Sunday, 28 May 2006

Take the time this Memorial Day to remember. Put the memories of those who have sacrificed or gone before you at the front of your thoughts, and their families and friends in your prayers.

This day I remember many who have gone before me: My grandfather, who served in two wars and rests in Arlington National Cemetery and whose grave I hope to visit in the next couple weeks when I am there. My son. Family. Friends. And many people I never knew, who made a decision to sacrifice their lives to make ours better and - in their own very individual ways - to do the right thing.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General from Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

Do not stand by my grave and weep ... I am not there;
I do not sleep.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds
circling in flight.
Do not stand by my grave and cry ...
I am not there. I did not die.

-- Royster



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Personal Stories
Sunday, 28 May 2006 19:50:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Cathy Rigby as Peter PanIt's slightly out of character for me to go to a live theater performance, but I'm glad I bought a couple tickets in early April to the stage production of Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby, for the second to last night of the show's farewell tour. The show was performed last night in downtown Portland at the Keller Auditorium, and I can tell you this: It was a lot of fun and an amazing show, both technically and for it's entertainment value.

First of all, no matter who you are, Peter Pan is just a great story. It speaks directly to the kid hiding within each of us and reminds us that youth is something that passes, but growing up is something that happens in its own time and in accordance with our individual wills. Few stories can make you think about what's possible like Peter Pan does, and for that it's a timeless classic story. It was actually written a hundred years ago.

This show was very well done all the way around. The set was terrific and the lighting made it all work. Of course, one of the most amazing aspects of this show - and the thing that truly sets it apart from most others - is the fact that Peter quite literally flies in the window and all around the stage. At one point, Cathy Rigby, who plays Peter and has done so for years, even flies out into the audience, over your head while the orghestra plays loudly and the crowd cheers (see some back-stage footage here). And when she flies, the former gymnast in her shows through, as she twists and turns and somersaults and spins through the air. Let's just say it's a fantastic flying effect. There's something about the Peter character, one of a young boy who is determined never to grow up, a desire many of us probably share in our own individual ways - and who can fly because he believes, something we all wish secretly we could do. If only wishing and believing could make magical dreams come true and keep us young forever... It's a universal appeal that the story of Peter Pan carries.

When Rigby and the other actors fly across and around the stage, one can't help but wish there was some way to give it a try yourself. It's powerful enough to invoke a wish to actually be able to fly, the same feeling I had when I was a kid lying on the grass and getting dizzy watching birds circle around overhead in the summer. I always wondered what it would be like to be a bird. Tonight I wondered what it would be like to be Peter Pan.

From what I've read, it seems this is Cathy Rigby's farewell tour and therefore the final weekend for this show - it will be no more after Sunday. She flies out in true style, as incredibly athletic as ever (this is an amazingly energetic and athletic production). Sunday evening is the last performance on their schedule during this "farewell tour," which is a sad moment because the filled auditorium tonight was quite pleased and into the performance. Certainly there's more opportunity for the next Peter to take on the role of a boy who woudl not grow up, to please future crowds of both young and old. I am glad and feel quite fortunate to have seen this show before it closed. Magic and pixie dust can really make a lasting impression.

A few press links from the Portland final run of Peter Pan:

It looks like a few Sunday tickets are still available, and if you like the story and can swing it, you should check it out. There's an afternoon show plus one final evening performance. Here's the link for tickets, which will be good only on Sunday - After that, this particular Peter Pan will have grown up, and will be gone.



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Random Stuff
Sunday, 28 May 2006 09:14:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Chris Pratley (Microsoft's Group Program Manager for Office Authoring Services) mentions it's now possible to blog directly from OneNote via a connection with Word 2007, which has some late-addition features that let you use it to create blog posts directly. Gone is the messy Office markup/HTML gobbledy-gook, as the code if cleaned up and made quite basic. Finally! I've blogged from OneNote using the email integration capability in the (distant) past, but this makes it much more practical and "real."

Bonus Track!
Also - Rob Bushway at GottaBeMobile.com has a quick audio interview with Chris Pratley - lots of great information there. Chris discusses small software teams and the many benefits of staying small and focused. While a small team means high demand, it also means agility and a powerful sense of ownership and intimate knowledge of the codebase. Chris also discusses the use of Ink in OneNote and why they didn't use the basic Ink control in the OneNote 2003 release, as well as what they're doing with ink in the new version.



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Office 2003 | OneNote
Sunday, 28 May 2006 07:01:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 26 May 2006

unitedIf you're like me and spend 50% or more of your life reading the Sky Mall and United Airlines magazines in the seat back pocket in front of you, and if you also happen to have a Blackberry with a web browser enabled, or some other SmartPhone-ish thing that lets you browse the web, be sure to check out United 2 Go:

http://www.ua2go.com

Among the things you can do or check on this mobile-enabled site:

  • My itineraries: View your United Airlines and United Express segments regardless of where they were booked.
  • Flight availability: View domestic and international flight availability up to 331 days in the future on United flights. For Palm OS device's without a wireless connection, the downloadable electronic timetable is available monthly on united.com.
  • Flight status: This gives you up to the minute flight status that includes departure/arrival times, gate numbers and departure/arrival status for United flights.
  • Flight paging: Much like the Flight status alerts feature on united.com this allows you to request flight paging for future United flights
  • Mileage Plus summary: This function provides you with access to a summary of your Mileage Plus account.
  • Red Carpet Club locations: View Red Carpet Club information including location, hours and phone numbers.
  • Airport codes: An easy to use airport code lookup tool is at your fingertips for reference.  

If you're a frequent traveler on United, it's worth a bookmark.



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Mobile | Random Stuff
Friday, 26 May 2006 22:40:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I've been testing the Office 2007 beta releases for awhile now (without blogging about it really), ever since the Beta 1 version came out. Just the other day Microsoft released Beta 2 and it's significantly improved. Outlook is snappier and lots and lots of bugs are fixed across all the apps. Plus the new OneNote is just sweet and the integration between OneNote 2007 and the awesome new version of Outlook is greatly expanded and improved.

Chris Pratley, program manager for OneNote, tells all on his blog entry, "OneNote 2007 and Outlook: Best Buddies."

"When we did 2007 planning, it was clear from our user surveys that anything we could do to integrate better with Outlook would be most welcome. So here it is, my long-awaited post on all the great things OneNote can do with Outlook (and some additional goodies at the end)."

Read all the details here.



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Office 2003 | OneNote
Friday, 26 May 2006 21:37:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 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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