Thursday, May 28, 2009

Here's a non-technical post. I shot a few pictures in my yard this morning as the sun was coming up. We've certainly been blessed with some incredibly nice weather recently, after a whole bunch of rain. There are a zillion wild irises blooming across my property. Click each image for the full-size version, if you like.

 



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Random Stuff
Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:02:46 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shorthand used to be reserved for stenographers and people who took dictation or a lot of notes. But for the vast majority of us it was never fun. Remember those days? Now shorthand is cool again, but in text messages sent and received on cell phones. And it seems as if everyone under 25 is doing it (as well as some of us old people).

Parents, if you're lost in the world of texting because the abbreviated vocabulary is confusing, no worries. Mobile phone manufacturer LG has released a new web site that allows you to decode txt message slang, and you can use it at http://www.lgdtxtr.com/.

So now you can get a better handle on what your kids are up to. Enjoy.



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Mobile | Safe Computing | Tech
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 9:13:39 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Exchange Server 2010 is just around the corner, and Microsoft is gearing up to present a month of webcasts starting June 1st to introduce the new version to us. The webcast schedule is below. You can get the beta of Exchange Server 2010 here.

6/1/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 High Availability
Welcome to the future! The future of Exchange high availability, that is. In this webcast, we reveal the changes and improvements to the built-in high availability platform in Exchange Server 2010. Exchange 2010 includes a unified framework for high availability and disaster recovery that is quick to deploy and easy to manage. Learn about all of the new features in Exchange 2010 that make it the most resilient, highly available version of Exchange ever.

6/3/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Overview
This webcast will introduce you to Exchange Server 2010, reviewing the major areas of investment for this release and highlighting marquee features.

6/8/09 - 1:00pm PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Management Tools
Exchange 2010 includes new capabilities that make the operation of your Exchange environment more efficient. Learn how we've made the Exchange Management Console more powerful, extended the reach of PowerShell, and made it easier to delegate management tasks.

6/10/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Archiving and Retention
This webcast will introduce new ways to address archiving and retention with Exchange Server 2010.

6/15/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Outlook Web Access
Exchange 2010 brings new features and functionality to Outlook Web Access. See product demonstrations of the latest capabilities and understand how browser-based communication and collaboration gets better than ever in Exchange 2010.

6/17/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Architecture
This webcast describes the overall architecture of Exchange 2010 and key considerations for the scalability and performance of each server role. This webcast will provide the background and framework for the other Exchange 2010 webcasts, serving as a bridge between the overview session and drill-downs in each product area. This webcast is a recommended pre-requisite for the Exchange 2010 transition and deployment webcast.

6/22/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Federation in Exchange 2010
Federation is a key part of the architecture of Exchange 2010, powering new organization-to-organization sharing scenarios. Learn how federation enhances the capabilities of Exchange 2010 and enables advanced coexistence between Exchange Server and Exchange Online.

6/24/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Voice Mail enabled by Unified Messaging
Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging is Microsoft's second generation unified messaging and voice mail solution. In this webcast, learn about the features, benefits, and architecture of Unified Messaging in Exchange 2010.

6/24/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Information Protection and Control
This webcast will introduce you to new ways to address information protection and control with Exchange Server 2010. A discussion of the use of encryption and rights management in parallel with Exchange will be included as well as an introduction to new functionality in Exchange that supports information protection scenarios.

7/1/09 - 9:00am PT: TechNet Webcast: Exchange 2010 Transition and Deployment
In this session we will cover the migration planning and deployment path to move an organization from Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010.



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Tech
Wednesday, May 27, 2009 9:01:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Many people already know that I hold fireworks display operator/pyrotechnician licenses in both Oregon and Washington. So, every year I "shoot" a few (or more) large public display shows. In other words, the professional shows that cost quite a bit of money and make big noises and splashes of light.

Every year I invite people to come help me with the operation of the show on July 4th. It's a fun and exciting way to spend Independence Day, and it's not often that people get a chance to set up, load and shoot a big fireworks show.

But, here's your chance. If you're interested in joining me for July 4th in Des Moines, Washington (which is just south of SeaTac airport and north of Federal Way) to set up, fire and clean up a big show for the city, let me know by sending me an email or giving me a call! My contact info is in the sidebar of this site. We shoot this particular show off the end of a pier over the water. We'll start in the morning and load all the equipment down to the end of the pier, shoot the show and then remove the equipment and clean things up.

It's a bit of work, but it's also a truly unique experience and a whole lot of fun. Heck, how often do you get to blow up thousands of dollars of someone else's stuff? You'll handle the shells, set up and load the mortars, help wire them all up to the firing equipment, learn all about how they work, participate in a full set of safety lessons, and - most importantly - you'll be a key part of bringing an awesome July 4th celebration to the people of the city of Des Moines.

Feel free to let me know if you might like to participate. Safety always comes first and you will be trained in everything you need to know to safely be a crew member. Don't be bashful, there are a few crew slots open and I welcome your help and participation! The requirements for crew participation (per the U.S. government) are: United States citizen or legal resident, at least 18 years old, no felony convictions, and a few other details that I can explain to anyone who wants to participate.

Thanks, and hope to have you on the crew! Get in touch! To pique your interest, here's a sample video of a show we operated a couple years ago in Walla Walla:



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Fireworks | Random Stuff
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 3:49:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, May 06, 2009

If you're in or anywhere close to Portland, Oregon and you care about software development from a coder's perspective, there's a terrific (and FREE) event coming up on May 30th that you should definitely attend: Portland Code Camp 2009.

If you're interested in learning from cool, smart people or if you have some area of code passion you'd like to share with others (no experience necessary - seriously!), then go check it out and sign up now.

The 2009 Portland Code Camp is a free mini-conference that is a community-driven event by, and for people who write software. The event features sessions on all kinds of software and technologies, regardless of language, vendor, or platform. Code camp brings the software development community together, focusing on the common act of creating software. It is designed for all interest, all levels, and all ages.

Be a Presenter! The 2009 Portland Code Camp is a great opportunity to present a session on a piece of code, a technology, or a project that excites you. Share your knowledge and experience with others. If you've never presented in public before, code camp gives you a opportunity in a warm, friendly setting.

About this FREE Community Event in Portland

A. Concept. Portland Code Camp is a community event focused on the needs and interests of the developer community, and where we can learn from each other. Anyone is welcome to attend and anyone can propose a session on any development related topic. Final session selection is based on the interest expressed by those planning to attend. If the developer community is not interested in a topic, it just doesn’t make the ‘cut’.

B. Community. Portland Code Camp is about the developer community. ‘Real’ developers, not business interests guide all stages of planning for the event. And ‘real’ developers (those planning to attend) express their interest in session topics.

C. Cost. Portland Code Camp will always be ‘FREE’ to the developer community. There are no charges to attend any of the Portland Code Camp activities. We do raise funds from Sponsors, but Sponsors have no control over the sessions selected.

D. Sessions. Sessions may range from ‘white board’ discussions to down in the trenches coding. Session presenters should present materials that is their own original or derivative work, free of copyright encumbrances. All session materials, code samples, scripts, even slides, will be made available to attendees. Session presenters should only offer material, including code, that is available to re-use, adapt, and alter for the attendee’s own education, projects and even work.

E. Presenters. Anyone is encouraged to offer a presentation. Portland Code Camp provides a ‘low-key’ opportunity for inexperienced folks to make their first public presentation efforts. Some presenters will be experienced and some will be making their first public presentation. The Portland Code Camp audience is quite supportive of first time presenters. Most presenters will be from the Portland area, while a few may be from outside the area.

F. Code. Portland Code Camp sessions will focus on coding –with few exceptions. We encourage presenters to keep their presentations with the realm of ‘code’; a few sessions may have such informative value that they will be permitted without code. But such sessions will only occur if they garner sufficient interest (see paragraph ‘A’ above).

G. Schedule. Portland Code Camp occurs on evenings and weekends in order to reduce work related scheduling conflicts.



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Geek Out | Tech
Wednesday, May 06, 2009 12:50:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I recently took advantage of an in-store offer to replace my water-damaged 16GB iPhone 3G with a 8GB version for $199 with no contract extensions, just paid the money and walked out with it. And in my case I got to keep the old one, which makes a great WiFi-enabled MP3 player.

Apparently (according to reports) it's now official policy/program now for Apple stores to allow problematic iPhones where the water damage sensors (there are four of them) have been "tripped" (discolored do to extended water exposure) to be replaced with the same size and model for $199. That's a great move for people like me who do things like ski, boat and oh, I dunno... Live in the freakin' rain.

So, if you have a problematic iPhone that you have been told is not covered under warranty, you might be able to take advantage of this policy.

More info here.



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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, May 05, 2009 9:21:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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When the now-long-forgotten HD disc format wars were just barely getting started, I jumped on the bandwagon early and bought the HD-DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 (at the original higher price, even). I also purchased a number of HD movies in the "Red" (HD-DVD) format and soon discovered the wonders of 1080p movies at home on the Xbox 360.

Ultimately, Blu-ray won the battle to determine which of the two competing formats would survive to become the industry standard. Today I rent Netflix movies in Blu-ray format whenever they are available, and there's nothing like the experience of great movies in high-definition in the home theater room with a 120-inch 1080p projected image and the sound cranked up.

I'm one of those people that buys movies I especially like or one that I'll want to watch again in the future. Unless it's really a favorite I'm more likely to rent from Netflix. Ever since the death of the red disc and the day I bought a PS3 (essentially to use as a Blu-ray player), I've wished I could play all my HD movies on the one device, just for simplicity's sake. But it doesn't work that way. I still hope for the day when a Blu-ray drive comes available for the Xbox 360, but I'm not holding my breath or anything.


Today I was reading blog posts from the past couple weeks and I saw that my friend Travis Illig recently mentioned a service from Warner Brothers called Red2Blu that allows you to take your HD-DVD's from that label and trade them in for the Blu-Ray version for a small fee per disc ($4.95). After creating a list of the Warner Brothers HD-DVDs you have at home on their web site and paying the upgrade fee with a credit card, you'll print out the PDF shipping label they provide, and then mail WB the cover art sleeves from the HD-DVDs you're converting to Blu-Ray. A FAQ covering common topics can be found here.

I just printed my shipping label and pulled all my cover art out of the HD-DVD cases. I'll ship it all off to WB tomorrow. It'll be nice to make the movie library a bit more consistent. I'll need to look to see if any of the other publishing companies have a similar program, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that all but three of my HD-DVDs were from the WB label, so I'm pretty well covered. Here are the discs I'm able to convert:



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Movies | Tech
Monday, May 04, 2009 11:25:31 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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