I was recently asked by a person new to the internet. [Yes there are still some.] “What do the ‘little thingy’s after some of my comments mean?” So I thought I’d put up list of emoticons. This is by no means definitive but it has most of what I know of. Enjoy

🙂 smile [colon :and close parentheses ) ]
🙁 frown [colon : and open parentheses ( ]
😉 wink [semi-colon ; close parentheses ) ]
😛 or :Þ tongue sticking out: joke, sarcasm or disgusting [colon : and letter P]
8) has sunglasses: looking cool [number 8 and close parentheses ) ]
:O surprised [colon and letter O]
:S confused
:'( shedding a tear
XD laughing, eyes shut (LOL)
XP Tongue out, eyes shut
^_^ smiley
^.^ see above, but rather than a wide, closed mouth, a small mouth is present
^_~ wink
>_< angry, frustrated
=_= bored
-_- annoyed
-_-‘ or ^_^’ or ^_^;; nervousness, sweatdrop or embarrassed.
¬_¬ or <_< "yeah, right…", looking around suspiciously
;_; crying
o_O Confused
O_O Shocked
O_< Flinch, wink, twiching
._. intimidated, sad, ashamed
$_$ Money Eyes; Thinking about Money
x_x Dead or Knocked Out
9_9 Eye Rolling
*_* Star-Struck
t(-_-t) or ,|,,(-_-),,|, Flipping off
=^_^= blushing, or a cat face
u.u duh, sarcastic "what do you think?" face
\m/>_<\m/ Rockin’ out

(_!_) a regular ass

(__!__) a fat ass

(!) a tight ass

(_._) a flat ass

(_*_) a sore ass loser

(_o_) an ass that’s been around

(_O_) an ass that’s been around even more

(_?_) a dumb ass

(_o^^o_) a wise ass

(_E=mc2_) a smart ass

(_13_) an unlucky ass

( Y ) a butt

(_$_) money coming out of his/her ass

(_#_) taking an ass pounding

(_x_) kiss my ass

.Y. flat boobies

(.Y.) curvy boobies

( . Y . ) fat boobies

( o Y o ) boobiecons

(.)(.) little boobies

(o)(o) regular boobies

( O )( O ) big boobies

( ‘ ) ( ‘ ) perky boobies

( , ) ( , ) droopy boobies

{.} {.} cold boobies

( @ ) ( @ ) hairy boobies

[ _ ] [ _ ] android boobies

( $ )( $ ) silicon boobies

More advance Emoticons:

    * @>–;– A rose
    * 0*-) Angel wink – female
    * :-Z Angry face
    * >:-( Annoyed
    * ~~8-O Bad-Hair Day
    * 🙂 Basic
    * :~-( Bawling
    * (:-{~ Beard – long
    * %-| Been up All Night
    * (:-) Big Face
    * (((H))) Big Hug
    * =|:o} Bill Clinton smiley
    * ?-( Black Eye
    * #-) Blinking
    * I:( Botox smiley
    * %-6 Brain Dead
    * :-E Bucktoothed Vampire
    * :-#| Bushy Mustache
    * })i({ Butterfly – an even prettier one
    * q:-) Catcher
    * ;-( Chin up
    * :-.) Cindy Crawford
    * :-8( Condescending Stare
    * H-) Cross-Eyed
    * :*( Crying softly
    * :-@! Cursing
    * %-} Dizzy
    * :*) Drinking every night
    * :#) Drunk
    * :-6 Eating Something Spicy
    * 5:-) Elvis
    * 0|-) Enjoying the Sun
    * >-) Evil Grin
    * l:-O FlatTop Loudmouth
    * =:-H Football player
    * :^{= Frank Zappa
    * /:-) Frenchman with a beret
    * *:* Fuzzy
    * ~~:-( Getting Rained On
    * :oÞ Grinning and sticking tongue out (type ALT+0222 on righthand number keypad)
    * :-}) Handlebar Mustache
    * :%)% Has Acne
    * :-`| Have a Cold
    * l^o Hepcat
    * (_8^(|) Homer Simpson
    * *^_^* Huge Dazzling Grin – it’s a straight-on smiley
    * :0 Hungry
    * %*} Inebriated
    * (8 { John Lennon
    * :-* Kiss on the cheek
    * >* Kitty doesn’t like taking its pill
    * :p Kitty with tongue hanging out
    * @(*0*)@ Koala – it’s a straight-on smiley
    * (-: Left Hand
    * >;-> Lewd Remark
    * ;-, Like, Duh
    * %+{ Lost a Fight
    * X-( Mad
    * :-(*) Makes Me Sick
    * @@@@:-) Marge Simpson
    * #:-) Messy Hair
    * 🙂 Midget
    * :-3 Mustache (Handlebar Type)
    * :-# My Lips Are Sealed
    * ):-( Nordic
    * 😯 Omigod!
    * 8> Penguin
    * 3:] Pet Dog
    * :—) Pinnochio
    * 3:[ Pitbull
    * +<:-) Pope
    * +:-) Priest
    * ?-) Proud of black eye
    * =:-( Punk Not Smiling
    * :-r Rasberry
    * :-C Real Unhappy
    * :-)) Really Happy
    * [:] Robot
    * 3:*> Rudolph the red nose reindeer
    * 🙁 Sad Turtle
    * :-y Said with a Smile variation
    * *<|:-) Santa Claus
    * :-@ Screaming
    * $__$ Sees Money
    * 8-0 Shocked
    * :-V Shouting
    * ~:-P Single Hair
    * ‘:-/ Skeptical again
    * O-) Smiley After Smoking a Banana
    * :-, Smirk
    * :- i Smoking a cig
    * :-Q Smoking while talking
    * 🙁 <| Standing Firm
    * %-) Staring at a Screen for 15 hours
    * /8^{~ Sunglasses, Mustache, Goatee
    * `:-) Sweating
    * :-0 Talkative
    * -(:)(0)=8 Teletubby
    * :- ? Tongue Sticking Out
    * :-a Tongue Touching Nose
    * }(:-( Toupee Blowing in Wind
    * x:-/ Uncertain
    * 😐 Unfazed
    * |:-| Unyielding
    * :-))) Very Happy
    * (:-( Very Unhappy
    * @:-) Wavy Hair
    * [:-) Wearing a Walkman
    * B-) Wearing Glasses
    * ]-I Wearing Sunglasses
    * :-1 Whatever
    * ;^? Wigged Out
    * ,-) Winking Happy
    * 8<:-) Wizard
    * :~) Wondering
    * l-O Yawning
    * :-(0) Yelling
    * $-) Yuppie

    * O:-) Angel
    * 0;-) Angel wink – male
    * :-{{ Angry Very
    * ~:o Baby
    * d:-) Baseball
    * :-{0 Basic Mustache
    * :-){ Beard
    * : = Beaver
    * :-)^< Big Boy
    * :-)8< Big Girl
    * :-X Big Wet Kiss
    * (:-D Blabber Mouth
    * (:- Blank Expression
    * :-] Blockhead
    * :-}X Bow Tie-Wearing
    * :-(=) Bucktoothed
    * :-F Bucktoothed Vampire with One Tooth Missing
    * }|{ Butterfly
    * }:-X Cat
    * C=:-) Chef
    * *<<<<+ Christmas Tree
    * *<):o) Clown
    * %) Confused
    * :`-( Crying
    * &:-) Curly Hair
    * >:-> Devilish
    * :3-] Dog
    * :-B Drooling out of Both Sides of Mouth
    * <:-l Dunce
    * (:-| Egghead
    * :-} Embarrassed Smile
    * >:) Evil
    * G(-‘.’G) Fighting Kid – it’s a straight-on smiley
    * :-! Foot in Mouth
    * :-W Forked Tongue
    * %*@:-) Freaking Out
    * 8) Frog
    * *:*} Fuzzy With a Mustache
    * 8*) Glasses and a Half Mustache
    * }:-) Hair Parted in the Middle Sticking up on Sides
    * :-‘ Has a Dimple
    * :(#) Has Braces variation
    * /;-) Heavy Eyebrows – Slanted
    * (_8(|) Homer Simpson
    * (^~^~^) Hot Ass Walking Away
    * %*@:-( Hungover with headache
    * o[-<]: I am a skater or I like to skate
    * (|):-)=II= Jewish Blonde
    * @:-} Just Back From Hairdresser
    * >^,,^< Kitty Cat – it’s a straight-on smiley
    * ~*= Kitty running away from you
    * >:-l Klingon
    * %OD Laughing like crazy
    * ?-: Left Handed Tongue Touching Nose
    * :-9 Licking Lips
    * 8:-) Little Girl
    * |-( Lost Contact Lenses
    * &-l Makes Me Cry
    * :-S Makes No Sense
    * @|-) Meditating Smiley
    * 8(:-) Mickey Mouse
    * :-{ Mustache
    * {:-{)} Mustache and Beard
    * (-) Needs Haircut
    * :/) Not Amused
    * :=) Orangutan
    * :^) Personality
    * :8) Pig
    * P-( Pirate
    * }:^#) Pointy Nosed
    * :-t Pouting
    * X:-) Propeller Head
    * =:-) Punk
    * <(-‘.’-)> Puppy dog – it’s a straight-on smiley
    * (((((:-{= Rave Dude
    * ~:-( Really Bummed Out
    * ([( Robocop
    * @};— Rose
    * 🙁 Sad
    * :-d Said with a smile
    * M:-) Saluting
    * :-> Sarcastic
    * )8-) Scuba Diver with Hair
    * :-i Semi-Smile
    * +-( Shot Between the Eyes
    * :O Singing
    * :-/ Skeptical
    * :-7 Skeptical variation
    * ):-) Smiley with Hair
    * ;^) Smirking
    * 😕 Smoking a pipe
    * ~~~~8} Snake
    * =%-O Stared at Computer Way Too Long
    * (8-{)} Sunglasses, Mustache, Beard
    * :0 Surprised
    * ,:-) Sweating on the Other Side
    * &-| Tearful
    * :-)— Thin as a Pin
    * :-& Tongue Tied
    * *!#*!^*&:- Total Head Case
    * <:>== Turkey
    * =):-) Uncle Sam
    * |:-) Unibrow
    * :-[ Vampire
    * %’) Very Tired
    * :-< Walrus
    * {(:-) Wearing a Toupee
    * 😎 Wearing Contacts
    * :-{} Wearing Lipstick
    * {:-) Wears a Toupee
    * :-" Whistling
    * ‘-) Winking
    * 😉 Winking variation
    * :-)8 : Woman
    * ,-} Wry and Winking
    * |^o Yawning or Snoring variation
    * =8-0 Yikes!

Windows 7 Media Center HTPC

I have been using some of my home PC’s as Media Centers for a long time. Watching recording, scheduling and converting live TV for some time.[since 1998 actually].
To this end I have, for the most part, relied on third party software to do this.

You do need to have a TV Tuner Card to watch live TV.  There are many available but I am partial to Hauppauge and ATI. Both seem to have no issues if the correct Operating System drivers are used. And you will need a Video card with an output that can connect to your TV [HDMI is preferable] if you wish to watch your shows on your television and not just your PC. There are plenty reasonable priced options available.
I have used ATI’s Media Center(included with the ALL-In-Wonder and TV Cards), Hauppauge’s WinTV(included with their TV cards), Beyond TV (a great software solution), GBPVR, and I’ve tried many others.
However with the advent of Microsoft’s Vista Media Center Microsoft really improved the ability to do this ‘natively’ within Windows.
With Windows 7, Microsoft has really hit it out of the park for anyone wishing to create an HTPC (Home Theater PC). The integration, ease of use, available plug-ins and native functionality are amazing! Nearly anyone can install a TV card and be recording and watching TV through their PC very quickly and just as easily using their PC as a PVR for the TV shows, watching them on their TV. There is so much that can be done with  the media center including; streaming movies and music to other machines on your local network (or even the internet!), copying or moving your recorded movies or music to other devices and more.

I have sent out a number of Windows Media Center how to’s in the past and helped many others to build their system. Many of the tips and instructions including information I put together from various sites and my own experiences and insights. Trouble is most people will not take the time to do any research and to learn something new and will instead contact someone else to ‘set it up for them’. Granted I have and sometimes still do earn some decent money from these people but usually it is family and close friends who insist on not learning for themselves. If you take the time and learn you will be far ahead of the game and have a great deal more enjoyment from your technology.

What I am going to do here is try and put together one of the most complete set of links to information on how to setup, configure and tweak a Windows 7 Media Center.

The 1st place to start is Microsoft’s site. Microsoft has what I believe to be some of the best tutorials and how to’s available anywhere! There loads of videos on how to do just about everything.
Start with the ‘Do I have it?’ video
and work your way through the whole batch of videos. VERY well done.

In my very long history in supporting Microsoft Products I have watched as their training/tutorials for end users has become nothing less than spectacular.

Next stop would be the folks at the How To Geek site. They have put together some very good tutorials and walkthroughs. Many much like the ones I have sent out myself in the past only some of theirs are a little more thorough.

From the HowToGeek site:
Stream Music and Video Over the Internet with Windows Media Player 12
Share and Stream Digital Media Between Windows 7 Machines On Your Home Network
Learning Windows 7: Setup Live TV in Windows Media Center.
Automatically Start Windows 7 Media Center in Live TV Mode.
How To Skip Commercials in Windows 7 Media Center.
Increase Live TV Pause Buffer in Windows 7 Media Center.
Increase Skip and Replay Intervals in Windows 7 Media Center.
Learning Windows 7: Manage Your Music with Windows Media Player.
Share Digital Media With Other Computers on a Home Network with Windows 7.
View Weather Conditions in Windows 7 Media Center.

Some other plug-ins:
Media Center Plug-Ins you should get.
Copy TV to iPod or other Media player:
You will need:
My Movies

Use Media Center To Watch TV

With the improvements in Windows Media Center, starting with Vista and fully realized with Windows 7, it is easier than ever to watch ‘live’ TV (from antennae, cable or satellite) and also watch ‘on demand’ Internet TV.

You can also very easily use Media Center as a PVR (personal video recorder) much like TiVo or your cable company’s PVR. If you already have a PVR or cable on your main television you can always use Media Center to add another viewing room. Or you can go all the way and create a complete Media Center PC to replace your PVR, output to your high def TV and to an audio receiver for a full home entertainment system.

I have been using ‘TV Cards’ in my systems since 1997 to watch and record live TV from my PCs. I actually still do. I utilize dual monitors for increased productivity and when I am able, I’ll watch TV up in one corner of one monitor while working. Sort of like a ‘white noise’ or radio while I work. Or, since I have my systems in my bedroom I can watch TV full screen on my larger monitor from my bed.

With Windows 7 it is now SO EASY to set up, watch, and record if you desire, television that it seems silly not to.

To watch ‘live’ television you have to have some sort of TV tuner card. I recommend the Hauppauge line of tuners. Or the ATI TV Cards or their All-In-Wonder Combo cards. I have at least two versions of each card in 4 different machines and I can tell you they are great. If you system is new and has a high powered graphics card already you may want to go with a TV card only. Most new TV cards also come with remote controls! If your system is older, you may wish to use a ‘combo’ card (like the ATI). For Internet TV you do not have to have a TV card.

I was going to put up some detailed walkthroughs but there are already so many great ones available I thought I’d just post up the links. All of them have great simple explanations, some have good video tutorials and other very good screen captures and descriptions.
Everyone is excellent and worth fully investigating if you have even the slightest desire to use Media Center to it’s full potential. I like to help people utilize technology to be more productive, have more enjoyment and use it to it’s full potential. I hope this helps some who are always asking me about this.

So here are some great links, take them for what they’re worth:


The HowToGeek site has some great ones too!:


Freeing youself from Cable

Many have heard of people ‘ditching’ their cable company and instead watching TV on or from the internet, but few have learned how to do it. It is one of those things that seems only geeks and techies would or could really do.
But that is simply not the case.
With some of the many freeware applications and generously provided how to guides available, anyone can do this.
Here is one of my favorite ways:
TED (Torrent Episode Downloader) is a free tool that can find episodes of almost any TV show for downloading using a torrent client. It’s database of torrent sources is updated periodically to include new shows, and the program allows users to search for and add any shows that are not listed.

This is an extremely useful and impressive tool that can make the process of finding and downloading your favorite shows very easy; TED brings an easy to use iTunes-store like interface to the world of torrent TV shows.
This program is particularly suited for average users who (a) do not want to wade through torrent search sites and get bombarded with dubious ads and popups, (b) do not have the time or inclination to be searching for torrent sources needed for downloading, and (c) would like a reliable and easy way to find just the episodes that they want to watch.
Here is a good demonstration video.

The home page for TED is here.


Actual download:

Once again the Adam at Lifehacker has done a fantastic job of creating a simple walk through of the application.
You can check that out here:

If you don’t know what a Torrent is or anything about using BitTorrents then check out this Lifehackers Beginers Guide to BitTorrent. It is a GREAT introduction to understanding what a torrent :

For my windows machines I use uTorrent

On the Mac’s I use Transmission

Some of you may have to configure your router (firewall) to allow the torrent client to receive information through your router – called port forwarding.
I will not go into great length on how to do that right now. You should be able to find all the information you need here at PortForward.comf
Good luck and have fun!

Online TV and Movie viewing

Some of you may know what a fan I am of watching ‘on-demand’ content so I thought I’d pass this along.
I love watching what I want when I want (ala tivo) and watching movies and shows online enables that nicely.
Hulu now has a desktop application you can use with your media center or like an onscreen tv controller.
Hulu desktop application:
Hulu desktop

Sites I frequent:



Discovery channels – they have military, science, health and more: