Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ethical Silence?

When I set out to start writing here I set a few rules for myself. What I hadn't realized was how much silence following those guidelines would cause. So, since it's been so quiet, here are my guidelines for the blog;

  1. Nothing about work

  2. Well, not entirely true, nothing about my company, what it does, trade secrets, flaming the boss or the coworkers etc. Things I learn, like Microsoft tricks, programming "geekness" are all fair game as long as they don't violate any NDAs etc.

  3. Family and Friends, and their lives, remain anonymous

  4. I like writing about what goes on in the world around me, but that doesn't mean that people want me writing about them or what's going on in their lives. You'd think this was common sense, until you realize that common sense is what's in the paper. Guess what? This rule only applies to their sources, not their subject material.

  5. Nothing just to gain readership

  6. That could throw people for a loop, but I'm not out to make the A-list blogs (obviously, lol) and I don't want to write about things just to jump onto the latest badwagon. If it's here I want it to be because I found it interesting or important. If you want something other than that, there are plenty of news papers, magazines, and other blogs willing to write about the wind blowing. If it doesn't feel "news worthy" to me, it's not going to be here.

Simple enough. Makes for some challenges in my writing though. It would be very easy to talk directly about those events in my life that bring about changes. Family and friends working through challenges always bring about emotion and those emotions are usually easy to put into writing, but in doing so I would break #2 above. Which leaves me often figuring out how to write about something without writing about it. After all, if they wanted to share that event on the 'net - they would have their own blog!

Funny that in doing so I usually learn more than I would have had I just written about it directly. Perhaps that's the lesson, sometimes its the harder path that leads to the more usefull lessons - taking the short cut, sensationalizing and "playing the game because that's the way the game is played", paint you into a corner that you can't escape from as everyone is busily painting over what you just painted and climbing over you to get to the next rung on the ladder.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pokerstars Blogger Tournament 2006

I had a blast last year participating in this event. It was cool to end up at tables with names I knew (mostly from the blogging circles) and to play some "real" poker where people were trying to win. I can't wait!

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7330476

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The road continues?

The weather has finally cleared and I'm back on my run schedule. The last few times I've noticed I look down the road. I hadn't realized I wasn't looking that far ahead of me but it seems that I was so focused on making it to the end that I never picked my head up to look down the road.

Funny how odd that sounds. It's not that I was staring at my feet and endangering myself and others around me, but I wasn't looking far ahead either. Somewhere in the middle. My focus seemed to be on what was coming up immediately, not what was way down the road.

You'd almost think there was a life lesson hiding in there.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Come again?

Some random thoughts and stories...
The man in front of me walked quickly to the door, opened it, and albeit unintentionally, let it slam in my face. I was leaving church. Is this what they mean by "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?"

A few jobs back my work had an attached gym (and I mean gym, it was a chain). It was always humorous to watch people work out and then take the elevator to their office. I've often wondered how much weight you lose while riding in an elevator. Must be more than taking the stairs.

A friend of a friend believed that if you had a diet soda for dinner the lack of calories in the soda justified having dessert. She could never figure out why she didn't lose weight.
I once dated a young lady who kept me on my toes. Once, we were on a date playing pool at a chain. She leaned over to me and said "Look at that Woman!" So I looked and she slapped me quickly saying, "Don't look at her!"

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Movie

I enjoyed it, and my wife (one of those few people who hasn't read the book) enjoyed it. It was a nice date for us away from the kids. Overall the movied stayed tight to what I remembered within the book and my only complaint would be the change in pacing.

The book was more of an adrenaline rush for me - you were (almost? hehe) always wondering what was coming next and constantly being pushed up against new information as you tried to unravel what was going on. For whatever reason, that speed didn't translate onto the big screen.

I still want a cryptex! *laughs*

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Weber helps Marines...

Got an email from the company I bought my grill from, Weber. I'll let them explain;

Command of the Grill: A Salute to Steak™

THANK A MARINE BY BUYING THIS BOOK.

A new fundraising cookbook from Weber, Command of the Grill: A Salute to Steak™.
Every penny of the $10 purchase price goes directly to four worthy charities that support wounded Marines and the families and the children of Marines killed in action.
You can find more out here. I'm placing my order now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On the net, Terrorists win...

That should score me some points with the NSA, unfortunately I'm talking about Spammers, not Al Qaeda. Today Blue Security Inc. called it quits. Blue Security had an interesting idea, you sign up to their service and report a spam message who wouldn't let you unsubscribe. Then all of the subscribers on Blue Security would hit the spammer with "stop sending this junk" style messages effectively choking the ability of the spammer to send out anything.

At least in theory. Unlike the idea of everyone sending back the prepaid credit card applications with nothing in them, this one had a solid backing of people. Enough so that the Spammers took notice and counter attacked - hard.
Then, earlier this month, a Russia-based spammer counterattacked, Reshef said. Using tens of thousands of hijacked computers, the spammer flooded Blue Security with so much Internet traffic that it blocked legitimate visitors from going to Bluesecurity.com, as well as to other Web sites. The spammer also sent another message: Cease operations or Blue Security customers will soon find themselves targeted with virus-filled attacks.
And after a decent battle, the spammer won. They managed not only to flood Blue Security off the wire but also Six Apart Ltd. (think TypePad) and TuCows. Vicious, and totally expected. If you shoot at a terrorist, would you be surprised if they shot back? I wouldn't be, in fact, I'd expect them to do something I didn't expect - you can look to Iraq for (too) many illustrations of this effect.

Unfortunately, Blue Security must have been working, otherwise the spammers wouldn't have been striking back. So we, the users that must endure being bald, impotent and silly enough to invest in something sent to us via email, lose one more tool that we could have used in this battle against spam.

I have to wonder though; is this like blaming the video game for your kid pulling a Columbine? Is it really the best we can do to stop the spammers is to fight back using their tactics instead of getting people to realize that Spam in your inbox is as false as the "Free Vacation" being offered via the postal mail? You know, the one you instantly threw in the trash?

What is that yellow orb?

You've probably read about the rains in the northeast over the past few weeks. We didn't need a hurricane to dump tons of rain, we have "normal weather" that dumps up to 8 inches on us when its bored. If you want to see some pics check out here, here and here. After too many days without blue sky or sun, both peaked out late yesterday afternoon.

I took the opportunity and ran to my martial arts class. It was surreal, it felt more like after a snow storm. Everything and everyone was very quiet. Even the dogs weren't greeting me like they normally do when I do my route. The wind was calm, and there weren't too many cars.

The walk home was neat, a clear sky with stars. It's amazing how much those little things mean. I could see the stars again. No clouds, no rain. I can only imagine what it must feel like for the people with the flood surges.

No surprise that this morning my son wakes up and reminds us forgetful parents that "it's sunny!" and he wants his birthday gifts, the spring powered planes that fly all over. Armed, he and his sisters went outside and proved that it was sunny.

You probably guessed it, 8am, Wednesday morning I was up on a ladder to get a toy plane off the roof. I'll take it over the rain. *laughs*

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Aw Nutz...

My streak continues. As you probably know Google ran a Da Vinci Code contest. First 10k to finish gained entrance to phase 2 and won themselves a cryptex. Logically, I knew the odds of being one of the first 10k was pretty slim - there are "just a few people" using Google. Still, I did the puzzles and got my entry in.

Nope, missed. These are the times I wonder who does win. I have never won a contest. I was hopeful for this one since it was based on getting the puzzles done and not on a random draw. Ah well, there is always next time.

Good luck to the Finalists!

Friday, May 12, 2006

When I see Hero...

When I see Hero Protagonist run by with his sword (or on the bike) I'm out of here!

*laughs* No, I wont be selling you extra copies of Snow Crash (although I do recommend it if you haven't read it). However, I will point you over to the BBC and ask you how far away Second Life is coming when the BBC is purchasing virtual land to, well, let them tell you:
The BBC has staked a claim to a virtual tropical island where it can stage online music festivals and throw exclusive celebrity parties.

The rented island exists in online game Second Life and will hold its first event this weekend with bands including Muse, Razorlight and Gnarls Barkley.

Certainly feels like the lands Hero immersed into, doesn't it? Second Life has come a long way from an interesting novelty to catching the eyes, and dollars (Lindens?) of people all over. Looking for the next generation MMO, here ya go. Embrace capitalism, make it part of your game, and act like a bank...

... Or just use it to good PR effect. Go BBC!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Took them long enough...

A while back I wrote about a Finnish movie called "Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning" - well, they've hit the mainstream on CNN now:
"I think it gave (Star Trek studio) Paramount a heart attack," said Ted Cohen, a senior executive for music company EMI at a mobile media conference in Helsinki on Monday. "How do you monetise that?"
Easy, Simpsons style: "HA HA!"

Sick = Silence

That was one weider what-ever-it-was. No appetite, short lived fever, and two weeks of just not feeling like myself. Some of these cold/flu things are just weird. Add to that a lack of anything to write about that isn't overly politically charged (and not normally land mines I prefer to step on) and you get a quiet blog.

This space for rent? *laughs* I'll find something interesting to post about, promise...

For the poker folks, a "laugh at this" hand...

3 players, I'm on the button. I get dealt 7 2 offsuit. I call, see if I can hit something on the flop. Small blind calls (as he's been doing with everything lately), large blind checks.

Flop comes down K 8 5 rainbow. No help. Amazingly both players check to me.I debate betting, but the guy to my left has been calling down everything I throw out, so I check.

Turn is a blank and again it is checked to me. I should have taken a shot at it, but didn't. River, same thing. A very bland hand to say the least, and we go to the showdown!

Guy to my left? Pocket 2s.
His left? 7 2 off suit
Me? well, another 7 2 off suit.

Winner, pair of 2s! Fear the 2s.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Windows AutoPlay extends beyond CDs....

A friend wrote to me and related how he lost a good portion of his system due to someone connecting a USB drive to his system. It looks like something ran as soon as the USB drive was connected and spread throughout his system.

Odds are you've seen the semi-benign version of this when you put in an audio CD (or game, etc.) and the normal auto-run kicks up. Normally this isn't a bad thing, but if someone a little more malicious starts using it your in trouble.

For the techies amongst us, you can disable the AutoPlay feature on all drives through the Group Policy editor in Windows (gpedit.msc). The main setting is found at Administrative Templates -> System -> Turn Off Autoplay.

Just remember that once you do this, you wont see any automatic content. If you want to install that game or software your going to have to manually kick it off. Personally, I quickly turn off the auto-run on CDs as it drives me nuts (I'll run it thank you very much) so this was a nice tweak for some added security.

References:
Windows XP Autoplay
USB Devices offer an old-school way to steal data

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And in other Star Wars news...

If you are a Star Wars fan I hope you picked up on of the incarnations of Lego Star Wars. My entire family, from the 2 year old up, has been hooked on this game. And, finally, the trailers are out for Lego Star Wars II - doing the original trilogy. I can't wait.

I especially liked Darth-3PO *laughs*

Thursday, May 04, 2006

It's about time....

This September you can finally buy the original Star Wars Trilogy - including the "right" cantina scene on DVD. You can see the full article here.
In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you'll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.
Now for the bad news (you knew there had to be some); this will be a limited time offer, only going from Sep 12 to Dec 31.