Tuesday, 24 August 2004

Robert posts about having to use more than one MSN Messenger account due to limits placed on the service as far as number of contacts you can have on one Messenger passport account. He has to use two computers in order to work with two instances of messenger.

I have the same problem (multiple personalities, that is, but for different reasons than Scoble ;-)), and I am not personally interested in Trillion or other IM interfaces for this purpose, and I Already use Windows messenger for SIP service at work, so I don't want to go there.

It turns out it is possible to run two copies of MSN messenger with different accounts on the same computer at the same time. It used to be that you had to alter the messenger code to do so with a third-party program, which is not allowed under the software license. But more recently there is a program available that starts messenger and acts as a sort of proxy, so you're not (AFAIK - I will promptly remove this if I am wrong, of course...) in violation of the MSN Messenger software agreement, which specifically says you can't modify the MSFT binaries.

It also starts up in "appear off-line" state by default, which for some people is helpful. It's not a perfect program, but it works pretty darned well.

JnrzLoader 6.2.0137 is the program name, and it is available to download from http://www.mess.be (along with a lot of other nifty stuff).

Of course this advice is totally without warranty, your mileage may vary, scan your files, yada yada. But it works for me. :)

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Tuesday, 24 August 2004 06:49:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 23 August 2004

This was hot stuff in '89... In 1986 I has an IBM Model 5150 that I ran two BBS'es on, and 1200 baud was huge;-)

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Random Stuff | Tech
Monday, 23 August 2004 21:58:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The one about how using RSS opens up information to me in a way that is so reliable I could only do it this way manually if there were two of me...

Okay, so maybe it's a little exaggerated. But seriously, I read an incredible amount of information these days. So much more than I ever did, and a lot of it on the Internet. Not only that, but I get the information I need (or want) so fast now that I can practically always act faster than most people when news breaks. Research that used to take hours and hours of searching and browsing now takes just minutes. I'm consuming much, much more information and doing so in much, much less time. What I can accomplish today in the information gathering department would have taken two of me just a year or so ago, before I found the real beauty of RSS.

I use RSS feeds for practically everything now. Rarely do I browse to a web site these days as my first method of gathering my daily doses of information. The data comes to me, based on my subscriptions. I know what I need, and I use the tools to get it. I find information sources just once, and then let the tools take care of the rest. I update my information world in real time, using tools like FeedDemon to do the dirty work for me. I focus on consuming, and the rest is practically magic.

RSS has made me a more productive, and therefore (in theory ;-)) more valuable employee where I work. A huge part of my job is staying up to date with the latest technology, trends and issues. I subscribe to a couple hundred feeds that I review several times daily, some of which are aggregated feeds or feeds that are the result of a search of thousands of blogs and other sources for certain keywords or subjects. Then there's the couple hundred others that I review periodically, both work-related and otherwise.

When news breaks, when someone writes a new article that I might care about, when new security patches or alerts are released, when Woot! posts their latest great deal for cheap geeks on the web, it all comes straight to me.

In a nutshell, RSS has enabled me to work (and play) on the 'net in a way that would not be practical (or even possible) without the technology.

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RSS Stuff | Tech
Monday, 23 August 2004 21:54:56 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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By way of Jonathan Hardwick, a list of webcasts scheduled covering the upcoming release of Microsoft Operations Manager 2005:

"The MOM 2005 release date is fast approaching, and they're setting up a series of webcasts for customers to learn more about it."

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Monday, 23 August 2004 21:27:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I hope you can forgive one politics-related post - This one is worth it I think.

Supposedly (and as far as I can tell thus far) non-partisan, FactCheck.org is a decent online resource for doing a reality check when new ads and other communications come out in the political campaigns. Certainly we've seen a recent wave of ads that have caused quite a stir of controversy. FactCheck.org examines the known facts as they are available and simply compares and contrast those facts to the hype.

The site is run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania (with offices in Washington DC), and I recommend it for anyone trying to get past the noise and down to brass tacks. That's coming from an admittedly somewhat-conservative person, but several of my friends who range politically anywhere from middle-of-the-road to ultra-liberal agree it's a fair and welcome look at reality. It should not be your sole resource for information, of course, but it's one that's worth using, IMHO.

I just wish they had a RSS feed - can't find one though. UPDATE: Oops, wait, spoke too soon, sort of - MyRSS.com (there's a whole other blog entry to write, heheh) has factcheck.org feeds already available!

From the APPC/factcheck.org mission statement:

We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

Note: I have decided to date to stay out of the politics and taking sides here, since that's not my focus on this blog. Yes, I do have my opinions in this political debate and yes, I will share them at time if asked. But in this venue I have chosen to remain agnostic ad stay on-topic (as if I had a topic to stay on...).

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Random Stuff
Monday, 23 August 2004 20:22:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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An old friend emailed me over the weekend and asked for some help reducing the size of a MP3 file so he could load it on his wireless phone. Seems he wanted the ringer to sound like a sheep when one certain person called (don't ask), but the MP3 he found was too big for the phone to accept.

I did a little research and found a cool little utility called FreeRIP over at msgshareware.com that will convert between .WAV, .MP3 and .OGG formats with ease. You can also convert a MP3 file to the same format, but with a different bit-rate, which allowed my friend to reduce the file size as needed, and duly embarrass his friend in public.

Mission accomplished.

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Monday, 23 August 2004 20:00:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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