Make Your Own Drop Cap Artwork

We’ve provided a free download of our complete A-Z set of simple upper-case “drop caps” with drop shadow, suitable for use in most content creation apps. For those of you who just want the Caps, the download is Summitlake’s own .zip file from this website, and is safe if downloaded from this site. The download link is in the full post. For those of you interested in learning more, or creating your own Drop Caps, our longer article with ample illustration is also in Computers

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The Breaking VA Scandal

We’ve all read today that retired four-star General Eric Shinseki just resigned as head of the Veterans Administration. We all now know that the VA health care system is a dysfunctional shambles. My own personal VA story is trivial by comparison, but I see it as a tiny snapshot of a small part of the much bigger picture. I’m a Vietnam veteran. Read my still-unresolved 5-year battle to get the VA to recognize my Vietnam Vet status, posted in

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Illustrated Keyboard Evolution

LCSmithSuperSpeed-125I have a really bad typing habit. It seemed I’ve always had it, but that’s not really true. It finally dawned on me: my fingers must be remembering something. But, what? It turns out our lack of a uniform keyboard character standard dates back to the 1920’s, if not earlier. Read our illustrated riff on keyboard layouts throughout the decades, in Computers.

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Nature: Optical detection of radio waves through a nanomechanical transducer

“Many applications, from medical imaging and radio astronomy to navigation and wireless communication, depend on the faithful transmission and detection of weak radio-frequency microwaves … signals can be transferred directly into standard optical fibres rather than copper wires …” From the Nature journal. In Computers & Technology.

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Card Games, Personal Security and Random Numbers

Have you ever yelled at a computer game, “who shuffled this?” There’s a dirty little secret in programming: generating truly random numbers is tough. If you don’t play computer games, you still probably realize security passwords are also just random numbers and letters. There’s a more serious side to this discussion. Random numbers are essential to secure password generation, encryption, and even national security. Read this post in Computers & Technology.

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WordPress Spam

We don’t get a lot of Comments on posts, but we DO get a lot you never see. If you ever wondered why we use those annoying CAPTCHA screening devices (“type the letters you see in the box”), read our post in Computers!

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Danger: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

The SOPA bill would allow copyright holders or the U.S. Justice Department to seek a court order which goes against internet providers (instead of just against individual offenders) when websites are accused of enabling copyright violations or counterfeited goods. SOPA would place intolerable enforcement and adjudication burdens on websites and internet providers. SOPA would block U.S. consumers from blacklisted websites, either software or pharmaceutical. By all accounts SOPA is badly written, overly-broad, and vaguely worded. SOPA wouldn’t even accomplish its stated purpose. What it would accomplish instead is justifiably frightening. SOPA isn’t just bad law. It’s a stealth attack on freedom – a very dangerous thing for the country and informed citizens of any political persuasion. Read this article in Computers.

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Evernote – Remember Everything

EvernoteI am a great note–taker: to-do notes, checklists, reminders, dashed-out thoughts and drafts for that Great American Novel. As I use different machines for different locations and tasks, finding where I put that note is not always that easy. I’m so enamored of finding Evernote I’m already awarding it Summitlake’s Five Stars. Read this article in Computers.

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Great First Impressions of iPad2

I ordered my own iPad2 on Wednesday October 5. I only found out later in the day that Steve Jobs had just died. I ordered the basic 16GB Wi-Fi model iPad. I’ve already started downloading my The New Yorker subscription to iPad, downloaded my Amazon Kindle ebook purchases using the Kindle app, sent an e-mail, copied over my digital images, and more. There’s no learning curve – you just start using it. I have a feeling I’m going to love my iPad2 all the more as I use it. I discuss what I’ve done so far, including embracing a reliable 11n form of Wi-Fi home networking. Read the full article in Computers.

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Steve Jobs: The Man Who Changed Everything

Some of us are too young to remember those early Mac days. Many of us, including oldsters like me, can feel free to simply take for granted the incredible palette of instinctive tools we use in interacting with our Macs, PC’s, iPhones, iPads and iPods and all such similar devices. That’s as it should be. Read the full article in Computers.

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Graphic Converter for Mac

“This is just a note of thanks for a great product. I used Graphic Converter from about 1995 to 1997 and it was the best Mac app I ever used… I didn’t have to use a manual or Help file to do it. Graphic Converter is as logically designed as ever! It is also the only product other than Photoshop I have ever trusted to edit my photo images, and your product performs a lot of functions Adobe doesn’t.”

Read the full review in Computers.

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Random Header Images

department bannersRandom header images have returned to our Home Page. You’ll see a new image with each visit, selected at random from a collection of about 40 custom images. Visitors to other departments continue to get a static image (it never changes) which helps visually to determine what department we’re currently viewing. The rest of this article contains an image displaying what those iconic department images look like, and technical details mostly of interest to WordPress geeks. Read this post in Computers.

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Smiley Madness

Writing my own code to handle “smiley” icons in text messages was tougher than I thought :-). At least I learned something. Like a manager once said, “simplicity comes at the end, not the beginning.” Read about Smiley Madness, with an example of test output, in Computers.

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