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Category: dancing

10/07/10 10:51 - 58.ºF - ID#52912 pmobl

Pure Nightclub

Over the weekend I went to pure on Chippewa with a few buddies. The girl we were with got drugged. I guess the lesson is don't drink water from anyone. The hospital said it was PCP. Who does that?

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Last Modified: 10/07/10 10:51


Category: mobile

10/04/10 03:56 - 47.ºF - ID#52896

Windows Mobile 7 Phone - Not For Me

I would like to start off by saying that I know everyone thinks I hate everything Microsoft but I had several windows mobiles phones that I liked. For their time, the Pocket PC 6700 and the AT&T Tilt were the most advanced smartphones out there. Now after failing miserably with the Pink/Kin project microsoft is trying again with Windows Mobile 7. I think they are probably going to fail. Then again I never thought nokia would fail and apple would previal with the iphone, so who am I to say.

First of all, I find the OS is so freakin ugly. This pic is from engagdet.
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But really, the looks aren't that important in a phone - its the functionality that counts. Somehow it doesn't even have cut/copy/paste. I can't believe after all the drama with the original iphone not coming with copy/paste, and all the windows 6+ fans making fun of them for it - the new Windows 7 Phone will not have it at launch next week. How does this feature slip through development. Is there something so terribly complicated about copy/paste that I am missing?

From the engadget article:

Update: We just super-double-ultra-plus-confirmed this with Microsoft -- Windows Phone 7 Series will not have copy and paste functionality. There is a data-detection service built into the text-handling API that will recognize phone numbers and addresses, but Microsoft says most users, including Office users, don't really need clipboard functionality. We... respectfully disagree? Sure, let's leave it at that.



From the wiki article you can also see that in addition to cut/copy/paste - tethering, sd card support, and multitasking are left out of windows mobile 7.

..some features found in Windows Mobile 6.5 will not be in Windows Phone 7 at launch. Among the features that won't be present at launch but have been announced to be coming are cut, copy, and paste[46] and full multitasking[47]. Additionally, support for Adobe Flash (version 10.1) has been confirmed to be coming to the browser as well.[48] Support for removable SD cards and tethering[49] have also been left out of the OS. Microsoft claims this to be in the interest of data security for enterprise users.[50] Windows Phone 7 will also not support Silverlight in the web browser[51] or IPsec virtual private network (VPN) security.[52]



The other thing I think is kind of damning is that they do not have sd card slots. You get a 8 or 16GB version and some people are saying you will have the option to purchase space on a "skydrive" which is basically your data in the cloud on microsoft servers. Doesn't that strike you as paying to rent your own content. I would much rather pay the $40 up front and have enough space to store all my content on a card so that I can insert into other devices and use when I have no connection. People are saying they are limiting the sizes to not compete with their own Zune market. I am sure the battery life playing songs from your "skydrive" is far worse than playing songs right off an SD card. On my android phone and former iphone you could play music off the SD card for about a day straight. Plus when you are out of services area - these phones are GSM afterall - there is a good chance you would not even be able to get to your music. That and the fact that mobile broadband prices are skyrocketing - notice there are almost no more unlimited accounts (which were really only 5GB to begin with.) Most plans are somewhere around 2GB-3GB. So after that, what is the point of even having a skydrive. To pay $1000 a month to listen to your own music.

In the end the real killer for me would be having to stick with Pocket IE vs mobile Safari or Chrome. If microsoft has trouble keeping its flagship browser relevant and up to date - how on earth will the mobile one be. According the the wiki article

Windows Phone 7 features a version of Internet Explorer Mobile with a rendering engine that is "halfway between IE7 and IE8"


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Category: computers

10/03/10 01:11 - 55.ºF - ID#52888

Generic software patents are bad

This week Microsoft sued Motorola over android. The way the news portrays it you would think that motorola's android mobile technology is based on windows mobile code. What they are really suing over is this:

synchronizing email, calendars and contacts, scheduling meetings, and notifying applications of changes in signal strength and battery power.



Notifying applications of changes in signal stength and battery power on a mobile platform is essential and I highly doubt microsoft was the first corporation to come up with such an algorithm. It is the computer equivalent of granting a corporation a patent to cook food in pots and pans or to carry water in a container. The thing is microsoft and other large corporations have the ability to pay for all these patents or buy up smaller corporations that own them. It puts way to much power in the hands of big corporations and stifles the development of new technology.

I think a lot of the patents were granted because the people granting the patents had no idea what they really meant. It is pretty easy to make something so basic seem complicated and specific.

I find it ironic that the same large corporations that vie for free markets in order to ship their jobs off to 2nd and 3rd world countries with cheaper wages rely on this total government bureaucracy style protection. If someone can make something better or more efficient using different code, then let them.

If anything allow people to use copyright to protect the expression of the idea (the entire software package/product) but prevent patents on ideas.

In connection with computer software, copyright law can be used to prevent the total duplication of a software program, as well as the copying of a portion of software code (both of which are examples of "literal infringement"). In addition, copyright does provide some protection against non-literal infringement, such as the creation of "cloned" software.



I hope the windows 7 phone fails miserably. Then I hope they go out of the mobile phone business once and for all.
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10/02/10 10:06 - 47.ºF - ID#52884 pmobl

Ace of Diamonds Continued

Found this pic of me smashing rocks for gems at Ace of Diamonds on (e:Terry)'s phone. The striped shirt gives it a real chain gang look.

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Category: web

10/02/10 01:55 - 55.ºF - ID#52879

Second Life Cash

I can't believe how much money I was made off of this thing. My $125 original investment made in 2002 has yielded thousands.

I wish I had time to play more because I am sure I could make much more. Maybe I should stop working so hard on my real job and start concentrating on more interesting things.
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Category: web

10/02/10 01:37 - 55.ºF - ID#52878

border-radius rounding corner drama

Rounded corners have been really annoying the last 10 years. Everyone loves them but there was really no easy, efficient way to produce them.

In order to make them work you needed all kinds of extra markup or images cut out and stuck on all the corners. The problem with the markup up is that even when you create a function to auto generate it serverside or with clientside javascript you end up with a ton of unnecessary markup that make managing the DOM that much harder. With the images it is even worse in that they don't scale well because they are bitmap graphics and everyone zooms now on they many devices from mobile phones to televisions.

CSS3 brought support for a new style called border-radius and the browsers began to accept it but only with their own proprietary prefixes. I don't understand why browsers do this. Before they accept the new styles they always add their own prefixes.

e.g. -webkit is safari/chrome, -moz is firefox, i.e. has nothing to do with this yet.

So in order to get the comment bubbles to appear rounded on the front page I need this.

border-radius:15px 15px 15px 15px;

Seems simple enough, but no stable browser supports that yet. Instead I need that, for when they do, and then these custom prefixed values of the same thing. Here is the mozilla one.

-moz-border-radius:15px 15px 15px 15px;

Then to make it even more stupid, chrome can't handle the shortcut of adding all the corners on one line which makes it require these four lines.
-webkit-border-top-right-radius:15px;
-webkit-border-top-left-radius:15px;
-webkit-border-bottom-right-radius:15px;
-webkit-border-bottom-left-radius:15px;

This article covers it all

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Category: web

10/01/10 11:30 - 53.ºF - ID#52874

Standardizing web buttons

I was so curious how the buttons in google analytics are rendered so I took a look at the source. To my surprise, they were so mangled in tables and excess markup that I almost can't believe it.

They look pretty much the same in all browsers.
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But is it worth this kind of ridiculous markup. Even that table is in a nested table. Its like the web I worked with back in 2001. And those extra empty tags on either side of the text.
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My new thing is to just use buttons and let the browser render them natively. I don't care if they look different in different browsers so long as they look good and work in each. I think the days of pixel perfect matches between browsers with such diverse rendering engines is over.
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Location: Buffalo, NY
Last Modified: 10/02/10 01:04


Category: linux

10/01/10 11:16 - 53.ºF - ID#52873

Fedora 14 Release Date Approaching

It seems almost hard to believe but Fedora 14's release date is just around the corner on 11-02-2010. It got pushed back a little bit but not by much. The final release candidate should be out by the 19th. It seems like just yesterday that Fedora 13 came out. I love the pace at which Fedora moves. Everytime they refresh it is like getting a new computer.

The feature set is enumerated here . I already upgraded to Netbeans 6.9 on Fedora 13 so thats no as exciting as it could be. I am so curious how the default desktop background turned out - I hope it progressed from (e:paul,52182)

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Last Modified: 10/01/10 11:19


Category: food

10/01/10 10:35 - 53.ºF - ID#52872 pmobl

Ate at blue fin again

(e:samathon1986) and I ate at the Blue Fin Asian bistro again on Thursday. I can get over how similar it is to Wasabi. They even have the same napkins. Could it be the same people?

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Category: work

10/01/10 09:54 - 53.ºF - ID#52871

Trying to get Google Chrome Frame Installed in a Corporate Setting dominated by Microsoft Products

Sorry for all these boring work posts. They probably only interest (e:tinypliny). When I was on vacation the other day I saw that Google's Chrome Frame came out of beta. I was very excited at the possibiliy of being able to have all the features of chrome to develop with at work, where we are stuck on IE due to vendor compatibility.



When an email was copied to me mentioning that symmatec, a security vendor suggested chrome frame to speed up their web apps, I was even more excited which started this whole conversation. This is a perfect example of what I often go through at work. No matter how simple the technology is, the resistence is overwhelming unless it is a microsoft technology in which case money, time, and effort flies to it like a magnet.

I really hope this works out because it would make web development so much easier. I am so sick of the lack of proper debugging tools in IE and the serious lack of modern web technology and speed in that browser. Its almost hard to imagine how much javascript kludgery I could get rid of if I didn't have to support the outdated IE javascript and CSS engines anymore.

Original Email From Person A: Fyi – just remembered the web team mentioning enhancements possible due to IE chrome pluggin and also just saw this on the Symantec console. Maybe a future discussion is in order. See lower portion of screenshot where Symantec mentions it helping console performance. Not sure what other situations or software applies.


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Me:Hey All,
Wow, that's great that even symantec is suggesting it. Now that it is out of beta, I suspect you will see it mentioned more often.

The loading of the plugin is specified by the web application itself so that it won't affect applications that don't call it. Google came up with this strategy because their newer apps have many HTML 5, CSS 3, javascript functions that are not offered by IE, including IE 9 and they recognize that corporations are locked into even older IE because of the vendor products. By offering the chrome rendering engine as a plugin for IE, they didn't need to get people to switch browsers or install two browser.

It does not force all apps to use chrome, or even let the user choose. Instead it lets the website say that it is chrome enabled by adding some extra headers which then triggers the page to load usig the chrome engine instead of the IE one - thus avoiding conflict with applications that were built to be IE only.

I am not saying don't test, I am just saying the likelyhood of it affecting any apps that do not purposely specify that it should be loaded is very low.



Person A: Well, I have it enabled on my machine and I will begin watching for any problems/concerns. I expect we can get some more people to try it out.

Is there anything that those that have it enabled can access/do that would show it's value?



Me:
Really, the value is in what it could potentially provide both in terms of browser features and speed but only for sites that have it enabled. The google apps such as google docs/gmail would be a good place to start.

That being said, the real test is not what it provides but seeing that nothing changes with your normal usage of vendor apps internally. For those apps it should offer zero benefit, but also zero detriment.



Person B: A few other things to consider beyond compatibility. How do we patch this? What is the business need for the additional effort? Is this going to notify users of updates that they cannot install. There needs to be a real business value for us to add software that increases our work load for desktop maintenance. Adding something because it is "cool" isn't a justification, especially when it increases someone else work load and eventually introduces vulnerabilities sooner or later as all plug-ins do.



Me: This has nothing to do with being cool. The time it will save us as developers and the features it offers end users are significant. HTML 5, CSS 3 and advanced javascript are the future of the web. In fact most of that is the web since two years ago but we are left behind because of being stuck with IE and especially IE 7.

Web page will rendering much faster, it allows us to use more desktop like interaction with the following features:

  • Lightning fast standards compliant javascript engine that responds 100x of times faster than IE.
  • an amazing set of developer tools in the form of a web inspector, javascript console, javascript debugger and task manager that will speed up development and testing time for us
  • Offline mode that allows apps to work offline and store data and then send when network is available
  • SQL based client side storage for keeping things like preferences etc and not needing the HTTP overhead of cookies or the 4k limit
  • drag and drop of data to and from the desktop
  • native multi file upload
  • CSS 3 - many things we currently design in web pages with code and be declared in stylesheets
  • A canvas tag which allows 2D and 3D rendering of vector data within the page an opens a whole world of flashless graphing and real time widget possibilities to our web apps.
  • An extensible element class which allows us to more easily program the DOM.

We will also have a platform that is OS agnostic as chrome runs on all three and safari uses the same rendering and javascript engine called webkit as chrome. So does mobile safari and mobile chrome.

Lets be honest, even if IE 9 supports HTML5, it is missing many of the developer and end user functions of chrome and we probably wont have it until 2015. By using this plugin we remove ourselves from having to worry about new versions of IE breaking stuff until the vendors are ready to approve it.

Additionally, google came out with an MSI installer for chrome frame that can be pushed:
Here you can see a video about it...
Paul



Person B:Not really germane if it increases operation hours maintaining it for zero business reasons. Same litmus test that all software has to pass. The cost of software maintenance on 3500 machines has to be substancially less than the demonstrative dollar value of the benefit.

It is incumbent on IT to provide a stable cost effective environment that gives the highest return the business needs.



Another Email From Person B:We don't want people using these tools and leaving proprietary data off site. So this isn't really a justification. We provide resources to do work securely.

Also creates additional overhead for the people that work to keep things working. Every piece of software must have a business justification because that free software costs Company money to test,deploy, and maintain.



Me:I was never suggesting people use google docs to store any Company data. You took that totally out of context. Person A was asking me, what he could use to test the functionality of the plugin and I was explaining that they have features that take advantage of it.

I find it ironic that you would suggest that I would be wasting Company's money when I have probably saved hundreds of thousands by choosing open technologies that significantly reduced cost since I got here in 2005. If the web team had gone in the .NET windows server, MSSQL direction our budget would have already been in the hundreds of thousands just for licensing.



Person B:
Considering I have saved in excess of $2 million over 11 years, I do know how to save money too. I also am responsible for total cost of maintaining the entire companies hardware and software matrix. Adding complexity to the desktop costs money and time, something that unless you do it can get lost. Adding this or anything else costs and if no measurable business value it is wasted money. As to the savings of a dozen operating systems, SQL, and development software no way adds up to 100's of thousands of dollars. I manage the licensing and contracts and know what those systems cost and there is no way. There has been a software savings no doubt, but at what cost?



Me: This is a plugin for the current browser that does not require the user to be trained in any way. It even has an msi installer.

A good comparison would be the flash plugin. How much does it cost you to maintain the flash plugin? From this plugin we would be getting 1000x the functionality of the flash plugin with the added advantage of a reasonable debugging utility, quicker speed, and access to modern web technologies which would allow us to build significantly more advanced web applications. After all it seems like the future of all application development is the web at this point, why restrict us to using out of date technology for the basis of all development.

Its ironic because according to your user agent, you use IE 8, not IE 7 and yet everyone else on campus is subjected to using that browser. Maybe by not using it, you just don't realize how slow it really is. Just the attached graph for speed comparison of the various browsers running the javascript sunspider benchmark. Javascript is the language that runs all interactivity on a web app. While IE 8 is only slightly behind, IE 7 is 40x slower than chrome. Because of the vendor product environment we are in, we will see very slow switchover to IE8 and IE9. Even then, what IE 8 gains in speed it is severly lacking in terms of functionality or developer tools. IE 9 begins to address things like HTML5, CSS 3 and the canvas tag but as I said before, we will probably not have that for several years.

This plugin would allow to deliver web applications using 2009-2010 technology to our internal users now instead of in 2013 when its already out of date. Additionally, with the potential to speed up everyones web application usage, the cost saving is exponential.

Paul



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Person B:
Did not claim there is user training, never had a problem on its construction or installation. Does it have a business justification is all that is asked.

I spend at least 80 hours a year when Flash updates are successful, more time when it fails then there is HD time involved. What business need is met by the 1000x functionality increase? How does that make money with process improvement or improve patient care or research? We spend a lot time working with JAVA, quicktime, Shockwave, Adobe and the problems they create with incessant updates. All of them introduce vulnerabilities, so there is risk with each piece of software. Having one more vector for vulnerabilities carries a heavy cost, have more and more it becomes untenable.

That is all well and good, but this is a business and the version level right or wrong that supports the business needs is IE7, if it was something else we would be running that. Unfortunately we don't get to dictate I wish we could. Someday the vendors will hopefully be agnostic, just not today. Maintaining an enterprise is a combination of what we want and what meets the needs. Should we have more out there because it runs better sure, can we afford to maintain it or does it enhance the business? Most things do not enhance the business process. Does increasing complexity and maintenance costs help the business when no business need it being met do what is best for the business? There needs to be a business justification for everything we put out and support. What business line application will this enable or support? What are the costs? These are the answers we need to roll out another app. The software matrix here is difficult enough to juggle and maintain. Each additional app/plug-in/client increases the complexity just as the patches we apply each month. We are here to support the organization’s goals and needs. Those needs are stability, security, process control, and reasonable cost.

The users need the technology that helps them do their job for the business, and not technology for technology sake. We always need to find ways to improve things but within the constraints of the tools that run the business and cost benefit. That is the rub.

Computers spend 99% of the time waiting for people/input. Changing the speed a page renders has no impact on savings. Save more dollars optimizing the elevators in the hospital than would be recouped on faster web page rendering.

Come up with a business justification



Person C (my boss): All, the Web Team will put together a proposal that addresses all these concerns. We will work with the VP to articulate the distinct business advantages of going the Chrome Frame route, and with Person B regarding any maintenance/upkeep issues that may exist.

We all want the Company, and specifically IT at the Company, to succeed. We've all got different ideas on how that can be accomplished.

We are all on the same team here. Let's work toward a collaborative relationship that is mutually beneficial and respectful of each other's concerns.


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leetee said to heidi
thank you for the lovely photo (e:Heidi) i adore it...

tinypliny said to heidi
\m/ Walt \m/
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tinypliny said to leetee
Leetee!!!!!! I am incredibly sad to hear this. :((

Sending out my heart to you!!
Stay strong and p...

vincent said to heidi
That's how I remember him he has this hipness to him with his style that wasn't like hipsters today....