Saturday, April 16, 2005

Taming MSN 7.0

So, your friends, family, and co-workers have been bugging you to upgrade to MSN 7.0 (Available at, you've done the upgrade... and now you find that some of the features are a little 'too much'. Particularily if you are working in an office, you might not want those new 'winks' which take up your MSN window and come along with humourous audio.

Here are some really simple instructions so you can tame your copy of MSN.

Step 1 - Go to your main MSN window, go to the Tools menu, and select Options.

Step 2 - When the Options box comes up, click on 'Messages' on the left, and you should see the following in the right side of the window:

Step 3 - Make your selections.

For anyone working in an office setting, especially if you're using MSN for professional communication, you'll want to un-check the box labelled 'Play winks automatically when they are received'. This will not remove them altogether, but make it so you have to click on them to play instead of having them start right away.

The 'Nudge' is a cool little feature that MSN has added. However, there is potential for abuse with that as well, and it does make a ringing noise. For a personal computer, I'd leave it on, but again, for an office setting, it's probably best to un-check the box.

That's it! MSN 7.0 is now tamed! Of course, there are many more settings which you can tweak and if you browse through the rest of the Options area you'll discover you have more control over the program than you realised.

Messenger Plus!

If you really want to have even more control over MSN, you should check out Messenger Plus. (Available here: Messenger Plus)

Messenger Plus is an add-on to the MSN program which allows you to further customize your MSN, plus it adds a lot of other functionality.

Some of the things it offers:
  • Advanced Logging (includes Event logging)
  • Word filtering
  • Text recall (if you want to repeat something)
  • Custom notification (specific sound when someone logs in)
  • Boss Protection (shortcuts to hide all MSN windows)

... and a whole lot more. The past versions also allowed you to block the advertisment bar across the bottom, but I don't see it anymore.

Happy MSN-ing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Robin's Building Permit: Revoked

Around this time of year the birds are all looking for places to make a nest, and under our deck is one of their favorite. I see they have started building in nearly every one of the spots between joists.

I say, let them build! But today they took it one step too far...

That's right, your eyes are not playing tricks on you! They began to build a two story mansion in my Barbeque! Just imagine the mortgage payments on a place like that. With a fully developed basement!

And imagine my shock when I lifted the lid to find a bale of straw and sticks where I'd cooked some tasty chicken legs just a few days before. However, as good as their intentions may have been, there is no way they can be allowed to nest in our BBQ over the summer, and their building permit was revoked.

Sorry, birds... back to the apartments!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, Banana Loaf!

I tried my hand at baking yesterday, and came up with a pretty decent banana bread!

Looks good, tastes pretty good. Next step, we're going to open a bakery! =o)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

New Shoe Record

I've been buying shoes from Pay Less Shoes for many years now, and typically they don't keep any one style in for more than a year. I think once they did, but the only difference was the color. This year though, I set a new personal record by buying the third pair of identical shoes in a row!

What's so great about these shoes that I want a third identical pair? A good question indeed, because I have been reminded by a certain someone that "variety is the spice of life". And I agree, but these shoes are rather good and when something good comes along, I don't like to part with it too soon.

In the picture above, I have my three pairs of shoes, newest on the left, oldest on the right (you can see, that pair is now used for grass cutting and other work).

Back to the question of why? They're very reasonably priced, they fit comfortably, last long enough to make them very worth it, and they look great with almost any casual clothing!

2004 Tax Return -- Complete!

Another year, and another tax return. Filling out forms is one of my pet peeves, and that makes tax returns a pet peeve because... well, it's one big form!!

However, thanks to Quick Tax, my preferred tax software, the process has become relatively quick and painless.

Now, all I need to do is decide how I'm going to spend my return!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Orchard: Cherry Tree Planted

If you remember my earlier article about our new cherry tree... well, today we planted it!

Here we see my Dad and I ready to start digging. After some debate, we finally decided on the location for the tree.

Quickly getting to work, the layer of sod comes off first and was dumped out at the back of the yard. The back section of our yard is where a garden area will be eventually so there's no grass or anything, just weeds and such. A good place for putting sod, dirt, and grass clippings (no more sending grass to the dump!).

Mom couldn't stop snapping pictures once she started. She got the photo bug! Here I am, with my green Tilley hat (T3). It became my backup after losing my beige LT5 Tilley. Looking good!

The hole's been dug and we're ready to start planting. The tree appears to have been put into the pot crooked, so we had to actually plant it on an angle so it would stand up straight.

Job complete! The cherry tree has found a new (and likely permanent) home. Wonder if we'll get any cherries this year. Maybe a couple. They say these trees grow to be 20 feet tall or maybe more. That's a lot of cherries!!

You won't hear me complaining though. Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, especially in pies. They're also great when canned, and of course, right off the tree.

Fish Farms - Vancouver Protest

Yesterday in downtown Vancouver I came across a group of people outside a government of Canada building. Turns out they were there to make people aware of the problems being caused by fish farming in BC.

I don't really know all of the issues in depth, but based on what I know, I think there are likely some very serious issues with fish farming. First, disease being spread to wild stock, and second, the additional amount of waste being put into the water in concentrated areas.

The thing I wonder is... what will happen to my salmon sushi if this farming supply was ended. It could be that the massive demand for fish these days cannot be supplied simply by regular fishing methods.

If you want more information on this group and fish farming, their site is: