Monday, December 31, 2007

When debugging, watch your watches

I should know better.

We had a section of code where a new 'document' was created in our web app. A document in this app consists of data in various tables. So, what happens is, we start adding rows to the tables in the dataset, but before we add any rows, we turn off EnforceConstraints for the dataset.

Later, right before we Save the dataset, we run a method, IsValid, which turns EnforceConstraints back on, and checks the dataset's HasErrors.

So, our flow works like this:

CreateButton.Click
  EnforceConstraints = False
  ... add a bunch of rows, which may at times have Nulls where their shouldn't be.
  ... Nulls get filled in.
  IsValid
    EnforceConstraints = True
    ... If HasErrors, throw exception.
  Save
End Method

Now, what would happen if you put IsValid in the Watch window? That's right, EnforceConstraints would be set to True very frequently.

I'll go bandage the hole in my foot now.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A new idea in music.

At least it is to me.
http://www.yourmusic.com/

It sounds like, you pay $6.99/month, and then order the CDs you want.

Has anybody tried this or investigated?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

In regards to my last post

Some may dislike my comments on a custom that many people cherish.

Everybody has beliefs. Some people base their beliefs on how they were raised. Some base them on what they hear at a church. The interesting thing is, many people do not question their beliefs honestly and openly very often.

I feel that I have based my beliefs on facts. Facts that I have seen with my own two eyes. There is nothing wrong with being presented with facts and coming to believe as the presenter, as long as your are testing their facts for truthfulness. My parents will confirm, I test.

I have come to believe, through non-biblical sources as well as the 'Good Book' itself, that the bible is the inspired word of god.
(2 Tim. 3:16) (also see New American Standard Bible)
Why You Can Trust the Bible

I have come to see that if you do not believe the entire bible, or add to it, you might as well not believe any of the bible.
(Galatians 1:6-9) (see also New International Version)
(1 John 4:3) (see also New American Standard Bible)
(Revelation 22:18) (see also New Living Translation)

I have come to see that God hates idols, idol worship, and using symbols, including trees, to worship him.
(Isaiah 40:18-22) (also see New International Version)

I have come to see that there is a better way to remember Jesus, and that Christmas actually DIShonors him.
(John 2:13-16) (see also Amplified Bible)
(A Birth to Be Remembered)
    Granted, Jesus’ birth was remarkable, but his early
disciples attached much more importance to what he did
and to what he taught. Surely God never intended Christ’s
birth to eclipse his life as a mature man. Yet, Christmas has
succeeded in obscuring the person of Christ in a mire of
Nativity legends and folklore.

Many people pray for god's kingdom to come, just as Jesus told us to.
(Matthew 6:9-13) (see also New International Reader's Version)
(What Does the Lord’s Prayer Mean to You?)

This model prayer says we should make God's name known. (Jesus' father)

It also states we should pray for God's kingdom to come.
Do you know what God's kingdom is or what it will do for mankind?
(Daniel 2:44) (Today's New International Version)

Perhaps we should focus on the everlasting message Jesus brought instead of giving each other gifts that will eventually come to nothing.
(What Does the Messiah's Coming Mean to You?)

You'll notice, I've used several bible translations to come to my conclusion. I've also included links in this post to resources that go into greater depth on the subjects. Shouldn't we all test our beliefs?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My thoughts exactly

I had to post this. See more at http://www.dilbert.com/

>>>
Dear Dogbert,

How do holiday traditions get started? I mean, who goes first?

Brian

Dear Brine,

Traditions are started by attractive people who are not too bright. Ugly people can’t start trends, with the obvious exception of scrapping, because no one wants to do what ugly people do. And smart people are unlikely to come up with ideas such as killing a perfectly good tree, covering it with crap, and keeping it in the living room for a month.

Sincerely,

Dogbert

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Up to date

To keep everybody up to date:
Circuit Assembly was great.

Steph is ok. She was only in the emergency room for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. They gave her an IV because she was dehydrated, and some medicine to settle her stomach. The doctor said it was a stomach virus and would run it's course. She's feeling better but week.

It's important to keep things up to date. But that can be hard when you have tons of links scattered throughout your blog. Like this link:
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dndotnet/html/persistappsettnet.asp from a post on January 10, 2005. The page doesn't exist.

However, the page did once exist, and the Wayback machine helped me find it with this link: http://web.archive.org/web/20050909193245/http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/dndotnet/html/persistappsettnet.asp

I'm taking some of the content, and I'm going to put it on my site, since it was so helpful to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The business trip that never was

So, yesterday, Wednesday, I embarked on my first out of state business trip for CAI. We were headed to DC. We got here at 8AM, got our rental car and were on the road by 9AM. I was driving.

We got to DC and into a parking garage around 11:30 AM. Not too bad time-wise.

We grabbed some lunch, a great deli on the corner of 3 St NW and E St NW, called Jacks.

Took our lunch to the Judiciary building's cafeteria and ate. About 12:40 PM we headed up to the confrence/training room we were going to train in so we could be ready for the 1PM training.

At 1:30, nobody was there.

By about 3 PM we had found out nobody was going to be there, so we headed to the hotel and planned to be back the next morning.

Just as we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel, we get a call.
The attendees are at a Confrence out of state (New Orleans) all week.
So, instead of training in DC this morning, I'm here back at the office.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In case you didn't hear about the fire

Red Lion Kingdom Hall fire
http://www.inyork.com/ci_7556528

Edit: By the way, this was not my Kingdom Hall, but one local. The day this happened we were supposed to have a brother from there give our talk.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jump to video!

I've posted pictures, hosted my own site, and done quite a bit on the internet. But I've never posted to YouTube.com, at least not till today.

Chloe Videos

I never had anything worth posting before.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Don't know if that's the word, but as of yesterday, this blog has been here for 4 YEARS!!! Wow!

Way to sell a book!

I just received a free book, 'Small Business Specialist Primer', by SMB Nation Press.

It's quite a large book, I wondered 'Why get such a big book for free?'

Here's a few things I note:

No page numbers. You got the 12-2, 10-9, 8-2 thing going on.

In the section, About the Authors, one author, a lady, has this line in her bio:
Since she moved to Florida, she hasn't been to the beach.
I love the beach. I don't want to do anything that would prevent me from enjoying the beach from time-to-time. Does that mean that if I read this book, I won't get to the beach?

Perhaps my view will change as I read it.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Of Laptops and Builds, Time wasted in the development world

Time is money.
Time is of the essence.
No time to kill.

Every second wasted is bad. That's the long and short of it. So, let me fill you in on how even a big(ger) development company can lost this valuable resource.

Hyper IT guys who think they know it all
If you can rush, and never miss a step, then rush. If you're gonna rush and miss key things, don't rush.

Our IT department has a procedure in place for rolling out new laptops. Backup the old one, and (within a day or two) give you the new one with all the software the developer has been using and will need. No settings are copied, but the software is supposed to be up and running.

Here's how my laptop upgrade went:
Backup my laptop - IT guy asks me when I'm working till. I tell him 5PM. I'll be by at 4:30 to backup your laptop. My thoughts are, he's gonna back it up and give it to me by 5? That's pretty good. So, 4:20 he comes and takes my laptop. At 4:50 PM I ask him how long it'll be.
"I hope you weren't waiting. I took it at 4:30 so you'ld have time to finish your other stuff before 5."

Umm.... I'm a computer programmer. Without a computer to program on, there's not much I can do. I know backups take longer than a half hour. I should have pressed for more information.

So, I get my old laptop back the next morning.

The NEXT Monday, afternoon, I get my new laptop. I'm told I can copy any data off my old laptop to the new one that I need.

I have several Virtual PCs I use for different project. We're talking several gigs a piece. So the IT guy is nice enough to put me on a separate hub so I won't have to deal with traffic/collisions on the Gigabit network. A nice little 10/100 hub.

Silly me, I Moved my data, instead of copy. Tuesday a little before noon, I go to get my SQL database running... and SQL Management Studio is not installed.

Long story short, I got my new laptop running Wednesday morning.

Poor Development Processes for Projects
I read Coding Horror daily. Here's another way a team can lose time, new people to the project not being able to come on board in a timely fashion.
The F5 Key Is Not a Build Process

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Network checker

This is a simple little tool, but it shows me what I want to know.
http://www.softperfect.com/products/networkscanner/

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More pics of Chloe

Here they are!

As a note, we will continue to add pictures to this link, so if you'ld like, bookmark it. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Smog

A while back I mentioned the trip my wife and I took to Wyoming. One of the most stunning differences between Wyoming, and here on the east coast, was the sky.

Not the fact that you could see so much of it. Not the fact that you could see why the Milky Way is considered milky. It was simply the clearness of the air.

Landing in Philadelphia, we descended into a brown haze. I guess living on the east coast, and in NY city, I never really noticed how prevalent it was. But you literally felt like you were slowly dipping into cloudy lake water.

'Well, this is Philly', I thought.

But lately, as I drive into Harrisburg, I'm noticing the brown cloud that hangs over the city. And not just the city... but out into they nearby suburban developments, where kids play in their tiny backyards, and drink from the garden hoses fed by the river.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no tree hugger. I've wasted my share of resources. I put my recycling out. I try to re-use what I can. (I'm part swamp Yankee, and we'll save just about anything, 'just in case'.)

But I drive by myself from Lebanon to Harrisburg, a 45 minute drive. I know I'm putting unnecessary chemicals into the air. But I also feel strapped as to what I can do about it. It'll take an efficient car priced below $10k before I can join the 'green' driving elite.

And I'm not against public transportation either. But I'd have to drive to get to a bus stop, and then wouldn't get dropped off anywhere near where I work.

So, I wait, and watch that cloud every morning, spewing more out of my exhaust, but hoping I don't get any on me.


In the spirit of this post, here's an idea to make the most of your internal combustion engine.
http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-Food-on-Your-Car%27s-Engine

Monday, October 15, 2007

The problem with 'Find location by Zip code'

I live in an area where a zip code could be 30-45 minutes across. And I work in a different zip code than where I live. So let me lay out my problem.

Let's say I live in the western side of 'Town A'. Further west, we have 'Town B' where I work in the Eastern half.

If I do a search on my insurance company's site for doctors in the zip code of Town A, they may send me to a doctor in the eastern side of the town (remember, in this example, I live in the western side of the town.)

So, I drive 30-45 minutes WEST in the morning, to go to work. Then I have a doctors appointment, and have to drive maybe 1.5 hours (passing my house) to go to the doctor. That's just silly.

So, let's say I punch in the zip code for 'Town B', where I work, and they send me to the Western side of town. Here I'm working in the eastern side, so again it's all the way accross town. A 1.5 hour round trip.

Could I put in 2 addresses, and let our slaves of a computer figure out what doctors are in network (another issue) and on my route home.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Languages going extinct

This is interesting to those groups who try to cover as many languages as possible.
Languages Racing to Extinction in 5 Global "Hotspots"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

So satisfying

I may have said it before, but I'll say it again. There is something so satisfying about this site: http://www.ssiworld.com/watch/shred.htm - Watch it Shred

And this one: http://www.willitblend.com/ - Will it Blend

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yes it's true... no not THAT!

Yes, we're getting a new member of our family. No, not a people.

Check out our new puppy, coming home October 19th.

Oh yea... She's a Shih Tzu.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Updates to my site and blog

You may have notices, that the 'Sites I Visit' section to the left has changed. This parallels changes I have made on my site.

I have added parts to my site's database, for Jokes, which I mentioned earlier. But now I also have a page of Quotes.

The main page of my site has had it's links cleaned up.

All three of these sections are not only database driven, but they also have a 'Newest!' section. This allows for you to quickly see what I've added recently.

Eventually, I'd like to do an RSS feed for Jokes and Quotes... but this is a start to simplify maintenance of my site.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sandals and Crocs get eaten by the jaws of escalators.

Never had a problem myself, but thought I'd pass this on:
Crocs, kids and escalators a bad combination?

My advice? Always pay attention to your children. Who wouldn't be careful with a two year old on an escalator anyway!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Protect yourself and clean up web pages!

Ads!!! They're everywhere. Some of them aren't even that nice.

Here's a way to get rid of ads... it's not everything, but it helps.

http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/

Basically, it gives you a list of ad servers. You copy and paste the list into your hosts file, and whenever a page tells you to look at an ad from one of those servers, your browser looks for it on your own hard drive. But since it's not there, nothing comes up where the ad would be.

It's a little tricky, but if you have a geek handy, ask 'em to do it.

(Note: I've found a few ads that still come up. I look at the source, and add their server to the list, and viola, it's gone.)

Do you, and should you, believe everything scientists say?

Most Science Studies Appear to Be Tainted By Sloppy Analysis
"We all make mistakes and, if you believe medical scholar John Ioannidis, scientists make more than their fair share. By his calculations, most published research findings are wrong."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stick it to the man, yea!

The Bank of America's ATM heist, or, Why we pay fees to get take money out.

Friday, September 07, 2007

And more words of wisdom

Words of wisdom!!!

In seattle washington it is illegal to carry a CONCEALED weapon over 8ft in length.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

No more Distributed.Net!!!

The RC5-72 challenge was discontinued in May. Therefore, there will be no reward for processing keys...

I'll leave the link to my stats up there for now. In the mean time, I will look into other distributed computing systems.

In fact, right now I'm trying Boinc.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Robotic telecommuting

Okay, I don't like to repeat stuff, but this is something I think is worth repeating.

Meet IvanAnywhere

Why didn't somebody think of this sooner?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wanna read Babylonian?

From Slashdot:
DrJackson writes
"A new online translator that can translate Assyrian, Babylonian, Sumerian and Egyptian hieroglyphics (1 of the 3 types anyway) has been developed. This is the first time I ever saw a translator for cuneiform. Something like this would be great for translating interesting historical records like the Amarna Letters."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My system needs updating

Boy, I need a new PC for my job, what do you think?






Actually, these are pictures from a site where a guy photographs old work-sites:

http://www.hebig.org/photos/

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bluetooth Headsets, Music, and Technology

First of all, if I can't close a Word document, start a Remote Desktop connection, and bring up an IM window all while I have a Virtual PC running and Launchcast is starting the next song stream, then what good is this stinkin' laptop!!!

I've been listening to Launchcast lately. I held off because of fear of impacting the network here. But I came to two conclusions...

We have 100Mb network connections.
It doesn't really impact my experience.

So, I've also switched my music link to Launchcast instead of Last.FM. I just can't get away from the fact that LaunchCast is to me the best streaming music and rating system I have tried.

So, that covers Music and Technology, but Bluetooth?

I had a Jabra one-ear earpiece for my cell-phone. It worked pretty good for an inexpensive piece. I pretty much just left it in the car and used it there.

Then I started seeing these stereo Headphones/Headsets that worked with BlueTooth. I've hated being tethered to my laptop at work while listening to music, but these Stereo units were always $60 or better.

Then a couple of weeks ago I saw this: Kyocera Bluetooth Stereo Headset/Headphones

You can read my review... they work pretty good. A little tricky to figure out and get used to, but if you keep at it, they're not bad at all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My bros wedding!

We are all happy for Phillip and DeAnn as they have started their life together.

I have pics up here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkenyon2/sets/72157601262353851/

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Donations welcome!

Some of you may have visited my other sites:
http://www.greatwhitedata.com/ (My business site)
http://mark.phillk.net/ (My personal site)
http://mark.phillk.net/funnyKeys.php (My joke collection)

Well, I'm always looking to improve the site. I also will host for other people.

Of course, that doesn't always come free. But I'm willing to work it out with you good people...

Any one of these items would be a nice donation:
HITACHI Deskstar 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar 750GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Acer AL1917WAbd Black 19" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 700:1 Built in Speakers

Of course, if you want to buy these for yourselves... I guess I won't mind too much, they are good deals!

Programming Theory

I may have mentioned this blog before, but I'll state it again.
http://www.codinghorror.com/

I just read this post. It reminds us to allow ourselves to take a fresh look at things, putting asside our biases.

I also liked the article he wrote, Will My Software Project Fail?

This site has helped me to round out my viewpoint and perspective on coding, and reminds me to look up from time to time, and remember what we're coding for.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Everybody lays the blame!!!

This morning my laptop took it's sweet time booting up.

On the screen it said, 'Applying Your Personal Settings'

So, what?! Are you saying it's my fault this OS is so slow?!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Internet Crash of '07

Let me be the first to console you!

Build Your Own Developer PC

I feel that every good developer should have a basic understanding of how a computer works on the inside, and if possible, a little time playing with Assembly. (Much like a Jedi must build his own light-saber!)

Here's an article to help you start with your sweet Developer Rig.
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000918.html

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Music... my new passion.

I took piano lessons as a kid, and never gave it the respect it deserved. I like music, I'd love to be able to make music... but until I can get better at guitar, I'll have to settle for being able to listen to all the music I want.

In that regard... I've been trying to get my music library running through GBPVR to my stereo. This has proved trickier than I thought.

Here's why... I've amassed my collection of digital music over the years through various means. I've imported from CDs via iTunes and Media Player. Both applications import through their own means, and save the files in their own ways.

GBPVR has a very slick music plugin for it called Music Library 2. The biggest selling point for my, besides the slick interface, was that it Scrobbled to Last.FM. (Basically, it keeps track of what you've listened to, and customizes an online radio station for you.)

One problem, to keep design time down, this was designed to ONLY use .mp3 files. What to do about my .wma files that Media Player has been creating for me?

I thought I had a quick fix, with iTunes, because it would not only play .wma files, but it had the option to 'Convert to mp3'. Sweet! Except...

I have my music in an Artist/Album/Track setup. But I also have many compilation albums. These are under Various Artists, and Original Soundtracks.

iTunes, in it's conversion process, moved my tracks to an Artist/Album/Track folder setup. Which meant my compilation albums, with maybe 15-20 different artists, EXPLODED all over my D:\mp3\ folder...

So, I deleted all of those, which left me back at having .wma files.

The solution I then went to involved Jodix Free WMA to MP3 converter, which left my files in their original folders. One problem, it dropped the ID3 tags... which Music Library uses to organize in the UI.

Then came my final savior for this problem, ID3-TagIt

This sweet program lets you go in and swiftly update and correct your ID3 tags. It will even take a collection of files, that use the track names for filenames, and look up the album info on FreeDB.org. (If you are missing a file/track, it doesn't work so well.)

This worked out better than expected, as I had completely disorganized tags throughout my collection. It took a week and a half, but now I have an ALL mp3 collection with tags right down to the genre. Whew... crazy.

And don't worry, it took so long because I only did it on the side... with ID3-TagIt it really only took a few hours total. I DO have a life.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cool Technology and a New Software Project!

First off, this is cool, Rubber Metal.

Second, I know I can't stay on one project very long... maybe I do have some ADD. But I started writing a plugin for GBPVR that will enable you to view websites on your MVP. Very basic at the moment, the site is hard-coded in. But we'll make progress, I hope.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The State of Technology

I wiped and re-installed my system drive this past week. It's nice to have a fresh install. I've already had issues.

Actually, it was a minor thing. LogMeIn. When I installed this software, and rebooted, I could see the Windows logo as it started, then my monitor stopped getting a feed. I could hear my startup music, so I knew it was just a driver issue. Reinstalling the drivers (after rebooting into VGA mode, YUCK!) seemed to fix it. But now I'm back up and running.

And Patched!
As you can see from this post from Coding Horror, (one of my new favorite blogs!) it's very easy to kill an unpatched system.

What is my goal!?!
Ubiquitous media!

I want music, videos (recorded via DVR/PVR), and pictures that I can access from anywhere. That means, I want my PDA to plug into my system at home, and pull a random selection of music from my music server to take with me when I go. I don't want to have to think about selecting this one, or that one, but not that one, cause I'm tired of it...

Why? Cause the radio in my car doesn't pick up any channels, that's why.

I'd also like all of this to be streamed to my entertainment system along with online streams of music, and perhaps something like MovieLink, where you can buy and download movies to view for a period of time.

Did I mention this should be free? Or at least cheap. Believe it or not, most of my entertainment system was given to me, or purchased used. I am a cheapskate!

We're not far from this though. Using GBPVR, and my MVP I've got most of it already. Music, Pictures, DVR, and some streaming music even. And all I paid for was the hardware. I was able to pull out my 60 disc CD changer from my entertainment center, because all (or soon to be all) of our music is on our server, and fed through the system, complete with album art.

As for movies, GBPVR has a plug-in that allows you to view the listings for the local theaters, COMPLETE WITH TRAILERS!!! Just a click of the remote away, I have weather, music, pictures, theater listings and TV. And I only pay $10/month for cable. How's that for cheap!

That's not to say I wouldn't mind paying 2 bucks to download a rented movie. I'd be saving 2 bucks compared to the $4 to rent a DVD at the local place, not to mention the $3 for the gallon of gas. (Okay, it doesn't take a whole gallon to go get a movie, but still...)

In the mean time, we have people working for cheaper access to space. But of course there is debate about that. If you have a few minutes, look at this discussion on the Space Elevator.

So, why can't we just go the extra mile, get me my media, and let me be.


But all that aside, governments still can't feed all the people. The cold war is over, and yet you still here them saying 'I'm gonna point my guns at you if you don't play my way.' All-in-all, I haven't spent much time on my persuit of music, because there are FAR MORE IMPORTANT THINGS to worry about.

So, here's a reminder to myself and others. Let's stay focused people!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Remote Control your PC easily, and FOR FREE!!

I've been trying this today:
www.logmein.com

I can remotely connect to the PC I have set up as a client, and do whatever I need. Currently I'm connecting to my big Windows XP system at home. But on that system, I have a VNC connection to my linux box. So I'm able to configure things on my site, or just do some work on my server.

Even going 3 PCs deep (Local to client, client VNC'd to linux) was adequate to work with. Don't expect to watch video played on the client, but that's a given.

The only problem I've seen so far, and I'm not sure if it's a problem or user error, is remotely rebooting my PC. I told my client to reboot for some windows updates that had run, and now I can't get in. But other than that, it was quick and worked well.

Wyoming pictures at last!!!!

Here is the Wyoming pictures link.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Online, customizable, radio

Okay, let's broaden the search. What online music services do you use to listen to streamed music. This is music that plays through your browser (or software) but is not downloaded.

I have used Launchcast and Last.FM. How about you?

Desktop apps dead?!

It may be true, at least for many things. This is a nice, concise post on Coding Horror. And having Streets and Trips, I agree with him.

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000883.html

Friday, June 01, 2007

Last.FM, who else uses it?

If you do, please comment here. My username is mkenyon2

Travel!!!

Well, we made it to Wyoming and back. In this installment I'll tell you some of the highlights, the low points, and review some motels/hotels.

The flights out (Philly to Salt Lake to Billings, MT) went fine. Got our car quickly. FYI for later in this story, Philly to Salt Lake is 4.5 hours.

Found our way from Billings to Cody quite well. This gave us our first impression of what was in store. Along the route, we passed through what is called, the Bench. The Bench is a LONG, flat strech of road, with ranches on either side. We drove onto this area, and saw mountains ahead. 'Wow, nice, we should get to those in a few minutes.'

45 minutes later, we were continuing to think we'd get to them soon, but were beginning to wonder if it was some sort of illusion. They were growing in view, ever so slightly. That's just how BIG and VAST things are out there.

I will consider Cody Wyoming the world's first 'tourist trap'. It was laid out by Buffalo Bill Cody to be specifically a tourist town, and talked the goverment to put an entrance to the worlds first National Park (YellowStone) right where Code would stand, so you can't use the East Entrance to Yellowstone without passing through Cody.

Words can't describe the park. I'll put pictures up soon, but try to see it yourself if you can.

Hotels

Our first motel was the Rainbow Park motel in Cody, WY. This was an inexpensive place, older, but clean. It had a kitchenette with a stove and fridge, but not pots/pans/or utensils. I'd give it a 2.5 - 3 out of 5.

We were supposed to stay 1 night in Billings before our flight home. Our choice, Red Roof Inn. Eh... 2 out of 5. It had an indoor pool and was okay.

Crown Plaza, Billings. This was unexpected, and usually expensive. More about why we were here later. The beds were plush, and the room nice, but I don't know if that would justify the usual $129/night price. Maybe it was all the service they were 'supposed' to offer. The tub was filthy. In room movies were $14.99. Only 30 or so channels. Local calls were $.75 apiece. I'd give it a 3.

Why 2 nights in Billings?

Adventure, don't you love it? We originally were scheduled to leave Billings on a flight that would take off at 7:50 AM, Tuesday. We were alerted that the flight schedules had changed, and printed up the new itinerary, which showed the new flight time of 7:30AM. However, our E-Ticket that we originally printed up said the original time, 7:50. Due to several issues Tuesday morning, we got to the ticket counter at 7:15AM. Luggage check-in stops 1/2 hour before the flight, so we would have been fine for the 7:50 flight, but we got stuck since we had the 7:30 fligh now.

Long story short, there were no available seats left on Tuesday, so we needed to reschedule for Wednesday's 7:30 AM flight. But what to do instead? Well, Delta was good enough to get us set up at the Crown Plaza, and Crown Plaza sent a shuttle over to get us. We caught up on some sleep and walked around the hotel (as we had no car anymore) finding a small museum to tour.

Flights Home

The flight from Billings to Salt Lake was on a smaller, Canadair, jet, with a young zippy pilot. This allowed for some bumpy flying, especially at landing. Kinda upset my wife's stomach and head.

From Salt Lake to Philly was a larger 757, and was pretty smooth except for one large patch of rough turbulence. However, there were 3 young ones sitting close behind us. If one wasn't screaming, the other was singing. (Jingle Bells of all things.) (The two directly behind us were able to also kick our seats quite frequently.) The flight out had 2 young boys in front of us who were quiet as mice. Thankfully their mother had brought along a portable DVD player. Way to go mom! I wish the ones on the way back had thought of something like that, but what ya gonna do.

Needless to say, my wife's headache got much worse on those 4.5 hours... but we're home, safe and sound. Our luggage is rough, but we're ok.

So, that's our trip in a nut-shell. And as I said, pics will be forthcoming.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Updates

Ok, things have settled down. I hope my dad get's over his pneumonia soon, he's running out of things to do.

I updated the colors of links in the blog. I don't know if people could see them.

My GBPVR and MVP setup rocks. Here are some of the modules I've got running:
Recording
Of Course, so that I can record shows
Weather
We have basic cable, so we don't get the weather channel. This gives us local weather.
Music
Plays all the stored music to our stereo.
Pics
We have Gigs worth of pics. Now we can slideshow them to our TV. They aren't even on the GBPVR server, they're on the Linux Server!
Web Music
Streaming radio stations, so I can listen to my CT stations from PA!
Caller ID
I can see who's calling when I'm in the middle of a movie so I don't have to get up and check.
Cinema
I can see listings of what's playing at the local theaters.

All of this on our TV, with one remote!!! Sweet!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weekend relaxation and stress

We were down at Ocean City, MD this weekend. We walked the beach, despite the cold wind. Walked the boardwalk. Steph tried Go-Karts for the first time ever. Absolutely no computer work. YEAH!!! (We did bring the laptop for navigational purposes, but it didn't come out of the bag once we were there.)

Sunday I get a call from my brother:
'Your mom rushed dad into the emergency room this AM with chest pains. They said something about a pulminary embelism.'
'What hospital?', I asked.
'I don't know, Marsha got the call, I think Hartford.' (It ended up being Manchester.)

Thankfully, it's just Pneumonia and he's on antibiotics. (Thankfully just pneumonia? Sheesh, what a system.) He's taking it easy, letting things settle down. They checked everything else and he's fine otherwise. What a way to wind up our weekend! Hehe... I can laugh about it now tho.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Flickr, GBPVR, and such stuff

So, I'm setting up my Flickr site. Very cool. I posted a picture there, because I'm at work and couldn't put it on my server. I wanted to blog about the picture. (See next post.) Flickr had a very convenient 'Blog This' link when you were viewing the image. After a few more clicks to link my Flickr account with my blogger account, it worked! Very nice.

Speaking of things that just work. I finally got my Hauppagge MVP yesterday. I had already set up GBPVR on my PC, using a TV card with onboard MPEG2 encoding. I was inspired by this article. This allows me not only to record and watch TV shows, but play Streaming audio, view picture slideshows from images on my image server, and play my audio library (stored on my server) through my stereo system.

Internal Video Capture card: $45
Hauppauge MediaMVP: $89
Having your wife say marrying a geek is cool: Priceless

In other news, we just had to close our bank account because somebody is buying gas with our money in other parts of the state. CRAZY!!!

I would write more, but this system is slow using Visual Studio, SQL, and Lotus Notes at the same time.

Bad Braingle


Bad Braingle
Originally uploaded by mkenyon2.
It's just funny how automated advertisements seem to pop up at the worst times. Look at the riddle on the left, then read the ad on the right.

This is how I found it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Numeric DataTypes, SQL to XML

For reference: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms187745.aspx

I'm working on an app where the datafield (in SQL) was set as a tinyint (-255 to 255). The typed dataset in the app used a byte (-128 to 128). Problems occured as the datafield received or needed to use values bigger than 128 or 255.

An unsigned byte would have gone from 0 to 255.

I'm updating both fields to do -32,768 to 32,767. This will be a smallint on the SQL side, and a Short on the dataset side.

I'd love to find a reference that translates SQL datatypes to dataset/xml datatypes. If you know of one, comment here.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Battle for a chimp to get 'person' status

Battle for a chimp to get 'person' status

In some ways, Hiasl is like any other Viennese: He indulges a weakness for pastry, likes to paint and enjoys chilling out by watching TV.

It's a crazy, mix-ed up, world. Animals should be taken care of regardless of status.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Rainbows and Computers that Work

It's been a crazy month. Starting a new job, Aux. Pioneering, lot's of activities. It's had it's ups and downs, but it was good.

Today was a nice touch. On the way to work I saw a pretty nice rainbow. It wasn't the entire rainbow, but both ends. (The top was missing.)

I also did some work on my system to fix a problem I was having with my RAM. I couldn't use both chips of my Dual Channel OCZ RAM. I also couldn't tweak the BIOS settings for RAM because the motherboard was very limited.

I got a new ASUS board which booted right up with both sticks of RAM. Later though, I got the same Windows Stop errors. But I was able to go into the BIOS and tweak the settings for latency and such, getting it to work with no errors.

However, I'm also trying to use my system less. I'm wrapping up my projects for my old boss. I'll eventually end up with this box as a media box, feeding a Hauppage set-top unit.

So, getting closer to our Wyoming trip. What's new in your world?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Somebody at Google likes to kid

Go to: http://maps.google.com
Click on the directions tab.
Enter 'New York' to 'London' and search
Look at step 23.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New info for .Net coders

We don't know everything, but everybody knows something. How can you glean the answers to your questions from the internet. Google.com is a great tool, but sometimes, instead of a back-hoe you only need a spade. So, to search for .Net stuff, try this: http://www.searchdotnet.com/. This is a focused search for your .Net answers.

I've also heard some things about Singletons at my new job. What is a Singleton? One of the links that popped up on searchDotNet.com was this link: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms954629.aspx. Interesting...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wow... almost a month!

We had 136 with 1 partaker on April 2nd. Our bible studies came, so that was nice.

Okay, the new job. I like it.

I have to get acclimated to the new type of work environment, but as for technical skill, I'm not as far behind as I was afraid I would be. I still have a lot to learn, and it's a big project, but it's VB .Net 1.1. So I don't have to get used to a new language right now.

I'll try to find topics I can talk about but for now, just getting used to the routine and such.

All else is well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Clive Cussler

I'm on a roll with this PHP and mySQL stuff. Here's an updated book site:
http://mark.phillk.net/sellBooksByAuth.php?ID=1

Notice that I'm passing an ID in. I have an authors table and a books table. Thus, in the future, I can have pages for other authors. I also created a PHP page to enter the data. I can drop in the Amazon ASIN number with the other info and automatically have a link to purchase the book.

It's Amazoning what you can do...

PHP and mySQL ROCK!!!

Why would a Microsoft guy say that? Well, because they do!!!

I created a demo database so that I could flex my muscles with PHP while searching for a job. (More on that to come.) You can check out my samples page here:
http://www.greatwhitedata.com/samples.php

I got to thinking, when I wanted to add a joke to my site, why create a page for every joke? So, I created a database for my site with tables for jokes. Take a look at the results here:
http://mark.phillk.net/funnyKeys.php

I even create a PHP form for adding jokes in. It uses Key words to sort. It's not as intuitive as .Net, but it works, and it's free.

New Job
Ok, now to my new job. Computer Aid. I decided that I needed to broaden my horizons, get out of my basement, and get something that paid enough so that I wouldn't have to work 2 jobs. (7 DAYS A WEEK! YEESH!)

I can't give out details of my job assignment, but this is a consulting firm, so they have multiple projects for multiple clients. I will probably be working with c#... so LEARNING CURVE! Thankfully I've played with it, and the namespaces used in VB .Net are the same in C# .Net, so I just need to work with the syntax.

I will be starting April 2nd... I know, what a day to start, but I'll be home in time for the Memorial.

Auxiliary Pioneering
Yes, Steph and I also decided, if Jehovah helped us get a new job, we would pioneer in April, so we are. We have, the special Assembly day April 1st, Memorial April 2nd, and the CO visit April 17th to the 22nd. Exciting...

So, that's what's new in our neck of the woods. May is our Wyoming trip. We'll have lots more to tell soon.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Boy, this is important science

In a world where messages can travel at the speed of light in many different forms (e-mail, voice, even video) it's nice to see somebody wasting time using technology to advance the age-old methods...
Pigeons!

In other news, can anybody help with this Channel9 post?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Samples of my work

I have a page put together now that shows some of the work I've done:
http://www.greatwhitedata.com/samples.php

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ACTUAL TECH CONTENT!!!

Ok... what have I been up to lately? I've been working on DataMatch, adding an e-mail server to my linux box, and my very own PVR. Let's start with that.

Joel Gott offered a while ago on his blog an article for a 'Poor Man's Tivo'. Well... I got to thinking, and looking... and found this:
http://www.byopvr.com/Sections+index-req-viewarticle-artid-10-page-1.html

This entails using your own computer at the desk, and networking/streaming the signal to a Hauppauge MediaMVP. I spent $45 on an Avermedia 150 Plus, which has coaxial input for cable and one for FM. Most important, it has an on-board MPEG2 encoder. This saves your PC horsepower. I can work while it records. (Not that there is much to record during the day when I work.)

The only problem I've run into is the hard drive. I have 120Gb SATA, but failed to set it up as RAID. So, as it get's filled, it gets slow... very slow. (Plus, I run SQL server and Visual Studio on this box, and they hog RAM.) The motherboard I bought has stopped taking both chips of RAM, so I only have 512, shared with the on-board video card... so, lot's of swap space communication to the hard drive.

I haven't gotten the Media MVP yet, but I've been playing with GBPVR. Awesome!!!

Here's some of the plug-ins I've used for that:
Weather... Gives you a weather channel on your screen. (I have uber-basic cable, so no weather channel included.)
UbuRadio... sucks streams from Radio Stations all over the web. I can listen to CT stations from PA, if they broadcast online as well as FM.
YouTube... this one I've been leary of, until I realized Searching for indonesiatom or monkeygluver (two of my cousins) isn't so hard. So, when I get the mvp, I can watch their YouTube videos on my TV.

Of course I can record TV shows and Movies... watching them I have ComSkip so I don't have to watch the commercials. They are recorded as MPEG2 (remember the on-board encoder?) so I can open them in Nero, and edit out the commercials, then burn them to DVD.

All-in-all, it's pretty nice. I still can't have my wife's PC hook up as a client.... but I think that's my Motorola/Vonage router being stupid...

I guess I spoke about other stuff... I'll have to through that in another post... You'll like the DataMatch stuff... I created a report engine and designer I can include in the software... FREE!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

K.I.T.T. Comes to Life!!!

Why didn't I know about this sooner?

Homemade Knight Rider K.I.T.T car...

In other news... I'm ramping up development... doing both DataMatch, our Windows Forms app, and the site, which will be tied into DataMatch. Web Services, Data Access, it's getting messy. I'm up to my waste in code.

My computer is still running at half power for RAM. I've had a few suggestions for tuning it up, but haven't had the time to work on it.

I've started working Saturday nights, from 11PM to 7AM, cleaning. Boy do I come home tired. With service and sleeping all day Saturday, and Sleeping and Meeting on Sunday, the weekends are pretty much blown. Oh well.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Only slightly less exciting

Here are Tommy's videos from Indonesia.
http://www.youtube.com/user/indonesiatom

His 50 memories one is pretty cool.

Edit: Speaking of videos, check this out. http://eepybird.com/exp214.html (Completely different matter.)

He's Here!

It's Official! My nephew has arrived!
Just wanted to let you know,

Isaac Harris Shrom
(7 lbs. 15 oz.)
Born 6PM (eastern time approx.) January 17, 2007
To Clint & Beth Shrom

Friday, January 05, 2007

Trailer for an Interesting Film

You may have heard about the documentary, Knocking. Here is a trailer for it. It's about 8 minutes long. If you want to know more about the video, look here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

MsgBox vs. MessageBox.Show

I won't go into all the details here.

I will point out, using MsgBox() overloads do not come close to all the flexibility of MessageBox.Show() overloads. You can do some searching on your own, but hopefull this reminder will help others. I googled for a while down the wrong path, before I had to ask for help.

No wonder my numbers were down.

When I revamped my blog here, I forgot to include the counter for it! No wonder my numbers dropped to zero. I know I have many eager fans/listeners/readers.

In programming news, work continues on the Canon SDK at the Canon Yahoo! group.
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/CanonSDK/

DataMatch is getting a major look overhaul, and some basic functionality enhancements. We're not throwing a lot of NEW features in just yet. Just getting a bunch of little glitches running better.