I/O Magic 22X External Disc Drive

Another update: problem solved:

The disk drive is now able to copy disks.  The fix: hp CD-R Lightscribe disks. This is one of the disk types recommended by the manufacturer, oddly enough. (I have added a photo of the box with the other supported formats at the end of this epistle.)  And yes, contrary to what is written elsewhere on the web, it runs on XP.

In retrospect, all my problems were caused by bad advice from the Staples sales clerks.  New disk drives may be compatible with all types of disks, as they told me, but google tells me older disk technology may not recognize all disk types; you may actually have to read the package and use the types recommended by the manufacturer.  Also, CD+R is not the same as CD±R, as I was told; wikipedia lists it separately.  The number after the X is apparently just a speed indicator and may be safety ignored.  But dealing with Staples  is a bit like walking into an XKCD cartoon.  If the kids say a disk drive is broke because it isn’t compatible with all disk types, then that disk drive becomes broke for that very reason, even if it works the way the manufacturer says it will.

Today is Aug. 21; I first published this post on Aug 12. How many people are willing to continually work on a problem for that long, returning  disks, researching the problem on the web?  When television first came out, there was one repair shop in town, and when a TV was in the shop, it stayed there for months.  Today we want instant fixes.

Note: If you are thinking about buying this disk drive, go to the  Staples page for this product and read their many, many negative reviews. Basically everyone has the same problem I’m having.  It doesn’t work in XP; and it burns one disk, the one that come with it, then refuses to recognize any more disks in the device.


Last spring I bought the I/O Magic 22X External Disc Drive to process some photos and videos from a family event. I am just now getting around to opening the box. Besides the family videos, I also want to use it to back up a rare audio CD album, and possibly download an audio CD from an online vendor.

The disk drive is probably long out of warranty, but fortunately there were no problems with it.  I plugged in the A/C converter and plugged the other end into the DC 12V input.  The cord wobbles back and forth in the jack, but the electrical connection itself seems secure.  The USB cable also connects in the back and is only about 42″ long, fine if you have desk space, or if you want to move the drive every time you use it, but not long enough if you want to keep it on a shelf.  There is a power switch on the back, also a small fan.

The disk drive came with a Nero 8 Essentials CD, a blank Philips CD-R 52x Lightscribe Disc, and a Lightscribe Direct Disc Labeling CD containing four programs for drivers, software, and templates. The guy at the store (Staples) recommended Memorex DVD+R Lightscribe 16X to use with it. [Bad idea, as it turned out.] They are a muted gold color and Teh Google tells me they print in grey scale, so no danger of not being able to tell that disk apart from an original.

Note: There is an installation manual available on the manufacturer’s support page.

I turned on the disk drive and used it to install the Nero 8 software.  The drive worked on power-up (on Windows XP) without installing additional software.  The Nero software took several minutes to install, but not the hours reported in some online sources.  It installed one, not three or more icons, as reported elsewhere, but although I did a custom installation, I must have missed unchecking some boxes, because once it was installed, my music wouldn’t play on Windows Media Player any more.

The Windows Media Player has been making me unhappy lately, overwriting with Chinese characters the track information I have painstakingly edited, and separating CD’s that belong together in a set so that I have to go searching for them in various sections of the alphabet, apparently assigned at whim.  If I change the album title to make it show up in the part of the alphabet I want, it loses the CD altogether, and I can only find it again by going back to MyMusic in the Start menu. Still, I’m used to the Windows product and don’t have time to learn the new Nero system right now.  Who knows, I have Roxio installed as well, but have never used it either; maybe in the end I would prefer that program.

The Nero program uninstalled cleanly (through the control panel), again contrary to what has been written elsewhere.  The Lightscribe programs also installed without fanfare, although they do have to each be installed separately.

So now everything is connected and I can just burn some disks, right?  No.  I just found out that the files I have been ripping to my music folder are not the same quality as CD’s, they are in some compressed format, not as compressed as MP3, but not CD quality either. So now to get the recoding formats sorted out.

As an interesting sidelight, there is a curious format, no longer used, called Mini Disc. It is a higher quality than cassette, but not as good as CD, and is used in Japan for transferring cassette and LP recordings to CD, also there is some application for direct recording, for those who are into the performing arts.  Ebay has a few minidisc items for sale, and there are some fan sites with information, largely outdated, like this one and equipment lists like this. Apparently you have to plug it into the audio output of an external amp to use it–does anyone still have those?

As far as CD quality, looking at the dropdown box for the Windows Media Player, a CD can be ripped in several formats (but is burning different?). Windows Media Audio is apparently the default.  Its two lossless formats appear to be Windows Media Lossless and WAV. Likewise, online music stores vary in quality; WAV appears to be the only lossless format. There can be  DRM issues with online stores as well.

In the end, I’m going to have to just put a disc in and try it.

Image below: side of box with list of supported formats.

Macro seeds

When I read XKCD this morning (the mouseover says “you can get it from my seed at Joindiaspora.com whenever that project gets going”) I had to google the diaspora people and see what they were up to.  Diaspora also came up in a LL thread about Facebook privacy not too long ago.

To my surprise their blog header has a photo of a dandelion that looks a lot like the ones I took last night in the rain. So at the end of this post I will put up some macro photos of dandelion seeds.

[Image:  screenshot from Joindiaspora.com.  One of the project’s video presenters takes aim at the imaginary audience with a gun while making “piu piu” noises.]

The faces are all young, white, and male, but to their credit they say they want to create something they would want to use themselves. They say are already running a beta version of their software.  What exactly it consists of isn’t clear.  The difference is supposed to be encryption, but hey, if someone creates something that’s encrypted, doesn’t that mean they have the key for it?  And wouldn’t that also mean you have to download something into your own computer in order to use it?  And somehow receive software updates? And anti-virus and DDOS protection?

Will the Diaspora get it Together? (pun alert) We’ll see. In the meantime there seems to be a lot of enthusiasm for a Facebook alternative. So far the Diaspora has defined themselves in terms of what they are NOT (Facebook) and in the fact that they have left the reservation.

Now that you mention it, how DO you pronounce “diaspora“?  And will you have to be Jewish to use it?  I suspect there is a market here for something with less than four syllables, and that Diaspora may have some competition.   And does the Diaspora have a political slant?  We already have a Wikipedia by Libertarians, and a monopolistic rural radio network (Clear Channel) defined by the extreme right wing.  Where is George Soros?

Posted in Technology, Wildlife. Comments Off on Macro seeds

Computer virus emergency

I just received my first ever telephone emergency alert from our campus autodialing emergency alert system. Today’s emergency? A computer virus has shut down the campus computers. The recorded message adds that the virus not limited to the campus system and advises everyone to obtain the latest updates of their antivirus software.

I had heard of the emergency calling system, and yesterday received my first test call, but I figured the system would be used to announce school closings in case of snow. How times change.

The BBC news has more information:

Zeus 1.6 can infect people using Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers, the company claims.

The malware steals login information by recording keystrokes when the infected user is on a list of target websites.

These websites are usually banks and other financial institutions.

The user’s data is then sent to a remote server to be used and sold on by cyber-criminals.

The black market Zeus botnet was being run out of Kazakhstan and was cut off in March, but apparently it’s back.

For Windows users, here is the link to the official Microsoft web page where you can run a free scan, download their free products, or download updates with the latest definitions for a product you already have. Or better yet, don’t trust me;  google “Microsoft Malware Protection Center” for yourself and go there directly from the google link.

UPDATE: 4/21/10, “McAfee Inc. confirmed that a software update it posted at 9 a.m. Eastern time caused its antivirus program for corporate customers to misidentify a harmless file.”

Posted in Technology. Comments Off on Computer virus emergency

Free audio

If you thought the Half Price Bookstores made buying language CD’s affordable, it gets even better. I have just discovered a program that lets you “borrow” language and other CDs from your local library for free.  In Chicago, all you need is your library card, and you can download 8 titles every 21 days. Yesterday I tested the system by downloading Instant Immersion Arabic (Jordanian/Palestinian dialect) and VocabuLearn French Word Booster.

First, check to see if the service is available in your part of the world.  Next, download the Overdrive software.  Then you can either play it on your computer, transfer it to a device (like an MP3 player) with a simple right-click and “transfer” command, or in some cases burn a disk from it. Most portable devices support MP3 and WMA format; if in doubt, you can check a list of supported devices. At the Chicago library, after 21 days, the audio file is automatically “returned” to the library without you having to do anything.

The system is available from libraries in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, and the U.K. For example, the Melbourne library (Australians are such great travelers–I love to see what they read) has the In-Flight language learning titles in several languages, lasting an hour each, also a couple of Learn in your Car titles, as well as some from the Instant Immersion series. The Melbourne library allows you only two titles checked out at the same time, but you can select the desired lending period for a particular title.

How do I like it so far? Fun. Easy to use. The Arabic one isn’t as good as other Instant Immersion products, but it’s hard to find anything at all for colloquial Levantine Arabic.  I have seen Instant Immersion workbooks; it would be nice to see the written language too if there is a companion book, but they don’t seem to have one for Arabic. Also, the next time I download something, since there is a limit to the number of downloads, I will probably do more research beforehand with the Amazon ratings and be pickier about what I download.

Posted in language, Technology. Comments Off on Free audio

Computer anti-virus

If you bought a Windows computer system with a free year of a Symantec product like Norton anti-virus already installed, sooner or later the year is going to be up. Then what? Run without an anti-virus? Run periodic checks with free products?

I have just spent a tiring three days installing, uninstalling, and tweeking after I tried to watch a broken online video and all of the sudden my computer “sounded different”. I was sure I had picked up some sort of malware, but Spybot Search and Destroy found nothing. AdAware found some privacy objects, but it wasn’t clear if they were removed or not. And the computer kept “sounding funny”, making a racing sound when I wasn’t running anything. Bitdefender, on the first pass, said I had a virus it had not removed, but on the full scan, nothing turned up. I even tried AVG, which merely puts viruses in a “vault” without deleting them, but that found nothing at all.

Finally I discovered Microsoft’s anti-virus products. The first one is a free online scan called Live OneCare safety scanner that found my virus and gave it a name, besides cleaning the registry of some 300 unused items. The second one is Security Essentials, free to anyone with a valid copy of windows, that removed my virus on the full scan.  Once you install it, it continuously scans for viruses.  They both run only under Internet Explorer, but hey, it’s Microsoft’s product, why not.  You only appreciate Firefox all the more when you go back to it.

Speaking of Firefox compatibility issues, if you have the FoxLingo Translation Toolbar and are thinking of upgrading to Firefox 3.6.2, well, I just tried it and FoxLingo 2.6.1 doesn’t work with that version.  I had to downgrade Firefox back to 3.6 to get the FoxLingo and Answers.com toolbars back.

Sweet Home Chicago

There’s no place like home–unless it’s a tent. Yes, I’m back.

Here’s supper. Tuna with lemon squeezed over it. A scrambled egg fried in olive oil with a little sea salt mixed in. Good hobez from the Arab bakery, no preservatives, taken from the freezer and warmed in the toaster oven. [Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts. –Joyce’s Ulysses] Then you break a piece off the bread and use it to scoop off a piece of egg or tuna. hobez and tuna
A Heineken is discretely off camera in deference to Ramadan. The laptop, yes, it’s new. Unfortunately, or as it turns out fortunately, I forgot the power cord to my netbook at home when I went on vacation and was compelled to shop for a new one. Well, you can’t just walk into Best Buy and pick one up, so I ended up browsing the laptops. I have always wanted an HP Pavilion DV3 2155mx, but they only came in white, which means they will look clean for the first two weeks you own them, or you can also get some goofy bubble pattern. It will be a cold day for the Shaitan when I carry a computer with bubbles on it. But suddenly I see my dream laptop with a livable pattern. Not just livable, but pleasing, a sort of Shepard Fairey-esque pattern.  And not just on the cover.  The pattern is repeated on the inside of the laptop, and even on the touchpad. Yes, it has a Core 2 Duo chipset; yes, it weighs less than 5 pounds;  yes, it has a 7 hour battery.  But the pattern!  Someone went to some trouble with this laptop’s detail.  The computer feels solid, and it looks pleasingly professional.  But it’s also nice to touch and to look at.  That’s the difference between a laptop that’s just a laptop, and a laptop that’s your baby.

Posted in Technology. Comments Off on Sweet Home Chicago

Useful Links


I can never find these when I want them.

Dictionaries and English Tools

Common Errors in English

An historical syntax of the English language, Visser (various digitized parts)

Encarta online dictionary

ESL: List of free online journals from talktotheclouds

Learner’s Dictionaries (ESL): Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Longman English Dictionary Online, Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (also Learner’s, AmE, idioms, phrasal verbs, English-Turkish), Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

Memidex dictionary and thesaurus

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary of English Usage

Mythology – Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology

OneLook (1024 dictionaries) (use help file to add to search bar)

ODLIS — Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

Online Etymology Dictionary

Perdue Online Writing Lab

Philosophy meta-encyclopedia | Dictionary of Philosophy (Ancient – Medieval – Modern)  Dagobert D. Runes

Rhyme generators:  Write Express, Rhyme Brain

Style Manuals-Online Stylebooks–search 43 manuals of style

Unicode-Alt keyboard sequences for special characters, alt codes

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Webster’s New World College Dictionary

Wikipedia Manual of Style

TV shows (and radio) Firefly (a space western) wikipedia|episodes (often broken)|Chinese language phrases (mostly Mandarin) (incomprehensible by real Chinese people)

Fireflyfirst five episodes (HULU)(now they have five rotating episodes)

Fireflyfrom sling.com beta (same episodes as HULU, with smoother display) on sling.com

Fireflyepisode guide.  Maybe can download some episodes.

La Femme Nikita episodes (starring Peta Wilson)

Naruto (Japanese manga cartoons, English subtitles)

The Prisoner free online (Patrick McGoohan)

BBC Radio 4

Bible portals

New Revised Standard Version: Oremus with Godweb browser and OBB browser, Bible studytools (with commentary and parallel translations)

Today’s New International Version

Revised Standard Version

Arabic translation (Bible Gateway)

Q Bible (Hebrew & English)

Parallel translations (commentary and cross references)

Codex Sinaiticus (earliest known Bible–in Greek)

Bible Gateway (a dozen English versions including TNIV but not RSV, plus languages including Arabic but not Greek or Hebrew)

Roman Catholic Bible in French, key documents of the Catholic faith: Magisterium (in Latin), Liturgy and the Fathers of the Church, saints and their writings, created from CD-ROM Ictus 3.

Koran portals

Al-Tafsir (Jordan)

Shakir (U. of Virginia)

Shakir (U. of Michigan)

Yusuf Ali, Pickthal, Shakir (U. of Southern California)

Online Quran Project (60 trans. + Arabic)

Ayat al-Kursi (Throne Verse) [2:255] Tutorial

Open Quran (9 reciters + Arabic text)

“Wahhabi” translation

Koran Today (side by side comparison of translators Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Zohurul Hoque, T.J. Irving, T.U. Hilali & M. Khan, M. Pickthall, and M.S. Shakir)

(For prayer times)

mosque: Bridgeview

mosque: Adams (DC)

Language Dictionaries

University of Texas archaic languages: Old Norse, Armenian, Baltic, Old English, Old French, Gothic, Classical Greek, N.T. Greek, Hittite, Old Iranian, Old Irish, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, Sanskrit, Tocharian [Asia silk road])

Ultralingua:  English, Esperanto, French, German, Italian, Klingon, Latin, Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dictionaries, Spelling & Grammar Checkers, Audio Learning Tools

Your dictionary–Online dictionaries for 300 languages


Akkadian: Klinopsis (Old Babylonian Text Corpus by Cuneiform Circle)

Amharic: Dictionary of the Amharic Language by Charles William Isenberg (1841), Basic Amharic Dictionary: Amharic-English, English-Amharic. Leslau, Wolf (1970) (Free download.) , Online Amharic-English dictionary with search box, A small Amharic glossary

Anglo-Saxon: Anglo-Saxon Dictionary of Bosworth/Toller 1898, consistent alphabetic index to An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Bosworth and Toller)-Univ of Texas

Arabic: Edward William Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon and Koran indexed by roots, new library (so far several translations of Koran and a users dictionary), Andras Rajki’s Arabic Etymological Dictionary (transliteration), database query semitic etymology (Russian website), M. Piamenta’s Dictionary of Post Classical Yemeni Arabic (Gbooks searchable but not online)

Catalan: Enciclopedia (with etymology)

Cornish: Warlinnen lexicon

Danish: modern Danish dictionary, pronunciation guide, historical dictionary of Danish

English: Middle English, Dictionary of Old English-University of Toronto, dictionary of slang, jargon & cant: embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian slang, pidgin English, tinker’s jargon and other irregular phraseology, Volume 1(google books full text)

French Dictionnaire Français (Encarta), Orthonet [French lexicon proposed by the Conseil International de la Langue Française (www.cilf.org)], Le Tresor de la Langue Francaise Informatise (etymology)

Gaelic: Gaelic – English Dictionary by Malcolm MacFarlane, dictionary in Gaelic, medieval old and middle Irish glossary by Dennis King, Lexicons–MacFarlane, Gramadach

Georgian: Georgian/German dictionary, Georgian/English site down but try http://sisauri.tripod.com/lexicon/INDEX3.htm on the wayback machine   http://web.archive.org

German: LEO Deutsch-EnglischWörterbuch

German: English/German dictionary, user sourced, also Italian/German, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hungarian, Russian, Danish, Esperanto, Norwegian

German: Das Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (German OED), Beta–completion date 2012, Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm (etymology)

Greek: (etymology)

Hindi/Urdu: from Slovarus.info, Platts (some etymology)

Irish: dictionary online

Italian: Dizionario Etimologico

Lakota: Lakota lexicon;Lakota translation (short dictionary); Lakota language, keyboard, fonts, grammar, Bible translation in Lakhota and Dakhota, translation of texts;Lakota-Useful phrases from Omniglot; Lakota Grammar +; Lakhota letters (alphabet) and sounds; Wikipedia: Lakota language with grammar; Smithsonian winter count calendars with pronunciation of tribal group names in Lakota.

Latin: Glossarium mediæ et infimæ latinitatis, L. Favre, 1883-1887 (annotated), Wordsonline dictionary, translation assistant, grammar aid

Mongolian: from Slovarus.info (via LH)

Mongolian: (from read)

Norse/Icelandic: Ross Arthur’s English-Old Norse glossary, Old Norse lexicon, Freelang English/Old Norse, Northvegr Old Icelandic (Geir T. Zoëga’s 1910 dictionary of Old Norse), Wiki English glossary, Old IcelandicAn Icelandic-English Dictionary Cleasby and Vigfusson 1874, J. Frizners ordbok (The standard dictionary of Old Norse,in Norwegian) Univ. of Oslo., Modern IcelandicÍslensk-ensk orðabók / Concise Icelandic-English Dictionary 1989

Norwegian-Bokmåls: og nynorskordboka i felles søkevindu

Norwegian-Nynorsk: Grunnmanuskriptet, based on field work in the early 20th century (the book was never published, maybe because of the great depression, maybe because of a political backlash, I don’t really know), but intended to finally be printed on paper for the national jubilee in 2014.

Portuguese: Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa (with etymology)

Sanskrit: from Slovarus.info

Spanish: Real Academia Española diccionario

Scots: Dictionary of the Scots language: (not Gaelic), Scots-Online dictionary (not Gaelic)

Turkish: Cambridge Dictionary Online includes English-Turkish translation

Digital Dictionaries of South Asia:

Assamese Kashmiri Pali Tamil
Baluchi Khowar Panjabi Telugu
Bengali Lushai Pashto Torwali
English Malayalam Persian Urdu
Gujarati Marathi Rajasthani Comparative
Hindi Nepali Sanskrit
Kannada Oriya Sindhi

The English one is the Hobson-Jobson Anglo-Indian dictionary; “comparative” is A Dravidian etymological dictionary and A comparative dictionary of Indo-Aryan languages.

Urdu/Hindi: from Slovarus.info, Platts (some etymology)

Welsh: Univ of Wales online dictionary, Mark Nodine’s lexicon,

Language tools (translation, tutorials, and grammars)


Classical languages: The Stoa Consortium-links to texts, blogs, Athens archeology…

Dicts.info-English lookup to 105 languages

*Foreign Services Institute Language Courses U.S. government – public domain. Audio and text. The site is back up as of April 13, 2013, and has posted a dozen new texts.
Mirror/alternative sites at:

Forvo All the words in the world. Pronounced.

Language learning forum

Lexicity Akkadian, Arabic, Aramaic,  Coptic, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Gothic, Greek Hebrew, Hittite, Latin, Old Church Slavonic, Old English, Old Irish, Old Norse, Sanskrit, Sumerian, Syriac, Ugaritic.  Comprehensive index for ancient language resources, including dictionaries, grammars, charts and aids, and biblical and non-biblical texts.

Survival Phrases

Mojibake online decoder (for non-standard character sets in Cyrillic, etc.–then put result into Google Translate)

Master list of free language learning resources (including Arabic)

The Open University (podcasts) (British)  French, German, Spanish, business English

Online dictionaries: English/Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian,  Italian,  Latin, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Online Verb Conjugator 66 languages, modern and archaic: Catalan, runic Old Swedish, Old English, vulgar Latin, Welsh…

YouTube: Learn a language on YouTube (Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Maori, Old English, Portuguese, Sign language, Swedish, Welsh) Languages.

By language:

Akkadian: cunieform from Knowledge and Power in the neo-Assyrian Empire website

Amharic: Amharic keyboard and font to download (scroll down for font), Senamirmir fonts, (to start using font, close the browser and open again; this website has an Amharic “welcome” message you will be able to see if your font is working); Road to Ethiopia, blog written by a student of Amharic language

Anglo-Saxon: consistent alphabetic index to An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Bosworth and Toller)-Univ of Texas

Arabic: list of proto-Semitic roots, Foreign Services Institute Arabic free downloads

Chinese: language phrases (mostly Mandarin) from Firefly TV series (it is said that real Chinese people cannot understand these)

Chinese: grammar sample (from Bathrobe)

Darija (Moroccan Arabic): Speak Moroccan Arabic (French version available)

English: (15th to 19th c), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE0MtENfOMU: The Canterbury Tales Prologue in Middle English

Georgian: alphabet and grammar, pronunciation of letters (in German)

Greek (classical): Getting started tutorial, British Museum digitized manuscripts Greek (Homeric): Clyde Pharr’s Homeric Greek – A Book For Beginners, starts with alphabet then read Iliad in original

Greek (just added): , Stoa Consortium, Univ of Texas (classical and N.T.)

Univ of Frankfort index (also Hittite, Lydian, Tocharian, Old Indic (Vedic?], Old, Middle, Modern Iranian/Persian/Avestan, Armenian, Italic/Old Latin/ Umbrian/Oscan/Picenian, Celtic/Gaulish/Celtibarian/Ogham/Old and Middle Irish/Middle Welsh):

Hebrew: Balashon — Hebrew Detective (etymology), dictionary with 2 hour reading tutorial, dictionary, keyboard, and translate tool, Animated Hebrew games and tutorials website, Hebrew “coal mine letters” tutorial video, Hebrew resources post

Latin: St. Louis Univ materials, immersion course with podcasts, Babylon lookup, Ohio State grammar, Allen and Greenough’s New Latin Grammar online, Perseus library Greek and Latin texts, U of Tartu links (including obscenities), wikibook Latin textbook, links to list of Greek and Latin roots, Latin on Youtube

Latin (classical): Getting started, Stoa Consortium

Norse: Old Norse for Beginnners, Yahoo Norse course group, Peter Pettersson’s Old Norse Language

Proto-Indo European (PIE): online books by Winfred P. Lehmann et al. about Indo-European languages and historical linguistics

Proto-Semitic: list of proto-Semitic roots

Scot: Scottish Gaelic sounds, Scots-Online (lowland Germanic, not Celtic Gaelic)

Spanish: Effective Swearing in DF (Mexico), Antonio de Nebrija’s Gramática de la lengua castellana (1492),  Old Spanish readings (and history-google books full text)

Thai: mp3 downloads (webmaster in jail, download fast?)

Computer downloads for new computer setup

Portable Firefox (for flash drives)

100 plugins from Mycroft Project (Urban Dictionary)

FoxLingo toolbar

American English spellcheck dictionary

Irfanview image editor

Zoombrowser EX (camera)

Zoombrowser EX (But where’s the install file? Can’t find it on Vista.)  Sure Canon gives you a disk, and they are said to be very proprietary about their software, but what are you supposed to do if you have a netbook with no CD player? Do they really think someone would want to use the program if they didn’t already have a Canon camera? Something to think about when it comes time to upgrade the camera.

Zoombrowser Canon A560 (and others) update from Canon (must have EX installed first)

Foxit fast PDF reader free download

Viruses and malware:

~Ad-awareSpybot Search and Destroy


~(AVG now with annoying popups and demands for system restarts)

~*****Microsoft one time scan (IE), malware info page with definition updates for 32-bit and 64-bit systems

Canon printer utility

Quicktime and iTunes download

iTunes 64 bit Vista download

Realplayer download

How to enable Arabic on Vista: Start button->Control Panel->Classic View; select Regional and Language Options->Formats tab (set format to language i.e. “Arabic Egypt”); Location Tab (make location match setting for current format “Egypt”);  go to Keyboards and Languages tab-> click on “Change Keyboards”

Picasa 3 Image editor for photos


The Jordan Times

Jordan news RSS feeds

Petra News Agency

Middle East

Asharq Al-Awsat (London)

Search for world newspapers by country

James Zogby on Huffington Post (archives on Washington Watch)

Audio (see also Language)


Cohen, Leonard: Official YouTube channel2009 Tour (albertnoonan’s high quality YouTube), DrHGuy blog, Speaking Cohen link page

Earsense Chamberbase.


Gaida Hinawwi–from Chicago Music Festival

Holst, Planets

Lo Cor de la Plana,  Spain, a capella male voices-from Chicago Music Festival

Mor Karbasi–, oh, yes!-from Chicago Music Festival

NPR Music (click live concerts for Neko Case)

Leonard Cohen


HeckOfaGuy (DrHGuy)

Leonard Cohen official website

Leonard Cohen Photo Blog (haunting images from someone in Iran)

The Leonard Cohen files (I get quoted here for the Chicago concert–in windows use edit, then find for “camel”)

Speaking Cohen


Music (Cohen)

Covers of Cohen music

Cohen’s “Hallelujah”:

  • Leonard Cohen in Dublin July 23, 2009 (thanks, Albert Noonan)
  • cover: Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris for 2010 Haiti fundraiser
  • cover: KD Lang at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This is easily her best rendition, from the official Olympics website with high sound quality.
  • cover: Jeff Buckley
  • cover: four Norwegians–Espen Lind(on guitar), Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen(World Idol)

Interviews and art videos:

Leonard Cohen At Mt Baldy Zen Center, interview with Armelle Brusq, 1996  (thanks, DrHGuy) 1/6, 2/6, 3/6, 4/6, 5/66/6.

Miami Vice cameo, speaking French as Francois Zolan in the episode, “French Twist”.

Language and International blogs

(amateur and professional)

Bulbolovo (bulbul in Slavakia) (alt URL?)

Desbladet (tracking Dutch Snökaos and Gavle goat burnings)

Filius Lunae Romance languages: Spanish, Catalan, French, Galician, Latin, Occitan, Portuguese, Romanian, Sardinian

Idiocentrism (Emerson in Oregon), Trollblog (NSFW), Haquelebac

Martian Spoken Here (French) (Siganus in Mauritius)

The Old Hack (Paul in France)

Poemas del Rio Wang (Spanish, sometimes) (Studiolum, a Hungarian)

John Cowan: minimalist home page | Recycled Knowledge blog

CJVLang (Bathrobe’s days of the week in Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese), Sibagu (Bathrobe’s Bird Names in Oriental Languages-Mongolia, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam)

Tetradki:  A Russian review of Books (Sashura)


Endangered Languages and Cultures (by and for Australian linguists)

Fully (sic) (Crikey‘s language blog by linguists, for the public–Oz)

Language Johnson (The Economist‘s language blog)

On language (Ben Zimmer NYT), Visual Thesaurus, Facebook, Twitter

Speculative Grammarian (Satirical Linguistics)

Throw Grammar from the Train (Jan Freeman– Boston Globe The Word)


FlorealMente on Facebook


Iconic Photos.

The Kingston Lounge. Urban archeology.

Loic Brohard Photography (places and travel)

Arabia blogs

Maybe this is a good place to post a list of proxy servers by country and to mention Tor (oops, blocked in most of these blogs).

American Bedu

Blue Abaya

Crossroads Arabia

Dave’s internet cafe, general

David’s English



Expat focus

Sand Gets in my Eyes (blocked in Saudi Arabia)

Saudi Woman



Saudi TV ch1 official website streaming

South Shore commuter train schedule

AT&T Red Light Blues

I’ve got those broadband internet AT&T red light blues.dsl blues2

July 2
I request telephone service changed to my new address. After 40 minutes on hold, someone takes the information and promises service in the new place by 8 p.m. The phone in the old place goes dead within hours.

July 3

I take everything to the new address and plug it in, but there is no internet. When I call AT&T, I find out I am calling from the same phone number as my landlord downstairs.

July 4
A cheerful young man climbs the telephone pole in the back alley. I call my phone number on my cell phone and my phone rings, but still no internet. For that, I will have to call during office hours.

July 5


July 6

Once again I call AT&T. Even though the phone has been disconnected at the old address, the internet is still connected there (!!??#@*!) They tell me I have to order internet changes separate from telephone changes. It will take one day to disconnect the internet and another day to connect it at the new address.

July 7

Oopsie, the internet still isn’t disconnected from the old address.  Um, call back tomorrow?

Bottom line–I will spend 6 7 8 10 days looking at this:
dsl blues screenshot
I wonder if I should have just gone with Comcast.


July 8

Orders says it has to to to provisioning.  Provisioning says it has to go to maintenance for an order.  Maintenance says it will be back on in 30-45 minute, or should call tech support.  Tech support says there is an order for the 10th, so I should talk to maintenance again, but somehow i get connected to status.  Status says I can talk to sales.  Sales says I can use dialup in the meantime, and she can get me the  number, but her phone starts to fade out and goes dead.  Maybe she needs a company that knows something about phones.


Here’s a thought.  For every day I have no service, they have to make an adjustment on my bill.  Can I pit one department of the phone company against another? Time to call billing and make sure they know I have no service and will need an adjustment on my bill–and that the date I’ m supposed to have the problem resolved keeps getting pushed ahead.

UPDATE:Yes, my internet is still down, thank you for asking…
dark modem1

Here’s a shout out to all my very special new friends at AT&T:
The lady at Retention Team whose name I didn’t write down, Selena, Ray Dawn (or was that the one person I talked to at Net10 who got that problem straightened out with one phone call), Ken, Houston who climbed my telephone pole, Pete, Philip, Shonda at provisioning (?), Val with DSL maintenance in St. Louis, Fabian at tech support, Cynthia in status, Stephanie at sales.

another UPDATE:

Day 10.
A very special hello to Meagan, Ron, and Rosa, my newest very special BFFs at AT&T.


Also: Sheila, my absolutely very very very BFF from AT&T. I have just found out that with a modem I don’t need a router.  Now why didn’t anyone from AT&T ever tell me that before?

UPDATE: My internet is back up. I also managed to replace a couple of outlets while it was daylight, and although it took longer than I thought it would, I now have microwave and refrigerator.

I will probably be able to blog in another day or two, but I’m thinking about whether I want to.

MSI Netbook Requiem

First things first. So I don’t have refrigeration, shower, or telephone in my new place yet (I figured out how to turn the gas on the stove last night) and what do I do? Return the netbook that was giving me so much grief. It wouldn’t click to open icons, it would cut but not paste, and every time I wanted to open a new page I had to do a CNTL ALT DEL sequence to release the last page. Not to mention not being able to use the spell check editor and seeing the Blue Screen Of Death three times.

blue screen of deathHow did I like the MSI netbook? Not. Okay, it was great for my camping trip. I could pull off the road and catch my email quite effortlessly from the rest stops, which are mostly equipped with WIFI these days, especially on the toll roads. But typing was a problem. Using the left shift key invariably triggered the caps lock above it, and the double quotation mark was positioned above the right shift key in a way to cause a sprain of the bird finger with repeated use.  I never was able to enable Arabic (no Service Pack 3)  and forget even trying to put on the utilites for my Canon camera and printer. The CD’s are worthless–no internal CD drive.

target receiptReturning the netbook was simple (thank you, Target). Just a matter of printing out a receipt (okay, I had to go to the library for that, since the netbook was too far gone to print) then returning the defective netbook to my local Target store for a refund to my credit card. Then a quick trip to BestBuy seconds before closing time for the last netbook in the place, a deep blue ten-inch Asus Eee (how do you pronounce that?) with a battery that’s supposed to last seven hours. Already I hate the mousepad, with its bumpy surface that makes the cursor stick, and have plugged in a laser mouse, but the rest of the EEeeee is just fine so far.

Now all I have to do is install all my favorite programs on the new netbook. The links to my favorite Firefox addons and Irfanview are here. I enabled Arabic with a few quick clicks–Windows XP Service Pack 3 is already on it.  The screen resolution took slightly longer and I had to reboot the system to get all the changes to take effect.  Now all I need is the Canon zoombrowser (Zoombrowser EX and the latest update from Canon for my specific camera) (and to resize the 10″ monitor resolution  so the file can be unzipped) and my printer utility.  And the spyware (Ad-aware and Spybot Search and Destroy) and antivirus (Bitdefender) (AVG) programs (woops, AVG has just added some very intrusive pop-ups that constantly demand you update the program and restart you computer–AVG is now uninstalled).

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New Toy–MSI Wind Netbook

IMG_3825By now anyone who has been reading this has seen pictures of my new toy, an MSI Wind Netbook.  When I dropped into OfficeMax to look at their netbooks, the guy there told me he would never buy a netbook becuase there is no drive for CD’s.  What if you want to take your Microsoft Office disk and install Word on your Netbook, he said.  Then you would have to buy a removable disk drive (about a hundred bucks).  Maybe so.  But I thought the netbooks were sexy, and I wanted one.

I ordered it from Target, with an upgrade of a 6 cell battery and 2GB of memory. Target did send me an email notice that the package had been sent, but no tracking info like Newegg and Dell provide.  Still, the package showed up after one or two days via UPS, uneventfully, in spite of my consternation.

The machine has a 10-inch screen and an internal hard drive, unlike many netbooks with 8 inch screens.

Here is how the netbook works with my other toys:

YouTube–no problem, plays videos just fine.

Microsoft Office 2007–installed on system with a trial offer. If you like it, you can buy it. Whether this resolves to Office 2003 if you don’t buy it (like my Toshiba that blew up) has yet to be seem.

Language support.  Arabic–Huge problem.  On every other system I have had, you can merely enable any language you want.  This machine wanted Service Pack 3. The only upload I could find said it was only for advanced programmers.  Finally I found a writeup that said you could just use it anyhow.  So I downloaded the Service Pack #3 and then it wanted the installation disk.  Great. Will I have to buy a $100 external disk just to enable Arabic on this system?  This problem I will have to call support for–I do hope it is solvable.

IMG_3826Keyboard–everyone remarks on this for all the netbooks.  I am always hitting keys I don’t want–caps lock above the left shift key, page up by the right shift key.   And the quotation mark is really hard to use, the way it’s positioned in relation to the shift key.  I’m always getting knocked out of some program or blog because of this.

It would be nice to have a user manual with this too.

Logitech Z5 USB speakers. The speakers that are in the machine are silly sounding little rinky dink things; the Logitech speakers sound great, but the volume is not very high.  This might not work very well with a large class.  I first just plugged in the speakers and nothing happened, but after closing and reopening the music program I was playing, got it to switch to the USB speakers.  But when I was done playing the music, the program hung and I had to CTNL ALT DEL then kill the program manually.  I have now downloaded the proper driver from Logitech–very easy–and we shall see if that helps.  UPDATE: With the proper speaker drivers downloaded, the program does not hang or crash like it does with the generic speaker driver.  I do love these Logitech speakers.

Canon digital camera.  Canon is known for being very stingy with its camera software.   So, what if you bought the camera but want to use it with your new netbook? The netbook does have a camera utility that does work, but not like the Canon zoombrowser.  Unfortunately Canon only provides the updates on their website, not the zoombrowser itself–some proprietary issues?  After much aggravation I was able to find another source for downloading the zoombrowser that worked all right.  I never did get Photostitch to work, but I don’t know what I would ever use that for.

Laser Mouse–Microsoft mouse worked perfectly once the battery was fully charged.

External hard drives and USB flash drives. No problem.

All in all I’m pretty satisfied with the netbook–except for the problem with enabling Arabic. If you want a computer notebook that zooms, the Intel atom processor  isn’t it. If you get the identical memory–2GB–with core 2 duo technology, THAT will zoom, with either VISTA or Windows XP. This netbook machine is just extremely portable and extremely cute.


UPDATE: This machine started acting up within the warranty period and was returned to the local Target store with no hassles. Its successor was an Asus Eee PC which have had for over a year now, the most reliable laptop I have ever had, and one that frequently gets thrown in my purse on my way out the door.

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