Too tired to write…

It’s been a VERY long day….  I have some ideas about writings, but I’m too tired to do more than put the ideas down to expand upon later.  The first thing that’s been rattling around in my head is what makes a person a professional, and how does one achieve this.  The second thing, and it’s along the same lines, is why Apple not only has a chance at changing the world, but they have a GREAT chance of changing the world.

Interesting problem with MSN Spaces and Safari

Well, I hit my first interesting issue with Safari and MSN Spaces. Apparently, the login for the MSN Passport isn’t the same as logging into Hotmail. When I tried to press the Login button on MSN Spaces on my blog with Safari, I get an error message that says please report the bug to Apple. I figured out a way around it by logging into Hotmail, then going to my MSN Space. Oh well.

On a side note, I really like the fact that Apple has a ‘Send a bug report’ menu option… I think every program should have that in it. Only sending bugs in when it crashes the system is NOT enough.

First post from the new Mac mini!

Wow!  I just set up my new (to me) Mac Mini.  My friend Rick
upgraded to a Dual 2 Ghz Powermac, so he sold me his Mac Mini. 
The out-of-box experience has been amazing.  It does not take much
to set the computer up.  It’s quiet.  It works the way that I
expect it to.  I LOVE the one click mouse with no scroll
wheel.  Everything is easy to find.  If one doesn’t know
where to find something, Spotlight will find it.

Microsoft, watch out.  As more and more computer people like me
decide to try a Mac, we will start recommending that people GET
Macs.  Yes, they are more expensive, but they pay off in a
complete loss of headaches.

Beginner Guitar Player’s references

Wow, my friend Rick decided to learn to play guitar!  Very cool!  He picked up a nice little ‘Strat-pack’ to get started.  He’s off to a good start, as that’s a great guitar to begin with.
In the spirit of friendship, and trying to help someone NOT make the same mistakes I’ve made, I want to publish some resources and some tips that I TRULY wish that I had known when I started…
I’m going to post the books in a list on the main page.  There are 4 great starter books that I like and recommend.
The second thing, and this is THE most important, is a good teacher.  A teacher will help motivate, point out mistakes, and is a sounding board for ideas and desires.  One thing that I always liked about having a teacher is the disipline that they bring.  People have a strong desire to show off, and a teacher is the perfect person to do that for.  Plus, there’s a strong desire to learn, as we ARE paying money for their time…
There are a LOT of internet resources for beginning guitar players, and I’ll list the ones that I like the most in a side list.  One thing that I caution about is that there is a LOT of ‘noise’ on the internet (and I’m not talking about bad playing either!).  Many people get caught up in the gear portion of playing guitar or they are very opinionated about they favorite styles, players, etc…  If you find that you spend more time in the newsgroups than playing/practicing, you’ve switched from player to collector… <grin>  Realize, these are not BAD things, but they do not help one to become a better musician.  My philosophy has always been, if it sounds good, it is good.
Lastly, I’ll throw out some tips for practicing… Always, always, always use a metronome or drum machine.  Sloppy rhythm will make anybody sound amateur.  Practice daily, even if it is only 10 – 15 minutes.  There is a major difference between practice and playing (and wanking…)  Practice is usually thought out, possibly even outlined, while playing is kinda random.
More to come!

Coder’s High

What an awesome day!  I don’t get too many of these, so I thought I’d share…
I’ve just started a project at work that has allowed me to do a LOT of coding, everything from test cases, to web pages, to reports.  (I know, not the most glamorous of software development, but still very interesting).  I had a pretty good start on some of the classes before I left last night.  I had gotten a base class and one of the derived classes working when I went home.  So, I had a great starting point for the morning.  I was able to implement the other derived classes.  During this time, I noticed that the code was getting slower with each change I was making (NUnit rocks!).  After trying a couple of solutions, I hit one that cut the run time from 130 seconds to 87 seconds.  Not too bad for a three line code change.  So, by lunch, I had a working report with about half of the data.
After lunch, I had an urgent request to do a code change.  We are in the process of adding a fax server to our network, and we are writing code to incorporate the ability to fax out reports that are generated from our web sites.  My co-worker had written the code to actually send the fax, but we needed a modification to the report preview component.  I had originally written the previewer, and had some good test cases to allow for coding changes.  I did a LOT of changes, eliminating some duplication, and made the interface much more usable and cleaner.  I was able to fix the places where my changes broke code, plus I was able to fix a problem that was getting a little out of hand.  By 6:00, the code was in working order for the things that I had touched, and I have a list of things that have to change tomorrow.  I was able to compile and run with the known issues.  What a great stopping point.  After that, I had a nice discussion about work with my boss.
Life is very definitely good.

So much for trying to be a kid this weekend

I thought this would be a wonderful, relaxing weekend reading a book, and watching some ‘fun’ movies…  That notion tooks a VERY quick left turn, starting Friday.  I was asked to come in on Saturday, so that shot my Friday night fun out the window. 

I DID get to watch an episode of Battlestar Galatica.  I remember watching the original as a kid (my mother LOVED Loren Green).  I aways like the neat toys on the show. Well, watching the new show is NOTHING like the original.  The new one is DARK, and I mean VERY DARK.  There is very little focus on space ships or stuff, but a huge focus on the characters and story.  And both the characters and story are GOOD.  Scratch one light memory from the childhood days…

I spent most of my Saturday at work, doing some very serious cleanup.  After a full work day Saturday, I came home and started to read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  Now, when I read, the world can completely crash, and I will not care.  I was able to get about halfway through the book before going to see a movie.  HP 6 is definitely FAR more serious than any of the books before it.  Again, more darknes than the light hearted weekend I was expecting.

Next was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Good movie, creepy, but still fun.  The original book is more sinister than most people realize, so this movie ended up NOT being light and funny like the one with Gene Wilder.

Finally, this morning, I finished HP 6.  I’m still in shock, and will have to re-read almsot the entire series to see how well the pieces fit…


Well, I now headed back to the real world, and I hope IT will be brighter than the weekend…

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Quick review of Charlie…  The original book was creepy… The first movie was creepy…  This movie is creepy…
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a good ‘rainy-day’ kind of movie.  The thing that I liked about it was the music.  It was VERY twisted….  I LOVED the parody taken straight from ‘Spinal Tap’. 

Cancelling my plans for tonight

Wow, what a day…  Probably the worst Friday I’ve had since I started my current job.  We had someone take down our internet server, and restoring it has been a real problem.  Plus, I’ve got to go into the office on Saturday to do the end of year on our accounting system.  To top it all off, my team has had some ‘personnel’ problems, but they should be fixed soon.  So, with all that, I’m taking the night off, and resting.  It’s not worth making a mistake with the accounting system just to get a book 8 hours sooner.
Since Barnes and Noble is going to be open at 8:00 am in the morning, I’ll just swing by then to get a copy.
Good luck and good reading to everyone else in line!

The seven levels of Apple addiction

Apple is starting to become iCrack (Rick’s term) for the masses…  Here’s how…
  1. iTunes is free.  Works on Windows or Macintosh.  It has quickly become the ‘killer app’ for the online music community.
  2. iPod shuffle…  Cheap way to carry around the iTunes music.  Doesn’t break and still works with Windows and Mac.
  3. iPod… More music, a little more expensive.  Is popular because ‘everybody’s got one’.  Once a person gets to this level, they start to realize that Apple has very good end user designs (maybe not those exact thoughts, more like, ‘it works the way I want it to’)
  4. Mac Mini or iMac… Cheap way to get a Mac…  After going into the Apple store for all the iPod stuff, a person gets enough demos to realize that OS X is a LOT nicer than Windows.
  5. Powerbook… The laptop of choice for Mac users.  Part ease of use, part fashion statement, sort of like the iPod of the Apple computer line.
  6. Powermac… For serious power users… Runs EVERYTHING smoothly, plus allows for easy tinkering.  In fact, the design allows for VERY EASY upgrades.
  7. 30" Cinema display… Finally, the ultimate level of Apple addiction.  A user will  mortgage his/her soul to get one of these things, and consider that he/she got a better bargin…

I’m about to undertake the 4th Step…  Uh-oh…

So what are YOU doing tomorrow night?

I know where I’ll be around 11:30 p.m… Standing in line to buy a couple of copies of the new Harry Potter book!  Count me as disappeared on Saturday.  It’s going to be a good weekend to ‘let the inner child out’.  There’s also a really weird/creepy movie coming out this weekend that reminds me of childhood, Willie Wonka.  The original book was out there, and the movie from the 70’s was definitely done on mind altering substances.  Burton and Depp should be interesting…

New energy…

Ah, finally, some energy has come back.  There has been some light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully, it will not be another oncoming train…  One thing that has helped is a new project at work.  Why does that mean MORE energy?  This new project is allowing me to test some of my ideas about software development and coding.  These ideas are a direct result of having FAR too much time to THINK about such things…
I’ve been trying to ‘live like a monk’ to save a little bit of money, so that mean less entertainment and more education.  (I’ve probably got more computer books than any given Waldenbooks in the mall, and it’s time to read them ALL).  I’m beginning to realize that the Refactoring book that is listed on my book list is one of the ABSOLUTE MOST IMPORTANT books that a programmer can have in his/her library.  I have a running discussion with one of the guys on my team about code duplication, and I think refactoring is one way to help that.  The more I read, the more I understand about how to approach fixing the issues he keeps bringing up.
Ok, I’m wandering… back to my random thoughts…

Update to the PocketPC saga…

Shoaib was a little concerned about which OS I had trashed…  It was the Pocket PC’s… (I wouldn’t have had the ability or sanity if my regular PC had died).  What happened was that as I started to do an upgrade, the device went into powersaving mode.  Fortunately, there is a tiny reset button on the back of the device.  Once I got that up and running, and ran an older patch to clear up the funky program, I was able to to the update.  It was worth it, as the update has better handwriting recognition.
I like the Pocket PC, the handwriting recognition is VERY good.  I like the voice recorder that is built into it.  I’ll keep regular updates going…

Plea for Windows Desktop Search for Windows XP 64

I have been living in Windows 64 for most of this year.  Between the Release Candidates and the final ‘Gold’ edition, beta and release drivers, and a very good mix of hardware, almost everything I want is working.  My biggest complaint is the lack of ‘Desktop’ integrations.  I know that there is a hack to use the 32-bit desktop to geth the 32-bit integration, but I want 64-bit, darn it!  The biggest thing missing is Windows Desktop Search.  I use this program at work, and I could not live without it anymore.  I have to do a LOT of searching through text files, code, and email to find things, and it’s unbelievable how good it is.  But I cannot run it at home!  I don’t have to search though much at home, but it would be nice.
As an aside, why is it so hard to write for the XP 64 desktop?  Only Winrar has integrated their menus with the 64 desktop, and even Microsoft has had a problem with both Search and Windows Media player.  What gives?

New toys to write about…

Just what I need, a new way to waste time and energy, and appear even MORE geeky than I already am.  My friend Shoaib sent me a PDA, as he didn’t need it any more.  Within 20 minutes of setting it up with my computer, I had managed to trash the OS….  Let this be a lesson, boys and girls, upgrading is not always a GOOD thing.  Fortunately, I was able to get it back up and running, and do the update… *Dave will now breathe a sigh of relief*

The jury is out as to whether this will be a dead useful device, or if it goes on the ‘novelty’ items list.  One strike against it is that I used to have a boss that LIVED on his PDA… The darned thing would beep in the middle of conversations, or he’d start writing something down and get so engrossed in the device, he’d not listen to what was being said that was worth writing down.  I do NOT want to be like that.  Fortunately PDAs have evolved quite a bit since ’98.

As far as what *I* see it useful for… Phone numbers, grocery lists, and voice recordings.  Surfing the web on one of these is insane, even if it does have a wireless connector.

Give me a couple of days, and if I haven’t destroyed the thing in fustration, I might have some cool things that can be done with it…

Very exhausted lately…

Wow, what a day…  The blasts from London have rocked the world.  What’s really scary is that two people hurt in the blasts were from my home town.  It makes you wonder…
Now, back to the original post.  For some reason, my energy levels have been WAY down.  I’ve been doing a lot of work, but it’s wearing me out.  Maybe it’s just some negative energy floating around.  I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting a more positive attitude…

A ‘Bewitch’ing movie

Just got back from seeing ‘Bewitched’.  I’ll cut to the chase.  I liked it.  The movie was funny, it had some good interaction, and would have been even better if I had had a date.  Of course the joke I’ll remember will only be funny to people from one city in the country.  The movie give hope to us sad, goofy guys that we might actually find someone who likes us for BEING a sad, goofy guy (sorta like Hitch).

Re-evaluating someone…

Ever have one of those moments when you realize you’ve mis-judged someone?  I ran into someone today that I didn’t particularly like.  I was with some friends of mine, and afterwards we were joking about the person that I ran into.  First off, I wasn’t thrilled with my friends, as they were joking this person’s situation that I *personally* had been in.  Also, I realized that I probably had been a little bit too quick to be negative with the person we ran into.  Time to do a little bit of soul searching to figure out what’s right and wrong…
Then again, maybe my funny bone has disappeared (again).