Cyborg Barbie

Cyborg Barbie

Originally uploaded by skowronek

Apparently Mattel sells a cycorg Barbie to our children.

Behold Digsby Runner

I have been asked by enough people over the past week about my new little social avatar/profile picture/icon to merit writing a brief post on my inspirations for the little guy.

Step 1: Take one part social/IM/e-mail toolkit mascot from

Step 2: Take one part internet icon Homestar Runner

Step 3: Blend in Photoshop


Viola! Behold, Digsby Runner, in the flesh. I am not sure how I conjured this up, other than the fact that Digsby appeared to be a blatant rip-off of Homestar Runner, only colorized a bit.

My drive home right now

My drive home right now

Microsoft Update For … Failed To Install

I ran into an oddity today that took me an hour to resolve. Two Microsoft Update patches, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Expression, would NOT install. Both were receiving the exact same error message from the Microsoft Installer application, “Update for…insert update name here…failed to install”.

Even after killing most running applications, disabling virus scan and spyware apps, I was still running into issues. I tried clearing all temp locations, downloaded activex controls, etc. I am pretty thorough when it comes to troubleshooting my PCs. All to no avail.

I eventually resorted to downloading the updates manually, installing each, and enabling logging for both. After manually installing (and failing) I was able to locate the “critical” install error (return value 3) from the log files reporting that the installer was unable to manipulate the following registry key:


Apparently, an incomplete/failed installation of another program caused a problem with the same key removing all available r/w permissions resulting in a failed installation of both updates.

The resolution was to delete the .xml key completely. After deleting the .xml key, both updates ran without any problems. I would imagine you could also manually enable the appropriate permissions, if you are unsure of whether or not to completely delete the .xml key. It should not cause any problems either way (as long as you do NOT lock the key down!)

My Short List of E-mail Etiquette Do Nots

I must have a lot on my mind. That or just a lot of time to get out all the stuff in my mind on to my blog. This post is directed towards my family and friends from whom I (love to) receive e-mail.

There are quite a few articles proliferating the interweb regarding the topic of e-mail etiquette. Here is my short list of do nots to save us all (mainly me) from inbox download hell (in no particular order):

  1. Never, ever send an e-mail with an attachment of a video that can be found already, for free, w/o bandwidth costs, online at, videos, or countless other online video hosting resources.
  2. Never, ever send an e-mail with (or without) an attachment of conspiracy theories WITHOUT having checked,, or another, well respected urban legends resource for it’s authenticity (or veracity).
  3. Never, ever send an e-mail with embedded images that total MORE than 1MB (megabyte). Granted, a single download of 1MB is not a big deal. However, if one receives 7 or 23 of these per server synchronization, this becomes problematic and should be avoided at all costs.
  4. Never, ever send an e-mail with an attachment or forwarded content of an article, blog post, or any other form of content that can easily be located on an online web page. Instead forward the URL to the actual article. There is no need to replicate something that has already been published.

The easiest way to facilitate the resolution of all the above listed do nots is to open your favorite search engine (mine is Google), and query the subject you are so adamantly interested in sharing with everyone. For example, today I received (no offense Annika) a great e-mail about some guy who turned a garbage truck into a home on wheels. Included were 1.2MB of embedded images.

As I found it quite interesting, rather than click my forward button and cause megabytes of additional traffic on the web, I spent a minute (or two) and googled “garbage truck home“, finding an article on about a “garbage truck camper” (first result actually). In turn, I was able to locate the actual company (yes company, not individual) that manufactures the house on wheels, UNICAT. Now that I had the actual URL to the UNICAT Terracross TC59, I decided to write about it in my blog rather than e-mail everyone in my Outlook contacts list. This way, those of you that actually come to my blog (those that are interested in me) can benefit from your genuine interest in my information RATHER than sending megs and megs of unsolicited files to everyone I know.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to get e-mail. I love to get your e-mail. Just remember the Skowronek short list of e-mail etiquette do nots the next time you are tempted to e-mail anyone.

I imagine, over time, this list will grow and refine itself. For now, it suffice.

Feel free to pass this on to your friends if you are in the same boat as I am.

Google REALLY Likes

Over the past few months, I have really been pushing SEO optimized content on This in an attempt to increase traffic, but also to see how quickly and how high my content gets ranked on Google for particular keywords I am targeting. It appears Google really likes us. For example, the article I posted a couple of hours ago, “How to enable SMTP authentication for Outlook 2007”, is already ranked in their top FIVE (5).

My next little SEO science project will be to target higher profile keywords (that I have yet to decide upon).

Yeah for us!

How to Enable SMTP Authentication for Outlook 2007

This article explains how to enable SMTP authentication for outbound e-mail in Microsoft Outlook.

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook 2007
  2. From the ribbon menu click Tools | Account Settings…
    Microsoft Outlook 2007 SMTP Authorization


First Portable Gaming System

Last year, we (Nicole) bought the kids their very own portable Disney game systems. A month or so ago we finally decided they were old enough to play with them. Unfortunately, we did not plan for the way Beauen would react to the newly introduced play-things.

Beauen’s First Portable Game System from Skowronek on Vimeo.