Saturday, 03 July 2004

Heading out to pick up a big truck with all the equipment for the fireworks show I'm responsible for firing tomorrow. A few people know that I'm a state-licensed pyrotechnician, and I occasionally shoot public displays around the region. Tomorrow we're in Clatskenie, Oregon (on Hwy 30 between Portland and Astoria) shooting several hundred 4- and 5-inch shells for their city 4th-of-July display. Should be fun! I might take come pictures or quick video and post later. If you happen to be in the area, stop by and enjoy the party the town is throwing. It sounds like a good time.

EDIT: A couple of pictures taken by Travis, showing the trench before and after the mortar tubes were installed:

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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Saturday, 03 July 2004 09:55:16 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 02 July 2004

IzyNews lets you read your RSS feeds in any email client that does IMAP. No need to add extra software, and you're not restricted to any one client program. Windows, OSX, Linux, Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird - you choose one or more, no problem.

So, you can just upload your OPML file, set up a couple of things on the server, and instantly access IzyNews from any machine or almost any device (anything that'll do IMAP), from anywhere you like. No need to configure each machine or device with OPML files and separate RSS software - just connect via IMAP with whatever client happens to be available on that platform, and you're there.

Cool idea.

(from Jason Lefkowitz's blog via

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RSS Stuff | Tech
Friday, 02 July 2004 20:21:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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A friend recently turned me on to a very cool program - It's a plug-in for Outlook 2000 or later that adds a whole bunch of new features and checks-and-balances that get executed every time you send or receive an email.

Image borrowed from Chris Sells - click to view his comments on the subject.Have you ever sent an email where you told the recipient to "See attached," but forgot to actually attach the file? Ever sent a reply-to-all without realizing you were BCC'ed - only to embarrass yourself or the sender of the original file? Ever forget to reply to all when you should have? Sent huge attachments without realizing how big they were? Sent an email containing angry or inappropriate words, only to regret it later? Chris Sells' image at right explains the potential problem clearly.

LookOut! for Outlook solves these problems. It pretty much does what the humorous picture above depicts. It also allows you to establish a company central database to store contact information, so you can keep track of client communications. And a lot more.

I have been using LookOut! for about a week, and I love it. Just this evening it asked me if I meant to attach a file to an email on which I had just clicked the "Send" button, but where I had forgotten to do so:

Rule: Attachment Word Warning
You mentioned the word 'attach' somewhere in your email, but there are no attachments.

I was then able to choose from options to send the email anyway, or to fix my mistake before sending. Nice.

Now that I've been using it for a little while, I don't think I can put it away - it's just too darn useful and makes too much sense to just stop using it. And that, my friends, is the first sign of really good software.

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Office 2003 | Tech
Friday, 02 July 2004 20:01:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Serge van den Oever suggests using an inexpensive commercial product called WebDrive to connect to SharePoint document libraries and sites via WebDav (note that you can also use WebDrive to connect to other types of servers with a drive letter, as well - WebDrive can connect to WebDAV, FTP, SFTP, and HTTP Servers supporting Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions). See Serge's site for more details about using it with SharePoint:

WebDrive: Accessing SharePoint document libraries through drive letters

I downloaded the trial version and was immediately able to map W: to a document library on MySite on the portal server at work, over a VPN connection, using WebDav. I then transferred files, made sure they work on both ends, ran through the site to make sure everything's operating properly -- It works great!

This will be useful for people who need to map SharePoint "drives" from Windows 2000 or other OS versions, and provides a solid way to repeatedly reconnect drives at login, manage drive-letter connections, etc. On top of using WebDav, you can also connect via FP extensions, FTP, SFTP (SSH), and GroupDrive protocols.

Add WebDrive to the list of useful tools for the SharePoint power user - especially if you're running a version of Windows prior to WinXP and need drive/folder-level access to SharePoint 2003 sites.

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Office 2003 | SharePoint | Tech
Friday, 02 July 2004 17:43:16 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Greg Hurlsman at points out a valuable resource that I have been using for some time (since well before I started "blogging," [insider comment: yes, I put that word in there just for Erik :-)] to be sure). allows you to browse, search, and receive notifications of new KB articles related to Microsoft products of your choosing - It's really a must-have resource for system administrators and anyone responsible for understanding and maintaining Microsoft products. It does the hard work for you, and let's you get exactly the information you need. You can subscribe for email notifications, and the emails are formatted nicely and can be delivered on the schedule you choose.

The article at Squaretwo describes how to get the same information via RSS - which is very cool. I use this capability and have found it a great way to catalog articles about the products I am most often dealing with in my job. Anyone who's into RSS and has to deal with maintaining systems or programs, check out the article.

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RSS Stuff | Tech
Friday, 02 July 2004 14:33:11 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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In response to Download.Ject, Microsoft has just released a patch, which actually makes a change to Windows that disables the ADODB.Stream object in MS Data Access Components. This appears to be more of an intermediate fix than a true patch, to be used until a comprehensive fix that allows ADODB.Stream use without the vulnerability can be prepared.

People can get the update from Windows Update, or at this web page on Microsoft's Downloads web site. If you are a business network user, check with your IT department before you download or apply this fix - They might be applying it for you automatically from a central server, or they may have reasons it should not be applied if there are browser-based applications used that rely on the functionality disabled by this update.

Some will still whine and complain that this is "just a stop-gap fix," and that it doesn't actually repair the flaw. Give it a rest people: This is Microsoft responding to complaints about not getting fixes out soon enough, and they're doing it by making a valuable intermediate fix available to protect users. I applaud that. If you want to have a productive and constrcutive conversation, that's great -- comment here if you like, or go over to the Channel 9 web site, where Microsoft shows it's listening.

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IT Security | Tech
Friday, 02 July 2004 12:40:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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