Saturday, 03 June 2006

Adobe, which released it's PDF format as an open format a while back, has apparently shoved Microsoft with a heck of a legal mess regarding Microsoft's plan to include PDF output support directly in the Office 2007 programs.

Brian Jones, a program manager in the Office team at Microsoft, explains that they're going to have to pull PDF output support out of Office 2007.

Let me see if I have this right. Adobe opens up the PDF format and establishes a standard that needs to be adhered to. Other companies and organizations, commercial and otherwise, pick up on that and add PDF creation support to their programs, with no hassle or complaint or legal action from Adobe. Then Microsoft adds it as an output format option to the next-gen Office programs, and Adobe complains and calls out the lawyers.

That stinks. No more Adobe for me. Don't try to convince me that it's different when it's Microsoft that's involved. Adobe's been spiraling toward an almost certain death for some time and this is just another example of that. The ISO:19005-1 standard pretty much spelled out PDF as a standard, it was opened, and now the lawyers are lining up. It's too bad. I guess Adobe didn't think through the definition of "open" when they "opened" the format standard. the only things that's clear is that some portion of Adobe's team of attorneys doesn't have a clue.

So, for people who want to do PDF in Office 2007 directly, it looks like it mean a separate download and installation. At least it won't mean being forced to use Adobe Acrobat, which is and has always been a buggy, bloated piece of junk in my experience. It fails more often than it works. I was rather looking forward to native support in Office right when I installed it...

Brian Jones' blog posts on the subject are here:



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Saturday, 03 June 2006 14:00:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 30 May 2006

I was in Washington DC today (in fact I still am - our flight through Chicago is delayed by a few hours) for a business meeting at the OCC. After the meeting ended we had some time to spare , so my coworker Milind and I spent an hour or so checking out a few spots around the city.

Grandfather Fremont Stanley marker at Arlinton National CemeteryOur last stop before heading for the airport was Arlington National Cemetery. Milind had not been there before, and it had been more than a year for me. The last time I went, they were just closing for the evening, and also at the time I did not get a chance on that trip to find out where my grandpop and grandmom are buried.

But today we had plenty of time, so I went to the location office and the nice people there pulled out the old rolls of microfilm (seriously - someone should digitize all that for the cemetery, for free, as a donation. It's sad that they have to use Microfilm for anything before 1999) and found my grandpop's burial location.

I'd hoped our flight in on Monday would arrive in time to let me go there on Memorial Day, but no such luck, so today - Memorial Day +1, so to speak - was a good day to go.

He served in the U.S. Army - including service during World War Two and Korea. My grandmom and their three kids - my mom and her two younger sisters - traveled to Germany when he was stationed there. I'm told they moved around a lot. Probably typical army family style.

At any rate, what I remember of Grandpop was bouncing on his knee when I was very small. That and him singing "Little David Play on your Harp" to my little brother (David, of course). Of my Grandmom I remember much more. She was a very nice lady and a good person.

Grandmom Stanley marker at ArlingtonAnyhow, it was good to go there and spend a few minutes. Their marker (it's a shared one, because they intern couples together at Arlington) is under a big tree, and it's just a beautiful place. I snapped a few pictures before I left. I'm sure I will go back again, hopefully soon.

Arlington National Cemetery is simply an amazing, thought provoking, emotional place.

Milind and I went to the U.S. Capital building earlier in our trek, and walked in the east-coast summer heat for a while and took some pictures. The capital city has moved into that hot and muggy phase of the early summer, and today was a perfect example. We just don't get that kind of humidity in Oregon. Thank goodness.

UA Capital Building
   The Capital Building

milind-capital1
   Milind's presentation style pose



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Personal Stories
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 16:55:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 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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