Tech related stuff
Who's there? Asynchronous Programming Who? Knock Knock Asynchronous Programming
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/3/2017 1:31:07 PM | Feedback (6)
Loved it. The entire Star Wars universe is now ready to be turned into billions of dollars worth of merchandising. And I’m totes OK with that.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/19/2016 12:31:09 PM | Feedback (2)
Friday night I got home and noticed some slow down of the interweb tubing. It wasn’t terrible, but definitely wasn’t what I was paying for. Often this is just network congestion so I gave it some time. Went to dinner & came back. Suddenly, the tubing was clogged completely. I couldn’t pull up any websites. It wasn’t 100% down, more like 99.43% and here and there something would trickle across. I had to tether my iPad to my cell phone so I could hop on chat with a tech. Weirdest things –...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/21/2016 7:59:08 AM | Feedback (8)
HTTPS is now available using Not mandatory yet as I’m wanting to see how well they work, but feel free to go to
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/11/2016 9:00:32 AM | Feedback (4)
Saw this on the Twitterers – 7 unanswered questions about lightsabers – and thought I’d take a stab (HA!) at answering all of it with just a few thoughts. Also, this contains *some* spoilers so if you’ve not seen TFA, don’t read. NOTE – While I love Star Wars, I am far from deeply knowledgeable regarding the universe. Some of these questions may have already been answered in books that I’ve not read. The main question revolves around the lightsaber itself. When did lightsabers become...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/29/2015 12:53:26 PM | Feedback (10)
Then the temporary server move was successful. Had to move my box to a secure, undisclosed location for the week while I continue packing up for the move. It’s a physical box that I’ve owned since the early 2000’s and it’s a Frankenstein of a beast – a mishmash of spare parts that I’ve cobbled together to make a ‘server’. At some point, I really need to quit this as there is little need for me to be a server guy any more, but that’s not today. For now, I can continue to not blog at a new...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/20/2015 9:29:34 AM | Feedback (4)
My drive crashed, as did my backup drive. Talk about being born under the wrong sign. I did recover all important data. All my music I wrote, documents, pictures, etc. are safe and sound. I have another backup drive running and multiple copies of the data. I’m going to have to reinstall a crap-ton (metric, not imperial) of apps, but so be it. Some of my sample libraries are corrupt, but I’ll just have to deal with that. The old hard drive is in the computer but it has a tendency to just...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/16/2015 7:24:40 AM | Feedback (5)
But rather than play it last night, I was busy trying to salvage my PC. The 1Tb drive where I keep all my music & apps is dying. It’ll stick at 100% utilization with a 10 to 15 second response time. So I went to back it up on the external Tb. Which is dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead. Then I lost all my RSS feeds, so I have no blogs to read. I have another external TB on the way. Should be here tonight. Talking with the IT guys at work to see what drives they recommend (or if there are any I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/14/2015 8:23:31 AM | Feedback (5)
But this may be the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen on YouTube. As someone who spent his teenage years in the 80’s, I don’t think they could have captured that look & feel any better. It never takes itself serious, making it totally enjoyable.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/4/2015 7:29:36 PM | Feedback (3)
Now that coding opportunities are lower at work, I should rewrite my blog to use AngularJS & RavenDb as the backend. It’s a thought.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/17/2015 1:31:16 PM | Feedback (2)
I used to be a prolific blogger. I’d put up 2 or 3 things a day and I enjoyed it immensely. However, after my last job change, I found myself having less & less time to be able to thoroughly read up on what I was talking about. Ill-informed posts bother me to no end. I’ve been doing development for 20 years now. I’ve been in almost every aspect  - web, front ends, back end, long running server processes, portals, packaged software, client-server, thick client, thin client, remote only...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/17/2015 11:11:30 AM | Feedback (8)
For the past week or so, a new spamming system must have popped up because I’m getting inundated with crap emails. This time, though, the new system has enough variance in it to evade most of my traps. The urls they try to link to are random enough. I’ve not been able to spot the same links anywhere. Same with the included images. They come from domains like or / co / ru / etc. The text is closer & closer to English. They all start with something along the lines of “If...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/19/2014 12:54:50 PM | Feedback (4)
I got a ping from the Book Face thing last night that someone mentioned me in a comment. I rarely even open the Book Face, but I went to check it out anyway because I’m vain. Someone was talking about one of their rifle outings and how good their grouping was. They knew this because they used my Shot Group Analyzer, which I promptly thought “That’s still around???” Which is odd because every here and there I see it on the Interweb Tubes. I see screenshots of people’s targets with my graphics...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/19/2014 12:01:40 PM | Feedback (2)
Being that nobody actually emails you about Viagra or Cialis, it was easy to filter your email for those words. Spammers got sneaky & tried simple misspellings like Cailis and Vigara. That too eventually got caught and tossed into the trash. But spammers are smart. They realize the average IQ is dropping like panties after a six pack of Bartles & Jaymes ‘Summer Peach’ wine coolers, and with spelling skills being replaced by texting, they’re now sending out gems like this ...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/25/2014 10:56:03 AM | Feedback (3)
But eventually someone is going to release a good VR headset and things like this will make gaming more immersive than we can imagine. I like this idea better than the one that requires special shoes in a curved bowl. If they can get the size down on this and add in tracking that can react to your angle quicker (this is definitely a prototype stage), then moving around inside a game will become much more realistic.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/24/2014 12:34:47 PM | Feedback (4)
Bite me. When my phone said “This update will not erase any data” and then proceeds to kill everything off in ways that would piss the NSA off, I’m bound to get a bit upset. Next time, I just need to purchase an unlocked / unbranded phone so I don’t have to worry about this shit. The last time I ‘updated’ my phone, it killed tethering, which I used to have. Then I had to get FoxFi. Which now AT&T is trying to charge me $50 a month for having. All carriers suck. Hard to figure out which one...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/19/2014 9:25:18 PM | Feedback (13)
So, Oculus Rift was purchased by the Bookface Corporation. This is not a good thing. I desired an OR above almost all other tech and was actually thinking about going ahead and grabbing the 2nd Gen Dev Kit, but now? Not so much. You see, Facebook is a social platform. I don’t want my immersive, VR platform to be ‘social’. I’m putting on a miniature 3D television on my face to get away from people, not bring them in closer. But my fear isn’t really that there will be popups, ads, and Facebook...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/27/2014 9:59:36 AM | Feedback (0)
I shouldn’t feel as down as I do, but I do. My current contract is Java. Server side Java. I’ve spent the last 14 years doing primarily .Net front end & web. The syntax of Java is practically identical to C# and that isn’t an issue. Object Oriented Design isn’t much different. The problem is that while .Net is all inclusive, Java requires you to either write every last thing from scratch or use 200 different frameworks to get your work done (not complaining about this, mind you, just...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/21/2014 9:53:57 AM | Feedback (6)
Want to take a “Learn to Code Bootcamp” in California? There’s regulation for that These bootcamps have not yet been approved by the BPPE and are therefore being classified as unlicensed postsecondary educational institutions that must seek compliance or be forcibly shut down. Got that? Any learning you do must be approved by the state. You see, you are too stupid to know if the course you are taking is working or not for you and the state is, by it’s very nature, smarter about these kinds of...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/31/2014 12:17:47 PM | Feedback (5)
But a drive in my computer decided to not look like a drive in my computer, which then the computer decided it’d try to help me and repair said drive, and something corrupted in my account. So now I’m rebuilding my user directory and trying to figure out why my server refuses to let me log in via mapped drives. This is why I am a developer and stay away from Sys Admin stuff.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/18/2014 7:06:57 PM | Feedback (0)
It’s for a 1911 style pistol, and there are no animations showing how the mind rays that turn into psychopathic murderers are produced, but it’s still pretty neat.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/17/2013 11:09:12 AM | Feedback (4)
With my jaw… The end result is, as far as your monitor is concerned, indiscernible from a photograph. I mean, the guy literally worked on the highlights of each mole. I’ve seen many, many instances of  trompe l'oeil in my life and some of it is mind-bending in its attention to detail. When I was taking art courses in college (hey, I originally wanted to write software like Photoshop. Figured I needed to know color theory and whatnot) there was a sister class doing trompe l'oeil. One guy...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/3/2013 8:09:21 PM | Feedback (3)
I had a great discussion with my girls this morning regarding language. My eldest is now trying to find a reason to use the word integument*. We also talked about connotation and denotation, and I’m sure Jeff Goldstein would be proud, intentionalism. The word “ass” was said a lot to prove a point. *something that covers or encloses; especially :  an enveloping layer (as a skin, membrane, or cuticle) of an organism or one of its parts
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/22/2013 1:23:22 PM | Feedback (4)
This is… creepy. Funny, but creepy. I don’t turn on location services on any of my phone apps, but that doesn’t meant they’re not on. Because they’ll backdoor that shit in a heartbeat. Kind of funny though if you think about it. I can’t openly carry and advertise that I’m armed visually, but anyone who read my Tweets could figure who I was, where I was (if I did the location thing) and then know I’m carrying a gun. Concealed open carry!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/21/2013 9:21:32 AM | Feedback (3)
Next client is Java based. Haven’t touched Java since I left… well this particular client who I worked for for 11.5 years. So that part will be interesting as well.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/19/2013 11:15:28 AM | Feedback (5)
I don’t think even Lasik could fix this The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant. Wow. I’ve seen some pretty bad predictions in my life, but that one takes the cake.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/14/2013 8:54:41 AM | Feedback (4)
But I’m ‘benched’ at work (which, turns out isn’t the best thing because when bad ‘emergency’ projects pop-up, you get pulled for them) and have been focusing on a LOT of learnin’ while I write a new app called feedium, a quasi-replacement for RSS Bandit and Google Reader. It’s a service that stores the RSS feeds and then can be connected to from any browser or mobile app. There’s a lot of learning to get it to work behind the scenes, and I’m using it to stretch my development abilities which...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/11/2013 9:21:16 AM | Feedback (2)
When this joke I made on Twitter makes you giggle Turns out I didn't. I used to understand asynchronous programming.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/9/2013 5:03:48 PM | Feedback (11)
Last Friday was the last day of the contract I was on.  My next contract doesn’t start until the end of this month. So I’m “benched” at work, which means I get to take some time to learn new technologies, maybe some certification courses, and I’m planning on writing a replacement for my current RSS reader. If I have time, I might even work a little on Ansible and fix a few annoyances (such as it continues to allow me to post, which annoys everyone). Interesting position to be in, and I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/9/2013 8:54:08 AM | Feedback (1)
Riding the booster rockets on a shuttle launch
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/2/2013 9:09:34 AM | Feedback (2)
I especially like the Matrix style cavitation bubbles.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/29/2013 12:19:20 PM | Feedback (1)
I’ve been using RSS Bandit for years for my feed reader. The developers dropped it a while back, and it has started showing its age. It’s a desktop app, so if I want to read stuff elsewhere, I’m SOL. I never liked Google Reader or any other reader because they all seem to want to do things for you that I’m not interested in nor can I find one that allows me to organize my feeds the way I want to. For example, I like to flag posts to let me know that I’ve left a comment or that I need to go back...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/29/2013 10:13:28 AM | Feedback (11)
That’s how I am right now. The worst part is they’ve already starting shipping them so that people start getting them on the 22nd. Whether or not I’m in that group is a mystery. Update – Got an email last night with shipping info. Mine will be here on Monday. GONNA BE A LONG WEEKEND!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/17/2013 9:21:07 AM | Feedback (10)
I completely forgot to mention Joe Huffman’s Windows Phone app – Field Ballistics. However, even without my mention, it’s one of the top paid apps in the Windows Phone store. Congrats Joe!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/28/2013 9:27:38 AM | Feedback (4)
That I’m seriously considering shelling out $300 for the lower resolution, developer kit version of the Oculus Rift. 720p rather than the 1020i in the planned consumer model, sure to contain a few bugs that will be worked out later, and my development skills are in Line of Business apps, not gaming or stuff like this. But… just to play with it. Just to see it in action. I have no idea when they’re going to release them to the public, nor do I know the price. One almost has to assume they’re...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/16/2013 3:05:02 PM | Feedback (8)
Technology moves on. Just don’t wear that while watching porn, otherwise you’ll end up starting and stopping the movie constantly.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/16/2013 11:29:14 AM | Feedback (2)
SMART THERMOSTATS: Nest’s Plan to Stop Brownouts Before They Start But recently Les Bowles, a retired American Airlines pilot living in a suburb not far from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, became part of a possible solution. He is a beta tester for a program called Rush Hour Rewards, wherein a lusciously designed thermostat with artificial intelligence and an Internet connection eases his domicile into a zone of thrift and earth-friendliness. True, temperatures can inch into the mid-to-high...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/23/2013 3:11:42 PM | Feedback (10)
I’ll give you a minute to wipe the sarcasm off your monitor. Ok, all clean? Good. By no fault of my own (the blame lies squarely with the NRA and white gun owners!) I ordered the wrong Windows 8 version. I wanted Pro, but didn’t pay any attention to the fact the box didn’t say Pro anywhere on it except in the tiny tiny tiny text on the back that said “Oh, by the way if you want to upgrade Win 7 Professional, you’ll need Win 8 Pro” which explains this little fiasco. Live and learn. So I ordered...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/19/2013 11:18:53 AM | Feedback (4)
The Windows 8 upgrade was the fastest, smoothest upgrade I’ve ever seen. It literally was 5 minutes between “Would you like to upgrade your computer?” to “Where the #(*& did all my apps go????” My definition of ‘upgrade’ apparently is a little different than it is in Redmond. It basically was a clean install, so I lost all my applications. Luckily none of my data was harmed, and since I used a symbolic link to keep documents and whatnot, everything was where I last put it. I had backups...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/11/2013 8:12:05 PM | Feedback (29)
Printer died. It’s about 6 years od – Canon MP610. Scanner, Printer, Copier. Ink isn’t stupid, and the photo prints were pretty good. But… it’s dead. I want a networkable printer that scans. What do y’all suggest?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/7/2013 5:04:15 PM | Feedback (16)
I was all excited when I saw you could download printable Dyson Spheres. Then I saw it was a part for a vacuum…
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/29/2013 2:20:30 PM | Feedback (5)
I learned two three, very helpful words today bathykolpian, spathic and callipygian. Bonus points if you can work any of those words into a meeting today.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/28/2013 8:27:10 AM | Feedback (3)
I think there is comedy GOLD to be found in a parody site of ARFCOM, set in the Star Wars universe. There would be 8 page threads over the Incom T-16 vs the Kuat A-45. Calling someone “Palpatine” would be the Star Wars equivalent of going ‘Godwin’ People would insult others with “Dude, did you even serve in the Imperial Fleet?” “Hey, if the Xton B-99.3 was good enough for the Royal Guard…” Massive arguments over if the Jawas deserved their fate or not. “All I’m saying is that you register you...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/19/2013 10:31:47 AM | Feedback (26)
Watch this video regarding digital to analog signals. I’ve known a lot of this stuff through my geekiness and the fact I was an electrician in an earlier life, but it’s always neat to see it brought into modern times (The scopes I used were much older than the ones he shows in the video). What I want to point out most critically comes near the end around 21:40 – After the entire video, the author says to dig deeper, to not take his word for it, to do the experiments yourself and prove that what...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/18/2013 8:58:27 PM | Feedback (2)
Ever wanted to know if some place you are going is a “Gun Free Zone”? There’s an app for that. So far, it’s been pretty decent. There are a few UI issues I have, but it does work as I generally expect. Of course, the data is sparse especially in my area, but the more people who use it, I’m sure the data will become much better.  Crowd sourcing is a good idea for something like this. I’d like to see some sort of indicator saying a place is “Gun Friendly” vs “Gun Neutral” since I generally...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/18/2013 9:22:56 AM | Feedback (4)
Well… the future will be shipping on May 13th, so it’s near here. Got an email that my pre-order of a Leap Motion will be shipping out in May. I’m excited. I think this is going to change the way we interact with computers and that touch-tablets are going to seem… quaint and old fashioned within 2 years.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/28/2013 9:11:22 AM | Feedback (6)
It’s a whole book, both written and illustrated in the style of Dr. Seuss. The book starts here, use left and right arrow keys to turn the page.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/27/2013 8:31:25 PM | Feedback (3)
So the software I’m currently working on deals with stocks and whatnot. I was asked to estimate how long it would take to implement a feature called a Fibonacci Retracement. My reply? “It would take 1, 2, 3, 5, or 8 days. 13 at the worst.”
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/24/2013 2:49:27 PM | Feedback (7)
So, I have an interesting problem that I’d love to get solved by tomorrow afternoon, but trying to cram Trigonometry 101 into an evening where I’m not feeling that well doesn’t seem to be feasible. So, I figured I’d ask the Interweb Tubes in hopes that one of my readers likes math. Here’s the scenario. The application I’m working on has a user who needs to draw a rectangle of a known width, but not length nor angle. The user draws a line by clicking and dragging. The first point (P1) is where...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/14/2013 8:26:07 PM | Feedback (10)
So, I repurposed my old desktop a Core 2 Quad with 8G of RAM into a new server. The old server was an POS Athlon dual core running Hyper-V so the server itself only had 1G of memory to work with and, while it was solid as a rock and hadn’t had a single crash in all the years it was running, if you asked it to do two things at once, it slowed to a crawl. I skipped doing a virtual this time. It’s just another layer in the mix and one I had very, very little experience with, so instead of risking...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/6/2013 8:29:03 PM | Feedback (1)
The life of a full-time-employee / contractor is interesting. I work for my employer, they whore contract me out to other places. The first place I started working at lasted 20+ months which was a bit long for me, but today I start a new contract that’s only slated for 3 months. The big difference with this contract is that I should be able to work remotely for the majority of the time. Maybe 1 or 2 days at the client’s every week or two, but the rest of the time will be spent in the office...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/2/2013 7:39:21 AM | Feedback (2)
Built a new PC yesterday. i5 3750K CPU, Asus P8Z77-LX V mobo, 32G of RAM, 120g SSD drive. Windows rating of 7.6. You know how Windows 7 has the animated Windows logo while it boots? It doesn’t even finish the animation before it starts (and this is after all the service packs and whatnot too!). Cheap, $50 case was nice. Innards are all rounded, everything slides out for quick access, thumb screws for the panels rather than Phillips head types. All the fans are silent and there aren’t neon...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/31/2012 12:31:46 PM | Feedback (5)
It’s time to build a new PC. I don’t want to buy a prefab one so I need to figure out the parts necessary. Alas, I’m awash in a sea of choices from CPU to memory to motherboards. And it’s been so long I’m not sure what will work best for me. Let me explain my needs and hopefully there’s some stuff you can point me to. I’m a Microsoft developer, so while most of you will probably recoil in horror, I’ll be upgrading to Windows 8 Pro. Win8 Pro has Hyper-V as a service, which means I can run my...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/12/2012 12:19:43 PM | Feedback (20)
Got an email from the office (remember, I’m a contractor working remotely) Hello, As an extension of our asset management project, we are now gathering information about client laptops that have been assigned to personnel. You have been identified as an employee who may have been assigned a {Company} laptop. If you have a {Company} computer assigned to you, please email me the laptop type, serial number and asset barcode number. If you do not have a {Company} laptop, please confirm via return...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/1/2012 12:42:50 PM | Feedback (4)
A while back I mentioned I had a rather nasty clicking sound coming out of my server. I picked up another Tb hard drive to replace the dying one. I paused the Server (VM) then shut down the physical box. The plan was to plug in the new SATA drive, reboot, copy the contents of the dying drive over, shut down, restart, then point the VM to the new drive and whistle like nothing happened. The clicking drive did not survive the first reboot. I lost everything. Every last bit of data on that drive...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/30/2012 5:34:43 PM | Feedback (12)
They all look the same One would think the Senior news analyst for NPR and a commentator for ABC would know the difference.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/26/2012 2:43:18 PM | Feedback (2)
Remember – The Constitution does not grant rights. SysAdmins, on the other hand… (courtesy of yours’ truly)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/24/2012 2:03:59 PM | Feedback (3)
Last night, the Tb drive on the server started randomly clicking. Not the normal sound of the read head scanning, but a loud, painful sounding click. That drive holds all my photos, mp3s, and the VM files that are running the server you’re reading this on (all of which are backed up on separate, external drives). If this drive takes a dirt nap…. well, I’ll be rebuilding the server toute suite. Speaking of dirt naps, the inside of that server looks like it could support planting a garden it’s so...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/10/2012 8:41:52 AM | Feedback (8)
Tam, Uncle, and Alan are doing it, so here’s the top 20 songs played on my iPod in the past month                                         I guess having an iPod would help. It would probably also help if I actually stored music on my Android. I don’t because I have Pandora and if I really want to hear a particular song, I just hop onto YouTube and listen to it there. Seriously, even owning...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/20/2012 8:28:43 AM | Feedback (11)
When I bought my HTC One X, the selling point was that I didn’t need to root it because tethering was enabled. That really was the selling point for me. I tried it out at the store, saw I could hook other devices up just fine, bought it and went home happier ‘n a pig in shit. Tethering was really the only main feature I rooted / hacked my previous phone to death over and over 3G, I could remote control computers just fine. 4G was even better (I’m getting 10mbps up and down over 4g). Then...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/19/2012 11:06:00 AM | Feedback (16)
As I promised back when the Monster Hunter patch contest was announced, I said that if Sticks of Fire made it into Monster Hunter Legion, that I would make physical patches and give one out as a prize. Well, page 198 of MHL means that my patches are to become a reality, and before I place the order for them, I wanted to see if anyone here wants one for themselves. There will be a contest and one lucky winner will get a copy for him or herself gratis, but if you’d love to guarantee yourself...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/9/2012 8:45:51 PM | Feedback (2)
Go. Buy. Now. Read it. Loved it. Larry just knows how to tell a story and I’m not saying that because a certain someone you know just might happen to be on page 193*. That being said, as promised, I will be making a few of my MHI patches into reality (back story here) *I have reached geek nirvana.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/3/2012 8:29:05 AM | Feedback (6)
Business Analyst just came by asking for access to the development environment. Seems someone wrote some code, checked it in, and now she’s tasked with running it and writing the specs. 0_0
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/21/2012 2:16:04 PM | Feedback (17)
I have about .03 seconds of free time these days. Between work, family, household chores, it’s near impossible to really buckle down and learn new things. The only reason I’ve been able to update Ansible is because I’ve needed to get up to speed on some technologies and it was a perfect test harness. One thing that recently piqued my interest again was XNA development. I am a .Net developer, wholly in bed with Microsoft. Love it or hate it, there’s good money to be made in this arena. I own an...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/20/2012 8:41:05 PM | Feedback (11)
Just required the right combination of Odin, a good stock ROM, flashing the entire thing while deleting the partition, then running out to the AT&T store and picking up a new HTC One X. I’m sitting here in awe on how light years ahead this phone is from my Galaxy S, which ain’t even 2 years old. Oh, the 4G is something else too, and I never thought 3G was slow. Really didn’t want to spend the money and I probably could have limped along on an ancient iPhone 3 (not even the 3G) but sadly...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/7/2012 9:31:34 PM | Feedback (9)
Phone died a ghastly death today. It had been crashing more and more, failing to ring on phone calls, voice mails would show up days later, and I think the battery contacts are starting to wear out from all the battery removing to get the $#&* thing reset. This morning, every time I tried to use the phone, for anything, it froze. So, I blew a new ROM onto it (CyanogenMod). Outside of everything being opposite day (it rotated 90° in the wrong direction, and it was muted unless you had...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/7/2012 2:50:08 PM | Feedback (16)
It just doesn’t know it yet. 400,000 less subscribers last year. That number isn’t something you don’t feel in your wallet and I fully suspect the cable providers to start rent-seeking ASAP. The trend will move to an a la carte system like you’re seeing with services like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. An $85 Roku box and $14 a month, and you’ll be watching only the stuff you want. Sure, you’ll miss out on a few shows that aren’t being carried, but they’re only not being carried ‘yet’. I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/6/2012 10:44:41 AM | Feedback (15)
So, I have some pretty basic guards in place to try to head off spam in the comments without requiring CAPTCHA, but it’s working overtime and not really catching most items. One of the easiest ones to do is simply counting links (or even attempted links) and if they meet a threshold, they’re marked as spam. Another easy one is to look at the IP’s they’re coming from and ban them. IPs aren’t the best way as they could end up blocking a legitimate user, but for now that’s what I’ve got. What I’m...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/1/2012 9:04:31 AM | Feedback (14)
If you’re reading this, you’re lucky. Either your DNS entry is cached or you’ve already received updates. You see, I’ve run DNS out of the House of the Rising Smolder for years now with nary a problem. Last week, I started getting intermittent outages which sometimes required rebooting the server, sometimes just required restarting the DNS service, sometimes required holding my head at the right angle. Today, I noticed the Reverse Lookup Zones were fubar. This was by complete accident as the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/30/2012 9:30:47 PM | Feedback (33)
That’s the worst error message given I *am* the SysAdmin. Sorry if I’ve been down for a while. My DNS’ reverse lookup zone corrupted and stopped working. Being that I haven’t touched DNS / networking things in years, I didn’t realize that was the issue. Dumb luck had me kill a host record and re-add it, which threw an error letting me know the PTR couldn’t be created, so that was my hint. Self hosting can be a PITA, that’s for sure.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/30/2012 12:44:29 PM | Feedback (0)
So, I’m elbow deep in shamelessly stealing other people’s web code studying how certain sites work. Looking at ways to implement some of the ideas I want to do with Ansible 2.0, I often look at sites that have similar functionality and peel apart the various pieces of the puzzle. Often, this means pulling out Fiddler and sniffing the traffic, reading the headers and whatnot to glean where things are kept and what’s going on in the background, behind what your browser shows you. I was looking...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/11/2012 2:54:39 PM | Feedback (8)
This is going to be a very annoying post. Because someone at Mozilla had either a sense of humor or was a sadistic bastard. For those reading via other browsers or in RSS. Consider yourself lucky.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/2/2012 1:55:24 PM | Feedback (19)
“HTML5 has some cools shit which will make developing web pages even easier so long as you target only one browser since no two do the same thing. So it’s just like previous versions of HTML, only with more tags for various browsers to ignore. Oh, and 2000 lines of JavaScript to do what the old <blink> tag did.”
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/2/2012 12:57:50 PM | Feedback (11)
Not only do I have 400# hogs running around my little patch of suburbia, I’ve got some owls in the wooded area behind my house. Two nights ago, the Mrs. asked if I heard a sound to which I replied “Sounds either like a cat getting ready to hork in our back yard, or it’s an owl”. There were some non-patterned yowling sounds that made me think it wasn’t really an owl after all, but after a while we realized it couldn’t be a cat. I told my daughters about it last night and they asked me what kind...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/21/2012 10:28:39 AM | Feedback (2)
I have ever seen (This one ain’t too shabby either)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/7/2012 9:18:33 AM | Feedback (13)
Working on a Saturday (yay for salary and unpaid overtime!), I’ve got Pandora cranked up. My Dubstep channel gets its turn in the rotation (OH GOD!) and up pops… Otis Redding “Stand By Me”. Old Otis was ahead of his time, I guess.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/19/2012 10:19:53 AM | Feedback (2)
Found my effects system for my guitar. Picked up one of these last night, a Zoom G3 All I was looking for was something that had chorus, delay, reverb, and some distortions as well as a headphone jack. This puppy has like 100 different ‘pedals’ plus amp simulations plus looping plus a built in tuner plus a simple drum machine for a metronome. Much more than I was looking for, but it seems technology has infiltrated the music industry the same way it has practically every other facet of our...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/18/2012 10:36:30 AM | Feedback (5)
The heads on Easter Island? They have bodies.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/14/2012 3:41:13 PM | Feedback (10)
Part of the whole ‘picking back up the guitar’ thing I’m doing is ensuring I can sight read music. I learned how to read music when I played saxophone in school, but never figured it out for guitar. This means a lot of Mary Had a Little Lamb and Minuets in {Some Key} as I train my fingers to hit the right frets when I see the dot on the line / space. Dropping below the staff gives me a bit of a pause. Granted I’ve only been doing it a few days, for some reason I still have to ‘count’ the lines...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/10/2012 10:01:44 AM | Feedback (17)
But after working in Lotus Notes for the past year, I yearn for the speed, ease of use, and stability of Microsoft Outlook.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/25/2012 1:01:56 PM | Feedback (20)
I’ve given up on Twitter. Not only do I detest the 140 character limit, but I simply cannot read these things any more. Hash tags, @, and whatnot, I can never tell who wrote what to whom and why. @YoBro not tryn 2b all in ur sht  bt u need 2 hrry #OccupyBathroom #@!,- I ran that through a Perl interpreter and it made for a decent, if a bit buggy, text parsing engine. You kids get off my token ring.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/16/2012 7:22:49 PM | Feedback (12)
Well, I was living in the future, then it was the past, but will be again in… oh hell with it. Anywho, I loaded up 60 rounds of 10mm this weekend and was having an issue with the Hornady Lock ‘N Load. The ejector wire kept binding up on some rounds and instead of just knocking them off into the bin would fling them into another time zone. This action would shake the press, sending powder out of the charged case and into every nook and cranny it could find. This would mean I’d have to dump that...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/13/2012 1:16:46 PM | Feedback (2)
Circuit popped at the house that held the server. Wife couldn’t reset the breaker so she had to relocate the UPS to another outlet that’s working and thus, we’ve been down all day. One of the joys of being self hosted, when the servers go down, you have only yourself to call for help. And sometimes, you’re not available.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/2/2012 3:24:30 PM | Feedback (5)
Die in a fire. Thanks.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/25/2012 10:44:14 AM | Feedback (10)
The news. It is good. Hat tip, Tango.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/16/2012 10:06:50 AM | Feedback (3)
New PC at work 12 cores (24 if hyperthreading is turned on). 24 Gigs of memory. 512Gb of SSD for the main drive and a Terabyte thrown in for good measure. This is a DESKTOP, not a server!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/6/2012 2:56:53 PM | Feedback (26)
No, I’m not forking over $60 to do so. That’s like 5 rounds of 10mm.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/12/2011 5:41:47 PM | Feedback (19)
So, my blogging platform, Ansible, has been rock solid for the past few years. I’ve learned a LOT since I built it, and it’s getting about that time to completely redo it from scratch. I wasn’t into LINQ or the Entity Framework when I first built it, so I missed out on a lot of ways to really tighten up the code and make it a bit more modular. If I’m going to rewrite it, it’s going to have to be from scratch. The biggest PITA I had in the code is getting the API’s working so that I could use...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/26/2011 9:44:21 AM | Feedback (6)
From Facebook "We don’t allow faster-than-light neutrinos in here,” says the bartender. A neutrino walks into a bar.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/7/2011 9:48:08 PM | Feedback (11)
When I first got into computer programming, I was wanting to write graphics software like Photoshop and 3D Studio Max. At some point, the Interweb became the new hotness and I realized there was good money to be made pretending I knew how the Web worked. Over time, I’ve morphed into a plain old developer writing applications, be they client, web, server, or a mixture of several. My main goals tend to be business apps and nothing that would knock your socks off. Reading this, I realized I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/27/2011 8:43:52 AM | Feedback (8)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/19/2011 11:52:47 AM | Feedback (6)
“What was it?” asked Olivia as she looked up at the hulking man covered in blood and bits of unidentifiable meat. His partner, a squat, rotund woman of later age continued to smile her matronly smile which was made almost obscene by the fact that she too was covered in blood and various fluids and wearing what appeared to be body armor. Her still smoking shotgun was at her side. “Oh, I’d say it was definitely your neighbor, Ms. Arbuckle,” said the woman in her strong, Minnesotan accent. She...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/7/2011 3:08:17 PM | Feedback (10)
I finished Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods” this weekend (from the list of 100 great Sci-Fi books meme). Great book, and this was my favorite line If you spend your whole time thinking about the universe, you tend to forget the less important bits of it. Like your pants. Amen Brutha
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/6/2011 1:40:29 PM | Feedback (2)
Guess I have some books to toss on the eReader ASAP. Quite a few of these have been on my ‘To Do’ list. #70 is sitting on my wife’s nightstand, she just finished it. Maybe I’ll give it a go. The NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy novels with the ones I have read in bold: 1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien 2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams 3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card 4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert .
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/24/2011 2:24:58 PM | Feedback (13)
My favorite line “We’ve got a code 500, Server Down!” Hat Tip reader Logan.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/3/2011 12:25:39 PM | Feedback (3)
30 years ago today, MTV came online. I remember being over at my cousins’ house and being allowed to stay up to watch it come online. I mean, I’m old enough to remember when MTV played music videos, so that’s saying something.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/2/2011 8:26:32 AM | Feedback (8)
Mine’s space
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/13/2011 8:47:41 PM | Feedback (9)
Every here and there, I run up against a product that is ‘all that and a bag of chips’. As a die-hard capitalist, the best reward for good products in my view is to purchase it. As it is, I already own Beyond Compare from Scooter Software. It is, hands down, the best compare and merge software available on the market for Windows (and there’s a Linux version as well, but I have no experience with it). With Beyond Compare, you can compare directories, files, and even images. The merge and 3-way...
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/10/2011 1:10:21 PM | Feedback (7)
That’s what some boffins over at MIT are saying They're calling this black sludge "Cambridge crude," and it's really two different types of goo, each holding charged particles suspended in semi-liquid electrolyte, sort of like how quicksand is comprised of sand particles suspended in water. There's anode goo, and there's cathode goo, and when the two goos are separated by a goo-separating membrane, charge moves from one goo over to the other goo, generating current to power your...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/7/2011 6:25:30 PM | Feedback (13)
Gratuitous Portal 2 reference ahead. Hat tip Say Uncle
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/1/2011 9:34:49 AM | Feedback (1)
Thanks for the help though, seriously. I picked up a pair of Sennheiser’s at the Big Blue & Yellow Store of Easy Returns last night. Plugged into my Android, they suck in a way that I’ve not experienced in ages. Plugged into the computer though, and they’re not bad. I don’t know if they’re $80 good though. I’m wearing them today to see if they stay comfortable. Interestingly, some of the Bose headphones they had on display were awesome, but too damned expensive. Bose tends to be like...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/26/2011 9:42:11 AM | Feedback (11)
Being that I’m looking for a nice set of around-the-ears headphones that are extremely comfortable for all day wear, sound great, and are cheap, I might as well go whole hog. Anyone have any suggestions? Seems like all the cheap headphones either sound like a tin can or pinch your head. I’d love some of those Monster Beats / Dr. Dre headphones, they sound great, but $250 is stooooopid unless I’m going to be in a studio.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/25/2011 12:39:37 PM | Feedback (21)
Just got word that my very first game, Tile Tumble*, has been released for the Windows Phone 7! I’m a Microsoft Developer, so while WP7 is not the most widespread platform, it behooves me to stay up to date with the technology. Writing for the phone is basically writing Silverlight  or WPF, which I’m familiar with.     Tile Tumble is a basic word search game where you build words based on adjacent tiles. You’re racing against the timer because when it runs out, the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/20/2011 2:46:46 PM | Feedback (8)
I  Unicode!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/16/2011 3:03:29 PM | Feedback (6)
So, on my Android running Froyo, I can reject a phone call and send the caller a text message at the same time. This is a nice touch so I can tell them I know they called but couldn’t answer because of Reason X. The phone comes with 5 slots you can use, but the vanilla responses of “In a meeting, please call back” and “In Class” were just boring. So, I edited them a bit. Now callers will be informed that I am on the can and desperately searching for toilet paper. Can’t touch the phone to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/16/2011 12:38:29 PM | Feedback (10)
In an effort to lower our monthly expenses, we decided to jettison cable. Paying $60 a month for 1,203 channels we don’t watch was, in my mind, a complete waste of money. The Mrs. likes to watch a few shows, like Chopped, Grey’s Anatomy, and American Idiot Idol, but paying $720 a year for it was a bit of over kill. Now we have a set of rabbit ears so she can pick up American Idol over the air - pure digital too, so the picture is just as clear (if not clearer) than when watching it over Fios –...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/29/2011 5:20:54 PM | Feedback (12)
Got this trying to post a comment today
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/1/2011 1:09:59 PM | Feedback (0)
The Interweb Tubes are an amazing place. Not too long ago, you had to go find information. This meant you needed to know what you were looking for as well as where to find it. Sure the library was a good starting place, but books are only good if you know which books contained the best information. Learning a new trade or even understanding the basics still generally required human interaction. Then, the web exploded. Before you knew it, there were large websites devoted to the most obscure...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/23/2011 8:38:50 AM | Feedback (15)
Looks like I would have gotten more mileage out of bricking my phone. Here’s the thing. I got a message from AT&T informing me that Froyo was released for my Samsung Galaxy S Captivate. Hitting the link provided, Samsung had no clue what I was talking about. Looked around and found this ROM to install. After a rocky start, I finally got it up and running. About as stable as XP without a service pack. After the 4th random crash (and heaven forbid you tried to watch a video because that...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/21/2011 10:44:04 PM | Feedback (19)
Almost bricked my Android today. Accidentally closed out of the app that was updating the phone (it wasn’t working as it was, from what I can tell) while trying to get FroYo, and it wouldn’t start back up. Luckily, I was able to recover the damned thing and now have Android 2.2 on my Captivate. Lost everything though. No big deal, I’ll reinput all my data when I get home.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/21/2011 11:04:46 AM | Feedback (8)
Goodnight Dune If you have kids, it’s funny. Hat Tip Coalition of the Swilling
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/3/2011 11:21:07 AM | Feedback (3)
Imagine my surprise when I finally got my time machine built, powered on, and opened the door for its initial test run to find my long deceased grandfather in there with his shotgun mumbling something about “not if I get you first you little son of a bitch”. -End
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/3/2011 10:40:38 AM | Feedback (4)
[see update] I moved down here to the Sunshine state back in 1994. Living in the Tampa area, I’m not very far from where they launch the shuttles so I always figured I’d get to see one at some point. Now, I’ve seen plenty of them from a distance, but never made it there. It was always “I can’t take a day off” or “Oh, I didn’t know a shuttle was launching” or any myriad of excuses. Today marks the last shuttle launch and even though I knew about it in advance, I actually could not make it for..
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/24/2011 10:01:08 AM | Feedback (24)
Egypt has it for their Internet At 22:34 UTC (00:34am local time), Renesys observed the virtually simultaneous withdrawal of all routes to Egyptian networks in the Internet’s global routing table. Approximately 3,500 individual BGP routes were withdrawn, leaving no valid paths by which the rest of the world could continue to exchange Internet traffic with Egypt’s service providers. Virtually all of Egypt’s Internet addresses are now unreachable, worldwide. This is why there should be...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/28/2011 10:50:57 AM | Feedback (6)
Studio Multitracks has audio taken from studio sessions, isolating specific items like just the vocals, drums, or guitar work. I’m digging the Alice In Chains section. This stuff is invaluable for bands who want to do covers. We didn’t have this kind of access to the music when I was playing. I’d have been able to nail down parts much better. Fascinating.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/27/2011 12:55:40 PM | Feedback (0)
I just got a search hit from Phoenix Life Insurance, looking for someone with my exact name. Are insurance policy writers now scanning the web to find out more about potential clients and their life choices, or was it someone with my name who works there doing a vanity search? Interesting to think about. I know plenty of people who try to remain anonymous on the web for similar scenarios, most of them revolve around not wanting to have issues at their current or future places of employment....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/25/2011 12:07:35 PM | Feedback (4)
The Samsung Captivate. I was waffling between the two (Captivate and iPhone 4). The Captivate was $50 cheaper, but I was thinking I could keep everything as it was with the iPhone. I was discussing my dilemma with the AT&T assistant, and he was saying if I could wait two months, there was a new Android that would have a million more features that I probably would never use. Alas, not being able to make calls now was an issue and I really was already tired of trying to decide what I wanted....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/14/2011 8:30:39 AM | Feedback (13)
Well, my iPhone 3G has gone from ‘slow, and damn near useless’ to ‘completely $#^&ing useless’. The home button simply does not work and every time I upgrade the software, something else breaks. I didn’t find out until after I upgraded to iOS4 that you shouldn’t do that to a 3G, and there’s no real way to get it back without going all sorts of ape-shit with hacks. So, I need to get a new phone being that if I need to make a phone call tout de suite, it’s quite possibly I’ll actually have...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/13/2011 11:36:10 AM | Feedback (31)
Got a new video card today. During it’s installation, the motherboard died. Had to buy a new mobo. Windows 7 refused to open. Had to reinstall. Am reinstalling right now. Did I mention this sucks?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/21/2010 10:56:19 PM | Feedback (14)
The original Tron was something of a watershed in my youth. I knew after watching that movie that I was going to be a geek and was happy about my decision. Something about Frisbees and black-lights mesmerized a 10 year old me and then there was that whole “OMG! A computer drew that!” portion that was so amazing (as a side note, only about 15 minutes of the film are actually computer generated). Fast forward nearly 30 years and we have Tron Legacy. When I first heard this was coming out, I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/18/2010 10:40:33 AM | Feedback (10)
Thanks to all the input I’ve gotten, I’ve released Shot Group Analyzer into Beta You can now set the 1” scale, print, and save your image. I also made it a bit prettier to look at. Known bugs at this time are Scaling widget can go outside of screen bounds, causing a bit of mischief (you may need to refresh the page if you go crazy with it) Printing does not fill the page Help is non-existent Standard Deviation was removed due to complete lack of usefulness in the way I had...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/27/2010 10:02:11 PM | Feedback (7)
As I’m always looking for ways to improve the gun community using my development skills (aka the Reloading Calculator), I came up with a fairly nifty little app to help determine shot groups a bit better. Most people tend to use the extreme spread of their targets to determine the group size, but a much better method is the mean radius, a good explanation of which can be found here. My Target App is VERY much in alpha right now and pretty much just a proof of concept as I hone down exactly...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/15/2010 2:04:57 PM | Feedback (15)
A father and his 7 year old son send a video camera attached to a weather balloon into space. They put an iPhone in there for GPS tracking when it landed, a mere 30 miles away from where they launched it. It's things like this that make me sometimes have hope for the future. Hat Tip Say Uncle
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/14/2010 9:05:48 AM | Feedback (8)
But seeing Jar-Jar Binks encased in carbonite while playing The Force Unleashed does make me smile
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/3/2010 3:30:16 PM | Feedback (3)
Lately, I've been blocked by pretty much any blog that ran the Bad Behavior Wordpress plug-in. It got irritating, so I did some searching, and the only information I could glean is that it blocks any browser it is not aware of. I'm running Firefox, I said to myself. I thought maybe it was my Ad-Block or NoScript plug-ins, but that wasn't the case. Then, to make matters worse, I was telecommuting today, and the latest changes someone checked in appeared to break my install at home....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/20/2010 2:13:52 PM | Feedback (4)
From an article discussing a new Minority Report style iris scanners Do they really think Americans will go for it? Yeah, I guess they probably will. Like they said, their main marketing angle is convenience, and if there's one thing Americans like more than freedom, it's convenience. Sadly, he is correct. This type of technology, while awfully convenient, is fraught with 100% chance of abuse. And many, many people will simply bow down to their masters' feet and beg to not be abused..
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/18/2010 12:14:17 PM | Feedback (9)
I'm working on a little app that's going to be part of Hoplocate when I'm done, but I figured I'd put it out for the world to see, if anyone needs it. It's a reloading cost calculator, and I've found it to come in real handy. I have it in an Excel spreadsheet but figured it might help others out. It's VERY alpha and not pretty at all, but it gets the job done. The only rules is if you find a bug, you gotta let me know. (the screen shot above is my cost using Starline brass, TiteGroup...
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/24/2010 8:28:31 PM | Feedback (19)
Thank you for the wonderful code snippet you so thoughtfully included on your website AS A JPEG OF $#&*(ing TEXT THAT I CAN'T COPY AND PASTE!!!!! Really… thanks.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/22/2010 7:17:09 PM | Feedback (7)
Caching is a great way of improving the performance of your web sites. In ASP.NET, simply add <%@ OutputCache Duration="60" VaryByParam="*" %> Where Duration is the number of seconds you wish to have the resulting page stored in memory. If you forget about caching and end up wondering why sometimes you hit your breakpoint, but not other times and end up yelling some expletives that your children ask what they mean, well then caching isn't all...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/20/2010 2:32:08 PM | Feedback (1)
Or, alternately, you learn something new every day There's an ?? operator in .Net and I just found it to be the most helpful thing. From MSDN The ?? operator is called the null-coalescing operator and is used to define a default value for a nullable value types as well as reference types. It returns the left-hand operand if it is not null; otherwise it returns the right operand. So string xyz = null; string abc = xyz ?? &quot;XYZ was null&quot;; would have abc = &quot;XYZ.
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/3/2010 5:02:36 PM | Feedback (13)
Coding while on cold medicine is a bad idea. You'd think I'd have gotten that into my thick skull at some point, but nooooooo. Thank heaven for TODO: comments or I'd have all sorts of whacky errors popping up on the production code.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/21/2010 11:41:50 AM | Feedback (4)
Thanks to Alan at Snarky Bytes, I got to try some Miracle Fruit tablets tonight. Basically, the berry has a protein in it that shuts down the tongue's ability to taste the sour or bitter in foods. Instead, those flavors register as sweet. So, eating a lemon is like eating candy. Here's what I tried Lemon &amp; Limes – Unbelievably sweet. The lime still had a sour kick to it, but it was balanced by the almost cloyingly sweet flavor. I could have eaten a bag full of lemons, they were that good..
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/17/2010 9:42:35 PM | Feedback (7)
The other day I ran across a website that would help you keep track of your range outings, such as shots fired, cartridges used, etc. For the life of me, I can't find the link, if I do I'll update this post. It got me to thinking though about how could I use my programming skills to improve the gun owning community. One of my problems in life is that I have a distinct lack of ability to come up with marketable ideas. I can write the ever lovin' heck out of software, but coming up with ideas...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/16/2010 10:44:47 AM | Feedback (38)
I admit it, I'm in an abusive relationship. I've been developing web stuff for 15 years now. I started off writing HTML in notepad. The best worst thing that has ever happened to me is Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. The blog you are reading now is pretty much done completely in Style Sheets (minus some controls that I have no control over that spit out tables). I can change the look and feel without changing any of the underlying structure of the site. Well, that's bullshit and I know it. To..
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/8/2010 11:12:39 AM | Feedback (10)
My wife has to deal with my sick sense of humor. She's learned over the years that while I may speak of horrific jokes to play on people, I am only doing so in my head and would never follow through with them. More than likely. The same thing can be said about destruction. There's something primitive in man that loves to watch things go boom. Seriously, go to YouTube and search for videos of fully grown men blowing shit up. Without fail, an explosion will bring out loud squeeeeees from even...
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/3/2010 8:55:52 AM | Feedback (7)
So, I'm in the midst of learning Silverlight which is, in the most basic terms, Microsoft's answer to Flash. Yes, I'm a Microsoft drone so my opinion is skewed, but I used to work with Flash and remembered every time I tried to get anything working, I found myself longing for a root canal sans Novocain to take my mind off things. Anyway, Silverlight works on Macs as well as PCs natively and Linux people have Moonlight which should work just fine (can't say for sure, I've not tried it). ...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/1/2010 10:13:26 AM | Feedback (14)
There's no doubt Glenn Reynolds can drive some major traffic to a web site. Not ever being the recipient of an Instalanche (ahem… LOOK! NANOBOTS!), I can't say exactly how much traffic it is, but from word of mouth it can be 10,000 hits in a day, which honestly, while impressive as far as eyeballs go, isn't really a lot of effort for even the most anemic of web servers. Which puzzles me to why so many of the sites he links to seem to be dead. My most famous post ever pulled in a few 10,000...
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/25/2010 2:50:19 PM | Feedback (12)
So, today I picked up an internal terabyte hard drive for my server since the main drive was running out of space. Oh, there was 30G of space left to be sure, but that's cutting it close these days. So, at CompUSA, 1,000,000,000,000 bytes of storage was only $90. I remember picking up a one gig hard drive for several hundred dollars 15 years ago. So, now I have a Tb external drive, a Tb internal drive, plus almost a Tb spread amongst the other computers in the house. Nearly 3 whole terabytes...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/24/2010 5:42:19 PM | Feedback (9)
So, I managed to find a pretty darned up to date stub of a file that RSS Bandit could consume and rebuilt my feeds, but I'm still going to dump it for another application soon. I don't plan on using Google reader, though. I don't like a browser based application when it comes to RSS. I want something that can exist without having to leave a browser open. However, having a feed reader that is accessible from anywhere is a nice thing to think about, so I'm going to write my own. I've been...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/11/2010 11:05:50 AM | Feedback (4)
Well, my RSS aggregator, RSS Bandit, just took a dump. I lost my entire blog list. Every last one. Backups didn't seem to take hold either, so I'm quite literally going to have to start over from scratch in building my reading list. I'm really getting tired of RSS Bandit. I can't upgrade to the newest version as it locks up tight every few minutes. And this is like the 4th time this has happened (the other times I was at least able to find a decent backup). I'm not a fan of browser based...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/10/2010 10:52:55 AM | Feedback (24)
Google refuses to show quick results that speak negative of Islam. This is intentional and not a bug. Somewhere, someone at Google specifically wrote code that targets those phrases. There are plenty of sites out there that state Islam is false, Islam is a lie, Islam is a bunch of pig molesters, etc. Google – Do No Evil : Pretty easy to accomplish when you simply prevent people from searching what evil really is.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/7/2010 9:15:08 AM | Feedback (4)
Well… Hot categories, at least. Updated Ansible to make the categories for each post clickable. Because I could.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/26/2009 7:29:48 PM | Feedback (2)
Uninstalled & reinstalled locally on my desktop, realized I was missing a step, did it again. Moved the databases local. Pointed the web server to use the desktop databases. Uninstalled from server. Reinstalled using the correct settings (minus naming the $#&@* thing correctly, but hell…). Restored the databases to the server and pointed the websites to use that. Everything seems copasetic. I now have full text indexing available and will be implementing basic search hopefully within...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/22/2009 9:13:53 AM | Feedback (0)
So, in the Ansible code, I have TODO: comments. Prefixing a comment in C# with //TODO: automatically puts it in your task list. Very handy when you know you're doing something naughty but don't want to go make a task out of it. However, it helps to occasionally check the comments section to remember to do things. I mean I just saw some comments about things I shouldn't have done and I think &quot;I wrote that? Why?&quot;
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/18/2009 9:24:04 PM | Feedback (1)
I realize that some people aren't tech savvy and aren't aware of some of the technical etiquette the Interweb Tubes require. Here's a quick primer on images If you like someone's image, copy it to YOUR blog's webserver or upload it to your online photo system like Photobucket or Flikr. Always do your best to link back to the original post. Sometimes you find images that you don't know where they originated from and you can't help it, but if you read a blog and like something and want to..
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/16/2009 12:41:43 PM | Feedback (19)
So, for poops and grins, I wanted to upgrade my current SQL Server Express from 2005 to 2008. I mean, how hard could it be? Turns out, so hard I'm not going to be able to do it without formatting my server and starting over. I tried the Web Install thingie. Complained that I can't run 2005 and 2008 at the same time. Skipped the web installer and went directly to the setup files. Asked me if I wanted to upgrade. I said sure. It told me to blow it out my ass. So I figured I'd uninstall 2005...
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/13/2009 8:22:36 PM | Feedback (15)
(12:43:47 PM) Me-Gmail: Hmmm... New Ansible idea. Comments by me are highlighted differentlly. So you can easily scroll right to the AWESOME (12:44:05 PM) Greg: good idea (12:44:27 PM) Greg: are you keeping track of all commenters? add an &quot;awesomeness&quot; rating and colorize by it (12:44:45 PM) Me-Gmail: I should do that too. SHould be rather easy to retrofit (12:44:47 PM) Greg: so like, if Tam left a comment, it would be bright red, whereas JadeGold would be white text on a..
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/28/2009 12:52:27 PM | Feedback (4)
This morning, I had a classic song stuck in my head, "Flaming June" by BT. It's from 1997, so technically it's a classic, and I figured since it's considered and anthem for the electronica scene, surely iTunes or Amazon would have it for sale. No dice. You can buy an album with that song on it for $9, but I don't want an album. I just wanted that one song. Oh well, they could have made sale.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/20/2009 9:54:17 AM | Feedback (7)
Driving into work this morning, I was greeted by giant plume of smoke arcing over the horizon. I believe they launched a Delta II this morning. Looked really cool with the sun rise shining through the plume. What was the most interesting is the fact that the plume looked almost like a rainbow, as if the rocket tried its damndest but didn't quite make it and came back to Earth. This is an illusion, for the most part, as the rocket is going straight, it's us on Terra Firma that are rotating. I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/17/2009 8:28:16 AM | Feedback (4)
I saw this a while back from a crappy cell phone capture of the video, but seeing it in HD has awakened my 'geek gland'
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/29/2009 12:40:53 PM | Feedback (6)
Blogging from the iPhone. Not my preferred method of blogging, but I guess this will do in a pinch.
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/10/2009 7:44:26 AM | Feedback (4)
Firefox has, for some unknown reason, become unusable. Popups no longer work and cause the browser to hang (which makes commenting at other blogs difficult). It's a plug in problem, but not due to any one particular application. If Ad-Block Plus, No-Script, or any of several other add-ons are installed, this happens. I have to disable all of them in order to get it to work. And if I'm going to be assaulted with ads and popups that I didn't initiate, I might as well use Internet Explorer. ...
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/28/2009 9:05:36 AM | Feedback (2)
I just read somewhere the term "Modern Amber" as a description of the Internet's ability to capture a moment and freeze it forever for future generations. I like it. Hell, it'd make a fantastic title for a blog.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/25/2009 9:53:36 AM | Feedback (0)
Don't need, can't afford, but so desire. Thanks Tam for adding yet another thing I cannot own onto the ever growing list of things I want.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/25/2009 8:38:48 AM | Feedback (0)
First, it's a Woot Off. I'm hoping they bring back that keyboard and mixer I should have purchased the microsecond it was put on. Two, thanks to Roberta X, I see there's going to be live video feed from the moon. Live. Frickin'. Video. Of course this is a reconnaissance mission before we blow the living hell out of the moon. Frank J. would be proud if he were here with us today. Whaddaya mean he's not dead?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/23/2009 8:02:44 AM | Feedback (1)
Apparently, my phone wasn't the problem, it was AT&T. 3G was down for the area for a lot of people. From what I can discern, there were new servers / network upgrades, and many phones "didn't get the memo", mine being one of them. An hour or so ago, someone at AT&T hit the "Stop pissing off the customers" button and life returned to it's 100% online 100% of the time goodness.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/18/2009 12:58:15 PM | Feedback (0)
After upgrading to the new 3.0 software, I can no longer access a 3G network. The phone goes apeshit trying to find 3G. My headphones aren't even useable anymore because while trying to listen to MP3s, the cell phone constantly transmits trying to 'find' the network and the speakers pick up the RF as those annoying clicks. I noticed last night as I tried to get to sleep that my clock radio kept buzzing every minute or so. If I turn off 3G, I can get Edge, but that's like having to drop down to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/18/2009 9:01:46 AM | Feedback (2)
It's cheaper to go to the library. Nearly $500 for a frckin' book reader is asinine. I realize Amazon is trying to recoup the costs of the online wireless stuff, but give me a break. I'd love to be able to download books into something like a Sony eReader or a Kindle, but it's simply not worth the money to me. It's not like the books are all free either, you still have to pay for them. And I don't read enough to cover the costs even over the lifetime of the device. I'm sure the early adapters...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/10/2009 11:08:24 AM | Feedback (11)
Through a complete failure to uncheck a box, I've managed to install Internet Exploder 8 on the home pc. Hopefully any new web work isn't going to require intense scrutiny to make sure it works with IE7. Oh well, my server has IE7 on it, so that hopefully will suffice.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/8/2009 10:35:40 AM | Feedback (7)
Your commenting system sucks. Not only is it slow, but the email notifications with some cryptic, 256 digit number  that give me no clue as to which post the response is coming from make no sense whatsoever. I can't boycott you as I don't use you, but please hire someone who knows what the hell they're doing next time, mmmkay? Quite Insincerely, Robb Allen
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/22/2009 8:01:09 AM | Feedback (3)
Linoge has a bad experience with online shopping Uhm, how, exactly, am I supposed to know if an item is in stock or not if your webpage does not tell me? Do you honestly expect me to put in an order every day to see if it is in stock, or to call you every day to see if you have gotten your shipments in? Sorry, folks. In these days of ecommerce and instant information, I am going to take my money to someone who actually has a webpage that semi-accurately reflects their stock information,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/21/2009 8:53:44 AM | Feedback (9)
My DVD player has been on its way out for some time. Anytime it switched layers, there was the distinct chance of it completely losing its shit and jumping to some random chapter. It would also stop reading the DVD here and there and just freeze. So I bought a Sony Blu-Ray and Batman: The Dark Knight to test it with. The sound is even better than I could have imagined (although I now have to fiddle with the levels on all the speakers to even things out again). My TV is old and only supports...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/18/2009 8:49:25 AM | Feedback (1)
I have to admit, I was rather shocked at this statistic All Microsoft browsers combined are only 32%. I've not tried IE 8 yet because, being a web developer, it's not in my best interest to have a browser that only 3% of the population uses. Now, I don't know if parallel installations of IE can be done or not, generally you get one version and that's it (unlike Firefox, which you can run every version all at the same time). If there's a way to do that, I could install it, but until it gets...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/13/2009 8:15:13 PM | Feedback (4)
And eventually, you can create songs using nothing but YouTube clips. That's some creative stuff right there.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/5/2009 10:49:01 AM | Feedback (1)
Wrapping convoluted Insert commands into a transaction so you can roll back just in case you fat finger the values to insert = good. Not doing that and realizing that the '7' you put in rather than the required '58' over 85 rows and having to come up with an even more convoluted DELETE statement since you can't roll back the changes? Bad.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/1/2009 12:28:36 PM | Feedback (0)
Let Me Google That For You
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/23/2009 11:26:58 AM | Feedback (1)
The US Constitution for iPhone / iTouch I admit, I can't remember precise details of anything. My brain is hardwired for fast input / output and not long term memory storage. So, while I can remember the gist of a particular amendment or article, I can never recall the exact words. Now, I can.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/23/2009 9:59:27 AM | Feedback (4)
So, there's a bug in some code somewhere and they've asked me to look into it. Thank God, it's actual .Net code. Yeah, it's ancient stuff written in (*shudder*) VB.Net, but it's still .Net where at least things make sense and a programming environment that will do crazy things like show me the entire contents of a string or XML document and not truncate it and not crash every 15 seconds. I'll put up with VB.Net any day compared to the craptacular Java POS I've had to work on.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/22/2009 9:29:19 AM | Feedback (0)
*WARNING* Geek rant ahead So, I'm nipple deep in troubleshooting some craptacular code when I run up against my arch-nemesis, the Try Catch block that consumes the exception. See, we 'outsource' our code to various other countries because you can get 30 of them for the cost of one of us, and much like enough monkeys on enough typewriters will eventually churn out all of Carrot Top's jokes in pig latin, eventually these 'developers' crank out code that somewhat runs. In computer terms, an...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/20/2009 10:48:44 AM | Feedback (11)
So, I did manage to get Assassin's Creed up and running on my PC. The game is fun, but not as fun as it appeared at first. It gets repetitive pretty fast. The gist of the game is that you play a character whose ancestor was an assassin and using high tech doodads, you can 'relive' the memories of him. It's set back during the Crusades, so the game play has Christians and Muslims duking it out. Anyway, when you load the game, there's a message from Ubisoft letting you know that this game was...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/20/2009 8:54:43 AM | Feedback (1)
It's 'Idol' night, so I'm stuck in the office by my lonesome. Decided that I could get Assassin's Creed for only $20, which is a good deal until you realize after an hour of downloading 5.6gigs that it won't install on a 64 bit system. Which sucks. Update I used their download manager and now it's installing. We'll see how it goes.
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/14/2009 8:01:20 PM | Feedback (1)
With a bit of time under my belt, I'm going to say that the initial rollout of my blogging software, Ansible, is a rousing success. So far, no crashes, no problems that weren't attributed to typos, and the performance has been off the charts. Now comes the hard work. The back-end administration. As of now, new links and any housekeeping is done basically via the database. I just open it up, type in the new record, and viola! stuff! However, doing that sucks and takes too much time and can...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/14/2009 12:59:34 PM | Feedback (0)
A joke that just never stops being funny. Ever
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/3/2009 11:05:45 AM | Feedback (1)
Not only can I play Crysis at 1280x1024 at ~45 fps, but I'm running a virtual machine with Ubuntu and, unlike running VM's on any of my older boxes, this one uses an entire CPU for itself and is as fast as if it were on its own hardware. Since there's 4 cores to the CPU, it virtualizes like a banshee. Pretty sweet!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/31/2009 9:31:10 AM | Feedback (1)
We have a screen that has a little pop up letting you know it's loading the data necessary to show you the popup that will show you that the data on the screen is loading. "Please wait while we load the "Please Wait" screen!"
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/30/2009 1:29:39 PM | Feedback (3)
And then there's "Frank Miller Meets Charles Schultz" cool. Hat tip Ry
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/30/2009 8:28:04 AM | Feedback (1)
Interestingly, the regular expression to try to allow only good email addresses went 404 on me so nobody could leave a comment. Don't know where that happened, but it's fixed now.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/23/2009 3:18:21 PM | Feedback (1)
When to CompUSA last night and picked up an extra 4 gigabytes of memory. There's something über-geeky about having 4 processors and 8 gigs of memory I mean, seriously, I can load an entire DVD into memory! Now to somehow score a terabyte's worth of solid state drives.
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/21/2009 9:40:23 AM | Feedback (8)
CompUSA has 4 Gigs of DDR2 memory for $19.95 (after $25 rebate) I already have 4 gig in my system and two slots still available. Yes, it's 64 bit so I can support up to 128GB of memory (Vista limitation). Which, technically speaking I could buy for $384… Back in '94, I spent $40 for a 1 meg stick of memory (and you had to buy them in pairs).
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posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/18/2009 5:23:04 PM | Feedback (5)
So, I get invited to a meeting today to discuss the architectural 'decisions' that have been made. And by discuss, I mean "sit there and accept the fact that we talked to the company we outsource to and decided to use what they thought would work rather than talk to our own employees who have experience and actually understand the business. We've already paid for it all, so there's not going to be much discussion anyway". I've got 15 years of experience in this line of work. Asking...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/18/2009 9:13:54 AM | Feedback (5)
We only had 64k of memory and we considered ourselves damned lucky when the tape drive didn't chew up the cassette after 45 minutes of loading. I reveled in 16 colors (not 16 million… Six-fraking-teen) and 3 channel, polyphonic sound. Hard disk? Hell no, they were floppy, and large and we were thankful we didn't have to use tapes any more! Armed Canadian knows what I'm talking about. It's something my children will never understand. Last year or so, we went to visit my mother in Atlanta who,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/17/2009 8:00:12 AM | Feedback (7)
I'm not really a big gamer. I enjoy a good shoot 'em up every here and there, but I'm not the kind of guy who has to get the latest game and play it for 8 hours straight until I beat it on "Ludicrous". The last game I bought was Bio Shock which was gorgeous in its own right. A city built beneath the sea overrun with insane people, creepy little girls, and dudes fused into diver's suits. It amazes me the difference in shooters in just a few years. I mean, in 1995 we had this And...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/16/2009 8:44:24 AM | Feedback (5)
Forget one simple closing bracket and Internet Exploder freaks out… Geez. All fixed now (that'll teach me to make live changes without testing).
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/8/2009 11:11:33 AM | Feedback (4)
I'm finding myself ignoring more and more friend requests on Facebook. I feel bad, but I'm slowly getting over it. I've got 165+ friends right now. It's not that I don't love 'em all (even though I don't), it's just that Facebook doesn't really let me determine who is a real friend vs. someone who is a passing acquaintance. The issue is that my notifications get cluttered up with the on goings of people I'm not as concerned about while people I do care about get relegated to Page 17,932 of...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/6/2009 11:26:37 AM | Feedback (3)
More craptastical 'transfer' today. We managed to get one application to run (one that's not really used), but none of the others can be brought up in a test environment. 16 Apps total, we've managed to gloss over the main points of a handful. Luckily not all apps are in production. Come Monday, something is going to break and there's going to be little chance at getting it up and running quickly, if at all. I don't think it's going to be a pleasant job for a while. Oh well, it's not like...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/26/2009 4:44:53 PM | Feedback (1)
Lord, this is some crazy, boring, overly complex, useless crap. Too many times (and this is one of them) software people confuse "flexibility" with "easy to use". Reusability is a dangerous game. You can engineer software so that it can be reused anywhere, but that tends to require a lot of external support for common tasks. Over engineer it, and it becomes just as difficult to implement as it would have been to have it too tightly coupled. That is what I'm experiencing right now. Just to get...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/24/2009 12:26:43 PM | Feedback (8)
But if I did, this would be my helmet. Remember, the ringer on my cellphone is the PacMan intro.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/19/2009 12:36:27 PM | Feedback (2)
I can't talk for long. I'm working on a top, top, top secret project. I'd love to tell you that I'm writing my own blog engine from scratch, but then I'd have to kill you. Oh... shit. Well, since you're kind of anonymous, you're on the honor system. Please off yourself as soon as convenient, kthanx! Since you're already doomed and I've let the cat out of the bag, might as well fill you in on the skinny. The new software will be known as The Ansible Blog Engine. For those of you unfamiliar...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/18/2009 11:58:09 AM | Feedback (6)
Worked about 12 hours on some code. Closed down VS2005, reopened, and somehow the directory that held all my data objects was deleted. Grabbed some recovery software, got most of the data objects back, then whatever took away the Data Access Layer project then erased all the Framework objects as well. Literally, two days worth of coding up in smoke. Going through recovery again now. Backing this shit up as soon as I'm done... Update - No go. Even an exhaustive search for recovery cannot find...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/16/2009 9:44:39 PM | Feedback (6)
Is about all XP can handle before it has an identity crisis and crashes on you.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/5/2009 10:01:04 AM | Feedback (0)
Me, being the 80's junkie that I am, decided the intro to Pac Man was a requisite ringtone for my iPhone. If you'd like it, here it is already ready already. Just save it and drag it into your ringtones directory on iTunes and synch. Who loves ya? Update - For you Berzerk fans and by ExurbanKevin's request - The Intruder Alert! ringtone
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/29/2009 1:49:16 PM | Feedback (8)
Someone called (someone I don't know). I assumed I had to swipe to unlock the phone. Turns out, during an incoming phone call, that area is reserved for the "End Call" button. Sorry dude! Must not have been that important since they didn't leave a message.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/26/2009 10:47:27 AM | Feedback (0)
For example, I used to have to lug a laptop to the bathroom if I wanted to blog while doing my business but now I can do it with only my cell phone. Oh, look. We're low on toilet paper.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/21/2009 7:01:24 PM | Feedback (5)
The Sound Grenade Sound Grenade generates a really, really annoying, nauseating and headache producing high pitched sound. I installed it today and tried it out on my coworkers. Absolutely stunning in how it works. Instantly people start looking around to see what in the heck is causing that annoying sound. Best part? I can't hear a damned thing. Not unless I point the speakers at my head. Apparently it's that frequency that you lose as you get older but kids can seem to still hear. Oddly,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/21/2009 5:36:24 PM | Feedback (7)
Went to look at my blog from work (something I rarely do) and I'm treated to this lovely screen   So, I'm now pretty much a weapons guy! Good to know that corporate America finds me to be a threat to productivity. Say Uncle? Not so much a threat ;) I can see him just fine!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/21/2009 1:26:57 PM | Feedback (4)
Hmmm... Seems like every time I plug in my terabyte backup drive into the new PC using firewire, every 20 minutes I get the BSOD about some sort of Power Management Failure. Which sucks because the transfer rate over FW is much better than USB 2.0. Plus, this morning I woke up to find that Vista had failed to activate because this serial number had already been installed on another PC, namely the one before the current one. So I had to call Microsoft to get it activated properly. I didn't...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/3/2009 11:32:46 AM | Feedback (2)
So, my cold is pretty much gone. Still have some sinus crunk to expel, but not feeling all that awful. I'm on vacation for two week. Woohoo! I need to hit the range at some point and that means I need to load some 10mm and the remaining .45ACP I have. I'm probably going to have to wait until mid Jan to purchase bulk 45 bullets. Why? Well, you see, I've been using my Hi-Def video camera for all sorts of things, and the Mrs. got onto me about editing the footage so I can send it around to the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/23/2008 3:01:12 PM | Feedback (10)
For my 10 year anniversary at work, we were given a catalog of "Crap you wouldn't re-gift to people you hate" and from there, I got a cheap ass Tasco telescope. It's tripod is made of the flimsiest plastic so that the soundwaves from your heartbeat cause it to vibrate and the optics are of the highest quality Saran wrap, ensuring that stars are generally a faint, blurry dot (don't even think about using the Barlow lens unless you like your stars to look like a cheap 3D comic that requires red...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/17/2008 12:27:30 PM | Feedback (14)
I'm not a scientist, nor do I play one on the Interweb Tubes, but I still can't believe it would be that big of a deal to put a pair of wipers on the solar panels of the rovers we send to Mars. It seems like this story happens a bit The deck of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is so dusty that the rover almost blends into the dusty background. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CornelFull Image and Caption Any of you mad rocket scientists out there care to explain why a small set of...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/8/2008 1:02:45 PM | Feedback (20)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/5/2008 9:14:16 AM | Feedback (2)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/14/2008 10:18:53 AM | Feedback (5)
While nowhere near the longevity of it's brethren rovers that are still hobbling along the surface, it did serve its purpose and worked longer than was expected November 10, 2008 -- NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander has ceased communications after operating for more than five months. As anticipated, seasonal decline in sunshine at the robot's arctic landing site is not providing enough sunlight for the solar arrays to collect the power necessary to charge batteries that operate the lander's...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/11/2008 9:48:14 AM | Feedback (8)
Had a demo of an application I've been working on for a long time. In fact, I'm several weeks behind (luckily, it's not a deadline type project, but more a 'pet' project), but today was finally the demo. Like the title said, it went over like a lead balloon. It's hard to explain to people that looking at over 20,000 disparate entities is not possible at any resolution and get any meaningful data out of it. It's also hard to explain to people that yes, the grid they want to see appears two...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/5/2008 3:37:18 PM | Feedback (5)
I'm now on Facebook. You people win this round, but I refuse to Twitter unless I do it Tourette's style.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/1/2008 4:50:18 PM | Feedback (7)
A buddy of mine (an Obama supporter, but being that I can't find too many people to like me as it is, I can't get too picky with who I call a friend ;) works with the servers and got this email from our France office Tomorrow, we will walnut the server with coffee No matter how many times you read it, it refuses to make sense...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/31/2008 1:19:14 PM | Feedback (8)
OMG - You can watch all the old Buck Rogers episodes online! Holy crap were those cheesy! But they bring back such memories. I'd love to see this show brought back with the same, dark treatment like Battlestar Galactica. Hopefully with less gratuitous chest hair shots of Buck, too.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/1/2008 8:28:16 AM | Feedback (6)
I'm downloading Chromium at this time and realizing that, oh shit, it's in C++. Let's see... The last time I did C++ was 1997 or 1998. Then I did my quick, but not so impressed jaunt with Java, followed by having to (yeeech!) do ASP. When .Net rolled around, I was more interested in Java. Heck, I was trying Python and anything else I could get my hands on to get away from Microsoft. Until I started learning what .Net was all about. Then I sold my soul to Bill Gates (sorry Bill, no refunds after...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/4/2008 8:44:00 PM | Feedback (4)
As in, I'm changing chat clients so I can reach out to more people than just Microsoft Messenger. There's nothing wrong with the application or the service, but in order to talk to more people, I've switched to Pidgin which means I can use my AIM, gTalk, and Messenger account all in one application. For messenger, my user name is mspassport (@) robballen (dot) com For AIM and Google Talk, it's robb (dot) allen (@) gmail (dot) com If you're on another chat app, like Yahoo, let me know and I'll...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/4/2008 7:20:03 PM | Feedback (1)
When doing an UPDATE statement, don't forget the WHERE clause. Otherwise, after running for an inordinately long time, you'll realize that you've just updated millions of rows with the wrong data.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/4/2008 9:52:24 AM | Feedback (5)
So last night, I had several tabs open, trying out this and that in Chrome, when the one tab with a YouTube video on it locked up, and locked up hard. "Great!" I thought as I went to switch to another tab. "This will be a good test to see how multithreaded the application really is!" All tabs were dead. Couldn't switch to any of them, nor could I switch to the other window that was running Chrome. Oddly, every other window like email or my RSS reader worked fine. Eventually the one tab...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/4/2008 7:39:04 AM | Feedback (2)
Yeah, it really is fast. However, I'm so used to surfing with Ad-Block on that it's disconcerting to see how ugly the web really is. I'm going to learn the plug in model though. I'm betting there's some money to be made there.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/2/2008 3:26:36 PM | Feedback (9)
Me. And, for your enjoyment, I'll be doing the show in the nude. We're going to be talking about the Para Ordnance trip to Blackwater. The other guest will be the one and only Joe Huffman. I'm excited! Unfortunately the show is at 11:00, which on any normal day has me asleep already for about an hour and a half. I'll have to stock up on Red Bull and No-Doz, I guess. Should be a good show. I mean, it'll have ME on it. That should put it into the stratospheric level or something.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/18/2008 10:11:54 AM | Feedback (0)
I feel Michael's pain ...just got home and am now dealing with catastrophic failure on my main computer...dead as a freakin' brick...well, doesn't that just suck? Yes, Mike, it does. It really does.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/17/2008 8:22:56 PM | Feedback (0)
We are experiencing higher than average call volume. Please stay on the line and the next available HR representative will take your complaint. So, I just got through rewriting this application to combine its sister app. There were two services that monitored two different folders to pick up and process files. Technically, it was the same code base and only differed in configuration. With little effort, I was able to get the system to pay attention to one folder and process all the files. I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/11/2008 12:27:22 PM | Feedback (1)
Bill Quick reads a bunch of whiney journalists and comments on their horrid spelling and lack of basic grammar skills In what other field are the basic tools of your trade so improperly grasped? To which SteveF replies Software development. It's funny because it's true.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/4/2008 2:19:47 AM | Feedback (0)
Apparently the code from Sitemeter was crashing Internet Explorer. It has been disabled until further notice. Update - Here's the further notice. It appears to be fixed.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/2/2008 10:49:19 PM | Feedback (0)
I will sell both my kidneys to get tickets to see this. I will not lie. As a kid I lived and breathed Tron. To see a new movie come out is exciting.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/27/2008 9:13:54 PM | Feedback (0)
Gah. My code I was working on last night hit recursiveville, a place I try not to go unless the fate of the entire universe depends on it. It's hard enough writing a recursive function that returns everything below it and everything below what's below, but trying to get a 'path' that only returns actual matches gets sticky. I could brute force it, returning all paths, then simply matching any of the result sets, but that just feel hokey to me, and this is an exercise in stretching my brain to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/16/2008 12:45:10 PM | Feedback (0)
Joe Healy, the man all fish fear, popped up on my Instant Messenger earlier today. I missed him, but at least he left some comments that made me laugh Joe Healy >««(o> says:   hey gun boyJOE'S FRIEND says:   my uncle had one of those m5Joe Healy >««(o> says:   sharpasamarble.comJoe Healy >««(o> says:   you'll like himJoe Healy >««(o> says:   he used to be a coderJoe Healy >««(o> says:   now he's a NRA lobbyist - part timeJoe Healy >««(o> says:   dam, he must...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/12/2008 11:47:39 PM | Feedback (0)
I'm a software developer. My clients may be fellow employees, but that doesn't negate the inanity that I have to deal with from time to time. Right now, I have a "bug" that states "I put the square peg in the round hole, and the hole is claiming the peg is of an invalid shape." *Sigh* My job consists of me saving people from themselves. I'd make a good Leftist, wouldn't I?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/8/2008 6:27:32 PM | Feedback (0)
I installed Firefox 3.0 the other day and decided to play around with Stylish. I made my own custom about:blank screen and uploaded it to and you can use it yourself by downloading it here. I like the design, myself. Nothing super fancy, just a little flame and dark lighting. If you use it, let me know.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/21/2008 10:36:25 PM | Feedback (5)
Server took a nap earlier. My lovely wife just powered it back on. I need a UPS, but I don't have the cash right now, but I at least need to reconfigure the server to turn itself back on after a power outage. So, didja miss me?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/17/2008 1:22:39 PM | Feedback (3)
Fun. But I'm actually hurting. My calves hurt like hell. You know you're out of shape when a video game kicks your ass.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/23/2008 10:07:05 AM | Feedback (6)
From an IM conversation with Greg i just finished reading the internet last week... nothing left to surf
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/22/2008 10:56:34 AM | Feedback (1)
But I was under the impression that information cannot travel faster than light Typically, they occur when a massive star - more than eight times the mass of the Sun - runs out of fuel and collapses to form a hot relic called a neutron star. Their extreme brightness allows them to be seen in distant galaxies. But observers cannot pick up this optical emission until several hours or days after the explosion, so a supernova's first moments are shrouded in mystery. I thought Proxima Centauri...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/21/2008 7:23:45 PM | Feedback (5)
But I highly doubt you're going to find this here I like my tits dangerous, baby.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/5/2008 2:44:09 PM | Feedback (7)
Updated: There was a bug that would cause the game to crash on load (it was looking for a file that didn't exist). It's been fixed so please redownload it if you've had problems. Georgia loves playing games online and she loves playing memory games (she usually creams me when I play). So, I spent about 3 hours and wrote her a game she can play any time. Memory Match (yeah, real original, I know) is a simple, easy to learn game you can play yourself, or if you have kids, you might let them try...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/4/2008 3:56:45 PM | Feedback (6)
Tam has the book meme thingie going and open-tagged me I'm only doing this because I'm a geek. 1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating! 2. Find page 123. 3. Find the first five sentences. 4. Post the next three sentences. 5. Tag five people. See how the service is configured to receive messages from the client by studying the configuration in the App.config file of the Receiver project, shown in Listing 4.1. The service is to receive message via the predefined...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/24/2008 9:24:25 AM | Feedback (9)
Seems to be a meme, so I'll pick up on it At work, this is my coffee container of choice (sorry for the crappy pic. All I have here is a 1996 Logitech QuickCam) I normally go through two of those in the morning, sometimes three. It holds probably 3 standard cups of coffee. For a long time I'd drink 4, but eventually the caffeine started catching up with me.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/23/2008 11:01:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Because if I had a stand up, classic Asteroids video game, there'd be no blogging. Ever.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/22/2008 12:33:28 PM | Feedback (4)
My inner geek loves stuff like this Thus, billions of years from now the Earth will always keep the same face turned toward the Moon, just as the Moon already always keeps the same face turned toward the Earth. I posit though that by the time the tidal forces equal out, ol' Sol will have petered out and puffed up enough to swallow Mars, so I'm not too concerned about the length of the lunar month just yet.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/15/2008 2:24:10 PM | Feedback (1)
So, a few minutes ago, my wife and I were sitting in the office when it sounded like someone picked up a school bus and hit the side of our house with it. She just realized what it was. A sonic boom. Living in Florida has its perks!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/26/2008 8:58:56 PM | Feedback (3)
When you run your own mail server, it's a good idea to make sure the external spam verification systems you use are, well, still around "At noon today (Eastern Standard Time), the long dead ORDB spam identification system began returning false positives as a way to get sleeping users to remove the ORDB query from their spam filters. The net effect: all mail is blocked on servers still configured to use the ORDB service, which was taken out of commission in December of 2006. So if you're not...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/26/2008 12:53:53 PM | Feedback (1)
Gah. Vista did an update, my PC rebooted, stayed online for a minute, then died. Can't get it to reboot from work, the Mrs. had no luck (just sits there and spins on the loading screen), so I'm going to have to try to fix it when I get home. Not that you care, but hey, it's my *&$#ing blog, I'll $#*!ing bitch and moan if I *(@^%~ing feel like it. *&#(!!!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/12/2008 2:19:54 PM | Feedback (7)
The Mrs. is in the other room, watching Idol with her laptop. I'm in the office. She sneezed. I IM'd her to say Bless You. Now I'm blogging about it. All within 30 seconds.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/11/2008 9:33:05 PM | Feedback (2)
Just click here You may want to bring a small trash bin nearby, just in case.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/27/2008 5:00:38 PM | Feedback (0)
I have an odd thing. My Thunderbird mail client updates itself, then closes and restarts to finish the job. During this process, it fails telling me to check to makes sure I have permissions to the files then restarts itself, only to crash and tell me the same thing over and over. Turns out, I have a Logitech QuickCam. If I unplug it and kill the task tray icon, the update works fine. Odd, eh?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/27/2008 1:17:55 PM | Feedback (5)
Do you leave your computer on all day? Do you have extra computers just sitting around? Did you know you can help science understand protein folding with all those extra cycles? Understanding protein folding may help us find cures for Cancer, Alzheimer's, and many other diseases. Since I built the new server with a Dual Core processor, I dedicated one of the cores to folding. My personal PC has it as well, albeit much slower since I use it. It doesn't interfere with using your computer (for an...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/18/2008 12:25:22 PM | Feedback (5)
One, it's fast as hell. Too bad my Windows Server is 32 bit, but still I can't believe how zippy the dang thing is. Hopefully everyone should get a little better performance out of it (I like the suggestion that Glenn link to me to reeeeealy test out its speed!) The only issue I'm having right now is that if the old server goes off line, I can't log into anything (meaning the new server isn't acting its part as a Domain Controller). I made it the Operations Manager for everything (Schema...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/27/2008 10:14:30 PM | Feedback (0)
Ok, I hope this is the last time I have to do this. The server I recently moved to was too loud and none of the bios fixes I applied made one whit of difference. So I spend ~$400 and made a new server from scratch. Fastest damned computer I've ever seen. Reboots to welcome screen in under 45 seconds. If you want to get to the bios, you better be pressing DEL when you turn on the switch. Literally, the old CRT monitor I had hooked up couldn't reset itself faster than the bios. By the time the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/26/2008 7:30:28 PM | Feedback (6)
If you're reading this, then the migration to the new server is spot on. Had one hell of a time getting Kerberos to work correctly on IIS but it turned out the passwords for IUSR and IWAM accounts had become un-synched. I used the information from here to fix the problem. Please let me know you're seeing this!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/24/2008 7:56:59 PM | Feedback (16)
My server is on its way out. If you're reading this, it's up, hopefully long enough to transfer everything over to my new server. I'd have done this a long time ago, but the "new" server is actually a massive, loud beast that I didn't want running because of the noise. I'm going to get everything backed up (especially the domain) so I can breathe a little easier in case the old server really does take a dirt nap. Update: Well, the new server has issues and will need to be reformatted. The old...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/23/2008 11:43:05 PM | Feedback (5)
Seriously. With all the BS the ATF puts firearms dealers through over discrepancies such as Y for Yes, I should have written some software to take care of it for them. Apparently, it's been done. Shit. Seriously, shit. I love writing software. I enjoy firearms. Like chocolate & peanut butter, I could have had two great tastes that tasted good together. And I could have made a difference somewhere rather than me just spouting off here. Add in the fact I'm just in a foul mood to begin with,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/21/2008 9:26:05 AM | Feedback (3)
I had a billion things to do last night, so instead I got creative and took a picture of myself and created a horrific masterpiece. This is completely 100% Photoshop and done by hand. *Warning* The picture is fairly gruesome (and not just because it's a picture of me) so if you're not interested in blood and gore or have little ones around, don't click on the picture below.   Before all Hell broke loose
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/19/2008 9:46:22 AM | Feedback (4)
It got here early. The Mrs. and I are already hooked. My arm is sore from bowling and I'm all sweaty from boxing. Any my poor wife's Mii character is the default woman with freckles. You may hear from me again early May. 2009. Or so.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/8/2008 10:19:41 PM | Feedback (6)
I'm so buying this when it's released! (A SaaM Original, btw)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/7/2008 2:22:53 PM | Feedback (4)
You'd think for the unbelievable amount of dough it cost me to get my Wii shipped it would get here in less than 30 minutes, but no, I gotta wait until the 9th. Waiting sucks.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/7/2008 9:03:46 AM | Feedback (1)
Can't buy just the system, but you can get bundles and since I wanted all the sports games anyway, I picked one up. The Mrs. has wanted it as well and when she found out there was a bowling game, she positively flipped. I wonder if the gun controller is off limits due to the No Gun Purchases in 2008 Dictum?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/3/2008 1:08:51 PM | Feedback (5)
Who's there? Well, sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not. The little chat button doesn't seem to indicate when I'm actually not here, so if you say hi and I don't respond in a minute or two (*cough*Breda*cough*) don't give up hope!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/31/2007 6:19:17 PM | Feedback (2)
We'll have to see how this goes, but to the right you will see a Windows Live Messenger window. If you see (online), feel free to say hello! I picked this up from a blog I just visited. I was looking at some code and had a question. The guy happened to have one of these on, and I saw he was online. So I asked a question. And got a response. I figured, maybe this would work for general blogging. So, do me a favor and send me a message to let me know it's working, or if you're having problems...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/20/2007 12:09:53 PM | Feedback (4)
Dusted off my drawing gear... I might have something in the works soon.   It's been ages since I've done any drawing. I've wanted to do a comic strip since I was a kid. I can draw, but what I have a hard time doing is drawing consistently. Now that I can simply scan in my sketches and convert them to digital assets, I can use the computer to store the bits and pieces and simply put them together as needed. Plus, the computer can help me with things like perspective and scenery. Let's see if...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/16/2007 7:53:56 PM | Feedback (2)
Couldn't get any of my music to play at work, which makes working hard (I like tunes when coding). I clicked on the volume icon and was greeting with a loud "DONK" informing me there were no sound devices available. So I clicked on it again to hear the warning sound. And sure as hell, it "DONK"ed again at me. Which reminded me of the computer I used to have that would read "Keyboard not detected. Press F1 to continue".
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/10/2007 2:30:33 PM | Feedback (0)
I make no bones about the fact that I would love to have an iPod Touch. The UI is simply amazing, it's attractive, and has the hip factor so missing in my life (not. But still, it's a great toy). I don't have one because I already have an MP3 player that works just fine. This morning, however, I thought it was acting up and couldn't get it to turn on. Unfortunately, it decided to start working just fine. Damn.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/19/2007 12:28:47 PM | Feedback (0)
I'm having to reverse engineer C code. Not C++, not C#, but C. What the &^*( is a pointer again and what is the "header" thing they keep referring to?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/5/2007 12:49:12 PM | Feedback (8)
Only not funny. Here's the scenario as an analogy. Let's say my companies business is interior decoration. One of the major things we do is hang pictures. So, I'm part of a team that is to help with this. The upper management sets the requirements as so In order to attach pictures to the wall, we need to take 16 penny nails and embed them into the wall using this dead-blow mallet. See the problem? The requirements are too detailed. What it should read is We need to attach pictures to walls....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/2/2007 12:13:53 PM | Feedback (6)
Ride Fast is reading The Cat Who Walks Through Walls In The Cat Who Walks Through Walls awesome Bobby is talking about a data storage device available in our future. We would now call it a data stick or thumb drive. In the book, the device stores "half a million words". Sheesh, my mid-priced data stick is a gigabyte. We're out racing the masters. Now, I admit that when I read classic Sci-Fi I can tell a lot of it was written before microchips were even invented. I found it funny when reading...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/31/2007 7:44:11 AM | Feedback (2)
There comes a time when even the most computer literate of us make dumb mistakes. For example, when I installed Vista I repartitioned my hard drive so I could dual boot. But I only gave it 20 gigs of space. Which I ran out of real quick like. Silly me thought I could just move my user data somewhere else. I'm sure you can do it, but I didn't do it right. So I reinstalled. Pretty easy. I think I'm one of only 7 people in the world who's install of Vista is actually nice and pain free. Since I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/12/2007 10:43:28 AM | Feedback (3)
I'm 100% paranoid when it comes to surfing the Interweb tubes. Not paranoid as in hiding behind anonymity as everyone knows my name, but I don't allow hardly anything to run on my browsers such as JavaScript or plug-ins. In fact, I have software that disables everything until I explicitly allow stuff from that site to work. Every here and there though, I get irritated when I read some opinion piece in a newspaper and, being a newspaper and not a blog, I can't comment. Turns out, a lot of places...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/7/2007 11:33:30 AM | Feedback (4)
I love music. I love practically every genre out there, minus rap (and even then I find nuggets of good stuff). My MP3 collection contains everything from death metal to classical to country to hip hop. At work my favorite style of music to listen to is Trance / Dance / Techno. I like it because it's interesting music, usually little lyrics, and provides a good source of rhythm (which helps me when I'm coding). Enter Last.FM. Endless music, randomly suggested, all "close" to a specified genre...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/15/2007 11:18:50 AM | Feedback (6)
When running your own DNS name server, it is well advised that you add MX (mail exchanger) records to your domains. Otherwise, you'll notice that all of a sudden, nobody seems to send you mail any more. It is also well advised that once you realize that your MX records are nonexistent that you do not simply point them to your server using the internal IP address. For some odd reason, 192.168 addresses won't route across the Intertubes. *grumble*
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/17/2007 7:54:45 PM | Feedback (2)
Ok, just so my 7 regular readers don't get scared, Verizon was out today installing the business Internet line. My wife called me during the ordeal and informed me that the installer had absolutely no clue what he was doing and even admitted so. So, now apparently I have two ONT boxes on the outside of my house, two battery backups, and two routers in the office. One for the FiOS TV service, one for the Internet. Two identical routers, might I add. Seems like you can't run a static IP on the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/12/2007 3:25:53 PM | Feedback (2)
Pride swallowed. As a die hard capitalist, I had to come to terms with the fact that for many years, I was getting something for practically nothing - namely my web server connection to the Internet. Even though it's against their TOS, Brighthouse doesn't block port 80 so you technically can run a web server on a residential line. I should know, I've been doing it for years. You're reading this on it right now. Enter the Verizon fiasco. I was mad because they had the gall to ask me to pay for...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/11/2007 9:00:33 AM | Feedback (0)
Fucking Verizon and their bait and switch schemes. I waited years to get FiOS, their fiber optic network. Fiber carries a much higher bandwidth, and it was bound to make better TV and faster Internet. When it finally came to my door, I was ecstatic. I ordered the entire enchilada immediately - phone, TV, and Interweb. Then, they screwed up my install date. Then they screwed up my phone. Then they lied to me. You see, I run this blog off a server in my house. Port 80 isn't blocked by my current...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/10/2007 3:00:18 PM | Feedback (5)
FIOS is here!!! Well, it's supposed to be here. Some ditz called me the other day to inform me that they couldn't install for another two weeks because of my phone. I had to explain to her that I'm on Vonage and that all I need is an Internet connection. After twenty minutes of arguing with her and her boss, her boss finally informed me it was an FCC thing and nothing to do with actual logic. So I called the installers, and they had no idea they were supposed to wait two weeks. So they should...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/2/2007 10:08:58 AM | Feedback (1)
Service packs can be scary. Here's hoping my Visual Studio works afterwards!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/26/2007 8:57:14 AM | Feedback (4)
Plasma Pong. I just found a great time waster. I'd probably stay away from the LSD when trying to play it though.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/25/2007 9:21:30 AM | Feedback (0)
Today is one of those days where it's better that I take a blank sheet of paper and start drawing pretty boxes with lines between them and stay the @&*# away from the keyboard. Design is the hardest part of coding. Writing a line of code to make it do what you want is a breeze. Figuring out what you want is the hard part. By working out the issues on paper, I can find errors faster than if I were to simply hop in and start coding. Changes can be made with an eraser easier than they are...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/21/2007 11:01:08 AM | Feedback (1)
I'm having to work on an application I wrote years ago. In .Net 1.0. In VB. Dear Lord, please send down some semicolons from heaven, please.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/31/2007 2:35:16 PM | Feedback (3)
No more WPF/E, now it's Silverlight. Thank God. Now what I'm doing at least has a cool name.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/16/2007 1:10:53 PM | Feedback (0)
Three-D models from a single photograph. Microsoft should combine this with Photosynth.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/16/2007 12:24:17 PM | Feedback (0)
I took this yesterday outside of work. It's a great blue heron snatching a fish out of the water. It was pretty cool that I was able to capture this when I did. The heron had made a few failed attempts and I lucked out and caught the one where it actually got the fish.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/31/2007 8:49:16 AM | Feedback (0)
The Mrs. has complained to me on numerous occasions that we never take any videos of our children, and this is true. We have a perfectly good Sony Digital Hi-8 camcorder, but the problem was always the tapes. With tapes, I never knew if I could just pick up the camera and start shooting. I had to see if the tape was at an empty point or if I could overwrite what was there. And trying to see what I just recorded? Fuhgettaboutit. I had to rewind which took forever. Then there was the problem...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/30/2007 9:00:52 AM | Feedback (0)
Pretty. Lot's of shiny things to distract me. Personally, I didn't have a single issue with drivers. My sound card wasn't recognized up front but the automatic updates picked it up with no problem. My graphics card was supported (although I did get the latest from nVidia just to be safe). The worst part is reinstalling all the applications that are still installed on the XP64 OS (I'm in dual boot mode until I'm totally safe and upgraded). Even worse is having to reregister software for the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/19/2007 10:26:41 AM | Feedback (2)
I finally found a way (thanks to Sphinct0r, who really, really needs a new handle) to resize the partitions of my harddrive so that I can upgrade my OS to Vista. I'm using a bootable GParted CD which seems to be doing the trick. The problem is that I had to resize down the second partition, then move it into the free space in order to upsize the first partiton. It's taking a helluva lot of time to move 70 gigs. Once it's done, I'll increase the boot partition, but while that's running I will...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/13/2007 8:58:20 PM | Feedback (1)
So, I'm trying to do a little partition mangling so I can install Vista Ultimate. The program requires me to format two 1.44M floppy disks. Floppy disks? Why not put the *&#!% things on an 8-track? Funny thing, I only have 3 disks to my name and 1 of them is corrupt.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/10/2007 4:53:38 PM | Feedback (4)
Just so you know. And when I say "The Man", I mean "The Man" You know what the Rock smells cookin'? Joe Healy You ever see a school of fish all suddenly switch direction? That's caused by sudden fear because somewhere in the world, somebody mentioned Joe Healy's name. Chuck Norris broke his foot trying to roundhouse kick Joe Healy. Thanks Joe!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/6/2007 9:43:35 AM | Feedback (1)
So, I'm doing some pretty serious graphics (GDI+) programming here at work. What makes this really suck is I have to take the output of a Macintosh and recreate it on the PC. The PC seems to see Point sizes in a different manner than the Mac. The error is always a 72/96ppi or 96/72ppi conversion error. The problem is it's never consistent. If I correct for one way, other bugs pop up (text runs off the canvas). Once I get the text back on the canvas, the outlining goes haywire. Fix that and then...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/20/2007 4:00:47 PM | Feedback (0)
You know how all the Hubble telescope pictures have this weird, stair-stepping look to them? Like there's part of the picture they don't want you to see? Turns out, there's a legitimate reason for it. Coolness.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/13/2006 11:28:54 AM | Feedback (0)
Recently, I found a great program : Filter Forge - Photoshop Plugin to Create Your Own Filters It's basically an external filter creation tool that lets you make procedural textures as well as photo filters. There are some pretty amazing effects in the default set. What's really neat in my opinion, though, is how they're marketing the program. It's in Beta, so it's not for sale, but if you (a) help them test the beta or (b) create filters that other people download and use, then they'll give...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/18/2006 10:18:27 AM | Feedback (0)
Gonna be putzing around with the blog software for the next millennium or so. So, please excuse me if the blog acts funny. Hopefully I'll screw up the security real bad and someone will hack in and post something worth a damn. Just don't hold your breath.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/20/2006 7:40:00 PM | Feedback (1)
My brother in law sent me a list of terrible URLs for businesses. Everyone knows that if you are going to operate a business in today’s world you need a domain name. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks. Failure to do this may result in situations such as the following (legitimate) companies who deal in everyday humdrum products and services but clearly didn’t give their domain names enough consideration: 1. A site called...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/25/2006 10:59:00 AM | Feedback (1)
In a lot of Sci-Fi that I either read or listen to, there is this underlying thought that there are an infinite number of time lines with infinite possible outcomes (of course, somehow they all say each time line is based on decisions that a human makes, but hey…). Many stories make the age old mathematical faux pas that Infinite Probability = All Possible Outcomes. This just ain’t true. For example, take the following set of even numbers 2…4…6…8…10…12…∞ This set contains an infinite...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/19/2006 2:03:00 PM | Feedback (7)
My PC is dead. Again. The hard drive just makes a loud click and then stops spinning. After a few seconds it spins back up, then randomly stops again. Gut reaction would be that the drive is bad. But here's the kicker - it's an IDE drive and the same basic thing was happening when I had a SATA drive as the main drive. So it looks more like the drive controller on the mother board.The damndest thing is that the BSOD can't write out the error so I don't get much information from the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/10/2006 9:12:00 AM | Feedback (0)
So I’ve been at work for 2 hours now, and finally, my Visual Studio has come online. Seems like there were some patches pushed down to my laptop, and since it was not plugged in over the weekend, had to do everything at the same time. Add in the POS version manager we use and my dev environment is quite often very unstable. Just grousing, sorry. It sucks when the tools you have to help you do a better job often get in the way of actually doing the job.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/19/2006 9:41:00 AM | Feedback (0)
One thing I hate about blogs is this odd type of reasoning that people have the right to be anonymous. You don’t. People hide behind the ‘you don’t know who I am therefore I can act like a prick with impunity’. This has a coarsening effect on conversations. It’s one of the reasons I blog using my name – It keeps me a bit more honest and forces me to watch what I say. Others apparently don’t follow the same path. Sorry kiddo. You’re never as anonymous as you think. As we say in the ‘ol...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/15/2006 10:38:00 AM | Feedback (2)
In the massive amount of research for my previous post / failed attempt at Periodic humor, a Google Ad advertised the following
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/14/2006 3:09:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Man, if you’d just been here three minutes ago, you’d have seen it. Is it me, or is the name of that element … err … fitting? * for the periodic chartally challenged
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/14/2006 2:53:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Here’s the code I’m having the complete pleasure of reverse engineering If TypeOf Segment Is SegmentDetail Or TypeOf Segment Is ImageDetail Then    Throw New Exception End If Anyone want to take a guess what the #&!(% the problem is? So I’ve got an exception thrown and I have no friggin’ clue what it is or why it’s being thrown. This is why I keep my hair military short – It prevents me from pulling it out.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/12/2006 3:05:00 PM | Feedback (1)
I suffer from some variant of carpal tunnel syndrome. My thumb and forefingers on both hands have a tendency to go completely numb at times…. if I’m lucky. If I’m not, like right now, they burn incessantly. My super keyboard went on the fritz again last week causing me to revert to a regular keyboard and mouse for a few days. It’s working again, but not after my pain returned in full force. I’m barely able to move my wrists. Playing hours and hours of Oblivion hasn’t helped any. I really need...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/8/2006 10:26:00 AM | Feedback (3)
Here’s a tip that will indubitably decrease the amount of time you spend developing in Visual Studio .Net. If you make a change on your local development box, compile, and notice that none of your changes seem to have taken effect, attach to the aspnet worker process (ASPNET_WP.EXE). Then, set a break point at your change. Hit refresh on the page to hit your breakpoint. Now, there could still be an error that causes you not to hit the breakpoint. Stop debugging and restart it to ensure you’re...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/2/2006 9:57:00 AM | Feedback (3)
I don’t care how much of your life you put into your application, there is no #$&* need for your splash screen to be on top of everything while it loads. Especially if it’s loading off the network and takes 30 seconds to boot up. Grumble grumble grumble….
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/15/2006 2:29:00 PM | Feedback (2)
There are a lot of people here at work who use custom color schemes on their computers instead of the standard white background with black text. Black & white is harsh on your eyes and IIRC, a blue background with yellow text is one of the easiest on your eyes to use. I question some of the one’s I see around here – sage background with orange text – but only from an aesthetics point of view. However, there’s this one guy downstairs who uses a bright red background and yellow text. It...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/4/2006 10:11:00 AM | Feedback (2)
A few days ago I bitched about a problem with my computer and certain applications locking up on me for minutes on end. Well, I finally found the culprit. Turns out, something is screwy with mdm.exe. Every application that hung. when launched, the Microsoft Debug Manager kicked in. If I killed the mdm.exe, within a few seconds the sticky application became responsive. So I went into C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\VS7Debug and renamed mdm.exe. Now everything zings! I’ve...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/24/2006 9:53:00 AM | Feedback (1)
Dunno what happened, but some update ran a few days ago and ever since then, many of my applications take up to 5 minutes to load. I run Sysinternal’s Process Explorer and Filemon, and whatever application I’m looking at just sits there. Performance once up is unbearable as well but still 0% CPU utilization and no file activity can be seen. All the apps are 32 bit (BlogJet, Visual Studio 2003, RSS Bandit) so the WoW64 is in play, but I can’t tell why other 32 bit apps run just fine. It’s...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/20/2006 7:23:00 PM | Feedback (3)
Roasted Dell Laptop. Bake at 300 degrees for 5 minutes. Serve warm with a nice Chianti and rice pilaf.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/20/2006 4:03:00 PM | Feedback (0)
So, in less than two weeks I will be presenting at the Orlando .Net Code Camp about the open source project I am working on, Subtext. Just in case you're wondering, Subtext is the blogging engine SaaM runs off of. Anyway, I'm already nervous enough as it is. I don't mind speaking to groups of people, but as I usually talk to people who aren't as familiar with what I'm doing. These guys are experts in the field, and that adds a large layer of pressure to make sure my presentation is perfect...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/15/2006 12:42:00 PM | Feedback (1)
DenBeste explains the Matrix. Very, very similar to my train of thought although I could never explain Agents (why would they kill those who needed to escape). His is a kludge, but a working one. I plan on expounding on this even more as I’m an avid Matrix fan even though the 2nd & 3rd movies sucked. Hat Tip Ace
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/13/2006 4:03:00 PM | Feedback (2)
A human being should be able to: change a diaper – Check plan an invasion – Nope butcher a hog – Ewwww conn a ship – I can’t even manage those remote controlled doohickeys at carnivals design a building – Well, it would be very, very squalid. write a sonnet – I can’t sit through listening to one, much less write one balance accounts – Ask my wife about that if you’d like to make her laugh build a wall – Would it have to withstand a gentle breeze? ‘Cuz if so, that’d be a NO set a bone...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/13/2006 1:19:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Went to a few sites today who use Paypal for their tip jars. Got this message We’ve got a zillion servers that need certificates, and every here and there one slips under the radar. But those are always are internal application ones, never what we show to the outside world. Oopsie!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/6/2006 7:28:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Subtext 1.0 (code named “Nautilus”) has finally been released!!! Subtext is the blogging engine that I use for Sharp as a Marble. I’ve worked diligently to break every possible thing I can in it, but the team has managed to fix them and finally release 1.0. I am so happy I could scream like a little girl! You can download it here Installation (Shamefully stolen from Phil Haack’s site) Check out the installation guide on our project site for a walkthrough of the installation. There are...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/2/2006 7:40:00 PM | Feedback (0)
But I think my new bumpersticker is a riot. Especially in this context
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/2/2006 5:32:00 PM | Feedback (2)
If you change code and don’t recompile, don’t expect your breakpoints to behave. Not that I just spent the last 30 minutes hunting down a bug that didn’t exist or anything….
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/20/2006 2:16:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Started looking at my Touchstream keyboard because something in the back of my head was screaming at me to try to fix it. Maybe that voice was connected to the nerves in my wrist… Anyway, I realized that the problem started the moment I picked up the keyboard to show someone how flat it is. The two halves of the keyboard are held together by a ribbon cable, a complete failure of engineering design. I started thinking “Hey, something went goofy when I moved the keyboard.”...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/6/2006 3:57:00 PM | Feedback (0)
At work, I tried accessing a document I worked hard on and put in our portal. I opened it up to see this The problem? I am the portal administrator…..
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/2/2006 10:29:00 AM | Feedback (1)
Turning your veins into a 3D ‘human barcode’ Luminetx originally developed the technique as a way to help doctors and nurses find veins in patients needing injections. But now, through a new division called Snowflake Technologies, the company is marketing it to banks, credit card companies and even homeland-security officials as a high-tech biometric identification tool. "Our vein structures are completely different, especially when you look at the palm," said Luminetx Chief...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/2/2006 10:03:00 AM | Feedback (0)
From patting myself on the back. Had a bug in an application that I didn’t write. Checked the GUI, then the base library, then the database, then the data services classes, and debugged through about 2 or 3 thousand lines of code. This is akin to having a problem with your car not running right and having to pull out a microscope to check each bit of wiring for nicks. And I found the problem. It even wasn’t a shot in the dark or a lucky guess. I actually used every last...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/4/2006 4:11:00 PM | Feedback (6)
Look, I’m no engineer or nucular fizzisist by any stretch of the imagination. However, I have always had a soft spot for science and love to get into the nitty gritty of whatever I can. Truth be told, though, I don’t always understand the math since it’s not something I study on a daily basis. So often, when I read a science report, I simply have to take on faith that the equations work and that the people producing the numbers know what they are doing. Science is a wonderful,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/28/2005 3:52:00 PM | Feedback (10)
So, the source of my computer woes finally reared its ugly head – A faulty SATA controller. I got home to a lovely CLICK – BZZZZZZZZZ – CLICK – CLICK coming from my harddrive. Don’t know what the issue was, so I just went out and bought a regular IDE drive and put it in. Of course I had to reinstall, but at least I got to switch back to XP 64 which was a hell of a lot faster (until the SATA issue popped up). Anyway, a new OS means reinstalling all twelve billion...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/15/2005 9:29:00 PM | Feedback (6)
Just a gripe. My PC nosedived for good this morning. BSoD every time XP tried to boot (with a reset so fast that I couldn't make out the error). So I spent the majority of the morning surfing around looking for clues to my problem. While I couldn't find anyone with the exact same specs and problem I had, I did see something that pisses me off all over the tech boards. Someone will say "I have a problem with X" to which some smart ass will reply "Works fine for me." as if person A's problem...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/13/2005 1:08:00 PM | Feedback (2)
Not too long ago, I started looking at a business opportunity writing software that would use facial recognition and scan every digital photo on your computer, automatically updating each picture’s metadata with recognized faces (I had also consider a fecal recognition program, but had a hard time finding funding). My basic thought process was you’d start the application, it would scan wherever you told it for all image files, look at each file and see if it contained any number of...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/27/2005 11:39:00 AM | Feedback (4)
My primary home PC has decided that it doesn't like it's hard drives any more. I'll be happily working away when I'll hear a loud *klunk* emanate from the case and the screen will lock up. Many times on rebooting, the system freaks out and tells me it could not read from the boot partition. I'm totally bummed. The last thing I can afford right now is another PC, being that this one is less than 8 months old as it is. And I don't know if it's the motherboard, the serial ATA drive, a bad cable,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/26/2005 8:10:00 AM | Feedback (10)
So I’ve been working on this major project at work fixing some of the worst coding I’ve ever seen in my life. The requirements were that we use the underlying business rules and objects of the current application while rewriting the user interface (web based) to improve usability and performance. Trust me, the absolute horrid level of coding is mind boggling. For the geeks of you out there, I have to constantly deal with beauties like this Public Function GetByIndex() As...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/21/2005 8:36:00 AM | Feedback (2)
Some job working at AT&T opened up recently and I’ve had three recruiters contact me already over it. I’m qualified enough, but it’s not the type of job I’m looking for. A lot of Exchange work, and I’m just not into Exchange. However, should I see what each recruiter would offer if I was to use them? Vacations, cars, beer, new camera lenses? It would be kind of fun pitting them against each other. Plus, I would end up not taking the job anyway.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/28/2005 2:24:00 PM | Feedback (1)
I’ve seen a few, right leaning blogs complain about the fact that the first web site to show up on a Google search for failure is President Bush’s Whitehouse biography. Some people think this proves that Google’s searches are hand mangled to advance some left-wing ideas. Google themselves explain why this isn’t the case. Google's search results are generated by computer programs that rank web pages in large part by examining the number and relative popularity of the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/20/2005 3:06:00 PM | Feedback (4)
Or, in this instance, Microsoft ;) Which this time got me a free lunch and a copy of XP-64 Pro which is nice since my beta copy crapped out on me a while back. So, Jeff & Eric, thanks for the lunch and introducing me to that hole in the wall. Definitely gotta get back there soon!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/19/2005 2:13:00 PM | Feedback (0)
So, I do a lot of my work at home. In the past I logged into a Metaframe (a remote control type application) session, then from that box, remotely controlled my desktop computer. I had to do this because it was the only way I could connect to the databases, web servers, and have my development environment available. However, remote controlling a remote controlled session is rather bulky, slow, and prevented me from working on particular files with any sort of ease. So my...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/9/2005 3:49:00 PM | Feedback (4)
And your stupid “automatic updates” too….
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/10/2005 3:51:00 PM | Feedback (3)
Google finally released their toolbar for Firefox! Ain’t life grand?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/13/2005 9:20:00 AM | Feedback (2)
Last week, and old project of mine that had been shelved for almost a year suddenly became priority #1. I had to open my code and relearn what I had done so long ago. I was surprised at the level of, ummm… ‘incompleteness’ as I thought I had written a bunch more for this application like an installer, configuration screen, et cetera but apparently that was done for another app. So I worked all last week trying to get everything in order. This morning I found was looking at...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/11/2005 9:31:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Back in 1995, I purchased an extra 4 megabytes of memory for my computer at a cost of $160 (each 1M SIMM was $40 and you had to buy them in pairs). Today, my PC has a Gigabyte of memory which you can get for $100. Think about it. The amount of memory I have today would have cost $40,000 only 10 years ago. Memory is approximately 400 times cheaper. That’s like buying a 2015 BMW in 2015 for $100. Of course, that ain’t gonna happen, but it’s still an interesting thought.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/7/2005 9:38:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Especially around me. A friend logged into his PC from mine. He forgot to log out. Now, when he opens his C drive, he’ll be greeted with this….
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/1/2005 2:08:00 PM | Feedback (4)
I, like 99.99999% of the world, have brain farts. Times when I know I should know the answer to a problem, but cannot for the life of me think of it. Usually when this happens, I resort to emailing people who might know the solution. Invariably, within 3/10ths of a microsecond after hitting ‘Send’, I figure it out on my own. Every time. Nothing like making an ass out of yourself to solve life’s little problems, eh?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/29/2005 10:05:00 AM | Feedback (1)
I hate spammers with the type of passion usually reserved for Micheal Moore and a Supreme Chalupa combo meal. I have to wade through countless ‘trackback’ and referrer spam that doesn’t even show up for any of my readers, just me in my admin section. And to make it worse, most of the shit isn’t even a real address. Just crap like “http://cheap-viagra/pills-for-free”. I mean, what the #$%!*???? Have the spammers simply lost and are resorting to annoying...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/24/2005 3:19:00 PM | Feedback (6)
Well, Verizon decided to dangle a carrot in my face again. Yesterday, I received a flyer in my mailbox informing me the FIOS IS HERE!!!!! Oh I just about soiled my shorts in happiness. So I called. No dice. It’s in my city, but not quite yet in my neighborhood. Bastards. Anyway, the main problem I’m going to have is, as tempting as 2 megabit upload speeds are, it will be hard to justify the extra $15 a month. See, Verizon blocks port 80 on the residential lines. This is to prevent...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/22/2005 10:29:00 AM | Feedback (6)
My $350 keyboard decided to start working again which is good because my wrist was starting to kill me. Of course it decided to start working as soon as I got an email from Fingerworks telling me I could get a refund. The problem is that I don’t want a refund, I want my TouchStream to work because it has helped me so much over the past year or so. It seems to be working now, so that’s a good thing. And if it goes on the fritz again, I’ll just give it some time. Hopefully...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/21/2005 7:54:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Still drooling over my iAudio M3L. However I wanted to listen to it in my car so I purchased an FM transmitter from Radio Shack. I was wary of buying it because it only had 8 different frequencies to broadcast on but it was only $30 so I figured what the hell? And hell I got. Damn thing can’t overpower The Eagle 107.5 when it’s on 107.3MHz nor can it completely drown out Lefty 88.5 (home of NPR and the Screaming Yiddish Songs Hour) when in the lower range, so I’m taking the...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/2/2005 11:36:00 AM | Feedback (2)
Sharp as a Marble Institute is a privately funded foundation. This is a fancy way of saying “We’re broke.” SaaM runs out of my house, much to the chagrin of Brighthouse I’m sure, but it’s not like I’m getting a million hits a day. In fact, I’ve yet to get a million hits total. Because I also use Vonage, I try to minimize my bandwidth usage by offloading a lot of my graphics to For $25 a year, I get 200 megs of storage for my photography....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/1/2005 7:54:00 AM | Feedback (5)
I’m trying to work on some new skins for Subtext. I’d like to stick with 100% CSS driven styles so that changing the flavor is simple instead of the nightmare it is now with .Text. However, I’m having a slight problem with certain containers actually containing other elements. Basically the issue is this. I have an outside <div> called container. Inside are two other <div>s called menu and content. The outer container has a background that should repeat under both...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/31/2005 12:16:00 PM | Feedback (5)
Three thousand two hundred and thirty songs. That’s what I’ve got on my iAudio, waiting for me to listen to. Granted, probably 2000 of them aren’t songs I like that much (I rip every song off the CD, not just the ones I like), but still. If you average 3:00 a song, that’s like 8 days worth of music. Plus, I have Magical Trevor in MP3. I could listen to that a million times alone.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/31/2005 8:04:00 AM | Feedback (0)
I’ve never quite understood the cult of the iPod. I mean, I’ve wanted one for ages, simply because 20 gigs is adequate space for the music collection I have (I rip all my CDs for portability). Other than that, the price tag just didn’t appeal to me. And I don’t like the idea of having to use iTunes either. Enter iAudio. More precisely, my new iAudio M3L I’ve heard this one called the iPod killer. It’s smaller, cheaper, same storage, long as...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/27/2005 11:34:00 AM | Feedback (9)
Well, today is the day I call TiVo and cancel my subscription. It’s not that I’m disappointed with my TiVo service, if anything it rocks, but Brighthouse is supplying an HD DVR for only $9.95 a month. Let’s look at the cost / benefit analysis. TiVo – $600 for HD ready recorder, + $12.95 a monthBrighthouse – Free recorder, $9.95 a month Hmmm…..Decisions, decisions. TiVo, as a service kicks ass. The box is nice, it works as advertised, etc....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/14/2005 11:06:00 AM | Feedback (1)
So TiVo has decided to show pop up ads when users fast forward through commercials. If you read the comments left at ZD-Net, you’d think TiVo had declared they were going to force people to watch 2 hours of infomercials about Oxyclean every day. Apparently, while you fast forward through the commercial, a box that takes up 25% of the screen will appear with an ad in it. It doesn’t prevent you from fast forwarding, it just tries to put an ad in where you’re trying to avoid an...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/8/2005 9:31:00 AM | Feedback (3)
Went online this morning to upgrade my Photoshop to CS. Lo and behold, CS2 had just been announced today with a ship date of April 21st. So I went ahead and preordered! Saved a buck-fifty doing it too. And my try-out version of CS? Plenty of time left before CS2 shows up at my door.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/4/2005 3:53:00 PM | Feedback (2)
Posting this from the new computer. Rockin' & Rollin' as of right now!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/22/2005 8:46:00 PM | Feedback (4)
Man, training can be very dull. Add to it the fact that I was out until midnight consuming hot wings and Guinness, and I'm beat. I hope the keyboard I'm on is drool resistant.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/14/2005 10:05:00 AM | Feedback (1)
Sorry for the light posting. I'm still in mourning. Yesterday, the bastards at FedEx decided they'd go ahead and deliver my new computer parts that had been sitting in their warehouse for 3 days. Turns out, I ordered the wrong *&#$^ CPU. I needed a socket 939 but had ordered the 754.So while I have a lovely new case, memory, graphics card, and motherboard, I have no processor. It's like having a nice car with no engine.I've already ordered the correct chip but it won't be here until...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/9/2005 9:43:00 AM | Feedback (0)
So FedEx, damn their black hearts, is sitting on my computer parts. I can see they're in the Tampa area, but since 2 Day delivery really means 4 days, they're holding them until tomorrow. Which is probably just as well.You see, I'm all happy about getting a new computer, especially a 64-bit system since I have the release candidate of XP 64. But what I dread beyond everything else is the sheer volume of crap I have to reinstall. First, the OS. And then there are 100 irritating things I have to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/7/2005 3:39:00 PM | Feedback (1)
I blame Jeff G. for my current situation. Whatever he did to break his computer has found its way into mine. Now my main PC is hosed. Won't even show the boot screen and those odd times that it does, it locks at random times.So now I am without a primary computer. Luckily my server is ok and the wife's computer is running and my laptop, bless it's 5 year old little heart, lets me blog.I swore I was done building computers, but looking at the cost of a prebuilt one compared to what I can...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/3/2005 6:45:00 PM | Feedback (1)
My brother-in-law does wedding videography and just recently switched to digital. I'm helping him out with some technical aspects, and got this in the in-box this morningWant to know if there is anything I need to add or change on my computer to run that software. Currently I have a 1MHZ processor with 1.25 GB RAM I didn't know you could do video editing on an Atari 2600.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/10/2005 12:03:00 PM | Feedback (1)
As most of my 14 readers know, I host SaaM out of my own house. I use my broadband connection (Road Runner) which is limited in upload speed. I am anxious for fiber to get put in but it appears that while they've laid the actual fiber lines through the neighborhood, that's all they've done.For reasons I've not been able to track down, my overall bandwidth has simply disappeared over the past few days, both up and down. You may notice some slowdowns with the site, and I apologize for that, but...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/9/2005 9:42:00 AM | Feedback (0)
At, I looked up the definition of the word recursion. At the end of the page, it says (no kidding)recursionn. See recursion. Luckily a coworker was able to jump in my cube and rescue me. I'd have been there for weeks.Update:To truly enjoy this post. Follow the trackbacks. Then follow their trackbacks. And so on, and so on...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/3/2005 3:29:00 PM | Feedback (8)
Over to the right (your left if you read this using a complex set of mirrors and have your back to the monitor) is my testimonials gadget I wrote in about 23.8 seconds. It randomly selects a testimonial from a table. It works and that's about all I wanted out of it.UpdateThe source code, demo code, compiled dll, and installation instructions are now available here.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/1/2005 9:29:00 PM | Feedback (5)
Buddy of mine got an email today from Road Runner saying they've increased the download speeds to 5Mb. Whooptie-fu%&in'-doo. While it makes for nice video and quicker porn educational surfing, what I crave is upload speed.And for that I'm lovingly choked at 256Kb.I run SaaM out of my house. I also use Vonage for my phone line. And because I do a lot of web work I usually keep an RDP session open to my computer so I can check how certain things look from the outside world (plus it allows me...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/20/2005 8:51:00 AM | Feedback (3)
One of the major drawbacks in my life is that, while I am a tip-top programmer, I don't have the mad math skillz I wish I did. I've got some great ideas, but without a PHD in quantum algebra or something, I just don't have the mathematical knowledge to pull them off.The one thing I'd really like to see in software is an automated face detection and recognition program that would help me sort through my pictures.Here's how it would work. Much like Google's Picasa 2 (which I am very...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/19/2005 3:18:00 PM | Feedback (4)
Anyone out there using Thunderbird know how to change the behavior of When I delete an email, I want the application to open up the next newest mail?Right now, when I delete, it moves to the last email I read. Not real helpful for me. I want it to move up, not down. Can't seem to locate any settings that would help.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/13/2005 3:16:00 PM | Feedback (1)
Due to the needs of work and needing the ability to reproduce stuff at home when I'm telecommuting, I run a copy of Exchange here. I hate it. It's just me and my wife so there's no need for such a beast of a system for our mail.So, I want to dump Exchange and drop using Outlook and move to Thunderbird as a mail client. But what mail server can I use? The nice thing about Exchange is that it's tied into my directory which makes adding aliases easy. See, when I sign up for something, I...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/5/2005 11:10:00 AM | Feedback (1)
I need help. My blog is not sending comments or contact requests to me. I've determined that the problem lies within CDO on my server. My server is Server 2003 running Exchange 2003 but System.Web.Mail causes the following errorSystem.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x80029C4A): Error loading type library/DLL.The web server is on the same box. If I run the scripts on my XP box, everything is fine. Run the same scripts on the 2003 box, kaput! Nada!I've looked over...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/4/2005 1:35:00 PM | Feedback (7)
I have this silly idea for a Internet based drinking game. Although it's not 100% complete, it basically goes like this.You get 3 or more people. Like any drinking game, the more the better. Everyone gets 2 playing cards - One Red, one Black.Someone starts the game by coming up with some off the wall domain name like Everyone else lays out a card (face down) to indicate if they think there is a site there or not (red indicates no, black yes). Someone checks, and if a...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/19/2004 8:31:00 PM | Feedback (2)
My wife was looking through the Best Buy circular in the Sunday paper. She asked me what a USB Drive was since she saw a whole bunch of them. I responded that it's a portable storage device and that I'd like one for my MP3's so I could take them to work but that I needed a 512M or greater and they were a little too pricey for me.She looks a little longer and says "Here's one for $29 that says it's 802.11 gigabytes (802.11g)"She didn't understand why I was laughing so hard.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/19/2004 1:23:00 PM | Feedback (0)
I just installed XP SP2. Pray for me. 
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/18/2004 1:09:00 PM | Feedback (9)
I spent the majority of the morning hacking. What a great feeling. First, one of our customers had a problem with FTP. So I had to look through several hundred megs worth of log files to determine that the log files were hosed. Even though I gave up FTP responsibilities years ago, apparently I'm still the only one who knows anything about it.Then my boss couldn't remember the password she used for the Word documents that had our reviews in them. That was fun! When I figured out that she had...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/6/2004 11:45:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Looks like Microsoft uses Firefox for screenshots now!If you've not heard my rant before about Internet Explorer, here it is in a nutshell.I am a Microsoft fanatic. This blog is written in .Net. I make my money writing software for the Microsoft platforms. I am also a regular member of the local Microsoft Architecht's Council. I think 2003 Server rocks. While I think Linux is nice, I still don't think it's ever going to wrestle the desktop away from MS.So you know where I stand. That being...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/26/2004 11:03:00 AM | Feedback (2)
Friggin' Service Packs....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/10/2004 10:14:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Sniffing SSL encrypted packets over a dial up line to see exactly who is dropping the connection at exactly 15 minutes is futile. Encrypted packets tell you very, very, very little.Just in case you happen to be packet sniffing today.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/10/2004 1:45:00 PM | Feedback (6)
So I get back from lunch today and start coding some stuff. Right as I've got about a zillion lines down, my PC decides "What the hell..." and reboots itself. Can you say "Bye bye code"?Turns out, one of the guys in support accidentally issued a shut down command.... to every every country. 1600 people all over the globe, like me, wondered what the hell just happened to their PC.So if you think your day was bad.......Update:It appears the error was in the software that we use to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/29/2004 3:38:00 PM | Feedback (2)
AAAAAUGH! The dreaded Windows Update icon just popped up at home telling me it's ready to install Win XP Service Hack II - The Sequel. No way dude. I've just started getting most of the holes plugged up, the last thing I need is Gates and Co. trying to help and end up opening more.Don't get me wrong, I like XP. As a programmer myself I realize that there are trade offs if you want "time to market". Linux is great and all, but recompiling my own OS because my video driver needs updating is...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/19/2004 3:34:00 PM | Feedback (2)
I am anal about shipping and tracking. I want to know where my items are within seconds of placing my order. Now that I am married, I no longer have the option of checking off "Same Day Shipping" and have been relegated into using "Ground". If there was a cheaper option called "Whenever you get around to it", my wife would insist I use it.So, now that there is more than a 1 hour delay between hitting "Place Order" and the doorbell ringing with my new, totally unneeded but...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/12/2004 1:49:00 PM | Feedback (4)
Dammit... I wanted to watch the Spaceship One get the XPrize. isn't working and CNN is Real Player only which I refuse to install. Every other place is either over-extended or uses Real.Someone tell me what happens. 
posted by by Robb Allen @ 10/4/2004 10:50:00 AM | Feedback (3)
A new technology capable of storing the equivalent of 100 DVDs on a single DVD-size disc has been unveiled by researchers from London's Imperial College. The storage medium, called Multiplexed Optical Data Storage or MODS, was revealed at the Asia-Pacific Data Storage Conference 2004 in Taiwan on Monday by lecturer Peter Torok. The development team said MODS can potentially store up to one terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) of data on one standard-size disc--enough for 472 hours of film, or every...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/29/2004 11:02:00 AM | Feedback (0)
I rewrote the code behind the posting mechanism in .Text to allow for basic HTML in the comments now.You can add hyperlinks with targets and hrefs (<a href="" target="_new">) as well as <b>,<em>,<i>,<strong>,<blockquote>, and <u>.The system should be smart enough to remove any garbage, but it's beta so there's bound to be some bugs. If you have any trouble posting comments, please use the comment button up top to let me know.Thanks!SaaM...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/27/2004 8:35:00 PM | Feedback (14)
One of the things I love about SaaM is that since I host the site inside my own home and I use .Text for blogging software, I can fiddle with the code whenever I want.I noticed that most other blog software packages put Previous and Next links up at the top of each post. .Text didn't have anything like that by default, so I wrote my own.Scott Watermasysk, the original .Text author, was kind enough to assist a bit in creating some of the database scripts needed to get this to work. It's in...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/17/2004 10:00:00 PM | Feedback (5)
I've got 4 Gmail invites to give away. I remember when people were auctioning these things off of eBay and now I can't give 'em away!So if you want one, use my contact form up top and let me know. First come, first serve.Apparently, I'm not the only one with more invites than friends. UPDATE!!! All invites have been given away at this time.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/30/2004 11:14:00 AM | Feedback (11)
Broke down and got a Tivo today. For free..... Best Buy had it marked (apparently incorrectly) for $99 with a $100 mail in rebate, so that math was pretty easy to do. I should have bought them all then resold them on eBay for a tidy profit but I didn't think about that until right now.Damn.Anyway, I'm having a terrible time using my phone line to do the full download of the data that I need. I use Vonage VOIP for my phone service so using a modem across is isn't a great idea.Maybe by...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/29/2004 9:13:00 PM | Feedback (0)
PhotoStamps!Can't wait to send letters to my family with this stamp!I'd make one sexy bitch!Also Rolling With It™Jeff JarvisMy Pet JawaThe Politburo DiktatRed Sugar MuseCaptain's Quarters
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/10/2004 12:20:00 PM | Feedback (6)
I am way behind on blogging and emailing people. As many of you know, Hosting Matters experienced some network connectivity issues yesterday and many blogs were affected. This is not an excuse for my inaction as I have nothing to do with Hosting Matters and run SaaM out of the old homestead.So, let me get a few things out of the way. First, I've received a few emails asking if people can link to my site. I'll answer all of them here so as to not be rude. Yes, but don't expect links in return....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/6/2004 1:17:00 PM | Feedback (0)
I've rewritten some basic code to close out comments after 30 days. As much as I love to hear from people, things that are over a month old tend to be stale topics, and I do like to try to respond to things as I can. I have a hard enough time remembering what I ate for lunch much less topics I covered so far back.For those of you coming here for the code, you can find the zip file here. To add expiration to your comments, extract SaaM.dll and place it into the bin directory of your .Text...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 8/1/2004 9:20:00 PM | Feedback (12)
Mrs. Marble is kidnapping me and taking me to an undisclosed location on the beach! I am being taken against my will. She claims it's a "vacation" but I know better. She is forcing me to live like a savage, far away from email or an Internet connection! Please help!If you are near a beach, look for me! I will be the guy wandering around the sandcastles looking for a network jack or a cooler with WiFi capabilities.I may not make it through the weekend, so please, hold digital vigils for my...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/28/2004 12:07:00 PM | Feedback (3)'ve been like this before. The object is to keep the drunk guy walking. Use your mouse to help him stay upright. Too far either way and he's taking a cement nap.It's in German, but there's nothing needed to translate, really.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/26/2004 12:51:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Seems I'm not the only lonely blogger out there.I wonder if there is a way to 'Google bomb' the TLB Ecosystem? Hmmm...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/13/2004 2:40:00 PM | Feedback (6)
After only one day of using it, I am now switching my browser to Mozilla's Firefox. It is now my default browser on my PC. I plan on putting it on my other PCs, including the server and the Linux box.I'll be honest with you, I don't care for Mozilla. It is slow and pages just didn't render well enough for me. But for some odd reason, Firefox just seems to have it right.Finally! A browser than can stand up to Internet Explorer!(I'm not giving up .Net though. .Net still rocks)
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/6/2004 10:53:00 PM | Feedback (1)
Saw a post on Ipse Dixit where Dodd said his blog box had gone down* which prompted me to ask a question. How many bloggers run their stuff out of their houses? I'm one. I use .Text as the blogging software. My server, Ford,  is an old Quad Pentium Pro. I use my Road Runner connection and No-Ip for dynamic DNS so I don't have to worry about IP changes (which rarely happen anyway). And now, I am using BlogJet as a way to write and update my site (w.blogger was a little...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/2/2004 10:53:00 AM | Feedback (1)
Here's one question that I have about Star Wars. In Episode IV, R2 and C3PO land on Tatooine and are eventually purchased by Owen Lars. Owen and the bots do not recognize each other. The bots do not recognize the place. Now, fast forward (or rewind, if you please. Damn prequels) to Episode II. CP3O is working at the moisture farm when Anakin shows up with R2D2. This could be explained if the robots had their memory wiped, but how the hell would Owen completely forget about 2 robots he had...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/28/2004 8:09:00 AM | Feedback (4)
OMG! Like Michelle “I'm hot, conservative, and a damn good writer” Malkin just mentioned me!!! Well, not directly, but she mentioned Hobb-ling which is a phrase I coined. I tell you, my rise to fame and fortune is happening right now. In the TTLB ecosystem, I'm like a parasitic pest or something. Watch out Puppy Blender, before you know it, I'll be on your heels! Indeed!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/23/2004 10:14:00 PM | Feedback (0)
I was right in the middle of something then *Poof*. No more Gmail. Can't get to it from several places. Gotta love Beta products. {Update} Seems to be back up. Slower than corrections from the N.Y. Times.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/23/2004 2:34:00 PM | Feedback (0)
My precioussss...... Nassssty hobbitsess want to takes Marble's Gmail.... Thanks so much to Dean Esmay for the invite. Now I have a full Gig of storage for all kinds of unneeded crap! Granted I've got a quarter of a terabyte at home, it's nice to have someone else have to worry about my email storage. The only thing I'd really prefer is to be able to use another application (such as Outlook) to check the mail. But still, a free Gig!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/22/2004 1:08:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Saw this over at Dean's World and I had almost forgot about it. Spaceship One is ready for takeoff tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM! This will be a historic day. I have longed for the space program07.hmove away from the government tit and into the private sector. Without all the b.s. bureaucracy, space flight for normal people like you or me will be feasible. One day, I may even be able to feel the wonder of 0g! (Yeah, I know it's not TRUE weightlessness, but let a guy dream ok?) This, of...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/20/2004 9:30:00 PM | Feedback (1)
Whoa! I wonder if you can get a nasty ear infection from this?
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/18/2004 11:21:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Exploding TV? Sounds great, but I have my hesitations.
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/18/2004 9:06:00 AM | Feedback (0)
Here's the email chain. Me: During our upgrade to 5.02 yesterday, the database migration gave me the following errors {blah blah blah}. Can you help me figure out what went wrong? Tech Support: Can you try the upgrade again? Something appears to have gone wrong. Me: ...............
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/17/2004 2:59:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Here's a link to Frank's story and no, I don't know what IMAO stands for. Knowing Frank, it's funny.
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/16/2004 12:29:00 PM | Feedback (3)
So we've got some of the most fancy Spam filtering stuff at work. Not a lot comes through because the system we use 'learns' patterns in Spam. Well, someone finally broke the code - I am now getting German. I mean, what the hell am I supposed to do? Go take a language course at the local community college so I can find out how to get the lowest mortgage rate on my house? These people are desperate. I don't get Spam. Viruses, yeah, I can understand why the idiots who write them use...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/14/2004 12:31:00 PM | Feedback (0)
Jeff Jarvis points to a great idea.
...Read More
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/4/2004 2:30:00 PM | Feedback (1)

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