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    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    What I've been diggin': (Yet another) five things

    Here we go. Another short list of items I've been really enjoying over the last few months. I've done this before. Twice actually. But it's been a year since the last time. So I thought I'd share with you a few things I've been diggin'.

    Chris & Tim's Atomic Energy mix: Friends Chris and Tim produced a wonderful mix in early 2005 and I just recently re-discovered it. Wow. What you see on Tim's blog just scratches the surface of the full mix which is much longer. From Wanda Jackson to Charles Mingus to Sheldon Allman, Atomic Energy bounces from the sincere to the silly. Woven between songs are samples from the U.S. Department of Civil Defense instructing you how to prepare for the "big one." A very enjoyable listen. Timmay, Chris, any chance the full mix can make an appearance online somewhere?

    Giftbox: I know I rambled on about this one before, but I'm using it again this year and it's keeping me sane during the holiday shopping season. Giftbox keeps track of your family and friends' purchases. Nice features include the ability to distinguish between what you've bought and what you have in hand (for those online buys). You can associate a gift with multiple URLs for the comparison shopper in you. Plus, you can keep track of gifts you want to receive and send thank you ecards after the holidays. I won't be using the ecard feature, but otherwise Giftbox has completely replaced the tattered shopping list that used to be crammed in my wallet.

    Candy Cane Joe-Joe's: I'm hooked on these Trader Joe's cookies and it appears every other blogger using Blogger is too. Trader Joe's makes a fine (more healthy) alternative to the Oreo in the form of its regular Joe-Joe. But they blew the doors off the dessert Datsun with this one and you can't beat the price at $2.99 a box. The crushed bits of peppermint candy cane mixed with the filling is what gives the Candy Cane Joe-Joe its pizazz. Disagree with me if you want. I'll be over in the corner stuffing my face with them. LogMeIn is a free service that let's you remotely access other computers. There are lots of products like this out there, but here's why this one's better than others like RealVNC. First, you don't have to fiddle with firewall ports and other networking settings, it just works. Second, the software is not bloated - no spyware, no advertising - and the local computer uses just a Firefox plugin (or Java applet) without the need of installing any client software. Third, the free version is just that, 100% free for life (well, technically my account says the license expires in 2010). Pro versions include lots of bells 'n whistles but the free version has been just fine for getting me out of jams at work when I try to help out remote staff. The local PC can be on any platform, but the target PC must be running Windows. Ahh well, you can't have everything.

    Firefox 2.0: Some browser power users continue to bicker about which web browser is king: Firefox or Safari? I enjoy both, but given that I hop daily between platforms, Firefox is my weapon of choice. Released in late October, the second version of Firefox introduced some slick new features that 1.0 lacked. I'm certainly no power user, but I'm spending a lot more time these days adjusting my browsing experience than I used to. Putting a web browser on this list is a cop-out, I know, so I'll stop here. On a related note, I could also go on and on about the wonders of, but I know I'm late to the game on this one too so I'll shut my mouth.