Concert Review – Barbara Streisand

I can’t believe I’m publishing this…  Saturday night, I went to the Bank Atlantic Center to see Barbara Streisand.  Yes, I am a straight male!  My friend, Trish, wanted to go, and she didn’t want to go buy herself.  Plus, the concert was the day before her birthday.  So, I got tickets (in June!) so that we could go see the show.

Now, the first part of this blog entry is going to be me bitching and whining.  If you just want to read what I think about the performance, skip the next paragraph.

The Bad…  Prices.  Nosebleed tickets were over $200 each.  Parking at the arena was $30.  It was fortunate that neither Trish nor I wanted drinks.  A t-shirt was $40, and a coffee mug $20.  Ok, so Streisand hasn’t performed in South Florida for 40 years… I can understand the ticket prices.  I don’t agree with them, but it’s Trish’s birthday request.  There were two other things that had my ire up.  One, because of the need for metal detectors, trying to get in the arena became a disaster.  There were lines of people everywhere and very little in the way of assistance and/or crowd control.  There were no signs as to where to go and what to do.  The other problem was our seats.  I realize that arena’s are designed nowadays so that every seat can see the event.  That’s great.  What isn’t so great is how narrow the stairs and walkways are, plus how it looks like if you slip, you’ll fall all the way to the ground.  I had some sort of panic attack when we walked in, so once we found our seats, I didn’t move.  Lesson learned, don’t buy nosebleed seats!

The Awesome… Barbar Streisand.  What a great performer.  The concert was like she had invited 10,000 of her closest friends into her house.  You could understand every word she sang and said.  There weren’t the elaborate dance routines.  No lip synch’ing.  I think I’ve heard one or two songs, but it really didn’t matter.  It definitely *wasn’t* a rock concert, where if you haven’t heard the songs beforehand, you wouldn’t have any idea what the singer was saying.  She sounded incredible.  The full orchestra was cool.  Everything was balanced.  It made the tickets worth what we paid for them (sorta ).  It definitely was a good show.

Doing a little blog catch up…

I’ve slowed down a bit on the blog.  I should start posting more soon, as I have concert reviews and more Powershell goodies in mind for articles.

Lately, I’ve been living life a bit more… you know, going out and seeing the world instead of sitting in front of a computer reading about it.  I’ve been hanging out with friends and talking to them, instead of reading and posting on newsgroups.  I think this is generally a healthly thing.

I hope to have time to write more about the cool things that have been going on!

All I want for Christmas is a Mac Pro (why Microsoft might be in trouble)

This morning, I hit the final straw.  I’m officially tired of Microsoft (again!).  I had been very happy with most everything that I’ve seen, but today just leaves me shaking my head at some decisions.  Here is a list of things I think might be giving Microsoft some issue.

First off, the rushed release of Vista.  RC1 was out for 2 weeks before being supplemented with an ‘interim build’.  The interim build was replaced by RC2 two weeks later!  "Hello! McFly!"  I participated in the Windows XP 64 beta.  RC1 was released for 3 MONTHS!  RC2 had another 3 months of testing time.  That’s 6 months between release candidate and going gold.  Yes, that’s a LONG time in the software business, but XP 64 is one of the best OSes Microsoft has released.  (David now puts his flame suit on).  Vista just feels half baked.  I’ve run it on VMWare, and on a spare hard drive.  I’ve yet to see any audio drivers for high end audio cards, even in alpha or beta format, other than Creative.  That’s scary, because one of the major changes to Vista is the audio subsystem.

Second, Microsoft caved into the damned Anti-virus companies.  I’m very over Symantec and McCafee crying ‘Microsoft won’t let us insert crappy code into a supposedly stable system’.  Ummm, isn’t the point of having a closed system is that *no one* will be able to add code?  Ie, no viruses get in?  Now, virus writers will exploit the hooks that being added for the anti-virus writers.  As a tech, I tell everyone to avoid Symantec.  Their firewall causes many more problems than it solves.  Same thing with their Anti-virus software.

One more thing, why, oh, why did they specify that the OS ‘phone home’?  Vista has a new ‘feature’ that will degrade the OS’s functionality if it can’t contact Microsoft and validate itself.  What!?!  So, if the validation screws up (and Microsoft’s validation has done that in the past) or if the servers are down, or if my ISP is down, or if I just forget to turn on my modem, my INSTALLED functionality may go away WITHOUT NOTIFYING ME!?!  Don’t believe me on this stuff?  Check out Wendy Seltzer’s post about it.  What happens if I have a computer I don’t WANT to have connected to the internet?

Finally, what really pissed me off this morning is a bug in the beta tech refresh of Outlook 2007.  I am using Outlook to read blogs.  I had noticed that their hadn’t been much traffic on some of the RSS feeds that normally have a post or two every couple of days.  So, I click on a couple of folders, do a refresh, and BAM! posts show up!  WTF?  I had to go into every feed, then do a refresh, and a LOT of things popped up.  Now, that’s unforgivable.  That is like not picking up email.  It’s *not* acceptable.  I don’t know if the issue I saw will be fixed by RTM in two weeks or not.  I honestly don’t care.  I’m switching back to Omea reader until I get my Christmas wish.

And if you don’t think the Mac Pro is becoming the ultimate developer machine, check out this article on Scoble’s site.

Stupid PowerShell Tricks #3: Using shell startup scripts to customize your shell prompt

Stupid PowerShell Trick #3:
Do you hate the fact that the cursor ends up at the end of the path in the PowerShell shell?  Here’s a trick to make the prompt put a newline at the end of the path so that the caret always starts on the next line.
First, in your ‘My Documents’ folder create a directory called WindowsPowerShell, if it doesn’t already exist.  In the My DocumentsWindowsPowerShell directory, create a file called profile.ps1.  You can use this file to execute code when the shell starts up.  Edit the profile.ps1 file and add the following line to it:
function global:prompt {(get-location).path + "`n>"}
See, PowerShell allows you to link functions into the system.  Since there is no ‘Prompt’ command, you just have to override the global prompt function.  To put a new line in the text, we use `n as the escape character sequence.
This opens up a lot of cans of worms, but it’s interesting…

Stupid PowerShell Tricks #2: How to access the environment variables (among other things!)

Stupid PowerShell Trick #2:
If you need to access your environment variables and your registry, use set-location!  Both can be accessed just like a drive.
To access the environment variables:
PS C:> set-location Env:
To access the local machine’s registry:
PS C:> set-location HKLM:
To access the current user’s registry:
PS C:> set-location HKCU:
To access your original C: drive use:
PS C:> set-location C:

What’s cool about this trick is that the registry and Environment variables are treated like drives. 

Cool, huh?
PS:  Thanks to Rick for pointing out that I didn’t tell the user how to get *back* to the original drive.