Sunday, 20 June 2004

Delorme has a great and relatively new GPS device out called the Earthmate GPS Receiver. The name's not new, but this version runs off USB power, so none of the separate power cords like their old stuff used to require, and no more serial ports to fight with (for that matter, my new laptop doesn't even have a serial port).

What's so special about it? Well, for starters you plug it in, along with the Street Atlas 2004 USA software that comes with it, and you're pretty much instantly listening to your computer give you turn-by-turn directions to wherever you want to go. Plus, you can talk to your computer, verbally giving commands like "Next turn?" or "Where am I?" The computer answers your questions.

So, that sounds pretty neat you say, but so what? Well, on a recent trip to California, I spent a weekend with a friend in a rental car, traversing the southern part of the state. Everywhere we went we used the laptop with the GPS device, and we were able to find things that otherwise would have been pretty difficult, we always knew where we were, and ultimately we were able to quickly plan routes and get to places. We did a lot in a few days, and had fun in the process.

There's a bunch of new fancy GPS devices on the market, selling for over a thousand dollars. If you have a laptop and want great functionality, don't spend the money on the expensive stuff. Try this first.



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AudioBlogging | Random Stuff | Tech
Sunday, 20 June 2004 09:03:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I want to write something about my dad. Nothing flowery, nothing earth-shattering. Just that I love him, that I am proud to be his son, and that I hope he has a great Fathers Day.

He's been there when I was at my worst, and for that I am grateful.

So - Thank you, Dad. And by the way, I can't find your cell phone number again, and I tried you at home and work. Call me, why don't ya. ;-)

Fathers Day is a hard one for me. I am happy for my dad and my relationship with him, and also sad for other reasons on this day each year. But for both of the people on my mind this day, I am truly grateful for those relationships and the time I have been privileged to spend.

I'm also lucky to have good friends who think about me on days like this. They dropped off a card while I was out this evening. On the face it reads, "Those we hold most dear never truly leave us." I believe that.

Days like today are important. They give us pause, to thank those who have meant so much, and to remember those who have gone before us.

Happy Fathers Day.



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Personal Stories
Saturday, 19 June 2004 23:41:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 19 June 2004

As a homeowner of a house and a few acres in the Middle of Nowhere, I've become very well acquainted with the Home Depot over the past couple of years. I love Home Depot. Here's a few reasons why.

  1. Even though I hate credit cards, I got one from Home Depot. They have regular promotions (meaning almost all the time) that allow you to charge any purchase over $300 with no payments and no interest for 12 months. Granted, it gets expensive if you don't pay it all off before time runs out, but that's not a problem in my case - I always pay it off each month. If you have issues with charging up credit cards and getting into a world of Financial Hell, just skip this part completely, you'll be happier. :-)
  2. Internet-only specials. For example, this weekend they have a special for Internet purchases only, not available in the store, for price reductions on a variety of items, including two power tools I have been considering buying. Needless to say, they got purchased today.
  3. Free shipping specials. Right now if you place an order for more than $49, they'll ship it for free, as long as its not something super heavy or huge. What counts for huge? Well, not 12-inch compound miter saws or 10-inch portable table saws, if that gives you an idea. Granted, it's ground shipping, but hey - it's free.

So, I saved $55 on the tools, got free shipping, and no payments and no interest for 12 months. I'll pay it off next month, but it's nice to know I have the option to spread it out if I want to.

Plus, they're everywhere and easy to find. They're also easy when it comes to returning items that don't fit or don't work or that you don't like or whatever. I can go there and learn stuff in free classes on the weekends.

The only complaint I have about Home Depot (if you can call it that) is that their concrete floors are so darn hard, and the stores are so darn big, that by the time I'm done shopping my feet, legs and back are killing me. Of course, Costco has the same problem. Put down some of that nifty hard rubber floor material you sell, and I'll stick around a little longer each time I shop. Maybe you'll sell more stuff.



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Random Stuff
Saturday, 19 June 2004 16:57:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 18 June 2004

Wil Wheaton posts an entry about a great idea. Military troops are having their service times extended, and Google is giving away their free and highly-coveted 1GB email accounts - by invitation only - to random people. Why not do some good here, and give military personnel and their families a way to share bigger items like pictures of the kids, movies, etc?

GMAIL for the Troops.

It's a great idea.



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Random Stuff
Friday, 18 June 2004 06:39:41 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 17 June 2004

Eli Robillard has a list of SharePoint resources that he has posted on his weblog site.

He's divided it in to topical areas and has posted a fairly long list of resources. It's a good list - check it out if you're a SharePointy type.



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SharePoint | Tech
Thursday, 17 June 2004 16:02:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Scott and I sat down over lunch today and he (once again) proved his l33t development skills, all while teaching me some new stuff... In the end, we had the new RSS Feed to dasBlog Content Converter to show for our (primarily his) efforts.

From Scott's site:

Greg Hughes once had a LiveJournal Blog and the only remnant of his blog was an RSS Feed/Archive.  Now that he runs dasBlog he wanted to move his old content forward into dasBlog.  So, we googled a bit and couldn't find a tool that would take an RSS (2.0) feed as input and put the entries into dasBlog.

So we made one over lunch, and here it is: RSStoDasBlog.zip (219.29 KB)

RSStoDasBlog.exe MyRssFile.xml "C:\documents and settings\whatever\dasblog\content"

Use it like this by pointing it to the RSS file and your (local) dasBlog content folder.  It will create all the needed dayentry.xml files for you to upload to your remote blog.  It will also (I think) take an http:// url to an RSS file and could be used to (possible as a service?) steal RSS and mirror them in dasBlog.  Thanks to Jerry (Chris) Maguire's RSS Framework that showed up first in Google and saved me the time of running XSD.exe on an RSS XML schema. Apparently he has even newer stuff on his site.  It's got a few more moving parts than I think it needs to, but it did the job with a few changes that I marked with my initials; SDH.

Thanks to Scott both for teaching me and for helping me get the content migrated over. I'm a lame IT-management-type of guy, not a coder, but it was truly fun to learn a little something and to find that I was able to follow what he was showing me. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Scott's probably the best technical speaker/teacher I have ever met. I'm lucky to work with a number of really creative people that also happen to be really, really smart.

Speaking of really creative and smart people, Travis is now a MSDBA in addition to being a MCSD - which is both very cool and a big deal (not mention quite an accomplishment). Not many have the MCSD certification, and even fewer have both. Congrats, Trav!



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Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Thursday, 17 June 2004 15:55:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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