Tuesday, 30 December 2003

In the “hey that’s interesting,” or maybe the “I tested that one” department:

Bink.nu’s list of Microsoft product code names

I personally have tested a number of these (officially). Interesting to remember all the names. I noticed there's a few not on there that are currently underway though.



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Tech
Tuesday, 30 December 2003 20:29:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Monday, 29 December 2003

I’ve been using the new Acer c300 Tablet PC for a few weeks now, and am ready to make some educated comments. First of all:

<Handwritten content>

Seriously, I am using this computer much more than my old notebook, and it beats the snot out of the old Compaq tablet we picked up a year ago. Tablet PC hardware has matured into a viable set of devices that can compete with other computers on the market. It behaves like a decent business notebook, but converts quickly to slate mode when needed. I am authoring this entry completely with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition’s handwriting recognition - no keyboard - and no wires thanks to the Centrino chipset. Cool stuff, and on top of that I’ve been sitting here using the computer on battery and wireless network for a few hours and still have plenty of battery life left to go.

<Handwritten content>

Of course it also needs to be practical and useful, and I have found myself tending to take better notes when I need them. I am also taking notes at times and places I never did before.

The Acer is well-built, with a larger than typical screen/slate (about 14 inches compared to the more common 10 to 12). The digitizer is fast and works very well. I was pleasantly surprised when the unit arrived to find it ships with a built-in smart card slot and two cards. Without a valid card the computer will not start. Of course, you can do all the other Windows tricks with the smartcard, as well.

The case is sturdy, the wireless is fast and reliable (802.11b) and I can’t find anything to complain about. The pen stows neatly in the screen frame, and the unit has a built-in DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, which is very nice if you are looking to completely replace a laptop computer (that’s my goal). We will be doing some application performance testing over the next week or two, and that will determine if this unit is ready for prime time. I think it will do well.

The more thing: When Gateway announced price drops for its tablet machine a couple of weeks ago, Acer followed suit and knocked something like $400 off the list price, so the cost for the tablet is now comparable to that of a similarly equipped standard notebook. That makes it much more reasonable to consider the Tablet PC for business purchase.



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Blogging | Tablet PC | Tech
Monday, 29 December 2003 22:57:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Monday, 29 December 2003 21:05:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Two things happened today that amazed me. I was not present for either one. Where I live, it snowed a whole bunch. My 4-wheel-drive truck allowed me to leave my house today and work my way down into the valley to go to work, but without that capability – no way man.

The first things that happened was that I heard from my neighbor that the UPS guy stopped his truck at the end of the driveway, by the road, and WALKED a package through the snow up and down two long hills, a quarter mile to the neighbor’s house, because his truck could not make the drive. Wow. That’s dedication and service!

Then later I heard that Cora, the nice lady I have come to my house every couple week to clean things (Before you start, remember I’m a bachelor *and* a work-a-holic, so give me a break…:-)), also hiked from the road to my house, CARRYING THE CLEANING STUFF THE WHOLE WAY. Apparently the neighbors saw them climbing the hill, but they were already half-way here by that time, so they did not have the heart to suggest they turn back and come back when the drive was passable. When I called Cora and thanked her, she laughed and said, “Well, I was already there, and my helper said she wanted to get out and play in the snow anyhow, so I thought oh, what the heck.” Uhhh, that’s more than I would ever ask for, and someone’s going to get a big tip. Way above and beyond!

These things simply would not happen in the city. There’s something about small-town and country life that is different. People watch out for each other, and they care about people and things.

Now I remember why I moved out here.



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Personal Stories
Monday, 29 December 2003 19:11:09 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Woke up this morning to 8 inches of new snow – the roads were a killer, but it sure looks cool! And it was good snow. The neighbor kid should have waited 12 hours to attack. I would have OWNED! :-)

My neighbor called me and asked if I was driving in, and if he could hitch a ride (I have the 4WD). As expected, once we hit the road we found that people around here don't know how to drive when the snow starts to accumulate. It took a lot longer than usual to get to work this morning, but sitting in the roadway behind a stuck semi truck, one is able to see things that one does not normally get a chance to see when moving along at 40 or 50 miles an hour. Hey - Where'd those train tracks come from??

I don't think I will be staying at work the full day. It sounds like the roads will freeze, which will mean much worse driving, so heading home early sounds like the best idea.

Maybe even make a snowman if we get back home in time? If the snow's still there. We'll see.




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Personal Stories
Monday, 29 December 2003 11:05:05 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Sunday, 28 December 2003

It started snowing yesterday, and this afternoon it picked back up, and now all of a sudden we have nearly two inches on the ground, and it’s still coming down at a pretty good clip. Just a few years ago, if I read these same words I would have laughed and said something like, “What – two inches? So what???” But I am much older and lamer than that now, and the fact is that it almost never snows here in any appreciable amount, so I am kind of excited. Add the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere and the roads SUCK when it snows or gets icy, and I feel like a kid again.

Speaking of which, the neighbor kid (who’s really a polite, smart, well-behaved 10-year-old) rings my doorbell this evening at dusk. It’s like 30 degrees outside and it’s snowing like crazy, and he’s standing in the front lawn as I open the door and peer out, with this crazed-little-kid look on his face (you know, the look they get when they’ve stepped over an invisible line and just can’t seem to make themselves go back). He’s not saying anything, and has a strange look on his face like he's trying to make a decision - or maybe he's battling with one he's already made, so I ask him, “Why are you standing out there in the snow?” The psycho grin grows across his face, and next thing I know, a huge snow/slush ball is hurtling toward me.

I'm standing in my doorway, on the entry floor, no shoes on. Wet ball of snow hits the door frame next to my left shoulder. Ah hah!

It wasn’t until a few seconds later that he realized exactly what he’d done (or maybe he suddenly got to the consequences part of the think-cycle). He spun in the snow, screamed in panic, and ran off.

I found him 5 minutes later, hiding in the trees, crazed again and apparently waiting for me to come find him. He had 5 snowballs at the ready. It was almost dark, but I heard him sneer, “This is WAR!” and he then proceeded to miss me, five times. But it was a good try.

So, for my part I made sure he had plenty of snow down the back of his jacket before we finished, and all was good. And for the record he managed to hit me a few times with his snowball stash in the process. All in all, I think it's safe to say that while I came out on the dryer side of the battle, he won the war.

Cold weather will make you do unusual things, won't it?

Ah, snow. :-)



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Personal Stories
Sunday, 28 December 2003 20:49:42 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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<Handwritten content>
Nice - Tablet PCs can actually be useful, I am finding this out. This may not be the best example, but it does show how a little ingenuity and taking a little time to make things work together can change the way things are used. Not that this is an original idea - quite the contrary - but while others are out there writing special programs to do this, I just used existing programs with features that - when combined - allow this to happen. And, I thought of it and executed it in a matter of 30 minutes. All I need is my Tablet PC, Outlook 2003 installed, dasBlog on the server side, and finally a wired or wireless Internet connection, and I can do this. It's nifty. :-)

Technology certainly continues to grow and change.



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Blogging | Tablet PC
Sunday, 28 December 2003 19:12:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Testing my first post made via an email message to the new weblog. dasBlog now allows you to post with an html email, which is very cool for those of us that use Outlook a lot. Supposedly you can also post inline images – very nice!

I can see lots of possible applications for this, especially at work - avoids having to send an email and publish the content to a web site separately, and on top of that, RSS syndication of the post as well…. /me *drools*

Well – We shall see – if this post shows up on the site, it actually works and we are good to go!

- g



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Blogging
Sunday, 28 December 2003 18:34:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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WOW.

Thought of the day -- There are certain things in this world that, if it wasn't for the fact they were so friggin funny, should probably be made illegal. 'Nuf said:

http://www.jondavis.net/MP3/ONightDivine.m3u  (MP3 stream)

I'm laughing my ass of. My friend is looking at me like I snapped or something. Heh.

 -g



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Humor
Sunday, 28 December 2003 17:47:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 27 December 2003

I have established a web site at greghughes.net and will be working to move my old blog entries over to the new site. It might take a while, since there's no automatic way I can find to migrate livejournal content to the new site. The new site runs on dasBlog, which is a very cool piece of free software.

More on all the cool stuff I have found recently when I get things set up. I have a new list of must-have's for the wannabe blogger that I need to put together and post here.

 - g



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Saturday, 27 December 2003 00:06:55 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 18 December 2003
If you've been in the web world for any length of time, you have to know who Nick Bradbury is. He's one of the gods of usable and useful software design.

I've been running a in-development new product of his, called FeedDemon, for some time now, and I have to tell you , it's awesome. It's a RSS reader and it does it so well, I have dumped every other RSS reader out there. It's not even for sale yet and I already bought a copy. :)

The official version will be available soon, but for now, take a look at Nick's FeedDemon product site and you can grab the pre-release copy and see what I mean.

RSS is the way of the future, people. Get on board now before everyone else does, and before it gets renamed to something goofy. If you are one of those who wishes you could (honestly) say you were doing work on ARPANET, but can't - here's you chance to get in early enough to say you found it before everyone knew about it.

- g

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RSS Stuff | Tech
Thursday, 18 December 2003 00:14:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Wednesday, 17 December 2003
Man-o-Man, been a while since I posted. I got lazy, or busy, or tired, or something. Probably all of the above. Anyhow, here comes Christmas and I am way behind, things are crazy everywhere I turn and I think the only good decision I have made recently was to hire a cleaning lady to come in and clean my house for me every few weeks. Seem like if I am home, I am worn out, so this was a good decision. Besides, I suck at cleaning for the most part. Not that I can't do it - I just don't really enjoy it. :)

But anyway, lots of technology stuff going on these days. That anti-spam bill I blogged about eons ago just got signed into law. That should (still) be interesting. Where I work we have rolled out the Office 2003 system now, and it's sometimes frustrating, other times rewarding to be putting all this work into this project. I can honestly say I will be glad when we can say we are done. At least the end is in sight!

So, I have been thinking that I should just up and leave for some random period of time and go some random place I have never been just to get a brain break. I have been thinking about Alaska, but the time required to do that is kind of daunting. I have been to New Your City a few times before, but it's been awhile, and the last time I was there I was at the World Trade Center, so things have definitely changed and I would like to go back possibly. Or, hey, there's always Vegas or Reno, right??? ;)

Oh. You gotta check this out. Right when you think you've seen it all, here comes a couple things that make you stop, roll your eyes, and exclaim, "WTF???" I'm not going to explain the first one. It's freakin hilarious though. And then we have the Washington State Patrol's new campaign. If it wasn't for the fact that it's for REAL, I'd stop shaking my head and start laughing...

I'll try to post here a little more often. Try. Operative word. :)

- g

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Wednesday, 17 December 2003 21:23:06 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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