Archive for March, 2008

Word of the Day: Categorical statements

March 30, 2008

Categorical statements are statements that talk about whole categories of objects or people. Furniture, chairs, birds, trees, red things, and cities that begin with the letter T are all examples of categories.

There are two types of categorical statements:

  • Universal statements: These are statements that tell you something about an entire category. Here’s an example of a universal statement:

    All dogs are loyal

    This statement relates two categories and tells you that everything in the category of dogs is also in the category of loyal things. You can consider this a universal statement because it tells you that loyalty is a universal quality of dogs.

  • Particular statements: These are statements that tell you about the existence of at least one example within a category. Here’s an example of a particular statement:

    Some bears are dangerous

    This statement tells you that at least one item in the category of bears is also in the category of dangerous things. This statement is considered a particular statement because it tells you that at least one particular bear is dangerous.

Logic for Dummies by Mark Zegarelli

70 watts of energy being used by my home entertainment system when it’s turned off!

March 29, 2008

Yesterday I got a device that measures how much electricity an appliance uses. Instead of plugging the appliance into the wall, you plug it into this device, and then the device into the wall. Turn on the appliance and the device shows how many watts are being used by the appliance.

I was particularly interested in knowing how much energy my entertainment appliances use when they are “off”:

  • stereo
  • DVD
  • VCR
  • cable box for cable TV

I plugged all these appliances into a power strip, plugged the power strip into this device, and then plugged the device into the wall.

With all of the appliances turned “off” (i.e. the TV is off, the stereo is off, the DVD and VCR are off) the device showed 70 watts of power being used. Wow! That’s a lot of energy being used with absolutely no benefit. That’s like running a 70 watt light bulb 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in a closet.

From now on, I will turn the power strip off when I am not using my home entertainment system.

Giving of ourselves is what makes us feel alive

March 23, 2008

Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive.  Not my car or my house.  Not what I look like in the mirror.  When I give my time, when I make someone smile after they were feeling sad, it’s as close to healthy as I ever feel.

tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

A very cool way to display images on a web page

March 22, 2008

 Click on an image on this web site: 

The image pops up, overlaying the web page; the web page is still visible translucently.  It’s a very cool way of displaying images.

It’s easy to add this capability.  The capability is implemented using some JavaScript code, so you just connect your web page to that JavaScript.  In your HTML, add this attribute rel=”lightbox” to any link to an image.  That’s all there is to it!   The instructions are on the Lightbox web site (URL above).

“Life would be simpler if I was stupider …”

March 18, 2008

“Life would be simpler if I was stupider and could do only one thing.”

— Anonymous

Fascinating show on The Science of Sleep

March 17, 2008

Yesterday the TV show 60 Minutes had a fascinating segment on the importance of sleep [1].  This statement particularly caught my attention:

“But you know I find it amazing to see how many people are asleep within five minutes of boarding an airplane at 11 o’clock in the morning. You know, sit down and boom. It shouldn’t happen. A normal adult shouldn’t be falling asleep at 11 o’clock in the morning, minutes after sitting in a small, uncomfortable airplane seat. It just shows that, you know, people are exhausted.”

Yikes!  I am one of those people who fall asleep in the plane.  Time to get more sleep I reckon.


More people have direct access to more knowledge than at any time in history

March 16, 2008

“The World Wide Web is a marvelous thing.  Because it exists, more people have direct access to more knowledge than at any time in history.”

— Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal

Isn’t clapping an odd thing we humans do?

March 15, 2008

We bang our open hands together which produces a sound.  We call it “clapping.”  We repeat it over and over. We perform this action when we want to express enthusiasm.

I got to thinking about this today.  “What an odd thing to do,” I thought.  “Why would people swiftly, almost violently slam their hands together?  Why is the sound that is produced in any way indicative of support? (It’s just a noise)  When did this clapping custom begin?  Is it a recent thing, or have peopled been doing this for a long time?”

Anyone know the history of clapping?

Viewing your Web page’s PageRank using the Google Toolbar

March 14, 2008

PageRank is a measure of a Web page’s reputation (credibility).

A Web page that has a high PageRank means it has a good reputation and it will be listed high in the results list when someone does a search query using Google.

PageRank’s scale is 0 – 10.

You can see your Web site’s PageRank using the free Google Toolbar at

I just downloaded it and installed it.  I was a bit disappointed as I expected to be able to go to a Web page and see its PageRank number.  Instead, the Google Toolbar gives a graphic of a sliding bar.  You have to eyeball the graphic and guess the PageRank: “The slider is a bit more than half way, so my PageRank is about 6.”

How to create a good domain name

March 13, 2008

Which is the best domain name?



Search engines read a hyphen in a domain name as a space. Thus the above domain names are read (and indexed) by search engines as:

  1. webstandards
  2. web standards
  3. web_standards

Most likely, someone interested in learning about web standards will type in this at a search tool: web standards

Most likely a person will not type in: webstandards or web_standards

So, with as your domain name the keywords that a user enters at a search tool match your domain name.

Furthermore, all inbound links are reinforcing the idea that your web site is talking about “web standards.” Each inbound link is essentially saying, “Hey, that web site has information about web standards”

Recap: a user types in “web standards” at a search tool. Your domain name is read and indexed by search tools as “web standards.” All inbound links say, “That web site is talking about “web standards.” Wow! That’s a lot of confirmation that is the place to go for information about “web standards.”

How to Create a Good Domain Name

  1. Determine the most common keywords a user would enter at a search engine.
  2. Take those keywords and arrange them in a form that is memorable (you may need to add some “filler” words).
  3. Connect the words by hyphens.