General Archives

April 11, 2005

First Post

What more can be said? Socks go on before shoes...

April 19, 2005

Note to anyone who is wondering about this color scheme

This site would be in blue and yellow if only yellow text was readable.

February 9, 2006

Tools are not the answer

As much as I decry the tendency for people to latch onto tools as solutions to their problems, I still can't draw myself completely away from them.

They are clearly a part of the solution, and they are frequently interesting in their own right. My new and sparsely populated "Stuff" blog covers things which are interesting in the way they work / or don't work.

Suggestions for reviews are always welcome.

Pop on over and take a look!

February 14, 2006

Digital imaging and the end of megapixels

An interesting article from Nikon about how digital imaging has evolved and where it is heading.

Nikon Imaging | Behind the scene : Nikon Digital Image Processing Technologies and the D200

Besides the fact that it appears that the trend will not be to more megapixels, but rather in improving image quality, I was interested to see that color rendition is something which is both culture and location specific.

February 15, 2006

Search Result of the Day

My referrer log shows how people find this site. A large number are through searches. Some are unpublishable and others are just odd. This one showed up and is so easy to answer that I decided to answer it twice - with conflicting answers:

does buying more lottery tickets increase your chance of winning? - Yahoo! Search Results

The simple answer is yes. If they sell as many tickets as there are buyers then with each ticket you buy you increase your chance and decrease the other person's chance. If there are two buyers and you each buy one ticket you have a 50% chance of winning. If you then buy one more, you have a 66% chance of winning. The equation behind this holds for any positive number.

But the complex answer is that in a lottery money is siphoned off to pay for the companies which think up, advertise and run the lotteries, not to mention the states taking a portion for schools so statistically a lottery is a losing bet. In the big picture buying more tickets merely means you lose more.

February 23, 2006

All your page are belong to us

Google is now hosting free webpages - well, they have provided some and are now oversubscribed, but if you want to see what it look likes here is an example from the ever enthusiastic Josh Bancroft:

jabancroft - Josh Bancroft's Google Page

I'm not sure why Josh claims it is cool, new and fancy or web 2.0, but I suppose it would be boring if it wasn't all of those things even if it really doesn't seem to be any of them to me.

 It looks like a good way to get kids on the web though. Free is always a good strategy for getting people to try something new.

September 28, 2006

Rei Momo

Yesterday I buried my dog. A patch on my left thumb is worn raw from chopping through the hard clay soil. I was almost alone while digging, observed only by my dog wrapped in a white towel resting in a cardboard box - his eyes unclosing from now until forever. 14 years ago he would have been helping me, scratching at the ground and almost laughing. Last week he would have been sitting somewhere near, close enough to hear with his pointed ears, close enough so he knew I was there and I knew he was too.

It seems I've always been working to keep him close. He was getting in my way when I built his first dog house, but deemed it too far away to actually sleep in. He was near when I built a fence to keep him in, a fence to keep him from running and exploring when I was not home. Next to the fence I planted the same bougainvillea whose purple petals filled the hole I dug.

He was near when I built the gates to keep away the postman who tormented him daily, daring to walk up the driveway and touching the mail slot. He was near even when I walked with him. Of course his version of "near changed over time. What was once half a mile or so shrank to a block and by last winter he was close enough to share the same umbrella when it rained. I had almost retired his leash except as something to carry in the event of meeting nervous passerby's who thought I was walking with a baby wolf.

He was not the kind of dog to sit on your lap. He did not like being held unless it was on your lap while you were driving but even that changed two days ago when he stayed close and lay calm and quiet in my arms. Every minute he got closer, until he was gone. Well, not really gone, but all I have left is what he left inside me. It is a poor substitute.

As the years pass plum leaves, and rose petals and wisteria blossoms will fall over him and he will be quiet and close forever.

February 11, 2007


Rain knocked most of them down, but spring must be here already, or is it a dream?

March 12, 2007

Eight Miles High - Microsoft MVP Summit

On my way up to Microsoft for the second week in a row. This week should be a bit less grueling if not less fattening.

It is the time for the almost annual Microsoft MVP summit. This means a few days of executive briefings, meetings with the project groups and breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks and dinners and snacks. This year Bill Gates will be delivering the key note. The past two were Ballmer with his bombastic Blah bla bla blaaah blaaah blah! so it will be a nice change. And what I hear is that there is more time 1:1 with the product groups which is another welcome development. In several past summits this got scant attention, amounting to a session for a couple of hours. I think there is an entire day scheduled this year. I hope to use the time to figure out when we are going to see the first service release on Project and Project Server 2007.

The best things to come out of this conference though are the conversations with people. My current job is the fruit of a seed planted when a group of us bailed out from the planned activities and had lunch in Seattle instead. A group session with 1800 people + Press + Translators has less importance on a personal level and even on a business level than sharing a meal with a 5 others.

Looking down I just see a blanket of white and the same bright warm sun that was shining when I left home. Where I live it is spring. The air is infused with warm earth and plum blossoms. It is the kind of day that brings out the bees. Seattle weather may not be as kind.

March 20, 2007

Partial Sun


Spring is really here. I got rained on very heavily at lunch but by the time I got home the sun was out. Now there is a fierce wind. Changing of the seasons is not something to take lightly.

March 22, 2007

Trouble in Paradise

Ah, the troubles this thing causes. Notes insisting I remove things are always such a headache. I generally try hard to keep things anonymous and generic and non-controversial. I reveal no secrets except my own and even those I'm guarded with because as you know, nothing is secret on the internet.

In the interest of keeping secrets secret I'm not even going to tell you what I'm talking about. But I am going to tell you that even as bad as I feel getting email from angry people, there are more bright sides to it.

This week one of my readers from Texas came up and said hello. Last week a person I had just met who was sitting next to me at a meeting had my blog up on his screen. And the week before at an unnamed location an unnamed person said he reads my blog too. It is an odd feeling, one which makes you wonder what preformed impression they have based on the narrow stream of information that I pour out here. But the fact that they told me they read it does seem to indicate that they must at least find what I write useful or interesting.

June 7, 2007

Heard at Starbucks just outside Seattle

Loyal readers know I'm a Peet's coffee fan but sometimes there is no choice.
Here is what I heard the other day:

"This is a very sad day today, we are giving up starbucks"
"Don't you like us anymore?"
"No we do, that is why we came in today. We are giving it up because we want to save money."
"I was just talking about you yesterday. I was telling my friend I call you my posse."
"It will last for about three weeks. We've tried before."

December 21, 2007

Shortest day of the year - Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year and for many cultures there is a celebration around this time, all springing from the fact that the light of the sun is returning to the world.

July 28, 2008

California Fire Season

This view of the Tuolumne river flowing through the Poopenaut valley from the road to Hetch Hetchy dam shows the effect of the many fires burning throughout California this summer. The sun appears reddish and there is a warm cast to everything you can see.



March 30, 2009

Spring already in progress

After the snow

I usually mark the Spring Equinox on my blog. This year I missed it. Where I live Spring is most definitely here and I'm obviously late. So I'm setting the clock back to winter (February to be exact) and will catch up to spring very soon.

Nothing like a foot or two of snow to make winter seem right.

May 12, 2009

Mossbrae Falls


After that last post things were looking a bit dry around here. So this shot of Mossbrae Falls near Mount Shasta which I took in April should do the trick.

June 30, 2009

5:00 PM and just getting started

This is one of those days. I thought it would be a good idea to travel to the client a day early just to make sure things were ready for what I'm doing tomorrow. I booked an early flight because last week I waited 4 hours in the airport so that the plane I was going to ride on could come in from Chicago, so I figured the first flight out would be safe. But it wasn't. It was cancelled.

After hassles at check-in on the airline that United finally booked me on because they had nothing until 6:00 PM (?!!?!!), and a detour through Vegas I landed and had to wait for a couple of rental car shuttle busses to pass by (full-up) and then waited in a slow moving line until I was offered upgrades and fueling options and insurance and etc... until I hopped into the car and at last made it to the client where the infrastructure that needed to be set up was stalled and not progressing. So we started over from scratch. And all is fine ... now...

August 13, 2009

Virtual Machines and Project 2010

It should come as no surprise that the hardware requirements of the Office 2010 suite continue to expand. The relationship between ever-increasing hardware capabilities and software which takes advantage of those capabilities is as inseparable as that between the chicken and the egg,

One way to attack the problem is pretty simple, make a thin client and put all the computing burden on the server. This is the approach that netbooks take. They have enough power to do basic tasks and rely on web-based applications for the rest of what you might want to do. The whole concept of cloud computing follows on this approach. It offloads the heavy database and computing loads (and the responsibility for building, maintaining and scaling them) to somewhere else than your PC.

But not everything can be done over a network. One area where control of and access to the servers is required is in giving demonstrations. You can't always count on being able to have access to a network or a port through a company's firewall so you HAVE to have a stand alone system. The tool of choice for this is the use of Virtual Machines. They can easily be copied and customized for a specific demo. Then the state can be frozen so it is always right back where you wanted it.

With Office 2010, a number of the compelling features make use of components which require a server (Sharepoint, Excel Services, SQL Server etc.) This makes them a heavy load for a virtual machine. Rumor is that at least 8GB of RAM is recommended to run one of these virtual machines. This requires a 64bit operating system in order to effectively use all that memory. It also requires a long time to load the virtual machine.

Some computer companies are already addressing the need with laptops capable of holding 16GB of ram and having space for 2 internal disk drives. The drive makers too are addressing it through the use of Solid State Drives (SSD's) which eliminate the rotating platters in typical drives with an array of semiconductor memory. This is similar to moving from a record player (some of you may not have seen one...) to an iPod. They offer nearly instant access to memory as there are no moving parts to worry about.

Prices are coming down on these and you can get a replacement drive of reasonable size for a couple hundred dollars:

One good source for information about how these perform is Christophe Fiessinger's Blog. Here is his benchmarking of how SSD's helped with his demo images:

August 29, 2009

Upgrading my old Macbook

Last night I replaced the screen (old one was cracked) with a new one from etech parts. It may just be because it is clean, but it looks a lot clearer and brighter than the old one. Since it is lit with a fluorescent, the new screen likely IS brighter. Unfortunately, the power connector for the backlight is hidden deep within the hinge so I had to remove the whole top cover and then put everything back together again - with no leftover screws.

With that done and Apple's new Snow Leopard OS X 10.6 just out, I installed upgraded it too. Went flawlessly, except that I needed to re-enter my wireless network key. I haven't checked all my apps yet, but I did hook up Mail to the corporate Exchange server - just a couple of clicks and it seems to work. Best $29 I ever spent on an OS.

The final thing is to get a new battery. It is showing "replace soon" as the status and it runs low very quickly. Still, it has been about three years so I can't complain too much.

September 4, 2009

Microsoft Wants to Give You Stuff

Windows 7 is coming out soon (October 22) and Microsoft wants you to celebrate and have a party. To encourage you they are giving out all sorts of stuff if you host a party:

All hosts will receive:

One limited Signature Edition Windows 7® Ultimate
One Deck of Playing Cards with Windows 7® Desktop Design
One Puzzle with Windows 7® Desktop Design
One Poster with Windows 7® Desktop Design
Ten Tote Bags with Windows 7® Desktop Design for hosts and guests
Also included in USA party packs:

One package of streamers for decoration
One package of balloons for decoration
One table top centerpiece for decoration
One package of Windows 7® napkins

Now, I need Windows 7® napkins just as much as the next guy, but as a general rule I don't party about software so I won't be signing up. This leaves more chances for YOU to win!
64 of the hosts will also win a mini-notebook.

Sign up here:
Good Luck!

July 27, 2011

Free from a good home


A neighbor left this bike (a 1974 Raleigh LTD 3 Three Speed) out on the curb for dead a while back. With good reason. The tires were flat and rotted, the seat was covered in black tape, wheel bearings were completely out of adjustment and it was pretty dusty and dirty. But I cleaned it up a bit, put on new tires, brake cables and pads, and fixed the springy seat. Now it's just the thing for riding around town. It is the only bike I have with a kickstand and is still too ugly for anyone to bother stealing.

Raleigh built versions of this bike for decades and sold them around the world. This one was actually built in their factory in Malaysia, and is near to the end of the line for this sort of bike. The ten speed craze knocked the three speed to its knees in the 70's and then mountain bikes buried the three speed a decade or so later. However, there does seem to be a trend towards a bit more diversity in bicycle types lately, so the three speed may rise again despite the obvious lack of carbon fiber and aluminum alloy.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Project in the General category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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