Friday, 23 July 2004

Don't know how the heck I missed this, but a new version of Messenger Plus! was released a short while back, and if you are an avid user of MSN Messenger, this free download is something you'll definitely want to check out. I've been using it for more than a year.

Some of the useful and fun things you can do with this Messenger extension program:

Various Messenger Tweaks - With Plus!, you can rename your contacts to tidy your contact list, see statistics about your buddies in order to clean up your contact list, make your windows semi transparent, automatically accept file transfers, filter words from the messages you send or receive, and much more!   

Enhance your messaging experience! - You can have your own personalized messages to send to your contacts when they contact you while you're idle or away! Messenger Plus! also offers 50 slots for instant Quick Texts, customizable automatic messages that you can send with a simple shortcut or typed command, quick icon panels to make it easier to insert your emoticons without having to remember their codes, a Text Recall feature to resend recent messages, the ability to search inside your conversations and a Quote Sender.

Advanced Logging - Before MSN Messenger even showed a sign of logging, Messenger Plus! already offered it. Plus!'s logging is much different than MSN Messenger's logging, with archiving, encryption with passwords, and let's not forget the fact that you can log every event!

Other Messaging Features - Messenger Plus! gives you the possibility to choose any color you want for front and background, and add formatting, such as bold, italic, underlined and stoke-out. It also lets you control almost every aspect of Messenger via text shortcuts called commands, much like the ones in IRC chat. 

Enhanced Notifications - If you don't use Hotmail, you can choose to be notified whenever a new e-mail arrives in your POP3 mail account (up to five can be configured!). Additionally, you can receive toast-style notifications for any contact event, like when contacts their nick or go offline.

Security & Privacy Control - Messenger Plus! offers a Boss Protection feature that hides Messenger and your conversations with a shortcut, even notifying who you were talking with about the situation. It also allows you to lock your Messenger with a password when you leave the computer and, for permanent privacy, it can encrypt all your logs so that only you can read your previous chats.

It's not your typical "free" software - This is real, professional programming hard at work. Patchou (the author) has made many changes and improvements over time, and it's a mature, cool, "on-my-list-of-gotta-have-utilities" utility.

And if you're really comfortable in Windows and like to tweak the registry (at your own risk), check out the registry tweaks page after you install the Messenger Plus! add-on. There's even a free configurator for the registry tweaks - now that's community eh?

Good stuff, go get it.



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Tech
Friday, 23 July 2004 09:43:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Daniel McPherson poted an article about fast deployment of SharePoint web parts. I thought some might find it useful:

How do I quickly get a Debuggable/Deployable web part up and running?

I'm often in a situation where I need to quickly build new web parts, this could be because I want to do some testing or because I'm working on a "Proof of Concept" for a customer. In these scenarios time is the most important factor in the development process.

 

I have come up with some simple steps that I think streamlines the Web Part creation process, ensuring you are up and running with a debuggable/deployable web part as quickly as possible...

(read more)



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Friday, 23 July 2004 07:52:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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So, it was working out to be a great day - I took the day off from work and all was going so well... Then at around 6:00 or so this evening, problems came up at work that were unexpected. I had to help out with some decisions, and decided someone needed to be spoken to face-to-face, so I drove in on my motorcycle.

It was a great ride - it was around 96 degrees this afternoon. I got in, spent about 3 or 4 hours there, worked things out to my satisfaction and headed home.

It was late - around 11:00 pm - so it was dark out. I got about 5 minutes from work (it's a 45-minute drive home on the motorcycle), and was following behind a car on a rural road. I saw headlights coming toward me as well, and the headlights appeared to cross into the lane of the car in front of me. The headlights disappeared, I saw the brake lights from the car ahead of me light up and then swerve hard and jerk around. The oncoming car continued to roll toward me. I slowed, moved to the left, and slowed some more. The oncoming car continued slowly down the wrong side of the road and eventually skidded to a stop on the shoulder, dragging the broken front end on the ground.

The car was pretty badly damaged - the driver side front end was collapsed, and a man was behind the wheel trying to get out. I pulled off the road and called 911 on my cell phone, and then ran down to the car that I had been following. A man and two little girls were getting out of that car and his airbag had deployed. I saw child seats in the back seat of the car. Thank God for those.

Back to the other car, telling the dispatcher what I saw, how many people, what she'd need to send. Like I was a cop all over again. I got back to the first driver, and he had managed to get out of the car and was trying over and over to dial a cell phone. He smelled the way people smell when they've been drinking, and looked pretty hammered. He asked me if I had called the police, and I said yes, and he looked at me and said, "Why did you do that?" I told him he had hit another car, and pointed. "Another car?" he asked. "Yeah," I said. "Over there." I pointed and he staggered. I asked him again if he was hurt and he said he wasn't. "Why'd you call the police?" he asked again.

Babies and drunks, let me tell ya. Babies and drunks. It's a miracle no one was killed, not to mention that no one was seriously hurt. And I'm glad I leave plenty of room between me and the car ahead of me, especially when I'm on the bike.



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Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Thursday, 22 July 2004 23:38:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 22 July 2004

From Addy Santo:

Everyone, say hello to BlogWave !

This is an alpha (read: mostly functional and sort of stable) version of a tool which enables scheduled generation and publishing of RSS feeds.  This allows, for example, publishing Sharepoint lists and libraries as RSS feeds with no modifications needed to the Sharepoint server.

BlogWave Feature List:

  • Generate RSS feeds based on a variety of inputs:
    • WSS lists/libraries
    • Existing RSS files or feeds
    • Additional input sources are planned, such as Sharepoint searches and aggregated feeds.
  • Publish the generated feeds to different destinations:
    • Local/network locations
    • .Text based blogs
    • WSS libraries 
    • FTP sites.
  • Schedule the generation and publication with a flexible scheduling system
    • Set which days of the week, what hours, and how often should the generation take place
    • Set user credentials and advanced options such as running even with no logged-in user or running only when idle.


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RSS Stuff | SharePoint | Tech
Thursday, 22 July 2004 16:43:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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If you have a need to do XHTML validation of web pages and find yourself doing it manually and probably not often enough, check this out: Ben Hammersley has built a XHTML validation tool that generates its results into an RSS feed, from any page you specify. The test runs each time you load the feed into your favorite RSS reader, so it's all-too-easy to repeat, which is nice.

"The validation is redone everytime the feed is requested. If there are no errors, the feed will be empty. Silence is golden, in other words."

Check it out - and start validating - here.



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RSS Stuff | Tech
Thursday, 22 July 2004 10:31:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I've had two sets of epidural spinal injections to try to fix my back, and while I have had some relief, it's not solved the problem.

So, I went to the doctor the other day, and he decided its time to send me to the spinal surgeon. I guess there are a few procedure options - one of which involves heating up the intervertebral disc from the inside in order to cause it to shrink. The heated tissue scars and shrinks, so the protruding (herniated) part of the disc (which is pushing on the nerve roots where they attach to the spinal cord) recedes. The disc has a soft inner portion surrounded by a more fibrous shell, so to speak. A herniated disc is one where the fibrous shell gets torn and the center material bulges out. The bulging out part is what's pushing on the nerves. Oh, and it hurts (sometimes a lot).

Anyhow, the doctor that does this special heating/shrinking procedure (the more common procedure is a microdiscectomy, where they just go in with blades and cut out the bulging part) is in Salem, which is a good couple of hours from where I live. I guess there are a few docs in Portland that do something similar, but my doc wants me to go to this guy because its a newer procedure that heals faster and has shown good results (less scarring damage to the disc - it's more exact). So arranging visits and working with that doc will be a little complicated, and I don't even know for sure if I'll end up being a candidate for that particular method. But if it means pain relief, it's all good.

The craziest part of this problem is that most days I am uncomfortable - some pain but not unbearable. Other days (few and far between) I feel almost completely normal (I love those days). And on yet other days the pain is so unbearable it can't be described with words. Debilitating comes to mind, but that doesn't really paint the complete picture.

Anyone have any personal experience with any of these?

  • Intradiscal Electrothermal Treatment
  • Endoscopic laser foraminoplasty (ELF)
  • Percutaneous discectomy (PAD)


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Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories
Thursday, 22 July 2004 09:39:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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