Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Jeremy Zawodny of Yahoo! has posted his company's new corporate employee blogging guidelines. There's a PDF file linked from his post, along with his comments.

Blogging policies are (I think) a good thing for companies to have. Why? Because they set the stage with the proper expectations right up front, before a problem can begin. People often benefit from having the context predefined, so they know what's cool and what's not.

In other words, having a good policy enables people much more than it restricts them. That's why I'm glad my company has a blogging policy, anyhow.

More and more companies are going beyond allowing their employees to blog, and are enabling and encouraging it. What's your company doing?



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Blogging
Tuesday, May 31, 2005 10:00:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Just in time to finish off the month of May, the wild irises are coming out in full force all over the place on my property...

WildIrises3
click on the image for a 1024x768 copy/desktop wallpaper
click here for a 1600x1063 copy/desktop wallpaper



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Photography | Random Stuff
Monday, May 30, 2005 11:22:46 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Monday, May 30, 2005

You have to actually see it to understand what's so cool about this unique music video. Eric Rice pointed to this, and I can't keep myself from doing the same:

Sad_song

The Sad Song by Fredo Viola: "This is a video I made for my song entitled "The Sad Song". The video was created entirely using 15 second jpg movies from my little Nikon Coolpix 775 still camera, reconstructed in AfterEffects."



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Random Stuff
Monday, May 30, 2005 7:10:41 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Andy and Angie have a cool weblog where some of their great pictures are displayed. They also have an online photo gallery that you can check out. There's real talent here: great use of light and digital editing for enhancement purposes (as opposed to completely altering a scene to be something it's not). There are also some cool macro insect pictures, nice landscapes and original desktop wallpapers available.

In one post, Andy explains how he edits an original digital image to get from this:

Cloudy_01-2005.05.07-15.34.37

to this:

CloudPond_050505-2005.05.07-15.34.53

Same original image, but a very different end result. How did he do it? Go read his weblog to find out.

Note that the images are all copyrighted under a Creative Commons non-commercial use license by Andy Purviance.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Blogging | Photography | Random Stuff
Monday, May 30, 2005 4:38:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, May 29, 2005

A dedicated team of police officers is currently camped at 14,000 feet on Denali, also known as Mt. McKinley in Alaska. They are climbing the mountain in difficult weather on a memorial expedition, undertaken to remember the lives and sacrifice of two police officers who were shot and killed in the line of duty last year while trying to apprehend a shooting suspect in Phoenix.

You can use the power of the Internet to track the progress of the team as they attempt to carry a memorial plaque to the summit of Denali at 20,320 feet.

The PODCAST feed with enclosures is available here. They are audioblogging the climb with regular calls using a satellite phone whenever terrain and weather conditions allow. Their audioblogged updates are automatically posted to the climber's weblog on the Cops on Top web site. The team hopes to summit the highest mountain in North America on or around June 8th.

The team is made up of members of Cops on Top, a non-profit organization of peace officers who climb the worlds highest peaks to remember fallen officers, to ensure they are never forgotten. The expeditions are made to support the families and friends of the fallen officers, as well. I have the privilege of serving on the board and maintaining the web site for the organization.

For more information and the latest expedition updates, visit http://www.copsontop.com/



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Helping Others | Personal Stories
Sunday, May 29, 2005 10:13:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Yes, sometimes the "switch" model runs the other way. Not quite (yet) in this case, buy hey, let's see what happens. Eric Rice, podcaster extraordinaire and self-described Mac guy, says he's using OneNote with a little Wacom tablet digitizer and a Windows notebook for now, but you can tell he's thinking:

"And as a result of all this OneNote mayhem, I'm now paying attention to people like Chris_Pratley, as well as the Tablet PC sites.

"This is all very weird for me. Updates as time passes."

Well Eric, you're paying attention to the right person, and as a Tablet PC guy and OneNote addict for a couple of years now, I can tell you the tools are great - one just has to try them to find out.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
OneNote | Tablet PC | Tech
Sunday, May 29, 2005 8:06:56 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Chris_segwayMy friend Chris rode a Segway for the first time this weekend. I still have not ridden one myself, so it's interesting to see what someone like Uber-Geek Chris can do one one first time out.

Rumor is that there is a handle-less one in the works, and the off-road models might be interesting to me, since I live in the sticks. Heck, if you're an engineer type, you can even build a generic one, if you like.

Go Chris, go.

(follow link to video)



Add/Read: Comments [2]
Geek Out | Random Stuff
Sunday, May 29, 2005 4:22:29 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Tons of high-definition Windows Media video files with some pretty amazing footage from a whole slew of upcoming XBOX 360 games are available for download over at Microsoft.

This is going to be a great console - the possibilities are fun to think of... Hook it up with Longhorn's version of Media Center and you have a super-cool HD Media Center extender. Great games, too of course.

Check out the videos. Amazing. Just make sure you have a big fat pipe for downloading or be prepared to hurry up and wait. These files are 720p hi-def format, so they're pretty darned big, but super cool looking.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Geek Out | Tech
Sunday, May 29, 2005 1:35:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Royale_desktopI'm a little slow in finding this, and it's certainly an example of my being easily-amused... But I just downloaded the Royale Windows theme, which was originally available standard on XP Media Center Edition. The download lets you use it on the other versions of XP, and I've installed it on my XP Tablet Edition machine.

Microsoft New Zealand has made it available to download, along with the New Zealand version of the Bliss desktop image (can you say "sheep?") and a cool road-sign desktop picture, too.

The pic at right is my desktop with the Royale theme and a few Konfabulator widgets - it makes for a nice background image. Click the pic for larger size.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Sunday, May 29, 2005 12:05:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, May 28, 2005

Donnie's ironic comment made me smile:

"God, I am sick of all these productivity and GTD hacks - enough is enough. How many more tools do I need to write an email or mow the lawn! I spend more time trying/testing out all these new apps than I do on actually getting my stuff done. Talk about a paradox! Where’s Gladwell when we need him?"

I can relate. I have to test these productivity things out quite a bit. Most of them end up getting uninstalled, although a few have stuck. Many of them take up quite a bit of time, in part because they tend to hose my computer. Nothing like a poorly-written productivity application to slow a computer to a crawl. Heh. Irony.

Okay, enough about computers. Back to mowing my three acres of lawn...



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Saturday, May 28, 2005 5:48:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, May 26, 2005

From Longhornblogs.com, some of the first information about IIS7, which is reportedly code-complete and is now being integrated into Longhorn:

"IIS7 represents the unification of ASP.NET and IIS. Let me clarify what that means. Right now, ASP.NET is implemented as an ISAPI extension for IIS. That will still be true in ASP.NET 2.0. In IIS7, that changes. Instead, the concepts of HTTP pipelines, handlers, modules, XML config files, etc... are all natively built into the platform.

"Along with that, the IIS7 team has completely refactored the whole platform, so now practically every feature in the pipeline has been broken out into a separate module. From a security standpoint, this is a whole new realm for IIS..."

Read more here. Glad to see they'll be releasing it on the Pro and Server OS'es. Cool stuff.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 11:36:26 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Last-minute on my part, but I have been so busy I did not realize that tonight (Wednesday) is the monthly meeting of the Portland Area Dot-Net User Group (PADNUG).

And speaking tonight is Jason Mauer, Developer Evangelist with Microsoft, on the topic of "The Ins and Outs of SharePoint Development."

Check out Rich's weblog entry with complete info if you're interested - SharePoint use is growing quickly - good stuff to know! And hey, you can't really beat the price.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
SharePoint | Tech
Wednesday, May 25, 2005 5:03:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, May 24, 2005

In an interesting and (at the same time, but for different reasons) rather scary turn of events, a company's computer data has apparently been locked up, by means of encryption, by an evil-doer and held ransom.

For - get this one - $200.

Tell me that is not the perfect Austin Powers moment. I can hear Dr. Evil now, from his Evil Hacker Base:

Twooooooo Hunnnnnnndred Dolllllllarrrzzzzz! Muuuhahahahahahhhh!!!

Unfortunately, it's worrisome in that through some lack of security protection or another, some bad guy was able to get malicious code into a company that located business files and packaged them up in a nice, neat encrypted (and therefore completely unaccessible without the key) form. They didn't even (necessarily) take the files off the network - they just locked them up and left them there. Maybe. Who knows.

Link to the story: http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/05/24/1321200&from=rss

Security researchers at the San Diego-based Websense uncovered the unusual extortion plot when a corporate customer they would not identify fell victim to the infection, which encrypted files that included documents, photographs and spreadsheets.

A ransom note left behind included an e-mail address, and the attacker using the address later demanded $200 for the digital keys to unlock the files.

"This is equivalent to someone coming into your home, putting your valuables in a safe and not telling you the combination," said Oliver Friedrichs, a security manager for Symantec Corporation.

The FBI said the scheme, which appears isolated, was unlike other Internet extortion crimes.

Leading security and anti-virus firms this week were updating protective software for companies and consumers to guard against this type of attack, which experts dubbed "ransom-ware."



Add/Read: Comments [1]
IT Security
Tuesday, May 24, 2005 7:00:04 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Monday, May 23, 2005

Shane has started a weblog covering how to customize a SharePoint web site to create a site that provides some form of content management, etc. The first few posts are up, and it looks like it will be a detailed, step-by-step tutorial for people who want to learn something about SharePoint customization.

From his weblog: 

"This entry will likely span into a 4-5 part tutorial on creating a SharePoint site that looks like a 'real' website.

"I'll try and take things step-by-step in creating a "real website" and then converting it into a SharePoint site. I will keep it as simple as possible so that it's relatively easy to follow.

"For anyone that just wants to follow along and get their feet wet I will include everything I've used for the site creation, HTML/Graphics/CSS etc.

"This will be a fairly long post(s) but hopefully if there are a few people out there experiencing the SharePoint (Learning Pains) this should help you.

"I'm going to be fairly in-depth about the entire process of the site creation, covering everything from; brainstorming, what make's sense/what doesn't, sketching, creating the graphics, creating the site, styling the site and finally converting everything to a fully content-managed and dynamically driven SharePoint Site."

Sounds great to me - I've implemented a large number of SharePoint sites, and have done some amount of customization, but I am interested in reading Shane's guide and learning some more. He's also posted a list of what to expect from the tutorial:

Overview:

Step-by-Step guide on creating a SharePoint website that looks like a "real website".

Things to Cover:

  • Why SharePoint? - Benefits of creating a site based on SharePoint
  • Brainstorming - What's the purpose of the site
  • Planning - Creating a site that works for both the end-user, and the owner
  • Sketches - Laying the groundwork
  • Graphical UI - Bring your sketches to life
  • Initial Site Creation - Setting the stage w/ SharePoint in mind
  • Creating a WSS "SharePoint Site" - The "basic" SharePoint site
  • Setting up the dynamic elements - Lists, Libraries and all that fun stuff!
  • SharePoint Conversion - Turning your site into a SharePoint Site
  • Programming (without a) a Programmer! - Let's bring in those dynamic elements and create some nifty data-views
  • Styling the site (CSS) - Styling the data-views and other elements to be visually appealing
  • Styling the admin pages using "themes" - Step-by-Step on theme setup and customization
  • Backing up your work - Using FrontPage 2003 to backup your work
  • The Final Result! - See, that wasn't so hard now was it!


Add/Read: Comments [3]
Office 2003 | SharePoint | Tech
Monday, May 23, 2005 6:08:34 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, May 22, 2005

5barsFellow IT-management type Alex Scoble posed a wireless question in the comments from a random post yesterday (one that pictured my trusty Blackberry 7290), which led to a short series of comments of back-and-forth on wireless voice/data coverage. After thinking about it some more, I realized that I'm asked this type of question often, so I figure I'll harvest some of the comments content and create a new post here. After all, it's all about the conversation, and besides now I'll have a link to email to people, heh...

The in-building wireless coverage problem can be the scourge of many an IT manager. In-building dead-spot complaints have been known to pressure many IT pros to dump otherwise good carriers to go with another one that may offer good service at their micro-location, but which doesn't meet the business' other, broader needs. Not to mention the fact that the cost of simply changing carriers can be quite expensive.

If you have an in-building wireless overage problem, don't automatically assume changing carriers is the best or only way to solve it. Instead, exercise your two key options: Call your carrier and tell them you need them to provide you with a solution, and/or think about finding one yourself.

One of our teams recently finished a three-month review of many of the mobile providers available here. First of all, it's important to know that each carrier emphasizes a slightly different market. While T-Mobile's pricing was attractive, honestly their coverage was lacking outside the metro areas, which was a problem for our specific needs. Their people are great, and where it works it works well, but the remote coverage was our concern. Nextel was similar to T-Mobile in that regard. Verizon and Cingular have the broader coverage fairly well nailed down compared to their competition (especially when it comes to worldwide coverage, which we care about), but they, too have frustrating coverage gaps and spots. We looked at the other carriers, as well. In short, they all have their good and not-so-good points, and each caters to a somewhat different set of business needs. Most importantly, it's important to note that no carrier is perfect, especially in-building. You will always have one employee (probably a justifiably important one) that can't make calls unless they (literally) walk down to the corner from their home and press their phone to the stop sign pole. That's just the nature of wireless service in the US right now, and hey - it's a big country.

Also keep in mind that the phones you buy can make a difference. quad- and tri-band phones allow you to roam off network when the carrier's network is not available, and typically help to allow good worldwide coverage. Make sure you research those kinds of needs closely. Also realize that if your carrier's network is available, it won't matter how many other bands and providers are available if the phone is "locked" or set to use only the preferred networks - so while you are evaluating, ask questions about this and play with the phone's software switches for network preferences.

So anyhow, from experience I always recommend choosing a carrier based on what they can do for you in the macro sense: Do they provide the level of coverage needed in the areas where you move and travel to do business? Is the price right? Get test devices for a couple weeks and do a real-world evaluation with real people - you'll find that coverage maps and sales people don't tell you everything you need to know. After you've weighed the options and chosen a carrier, you're often best off to look to specialized technology to provide good coverage in places like offices buildings and exec homes. And you might be surprised how low the costs can be.

SpotCellFor example, check out http://www.spotwave.com/ - I have had one of their SpotCell devices, which are quite good, for a couple years now, and I know they've made refinements and improvements since then. The SpotCell package uses a directional collector antenna to gather the signal, and a donor antenna to provide wireless coverage to the location where it's installed. It's pretty cool an can solve some serious dead-spot problems. I originally got one through AT&T Wireless (now Cingular) to solve a residential problem and was able to move it to another location for a while to solve a problem there. I actually need to call them and ask about an update for it for my area, and I can tell you from past experience that they are quite willing to provide excellent customer service when you contact them. If you're looking to outfit a smaller office or someone's home (under 5,000 sq. ft.), it may be worth the small-ish investment, since these devices start out at about $1000. Larger office buildings might need more than one coverage device, and the SpotWave people can quickly help figure that out. I also have another brand of wireless extension kit similar to the SpotWave technology (I'll have to climb up and look at it to see what brand it is), but it's not nearly as friendly or intuitive to set up. The SpotCell is so simple to make work, even a five year old could do it (well, except for the antenna mounting part I guess).

I am also told on fairly good authority that there are some IP-based in-building devices coming to the market that act as a mini/micro indoor-coverage site - you can just plug them into your Internet connection and they'll "talk" back to the wireless carrier via VPN or similar method. I know T-Mobile is working on them now and will probably announce something before too long. But the carriers are staying pretty tight-lipped about announcing availability right now for some reason, probably because they know they have to do it right the first time and support needs to be solid, which means fuzzy launch dates until it happens. That will be an interesting space to watch.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Mobile | Tech
Sunday, May 22, 2005 9:15:58 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Hahahah, okay as long as we're at it, this is a pretty funny flash short film, from the Organic Trade Association:

Storewars

(Note - I saw the real movie tonight and it was pretty okay I thought... Rory's review is pretty close to what I thought, although I guess my expectations weren't quite as high as his, and I enjoyed it despite the weaknesses.)



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Geek Out | Humor | Random Stuff
Saturday, May 21, 2005 11:29:48 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, May 21, 2005

Challenge Darth Vader to 20-questions in "The Sith Sense" and watch him read your mind:

Vader3

The force is strong with this one. Of course, he's got some help...

Vader2

Burger King's at it again - well done.

(thanks Chris)



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Geek Out | Humor | Random Stuff
Saturday, May 21, 2005 10:56:49 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Obscure trivia time... Let's see if anyone knows what this means (see image):

Z

I don't expect anyone (except for maybe two people) to know what it means when it's stuck on the phone (it's an inside kinda thing), but surely someone (besides those two) must know what the figure means when it's used for it's real purpose...



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff
Saturday, May 21, 2005 1:43:22 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Ok, this is completely random, I know, but people need to know about this stuff, and I am willing to provide a little free advertising when I see something worthwhile.

If you own a cat (my cat saga is long and complicated), you know all about the woes of litter boxes, scooping, smell, smell, smell and - well - smell.

Tired of crappy cat litter products (forgive the pun), I spent a few extra bucks on a four-pound bag of Fresh Step Crystals cat litter a few weeks ago, hoping to find something that would be easier to deal with in terms of cleaning and - yes - the smell.

This stuff is incredible (well, on the kitty-litter scale that is). I will never buy clay cat litter again. Ever.

Between the fact that it locks in the cat box odors like nothing else, and the fact that this four-pound bag can last up to a month (I didn't believe it at first, but wow...), I am completely sold. Clay doesn't compare.

What else is great about it?

  • No dust. Zero. Nada.
  • No smell. Seriously, this is the most incredible part.
  • A lot less litter scattered out of the box and onto the floor.
  • Easy to scoop - forget that super-clumping clay litter stuff, this is the better way to go.

Read about it here. Buy it anywhere cat crap products are sold.

By the way - my clean-freak, obsessive-compulsive cat was a little weirded out by the new litter at first, so I mixed a little clay in with it, and she took to it right away. Just a hint in case your cat freaks out on the new stuff - it will get used to it after a couple visits.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff
Saturday, May 21, 2005 10:06:07 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Indy_tabletEngadget has a great little article about an Indy 500 racing team's use of OneNote on Tablet PCs in the race pits and planning stages. It's pretty cool what they're doing with technology in auto racing these days. Go check it out.

"... Robertson said they are now recording a driver’s spoken comments about how the car is handling as a Windows Media Audio file and can do a voice overlay within a OneNote document along with a track diagram to show where the car went fast or slow. Such OneNote documents can be instant messaged to engineers back at the garages and stored for future use ...

... He said OneNote is useful in creating reports and presentations that combine computer-aided design (CAD) drawings, data from the on-board data logging systems, and engineering notes with information gathered from various sources, such as photos of necessary parts from catalogues, on the Internet."

[Read the story at Engadget]



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Office 2003 | OneNote | Tablet PC | Tech
Saturday, May 21, 2005 9:28:10 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

I've had the unfortunate experience of being on two vehicle accidents in the past couple of years - both were accidents that I could not avoid in the moment, and for which the law found me not at fault, but the insurance industry says were my fault nonetheless. No tickets issued, just a couple of against-the-odds situations, two wrecked vehicles and insurance premiums that rocketed somewhere into the upper stratosphere.

The first accident involved a deer in a curve in the roadway at night, and I had to choose in a split second whether to hit the deer (with a motorcycle, mind you), or to try to go around it. I chose the latter option and ended up on the shoulder of the roadway, which would have been just fine except that (unbeknownst to me) the shoulder turned into a ditch, which is not exactly a good thing when you're on a bike. Thank goodness I had on all the right gear - helmet, gloves, armored clothing. Anyhow, the lawman on the scene said it was a no-fault accident (and tried to talk me into joining the reserves) and my insurance agent told me (dead-seriously), "You should have hit the deer." Jeez, never mind the fact that I walked away from it relatively unharmed, which would almost certainly not have happened hat I hit that deer (and for the record, I don't give a darn one way or the other whether or not Bambi was hurt or killed). The law saw it one way, but my insurance company uses a book of rules, rather than real-world common sense: My insurance rates went up, because I didn't hit the deer.

The second one involved a semi truck coming down a hill (again late at night) through some switchback curves, heading at straight at me in my lane as I was going up the hill. I swerved hard to the edge of the road to avoid being hit by the semi (I seriously though that was "it"), and somehow he (I am making a gender assumption here, please forgive me...) got back over toward his lane far enough to where the vehicles did not touch. He kept right on going and my smaller vehicle fishtailed a couple times before sliding off the road, head-on into the hillside where it flipped and rolled. It was truly crazy. Anyhow, the law came on scene, took a look around, made sure I was not drunk (I have not consumed alcohol in more than eight years so no chance of that) and said "not your fault" based on all the evidence (semi truck skid marks, etc), but the insurance company (not my agent this time, it was an adjuster) told me I probably should have hit the semi truck (What?!?!?), and again jacked up my rates.

Now, all-in-all I'd much rather pay obnoxious insurance premiums than be dead, so I guess the tradeoff is not all that bad in the big picture. But let me tell you - my rates skyrocketed and became what I would call truly outrageous.

Unfortunately, when it comes to my own personal finances, while I am quite responsible I am not one to put the pressure on and fight hard for better prices as a matter or course. I will do it in my job (where the company is the beneficiary of my efforts and it's not personal), but for some reason it's different when I am negotiating and shopping around for myself. For the record, I consider this a weakness in my own character, and I've progressively gotten better in recent years, but I still have to occasionally remind myself to look out for me in my spare time, if you will.

Anyhow, I woke up the other day pretty pissed off about my insurance bills, which is not a pleasant way to wake up, so I decided to do something about it.

Long story short (way too late, I know), I just changed insurance companies, from American Family to AIG, and on an apples-to-apples auto policy (same coverage, same accidents, etc) I cut my rate almost in half. Not only that, I was able to get lots of rate quotes and apply online, and once I had decided which company to go with, I just called them up and completed the deal (Not that I needed to, I could have closed the deal online, too, without ever having spoken to a person, but that would not have been as much fun because the helpful lady I spoke to at AIG was born the exact same day as me and was really, really nice on the phone - which does make a difference in an all-else-equal world.)

In the process I learned a few things about buying insurance:

  • You must shop around to find out what kind of deals you will get. They vary greatly from company to company.
  • Always check with your bank to see if they have a bank-sponsored insurance program, that's what I did (I bank with Wells Fargo online and just clicked through their link to get a quote at AIG). It saved me a significant amount over the insurance company's default premiums to go that route. The lady on the phone told me that was the way to go, among several other useful tidbits.
  • If you have multiple insurance products (homeowners, umbrella policy, life insurance, etc) always see if putting them under one carrier will save you money - it almost always does.
  • Ask lots of questions about specific details - towing coverage, death and dismemberment, thing like that are often double-covered if you have separate policies from work or health insurance that provide the same coverage, so don't buy the same thing twice if you don't need it - but make sure you know exactly what you have and what you are buying. If an insurance company's agents are not helpful, you should consider going elsewhere.
  • If your rates have gone up substantially at your current company because of accidents or claims, it's probably worth shopping around for a new company. It's a competitive market and just like other businesses, insurance companies know that if they jack up rates, a substantial number of their customers will pay the higher rates and never look around at options.

At any rate, I learned something in the process and thought others might, as well. All I know is that I just added a chunk of change to my monthly grocery budget by doing a small amount of research and online work, plus one phone call. It was a good investment.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Saturday, May 21, 2005 9:15:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Friday, May 20, 2005

Firefox_logoI'm a dual-browser kind of guy. Honestly, I use Internet Explorer most of the time, and Firefox is in my backup slot. Recently security concerns have been pretty evenly divided between the two, and I am not married to one browser or another - I just use what works best for me at the time.

The one thing that tends to keep IT administrators from deploying Firefox across their companies in many cases is the complete lack of a process and ability to patch and update the software.

Well, IT admins, worry no more. Someone's been thinking about how to help.

FrontMotion has created a MSI installer for Firefox 1.0.4 that can be deployed via Active Directory - just like any MSI installer - and a set of accompanying ADM files that you can deploy as extensions to your group policy, in order to be able to exercise the level of control necessary in a corporate environment. You can download them here.

FrontMotion's Firefox Community Edition is Firefox with the ability to lockdown settings through Active Directory.  Similar to lockdown with mozilla.cfg on one computer, you can now use our Community Edition to set settings across your organization by loading Administrative Templates. Both the firefox.adm and mozilla.adm file can be loaded at the same time.

For those who want or need to do an Active Directory deployment:

  • Download the MSI installer and save it to a network location accessible by client computers (e.g. a network share on a domain controller).
  • Create or edit a Group Policy Object (GPO). Right click on an Organizational Unit (OU) or your top level domain, then Properties.  In the Group Policy tab, click New to create a new Group Policy or Edit. (Note: If you have an existing deployment of Firefox MSI, you should Edit an existing GPO)
  • Edit the GPO and navigate to Computer Configuration -> Software Settings -> Software Installation
  • Add the new package, specify the location of the Firefox MSI on a network share. (e.g. \\server\appinstalls\firefox\firefox-x.x.x.x.msi)
  • If you are doing an upgrade, be sure to specify the older packages in the Upgrades tab in the new package's properties.

 



Add/Read: Comments [0]
IT Security | Tech
Friday, May 20, 2005 10:03:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

I'm watching FOX12 News here in Portland, and they just ran a story about Podcasting. The pointed out that it's even gone commercial, and had a quick interview with a guy from Centennial Wines - http://www.centennialwines.com/ - which apparently has a podcast available (I only see one episode, but maybe I am missing something).

Anyhow, TV is pushing the message of podcasting all the way into your living room on the newscast. That's gotta mean something.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
AudioBlogging | Random Stuff | Tech
Friday, May 20, 2005 9:50:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

CarbonbigLast year I ripped apart a Rio Carbon 5GB MP3 player for the hard drive hidden inside. I also grabbed one for it's real intended use - playing audio.

If you happen to see this soon after it's posted and want one at a great price, check out http://www.woot.com and buy one for $125, which is more than half what they cost new... It's a refurb model, but hey - half price, ya know?

Anyhow, as many emails and in-person requests as I get for this player, I figured it was worth posting about.

By the way - woot.com sells one item a day, until it's sold out. They must have a whole boatload of Rio Carbons in their stock, and sometime between now and Monday night at 10pm Pacific they'll run out, or else Monday night something else will go on sale - so act now if you're interested.

(And no - I don't earn a single penny for suggesting this to you.)



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Tech
Friday, May 20, 2005 7:50:29 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, May 19, 2005

Google appears to have entered the personal portal space. Surf over to http://www.google.com/ig now and you can set up your personal preferences...

Google_personal_setup

... and you'll end up with a personalized Google home search page:

Google_personal

You can set up Gmail, Google News, BBC News, driving directions from Google Maps, local weather, stock info and some online news sources. Word is that RSS support is in the cards for the future.

[via Slashdot, and others]



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff | Tech
Thursday, May 19, 2005 5:09:34 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Because this is important:

The Wireless Foundation and the membership of CTIA-The Wireless Association™ have partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to deliver AMBER Alerts to wireless phones.

AMBER Alerts

Statistics show the first three hours after abduction are most critical to recovery efforts. Recognizing that wireless technology can help galvanize more than 182-million wireless consumers to assist law enforcement in the search for and return of a child, CTIA- The Wireless Association™, its members and The Wireless Foundation are proud to launch the Wireless AMBER Alerts™ Initiative.

The wireless industry has officially partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) (NCMEC) to distribute AMBER Alerts to wireless consumers who opt in to receive geographically specified messages on their wireless devices through an AMBER Alert wireless messaging system.

Subscribers capable of receiving text messages, and whose wireless carrier participates in the Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative, may opt in to receive alerts by registering at http://www.wirelessamberalerts.org or their wireless carrier's website. Users can designate up to five ZIP codes from which they'd like to be alerted in the case of an AMBER Alert activation.

[via Engadget]



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Helping Others
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:09:53 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

There are plenty of opinions about placing ads in RSS and ATOM feeds, but regardless of the opinions, AdSense users can now apply to get AdSense for Feeds, which will allow them to place small ads in their RSS feeds.

I'll likely set it up to see how it works (I am kinda curious), and time will tell whether or not I'll want to keep it. Probably keep. We'll see.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 7:23:09 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Yesterday Nikon released Version 2.0 of their D70 digital SLR camera firmware.

Updates are available for Mac and Windows users. The Windows firmware update includes the following additions and refinements:

  • Performance of the 5-area AF system has been improved (Dynamic area and Closest subject AF-area modes).
  • Changes have been made to the design of menu displays.
  • Page-size settings can now be applied from the camera with direct printing from a PictBridge-compatible printer.
  • The number of exposures remaining, displayed in the control panel and viewfinder, when shooting at an image-quality setting of NEF (RAW) or NEF+JPEG Basic has been changed (the number is calculated based on the size of compressed RAW file).
  • The default setting for camera clock has been changed from 2004.01.01 to 2005.01.01. Now you cannot set the clock back to a date before 2004.12.31.
  • A problem that sometimes caused communication between the camera and computer to be unexpectedly terminated when using Nikon Capture Camera Control has been corrected. (Windows)

Complete step-by-step instructions for updating are included:

 



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Photography | Random Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, May 17, 2005 6:32:06 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Monday, May 16, 2005

Ever have a hard time finding well-qualified software development staff? Looking for a different king of outsourcing firm?

Jeremy points to the solution to all your problems: Primate Programming, Inc.

Primate Programming Inc: The Evolution of Java and .NET Training

An interesting approach to a common business model. Cool idea.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Humor
Monday, May 16, 2005 10:40:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Looks like Chris has the news - his post says NewsGator is purchasing FeedDemon. Om Malik says the same. Cool. Interesting how new gets out these days.

So word is Nick Bradbury, author of FeedDemon and TopStyle (and all-around good guy), is joining the Newsgator team. UPDATE: Nick has written about the acquisition of Bradsoft on his weblog. And customers of both products will reap the benefits of the other. As a FeedDemon customer, I am a happy camper.

Cool news. Congrats to all involved! Look for an official announcement soon.

Track the news spread at Feedster.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Tech
Monday, May 16, 2005 7:11:38 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, May 15, 2005

Add/Read: Comments [0]
Tech
Sunday, May 15, 2005 10:11:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, May 14, 2005

Whiteboxrobot1Here's something else for Scoble to pimp Windows with: White Box Robotics' PC-BOT Model 914 is a home robot that incorporates "vision-based navigation, object recognition, speech synthesis and speech recognition - all in an easy-to-use yet powerful point-and-click graphical user interface."

It looks remarkably droid-like, and actually it's kinda really nifty and cool. Engadget points out that it runs Microsoft Windows (98SE/ME/2000/XP according to the specs page). And the craziest part? Only $1,199.00 each!

"The White Box Robotics 914 PC-BOT defines the new standard for the personal robot, by fusing two technologies - PCs and mobile robots - into one empowering platform.

"Inspired by art and fueled by science, the 914 PC-BOT gives enthusiasts, students and OEMs alike the opportunity to create revolutionary, functional, low cost mobile robots from off-the-shelf computer parts.

"Tinker with it. Master its intricacies. The 914 was designed to be cut, drilled, painted and modified in countless ways. Create a new future. One inspired by you."

Here's the production schedule, which shows delivery is scheduled for before Christmas, but you can reserve yours today with a $299 deposit:

  • Tooling Starts: May 31
  • First 20 units verified: August 25
  • Production run complete: September 30
  • Customers receive units: November 15-30

WhiteboxrobotSEThere will also be a limited-edition "founders" model, shown at right, which will have fancy paint and a few hardware upgrades. It will sell for $1,699.00 and looks pretty cool, too.

There's also a page listing optional components, which you'll use to deck out the robot to your own tastes.

Coolio idea, nice design. Thinking about it.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Geek Out | Tech
Saturday, May 14, 2005 10:05:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

"A powerful alliance of heros"

"Big Iron again? Let's get in there and kick some proprietary ass!"

Anyhow - if you liked Team America and/or happen to be a Dell fan, check out the video:

Techforce

Not really sure where this comes from, but the domain is registered to Sam McJunkin in Washington state - Ah, and he works for Maverick Productions, which produced the site. Well there you have it, I guess? Sometimes these things need a little more explanation.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Saturday, May 14, 2005 9:41:30 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

I've been looking for HDTV antennas that might be able to pull in the Portland HD over-the-air (OTA) broadcast signals all the way out here in Podunk, Oregon (no, that's not the real name, it's a joke...). I recently bought a HD receiver for my Satellite service, and need to see if I can get the local channels this far out.

After poking around on KOIN's web site to find out their HD broadcast coverage, tonight I found three great online resources: Antenna Web, CheckHD.com and TitanTV.com. Note that all three appear to share a common source information, so try all three and see what you come up with.

HDTV_PDX_map2Antenna Web is the Consumer Electronics Association's online resource for buying an antenna to meet your needs based on your address. Answer a few questions and you'll have an idea of what antenna hardware you'll require. Your Antenna Web results will include a list of the local broadcast stations in your market, the broadcast types and channels (and compass heading for pointing), as well as the type and size of antenna required to receive the signals. And you'll be able to view a map of your location with the available channels and bearing shown. No registration required, which is nice. For a sample map of results (my home), click the map image at right.

CheckHDCheckHD.com is another good site that doesn't require you to subscribe, and it provides you with quick information about what's available and what color code to be looking for when you pick an antenna. They also have lots of other great information, like the current state of DTV coverage in the United States.

TitanTV.com is an online service that also provides a set of electronic programming listings that tie into a variety of PVR systems, and you can sign up (it's free) to see listings for your location and to run some tools and find out what kind of HDTV coverage you have where you live.

The tools on the TitanTV web site help you determine what kind of equipment you might need to successfully receive HD signals, and even makes specific antenna recommendations. Note that with OTA broadcast HD, it's often an all-or-none thing (not like regular, analog TV, where you can get a fuzzy signal and just deal with it). There's also online TV listings (for whatever services you use - you specify them when you sign up).

The verdict? Well, I found out pretty much what I expected - It should work, but I am in a fringe reception area and will likely need to use a roof-mounted, high-gain antenna. If I do that, I should be okay.

I also found a link to the FCC's DTV web site, replete with annoying gratuitous flash animations. There's no escaping gratuitous flash. We paid someone to create that?? Ugh.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, May 14, 2005 9:16:20 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

I live In The Middle Of NowhereTM, and it seems recently I can't run the mowers fast enough to keep up with the grass growth (both lawn and field). It's gone from grey and dormant to green and growing like crazy, and the whole area now looks completely different.

This picture was two months ago (March 5th), when the grass was just starting to come back out:

Buddy-diogi-greyground

And this is today, after several mowing sessions over the past couple months. Without the mowing, the grass would be three or four feet tall by now. It's amazing each year how freakin' GREEN it gets around here. I know, people who have lived here all their lives roll their eyes and don't get it, but try growing up and living in the desert. Then you'll understand.

Diogi1-green

Diogi1run

House_yellowbroom



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Random Stuff
Saturday, May 14, 2005 6:11:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Duct_tape_wallet3M themselves have a web page (on their Canadian site) dedicated to providing a detailed description of how to make a men's wallet using nothing but a roll of Scotch® Duct Tape, a utility knife, a ruler and background music (optional).

"Most people agree that Duct Tape can save you money on costly repair bills but did you know that you could create a wallet to hold all of the money you’ve saved? It’s not as difficult as it sounds and in just a few simple steps, you could be the proud owner of this year’s most important fashion statement ('Duct Tape is my life')."

So, there's a good way to burn away a rainy weekend afternoon with the kids.



Add/Read: Comments [2]
Random Stuff
Saturday, May 14, 2005 11:57:03 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Xbox360logoKikizo.com has another (big ol') video of the XBOX 360 team discussing what's so cool about the upcoming console. This one's different than the Our Colony video from the other day (although it does share a little common footage).

Nice, and interesting how this marketing thing is happening... View the video here.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, May 14, 2005 9:36:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Friday, May 13, 2005

OneCareClient-screenshot_LARGEI heard a little about this upcoming Microsoft program earlier today (well, yesterday actually) so it's cool they just kicked out a press release: Microsoft just announced OneCare, a service offering that's geared toward the consumer PC market of unmanaged desktops. It will be available for beta testing by the public sometime in the future (see below).

A natural extension of the Windows Update and MBSA concepts, which can patch computers without user intervention and tell you where you stand from a security standpoint, OneCare will take that type of service to a new level. They'll be adding things like PC health management (performance maintenance) and data protection, as well as integrated spyware and bidirectional (yay!) firewall capabilities.

Features of OneCare will include:

  • Defense against evolving threats: Windows OneCare will provide automatically updated anti-virus, anti-spyware and two-way firewall protection.
  • Performance and reliability tools: PC owners will be able to choose to have Windows OneCare automatically carry out periodic maintenance tasks such as disk cleanup, hard-drive defragmentation and file repair. The service also will offer boot-time information and proactive support tools to help improve the customer experience.
  • Backup and restore capabilities: Windows OneCare will enable automated backup of files by category on CD and DVD, along with the option to back up all files on the system or only those that have changed since the last time the action was performed. If files are accidentally deleted or corrupted on the PC hard drive, the service is designed to restore saved versions or map them on a new PC.
  • Simple, integrated service experience: PC users will have one simple point of reference for checking the overall health of their system. Windows OneCare will automatically notify users of available updates or other recommended actions and enable users to easily act as needed. Otherwise, the service stays quiet and in the background.

Microsoft employees are having a shot at it this week for a dogfooding phase of testing, and the public will be able to use it during a beta phase later this year. If you want to nominate yourself to participate in the Public Beta, go to http://beta.microsoft.com and use "OneCare" as the guest ID there.

Kudos to Microsoft for an initiative-taking program that brings better managed services to unmangaed PCs.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
IT Security | Tech
Thursday, May 12, 2005 11:25:18 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

Xbox360The next version of the XBOX, called the XBOX 360, was announced today. They did this kinda lame thing for a half hour on MTV (but hey, what do you expect on that channel), but the device itself looks really awesome. Games, pictures, video, audio - it's a HD media center extender and game console and much more.

If you saw the MTV thing and found it lacking, check out this video. It's very good.

(found via Engadget)

UPDATE: Another preview video has hit the net.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Geek Out | Tech
Thursday, May 12, 2005 8:46:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Messagecast1MessageCast, the service that drives .NET alerts for many-a-weblog (and other services), has announced they've been acquired.

So, if you subscribe to MSN/.NET alerts through for this or other weblogs, they're offline for a bit and will apparently be announcing more shortly.

In an email from the company:

As part of the transition, we need to have you review new licensing terms. Our service will be temporarily disabled in preparation for this.

A follow-up email will be sent shortly which will allow you to re-enable alerts.

Interesting - Hmmm, I wonder who acquired them? I can guess...

UPDATE: Ah - just as I guessed - MessageCast was acquired by Microsoft:

"We have an important announcement: The MessageCast LiveMessage service has been acquired by Microsoft Corporation."



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Tech
Wednesday, May 11, 2005 12:24:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

I'm in the greater Seattle area for a few days at Microsoft for an event. It's all covered under non-disclosure, so no blogging about the content is allowed, but if anyone's around and wants to catch up, send me an email [greg(a)greghughes.net] and let me know.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff
Wednesday, May 11, 2005 10:54:24 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Monday, May 09, 2005

RevengeoftheSith_PosterJudging from what Jason Calacanis has to say (as well as from the early reviews of a few others), the newest Star Wars film, Revenge of the Sith, should be great. In fact, Jason says it's the best one of them all:

"Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is the greatest Star Wars film of all time.

As any Star Wars fan knows the most accepted ranking of the films is:

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Episode IV: A New Hope (the original Star Wars)
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Episode II: The Clone Wars
Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

You can now put Revenge of the Sith as number one, although I suspect some small percentage of folks might put it in the second position after The Empire Strikes Back."

Jason has also posted a podcast (MP3 recording) review of the film, so check it out if you're interested.

Even Kevin Smith (yes, that Kevin Smith) loved it (Caution - contains Plot Spoilers, so don't read it if you want to be surprised when you see the film! - link):

"...this flick is so satisfyingly tragic, you'll think you're watching "Othello" or "Hamlet."

"Look, this is a movie I was genetically predisposed to love. I remember being eight years old, and reading in "Starlog" that Darth Vader became the half-man/half-machine he was following a duel with Ben Kenobi that climaxed with Vader falling into molten lava. Now, twenty six years later, I finally got to see that long-promised battled - and it lived up to any expectation I still held. I was sad to see the flick end, but happy to know it's not the end of the "Star Wars" universe entirely (I've read stuff about a TV show...). "

(in part via Scoble's LinkBlog, in part via all that is Google)



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Movies | Random Stuff
Monday, May 09, 2005 6:26:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Sunday, May 08, 2005

DumpsterCollege students Craig Zboyovski and Jamie Berryhill have taken a old concept to a new medium, and actually it's a pretty cool idea.

Their web site, craigandjamiearepoor.com, tells the story:

"As the title says, we are poor. We need your help to be not poor, and you can do this by donating to our cause! Why donate to a charity when you don't know exactly where your money is going to? All proceeds given to us will be used, by us, to live the college life."

When someone donates $5 or more (PayPal is the main option, or they can choose snail mail), the pair creates a sign for use in a thank-you photo and posts it on their web site.

"The whole idea came from another Web site we were looking at," Zhoyovski recalled. "They were demanding money from people as a joke. That's when we both thought: Why not try it ourselves? We're both broke."

It seems to be working - they've made back the $40 they spent registering the domain name, plus another couple hundred bucks. Not too shabby for a couple of college kids.

I remember all too well what it was like when I was in school - Mac and Cheese and lots of potatoes and Top Ramen ruled my world. I discovered five bucks can go a long way in the right hands.

Perhaps the best part is the pair's promise to "pay it forward," to help some other college kids financially, once they get on in life and are able to do so.

By the way guys - next time there's no need to spend $40 to register a domain name - you can do it for under $10 nowadays.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Helping Others | Random Stuff
Sunday, May 08, 2005 10:11:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Here's Me (right), my mom, my brother Dave and his daughter, Dara. All together in one place for Mother's Day 2005.

Dara-dave-mom-greg



Add/Read: Comments [2]
Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Sunday, May 08, 2005 1:21:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Saturday, May 07, 2005

A couple days ago, I planned a bit of a scheme to surprise my mom on Mother's Day this weekend.

Today I flew from Portland to Denver and then got a car and drove up to Boulder. Only my brother knew I was coming, because I called him and told him a couple days ago when I got the tickets.

My mom and stepdad just moved to Colorado from New Mexico this past week, and when I arrived at the new house and snuck in the front door, Mom was putting dishes in cabinets. I stood behind her as she was talking to my stepbrother's wife, Kate, and put a hand on her shoulder. She just kept talking to Kate, and after a few seconds stood and turned around to see who has placed a hand on her.

She was (to say the least) surprised. The look on her face was more than worth the place ticket and the fact that today I flew on my ninth airplane in the past six days, and tomorrow I'll have to add one more to the list.

Next trip - dad's place in California. Need to plan that one soon. He reads this now and then so it won't be a surprise, but I'm overdue to pay a visit, for sure.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Saturday, May 07, 2005 8:37:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Thursday, May 05, 2005

From now til June 8th, you can do your best to hack an IIS 6.0 server, and if you're successful, you'll win an Xbox. WindowsIT Pro has issues their Hack IIS 6.0 Challenge.

If you think you've got what it takes, head on over and hack away!

  • May 2 - Challenge begins with very basic static HTML web site to focus hackers on hacking IIS code
  • May 16 - ASP.NET web site put up to give more potential hacking angles
  • June 8 - Contest ends
  • June 9 - Winner (or lack of winner) announced at TechEd in Orlando.

All the details are here, and the rules are here.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
IT Security | Tech
Thursday, May 05, 2005 10:16:21 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Microsoft recently opened the Beta program for Service Pack One for Virtual Server 2005.

SP1 provides support for 64-bit host operating systems including 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, performance enhancements, built-in support for network installations of guest operating systems, and several other features.

If you're a user of VS 2005 and want to enroll for the beta, visit the VS2005 SP1 information page. For information about Virtual Server 2005, go to the product page or read the whitepaper.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Tech
Thursday, May 05, 2005 4:28:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

I haven't done a whole lot of traveling recently, so when I did eight airplanes in three days earlier this week, it threw me for a bit of a loop. I think I was in Salt Lake City yesterday...

How do you really know when you're disoriented? I mean, if you're out of it, can you really judge whether or not you're out of it?

Here's one clue: I dutifully checked my calendar this morning and went to a 10am meeting. Only one problem. I was 24 hours early.

Yeah. Disoriented. Uh huh.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Random Stuff
Thursday, May 05, 2005 9:11:54 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Dave Bettin was right - it was worth the trip to Charleston in Omaha for a steak lunch. Wow. Much better than back in Oregon, for sure. It's been more than 15 years since I was last here. Now I see what they're all talking about.

Interestingly, the locals also say the best steaks get shipped out of Nebraska to people who will pay more. Hmmm... How do I get on that list??

There's this really, really bright thing in the sky, and when I go outside my eyes involuntarily squeeze shut. Anyone have any idea what that is?

Fast trip (too fast), nice people, heading back home this evening.



Add/Read: Comments [3]
Random Stuff
Wednesday, May 04, 2005 10:37:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  
 Monday, May 02, 2005

Lots and lots of SharePoint Portal Server related live webcasts coming up - here's a list of all the sessions (many are repeated):

Fri, 06 May 2005 TechNet Webcast: Getting Back to Normal: SharePoint Backup and Disaster Recovery (Level 300) Live Webcast
Thu, 12 May 2005 See how the Microsoft Office System can dramatically impact work productivity through collaboration Live Webcast
Mon, 16 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : SharePoint Services and Sites Architecture Live Webcast
Mon, 16 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Behind the Scenes – Site and List Definitions Live Webcast
Tue, 17 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Working With Web Parts Live Webcast
Tue, 17 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Programming with the SharePoint Object Model Live Webcast
Tue, 17 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : SharePoint Services and Sites Architecture Live Webcast
Wed, 18 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Behind the Scenes – Site and List Definitions Live Webcast
Wed, 18 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Working With Web Parts Live Webcast
Wed, 18 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Programming with the SharePoint Object Model Live Webcast
Thu, 19 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : SharePoint Services and Sites Architecture Live Webcast
Thu, 19 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Behind the Scenes – Site and List Definitions Live Webcast
Thu, 19 May 2005 Microsoft Business Solutions Webcast: SharePoint Portal Server 101 (Level 100) Live Webcast
Thu, 19 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Working With Web Parts Live Webcast
Fri, 20 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Programming with the SharePoint Object Model Live Webcast
Mon, 23 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : SharePoint Services and Sites Architecture Live Webcast
Mon, 23 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Behind the Scenes – Site and List Definitions Live Webcast
Tue, 24 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Working With Web Parts Live Webcast
Tue, 24 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Behind the Scenes – Site and List Definitions Live Webcast
Tue, 24 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Programming with the SharePoint Object Model Live Webcast
Tue, 24 May 2005 TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft IT Does SharePoint Portal Server Hosting (Level 300) Live Webcast
Tue, 24 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : SharePoint Services and Sites Architecture Live Webcast
Wed, 25 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Working With Web Parts Live Webcast
Wed, 25 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Programming with the SharePoint Object Model Live Webcast
Wed, 25 May 2005 TechNet Webcast: SharePoint Performance and Capacity Planning Best Practices and Lessons Learned (Level 300) Live Webcast
Thu, 26 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : SharePoint Services and Sites Architecture Live Webcast
Thu, 26 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Behind the Scenes – Site and List Definitions Live Webcast
Thu, 26 May 2005 See how the Microsoft Office System can dramatically impact work productivity through collaboration Live Webcast
Thu, 26 May 2005 Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: Portals in an Adaptive Enterprise Live Webcast
Thu, 26 May 2005 SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Site Development and Customization Workshop : Working With Web Parts Live Webcast
Fri, 27 May 2005 TechNet Webcast: SharePoint Portal Server 2003: Best Practices for an Implementation (Level 300) Live Webcast
Tue, 31 May 2005 Microsoft Business Solutions Webcast: Boosting Corporate Productivity Through Portals and Collaboration (Level 100) Live Webcast
Wed, 01 Jun 2005 Improving Case Management Live Webcast
Tue, 21 Jun 2005 Microsoft Executive Circle Webcast: SharePoint Deployment from Test to Production Live Webcast



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Office 2003 | SharePoint | Tech
Monday, May 02, 2005 8:58:56 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Microsoft has a couple of online webcast workshops on secure coding coming up:

Sounds interesting. Secure coding is critical - much more so now than ever. Every developer of any web app should be required to become and stay proficient in secure coding.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
IT Security | Tech
Monday, May 02, 2005 8:54:36 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

Not exactly a predictable couple of cities for me to be traveling to, but I am off on a whirl-wind trip to Toledo, Ohio and Omaha, Nebraska. Lots of IT and security kinds of things to think about, check out and make decisions around on this trip, which makes it fun in a way. I'll be back home on Wednesday night.

I'm not sure the fun actually compensates for a bad back and hours upon hours of airplane time (getting to Toledo is going to be rough), but at least I will have the good fortune to fly on a CRJ aircraft all the way back to Portland. They are smaller than your average airliner (it's a regional jet), yet they tend to be more comfortable, quieter and faster.

And thanks to Mike for feeding my dogs and cat while I am away.



Add/Read: Comments [2]
Random Stuff
Monday, May 02, 2005 8:12:36 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  

A little something for my developer friends...

Not that I'd recommend doing this in a production development environment or anything (there, that's my IT guy disclaimer), but this is great for goofing around on a play box:

Of course, you won't get any of those cool generics or partial classes that go along with the v2.0 framework, but you can at least target v1.1 and still use the new VS IDE.



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Tech
Monday, May 02, 2005 12:40:58 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#