwise have.
    The down side was clearly the “Hey, everything in this game is supposed to be craftable by one of the professions.  Why can’t I craft this and why are they telling me they can’t add new items into the game that I can craft when they clearly can add items all they want?” /SWG-Rant off
    This reminds me of that.  GW is adding loot and perks that can be used in game but you have to go buy them outside of your already made investment into the game. 
    And now D&D is doing that.
    I think.  Tell me what you think.