Saturday, 10 December 2005

I have been awfully busy lately, with lots and lots of work projects, travel for work and personal purposes, and all the rest of life on top of that. As a result, there are over a hundred interesting tidbits of info I set aside with hopes of writing here about them.

But since I know in the real world that won't ever happen, here are the 48 random things that caught my eye ad attention long enough for me to save each one - These fall mostly in the tech category:

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Random Stuff | Tech
Saturday, 10 December 2005 11:22:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Everyone knows XBOX360's are in very short supply, and the ones that are available are being swept up as soon as they hit shelves. So, it makes sense that a few web resources have appeared to help you find one.

  • - Best Buy stores in the US will be receiving fresh inventory next weekend (the 18th). This site lets you enter your ZIP code and find out how many will be arriving at a store(s) near you.
  • - Sign up for a free or premium service that will notify you when online retailers have XBOX360 consoles available to purchase.

Sounds like there will be opportunities to find one before Christmas. Rumor on Friday was that there were Costco stores with large shipments at that time in some areas.

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Saturday, 10 December 2005 09:07:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 08 December 2005

My coworker, Brent Strange, has just started a Quality Assurance (QA) blog. Brent's what I would call a QA expert (he amazes me from time to time for sure) and he does terrific quality work, so I am looking forward to what he says and thinks on it.

Here is his introductory post, and he's already started adding new content. And it's another dasBlog weblog, which is cool. Nice template, too.

This will be one to watch. Subscribed.

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Blogging | Tech
Thursday, 08 December 2005 20:46:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Google Transit detailGoogle has released an early version of Google Transit, a Google Maps internal mash-up that my fellow Portlanders can use to find public transportation to get from point A to Point B around the metro area. Once you search for your trip, you can compare the relative costs and time required to use public transportation or drive, and have complete instructions for each. Click here for a sample transit search from Hillsboro, Oregon to the Portland International Airport (PDX).

I mention that my fellow Portland residents can use it, because this is an early beta so (as of the time of this post) it contains information for public transit services in the Portland, Oregon metro area. But hey, it's a beta release, and Portland's a great place to try something like this. It's a large city but not huge, so it's manageable. the transit info is available electronically, and with the many bus and light rail options and all the interconnections, it's a good test bed. So those of us that live here can be very happy, and the rest of ya can learn more about Portland until your city is available. Just don't move here, heheh. Just kidding.

From the "About" page:

"Do you live in or near a city? Want to go someplace—to the airport, to dinner, to work every day—and not worry about the hassles and expense of driving and parking? Google Transit Trip Planner enables you to enter the specifics of your trip—where you're starting, where you're ending up, what time of day you'd like to leave and/or arrive—then uses all available public transportation schedules and information to plot out the most efficient possible step-by-step itinerary. You can even compare the cost of your trip with the cost of driving the same route!

"At the moment we're only offering this service for the Portland, Oregon metro area, but we plan to expand to cities throughout the United States and around the world."

One problem with the interface when I used it - no scroll bars. The directions pane is cut off at the bottom of the browser window and there's no way to scroll down to see more. The data is there, but it's not displayed. But I am sure they'll work on it. After all, it's a beta.

     google transit page

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Thursday, 08 December 2005 05:10:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 06 December 2005

I've written before about FrontMotion's Firefox MSI installers and their Active Directory ADM policy templates, but with the recent release of Firefox v1.5 and the resultant updating of the installers by FrontMotion, I figured it's worth another mention. In a security-conscious IT environment, we all know how difficult it can be to exercise the necessary level of control over programs that are used to access the Internet - and the web browser is number one or two on the list of possible problem Internet apps (along with email programs). So being proactive whenever the tools are available to us is quite important.

Luckily, FrontMotion distributes MSI (Microsoft Installer) versions of the Firefox web browser for people to use (free of charge at this time) and there are two editions of the installers available. FrontMotion's Firefox Community Edition - which is the one that includes the Active Directory integration for centralized management and control - is slated to be updated shortly, and their stand-alone MSIs (which are not AD-integrated) have already been updated to incorporate Firefox v1.5.

The features of the Firefox Community Edition should be of interest to companies that centrally manage software for IT and security purposes, and the package allows you to upgrade non-MSI installations as well as those from other organizations. Features of the community edition include:

  • Active Directory deployable and upgradeable.
  • Active Directory management through Administrative Templates (*.adm).
  • Desktop Icon similar to IE.
  • Shell integration similar to IE.
  • Set Default browser
  • Macromedia Flash plug-in preinstalled
  • Detect and upgrades non-MSI installs.
  • Can upgrade 3rd party MSI's from MIT,, and ZettaServe.
  • Able to properly perform uninstalls and restores system associations

You can subscribe to the FrontMotion mailing list for occcasional announcements about updates at: I don't see a blog or RSS feed, but we can hope.

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 06 December 2005 02:32:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 05 December 2005

Kathy Sierra does her typically terrific job of distilling the Web 2.0 hype down to something meaningful in a post where she says:

"If I were a VC, the 'elevator pitch' I'd ask for would be simply: 'Tell me how this thing helps the user kick ass?' If you can't answer that, don't bother launching your power point."

Check the full post (with trademark cartoons and buzzword bingo) and find out why "engaging" and "inspiring" are what today's techies should be thinking (and talking) about.

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Monday, 05 December 2005 20:33:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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