Friday, 11 June 2004

Sprint PCS has a new set of TV commercials out making fun of the run-around method of mobile phone billing. Obviously, the practice of micro-billing applies to other industries, as well, but I'm not bringing this up to rant about billing practices.

I'm mentioning this because these are some of the funniest and most effective commercials I've seen in a while.

Oh, Ben! Wow... You know that you went over your Macaroni minutes last month?

Heh. I laugh every time I see these ads. The look on that kid's face cracks me up. Someone at Sprint PCS needs to take a victory bow - good job. Effective and memorable advertising.

Oh, and the rate plan idea they're advertising - changing your plan month-to-month to give you the best plan based on your actual usage - is a cool idea, too. Hey AT&T Wireless - pay attention! :-P

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Humor | Random Stuff
Friday, 11 June 2004 19:56:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 10 June 2004

Open-Source and Linux OS aficionados of the greater Portland metro area, rejoice! It appears that Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, is moving to Portland after his kids finish school in California next week.

He'll be overseeing the Open Source Development Labs in Beaverton.

OSDL - home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux - is dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise.

Very cool.

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Thursday, 10 June 2004 22:09:12 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft has published online chapters from the SharePoint Products and Technologies Resource Kit, which was just released in book form. Good chapters here it appears, and the printed book of course comes with a companion CD-ROM, which includes a fully searchable eBook along with tools, scripts, and other useful items for SharePoint developers and implementers.

One example of useful tools (I was told the other day by a Microsoft employee who works on SharePoint in the field) is a tool to deal with ghost files. Avner Kashtan just posted about that exact problem. Hopefully the resource kit will provide him and everyone else dealing with WSS and Portal Server beyond an out-of-the-box implementation with the documentation and tools that SharePoint technologies have been sorely in need of since they hit the market a few years ago.

Also, Bill Simser, a SharePoint MVP in Alberta, Canada, is looking for ideas to create some SharePoint apps that he will release to the community. Nice to get ideas from the people who might use the code.

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SharePoint | Tech
Thursday, 10 June 2004 06:38:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 09 June 2004

The final release of Windows Media Player 10 was done on September 2, 2004. Click here for more.

I recently posted about the Windows Media Player 10 technical beta release. Since I have seen a rather large number of search engine referrals from people looking for ways to uninstall the software (it may not be very friendly in that area, but what can you expect from a tech beta...) I thought I would post a quick update. As far as my experience with uninstalling, I was able to do a system restore and successfully revert back to WMP9 (some have said this did not work for them - but that was not my experience). As far as I can tell, system restore is the only real way to roll back from Win Media 10 (Click Start-All Programs-Accessories-System Tools-System Restore. Note that you need to restore to a point *before* the one where that shows you installed Media Player 10.)

Note: Judging by the number of search referrers from Google and Yahoo that point to this entry with “uninstall windows media player 10” in the referrer address, here is a starting point that hopefully will help - but the linked pages are not my advice, and I make no warranty of any kind:

Support Newsgroups at Microsoft for Windows Media Player 10 Beta
Uninstalling 10 to 9
Thread: Can't use/uninstall WMP10

Who would have thought my web log entry would be first on Google for that phrase? Crazy...

And a quick (not quite as helpful) note to people who installed and are having problems: This is beta software, blatantly labeled as such, so a bug-free experience should be the exception, not the rule. In other words, no surprise whatsoever that it's glitchy. That said, please use the newsgroup link above and post your issues with helpful and descriptive language. Remember the newsgroups are for getting help and reporting problems, so don't flame, but be complete in the info you provide. For a list of the information you should provide, look here. Help make the next version better - earn your whining privilege. ;-)

Lots of opinions out there about the interface changes and - surprise surprise - lots of people whining about why the beta release isn't perfect. My opinion is that the interface changes are a step in the right direction. It's just easier to use.

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Tech | Windows Media Technology
Wednesday, 09 June 2004 20:32:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Hmmmmm, a very cool new “keyboard” is out (well, or maybe not out since it shows to be out-of-stock, but it’s at least available to buy).  The Virtual Keyboard, to be exact. From the product description:

The Virtual Laser Keyboard leverages the power of laser and infrared technology and projects a full-size keyboard onto any flat surface. Compatible with Palm handhelds with Palm Universal Connector, iPAQ Pocket PCs h19/22/38/39/41/43/5000 series, Sony Clie handhelds and desktop and laptop PCs. As you type on the laser projection; it analyzes what you're typing by the coordinates of that location.

Unlike many small snap-on keyboards for PDAs, the Virtual Laser Keyboard provides a full-size QWERTY keyboard. It is also smaller and more convenient to use than the folding-type keyboards made by some manufacturers and similar to them in functionality.

There are no mechanical moving parts whatsoever in the Virtual Laser Keyboard. It provides a projected image that is the perfect portable input device for PDAs. It's similar in responsiveness to regular keyboards, but extremely futuristic looking.

(via ComputerZen)

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Random Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, 09 June 2004 16:12:12 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 08 June 2004

TechNet's security team has just announced the first version of an RSS feed for its security bulletins.

Finally! There's lots of RSS feeds out there, many of them useful, but this one just got added to my high-priority list. The format is perfect - a headline with the MS-code, description, and update number folowed by a complete description of the update. Anyone responsible - even remotely - for security patching needs this to subscribe.

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IT Security | RSS Stuff | Tech
Tuesday, 08 June 2004 20:57:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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