Saturday, 04 October 2003
Well its been while since I last updated. It figures that the times when you're busiest are the times you have the most to write, but because you're so damn busy, you don't have time to write... Lots of Microsoft related stuff to share, plus some other things.

So, here I am on Saturday morning, still at work, got about an hour or maybe a little more of sleep on a couch in someone's office. It's been along time since I've pulled one of these all-nighters, and I won't be doing so on purpose again any time soon. We did a (resoundingly) successful upgrade of our Windows 2000 domain controllers here to Windows Server 2003 last night. It was great and went much faster and smoother than we thought. Unfortunalely, though, there's always one thing that doesn't quite work as you'd hope, and this time was no exception. Perhaps a bit surprisingly to some, the problem had absolutely nothing to do with Windows 2003, but instead with a third-party vendor's hardware and software, and a truly crappy support technician who works for that th-rd-party vendor on the other end of the line. End result? Three people with little to no sleep and that always-wonderful post-adreneline crash. :) But hey - it's all good now (very good), and that's what counts.

I will be participating in the keynote address as a speaker at four of the Microsoft Office 2003 System launch events later this month and in early November. I will be on the stage in Portland, Boise, Spokane and Albuquerque along with the keynote speakers, talking about our company's early adoption and deployment of Office 2003, SharePoint Portal Server, SharePoint Team Services, Live Communication Server, Exchange 2003, and other various and sundry things. It should be a lot of fun and it looks to be a worthwhile event for anyone who has an interest. Sign up soon though, it's getting tight in some venues. I know Seattle has gone to waiting-list only and Portland is getting close to capacity.

I have a new program on my "Way Cool" list: Microsoft OneNote. Wow, who'da thunk such a simple concept could work this well and be this useful? If you are someone who carries a notebook around and takes notes a lot, or if you're like me and you hate actually getting organized, but still wish you had a place to store stuff and organize it so you can refer to it later, you have to check this out. Plus it integrates with the Office System stuff I mentioned above. I love this thing. Oh yeah - if you happen to have a tablet PC, all the more reason to check this out. Ink baby! But it's great on any computer, for sure.

I'm thinking I will need to seriously check out Windows Media Center 2004, which was recently launched. I am planning to get a projector for my home to replace my big screen TV, which is nearly 7 years old now (still a great TV but hey, it's time). I have this huge room where I can project a 10-foot picture and set up the surround system. Looking at this nifty version of Windows, I am thinking seriously that it might be worth trying. Support for hi-def and combining DVR and many other capabilities is definitiely way cool.

You may or may not know about one of my favorite daily arrivals in my email inbox: the Lockergnome newsletters. Chris Pirillo started these things up several years ago. Back when he was first starting out he and I used to email ideas back and forth now and then. He's a driven guy, and has done some amazing things with his franchise. Over time, Lockergnome added more newletters, and now has several to choose from. My personal favorites are the tech Specialist and Windows Daily, but there are others for Linux fans and other areas of interest. The other day Chris announced that the primary author of the Tech Specialist newsletter is moving on to other things. I hope it will continue to thrive - it's a great source of information and ideas.

That's it for now, plenty more to write about, but I will save it for later.

- g

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Saturday, 04 October 2003 09:14:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 15 September 2003
In perfect style, Microsoft released their Office Online web site, intended in part to let you learn more about Office 2003, which is about to be released.

So, I saw a section on the front page called "In the Spotlight: Infopath" and a link called "Designing Forms." "Cool," I thought - "I can learn something useful." So I click the link... and I get:
Buy Office 2003

You have arrived at this page because you selected an item that is available only if you have a Microsoft Office 2003 Edition product installed. Any Office user can still access most of the content on Microsoft Office Online, including content that you are used to working with on our former site, Microsoft Office Tools on the Web. But to view some of the new content on Office Online, you must have an Office 2003 Edition product installed on your computer.

To read and work with this premium new content - including all training courses and some templates, clip art, and more - you just need to upgrade to an Office 2003 edition product. All of the premium content is indicated by the symbol.
Of course, that symbol wasn't there, and while I do have Office 2003 installed at work all over the place, I don't yet have it at home. To learn about Office 2003 and decide if I want to use it, one has to first install Office 2003.... Hmmm...

I don't know what I was expecting.

- g

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Monday, 15 September 2003 19:32:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Speaking of Google, which is of course the best thing on the Internet since sliced bread, check out this Google search page. Cool huh?

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Monday, 15 September 2003 19:17:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 13 September 2003
I figured I would start some useful Googling today and see if I could find any sign of any of the foster kids that lived with me over the years, just to see what they may be up to these days. I've been curious and had some extra time this afternoon, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Oh and by the way if you have not yet seen googlism, check it out.

Sure enough, the one kid I thought I might find (well, not a kid anymore...) was notably mentioned many times in newspapers and athletic department results for his rodeo championships. Wow. This was a kid who, with his brother, was literally left at someone's house by a parent with a promise to pick them up that evening, and then no-show. Two weeks later they came to live with me for quite a while, til suddenly the other parent was found in a different state and was able to take them in. Now there he is, successful, in college, and apparently still a never-give-up kind of guy: He broke his neck/back on a bareback ride and kept competing in the state finals, then on to college. Newspapers wrote about it. Yep, that's him, and I am sure he did it all with a smile on his face. Literally. Just the kind of person he is.

It's good to see one of those kids following his dreams, being successful. I hope he kept playing baseball, too. But horses - that was the thing. Good for him. :)

- g

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Saturday, 13 September 2003 18:16:10 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback has made some changes to the way they are doing things to go along with their "birthday."

Of interest: "... The one big feature we are debuting is "Get Up to Speed," which helps you, well, get up to speed on--and make sense of--the six technologies and trends we believe are getting the most notice in the tech world: Enterprise Security, Open Source, Utility Computing, Voice over IP, Web Services and Wi-Fi ..."

Well, at least on the web services and security subjects, they'll have my attention for at least a while longer. Cool.

- g

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Saturday, 13 September 2003 16:06:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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So I have been thinking about what I should do during my vacation time that I need to take between now and the end of the year (the ol' use-it-or-lose-it thing), and I keep thinking back to what seems to happen every time I take a vacation: I invariably get really tired after a couple of day, sleep way more than usual for a few days more, and then have maybe a day or two feeling like I might actually be able to get to a point where I could feel clear-headed and rejuvenated, if only I could start my vacation the next day.

And if you add any kind of travel to the mix, it just extends the initial critical recovery time.

Which leads me to realize that in order to have a worthwhile vacation, I need to schedule it like this:
a) Four days off work, but not yet going anywhere. This will allow me to catch up on laundry, think of what I need to go wherever I am going (remember, my brain is not working well at this point), actually find the things I need, pack, and clean the house so it's at least presentable when I get back (nothing quite as bad as coming back from vacation to a mess stress). Plus one day at work to deal with whatever they forgot to throw at me and which has now become an emergency.[elapsed = 5 days]

b) One extra day to rest before I have to go anywhere. Those first five days nearly killed me. [elapsed = 6 days]

c) One more day to do all the last-minute things I forgot about in the first four days but remember now because of the time I took on day five. [elapsed = 7 days]
(there goes 40 hours...)
d) One day to travel to wherever I am going. [elapsed = 8 days]

e) Three days to mostly sleep and do some vacation-like things but without enough energy, and I won't remember them very clearly anyhow, so this should be the time for all those shops and crap that people seem to like. [elapsed = 11 days]

f) Now vacation starts. Seven days to see the sites, relax and have some fun [elapsed = 18 days]
(Uh oh we hit 80 hours of vacation in there somewhere)
g) One day to travel back home. Invariably at this point I come down with a sore throat and sinus infection. [elapsed = 19 days]

h) Sleep for 24 hours [elapsed = 20 days]

i) I now require one week to unplug the phone, turn off the computer, and do nothing but home projects. This is what finally clears my mind and makes me ready to go back. [elapsed = 27 days]
So, looks like 4 weeks should do it. I'll need the extra day to find my office anyhow, if I am gone that long. Of course, that's 4 weeks in a row. And 160 hours of vacation time (which, conveniently, is slightly more than I have to burn between now and the end of the year).

Hey, no problem, right? I am sure my projects will just lead themselves and everything will magically work out in the end.

Later, I'll explore the possibilities of spreading that time out, and look at the implications of that plan.

- g

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Saturday, 13 September 2003 12:48:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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