Thursday, 25 May 2006

I’m sitting here at work at 7:30 p.m. on a Thursday along with Philippe, one of the guys I work with. He’s over glued to his laptop there running SQL queries and doing randomly crazy, scary-smart developer stuff like writing WinForms apps to parse and munge huge datasets and other stuff I really only pretend to understand. Good to have the brainiacs around, let me tell ya!

Anyhow, I asked him what he thinks I should blog about. You see, I’ve not been as prolific recently in the writing department and have been a bit short on ideas, so was fishing for topics. He says – now get this one – it’s not his job to think for me. Hehehehe… Nice one. Actually, I was looking at more as thinking for himself and sharing some topic ideas with me, but hey whatever. Heh.

Then I realized – he hasn’t posted anything to his blog in the past five and a half months. And I’m asking him for writing advice? What the heck was I thinking??

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Random Stuff
Thursday, 25 May 2006 18:45:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Overwhelmed my the sheer volume of email and the work assignments and stress that go along with it? Help is available. Microsoft's Leadership Forum event for June 8th will be "Getting to Zero in Your Inbox."

Link to register for the LiveMeeting event -


  • Sally McGhee, Founder / Managing Partner
  • John Wittry, Executive Consultant, McGhee Productivity Solutions
Seminar Overview:  Using the McGhee Productivity Solutions E-Mail Processing Model
Is your e-mail in box managing you or are you managing your e-mail inbox? Is the constant influx of e-mail keeping you in reactive mode rather than strategic? Are you spending too much time opening and closing e-mail looking for what to do next? Learn how to use your objectives to prioritize your e-mail, how to reduce the amount of e-mail you get, how to differentiate between reference information and action information, and how to set up a system to handle reference and action information.  Clients who use MPS methodologies for e-mail management have seen the number of e-mails in their inboxes reduced by as much as 80%, and spend 1/3 less time in their e-mail on a daily basis.  There is relief for e-mail overload!

In this seminar you will learn:
  • How to Get to zero e-mails in your inbox
  • How to Use a clear focus on your objectives to manage your e-mail inbox
  • New and effective ways to prioritize your day
  • To Free up at least an hour a day

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Office 2003 | Tech
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 23:11:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 22 May 2006

Brent Strange (some dude I know from somewhere, heh...) discusses Virtual PC and the relative performance impact of using differencing, undo and fixed virtual disks. While there are many things one can do to improve performance of virtual machines, having a good, clear understanding of the performance characteristics of different virtual disk types is basic and fundamental. You can tweak all you want, but if you have a slow disk set up, you can only get so far.

A while back, Scott Hanselman also summarized some useful Virtual PC performance optimization techniques.

Virtualization capability is a terrific tool, but there are always tradeoffs. You'll sacrifice at least some performance for the convenience and flexibility you get with virtualization, but depending on your configuration and the specific purpose and requirements of the system you're setting up, it's often well worth the performance costs.

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Monday, 22 May 2006 22:10:33 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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If you're not into x-rays or thinking about surgery and stuff like that, you can just skip this one. Many people have had me promise to show them pictures of the artificial disc that was implanted in me three months ago once I got them, so - well - here you go. This is a pretty amazing and relatively new (in the USA anyhow) area of medicine.

The Kineflex artificial lumbar disc is a three-piece metal-on-metal mechanical replacement, which is used to treat chronic and severe lumbar pain due to degenerative disc disease. It's in FDA trials right now, which makes me a bit of a guinea pig. It's not the kind of surgery you decide to do without a lot of serious thought and only after trying every other option. It replaced my natural disc, and now my severe back and leg pain that I lived with 24 hours a day for years is practically gone - and as a bonus I am a little bit taller than I was before the surgery. As I've said here before, I have my life back thanks to the doctors and the people that built this little device.

How'd they get it in there? The made an 8-inch horizontal incision just below my belly button (yep, they approach the spine from the front), spread the bones apart, removed the disc that was damaged, and put this new one in place.

You can click each image to view them larger-sized. I've removed any sensitive personal information.

Kineflex - High contrast side view

Kineflex - Reverse image high contrast

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Kineflex Artificial Disc Surgery | Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Sunday, 21 May 2006 23:58:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 18 May 2006

More official information has been made available about the DualCor cPC, a new computing device that will run both Windows XP Tablet PC Edition and Windows Mobile. Dave Ciccone, DualCor Director of Strategic Alliances, sent me and other other DualCor advisors some interesting details. I'm a bit late getting this post online because I'm off hosting a security conference, but here's the highlights:

  • Cost: $1999
  • It will be sold at authorized reseller in the US, and in certain other countries (TBA)
  • It will ship in the next 90 days
  • It will ship with a Compact Flash WiFi card included in the package
  • For phone use, you can add a CF card or a USB device
  • Digital Ink is supported and OneNote works
  • Video can be portrait or landscape oriented
  • Video resolution on the external VGA port/device is spec'ed up to 2048x1536, and it's been tested as high as 1600x1200
  • The syncing capabilities between Windows XP and Windows mobile is a proprietary piece of software just for this device
  • Accessories will be announced soon, and DualCor is open to suggestions - leave a comment here or email if you have one and I will see it is passed along. Instead of a formal docking station, there will be a "picture stand" and a "desk stand"
  • It has a 1.8-inch, 30GB hard drive. Windows XP boot from that, and the Windows Mobile software boots from the ROM
  • It's designed to run applications developed on the Microsoft SDK for Windows Mobile and Windows XP Tablet PC applications

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Thursday, 18 May 2006 22:24:47 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Google Maps Mobile Beta on my Blackberry 8700CMy friend Jim reminded me the other day about an app I recently installed and have not taken the time to write about, despite the fact I've been using it - namely the Google Maps Mobile (beta) client that I have running on my Blackberry 8700C.

Available for a number of handheld platforms, this network-connected client software allows you to do a lot of what you've already come to expect from Google Maps on the web, only now you can take advantage of the service your handheld. Everyone I've shown it to in the past couple weeks has agreed that it's pretty darned awesome.

Things you can do with the Google Maps Mobile client:

  • Search for nearby businesses cataloged in Google Local (via the "Find Business" menu option)
  • Specify a location to show on the maps (it remembers locations you enter, too)
  • Get driving directions to or from any location (just click the location and choose from the menu)
  • View locations either in map or satellite view, and toggle between views
  • Zoom in and out, and pan left/right, up/down

It would be nice to have a feature for the driving directions to be listed on a single page, turn-by-turn, rather than only on the map at the waypoints (which works just fine, just not what I'm used to). But hey, who's to complain? It's free. Heh...

The mobile client seems to be available for multiple devices, so read the list to see if yours is supported, and to get it point your mobile device at:

I installed mine by visiting that page and installing over the air - the best method there is, really.

And for a bit more information in your regular ol' (non-mobile) web browser, see the Google Maps Mobile (beta) page and read the FAQ.

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Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, 16 May 2006 22:28:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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