# Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I know they have been a bit disparaged elsewhere, but I have tell you, I continue to be a very happy customer of Webhost4life.

I've had three positive experiences in the last 24 hours. First, I've noticed that they now advertise 300MB of space for my “Advanced Plan.” When I signed up, it was only 150MB. One quick post on their help system and it is resolved!

Second, I noted that the site was down last night for a while. Why is that positive? Because, in the year and a half that I have been here, I have never seen my site down for more than a refresh or two. I realize that I may have missed some instances, but I have no complaint there.

Third, there was a configuration error that Aaron was kind enough to tell me about today. I made a quick phone call to Webhost4life and the problem was resolved in minutes! “Reggin” even made me try it and make sure everything worked before he would get off the phone. Great Job!

For personal hosting, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a much better deal than what Webhost4life provides. Plenty of bells and whistles for a very reasonable price.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 11:18:41 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [6]

I imagine that I'm the last one to know this, but Costco has a wonderful photo center. This year, I realized that it was time to try out the complete, electronic version of the Costco photo center for getting our Christmas cards.

I found an ideal picture from last winter; went on to costco.com and chose the photo center option; then, followed the simple instructions! If you get the order in early enough, you can pick up the cards the next day. They even include envelopes.

With a little label printing, we were just about ready to go. This is the way to do Christmas cards! I might just have to see what else they can do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 12:58:45 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [3]
# Thursday, December 16, 2004

I'm really excited! Jesann is going to take a couple of classes after the first of the year to become more familiar with this wonderful world of geekness we call computing.

It's hard to imagine how she tolerates the nerdiness that is me, but she has. I don't blame her for not being 'into it' like me, but I just know that she'll find compelling content out there when she starts getting online on a regular basis.

Her taking the class is part of the motivation for this year's cleaning project. I figure that I need to make more room in the office for her to be comfortable and I will likely want to update 'her' computer to WinXP - yes, it's still got WinME on it.

Congratulations Jesann! You're going to Love it!

Thursday, December 16, 2004 12:24:39 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]

I can't believe what I found: it was over a year ago that I rearranged my office to the configuration that it is presently in. I just find it hard to believe that it has been that long since I did this. Further, It's hard to believe some of the things I haven't gotten around to :$.

Back then, I had gotten to the job of rearranging - and let me tell you, it has been much better. But, as I look at that old blog entry, I see that I was to have made my old desktop into the new server; that never happened. Don't get me wrong - it still will - it just wasn't as compelling as it might have been.

The old server worked well for a long time. Over the summer, though, it started to have problems with overheating. I had to take it down permenantly and haven't had time to build up the new one. Over this Christmas break, it will happen though (he says smuggly).

I started this cycle with the closet. There are several boxes that have been in there for too long without serious consideration of the items in them. This year, that changed. So far, there are six empty boxes and likely to be more. This is a very big win.

In addition, I've pulled out two old computer shells - case/mobo/processor. One was my old P166 from, what, ten years ago? Thanks to Greg (again), I see where these are headed. I'm going to try to find a few more things to take to them before I make the trip, though.

By the beginning of 2005, I should be running much more lightly in this office of mine. That will indeed be worth it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004 12:16:49 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, December 13, 2004

Once again, Greg Hughes comes through with a vital tool for all nerds. Now he's outdone himself. I'm sure many have heard of the new “Google Suggests” feature: start typing and possible matches for what you are typing drop down below the input field.

Well, Greg happened on the Google Search for Klingons! (As in, “search that a Klingon might use”; not “search to find a Klingon” :-))

Monday, December 13, 2004 9:45:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Fred Flintstone Local (to Portland) artist, Michael Paulus has a series of drawings showing several cartoon characters without their flesh. No really!

As Greg Hughes (where I came across this) pointed out, it is both interesting and weird, but well worth taking a look. If you are a local sort, you can see the drawings live and in person at the Belmont Stumptown Coffee through December.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004 11:01:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, December 6, 2004

Hello All Portland .NET-ers!

I wanted to let everyone know what we have planned for the December PADNUG (http://www.padnug.org) meeting. Due to a scheduling conflict with our regular venue, meetings have moved to a **NEW LOCATION**. Please make a note of it!

WHAT: December PADNUG meeting.
WHEN: Thursday, 12/09/2004
6:00 p.m. Pizza, Sponsored by 3Leaf (http://www.3leaf.com)
6:30 p.m. Presentation
**WHERE: PCC Auditorium at Capital Center
18640 NW Walker Road
Beaverton, Oregon

The auditorium is in room 1508 through entrance B. There is a $2 parking fee. The kiosk for paying for parking is located between entrances B and C.

WHO: Stuart Celarier, Owner - Fern Creek Corporation

Stuart is a consultant, course author, and instructor. He recently served as technical lead and author of a Web services course for Microsoft. Stuart is also editor for the Longhorn Developer FAQ on MSDN.

TOPIC: Understanding Service-Oriented Architecture

There is a huge movement in the software industry towards Web services and service-orientation. What is the essence of a service? What values do services provide to a software organization? How do you organize and combine services into systems that realize the full benefit of service-orientation?

These are increasingly important issues for developers and architects working on the .NET Framework. Today you create Web services using ASMX. Looking forward to Indigo - the communications pillar of Longhorn - service-orientation is at the core of all communication. That will profoundly change on how software is architected, designed, implemented and deployed. Service-oriented architecture can guide your use of Web services today, and prepare you for understanding and creating tomorrow's software.

Important topic and excellent local speaker! Look forward to seeing everyone there!

Monday, December 6, 2004 12:43:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, December 4, 2004

From Peter Provost's Geek Noise 2004-12-03:

Saturday, December 4, 2004 12:30:19 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, December 3, 2004

You just never know who you will meet in life, do you?

Tuesday, I was at work and noticed someone reading the sports page. I'd imagine that it is painfully obvious that I'm not exactly 'up' on things from that section of the newspaper, but I try not to be too naïve. Well, I missed a big one this time.

As I glanced at the page held toward me, I realized that I recognized the young man on the front page. I've met up with Mr. Bill Swancutt at several family functions - he's been seeing my niece, Kristin, for some time now! I guess I better read this article!

Now, I'm up on things enough to know that he was a football player... I even knew that he played for the Oregon State Beavers. What I didn't realize is that he is really good. He had just won the “Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year” Award! In fact, he's the first player to ever have won that award at an OSU. Details are available form the Oregonian here.

Just to top off my ignorance, my fellow workers started telling me about Bill. It turns out that Bill has a taste for quarterback meat - he holds a school record for career sacks and for 'tackles for loss'. Very impressive.

Bill, if you come around to reading this, let me personally congratulate you on such an impressive achievement. I'm sorry I had to learn about it from the paper ;-).

Friday, December 3, 2004 2:44:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, November 29, 2004

'Tis the season for celebration and merriment! So what better way to celebrate than to go to your local Nerd Dinner?

Mr. Blizzard has dun scheduled a Christmas Nerd Dinner as fallers:

What: Portland Nerd Dinner
When: Wednesday, December 15, starting around 6:30 PM.
Where: Lloyd Center food court
Why: Ain't no good reason

It's back to the east side for this one, folks. I guess Jim is just getting too tired driving home from way out in the wild west late at night.

Remember: Be there and be square.

P.S.: I think Stuart may be trying to >>Juggle<< too many things! (I couldn't resist).

Monday, November 29, 2004 11:29:08 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]

I'm in a bit of a daze this evening because it is the end of the term (whole story there, I suppose), so I can't remember the details of why or where this came up, but I was recently discussing with someone how to make a website look good.

I am very slow at creating such things. Note how I've mostly stuck to the 'canned' theme for this blog. That said, I sure do know what I like and can quickly - and probably quite loudly - voice my opinions on what does and doesn't work.

That thought reminded me how long it had been since I had visited my buddy Brian's web store, Northwest Active Gear. He specializes in GPS and Marine electronics out of this site and this is his banner month leading up to Christmas.

As I dropped on to the site, I was reminded of how good Brian is at doing design work. Now, this is a store and it is trying to sell to you, but he really did a lot of good work in laying it out for easy navigation and viewability. Everything is accessible from the main page, but it doesn't seem all that cluttered.

It's good to see the site looking so nice. I wish Brian and his wife Heidi a banner holiday season. And, if you are thinking of purchasing a GPS unit for yourself or loved one, go check his site out!

Monday, November 29, 2004 11:13:48 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, November 18, 2004

In an effort to assure that all in attendance at tonight's Portland Nerd Dinner were true nerds, Bliz brought a little bit of 'alternative' enticement: two tickets to the game between the Blazers and  the Grizzlies.

What a great way to check the nerd-itude of the group. As was apparant on the tickets themselves, this was a very valuable prize.

Well, I'm proud to say that not one person was tempted away from the Nerd Dinner for one of them sport thingies. All sat firm in their commitment to things geeky!

I mean really... Blizzard and .NET or Blazers and plain net? I think the choice is obvious!

Thursday, November 18, 2004 1:30:32 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, November 14, 2004

Reading Rory's account of his first real trip to Las Vegas was very enjoyable. It brings back many fond memories of the town.

He mentions several times the scale of The Strip. It's amazing. As I commented to him, it's like the Grand Canyon: you just can't understand until you see it up close and in person. The hotels are huge, but since they all are, you don't realize it. You start walking down the strip and see your destination up ahead - “no big deal,” you think, “it's not that far.” Then, an half-hour later, it's still up ahead.

Rory gives some good advice for visitors to Vegas: “The trick... is to not take the city at all seriously.” You can then enjoy it for what it is and not be too freaked out.

Sunday, November 14, 2004 10:03:21 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, November 13, 2004

I am about to admit something that might get me kicked out of the Nerd Dinners: I don't really play a whole lot of computer games. I catch the daily crossword... enjoyed Bejeweled alot... I even own several old classics like Unreal, Total Annihilation, and others of that time.

But I just don't play a lot!

Well, with all of the talk about Halo 2 this week, I felt compelled to pull out the copy of Halo (PC) that I purchased a year or more ago and give it a whirl. That was around two in the afternoon.

Fortunately, I got to sleep by six the next morning. Oops!

Am I blocking? Is there some secret part of me that knows I'd be an addict if I let myself start so I just don't play to avoid that inevitability? Who knows. I did enjoy it, though.

Don't misunderstand - I'm not particularly good at it or anything. I had the game on 'super easy' or whatever just to get a feel for things and still managed to die some horrible and spectacular deaths. I've got a long way to go before I could be competitive with folks out there. But, I can feel the itch to play even now. I've resisted for now; I've got too much other stuff to entertain me, but I just know that over the holidays, I will be compelled to scratch the itch again.

Maybe there is an Xbox in our future yet...

Saturday, November 13, 2004 1:56:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [6]
# Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Only the previous day I was pestering Bliz as to when the next Nerd Dinner would be and sure enough, I wasn't alone. Per the Nerd Dinner blog, the next one is just a week away:

What: Portland Nerd Dinner
When: Wednesday, November 17, 2004, starting around 6:30 PM.
Where: Washington Square Mall food court
Why: Because I can take a hint

Be there and be square.

Should be a blast. I'm also hoping that Greg Hughes will show up with more pictures of his trip on the USS John C. Stennis! What a thrill and honor to have that opportunity! Anyone have a projector that we could use :-)?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 4:28:54 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Monday, November 8, 2004

I've had this installed for some time, but haven't used it enough. I tend to be very particular about the formatting of code on my site and CopySourceAsHtml written by Colin Coller makes it easy!

Just highlight the code in Visual Studio, choose “Copy as HTML...” from the right-click menu, and paste into the blog entry.

You'll get options for line numbering, word wrap, etc. You can also add additional CSS rules that will be applied to the whole copy, a line, or a block. Just look at these results:

    1 using System;

    2 using System.Xml.Serialization;


    4 namespace CardCatalog {

    5     [XmlRootAttribute( "catalog", Namespace="", IsNullable=false )]

    6     public class Catalog {

    7         private Book[] items;


    9         [XmlElementAttribute( "book" )]

   10         public Book[] Items {

   11             get { return this.items; }

   12             set { this.items = value; }

   13         }

   14     }


   16     public class Book ...

   67 }

Monday, November 8, 2004 3:35:57 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]

Once again, Scott Hanselman has come through for me. For our latest project in Patrick's Web Service class, we are building an application with a DataGrid. It always makes me crazy when using this control that there isn't an automatic “Size Columns Correctly” check box.

Fortunately, I recalled that Scott had found that same frustration and had found the solution. Using a little bit of the Reflection namespace, he grabs the private method that is used when double-clicking on the column borders and fires it off “by hand” for each column.

It's cool and is placed here for posterity.

     1: private void MyDataGridControl_DataSourceChanged( object sender,
     2:                                                   System.EventArgs e )
     3: {
     4:     try
     5:     {
     6:         Type       t = this.myDataGridControl.GetType();
     7:         MethodInfo m = t.GetMethod( "ColAutoResize",
     8:                                     BindingFlags.NonPublic
     9:                                     | BindingFlags.Instance );
    11:         for( int i = this.myDataGridControl.FirstVisibleColumn;
    12:                 ( i < this.myDataGridControl.VisibleColumnCount );
    13:                 i++ )
    14:         {
    15:             m.Invoke( this.myDataGridControl, new object[] {i} );
    16:         }
    17:     }
    18:     catch( Exception ex )
    19:     {
    20:         System.Diagnostics.Trace.Write( "Failed Resizing Columns: "
    21:                                         + ex.ToString() );
    22:     }
    23: }
Monday, November 8, 2004 2:09:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, November 1, 2004

He's mentioned it in his blog several times, but now he's helping you buy it too... Scott Hanselman has an e-coupon for MaxiVista! It's a really good deal for a great product.

I guess I might as well have a fourth monitor running part time, eh? :-)

Monday, November 1, 2004 4:07:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [0]

Well, for the first time in years, we didn't do anything around the house for Halloween. Traditionally, Jesann has decorated the garage and/or the house for the holiday and we've stayed home awaiting the trick-or-treaters. This year, we took a break from that and got dressed up.

Jesann, of course, made some wonderful outfits for us. We had this “'fro” wig and she developed from there. at first, it was simply going to be a “pimp-ing” outfit, but when I decided that I wanted to dress up for work, Jesann decided to create a different look for the daytime.

This outfit became the early '70's version. Note the wonderfully full bell-bottoms at the bottom of the legs. You'll also see that the colorful parts of the shirt and pants actually match.

It was a very popular look. I got more compliments than I could have imagined. I'm sure some of the positive feedback was simply because of the memories I invoked in people. In fact, one lady even said that I looked like someone she had dated thirty years ago :-).

This stuff is definitely going to stay in the closet for future use.

Then, for the evening out, I got to put on the pimping outfit. I got the gold, the polyester, the 'fro, and the hat. Oh, and don't miss the gold tooth, too.

Jesann went with the elegant vamp outfit. She picked up some of those cool contacts this past summer when she went a visiting her friend down in Las Vegas. Between those and the sharpened tooth caps, she was looking really good.

After leaving the house we went to visit a few friends to show off our “wears” and then headed over to Nonna's for pizza and a drink.

Just have to throw in a close up picture of Jesann's eyes and teeth. This shot really shows them off.

You might also barely make out the fact that she has some fiber optics incorporated into the wigs - this just added to the effect.

After spending some quality time at our Ristoranté Italiano, we headed downtown to find a little bit of nightlife. There wasn't much on a Sunday night, but we finally stopped at the local Rock Bottom Brewery for a couple of games of pool.

I was reminded how bad at pool I am, but Jesann made some really good impressions on people with her outfit. Others were asking to take her picture! Of course, she obliged :-).

Monday, November 1, 2004 10:20:49 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Comments [4]