Monday, 27 August 2007

Well, I just discovered that I am missing at least one blog entry from the past. I know it's missing because I specifically went looking for it today. I also linked to it in the past from another entry that still exists on this blog. It's just gone. Weird. Also not good. Makes me wonder what else might be missing. I have an idea what might have caused this, but that doesn't help solve the issue. I may have to go back and find some old site content backups and figure out when it disappeared, and probably enumerate all of my posts from the old backups and compare them to what's online now. from there I can make repairs.

Ugh, that just sounds like so much fun... A use for my copious spare time, I guess. Not. Heh.

If you happen to find a link to something here that doesn't work (it will probably redirect you to the main home page), please let me know the original URL and the topic or place you found the link.


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Random Stuff | Things that Suck
Monday, 27 August 2007 12:48:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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This one should be interesting to watch. There's a new blog at Microsoft's MSDN blogs system called hackers @ microsoft (, and the first (introductory) post is up. I hope to see some interesting security and general information here. Might be a good source of some useful insight. There are many things Microsoft is doing right these days, security-wise. More on that in another post some other time.

From the opening post on hackers @ microsoft:

"Welcome to a new blog from Microsoft.  The focus of this blog is likely to be a little different from most other blogs you'll see on  Microsoft employs some of the best hackers in the world and actively recruits them and develops them.  They work on all kinds of projects, whether it be in development, research, testing, management and of course security ... So yes, Microsoft does have hackers, and its time to introduce you to some of them and show you what it is, exactly that they do."

Cool. Subscribed.


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IT Security | Tech
Monday, 27 August 2007 10:22:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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John Nack at Adobe links to a video that I saw up on YouTube as well the other day after a friend sent me link, where a couple of incredibly smart people have presented a new way to resize (and otherwise edit) images. And apparently, according to Nack, one of those smart people - Shai Avidan - is working at Adobe now. Here's the video:

Technically, it's very interesting, even amazing to watch. From a pure photojournalism ethics standpoint, it's certainly to be considered as yet another real concern to those who work in the field. As much of a technology geek as I am, I was a photojournalist long before I got heavy into computers. As soon as I started watching the video my thoughts were as a former news photographer: "Wow, that's a lie." Proof again why art and reporting are not even close to the same thing, and why so few people with a camera fit into both the artist and reporter skins. You don't need to anymore, you can just cheat. Or at least that's what some people would call it.

It's becoming easier and easier to take liberties with the truth when it comes to recording scenes. With the continued technological progress in digital imaging pretty much anyone with a few bucks for some software and a computer (or even without a few bucks if their ethics are truly in the toilet) can create some pretty compelling imagery. But the easy way out doesn't do it for me... I prefer the actual scene, and non-story-telling edits limited to things like cropping, minor exposure compensation, lint removal and color/white balance. At least that's the way I feel with regard to photos that need to carry the journalism label (and for the most part for my photos, as well).

Artists and anyone creating images for effect as opposed to telling a true story, you can go for it. I won't count it against you too much, heh. But I think I'll just try to stick to taking a good natural picture. :-)

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Random Stuff | Tech
Monday, 27 August 2007 09:45:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 25 August 2007

The Satellite Alignment Calculator over at UKSatelliteHelp is a great resource that allows you to choose the satellite(s) you need to point your dish at, specify your address, drag a pointer to the spot on your home or building where the dish is, and from that determine the specific angle and elevation you need to use to get a signal.

It also provides a visual representation of the direction to the satellite by drawing a line on the map, so you can see what landmarks fall in the path of the line of sight.

Satellite Alignment Tool Sample

It's a great tool and works great in the United States and elsewhere, not just in the UK. For example, all the Dish Network and DirecTV sats are listed and can be aimed with the information from this service, as well.

(via jkOnTheRun and Hacks)

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Saturday, 25 August 2007 22:07:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 23 August 2007

My good friend Scott Hanselman just published the latest annual installment of his Ultimate Developer and Power User's Tool List, which you can always see the most recent version of over at As usual, it's a great list of the many, many, many, many pieces of software and sources of information - big and small - that Scott has found make his life as a developer and power user better. I love this list and it's fun when he updates it. Look for the new items this year (there's like 50 of them) in red.

Also, while you are there, take a minute or two and contribute a couple bucks to Team Hanselman in the fight against diabetes. The team has an incredible goal of raising $50,000 to go to fighting the disease, and as of this writing is almost half way there. Every penny counts, so give what you can if you can. And get a tax deduction. Click here to donate.

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Geek Out | Helping Others | Tech
Thursday, 23 August 2007 17:23:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 22 August 2007

UPDATED: As "Digger Dog" points out in the comments below, there is now a national hotline you can access by calling 811 from any phone, which will connect you to the proper utility marking service for your area. Funny thing is I heard a radio spot describing it yesterday, just a day after writing the original post, heh. Here's the description of the national service from the Call 811 web site:

image "One easy phone call to 811 starts the process to get your underground utility lines marked for free. When you call 811 from anywhere in the country, your call will be routed to your local One Call Center. Local One Call Center operators will ask you for the location of your digging job and route your call to affected utility companies. Your utility companies will then send a professional locator to your location to mark your lines within a few days. Once your underground lines have been marked, you will know the approximate location of your utility lines and can dig safely, because knowing what's below protects you and your family."

YouTube has the 811 video PSA spots online, as well. Here's the shorter of the two:

People are also arriving here searching for campaign materials and signage for the Call 811 program. Bumper sticker, bus signs, workplace signs, ad slicks and a whole lot more -- you name it -- get that stuff here.

Thanks, Digger Dog!

My original post:

Driveway at Home This weekend someone is going to be helping me to solve my long gravel driveway woes. After five years, it's time to take that lumpy surface out here in the middle-o-nowhere and fix 'er up, pot holes, bumps, ruts and huge puddles of water be damned. No more roller coasters for me. We'll have to sink some tractor teeth into the ground a foot or two, maybe deeper in some spots, so I needed to get the utilities marked ahead of time for safety and all that, of course.

Turns out there's a centralized service for a few states (specifically Oregon, Washington, Montana and Hawaii - weird but true) lets you make one call (or file a request online) and all the utility companies in your area will be notified and sent out to mark the spot. No need to call each one individually. In fact, when I called my electric company they directed me to the one-call service. You speak to an operator for a few short minutes and within 48 hours they'll have everyone out and the place all marked up. is the web site where you can file your request online, and 800-332-2344 is the phone number if you're lonely or something and you want to speak to a human being. Again, it's available for people in Oregon, Washington, (most of ) Montana and Hawaii.

Enjoy, and don't dig without calling. It's not worth the hurt.

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Random Stuff
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 08:56:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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