Wednesday, 24 October 2007

For as long as Gmail has been around, The People have asked for IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) access to their accounts. Today, that time has come.

Google has announced they are rolling out IMAP across all Gmail accounts over the next few days. What does that mean? It's well-explained on the Gmail blog, right here. A little bird let me know this morning in IM. I really need to stop sleeping in so I can be the first to know every now and then, heh.

Ars technica has a good post explaining IMAP to the layperson and outlining the Gmail situation.

Now comes my big question: Is IMAP functionality also being rolled out to users of Google Apps mail (which is basically Gmail and other Google apps that you can use with @yourdomain.com)? I hope so, since that's they way I use their stuff. In the past Google's typical approach has been to enable new stuff on Gmail before rolling it out to Apps users. I've seen some people this morning claiming it's showing up here and there in apps accounts, but the people saying it are not actually mail for apps users, so grain-of-salt in my book. If you have a Google Mail for Apps setup, is IMAP an option for you yet?

If IMAP in Apps accounts happens (I am sure it will), my iPhone will get changed from POP to IMAP immediately (finally no more tedious deleting and marking as read), and Outlook 2007 or Thunderbird might just get resurrected. Fingers crossed!

Links:



Add/Read: Comments [3]
Tech
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 09:20:29 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback
 Friday, 19 October 2007

I grew up in northern New Mexico. Green chile was everywhere, and found in everything. I remember for a while my dad was on this kick where he dreamed up all kinds of green-chile-in-it dishes. Random, crazy stuff like green chile pancakes and  ... well ... you name it. He had a condition where he couldn't taste much of anything, so I think it was the texture and spice that he liked. Anyhow, long story short: For the longest time I was completely burned out on green chiles.

Then I moved away from the area, and slowly the desire to eat good New Mexican food with green chiles in it returned. By far the best green chile in the whole wide world is from Hatch, New Mexico - a small farming town that's fairly close to where I grew up (well, close in a New Mexico sort of way). There is no debate on this one, by the way. Hatch chile is the best chile. Period.

The other day I decided to make some posole (my current recipe for which is below), and I used chiles in a can from the local (meaning Oregon-based) Safeway store. the posole turned out good, but honestly the green chile leaves a lot to be desired. I was spoiled, ruined, and spoiled again as a kid by Hatch.

I went online yesterday morning to the Hatch Chile Express web site at www.hatch-chile.com and ordered 14 pounds of roasted, peeled, diced and frozen Hatch green chiles from the Chile Capital of the World. You can also get whole chiles there, but unless you're making rellenos there's no point - Get diced and save the hassle of cutting and tossing out parts.

Today, almost exactly 24 hours later, the box arrived via FedEx. The shipment was very carefully and well-packaged, in a strong container with Styrofoam insulation and a frozen cold pack inside, and the 14 one-pound bags of chile were still perfectly frozen and went straight to my chest freezer (after some inspection and sampling of the goods, of course). I ordered mostly medium (since that's what I usually cook with) plus a few bags of hot and mild for good measure. Just the smell of this frozen chile confirmed I'd made a good decision.

Not often I get excited about putting food in my freezer, but as weird as it may sound I was excited today. Hatch chile is that good.

I also ordered some mild and medium variety seed for planting next spring (although the climate here will likely make for a challenging growing season). They threw in a book of recipes (which includes instructions for roasting the chiles if I can get them to grow) as well as several dish options and a handwritten note on the invoice about the varieties I had requested. It's nice to know you're interacting with a real, live person. :)

If you want the best green chile the world has to offer, you go to Hatch, New Mexico. If you can't get to Hatch, then you go online to Hatch Chile Express at www.hatch-chile.com -- and you'll be glad you did. By the way, you can also order wreaths, ristras and a bunch of other cool looking holiday-season stuff there. Highly recommended, check them out. And no, they're not paying me to say that - I am just that impressed and I think if someone sells something great, letting others know is a good thing to do. These are local farmers, actually in Hatch (not some large reseller in some city somewhere), and it's a family-run business. Their phone number and email address are on the web page. There's really no better way to do business.

Here’s my updated and current Posole recipe (an edited version of the one I posted here in 2004), archived here for myself so I won’t lose it, and for anyone else who’s interested and wants to try it:

  • Two #10 cans (108oz) Hominy (Juanita's or a similar Mexican style preferred, fresh or frozen/bagged is even better)
  • Two large yellow onions, sliced and cut up (not diced)
  • One tablespoon (or so) minced/chopped garlic
  • One teaspoon dry oregano (Mexican oregano if you can get it)
  • One envelope/package menudo spice mix (a few ounces, optional)
  • One quart (or less if you prefer) of frozen or canned green chiles, diced, preferably hot or medium strength (do not use jalapenos – use real green chile)
  • Salt (plenty)
  • Pepper (plenty)
  • Two pork tenderloins, about 4-5 pounds each
  • Olive oil

In a large stock pot (16 to 20 quarts size), combine the hominy, onions, garlic, oregano, and green chile. Fill with water to cover the ingredients, plus a little more (don’t get too worried about the water – just make sure it’s pretty full). Salt and pepper the heck out of it, and plan to do so again later. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil while preparing the meat.

Cut the pork into small cubes or similar shape pieces (like you can cut pork into cubes, yeah…).In a frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and brown the pork slowly, adding some salt and pepper to the meat.

After browning the pork, add it to the stock pot contents, and stir the meat in.Once it boils, turn the heat back to simmer the stuff. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stir, and boil again. Do this twice, then simmer again on low heat.

Now comes the hard part – leave it alone until the cows come home, stirring about every 30 minutes. Keep it on low heat, just enough to bubble a little, to avoid burning the food at the bottom of the pot. "Until the cows come home" translates loosely to anywhere between say five or six hours and overnight (depending on what time you start, I suppose). Trust me – let it cook down, it needs it. Add some water as needed to keep the stock covered. It will thicken up a bit as it goes.

And don’t be stingy with the salt and pepper in this recipe – you’ll need it. You will probably find you need to add some salt while cooking one or more times. Stir it in and cook for a few minutes, then stir again and taste.

Serve with tortillas, and if you want grate a little cheese on top when you serve it up.



Add/Read: Comments [5]
Personal Stories | Random Stuff
Friday, 19 October 2007 11:12:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback
 Thursday, 18 October 2007

I didn't realize this site actually existed until now. The Microsoft Developer Network's Beginner Developer Learning Center, located at http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/beginner/, looks to be a useful resource for people wanting to get a start in software development. The site has two "tracks" available: Web development and Windows app development, using the Express versions of Visual Studio.

Welcome to the Beginner Developer Learning Center - a centralized learning environment specifically targeted to beginning programmers. Here you'll find a rich array of learning content that starts with the very basics, and guides you through step-by-step to becoming a fully-fledged developer!

No experience or programming knowledge required - so dive right in!

So, hey kids - Go get learning!



Add/Read: Comments [0]
Tech
Thursday, 18 October 2007 17:22:16 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback

While I won't be able to attend myself (since I will be at TechEd in Spain at the time), the Seattle Code Camp is set to take place November 17th and 18th in Redmond. Anyone interested in presenting or attending (it's free!) can go to seattle.codecamp.us for more information and to get signed up.

Code Camp is a new type of community event where developers talk with—and learn from—fellow developers. All are welcome to attend and speak.

Code Camps are (1) by and for the developer community; (2) always free; (3) community developed material; (4) no fluff – only code; (5) community ownership; and (6) never occur during working hours.



Add/Read: Comments [1]
Tech
Thursday, 18 October 2007 12:23:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback
 Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Recently I have been working on writing a set of practices for taking the IT Help Desk to the next level. Well, actually it's about fixing what's broken and reworking the people, processes and technology components in order to be a great, service-oriented help desk with happy customers and happy, motivated employees. And yes, it is possible to have it all.

At any rate, I read this blog entry by Tim Heuer recently, and it illustrates well the common problem with IT support processes. Read and weep.

When you read something like that and both laugh and cringe (mostly cringe in my case), it makes you think.

ITIL, COBIT, and everything else standards-based aside, there's a whole slew of internal motivations and behaviors common to IT organizations and customers, yet not really addressed by standards, that can make or break the success of your service desk and organization. Having processes and checklists in place is great, but what makes for a really great IT organization? What makes someone a great help desk customer?

You never get perfect (on either side of the desk). But you can run a practice that is measurably successful and does more than maintain status quo (not always a good thing, by the way) and just get the job done.

What are some of your help desk stories, good or bad? What have you seen that works? For all that is decent and tactful, please don't disclose your employers, any people or specific teams here (or they'll be deleted). But some illustrations would be great. Just be nice. :)



Add/Read: Comments [3]
Management | Tech
Tuesday, 16 October 2007 15:01:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback

Adam Shostack of Microsoft takes a critical look at threat modeling and changes to TM processes in a short series of posts on the MSDN Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) blog. It's a good read, especially when aligned with Larry Osterman's recent writings (which I mentioned recently) and those of others. If you're not a reader of the SDL blog and you're a security person or developer, I recommend it highly, by the way.

"In this first post of a series on threat modeling, I’m going to talk a lot about problems we had in the past. In the next posts, I’ll talk about what the process looks like today, and why we’ve made the changes we’ve made. I want to be really clear that I’m not critiquing the people who have been threat modeling, or their work. A lot of people have put a tremendous amount of work in, and gotten some good results. There are all sorts of issues that our customers will never experience because of that work. I am critiquing the processes, saying we can do better, in places we are doing better, and I intend to ensure we continue to do better."

Here's quick links to the blog articles by Adam. Those interested in secure development need to know and use a threat modeling process, and a critical view of said processes is important, so it's good to see this healthy example:

(also via Michael Howard's blog, which is a must-read security resource, too)



Add/Read: Comments [1]
IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 16 October 2007 08:06:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
#  Trackback