Friday, 28 March 2008
I woke up this morning, put on the coffee to get ready for the first round of conference calls, and then went to switch on the TV to catch up on the news. Both DirecTV satellite receivers in the house indicated they were not receiving a signal. I checked the signal meters on both, and sure enough, zero signal received.

After a reset of the boxes, I looked outside and realized a heavy, wet, slushy snow was falling. I went outside briefly and saw a small amount of wet snow on the dish up on the roof, but it didn't look like much. Without more time to look, I went inside and started making this morning's phone calls.

All morning the signal was out on the boxes. I decided to risk life and limb and climbed out on the roof. I *strongly* suggest you never do this. After my experience of coming "this close" to sliding off (my boot and the broom handle getting wedged in the gutter stopped my slow but steady, gravity-driven slide), I was able to reach over with the broom and clean off the dish and the LNB horn. Then I slid, on my backside, across the roof back to the window with the assistance of the broom handle and the gutters and shutters.

That was a dumb move on my part. I won't be doing that again, it was just plain stupid.

I do have the TV signal back. Interesting that a small amount of slush can kill a signal, yet snow that's not as wet can accumulate in droves and not matter. I think I had this happen once over several years with Dish Network's equipment, and I only recently switched to DirecTV so the equipment on the roof is new. Not sure if bands or frequencies in use are different and that's the effect I was experiencing, or if the unusually slushy snow is the real culprit. Or both.

At any rate, it should go without saying, but I ignored common sense for a few minutes this morning - Please don't crawl out on a snowy roof. :)



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Random Stuff
Friday, 28 March 2008 10:29:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Quick post: I just saw Josh Bancroft tweet about Photoshop Express, which you can go and try out here.

Online photo editing, storage,  galleries for sharing - Not a completely unique idea but this is all in your web browser and it uses a clean, well-put-together FLash UI. Pretty cool.



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Tech
Wednesday, 26 March 2008 21:27:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 25 March 2008
I discovered (via iPhone Atlas) a new web app that lets you specify any well-formed RSS feed, which it converts to an iPhone-formatted and friendly list of headlines - sliding animations and all. My site's feed can be seen by clicking here.


You can just click on over and add your feed. It takes seconds. This geeral idea could translate into some pretty cool blog themes if someone wanted to tackle it.


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Apple | Blogging | Mobile | RSS Stuff
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 21:57:45 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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A Best Buy automated telephone system just called me about the HD DVD player purchase I made in their store late last year, to let me know they're sending a $50 gift card. The communication from Best Buy after the (unfortunate) death of HD-DVD has been great - That's one email and one phone call from them.



It's already been widely discussed that Best Buy is doing this, but I wanted to point our the smart business sense that someone there seems to have. It's good to see a store, one which I rather enjoy doing business with from time to time, recognizing the opportunity before them: A chance to both do the right thing and further their sales and relationships with customers that fall into the oft-neglected early-adopter category. Those are exactly the word-of-mouth people you want feeling good about your store, especially in the world of electronics and other products that Best Buy sells.



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Tech
Tuesday, 25 March 2008 12:51:09 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 23 March 2008
I saw an interesting post yesterday (with a couple pics) indicating that Mono, the open-source implementation of .NET, has been ported to the iPhone, or at least it's been started. That's pretty interesting, and it makes me wonder two things: First, are .NET apps realistic for the iPhone? And second, WWSHD?

It's certainly interesting to think that all those talented .NET programmers out there could have a chance at programming for the iPhone, and that any of a variety of apps could be ported or even natively run in the future.

A little proof:
# hostinfo
Mach kernel version:
         Darwin Kernel Version 9.0.0d1: Wed Oct 10 00:07:50 PDT 2007; 
root:xnu-933.0.0.204.obj~7/RELEASE_ARM_S5L8900XRB
Kernel configured for a single processor only.
1 processor is physically available.
1 processor is logically available.
Processor type: armv6 (arm v6)
Processor active: 0
Primary memory available: 116.00 megabytes
Default processor set: 26 tasks, 164 threads, 1 processors
Load average: 0.00, Mach factor: 0.98
# export MONO_DISABLE_SHM=1
# ./mono hello.exe
Hello Mono World
#    



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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Sunday, 23 March 2008 22:18:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 22 March 2008
I'm noticing a not-so-subtle change in the force. I spent the better part of the week listening to Barack Obama, and I'm a moderate-to-conservative guy. Policies aside, he's a persuasive man. Anyhow - I'm also a Windows guy for the most part, but have been known to ride (and occasionally cross over) that fence, as well. Recently, a new business/work venture has me experiencing the need to be ultra-portable from time to time, meeting and working potentially from who-knows-where. So, given the current tax situation and the "workability" needs, I broke down and dropped by the Apple Store last night and - after having visited the store four times and carefully considering the available options - I bought a MacBook Air. My friend Matt patiently watched while I substantially delayed our arrival at the movie theater. Good sport, that Matt.

In case anyone's keeping track, the current game score in the Hughes household Windows vs. Apple system showdown is: Windows 2 (technically 3 if you count the roomie's machine), Apple 2 (or 3 if you count the iPhone). I'm not a Switcher, but I am an Adder.

VMWare Fusion, a very cool app that will let me run Windows apps on the Mac, is coming soon. I will write up my experiences at some point with that process, with a focus on how it works from the perspective of an IT guy. There are - plain and simple - certain apps that are only available on Windows that I need to use, so it will provide me with both worlds, at the same time. You can learn about Fusion here.

Everyone and their brother have already posted reviews and articles about the MacBook Air, so no point in me rehashing the obvious. Here are my initial highlights:
  • Keyboard - Backlit, brightness auto-adjusts, nice keys, quiet typing.
  • Screen - Excellent backlight, also auto-adjusts, bright and contrasty.
  • Thin - Well, duh. And light, too. That was what got me to look in the first place.
  • Battery - Not going to get the advertised 5 hours, but I have pounded it pretty hard for about 2.5 and its still advertising an hour left on the battery (first charge)
  • Close-lid-sleep-wake-up drill - Nice and quick. I like that.
Also, I picked up the "incase" brand neoprene sleeve case they had at the Apple store, which is really very nice. I am already liking it. Great protection and hey, it's all black. :)

I got home, opened it up despite being very tired, ran through the setup (nice, easy and cool), eventually climbed into bed and watched this past week's episode of Lost in HD on the 'net. The Air is a great computer for that, too. I like.



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Apple | Mobile | Tech
Saturday, 22 March 2008 11:35:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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