Friday, October 31, 2008

Don't Forget to Fall Back!

On Sunday, November 2 (the first Sunday in November) at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States. This is the second year that Daylight Saving Time is four weeks longer due to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. The Act, which extends Daylight Saving Time by four weeks from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, is expected to save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours.
Every spring we move our clocks one hour ahead and "lose" an hour during the night and each fall we move our clocks back one hour and "gain" an extra hour. But Daylight Saving Time (and not Daylight Savings Time with an "s") wasn't just created to confuse our schedules.
The phrase "Spring forward, fall back" helps people remember how Daylight Saving Time affects their clocks. At 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, we set our clocks forward one hour ahead of standard time ("spring forward"). We "fall back" at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November by setting our clock back one hour and thus returning to standard time.
The change to Daylight Saving Time allows us to use less energy in lighting our homes by taking advantage of the longer and later daylight hours. During the six-and-a-half-month period of Daylight Saving Time, the names of time in each of the time zones in the U.S. change as well. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time, Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), Mountain Standard Time (MST) becomes Mountain Daylight Tome (MDT), Pacific Standard Time becomes Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), and so forth.
Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.
Arizona (except some Indian Reservations), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have chosen not to observe Daylight Saving Time. This choice does make sense for the areas closer to the equator because the days are more consistent in length throughout the year.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Frets on Fire

Frets on Fire is a free and open source game for Windows, Mac and Linux that comes with the goal of picking up your keyboard and trying to rock out just like the first guys on the keytar. Frets on Fire will definitely remind you of Guitar Hero, because the gameplay is very similar. If you have always wanted to test out the new music games, but didn’t have the cash, read on to find out how you can still rock out in style.

As mentioned above, the gameplay is almost identical to that of Guitar Hero or Rock Band. You have five different colored markers that come towards you on the screen. You must match your button mashes to the incoming markers in order to score points.
Frets on Fire uses the familiar formula of “strumming” the guitar while pressing the proper “fret.” “Strumming” or “picking” can be done by hitting the Enter or Shift key, and the frets are F1 through F5 keys.

It is possible to also use a joystick with Frets on Fire. I’m sure some of you just said, “Why would we want to do that?” That is a valid question, but the ability to use a joystick translates into the ability to use an Xbox 360 guitar. It isn’t quite as easy as just plugging it into your USB port, but there are several guides up on fan sites and forums that discuss how to get that USB Xbox 360 controller to work with Frets on Fire.

The basic game only comes with three songs, which is disappointing until you realize the amazing community that supports this game. Keyboards on Fire and Frets on Fire Fan Forum are the first two places you should go after you download Frets on Fire. There is a wealth of information on these sites from tutorials and troubleshooting to new songs and downloads. You can also find other fan and support sites from the Frets on Fire homepage.

The lack of initial songs is made up for by the ability to create your own songs and upload them. If you aren’t amazing at composing, there are several people that are, and many unique and custom songs can be found on the fan sites mentioned above. In addition to original compositions, you can upload just about all of the songs from any Guitar Hero game. You might also want to search around the internet for song packs. I’m sure you will find that lots of your favorite songs have been turned into Frets on Fire tracks.

A game is not complete without being able to tell everyone on the internet how much better you are than them. World Charts is the place you go to upload all of your high scores. It awards medals for the best shredding on each song, so get out there and start claiming all those medals just like you won the Olympics. August 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

worlds greatest pumpkin carver

Hugh McMahon The following are McMahon's tips: Pumpkin preparation and cleaning:

When selecting pumpkins, lighter colored ones carve easier as they are softer. But they do not last as long.
Pick a pumpkin with a nice stem and a carvable face.
Clean the pumpkins off outside by washing off with plain water and a sponge. Allow to dry.
Keep the pumpkin outside, or in a cool place, until you are ready to carve it.
Cut open the top of the pumpkin and clean out the inside seeds and and guts (many call them Pumpkin Brains). Be careful not to pull hard on the stem as it breaks easily.
Tip: When cleaning the inside of your Jack O'Lanterns, scrape the inside wall to an inch thick. This will make carving a lot easier. Set the seed aside for cooking pumpkin seed snacks.
Safety tips:
Here are some simple tips, which will help to make your pumpkin carving and display safe:
Do not let a young child use a knife.
Always point knives away from you.
Keep your free hand away from the direction of the knife.
Use slicing motions and never force the knife. When using candles to light your Jack O'Lantern, do not leave it unattended.

Select your design.
Draw a picture of what you want the pumpkin to look like. Even a toddler can draw a pumpkin, and it always comes out just the way he or she wanted it.
A pumpkin-carving knife is the recommended tool. It is designed for carving pumpkins, and is less likely to cause injury.
For younger children, keep the design simple The fewer curves, angles, and cuts, the better the result.
Once you have mastered carving a pumpkin, you can graduate to a pumpkin-carving design, or create your own. There are a wide variety of designs and are limited only by your imagination.

Design: Buy or make your own:
Pick one that is sized for your pumpkin. Enlarge or shrink it on a copier if need be.
Transfer the design to the pumpkin. You can trace it with a small knife, a nail, a marker or a pencil.
Slowly begin to cut out the pattern.
Slow is the operative word, as a mistake in carving can alter or ruin the outcome.
Nowadays, most people get popular carving kits with easy to use saws and patterns. Now you can get those carving kits delivered to your door in time for Halloween at a delivered price lower than you can find in the stores. Buy carving kits and supplies now at the lowest prices anywhere.

Ideas and Tips:
Use an ice-cream scoop to clean out your pumpkin instead of bending your kitchen spoons.
For a unique Jack O'Lantern, add a little glow in the dark makeup, or fake blood.
Insert a bowl into a carved pumpkin and add dry ice and warm water to create an extra spooky, smoke-filled Jack O'Lantern.
Making your pumpkin last: Apply a light coating of petroleum jelly on the cuts. It will seal the wound, and the pumpkin will last longer. After carving, place the pumpkin in a cool, dark place. It will spoil quickly if left at room temperature and will attract fruit flies.

Did you know? You can usually revive shriveled pumpkins by soaking them in a bucket of water.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Standby Power: Electronics that drain your wallet, even when they're off

Some electronic devices keep on drawing power, even when they’re “off.” While some of them have a function, like displaying the time or offering remote control functionalities, most don’t. Typical “vampire” appliances can consume up to 25 watts each, an amount that could make a significant difference in your electricity bill by the end of the year.
To help you understand how much “vampire energy” could cost you, and how you can stop draining useless energy from the power grid, Good Magazine, in association with Nigel Holmes, produced this interesting video explaining everything there is to know about “standby power.” Video after the jump. Transparency article Jan/Feb 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Digital TV Conversion

TV Converter Box Coupon Program -- -- At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, which can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. This website links to the coupon application form.

Article taken from the October issue of CHANNEL WEEKLY

additiona websites: Federal Communications Commission
Tips for Buying a DTV Converter
National Telecommunications & Information Administration

Friday, October 17, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trick or Treat

Prepare for a spooktacular time!

Pictures with Shrek, four different crafts, black cat hunt,
pumpkin toss and much much more!!!

Come in costume and start your family's Halloween fun early!

Kids Reading List on Oprah’s Website

"The Oprah Winfrey Show"has suggested a Kids Reading List on the show's Web site:
The list is divided into five age groups, from infant to two through 12 and up. Each group contains an annotated bibliography of librarian-recommended reading. There is also a separate "Classics" section, grouped by age ranges, giving parents the opportunity to share the books they once loved with their own children. The Web site also provides a list of ways to make reading fun for kids, and other helpful tips for parents.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First Lady Invites Libraries to Participate in Statewide Book Club

Read On Wisconsin, the brainchild of First Lady Jessica Doyle, is starting a statewide book club for students and book-lovers across the state. Mrs. Doyle invites libraries to get involved in Read On by encouraging children to read the recommended books, then discuss and blog about them. This year’s top picks are recommended by students and educators across the state. Online tools and a book list for each age group are available at

(WLA Blog, September 24, 2008)