Kenosha Parade 2004

We went to the parade Sunday and had a great time. We got a little burnt, even though we sat under a nice shady tree in our usual spot–at the Strawberry Festival at First United Methodist Church on 60th Street and Sheridan Road. We had some of their awesome enormous hot dogs & chips, barbeque, and, of course, the strawberries and ice cream. Kevin got a Spyro inflatable and Sandy got a new hat. I took 170 pictures, and all of them are here. Click on the image to view them.

A good decision, or a last-ditch effort

Wow, I was impressed with Bush’s decision to turn over the transfer of power to Iraq a few days early. It probably saved many lives. Hopefully the surprise won’t tick off the worst of them though, they still had several hostages, from what I last heard.

I’m sure the decision to turn it over early wasn’t Bush’s though. It must have been his team of political spin doctors trying to earn him some points in the polls, I’m sure. That’s all anything is about these days. We won’t know what any political figure is really like until after the November election.

Serious new Internet threat

Internet security companies and cybersecurity experts in the federal government are warning computer users to guard against a new online attack that can affect PCs running the Windows operating system. Specifically, the INTERNET EXPLORER web browser. What makes this latest threat particularly scary is that computers can be affected just by visiting a Web site that has been compromised by hackers. As I stated before–numerous times–don’t use Internet Explorer!

Many popular websites were hit, although specific site names were not released. They are being patched quickly though. A couple of the sites we DO know were infected were Kelley Blue Book’s site and one other medical site, but those are now patched as well.

Norton Antivirus and all of the other popular and frequently-updated antivirus programs already detect this threat and catch it before you’re infected, so make sure your antivirus program is updated! What this infection does is install a trojan on your computer which grabs all of your keystrokes (logins, passwords, etc.) and tries to transmit it back to a russian website. Many ISPs have already blocked traffic being sent from their customers to this site. I wish they’d also release the list of ISPs that took this action–I certainly hope MINE did–It would certainly give them points in MY book.

Update: One important factor I failed to mention above: This latest worm only infects Microsoft servers (go figure), so don’t worry about our website being infected, since it is Linux/Apache-based. And visiting these infected sites can still harm you if you’re using Internet Explorer. Also, I heard this evening that the Russian website that this worm sends its data back to has now been shut down.

My thoughts on website content

I love free website content. The more the better. The vastness of the Internet itself gives way to some amazing content, free for the taking (usually only for non-profit uses), from thousands of various commercial and non-commercial websites. The way I’ve seen it, a few years ago there was even much more free content than there is now. Not to say there is any LESS content on the Internet, just that there’s less FREE content available. Remember Webshots? It used to be a free application and all of the nice images on the website were free as well. Banner ads were on their site and in their program, but this was the cost of using their service. Well, they–like thousands of other Internet content providers–went the “pay” route and turned their site into a pay service. Sure, you still get some of the “standard” resolution images (you can call these “free samples”) for nothing, but if you want the full-resolution images and the extra features then you’ll have to shell out some cash for a subscription–and pay for it regularly.

Many of the best applications and services have gone this route now–even Incredimail. They’ve gotten so greedy they need a constant payment stream from their customers, and Microsoft isn’t far behind. I heard a while back about possible “service-based” subscriptions to their Office applications–you pay a monthly or annual fee and you get to access particlar web-based versions of their applications when you need them. I guess they figure this will be a success, because it’s cheaper for everyone that way, and the customer always has up-to-date software. How many more monthly payments do we need though? I’d still rather buy an application outright and know that I own that particular application, to install it and use it as I see fit, whenever I need to, knowing it will be exactly the same a few years from now–that is, if I’m even ABLE to install it on whatever operating system I’m using at that time… You also rarely see company offer “Free updates for life” for a product any more either. A few good ones still do, but be warned there too–I’ve seen more than one company change their policy and actually revoke their “free updates for life” policy and start charging again for major version changes. I guess the old quote used in virtually every policy I’ve seen comes in handy: “Subject to change without notice.”

Jasc is still doing it right, and I hope they stick to it. Paint Shop Pro is awesome. You can buy it in the store for about $80. No activation, and not even any of the serial number entry during installation. Just a plain old fashioned install and you’re good to go. It just plain works, and works well. You can download a lot of additional content for it as well from many websites, including Jasc’s own site. You pay for their major version release only–updates to it are free from their website. But that’s enough Jasc advertising, back to the content issue.

There is still a lot of free content out there on the Internet, but using a lot of it brings up legal issues. For example, you can go to a site for just about every product, movie, or service in the world and get an image of it–My favorite technique for this is to go to Google Images and type in what I’m looking for–instantly I have hundreds or even thousands of thumbnails in my search results that I can go through to get what I need. But copy many of those images and use them on your own site or in a creation of your own and you’ve got possible legal issues.

My final point on all of this is that you’re here, at, and we have free downloads and free images. And here you don’t have to worry. All of our downloads are 100% free, no strings attached, and you can use our images freely without concern. It’s one of those old-fashioned sites, here for the public to enjoy, to hopefully make the Internet a friendlier place. No banner ads, no self-installing browser hijackers, no popups. Make it your home page. Use it as a portal to everywhere else. Our links list alone contains hundreds of great sites to jump to from here. But by all means don’t make it your ONLY home page–Install Mozilla Firefox and have as many home page tabs as you want! Just make one of them. What?? Still using Internet Explorer?? Then you haven’t been reading enough content on! Uhoh. Now I’ve gone and turned this entire posting into an ad for my site. Well, at least it didn’t POP UP on you! =)