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**Gibson guitars (Les Paul, SG, Explorer and more) for less are right here

New Audio Card

I noticed this really annoying buzz noise coming from the on-board audio card on the motherboard. The buzz existed when nothing was playing - I had to turn up the volume to actually hear it. "Time to get another card" I said to myself. Fortunately, good audio cards are cheap. I got this one. Installed easy. Works. No more buzz. Price? 18 bucks, that's including shipping. Awesome. (grin)

**Hard-to-find secret Fender FSR guitars? They exist, and they're right here.

Browser broke? Nope, it's just Java

Yeah, I surf the 'net quite a bit (and if you're reading this now, you probably do too). Recently I was visiting a few web sites that showed what looked like a broken image (where you normally see a box with an "X"), and I was saying to myself "Huh? I just installed Windows on this computer.. why am I seeing the X?" Then I said to myself "Oh yeah, I don't have Java installed". A quick run to fixed that.

Java, dear friends, is a thing made by Sun Microsystems. I won't get into the tech details of what it is because it would probably confuse most people, but what I can tell you is this: On the internet, Java has got to be one of the most awful things to ever be put in web pages.

Don't get me wrong, Java itself is a cool thing considering what it can do (which is quite a lot), but the end result is that the majority of internet surfers out there (including myself) find Java very annoying. That's because it slows down web pages to a crawl - even on fast computers, and when you don't have it installed, it shows nothing but an "X" - making you think you have something wrong with your web browser. At least Flash (made by Macromedia) is smart enough to TELL YOU when you need it. Java does not do that. I knew enough about internet surfing to install Java when I needed it. Most people wouldn't.

Previous to Sun's version of Java, Microsoft used to (until told by Sun not to) bundle Java with Internet Explorer and called it "Microsoft Virtual Machine" or Microsoft VM for short. Not anymore. You have to know enough to get it yourself now. Bummer. Granted, it was Sun's prerogative to make people get their version - after all they invented it... but like I said, most people won't know to do this. Two of our Armed Forces web sites, Navy and Marines, both use Java on their home pages (look for the scrolling "News" on the left side for either web site, that's the Java). Without the Java, a nice fat X shows up where the Java is supposed to go.

This is why I will not use Java or Flash on any of my web sites. I make all my sites "plugin-free" to ensure backwards-compatibility - and to avoid annoying anyone. (grin) When it comes to corporate intranet web design - that's a different story because many corp's insist on Java (mainly due to the reason "it seemed like a good idea at the time") so you have to deal with it. Goes with the territory I guess... but you'll never see it here. If for some reason I were to use it, I would at least put a little "heads up" web page stating "Hey you need this - go download it".

In September...

Last night I was doing my financial calculations, which I do from time to time. What this means is that I was attempting to figure out how long it would take to pay some bills completely. (grin)

After breaking out good ol' Windows Calculator and spending some time researching the bills, I believe I will have my car paid off by September. Very cool. It's a little later than I expected, but, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I believe I will reach it.

I'll tell ya, it will be so nice to have that damn car paid off in full. I don't know about you - but I hate car payments. After the "newness" of your car wears off, you feel like you're paying on something not worth the money you're sending. At this point I am sending slightly-more-than-double payments on it right now so I can get it paid off by September. What a sweet victory that will be once that car is paid in full. And yes, I think it's a victory whenever you can pay something off. (grin)