Feb 25, 2006

Idiomatic Expressions in English

A friend sent me a couple of idiomatic expressions in English, and given the fact that English is not my native language (not a big secret there) these come in hand very useful and thought of sharing them

If you have a website you can use them to display a random idiomatic expression on your website, with the respective explanation. I won't write a tutorial in here about adding that kind of code to your website, but there are a lot of scripts and programs that you can use (for free) to do that. Just pay HotScripts a visit and follow the instructions.

Here is the list of idiomatic expressions:
  • Never count your chickens before they are hatched. Meaning: Don’t spend money that you haven’t earned yet.
  • Don’t cry over spilled milk. Meaning: What is done is done. Just make the best of a bad situation, and get on with your life.
  • Never look a gift-horse in the mouth. Meaning: If someone gives you a gift, you are behaving rudely if you inspect the gift closely in search of defects. A hundred years ago, before people kept accurate records of such things, horse traders could tell the age of a horse by looking at its teeth.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meaning: Evenly distribute your wealth, so that if something goes wrong in one area of your life, perhaps you can salvage the rest of your treasures.
  • Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Meaning: Yes, that is a problem. But, let’s not worry about it until we have to deal with it.
  • Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream. Meaning: Once you have begun to execute a plan, you should stay with it until you have completed it.
  • I was all dressed up with no place to go. Meaning: I was ready to go to the party, but my parents said, “No! You have to stay home!”
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! Meaning: Although part of a plan may not be working, that is no reason to dispense with the whole idea!
  • Those two (children, shirts, flower pots, or whatever) are as alike as two peas in a pod. Meaning: They are so similar to each other that no one can tell the difference between them.
  • It is time to fish or cut bait. Meaning: I have to make a decision: Should I continue the way I am going? Or, should I stop, turn around, go back to the beginning, and try something else?

  • Get your ducks in a row. Meaning: Organize your projects. Get everything straightened out. Be ready for what comes next.

  • Don’t fly off the handle. Meaning: Don’t get angry without first taking the time to find out all the facts of the situation.

  • Waste not, want not. If you do not waste your resources, then you will have them when you need them. In this context, “want” is used less in then sense of “desire” and more in the sense of “need”.

  • Spare the rod and spoil the child. Meaning: I believe that this is from the Bible. If a child is misbehaving, and the parent refrains from striking him with a stick, then the child will not learn his lesson.

  • Once burned, twice shy. After a person has been burned once, he will be extra careful in the future.

  • I’ll see you in church! I’ll see you in the funny papers! Meaning: These both mean the same thing: Take care of yourself. I’ll see you soon!

  • Half a loaf is better than none. This is self-explanatory.

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Meaning: Having one dollar in your pocket is worth two dollars that you haven’t earned yet.

  • Watch your “p”s and “q”s. Dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s. Meaning: These both mean the same thing: Be careful. Watch what you are doing. Check your work.

  • Don’t judge a book by its cover. Meaning: Appearances can be deceiving.

  • It’s raining cats and dogs! Meaning: It’s raining very hard.

  • It is not wise to buy a pig in a poke. Meaning: You should not spend your money on something, until you have thoroughly investigated it. A “poke” is another word for a “sack”.

  • Don’t put the cart before the horse. Meaning: You should do things in the proper order.

  • When it rains, it pours! Feast or famine! These both mean the same thing: It seems that either nothing is happening or everything is happening all at once! There doesn’t seem to be any “moderate” area. It’s “all” or “nothing”.

  • There is no need to lock the barn door after the horse is gone. Meaning: The damage is done. There is no need to try to salvage the situation.

  • That dog won’t hunt. Meaning: Your idea is not a good one. Try again.

  • Don’t let the cat out of the bag. Don’t spill the beans. These both mean the same thing: Don’t divulge the secret!

  • When the cat’s away, the mice will play. Meaning: When the boss is out of the office, the employees will smoke his cigars, drink his whiskey, and take the phone off the hook.

  • You have to break some eggs to bake a cake. Meaning: If you want to increase your profits, you probably are going to have to spend some money ~ for new equipment or for advertising or for more employees or whatever.

  • I’ll have to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Meaning: I’m in a bad situation. I don’t know what I will do. I’ll have to think of something. Wish me luck!

  • Birds of a feather flock together. Water seeks its own level. Meaning: These both mean the same thing: when we choose our friends, we usually choose people whom we perceive to be like ourselves.

Feb 22, 2006

BluePrint Tips and Tricks

Yesterday I've found a Flash game on Digg that turned out to be quite addictive. Thus I had to finish it and I thought that maybe others will want to see the results for the puzzles in the BluePrint game. First of all the game is available from teagames.com, and you can access it here: BluePrint Flash Game (just click on the Click to Play! button).
A game menu will be first displayed, giving you the option to choose a puzzle. I've marked each puzzle with a number for a better understanding of the solutions given below:

Bluepring menu

Ok, below are the solutions for all 21 puzzles. Some of them are not actually the best solutions, but at least they work :) (yes, I had some luck too).

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 1

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 2

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 3

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 4

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 5

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 6

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 7

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 8

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 9

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 10

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 11

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 12

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 13

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 14

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 15

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 16

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 17

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 18

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 19

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 20

Bluepring Puzzle
Puzzle 21

If you have other solutions I would happily post them here. [DIGG this]

I was glad I stumbled across your Blueprint solutions on your blog--some of the puzzles were driving me nuts. I found some alternate solutions though that you might want to incorporate.
Joe Price

Thank you Joe, these are actually better solutions:

Bluepring level 16
[Bluepring Level 16 solution]

Bluepring Level 18 Solution
[Bluepring Level 18 Solution]

Bluepring Level 19 Solution
[Bluepring Level 19 Solution]

[Update 2] Well, I didn't visit the teagames website in a long time, that's why is just now I've seen they added 7 more levels. Since I don't have time to play them for now, I'll just link to Joseph Price's blog as he has posted the solutions for the final levels. When I'll manage to get over my Popcap Zuma obsession, maybe I'll try to solve them too.

Feb 18, 2006

Outlook Express signature with pictures

Ever wanted to have your logo and a slogan in your signature? You can do that easy with Microsoft Outlook, but it's a little more to do if you want to use one in Outlook Express. I thought of writing a tutorial on how to have a HTML signature in Outlook Express (including pictures).

1. This is a tutorial on how to add a signature that also has an image in it. In this example I included an image that was 68 in width and 62 in height. If you know what image you'll use, just see its properties for the dimensions, because we need those. Once you have that image you need to name it signature.gif (or .jpeg, .jpg, leave the extension intact, change only its name). Now, we need to create an HTML file, that we'll call signature.html. The code below shows you how to write it:

<img width=68 height=62 src="http://www.yourwebsite.com/signature.jpg">
<p><span style='font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Georgia; color:#F95407'>Your name</span>
<span style='font-size:10.5pt;font-family:Georgia; color:#006C55'>Your Company</span>
<em><span style='font-size:9.0pt;font-family:Georgia; color:#F95407'>Your Slogan</span></em></p>
<p><span style='font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Georgia; color:#F95407'>Your Phone</span></p>
<p><em><span style='font-size:9.0pt;font-family:Georgia; color:#006C55'>Your Tag line</span></em></p>

I'm not going to start detailing the HTML code, but the point is that you can just replace the width and height of the image with your own, the extension of that signature.jpg to whatever you have (gif for instance) and the text that starts with Your with the text that you want to appear in your signature. [Update] Since several people said the link has to be relative, make sure you upload your signature image to a hosting website (or your own) and include in the src="..." section the full link to your image - you can use sites like Flickr to host your image, and you can obtain the full link to it by right-clicking it and selecting Properties (there will be an Address section where you can copy the full URL from) - if you uploaded the signature.jpg image online and added its url to the html code above, ignore in step 2 the mention about signature.jpg. Now, this html file can be simply copied and pasted into Notepad, and then saved as signature.html (if you use advanced HTML editors, like Macromedia Dreamweaver, you probably know how to do that easily).

Now after we have these 2 files, signature.html and signature.jpg, we just need to make Outlook use them everytime the signature is created.

2. The 2 files need to be stored somewhere, thus the best thing to do is to create a Signature folder where you can put those. Open Windows Explorer (Start->Programs->Accessories->Windows Explorer), select your C:/ drive (might be called Local Disk (C:)) right click on the white area and select New->Folder just like you see below.

Create Signature folder

Name that folder Signature and press enter twice to open it.

Name signature

Once you’ve opened it, copy the two files that I attached, signature.html and signature.jpg to the Signature folder that you have created. If it worked correctly you should see the two files in the Signature folder, like you see below:

Paste signature files

3. Now we'll have to "tell" Outlook Express about this folder and the files. Open Outlook Express, select Tools and Options.

Tools Options

4. In the window that opened, click on the tab called Signatures. Then click on the New button and you’ll see a Signature #1 text appearing in the central window. You can rename it if you want and also if you want the signature to be attached to all emails from now on just check the option Add signatures to all outgoing messages. Then select File from the Edit signature field, just like you see below.

New signature

5. Now click on the Browse button and go to the Signature folder that we have created. Double click and open it. First you’ll not see any files, but in the field called Files of type press on the arrow and select the second option, HTML files. You should see one file, signature.html. Select it, press on Open.

Select signature

6. In the Outlook window you should see C:\Signature\signature.html file and press Apply and then OK.

Apply changes to signature

And that should do it. Test your new signature, go to Outlook and compose a new email - if everything is fine you'll see your signature at the bottom of the email. [DIGG this]

Feb 13, 2006

"Google are smart"

When Google first launched the referral program for AdSense publishers, I remember exactly that they advertised "$1 for each time a user downloads Firefox through your button and runs it for the first time" and "$100 for referred publishers who sign up for AdSense and reach $100 in earnings".

FireFox Google Toolbar

It might be that my memory is short or they really changed both programs, since now "when a user you’ve referred to Firefox plus Google Toolbar runs Firefox for the first time, you’ll receive up to $1 in your account, depending on the user’s location". That's what the image above is about. I've received $0.10 for a user that downloaded and installed FireFox, probably because was not from a location "accepted" by Google. Now, I wonder on what principles are these amounts given. Do they calculate in what countries FireFox is most used and for those countries they pay less than on the countries where FireFox is not so popular? Or do they take into account the probability of receiving donations for FireFox? Who knows. Their help doesn't say much about this.

Why the "Google are smart" title? Not because Google has a smart algorithm as a search engine or because the people behind Google are smart, but because of this funny sentence I've found in their help:

What is referrals

I know my English is not good and that they wanted to say "What is the definition for referrals?", but that sounds just like the "Joey are stupid" line from "Friends".

Other things you might not know about AdSense, if you didn't go through the Program Policy (I plan to read their Online Standard Terms and Conditions but another time):

Labeling Ads. Publishers may not label the ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements." This includes any text directly above our ads that could be confused with, or attempt to be associated with Google ads.

Site may not include: Pop-ups, pop-unders or exit windows that interfere with site navigation, obscure Google ads, change user preferences, or are for downloads. Other types of pop-ups, pop-unders, or exit windows may be allowed, provided that they do not exceed a combined total of 5 per user session.

Site Functionality
Your site must not contain broken links and must be launched, functioning, and easily navigable.

Site Responsiveness
Sites must respond adequately to support requests and enquiries of their users.

Incentives. For example, your site cannot contain phrases such as "click here," "support us," "visit these links," or other similar language that could apply to any ad, regardless of content.

Copyrighted Material
In order to avoid associations with copyright claims, website publishers may not display Google ads on web pages with MP3, Video, News Groups, and Image Results.

Code Modification. Any AdSense ad code, search box code, or referral code must be pasted directly into Web pages without modification. AdSense participants are not allowed to alter any portion of the ad code or change the layout, behavior, targeting, or delivery of ads for any reason.

Feb 11, 2006

Antivirus free up to 12 months

Well, seems that some major antivirus producers teamed up with Microsoft to offer free trials. So what's good in this? Well is good that you can get the trials up to 1 year. Here is the complete offer:

  1. eTrust EZ Antivirus from Computer Associates. This is the best offer, since it has a trial subscription up to 12 months.
    ezTrust free for one year

  2. F-Secure antivirus. On this one you can get a 6 months free trial. See that on the landing page they have a lot of marketing blurb, just scroll down to see the link for the free trial.
    F-Secure antivirus free for 6 months

  3. McAfee VirusScan from McAfee Security. You get a 3 months free trial for this one.
    Mc Afee VirusScan free 3 months trial

  4. Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security. This is free for 3 months too.
    Panda Platinum 2006 Internet Security

  5. Norton Antivirus 2005. They offer a 3 months trial for this one too.
    Norton Antivirus 2005 free for 3 months

  6. Trend Micro Pc-Cillin. This one has a 90 day trial too.
    Trend Micro Pc-Cillin free for 3 months

Too bad NOD 32 is not there with a trial. Anyway, that's a cumulated 2 and a half years of free antivirus protection.

Feb 9, 2006

Google Desktop 3

Google Desktop version 3 was released. Beside the search features, now it incorporates a Sidebar that allows you to receive news, weather information, post notes, chat and many other features.

Google Desktop

Some of the features that the new sidebar from Google Desktop has:

  • receive emails from your Gmail account

  • see news directly on your sidebar (personalized depending on what you visit)

  • receive weather information

  • see slideshow of photos from your computer and from the internet

  • stocks information

  • receive RSS and Atom feeds on the sidebar

  • write notes in the scratch pad

  • list of visited websites

  • maps and satellite images

  • to do list

  • system information (CPU monitor, memory usage...)

I didn't install it yet because I want to give it a little time to see if security issues appear. Last time when they launched it, a security hole was reported soon after.
Plus, I don't like their privacy policy. Here is what I don't like:
Your copy of Google Desktop includes a unique application number. When you install Google Desktop, this number and a message indicating whether the installation succeeded are sent back to Google. Also, when Google Desktop automatically checks to see if a new version is available, the current version number and the unique application number are sent to Google. The unique application number is required for Google Desktop to work and cannot be disabled.
If you choose to enable Advanced Features, Google Desktop may send information about the websites that you visit to provide enhanced Google Desktop functions, such as personalizing news displayed in Sidebar. Enabling Advanced Features also allows Google Desktop to collect a limited amount of non-personal information from your computer and send it to Google. This includes summary information, such as the number of searches you do and the time it takes for you to see your results, and application reports we'll use to make the program better.

Still want to install it? Well grab a copy of it from here: Google Desktop 3. This is free for both personal and business use. And if you want to read that privacy policy better, see here.