Thursday, 27 October 2005

I've been using my X41 for a few months now, and overall I like it a lot. It's one of the better portable computers I've used.

Charles Jade over at Ars Technica has put together an "unreview" of the X41 and it's a fun read, not to mention an interesting evaluation of this specific Tablet PC computer, as well as a commentary on the Tablet PC edition of Windows, which he frequently refers to (in his somewhat sarcastic but also accurate fashion) as "WXPTPCE2005."

He finds both good and not so good things to write about. I liked the review. Read it here.


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Humor | Tablet PC | Tech
Friday, 28 October 2005 01:17:44 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Pumpkin-carving-patterns-tazCan you tell it's almost Halloween? I can. And I can also tell how much traffic one little blog article can drive. My stats for the past few days are awash with Google and other searches landing people on this site for pumpkin carving patterns, since I wrote about a great deal I found and how to get them them the other day. Here's a small, partial listing of a small portion of the search referrers for pumpkin carving, taken from today's web traffic stats on this site:

 
pumpkin carving patterns (www.google.com) 34
free pumpkin patterns (www.google.com) 29
pumpkin patterns (www.google.com) 29
free pumpkin stencils (www.google.com) 21
free pumpkin carving patterns (www.google.com) 13
pumpkin patterns (www.google.ca) 11
pumpkin patterns (www.google.com) 11
free pumpkin patterns (www.google.com) 11
pumpkin designs (www.google.com) 10
free pumpkin carving stencils (www.google.com) 10
pumpkin stencil (www.google.com) 10
free pumpkin stencils (www.google.ca) 9
free pumpkin patterns (www.google.ca) 9
pumpkin carving pattern (www.google.com) 9

And it just keeps going from there, too. Hundreds of similar search combinations and terms in addition to those. Definitely noticing the increase in the number of visits (still a small drop in the bucket, but interesting to see).

Wednesday, 26 October 2005 21:32:14 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Monday, 24 October 2005

"Microsoft: Connecting with the IT community for a pain-free future"

Did you know that 1% of bugs account for more than 60% of errors? As a result of the Windows XP error reporting dialog box, Microsoft has reduced crashes in the consumer products by as much as 80%. Leveraging this program, Microsoft formed WE-SYP, which stands for "We Share Your Pain," a direct feedback program that connects customers to the people responsible for programming the portion of code that creates your frustration.

Oh, if only it was true, hehehe... But the video (take off from TechNet) is hilarious, and the premise is great. View it here.

(from ActiveWin)


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Humor | Tech
Tuesday, 25 October 2005 01:03:35 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Sunday, 23 October 2005

Unless, of course, you die today... In which case, you probably don't care much about this right now.

     Blogging-headstone

Hugh over at gapingvoid.com writes hilarious (and often poignant) cartoons on the backs of business cards. Come of them are decidedly off-color, granted - but they're worth looking at as long as you don't have easily offended sensitivities or something.

Oh and many of the designs are available as T-Shirts and BlogCards.


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Blogging | Humor
Sunday, 23 October 2005 21:46:22 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Batman-pumpkinHalloween is coming, and for those who really get into the event, carving pumpkins is a lot of the fun. No better place to discover the intricacies and tricks of the jack-o-lantern carving trade than the Internet.

The Pumpkin Carving 101 site has lots of information, history, tips and tricks to make you a real pro in the carving biz. Whether you're doing traditional, old-fashioned carving or going the stencil route, there's lots of help there. They even have tips for photographing your carved work of art.

If you're looking for patterns and stencils, SpookMaster has a few free ones as well as a HUGE number (more than 200) of inexpensive designs, all of which you can get for a one-time fee of $5.95 - not a bad deal. When you subscribe, you get access to their subscriber site, which you can continue to use through at least January of next year. I just ordered them for a youth group even that's coming up, and I think it's a great deal. The patterns can be downloaded in PDF or JPG formats.

They've even got your NFL teams set up with stencils to carve, as well as stencils for other holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas (which is an interesting concept and another conversation entirely). Pop culture, famous people, traditional Halloween images - it's all there.

Enjoy.

(via Make blog)

Thursday, 20 October 2005 02:41:40 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Promo1_voiptestOver at bandwidth.com they've added a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) test to let you check your Internet pipe for factors relevant to supporting VOIP phone services. The VOIPTEST "gives you the inside track to understanding how many VoIP phones you can support, evaluates the quality of your Internet connection and provides insight into your firewall configuration."

Click to run the test. (it's free)


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Tech
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 23:48:32 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Hls_exchsp2Lots of service pack and patch announcements the past couple weeks, and here's another one of note. Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 was released the other day, and it contains a number of fixes and important enhancements.

Better support for Windows Mobile devices (push technology with Windows Mobile 5, for example - which stands a chance of giving RIM a run for it's money eventually if the devices keep getting better) and incorporation of the Sender ID protection from spam, enhanced security, better offline address book support and even enhanced mailbox store sizes (75GB per store).

Webcasts are available here, and a top-ten reasons to upgrade list can be found here. The latest information about Exchange Server can always be found on the Exchange web site.


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Office 2003 | Tech
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 23:30:15 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Tuesday, 18 October 2005

If you have the MSN Toolbar on IE6, go grab the new beta Phishing Filter (shouldn't that be PHilter?) and install it.

The Phishing Filter Add-in offers access to the beta version of a new dynamic online service, updated several times an hour to warn you and help protect your personal information from these fraudulent websites by:  

  • Scanning websites you visit and warning you if they are potentially suspicious.
  • Dynamically checking the web sites you visit with up to the hour online information via an online service run by Microsoft and blocking you from sharing personal information if a site is a known phishing website. 

I only get, ohhhhh... maybe 50 phishes a day (seriously), so I checked my email from tonight, chose one of the several PayPal phishes that arrived this evening (most of which still had live web sites associated with them) and found the new add-in for the MSN Search Toolbar did the job quite well. It caught the page and blocked my ability to enter info into the form fields (click the image to view full size):

Phish Blocked by MSN Search Toolbar Phishing Filter


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IT Security | Tech
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 03:16:36 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) 2003 Service Pack 2 is now available to be downloaded. It contains a significant number of important security fixes and enhancements as well as changes to improve performance and stability. Several previously released fixes and those from the previous service pack for SPS are included in this release.

Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) Service Pack 2 was also recently released. It is also a roll-up of the previous service pack and previously released (post-SP1) fixes, plus it includes some new fixes.

Finally, Version 1.7 of the WSS Administrator Guide has been updated to reflect changes in WSS SP2

Wednesday, 19 October 2005 02:16:46 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Now this is both interesting and kind of nifty... Microsoft Labs has published and posted a download for "Virtual WiFi," which allows a wireless card use to connect to more than one WiFi network at a time with a single wireless card.

VirtualWiFi is a virtualization architecture for wireless LAN (WLAN) cards. It abstracts a single WLAN card to appear as multiple virtual WLAN cards to the user. The user can then configure each virtual card to connect to a different wireless network. Therefore, VirtualWiFi allows a user to simultaneously connect his machine to multiple wireless networks using just one WLAN card. This new functionality introduced by VirtualWiFi enables many new applications, which were not possible earlier using a single WLAN card. For example,

  • With VirtualWiFi, you can connect to a guest's machine or play games over an ad hoc network, while surfing the web via an infrastructure network.
  • You can use VirtualWiFi to connect your ad hoc network, which may contain many nodes, to the Internet using only one node.
  • VirtualWiFi can help make your home infrastructure network elastic by extending its access to nodes that are out of range of your home WiFi Access Point.
  • Other possible uses are listed on the Virtual WiFi web pages at Microsoft Research
  • There are some limitations in this release. For example, the current version of VirtualWiFi does not support networks using WEP or 802.1X. Also - be sure to review and follow the install/uninstall instructions carefully and note that this is not production grade software (when they say Microsoft Labs, they actually mean it's, well, experimental).

    Installation (and uninstallation) of the app/service and drivers are done at the command prompt, after making some other manual changes (seriously, read the instructions before you start).

    Wwfinstall

    Here's a screen shot snippet from my system after setting up the multiple connections. Shown are two connections created via Virtual WiFi: My infrastructure (IS) network (SSID=hughes), plus an ad-hoc (AH) network connection (SSID=TEST).

    Vwfconnections
    It works. It's very manual and not for beginners (you have to disable the wireless auto configuration in Windows and manually install the service, set up connections, etc), but it's an interesting technological idea with some interesting possible uses.


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    Tech
    Wednesday, 19 October 2005 01:47:38 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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