Early Telephone Systems

30 01 2009

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed in California, an archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet. Shortly after, headlines in the LA Times newspaper read: “California archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.”

One week later, The Sentinel, a local newspaper in Pennsylvania, reported the following: “After digging as deep as 30 feet in his pasture near the Juniata River, in Lewistown, PA., Bubba Mitchell, a self-taught archaeologist and graduate of Slippery Rock University, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Bubba has therefore concluded that 300 Years ago, Pennsylvania had already gone wireless.”

Thank God for Bubba.
Who said Pennsylvanians were hicks?





The Golf Course

26 01 2009

Here’s a heads up on what not to say if this ever happens when you’re out on the course.

A foursome of guys is waiting at the men’s tee while another foursome of women is hitting from the ladies’ tee.

The ladies are taking their time. When the final lady is ready to hit her ball, she hacks it ten feet.

She goes over and whiffs it completely. Then she hacks it another ten feet, and finally hacks it another five feet. She looks up at the patiently waiting men and says apologetically,

‘I guess all those f…ing lessons I took over the winter didn’t help.’

One of the men immediately responds,

‘Well, there you have it, you should have taken golf lessons instead!’

He never even had a chance to duck.





Penguin Awareness Day

21 01 2009

Hmm. Turns out, yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. Now, we all love those little birds in their little tuxedos, and we love it when they waddle to the shore, jump in and fly through the water.

I just find it a bit funny that this day just happened to be on Obama’s inaugeration day……..A relation, perhaps?





Disrepectful??

16 01 2009

Okay, so now there’s news about Barak Obama not showing some respect for George W. Bush as he gave his final speech, and dined at some expensive place with 12 other people. In that respect, you can read the entire article here.

And just for those of you that don’t have time to read the whole article, this picture pretty much sums it up…

Barak's Last Supper





The Dvorak Keyboard

12 01 2009

Okay, so I’ve recently been wondering if there’s another way to type with my keyboard without actually physically changing the keyboard. After all, people in other countries with other languages must be able to use a keyboard, right? Even if they don’t speak American English? And is there a better way to type here in America? Even with our English?

I’ve always known about being able to change the keyboard layout in the preferences menu in Windows, but I’ve never really researched it and tried it. Well, now I have.

I personally have always hated the QWERTY board layouts. And now I’ve come across the Dvorak layout. Turns out, the QWERTY layout was contrived to slow down people’s typing in order to accommodate the typewriters’ capabilities in the mid-1800’s. Remember those? The long, hammer-like action?

Well, right around 1936, a man by the name of Dr. August Dvorak studied how people type and the letters that are most commonly used. He came up with a much better layout than the QWERTY keyboard. I’ve been playing with it for a few days now, and I can’t believe I haven’t used it sooner.

This entire post was typed with the Dvorak layout, and my keyboard was actually able to keep up with me. I typed this entire post in about minute and a half, versus the usual 3-4 minutes. (Not including thinking time)

I’ll be posting more on this, but if you like, you can check out some more info on the Dvorak keyboard layout here…





The World’s Fastest Typist

9 01 2009

Okay, in this wonderful age where we live in, surrounded by technology, we have records for all sorts of things. We type on keyboards, we play piano on keyboards, we type on cell phones and PDAs. So I thought I would dedicate today to the current world record holder of typing, Barbara Blackburn.

Here’s an article I found on her. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did….

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Barbara Blackburn, the World’s Fastest Typist

Typing, Fastest. Mrs. Barbara Blackburn of Salem, Oregon maintained a speed of 150 wpm for 50 min (37,500 key strokes) and attained a speed of 170 wpm using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) system. Her top speed was recorded at 212 wpm. Source: Norris McWhirter, ed. (1985), THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS, 23rd US edition, New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

How did she type so fast? The key, so to speak, is in the keyboard design. Blackburn would type on nothing but the Dvorak keyboard, which has vowels on one side and consonants on the other, with the most frequently used letters on the center row. “It makes much more sense than the standard, so-called Qwerty keyboard (named after the first five letters on the top row),” Blackburn said. In fact, it was the Qwerty keyboard that was her undoing in high school typing class back in Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

“Typing was the bane of my existence.” She remembered how her I-minus (I for Inferior) typing grade kept her from graduating at the top of her class. As it was, she graduated third in a class of 46 students. In 1938, as a freshman in business college, Blackburn first laid hands on a Dvorak keyboard. She took to it like a fish to water. In only a few years her speed was up to 138 words per minute.

Blackburn had been such a whiz in her other high school classes, it was no surprise that she would attempt to better her record as a typist, given a chance. The Dvorak keyboard was what gave her the chance. When a representative of the Royal Typewriter Co. came to her business college looking for someone to train as a demonstrator of the Dvorak keyboard, she decided to give it a try.

In no time at all she was as good a typist as she was a bookkeeper and stenographer. She had won statewide contests in the latter two fields as a high school student, but the woman who taught all three courses at Pleasant Hill “was ashamed to admit I was in her typing class,” Blackburn remembered.

Carrying her own Dvorak typewriter with her wherever she worked after graduation from business college, Blackburn’s extraordinary talents paved her way. From 1939 to 1945 she worked as a legal secretary, and when she decided she needed a change of pace and left the law firm, “I left with the reputation as the best legal secretary in Kansas City,” she proudly recalled.

Suddenly there was a mad scramble of executives trying to nab her for their personal secretary.

Blackburn next worked at an electronics company, first as office manager and then as a sales engineer. She did speed typing demonstrations at the Canadian National Exposition and the Canadian Educational Conference. It was then that she was clocked for the the Guinness Book of World Records, in which she was listed for a decade as the world’s fastest typist (the category has since been removed). Blackburn went to work at State Farm Insurance in Salem, where she was employed in the word processing department until she retired in 2002.

Also, she starred in a television commercial for Apple Computers, which offered a switchable Dvorak-Qwerty keyboard with its Apple IIc model. When she was in New York to tape the commercial, she appeared on the David Letterman Show. But Letterman made a comedy routine out of what she thought was to be a serious demonstration of her typing speed, and Blackburn felt hurt by the experience. In her own words:

“The show aired on Thursday night, after I had returned back to Salem. They had taken my PR photo and blown it up to gigantic size) with the typewriter sitting on a stand (covered with a Plexiglas cover) in front of me and a little to the side with three men seated at a table with a big copy of my Thursday night paper sitting on an easel at the side. My photo took up the entire area behind the men. Letterman was standing beside the typewriter – his opening remark was “No doubt Ms. Blackburn is a very nice lady, but she has to be the biggest fraud and con artist in the world.” That he is still running it about every year completely astounds me! I have a complete tape of all of my TV appearances during my publicity reign, but I REFUSE TO WATCH THE LETTERMAN FIASCO.”

In the intervening years, Letterman’s comedy style has become better-understood and we’ve grown more accustomed to it. Nevertheless, anyone who has seen her whizzing fingers in action, as well as the flawless results on paper (her error frequency is two-tenths of one percent), can have no doubt that Barbara Blackburn will forever hold her place as the world’s fastest typist.

Mrs. Blackburn passed away in April, 2008.





The New Prez Ride

7 01 2009

Okay, had to share this one… Photos of the new Presidential ride are officially ‘out’. I’ve taken this article directly from AOL, so if you want to see the photos, you’ll need to go here.

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Photos of New Presidential Limo Leaked
By Mike M. Ahlers and Eric Marrapodi
Copied from CNN

WASHINGTON (Jan. 6) – As a candidate, Barack Obama promoted hybrid cars. As president, he’ll be handed the keys to one. Sort of. Shortly after taking the oath of office, Obama will climb into the Mother of All Hybrids — part car, part truck and, from the looks of it, part tank.

In keeping with recent tradition, the Secret Service will place a brand-new presidential limousine into service January 20 to drive the new president on the 2-mile jaunt down Pennsylvania Avenue during the inaugural parade.

Already, spy photos of the limo — with patches of gray primer — have leaked out. And already, the reviews:

“Ugly as sin,” says one car enthusiast on an auto Web site. “Can’t we make a hotter ride for our prez?”

“Sheesh,” says another, “why don’t they just transport the president around in an Abrams tank.”

One news agency, noting its 8-inch-thick doors, says the limo can withstand a “direct hit from an asteroid.” But GM spokeswoman Joanne K. Krell laughed off the comments. “And it will fix you a latte if you ask,” she jokes. In truth, the new presidential limo is a Cadillac, Krell said, although it is “not a direct extension of any single model.”

“The presidential vehicle is built to precise and special specifications, undergoes extreme testing and development, and also incorporates many of the top aspects of Cadillac’s ‘regular’ cars — such as signature design, hand-cut-and-sewn interiors, etc.,” Krell told CNN.

“Cadillac is honored to serve and renew this great tradition,” she said. “And it is entirely appropriate that an American president has at his service a great American vehicle.”

For much of the country’s history, the Secret Service didn’t even drive the president, evidently oblivious to the dangers of asteroids.

In the post-Lincoln horse-and-buggy era, it was customary for a security detail to closely trail the president, according to a Secret Service history.