Saturday, 04 February 2006

Crusader_evangelist1Rory Blyth makes me laugh so hard, so often. Dude, Rory - you gotta stop... Heh...

In his post the other day, "DO NOT RESIST THE EVANGELIST," Rory warned that unless viewership of his Windows Mobile development screencasts (called TinyThings - and they're great - go here to see them) grew by ten fold, he threatened to eat a full bag of... Oh, here let him say it:

"If traffic to TinyThings does not increase by ten-fold during the next revolution of the planet Earth around its axis, I WILL EAT ONE ENTIRE BAG OF GOURMET LOW-FAT CHEEZEE-POOF SNACKS. IF THE LACK OF TRAFFIC CONTINUES, I WILL EAT ANOTHER BAG EVERY TIME THE EARTH COMPLETES A REVOLUTION"

But it gets worse - if the lack of ten-foldedness (?) continues, Rory will resort to letting a viscous microbe loose on a lone fluffy Ewok, unless... Oh here, just read:


Yeah, so ummmm - the first day results - well, go see the video:

I sure hope there's ten milllion visitors by day three....

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Saturday, 04 February 2006 08:54:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The power went out at my house last night, due to a rather impressive wind storm. I haven't heard howling wind like that - well - I guess since I live in Missouri. And that was usually due to a tornado.

Anyhow, the power's been out at my place for like 8 hours, and driving down the road into town was a lot like driving through an ocean of tree branches - quite literally. So now I'm in town at Starbucks. 

It was pitch-black dark when I was trying to get ready to leave (had a early doc appointment), and I found that - in classic geek fashion - I have not yet bought a generator (procrastination and cost aversion), and my flashlights (all three) were dead. But of course they were...

So much for the classic, common sense emergency plans. What to do? Well, I have made all these investments in geeky stuff over the past few years, and there's a couple devices I carry around for work. So, what are the Real Geek Tools that can save you in a blackout?

Well, actually, there's just one: The Blackberry 8700.

In the pitch black, a little blinking red light told me not only that I had mail, but also where the device was located. I grabbed it, rolled the thumb-wheel, and voila! Instant night-light! Seriously, the 8700 spills enough light to illuminate the area around you quite well. Up stairs, down hallways, you name it. It's bright when it needs to be.

And it's a phone. And a loud alarm clock. And an email client. And a chat client for everyone else you know who's bumping their heads into walls who has a Blackberry. Go ahead, call your local public utility, check in with them and ask when the hell the power's gonna be back on. You can't watch your TV or use the computer to surf the net or anything, so email is nice. Oh wait - but you can surf the web! Ahhh, Blackberry you rock my wind-swept world. Or something. Yeah. Anyhow, everything works.

If you don't have a Blackberry 8700 and you live in an area where the power goes out with any frequency, you just don't know what you're missing. It's your one-stop-blackout-shop.

Update: The power came back on at 4:10 p.m. Power lines were down all over the place, and it's amazing actually that they got the power back up so fast, considering the damage that was done. Nice job, Columbia River PUD.

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Saturday, 04 February 2006 08:31:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 03 February 2006

UPDATE! SuitSat1 is not dead - it's just transmitting at a low power. From Bil Munsil comes the following info:

"SuitSat1 is still alive and ham operators and other folks all around the world are receiving the audio, telemetry and SSTV picture.

"Go to http://www.aj3bu/blog/ to listen in."

So, they tossed an empty spacesuit out of the International Space Station earlier today, and it's out there orbiting the planet, but the radio transmitter they stuck in there that many were hoping they'd be able to listen to on their police scanners apparently went dead.


Space is cold - apparently too cold for SuitSat's batteries. The Earth-orbiting spacesuit stopped transmitting shortly after it was thrown overboard from the International Space Station on Feb. 3rd. Probable cause: lack of power.

This doesn't mean that SuitSat was a failure. The experimental satellite was "launched" to answer questions such as "Can a spacesuit-satellite function without internal temperature controls?" The answer, apparently, is "no." Next-generation SuitSats will take this into account.

SuitSat will continue to orbit Earth for weeks, spiraling slowly into the atmosphere. Stay tuned for information about seeing SuitSat in the night sky.

Visit for updates.

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Friday, 03 February 2006 22:09:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Portland Nerd Dinner - be there and be square!

Chris Tavares is - as of this evening - a former employee of mine. He deserves some serious congratulations, as he has accepted a terrific dream-job position with a little software company you might have heard of that's based in Redmond, Washington. He'll be working in the patterns and practices arena. Congrats to Chris!

So, on Thursday a bunch of nerds are getting together for a special "see ya later Chris" dinner - plus it'll be the regular nerd dinner fare, for sure.

Details are on Rich's blog.

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Friday, 03 February 2006 19:03:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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TelegramWithout fanfare or even much notice, Western Union quietly shut down it's telegram service last week. No more ability to send a message for delivery. I kind of liked them, though I rarely used the service. That's too bad. The Internet has grown, evolved, consumed the space and taken completely over.

Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative.

(via Adam Gaffin)

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Friday, 03 February 2006 07:18:03 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The Onion has some insight as to how Blackberry users will be forced to cope if the unfortunate shutdown actually ever occurs. As is fairly typical at the Onion, there's some truth behind the satire...


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Friday, 03 February 2006 06:56:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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