Thursday, 08 July 2004

Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, whose son Garrett committed suicide last year, presented a youth suicide prevention bill in the US Senate today. It passed this evening. The senator made a tearful speech on the floor that brought back some awfully painful memories for me. I have supported this bill since it was first written a few months ago.

I have a personal connection and interest in this bill. My son Brian took his own life four years ago. He was 15. While the months and years since then have been very hard for those of us left behind, our pain cannot be measured against what he must have been feeling. Depression is not an illness that people need die from. Suicide is a terrible and permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. It is often detectable and preventable. This bill, should it become law - and it should become law - will fund prevention and risk detection programs that will save lives. Young lives. It's important.

Please give this your support. Please tell Senator Smith "thank you" for championing an important bill during a time in his life that I know is wrought with emotional pain.

To Senator Smith - Thank you very much for what you're doing. I'm right there with you.

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Personal Stories
Thursday, 08 July 2004 22:49:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I posted an entry a month ago about Sprint PCS' new advertisements for wireless service. Since then, I've been inundated with searches for "macaroni minutes" every time I see that ad on TV. These days I can pretty much predict when the commercial has just aired based on when the search referrals start to stack up all of a sudden. It's one of several funny, well-done commercials that poke fun at wireless carriers that charge overage fees and have complicated service plans:

  • Red ball: School children are told that they may play with new red balls, provided they estimate how many minutes they will use the balls during the next two years.
  • Soccer: A student is called off the field and informed that he can’t play anymore this month because he’s used up his minutes.
  • Dinosaur: A class is allowed to watch a video only if one of the students can figure out the complexities of a VCR.
  • The New Kid: A new arrivee in an art class is given much better supplies than the other students have.
  • Macaroni: A student is told that he “is over” on his macaroni minutes and must pay the school $49 immediately.

Some trivia about the ads: They were filmed at Brentwood Christian School in Austin, Texas, and the kids in the ads are actual students there. They were compensated a whole $1500 for their talent, plus they'll get a residual payment for each and every time the commercials air.

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Humor | Random Stuff
Thursday, 08 July 2004 22:19:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Good article by an IT pro named Shannon Kalvar over at TechRepublic about how slightly different approaches to solving the same problem can make a real and significant difference. Worth reading all the way through:

"How tales about server unreliability help save face and influence people"

And he's written a number of other articles that are also worth investing some time in. They cover topics like project management, IT management topics, customer support and measuring success.

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Thursday, 08 July 2004 21:48:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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On Channel 9 today, there's an interview with Jason Flaks, a Microsoft program manager on the Media Connects team. He demos some of the new Windows Media Connect technology that's set to come out in the future. This is very cool stuff - and it looks like it will be a big market - I know I will be on the wagon!

There's going to be a real market not only for users of these devices and technologies, but for businesses that truly understand them and can help the "common-folk" adopt and use them. Building a complex home media system like we're about to see hit the market is not a trivial task. Sure, it will get easier over time, but for a while a least, there will be a real need for professionals who can take the technology investments made by consumers and make them work really well.

I'm excited about the next wave of media devices and systems. It's been under-reported and under-estimated. All your media (pictures, audio, video) usable across multiple systems and devices. Stream the program recorded on your PC across the network and view it on the screen attached to your XBOX. Project your digital images on the 10-foot projection screen. Listen to your MP3s in any room, and automatically sync your music and video with your portable media device to take with you. Browse your media libraries on the MCE PC from your DVD player. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

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Windows Media Technology
Thursday, 08 July 2004 20:34:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 06 July 2004

Evan Feldman has posted a second installment of his description of Tablet PC Field Trials (see entry Tablet Test, Trials and Tribulations from June 28).

The great thing about Microsoft blogs is that you sometimes get to read insights into what goes on there, stuff that you'd never see otherwise. I enjoy the nitty gritty about how the technologies I use each day came to be:

"There are some things that I can’t really talk too much about but instead, I’ll give some of those secret anecdotes that have been floating around Microsoft that many have never heard before."

Some of the anecdotes are funny, but Evan also includes a few of the more serious ones (things he describes as more difficult to share) that changed the course of the tablet in the early days."

I'm looking forward to the future installments, especially what he eludes to as a future topic : The Tablet as Primary PC.

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Tablet PC | Tech
Tuesday, 06 July 2004 21:49:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Hey. it's a Microsoft link day here at the ol' blog, so... Another useful one:

Microsoft's IT Pro communities are a good resource for a variety of MSFT servers and technologies. Newsgroups and a huge amount and variety of information - coming from both inside and outside Microsoft:

Would you like to get your computer advice directly from the world’s leading technology experts? Interested in tips from power users or developers? Do you have tips you’d like to share with others? Then you’ve come to the right place. There is a lively community of computer experts and computer users who are taking advantage of the Internet to exchange ideas, information, knowledge, and expertise about Microsoft products and services. The Microsoft Communities Web site provides access to wealth of newsgroups, chats, user groups, tips, and discussions where experts and users who are passionate about Microsoft technologies share their thoughts, help, support, and ideas.

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Tuesday, 06 July 2004 21:12:09 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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