Wednesday, 20 September 2006

There's no point in droning on and on about this one - Scott Hanselman is 100% correct when he proclaims:

"I say this: IE7 and Office 2007 not supporting Basic or Digest Authentication out of the box for accessing secure feeds will negatively affect adoption of RSS more than any other failing of the spec since its inception. It will slow adoption down at every level; it will make it harder for Financial Institutions to justify it and it will flummox internal Enterprises who don't have completely NTLM/AD infrastructure."

He discusses this in the context of using RSS to securely retrieve feeds for banking data, for example. Sure, there are many points to ponder regarding the retrieval and storage of likely sensitive information, but in the end this is something that will be needed, and would be useful now for many uses.

Do you think this functionality is important? Scott does and so do I. Read his post, Accessing Private and Authenticated Feeds - Why it's important, and say something - in the comments here on this blog, on Scott's blog, on the IE Blog, on your blog.

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Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Wednesday, 20 September 2006 21:44:51 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Microsoft today announced and released (in an apparently closed beta) Soapbox, their new service aimed at the YouTube crowd. Word is it will allow you to upload your videos, up to 100MB, for sharing with others. Works with Windows Media player or Flash embedded in the web page. You can get on the waiting list for a beta account via a link on the Soapbox site.

This should be interesting to watch. From the site:

"Soon you’ll be able to upload your own videos, watch those made by other contributors, post comments on what you’ve seen, and much more."

I sure hope I can subscribe to feeds there. That would be a terrible boat to miss. We'll see soon enough.


Tuesday, 19 September 2006 11:55:21 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Sunday, 17 September 2006

Update: I was able to get the refresh installed - see below...

I've been running the various betas of Office 2007 for many months now, and the other day Microsoft released their Office 2007 Beta Two Technical Refresh. I ran across installation failures when I tried to install it, and the error that comes up when the installation fails was slightly less than helpful:

So I started looking around for any bright ideas. I found the below KB article (which is apparently the one that is supposed to be referenced in the above dialog box, according to the release notes - oh and by the way, don't even try to view it in Firefox Beta 2, use IE if you want to be able to read all of it, sheez):

I tried all the suggestions in there, to no avail. And now my Office programs have some horribly broken ribbon and menu bars. Uh oh.

Any ideas? I am going to try a reboot and maybe one more installation try, and then it's off to the newsgroups I go...



I ended up having to uninstall the entire Office 2007 suite, reinstall it, and then run the Beta 2 TR updater. Once I did that all was fine. Now I am up and running on the latest and greatest. Performance in Outlook is improved, and some menu items and buttons have been moved around in ways that make good sense. All the Office programs seem snappier and cleaner. PowerPoint is so much better performing in this version it's back to being usable again (the last version was a freakin' dog).

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Sunday, 17 September 2006 21:56:50 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Corillian - the company I work for - is hiring. We have a number of positions open across the country, in a variety of locations.

Right now I have one opening in the Security Solutions business (for an experienced software QA engineer), plus all around the company there are a variety of interesting positions and opportunities. As of the time of this post, positions are available in offices located in Portland, Oregon as well as Omaha, New York City and Reston, Virginia. Current jobs include positions in software development, test, product management, support, customer management, database administration and systems administration.

You can check out all the current openings at the Corillian web site job search page. If you find something you like, let me know and I will be glad to discuss the position in my section, or to tell you more about the company. My email and mobile phone numbers are on this blog's web page, over at the right. Don't be shy - I'll be glad to hear from you.

Sunday, 17 September 2006 15:33:17 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Monday, 11 September 2006

I drove home from work this evening and it dawned on me that the entire day I was somewhat disconnected, and by the end of the day I was feeling impatient, randomly angry and very, very tired. Earlier in the day, as I drove in to the office, I listened to the radio and felt again that sick, angry, desperate feeling I remember feeling on and after September 11, 2001.

This evening I found and read a set of powerful blog entries from someone named Andy, who was there - a couple blocks away at work that morning - when the first airplane hit the World trade Center. He describes what happened in detail, from the time the first tower was hit to several days later.

"I've got to admit that as I wandered uptown I was dazed - I just wandered in between cars, in the middle of the street, staring into car windows as they stared back at us - the witnesses - stream by them. I wondered if they could see in my eyes what I had been seeing."

Reading Andy's posts brings me back to what happened that day. It's important to remember what happened, who it hurt, and how it continues to affect us and others today. If you don't read anything else, brace yourself and read his posts and remember...

"I hope that when this is all over New Yorkers can remember the way that they came together and united in the face of tragedy. The people I have met on the street, in the stores, everywhere, have risen to a level of compassion and decency that no-one would expect from a New Yorker. People have been demonstrating their better sides, putting their personal concerns on the backburner in order to reach out to those in need. And its possibly the only glimmer of hope in this horrible situation.

"And I would never have thought I would say this sort of thing, but God bless all the rescue workers, firefighters, policemen and everyone else. Prayers and thoughts to the victims and survivors."

Many New York City bloggers have written about their September 11th thoughts and experiences over time. You can read some of their accounts at the NYC Bloggers site.

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Tuesday, 12 September 2006 02:15:40 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Sunday, 10 September 2006

Having upgraded to the latest dev release for dasBlog and after adding some stuff to my server, this blog now has a mobile theme that will automagically be used when you visit this site on a mobile device. Much better than it was before. Just the basics. Thanks to Scott Hanselman for this.

If you happen to have the the time and ability to do a screenshot from your mobile device, send one my way. The only one I have to check it out with is a Blackberry. I'd especially like to see it on a Windows Mobile device.

Update: Josh Bancroft (author of the blog) send in the image over there on the right, which is a screenshot from his WinMobile phone. Josh says, "Looks great on my Samsung I730 Windows Mobile 5 device!"

Thanks Josh - I knew you'd send a pic if anyone would. :)

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Blogging | Mobile | Tech
Sunday, 10 September 2006 19:00:48 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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I am just a bit jealous of Trevin. He's on a month-long journey all over Europe with a backpack, on the trains and a few airplanes. In a couple months I will be going to Austria for a week (for a work-related project), and I plan to add an additional week of vacation time onto that so I can take in some of the sites of the region. But wow, a month in Europe wandering wherever one wants, hostel to hostel? Cool. Definitely gotta do that sometime.

I've been on the road a lot this year. I have something like 90,000 or so actual miles on United for the year. In the past few weeks I have been to Dallas, Atlanta and Minneapolis, not to mention Seattle twice (that's a drive, though). In the next few weeks I will be in the San Diego area, San Francisco, and probably at least one trip back east. Needless to say, travel has become a way of things for me in doing my job, and in turn (like it or not) in living my life.

I only found out about Trevin's trip, though, because he popped up all of a sudden in Live Messenger a few minutes ago. I clicked and told him I'd made a serious acquisition in the digital photography world (more on that later sometime), and he explained he was at an Internet kiosk in Rome. Little did I know he's be blogging about it the past several days, because I have been running around without using an RSS aggregator/reader at all for about a month now (on purpose). So, I am quite a bit more disconnected than I was a month ago, in terms of the virtual world and electronic connections.

Why? Well, I decided it was time to try to unplug from my over-connectedness in certain aspects, in order to put some order and focus back into my life. My job keeps me connected and awake at all hours, between emails, meetings, phone calls at all hours of the night, and whatnot. While the value of the aggregator is quite obvious and apparent to me (I wrote about it here), it had become overwhelming in many respects (see also notes on information overload here and here). As a self-confessed hard-core compulsive type, I did what all us over-the-top people do: I ran with it full speed until it became too much, and then I decided a few weeks back just to go cold turkey for a while. I've never been much for the moderation style of things, but I am working on that.

Anyhow, it's about time to reinstall the RSS reader, trim back the subscriptions, and to start the process over again (with lessons learned). I also plan to find some way to segregate my work subscriptions from the ones I read that are not work related. As in, truly set them apart so I can deal with one set and not even see the other one. That way I am not as tempted to bleed work into life and vice-versa, which is one of the problems I've experienced with the feed reader. I actually try fairly hard and with great success to make the separation. I really don't want to use more than one RSS reading program, so I will have to think about how to make that work, hopefully in FeedDemon. Maybe Nick will have some ideas. I think the ability to segregate and separate will become more and more important in the future - sort of a "this is my work view" and "this is my life view" kind of thing.

Sunday, 10 September 2006 17:29:27 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Microsoft has been working on a free add-on for Office SharePoint Server 2007 called Knowledge Network (KM). It looks very cool.

Knowledge Network is a new add-on for Office SharePoint Server 2007 that many people don’t know about yet.  It automates the discovery and sharing of undocumented knowledge and relationships, enabling you to quickly locate who knows whom and who knows what within your constantly changing organization.

A video describing and showing some of the KN features and how it works is available on Channel 9. The team blog is here. It's in beta right now (not publicly available just yet), and will be released as a free download when Office SharePoint Server 2007 is released (later this year).

You create a profile, which is uploaded to a SharePoint server. This solution takes advantage of SharePoint as a platform to be extended (My Sites, search, etc.). When your coworkers so the same, you all gain the ability to search and organize based on relationships and expertise. Think of it as a formal social network at work - find experts and people to help you collaboratively solve problems, etc.

There's such a huge number of massive changes and improvements in SharePoint 2007, it's to the point where it's almost impossible to get your brain around them all. I'm off to find a place that's keeping track of all the details in a way one can readily digest - anyone know of such a place? So far I see Office Online, TechNet and the SharePoint team blog are pretty good resources, but seems like someone should, oh I dunno, set up a SharePoint 2007 portal with all the information presented in true dogfood style? That would enable, say, one RSS feed? ;)

At any rate, if you are a SharePoint person (and there are millions of you out there), the 2007 version is huge and it's certainly time to get on board if you're not already. KN is one example of using SharePoint as a powerful platform to build business processes and capabilities. There are many, many others as well.

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SharePoint | Tech
Sunday, 10 September 2006 14:42:15 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Battlestar Galactica Webisodes I first discovered Battlestar Galactica (the "new" series, that is) early this year while traveling on airplanes for business. I watched every episode on my iPod (both on planes and on my TV), rather than on the SciFi Channel on TV. It's a great show, really. As a kid I liked the original "classic" series, which in reality was quite campy and probably entertaining mostly to kids. But the modern show is much more adult and subtle, with a great storyline and effects. From the pilot through the first two seasons, it's been fun to watch.

Anyhow, the next season (which will be the third) of Battlestar Galactica starts on October 6th this year. Meanwhile, for all of September and the first week of October leading up to the third-season premier, SciFi is releasing ten new online video "webisodes." New episodes are published twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) on its web site. This past week we saw the first two, and many more are coming. And be sure to watch for the season three sneak peeks at the end.

And if you happen to be a podcast, sci-fi, and techie geek - this is really the show for you. Read on.

Not familiar with the series but want to see what it's about? You can also watch a full episode, "Scar," online at In fact, there's lots of Battlestar Galactica video on their site, from deleted scenes to video podcasts to the webisodes. Word is there's a special that aired recently that catches you up on the first three seasons, and it will air a few times between now and the season premier - but it's not yet available online, although it it supposed to be for all of September.

Are you a fan of audio commentaries by the people that create your favorite shows and movies? Well, you can subscribe to a podcast of show commentary (for most of the episodes) by producer Ronald D. Moore. And of course once subscribed you will always have the latest and greatest delivered to you. Just start playing the commentary for you episode when the words "The Cylons Were Created By Man" appear on the TV screen. Pretty slick, and an interesting way to use podcast audio.

Sunday, 10 September 2006 13:50:10 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Saturday, 09 September 2006

BMW Hydrogen Powered

Reports are that BMW is testing a production 7-series that runs on either gasoline or hydrogen. They've been doing tests on vehicle designs that can run on water and the sun for power since the 1970's, and they set a bunch of hydrogen-powered vehicle speed records in recent years, as well (in a silly looking car). But more recently BMW has said that their hydrogen combustion engine powered vehicle (read: no fuel cells and no emissions) would be available by 2008. Looks like they might deliver on that promise.

Lots of manufacturers are working on various designs. There are also companies working to let you retrofit your existing gasoline vehicles.

(Image from AutoExpress - dick the pic for original)

via leftlanenews

Saturday, 09 September 2006 13:33:11 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Thursday, 07 September 2006

My friend Matt posted a terrific entry on his blog a few days ago with a great script diagram you can use whenever you get that inevitable call from a telemarketer during dinner.

Behold the Telemarketer counter-script. As soon as the person on the other end of the line asks you to purchase whatever wonderful time saving, life enhancing, sex enriching product they are selling, just start with this script and you will have them running for a Taco Bell application in no time!

Great find. Check it out.

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Friday, 08 September 2006 00:00:04 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Tuesday, 05 September 2006

"You really don't want to go there today..."

It's a bug zapper for web browsing. It's a cool idea. How it will be secured and made solid I am not sure, but this is good news and a positive step toward solving zero-day exploits and quite possibly many vulnerabilities on unpatched browsers in the future.

Microsoft Research is working on something they call BrowserShield, which will allow Internet Explorer to detect malicious code and rewrite it, then displaying the cleaned version of any static or dynamic page in the browser to the end user.

From eWeek:

Researchers at the Redmond, Wash., company have completed work on a prototype framework called BrowserShield that promises to allow IE to intercept and remove, on the fly, malicious code hidden on Web pages, instead showing users safe equivalents of those pages.

"We basically intercept the Web page, inject our logic and transform the page that is eventually rendered on the browser," Wang said. "We're inserting our layer of code at run-time to make the Web page safe for the end user."

More on

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 05 September 2006 15:29:11 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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Still using Office 2000? Note that it's about seven years old and two versions have been released since then (with one more coming soon). Here's another good reason to stay up to date...

From ZDNet:

An "extremely critical flaw" in Microsoft Word 2000 is currently being exploited by malicious attackers, which could lead to remote execution of code on a user's system, security researcher Secunia advised Tuesday...

...Microsoft has not yet issued a patch for the vulnerability, and users are advised to forgo opening untrusted documents.

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IT Security | Tech
Tuesday, 05 September 2006 13:49:57 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Friday, 01 September 2006

Now and then I get to rant.

I am (once again) on an airplane, on my way to some upper Midwest city for the day, heading right back home this evening. You get real perspective on airplanes, you know. Perspective on things like heights and time - and on people, too. People you know you'll never see again. And when one knows they'll never see the people around them ever again, I guess they let their words flow more than they might otherwise. That can be good or bad.

There are two middle-aged guys, poorly dressed in corporate standard attire, in the row in front of me. Like as in one of these guys is wearing one beige dress sock and one navy one. They've been yapping away ever since we got on this flight three hours ago. We should have landed well over an hour ago, but they have these things called, umm, I think they're called 'delays' in the secret vernacular of air travel. Anyhow, no one really understands it, so we just sit in the broken down coach seat and smile like it's comfortable as the flight attendants walk up and down the aisles with forced smiles on their faces. You know, the smile that says 'Isn't this fun, we're all stuck on this thing going nowhere again, and we're gonna be late too, yay!'

Anyhow, at least I got some sleep, which is nice (seriously). But that's not my point.

Now I am back awake, and these same two yahoos (no, I don't mean they work at Yahoo! as that would be a compliment, and as you are about to see I have no compliments for these particular guys) are still going on and on about someone they apparently work for and how SHE (emphasis added to match their conversational emphasis on the fact that their supervisor is apparently female) does this and SHE does that and how SHE expects things and how SHE can't possibly understand. It's really rather amazing to listen to. It makes one want to yell "Shut up!"

They're also apparently very concerned about some presentations that they have to give. But they don't seem concerned at all about the actual content, or the audience, or whether the presentation convinces anyone or informs, or anything useful like that. Instead they're harping on and on about how SHE likes JOHN's presentations better, and how the other day they were afraid that they might not look like good presenters in the room with so-and-so, and what they might be able to do to make such-and-such look bad the next time.

Wow. And all of this where I can hear it, with a computer open to a PowerPoint deck I can clearly read and a company logo I can clearly see. And now one of the guys is opening a girly magazine.

Yahoos, I tell ya. And someone's paying them money to "do work."

Some people are truly amazing. Amazingly pathetic, that is. I'm glad I get to work with quality, decent people in my job. If I had to work with guys like this, I don't know if I could keep my mouth shut. Actually, I know I couldn't. They'd be right out the door, no question.

Friday, 01 September 2006 13:49:57 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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 Monday, 28 August 2006

How do you truly know when email has become a problem without a good solution? Simple. Take a vacation. This is a clue...

And that's after working through a large chunk of it already - the most obvious and highest priority stuff, anyhow.

Yes, I've tried many of the various methodologies available out there, but ultimately it's all about reviewing each one and acting on each in same shape or form. Vacations do this to email. Darn those vacations. The difference this time around is I decided that instead of ruining the vacation mood, I'd work my way through the ocean a little at a time. Highest priority stuff came first. No point in ruining the positive effects of the vacation by losing sleep over email, eh?

Anyone have brilliant ideas for how to deal with the ocean of email that results from being gone for a couple weeks? Dealing with it day-to-day is easy. It's the been-gone-for-a-long-time problem that seems to be more vexing. Mark-as-read just has too many risks.

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Monday, 28 August 2006 20:56:40 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
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