Monday, 09 June 2008
I'm in warm and sunny Orlando for the IT week of Tech Ed. My cohort Richard and I will be interviewing, making the speaker contest happen, and generally staying busy through Friday. If you are at Tech Ed this week, be sure to drop by the Tech Ed fishbowl in the exhibition hall, or send and email and let me know. It would be great to meet new people and catch up with others.



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Random Stuff | Tech
Monday, 09 June 2008 07:53:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 06 June 2008
Most of my friends know that every now and then I operate public fireworks displays - as in the big ones with hundreds or thousands of shells, way up in the sky and loud as hell. It's a fun side gig, and I am licensed in Oregon and Washington to run the displays.

This year for the July 4 celebration, I am once again operating the Walla Walla, Washington show. I ran last year's show and am headed back. But I certainly can't do it alone, and so this is an invitation to anyone in the area (meaning in Walla Walla or in the Portland/Vancouver/etc. area) who might be interested in joining me as part of the pyro crew to speak up and join in!

And I'm quite serious. We'll load mortars and set up some thousands of shells and stuff, do a lot of fun and interesting training and safety stuff, learn about how fireworks work, and generally have a fun time. It's not lounging/leisure time - In fact there's quite a bit of manual work of a reasonable nature, and it can get hot. But pretty much without fail, people who join the crew have a great time and are glad they did it. Some get hooked, like Travis and Jenn, who keep coming back for more year after year. Suckers. Heheheh. Be sure to check out Travis' blog entry and Jenn's pictures from last year's show to give you a bit of an idea of what it's like.

So, who can participate? Anyone 18 years of age or older (you have to be 21 years old to fire a show, 18 to help set up and whatnot), who is not restricted from handling regulated explosives (in other words, you can't be a convicted felon or certifiably insane - sorry). You'll be doing some moderate labor (some lifting, carrying, etc). Obviously nobody on the crew can consume alcohol on that day (until the show is over, at least) and you can certainly think of other obvious things that would be safety no-no's.

If you're interested, great! Let me know as soon as you can. I need to firm up a crew list in the next week or two. All I ask is that once confirmed, please make sure you are actually planning to be there. We'll provide the lodging, food, drinks, training and lots of fun. You get to tell people (kids, grandkids, friends, and lame non-believers) about how you are so awesome becuase you helped blow up tons of cool explosives for the Walla Walla community. Just be warned: It can be addictive. Ask Travis and Jenn. :)

To entice you, here is a video with some highlights from last year's show. The video is only a few minutes long; the actual show was close to 20 minutes.




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Fireworks | Random Stuff
Friday, 06 June 2008 17:21:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 05 June 2008
A reporter from Forbes Magazine, Brian Caulfield, has been sneaking around a bit, asking questions, and taking pictures from various public-domain locations where he thinks Apple's next-gen iPhone (or APple Tablet, or next-gen iMac, or all of the above) are being dispatched from.

Tons of boxes overflowing a large warehouse, courier service trucks in drives coming and going, no-label boxes and warehouse workers being cagey but saying basically nothing. But when you start to stack up so much circumstantial evidence it's pretty convincing. If nothing else, it generates great hype and gets people like me to pay attention and write about it. Marketing madness.

What I really want to know: Where and when to line up as an existing AT&T customer who wants to upgrade, and how much cash to bring with me. I'm guessing/surmising the answer is sometime in the next week and a half, and $200 (plus a pen to sign a contract extension).



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Apple | Geek Out | Mobile | Tech
Thursday, 05 June 2008 13:35:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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TechCrunch is reporting that Google is releasing Gmail Labs this evening, and is also outlining some of the details as they hear them.
Gmail engineers come up with new ideas all the time. Gmail Labs is our place to try them out and get your feedback. None of these features are really ready for prime time yet, so they might change, break, or disappear at any time.
Very cool. You can choose which ones you want to use, turn them on and off. Check back in a little while - all Gmail users will be able to take advantage.
At 6pm PT they’re launching Gmail Labs – it will be a tab on top of settings, a list of features that are rough, have gone through almost no filtering. Using the send feedback link users can go to the Google Conversation. Every user will have this available.

The first batch will include 13 new features being tested now, all created by Gmail engineers. Everyone will have access to these.



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Tech
Thursday, 05 June 2008 13:28:37 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 30 May 2008
If you're like me, you rely on Google a lot to help you though your day. There are a few sites out there that - much to my frustrated chagrin - include their content in Google's index but won't let you see the content when you click the search results link - unless you sign up for an account (sometimes you even have to pay). I know there are some ways around the blocked access (Google can see the content, so there are open doors), but what I really want is a way to avoid seeing those sites in my search results.

As it turns out, excluding a domain from search results is very simple. It's not very clearly documented anywhere, but I'll tell you here, so you'll be a tiny bit smarter and look really cool to whomever you show it to in the future.

To start, one key thing about searching with Google that we need to understand is that in pretty much any Google search you can exclude anything you want by preceding it with a minus sign when you type your term into the search box. Knowing this, we can exclude almost anything - including a domain/site.

Next, we need to know how to search and specify a domain in our search query term. We do this by entering the word "site," followed by a colon, followed by the domain name. For example, I can search for an exact match on my name within this site's domain by structuring my search term like this:

Similarly, if I want to search for exact matches on "Greg Hughes," but this time I want to search all sites except greghughes.net, I do it like this:

Note the "minus sign" that precedes the "site:" search operator in this case. That's how we tell Google to exclude the site/domain specified.

So there you have it. Want to exclude a domain from your search term? Just specify the domain with "-site:" and you're all set.

But what if you don't want to specify the domain to exclude every time by hand? In that case, set up a Google Custom Search Engine (http://www.google.com/coop/cse/) and specify during setup that you want your custom search engine to include results from the entire Internet. Then, after your search engine has been created, go to the Control Panel, choose the "Sites" tab, and from there you can specify as many domains as you like to exclude from every search. You'll get a custom search engine that you can tweak to your heart's content.



That's it - hope it helps someone in need. Enjoy!


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Tech
Friday, 30 May 2008 13:25:10 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 29 May 2008

image If you saw the season finale episode of Lost and happened to be paying attention to the commercial breaks near the end of the two-hour episode, you might have noticed the "commercial" for Octagon Global Recruiting, with a note to visit the web site octagonglobalrecruiting.com for more information.

"Octagon Global Recruiting is currently seeking volunteers to contribute to an important new research project." And it's "on behalf of the Dharma Initiative."

So if you happen to need something to do and have expertise in the following areas (from the commercial spot), be sure to click on through. Oh, and you might want to think about going to Comic Con in San Diego at the same time the recruiting event is happening.

There's one more trade that I couldn't quite get a screen grab of - dentists. And there you have it.

Check it out here. And have fun. :)



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Geek Out | Random Stuff
Thursday, 29 May 2008 22:14:02 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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