James Cassell's Blog

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Spell Checking in Blogger

It seems that spell checking in Blogger now works. I had complained about it previously, but am glad that they now have it fixed. Logging in and writing a post is still full of bugs in Opera, but I can manage, though I do hope that they fix it.

One thing that kind of annoyed me is that Blogger thought that "Rensselaer" was misspelled, and didn't offer any logical replacement. On the RPI message boards, there is an entire thread on misspellings of Rensselaer.

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Resetting an iPod Nano that has Locked Up or Frozen

Microsoft software is notorious for locking up, crashing, or hanging. Today, I was going to add some music to my brother's iPod Nano when the screen froze. I tried plugging it in several times, and Windows said that the device had malfunctioned, and should be replaced.

Obviously, replacing the iPod was out of the question, as my brother had won it as a prize. I searched Google for a solution, and eventually found one around the fiftieth result. I found instructions to reset a broken iPod. The site didn't mention the Nano, but the instructions for the others did work.

Here is how I did it:

  1. Make sure the hold switch is in the off position
  2. Move the hold switch to the on position, then back off
  3. Press and hold both the "MENU" button and the center select button together for 6 to 10 seconds until you see the Apple logo
  4. Turn the iPod back on
  5. Enjoy the no-longer-hanging iPod Nano

Many people think of Apple and everything they make as perfect, but as evidenced by my experience with the iPod Nano hanging, and similar experiences of others, even Apple products are imperfect, and malfunction.

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Friday, June 22, 2007


A little over a week ago, I graduated from Mountain View High School. My final GPA was 4.32. If only my senior year were considered, I would have a 4.625 on a 4.5 scale. Here are my final grades for my senior classes:

Class NameGradeGrade Points
DE English CompositionB+4.5
AP StatisticsA5.0
Introduction to EngineeringA+4.5
Principles of TechnologyA+4.5
Spanish IVA4.0
DE CalculusA5.0
DE PhysicsA5.0

I graduated Summa Cum Laude, and had both an honor stole for that and a National Honor Society honor stole. It was surprising to me how many seniors put in too little effort in the end, and did not receive their NHS honor stole.

I am, as I have stated previously, excited about attending Rensselaer in the fall. It did not hit me, however, that I would not see many of my high school friends for a very long time until recently. I think it hit me after I attended a graduation party, and said goodbye to many of my friends there. I felt similar to how I felt when I had to come back home from the National Youth Leadership Forum on Technology (NYLF/Tech), though I was more saddened then than now. I will very likely never see the people I met at NYLF/Tech again, but will very likely see many of my high school friends again at future reunions.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gamer KO

A friend of mine runs a site where people can buy, sell, and trade new or used video games. He told me that he gets about 40 visitors per month, which I found difficult to believe until I attempted to find him on Google. I typed in many keywords, and never found him in the first 500 results. Short of typing his site name of "GamerKO" or "Gamer KO," or typing his site description verbatim, he was no where to be found. I even tried modifying his description slightly, and he virtually disappeared from the results.

There are many reasons that he does not show up on Google. The first of which is that there is virtually no one linking to him. I am helping him out in this area by linking to him from my sites.

Another reason that he is not ranking very high is that his site uses HTML tables and frames for layout. Tables are difficult for search engines to process, and frames are nearly opaque to search engines. I would add that the site is inaccessible to people with disabilities, but that is not his target demographic anyway. As a general rule, though, making a site accessbile to people with disabilities also makes it accessible to search engines.

Anyway, I'll stop with the harsh criticisms, and mention the good things about his site. Gamer KO (his site) is good for anyone who wants to get video games for reduced prices, sometimes as inexpensive as $2.75. One can also sell his games through the site, receiving 60% commission on whatever the sale price is.

I can personally vouch for the authenticity and integrity of the people running the site. Additionally, they have a nearly perfect feedback rating on eBay and half.com, which speaks much to their customer satisfaction.