Tuesday, 24 February 2004

I've been wondering exactly what happened to the Mars Spirit rover's computer when it crashed on Mars (the computer that is, not the rover). Now I know. Cool read (especially for geeks), and if you think about how they fixed it - and how far away that thing is... I'd have killed to have seen the pocket protectors flying out of the mister-random-computer-troubleshooter-guy's shirt just as he realized what the problem was and as he flew down the hall to tell his fellow scientists.

Realizing you can fix a radiation-hardened R6000 CPU from Lockheed-Martin Federal Systems with 120 Mbytes of RAM and 256 Mbytes of flash, mounted in a 6U VME chassis, with custom cards that interface to systems on the rover, running Wind River Systems' Vx-Works version 5.3.1 operating system, used with its flash file system extension? And all from 35 million miles away?


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Tuesday, 24 February 2004 06:35:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 23 February 2004

I decided I should set up a stats program and see who's visiting this web site, what's being read, stuff like that. Granted, one day's worth of stats are not much to go on, but there are some interesting things that came out of the first day or so of statistics gathering.

First is the search phrases that people typed into their favorite search engine (Google is by far the most common one used to link to my site in the stats) and then clicked through to find this site:

created with microsoft office onenote 28 63.6 %
greg hughes 4 9 %
xml office 2003 bill coan 2 4.5 %
word documents have no teeth 1 2.2 %
twins portland oregon 1 2.2 %
how did the united states get oregon 1 2.2 %
spinning tires ice hill blog 1 2.2 %
onenote tab .net control 1 2.2 %
acer c300 problems 1 2.2 %
houses sold on deer island oregon 1 2.2 %
onenote blog 1 2.2 %
ie toolbar visual studio 1 2.2 %
open in new window ms04-004 1 2.2 %

“twins portland oregon????” Hmmmmmm.... ;-)

Keywords list:

office 30 14.8 %
onenote 30 14.8 %
with 28 13.8 %
microsoft 28 13.8 %
created 28 13.8 %
greg 4 1.9 %
hughes 4 1.9 %
oregon 3 1.4 %
xml 2 0.9 %
coan 2 0.9 %
blog 2 0.9 %
bill 2 0.9 %
2003 2 0.9 %

Fascinating stuff, really. Other interesting figures that amaze me (not):

  • 14% of the people who viewed the site added the page to their favorites (I have no idea how this gets logged, but I guess it does). 
  • I'm indexed by a whole bunch of search engines - many of which I never heard of.
  • A lot of people who view my site content do so via the RSS feed. Only one or two people appear to be syndicating the site via the Atom feed.
  • My OneNote blogging entries are popular, and people are also clicking on the OneNote .one and .wma audio files.
  • I am nowhere close to reaching my bandwidth usage limit, so if you need a site hosted and you happen to know me personally, feel free to ask - I have a reseller account and so far I don't charge my friends. :-) Oh, and you can use your own domain name or piggyback on one of several I have registered. And if you want to register one, you can do so here for only $10, and the customer service is at least ten times better than [cough cough] Verisign/Netsol [cough hack cough].

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Monday, 23 February 2004 21:51:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 21 February 2004

If you do - time to clean up and rake in the prizes. Microsoft has a contest running for businesses that can tell a great story about how Windows Server 2003 addresses challenges and makes a difference in the real world. It's the Windows Server 2003 Challenge, and the prizes are pretty sweet, so if you have a story, give it a shot! I'd enter, but they already wrote a case study about ours, so we're not elligible. Be sure to read the complete rules, too.

... To be eligible for judging in Round Two, online entries must be received no later than 11:59 PM PT on March 28, 2004 (07:59 GMT March 29). Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. By entering the Contest, you agree to allow a Microsoft representative to contact you regarding potential Solution Brief/Case Study development and reference opportunities.

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Saturday, 21 February 2004 09:37:15 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Okay, I have been asked this a zillion times now - each time by people who for some reason that escapes me think that *I* would know anything about .NET, what it is, how it works, etc.

I'm not completely ignorant on the matter - I do understand the concepts, architecture, how it all fits together. But I am definfitely not a programmer, and beyond the basics of describing what it is, I can't help much.

In fact, I was at a conference earlier this week along with a bunch of other corporate IT-leader types, and one thing that surprised me was how few knew what .NET is (other than the fact that its something their systems are built on and their developers talk about in gobbledygook secret code language all day long). I suppose the fact that the crowd at the conference was all upper-level and executive management types allowed the people there to come out of their shells a little bit, and to openly ask the people around them what the heck this .NET thing is, anyhow (without fear of some developer rolling eyes, I guess :-)).

Now, I always figured it's good to know these things ahead of time, but when some of the Microsofties I know started bringing people over to me so I could explain .NET ... Well, you get the picture.

Of course, what people need is a good, clean, concise explanation of the technology in layman's terms, not programmer-speak, and not more than a couple of minutes. As I recently noted when I wrote about “What is XML?” it's not always what you know, it's more often than not what resources you can find and how you use them.

Anyhow, point is that these days, when I am asked “What the heck is .NET anyhow?” I like to point people to a web page that Microsoft recently put together which - for the first time - provides a very brief, concise and easy to understand overview of the basics of the “What is .NET?” question. Check it out here.

There's more to it than what's on that page, but the links get you to the next level of detail (and they keep it simple at that level, as well, which is good).

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Saturday, 21 February 2004 09:21:51 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 19 February 2004

Collaboration solutions from Microsoft have changed significantly over time. The newest offerings can be a bit overwhelming if you have not been following their release over the past several months (and part of the blame for that goes to Microsoft for not doing the most effective job of making people aware through their marketing, IMHO... The television commercials are “cute“ but don't actually tell anyone anything about the new products, so unless you've gone looking for the new technology proactively on your own, you're not too likely to be aware).

But the advertising is not an indicator of the quality of the actual products - these are some really powerful tools. A quick article over at MSDN sorts out Microsoft's collaboration technologies, and provides a basic, decent and not-too-deep view of where it started and how it got where it is today. It also helps make some sense of what's here now and how it can be effectively applied.

Make no mistake: The way of the future has been seen, and this is the path. If you have not invested in some sort of collaborative technologies, it's worth a look - you can get a lot for a relatively small investment, and the next age of computing applications will - I am telling you now - be centered around mobility and collaboration, the two technologies these new products are taking to the next level right now.

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Thursday, 19 February 2004 21:32:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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My friend Scott Hanselman will be on the .NET Rocks! show (an internet radio broadcast for those who are one with this thing they call .NET) tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9am Pacific Time. This should be fun:

Scott Hanselman takes on ASP.NET - LIVE!
February 20, 2004

He's back and he's pissed! Not really, but we've always wanted to say that. Scott Hanselman talks with Carl and Rory about the following:

* Declarative Programming
* "Word Documents have no teeth"
* Client Side Validation
* Code Generation - CodeSmith
* Caching
* Performance Counters in ASP.NET
* Perf Testing
* "A caste system for APIs"
* other ideas: blogging trends, usenet, google, toolbars, future interfaces,
* where he's speaking this quarter....
* DevDays
* Whidbey

As always, Scott lays his "must-have" tool list on us.

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Thursday, 19 February 2004 20:16:51 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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