# Friday, August 19, 2005

I recently had a problem with my copy of Microsoft Money 2005. Somehow, it was completely uninstalled from my PC - probably because of a strange incident on the MSN Money pages, but that's not what this story is about.

It worried me a bit at first. I was connected to a call center that appeared to be offshore. I don't get so worked up about the 'where' support happens, but please, make sure the people speak clear and understandable english if they are supposed to be helping english speakers. It was a painful 45 minutes - and that was just to get directed to the actual support person.

But, once I got there, Nicole in Nova Scotia did a fabulous job of getting me up and running again. It turned out that I simply needed to do an upgrade, but the process took two hours! She stuck it out and was a pleasure to deal with. It turned out that she even had to stay an hour over her shift to complete this call. Big Kudos!

Of course, I worry about her not knowing about Second City TV, but that's another story - she's probably just a bit too young :-).

One thing I've noted over the years on the rare occasion that I've called MS Support: they must not beat their reps up over call time. I've always found that they are very willing to stick it out to make sure that the issue is resolved. Thanks for that and thanks to Nicole!

Friday, August 19, 2005 11:30:13 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I know that I've seen this somewhere before, but I was reminded again this evening. I like being able to have a visual cue when I'm approaching the (likely arbitrary) right edge of my coding page. Sure, you can keep one of your eyes on the column number along the bottom status bar, but then, who watches the code?

Well, thanks to Roy Osherove, I now have the tip and the time at the same moment and have added the vertical rules to my Visual Studio sessions at 80 and 120 columns.

It looks something like this:

If you want to save some time, just click here to get the .reg file (download and check it first to be safe and backup the registry! :-)).

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 11:01:37 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

This isn't a high traffic site by any stretch of the imagination so you can guess how crazy it was to see 15 times the traffic that I might normally expect today on this blog. It was all based on the MSN Search bot: "+http://search.msn.com/msnbot.htm".

Sure enough, I chatted Greg up and his seeing the same kind of crazy activity!

Is it a rogue Bot? Or is MSN getting ready for some new bit of technology?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 10:32:25 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [1]
# Thursday, August 11, 2005

I can now combine my favorite Third Place with my love of technology and a good, stiff drink :-).

Nonna Emilia Ristoranté now has WiFi! Congratulations to my friends at Nonna's for the great new toy! As if I needed another reason to go there.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 6:57:23 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, August 8, 2005

As mentioned several days ago, we had our Dish Network DVR Dish 508 break down again. I suspected that I would give it one more try and contact the so-called 'Executive Office' to see if there was some flexibility possible.

As I had been told by 'Joan', I didn't have a chance.

Not only am I unimpressed and disappointed with their service on this issue, I think I've realized an other point: They don't seem to have a clue about their market!

Harsh, I know, but I got that impression when the representative said that I should, "...be sure of the deal I was getting." There was an implication that I was getting some 'special' deal from DIRECTV that I was trying to get Dish to compete with. I pointed out to him that this is the deal ($99 for the DVR and a $50 rebate) that is posted on the DIRECTV website; he seemed surprised.

Mind you, it didn't get me anywhere. Plus, DIRECTV is now offering a $100 rebate - the DVR is now free!

I happened on a good article that relates on CPR tonight. I'm sure that there were employees at Dish that wanted to make things right with me. But, instead, the company policies have given the competition a new customer.

Monday, August 8, 2005 11:14:35 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [4]
# Saturday, July 30, 2005

About a week ago, we had our fifth Dish Network DVR fail in a little over a year and a half. I know how technology can be, but I'm sorely disappointed with the results - in short, I'm looking into DIRECTV.

We have the Dish 508 and have been satisfied with it's capability. Oh sure, I've heard how much better the Guides are on other systems, but this has accomodated most of our needs. The trouble comes in that we've only averaged about six months lifespan with them.

I checked on the deal with DIRECTV and it would cost a bit more per month, but for less than <$100 (after rebate), we could have two dual-tuner DVR systems in place. In addition, they use TiVo for programming and I've heard nothing but good reviews on them.

The best that Dish could offer was either:

  1. A barely upgraded DVR (Dish510) that has no extra features except larger hard drive (we've never used ours up) for more money per month.
  2. A dual-tuner (Dish522) for $200.

I can't see it. As I said to 'Joan' at Dish, changing brands is just a lot more compelling. It makes me sad to have to do that. I want to think that they would try harder to keep a customer - heck, I offered to sign up for a year, too - but it just wasn't an option.

I may give them one last chance on Monday, but from what Joan said, the offer isn't going to change. How very disappointing.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 7:22:49 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

The release candidate for version 1.8 of dasBlog just came along today and I'm pleased to see that it didn't break :)!

Hey, what can I say? I've been very happy with this blogging software since I started this version of my blog approaching two years ago. It had all the right features and allowed me just enough control. When Scott got involved, it substantially sealed the deal... always want to support the local folks.

Now, I just need to take some time to update the theme... it's a project that has begun, but I let it slide.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 12:17:50 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, July 17, 2005

I would be remiss in not noting the passing of another year in the life of the Blizzard. Happy Freakin' Birthday to the father of the Portland Nerd Dinner! We sure miss you up here!

Hope you all had a great Code Camp and we'll be posting the results from ours really soon.

We're still waiting for the pictures from Dennis. I fully expected you to be out there in the middle of it all bringing us live coverage of the storm as it passed the Tampa area.

Have a great 20th (?) birthday, Jim and come see us someday.

Sunday, July 17, 2005 10:06:52 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Greg was seems pleased with his new Tablet PC. So much so that he did some ink blogging this evening.

I was so impressed with his handwriting, I had to suggest he create a font out of it. He did :-)! Using the winning tool from the first Think in Ink contest, MyFontTool, he has allowed all of us to be a bit more like him.

If you are looking for alternative fonts, there are several sites out there that can accomodate. Some of the ones I've found are:

  1. divide by zero
  2. 1001 Fonts.com
  3. dafont.com
  4. Fonts & Things
  5. acidfonts.com
  6. Chank!
  7. MyFonts
  8. Abstract Fonts

Oh, and don't forget for your developer needs to check out Scott's blog.

Have a good time with these!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 10:54:00 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, July 10, 2005

Oh thank heaven! I'm very pleased with the result, but I'm sure that there are plenty of people that would debate it - especially the 'not annoying' part :-).

I am 15% Idiot.
Friggin Genius
I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do? I am smarter than most people.

Thanks, Greg, for pointing me to this.

Sunday, July 10, 2005 1:16:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, July 8, 2005

What: Portland Code Camp v1.0
When: July 23 & 24, 2005
Where: Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, Oregon
Web: http://pacwest.ms/codecamp/pdx/1/

There’s a new kind of software event coming to town. It’s called Portland Code Camp v1.0, a weekend of software developers talking to software developers about software development. No marketing, no fluff – just code. It’s the weekend of July 23rd and 24th at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. It is a mini-conference and it is totally FREE.

Code Camp is a community-run activity, and we have a number of local area user groups participating in organizing and running the event. So far we have over 50 sessions in the works, in 10 broad tracks, including security, game development, database, XML, web and client development, and much more.

We receive support from Microsoft and other companies, but this is certainly not a Microsoft technology-only event. We welcome topics and attendees from all backgrounds, disciplines, and skill levels. Sessions range from informal “chalk talks” to presentations. If you are a software developer or interested in the field, then Code Camp is for you.

All of the presenters are volunteers, and we welcome you to present as well. If you’ve never presented before, then Code Camp is perfect place to give it a try. Not only will you be among friends, but there’s also a special pre-camp event Friday evening with a Tips Talk for New Presenters lead by renowned speaker Scott Hanselman.

Portland Code Camp v1.0 is attracting presenters and attendees from throughout the region and from several states. And the small, intimate size means a lot of opportunity to meet and interact with a lot of exciting people. Code Camps have been very successful on the east coast, and we are thrilled to be hosting the first Code Camp west of the Mississippi River.

For more information, visit our website at http://pacwest.ms/codecamp/pdx/1/.

To reserve your space, register for Portland Code Camp v1.0 by join our Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/codecamp_pdx.

If you are interested in presenting a session, email stuart.celarier@ineta.org.

See you at Camp!

Friday, July 8, 2005 9:59:55 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, July 7, 2005

This probably demonstrates how forgiving I am when watching movies. It seems I’ve only missed eight of them, though.

[Most recently from: http://www.knowing.net/PermaLink.aspx?guid=8a3fac3a-6041-4fe9-b13e-d06e8d748b98]

Italicize the ones you've seen and Bold the ones you actually liked.

1. Titanic (1997) - $600,779,824
2. Star Wars (1977) - $460,935,665
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - $434,949,459
4. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) - $431,065,444
5. Spider-Man (2002) - $403,706,375
6. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003) - $377,019,252
7. Passion of the Christ, The (2004) - $370,025,697
8. Jurassic Park (1993) - $356,784,000
9. Shrek 2 (2004) - $356,211,000
10. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) - $340,478,898
11. Finding Nemo (2003) - $339,714,367
12. Forrest Gump (1994) - $329,691,196
13. Lion King, The (1994) - $328,423,001
14. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) - $317,557,891
15. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) - $313,837,577
16. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) - $310,675,583
17. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) - $309,125,409
18. Independence Day (1996) - $306,124,059
19. Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) - $305,411,224
20. Sixth Sense, The (1999) - $293,501,675
21. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - $290,158,751
22. Home Alone (1990) - $285,761,243
23. Matrix Reloaded, The (2003) - $281,492,479
24. Shrek (2001) - $267,652,016
25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) - $261,970,615
26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) - $260,031,035
27. Jaws (1975) - $260,000,000
28. Monsters, Inc. (2001) - $255,870,172
29. Batman (1989) - $251,188,924
30. Men in Black (1997) - $250,147,615
31. Toy Story 2 (1999) - $245,823,397
32. Bruce Almighty (2003) - $242,589,580
33. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - $242,374,454
34. Twister (1996) - $241,700,000
35. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) - $241,437,427
36. Ghost Busters (1984) - $238,600,000
37. Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - $234,760,500
38. Cast Away (2000) - $233,630,478
39. Lost World: Jurassic Park, The (1997) - $229,074,524
40. Signs (2002) - $227,965,690
41. Rush Hour 2 (2001) - $226,138,454
42. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) - $219,200,000
43. Ghost (1990) - $217,631,306
44. Aladdin (1992) - $217,350,219
45. Saving Private Ryan (1998) - $216,119,491
46. Mission: Impossible II (2000) - $215,397,30
47. X2 (2003) - $214,948,780
48. Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) - $213,079,163
49. Back to the Future (1985) - $210,609,762
50. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) - $205,399,422
51. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - $204,843,350
52. Exorcist, The (1973) - $204,565,000
53. Mummy Returns, The (2001) - $202,007,640
54. Armageddon (1998) - $201,573,391
55. Gone with the Wind (1939) - $198,655,278
56. Pearl Harbor (2001) - $198,539,855
57. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - $197,171,806
58. Toy Story (1995) - $191,800,000
59. Men in Black II (2002) - $190,418,803
60. Gladiator (2000) - $187,670,866
61. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - $184,925,485
62. Dances with Wolves (1990) - $184,208,848
63. Batman Forever (1995) - $184,031,112
64. Fugitive, The (1993) - $183,875,760
65. Ocean's Eleven (2001) - $183,405,771
66. What Women Want (2000) - $182,805,123
67. Perfect Storm, The (2000) - $182,618,434
68. Liar Liar (1997) - $181,395,380
69. Grease (1978) - $181,360,000
70. Jurassic Park III (2001) - $181,166,115
71. Mission: Impossible (1996) - $180,965,237
72. Planet of the Apes (2001) - $180,011,740
73. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - $179,870,271
74. Pretty Woman (1990) - $178,406,268
75. Tootsie (1982) - $177,200,000
76. Top Gun (1986) - $176,781,728
77. There's Something About Mary (1998) - $176,483,808
78. Ice Age (2002) - $176,387,405
79. Crocodile Dundee (1986) - $174,635,000
80. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) - $173,585,516
81. Elf (2003) - $173,381,405
82. Air Force One (1997) - $172,888,056
83. Rain Man (1988) - $172,825,435
84. Apollo 13 (1995) - $172,071,312
85. Matrix, The (1999) - $171,383,253
86. Beauty and the Beast (1991) - $171,301,428
87. Tarzan (1999) - $171,085,177
88. Beautiful Mind, A (2001) - $170,708,996
89. Chicago (2002) - $170,684,505
90. Three Men and a Baby (1987) - $167,780,960
91. Meet the Parents (2000) - $166,225,040
92. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) - $165,500,000
93. Hannibal (2001) - $165,091,464
94. Catch Me If You Can (2002) - $164,435,221
95. Big Daddy (1999) - $163,479,795
96. Sound of Music, The (1965) - $163,214,286
97. Batman Returns (1992) - $162,831,698
98. Bug's Life, A (1998) - $162,792,677
99. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) - $161,963,000
100. Waterboy, The (1998) - $161,487,252

Thursday, July 7, 2005 7:09:21 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Oh my goodness... Google has done another one of their amazing things. They took that Keyhole technology they bought and packaged it even better. Oh, and it's FREE!

You can use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out of the whole freakin' planet! And of course, just click and drag to move around a particular geography.

A view of our house from the south:

Just Too Cool!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:28:23 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, June 27, 2005

I was always a bit fascinated by how the viewscreen on the Enterprise could show images from locations where there were no cameras. Come on, that will never happen, right?

Don't be so sure. Not only do we have several ways to acquire imagery other than simple optical means, Nissan is developing a means to put an optical 'camera' fifty feet above your car to show you what obstacles may be nearby.

Via Mike Elgin's Raw Feed:

Cameras mounted at the front and rear and on both sides take pictures of the surrounding road surface, which are synthesized by an image processing technique into one view that is shown on a central display. The system is especially helpful when parking, enabling the driver to steer easily and precisely into a parking space. It also eliminates any fear of running over the neighbour’s prized belongings or posts or animals or anything else for that matter.

Monday, June 27, 2005 12:41:13 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [2]
# Tuesday, June 21, 2005

How could I have forgotten to send my congratulations last week to Scott?!? It appears that there is a new Hanselman in the works!

Just so you know, Scott, I have a lot of Uncle Experience :-).

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 7:21:45 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]

I got this out much too late this month, but darn it, I'm going for it anyway. We sort of had a June PND while visiting in Orlando for TechEd earlier in the month, but I realize that one shouldn't count that against the local tally.

With that in mind, here we go:

What: Portland Nerd Dinner
Where: Washington Square Mall food court
When: Thursday, June 23, starting around 6:30 PM
Why: 'Cuz it's Summer!

Be There and Be Square!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 7:12:28 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, June 18, 2005

That was unexpected... at least to me. If you go grab the most recent version of the MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search (ugh!), you will get the new Tabbed Browsing interface months before IE7 is released.

The bit I like best is the ability to save a group of tabs as one set. The shortcoming here is that there is only one set of "My Tabs" and you overwrite it by saving a new set. I want shortcuts to multiple groups of tabs.

Anyway, if you are still using Internet Explorer, check it out!


Saturday, June 18, 2005 7:15:14 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Comments [0]