I just ordered my first free amazon.com gift certificate from Swagbucks. A couple of weeks ago a friend told me about using Swagbucks for search, and I thought I’d check it out. Here’s how it works.

Swagbucks runs a web search engine where they pull in search results from Google and ask.com. They throw in a few sponsored links into the search results that you get and, randomly, you will “swagbucks” when you do a search. When you get 45 swagbucks built up, you can redeem them for a $5 amazon.com giftcard.

How simple is that? You continue doing what you normally do (search) and you end up making money.

Search & Win

Now.. the catch.. Well, there isn’t a big one, really. Like I said, the search results are fed from google and ask.com, so it’s almost like using google. In my experience, the results aren’t as good as google. Depending on what you are searching for, you might get 3 or 4 sponsored links along with the normal, expected search results. You get 30-40 results, instead of however many google will give you. I have my firefox search box set up to use Swagbucks, and if I do the search and don’t get the results I’m wanting, I just change it to google and resubmit. That seems to work well enough for me.

How quickly will you become a millionaire? Well, I do quite a few searches. It has taken me a couple of weeks to build up enough for the $5 gift card. So, you aren’t going to become rich overnight. But, the cost is low, and who doesn’t like making money for something they already do?

Give it a try. If you use the above link, I’ll get a kickback for the first 100 swagbucks you get. Once you’re a member, you can try to get other people to join as well. (Don’t you love pyramid schemes? They are great if you get in early)

(This page is certified Lynx-friendly)

So I heard this one at lunch today. I’m not normally a joke telling person. Quite frankly, I just don’t usually have the delivery for it. But, I’m thinking that I’ll nail this one.

Anyway, I was sitting there in the office, eating my Healthy Choice dinner, and in walks a coworker, and they say:

I’m not sure that I’ve ever posted about this on my blog, so I thought it was time to do so.

For a while now, I’ve been working on Mariya Kleyn’s realty website at:


Mariya is a Realtor for the Champaign-Urbana area (in east central Illinois) and she has the absolute best website around (that’s a purely unbiased opinion, of course). Now that we are approaching the “busy” time for people who are looking for homes, I wanted to make sure that everyone out there on the intarweb knew about her. If you are needing a Realtor, go to the above website and let her know.

Oh…. You aren’t in the Champaign-Urbana area? Not a problem. She can also track down a good Realtor where ever you are. She can interview various Realtors in the area that you are interested in and find a good one for you. Because she’s “in the field”, she knows the right questions to ask to make sure that you get a Realtor that will do the best job that they can for you.

So, take a look at the site. If you have any suggestions for it, let us know!

Picture of Houston Herald website talking about emergency medical workers The Houston Herald newspaper is one that I grew up with. Lately, I’ve been following their website as a way to stay current on what is happening in Missouri, since I don’t get down there to visit very often. The area got 9-12 inches of snow yesterday, so I thought I would take a look at any pictures that they might have up. This is what I was greeted with. Go ahead, click on it. Perhaps I shouldn’t take joy in others mistakes, but I guess I’ll call it a character flaw.

So I got a Kill A Watt Electricity 4460 Usage Monitor for Christmas. I’ve wanted one for quite a while, and this year I got it. I’m going to be posting several of these blogs over time as I learn more about electricity usage around the house.

For this post, I’m going to investigate my waterbed. It’s not a very big waterbed. It’s a “full” sized bed. I’ve had it since my grad school days, and I’m sure that they might have more efficient models now. But, I care about the one I’ve got. It has wooden side walls, and I always keep several layers of covers on the bed. I want to conserve as much heat as I can, basically.

For this particular test, I let the Kill A Watt measure electricity usage for 298 hours. This is a little over 12 days. These 12 days were chilly. I’d say there were a few days with lows down around 0-5 above, and highs outside were around freezing or lower. I keep the inside of the house warmer than that, of course. I do, however, have a programmable thermostat that lets things get cool during the day. My heat kicks on of a morning, off around the time I go to work, and doesn’t warm up again until evening when I would be getting home from work. During the day, I’d estimate that the temp in the house gets down to 55-60 in weather such as we had for the test.

OK. Enough background. Here’s the data. I looked at my most recent powerbill and came up with an estimated cost of 11.1 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity used. I was able to input this value into the Kill A Watt, and it automatically calculated my costs for me.

Over the course of the 12+ days, the waterbed used 28.02 kilowatt hours. This translates into $7.43 per month and $90.42 per year. The Kill A Watt lets you determine cost by day, week, month, year, and total used while being measured.

So.. $7.43 a month. Am I happy with that? Well, when I tell people, they respond, “That isn’t bad.” I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it. My total electricity costs during the winter are probably $70-$80 (I have natural gas for heating) so the waterbed is using a reasonable percentage of the total electric bill. On the other hand, it probably lets me keep the nighttime temps in the house lower than I would otherwise be comfortable with. What do you think? Is that a reasonable price to pay for a warm bed?

Note: I had thought about getting a lower end model of the Kill A Watt, the P3 International P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor but I ended up getting the 4460 because it automatically calculated costs.

Recently I’ve had a problem with my text boxes (“TEXTAREA”s, in HTML parlance) being truncated at 2,048 characters.

If I go to a form with a textarea that is auto filled with more than 2,048 characters, the form contents is silently chopped off at 2,048 characters. This is obviously quite annoying. Today I was needing to edit a bug report for work and decided to track down the problem. I started disabling AddOns one at a time, and eventually I found the problem.

Here’s the scoop: GreaseMonkey plus Firefox 2 plus long forms equals FAIL.

The GreaseMonkey addon for Firefox lets you write text scripts that get executed on webpages that you look at. I was using it to create automagic links based on text that it was seeing in webpages. But, there’s a bug with the way that Firefox 2 processes webpages (I won’t go into details here) that causes textareas to get chopped off after 2,048 characters. The easiest solution that I’ve found is to upgrade to Firefox 3. But, since I can’t do that, I’ve had to just get rid of GreaseMonkey.

Note: If you are viewing this on another site (like facebook) you might need to click ‘View Original Post’ below to see the whole thing. OK.. So I haven’t participated in any of these things, because they just take too much time. But this one seemed quick. You just have to hit “next” on your music player. For me, some of these are hilarious. Other’s are confusing. I’ve added comments in square brackets. Anyway, enjoy!

1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, MP3 Player, or whatever on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Tag at least 10 friends (including the person who sent this to you) [ I don’t plan to do this one.. Read it if you want. I’m not going to bother you, though ]

If someone says, “Are you okay?” You say:
Lost in love – Air Supply

It’s cold here in Central Illinois.

View Larger Map

The radio was saying thirteen degrees below zero this morning when I got up. I often use the external thermometer on my Camry as an indication of just how cold it is. When I got in the car to head to work, it was showing 37 degrees in the garage. I can tell, by how fast the temperature drops, just how cold it is outside.

I hopped in the Camry and headed to work. The temperature gauge started dropping.. four degrees at a time. (Normally it drops by two). By the time I got to Kirby Avenue it was showing 12 degrees. By the time I got to State Street it was at 5 degrees. Neil Avenue brought one degree. It stayed at one degree for a couple of minutes. I temporarily wondered if the Camry had trouble going below positive numbers. But, as I was heading up Neil it dropped to zero. By the time I got to Green Street it was at four below, and on Springfield it settled into nine degrees below zero and stayed there until I got to work.

My officemate said that he rode his bike in. He’s tougher than me. He said that he had to stop once and put his hands under his arms to warm them up. The parking garage is emptier than normal. People don’t seem to be real excited about coming in today.

Someone just said:

“They’re running short on adjectives in the weather pages, they start doing things like saying “very very bitterly bitterly cold” LOL”
and a response:
“insanely cold would work”

It’s supposed to be around twelve below again tonight. After that it is supposed to warm up. Let’s hope that happens.

I know that others have it a lot worse. I’m not complaining. Just wanting everyone to know what it’s like here in Illinois.

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