Friday, February 13, 2004
Another Portland Nerd Dinner has come and gone. Fortunately, this time I got pictures to savor the day a little longer.
Being the last PND that we will likely see Rory at for a while, it had a special meaning for all in attendance. Chris Sells brought a fabulous piece of artwork and allowed all to sign the back as a memento to Rory.
This PND seemed to go longer than usual. It may have been the fine cuisine, the excellent company, or the brawl that nearly started nearby, but something just kept the attendees enthralled with the meeting.
Rory, we’re going to miss you while you are gone. We just may need to get a cardboard cutout of you to stand in!
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Well, it took me three weeks to get them posted, but our Christmas party pictures are now available in an album at http://photos.theclaussens.com.
I decided to try out the nGallery package to post the pix. It appears to be very straight-forward and has all of the features that I might currently require. Being able to 'bulk' upload the pictures turned out to be a real time saver.
Now I need to start creating albums of other life events!
Friday, January 9, 2004
This is now my third post on these things (first, second). In the first, I mention my interest in getting one of these; in the second, I take my Christmas present back to Fry's and wait for another try.
What do you know? Microsoft announces a likely related product at CES this week! I knew there was a reason it must not have worked out. Now, if I can build a Windows XP MCE machine and not have to buy one of those less customized versions out there.
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
Wow!! What incredible weather we've had this year. Portland is not used to getting more than a couple of light dustings of snow over the winter, but this year, we have full ice and snow storms going on.
Last week, we got the first snow. I think it was Tuesday night (December 30th). Jesann and I were watching a movie and realized that there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground. We shut off the movie, bundled up, and headed out into the night. It was amazing how much of the neighborhood was out after 10pm to enjoy the snow.
We trudged over to the nearby high school and couldn't resist the chance to build a snow person. Admittedly, Jesann did most of the work. Between her gloves and skill, she was much better suited to the task.
Next, New Year's Day came with a new batch of snow. I had to work in the morning, but when I arrived home, it was time for us to go out and enjoy. First, we went to the local Elmer's restaurant for a great breakfast. Then we began the shopping - we visited as many places as we could. Unfortunately, the local 'big' shopping center, Washington Square, shut down at 4pm - right after we arrived.
Finally, today has had snow, sleet, or freezing rain coming down almost constantly. As Rory points out, there are some real Snow Nerds out there... I know - we are they. Despite our lack of 'rig', we had to go out to enjoy it all once again.
More than likely, when we wake up tomorrow it will be raining and wet once again. This last week has been one to remember, though.
Monday, January 5, 2004
As mentioned previously, I have put together a new computer. I dropped an AMD 'Barton' 2500+ on to a motherboard called LAN Party NFII Ultra. The compelling features of the MoBo were built in RAID and high speed FSB. It also has two LAN ports, surround sound, and all of the other 'cool' features that it should.
With 1.5GB of memory and more than 300GB of HD space, I've got some room to grow. I've partitioned the drives into seven segments to keep things better organized and to make backing up easier. Also, in that I've dedicated about 100GB for creating virtual PCs to use in development or general experimentation.
One thing that I found fascinating after building up the machine was the weight. over 50 pounds of PC in one tower box. Not exactly a portable machine .
Finally, maybe the most enjoyable new aspect is the addition of a third monitor. As previously discussed, I've been using two monitors for several years. Now, I can keep the 'monitoring' apps (IM, ActiveSync, Process Explorer, etc.) running on a third screen and use the full resolution of the other two for email, internet, debugging, and all other primary tasks.
Wednesday, December 31, 2003
It is strange to think that it has been twenty-four days since I wrote something here. Especially when I consider how much has happened. I expect that I will need to add to these bullets, but here is the quick summation:
- Got the new PC built and running - what a pleasure to drive!
- My office is getting in really good shape - I know that there are many of us computer types that get a bit disorganized in the physical world. I'm trying to fix that to some extent and have made some real progress toward that goal.
- We had our 'annual' (second year) Christmas gathering - about 25% more people than last year and it went off without a hitch! My wife, Jesann, does a fabulous job of entertaining.
- Had a great Christmas season - I tried to get a media player (HP ew5000) for myself, but it wouldn't power up and Fry's didn't have a replacement. I will probably get a different one eventually.
- Portland finally got a good snowing on - Jesann and I even made a great snowman on the field of a nearby high school.
- Only five days 'till Winter Term begins - now to just finish organizing my office and computers; Will I have time to repave the notebook and server?
Nearly every one of these bullets deserve their own entry. I will get working on that over the next few days.
Sunday, December 7, 2003
Well, sure enough, more was wrong with my PC than just the video card. Maybe the card caused problems with the MoBo, too. In any event, I'm finally getting around to putting all the parts together that I've had and building a new PC.
In and of itself, that's some cool news... I've been looking forward to doing this. On the other hand, I wasn't thinking that FINALS week would be the best time to do it. Oh well; Always good to challenge oneself, isn't it?
When I'm done, I'll have a lot of space to breathe. I'm dropping a total of 640GB of hard drives and 1.5GB of memory into this thing. I plan to mirror 560GB of the hard drives so end up with a 'mere' 360GB of usable drive. In any event, I'll have a million times the drive space as my original Apple II had (I had two floppies) and something like thirty-four thousand times the memory.
Now it's time to get to work.
Friday, December 5, 2003
Over a month ago, I was going on about the wonder of having multiple monitors. Today before I took off to class, my computer suddenly shut down. I finally got it back up for a few moments before it stopped again and this time I could smell something emanating from the box.
Turns out that the fan had stopped spinning on my main video card. For tonight at least, I'm on a single monitor. It is very frustrating when one is used to having a lot more screen real estate. I just hope that I"ll be able to get one tomorrow and have it up and running by tomorrow night.
There is a good chance that if you read this, you've come across Scott's blog before. Last night he and Jim Blizzard (aka "Microsoft") put on a great presentation of Longhorn at the PADNUG (Portland Area Dot Net User Group).
I've had a chance to read a great deal about Avalon and WinFS, but last night's demonstration really brought it home for me. And seeing <transform> being used to easily rotate and scale a portion (or all) of a form was dazzling. What is currently a challenging task becomes one line of code.
I've also become enamored with the search folders in Outlook2003. To see similar functionality provided in WinFS for the entire hard drive's contents was impressive.
Tonight, I had my regularly scheduled Scottification in our C# class at OIT. It was a chance for some code review and it truly held my interest.
Unfortunately, I scurried out quickly to come home and tend to my sick baby. Computer that is. Turns out that I had a bad fan on my main video card. I am know using just ONE monitor and I am going slightly MAD. But that's an other blog.
Wednesday, December 3, 2003
There is recent discussion from Sean "Early" Campbell regarding the Gateway version of this product category.
This is a gadget that I'm trying to get sooner than later. When I described it to my wife, she even had an interest and gave a tentative 'go ahead' to the purchase.
In short, these things are a component for the entertainment system that will hook to your wired or wireless network. They are then able to access media collections (MP3, WMA, JPG, MPEG, etc.) from one or more PCs on the network. What formats are played depends on the particular device.
I've looked at more than half a dozen versions from Gateway, SMC, Creative Labs, HP, Prismiq, Linksys, and others. So far, I eliminated the Linksys and HP options for various reasons. The Gateway is still in the running, but the Prismiq seems to have the most going for it. I am hoping to see it in person to check out its features. Gateway is the only one that I've been able to see demoed (at the Gateway store, of course).
As easy as it is to get content onto the computer now and the likelihood that more will be there due to online music ordering, a device like this just makes sense. I'm not too concerned with the ability to play video, though; I figure that by the time I have a substantial amount of interesting video on my PC, there will be newer and better versions of these products on the market.
We'll have to see what Santa has in store this year!
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