ATC :: Since February 2001

Friday, August 22, 2003

Asthma hot spots - [9:29 AM]

MSNBC: "The Fresno metro area is home to an estimated 199,000 people with asthma. Fresno has high asthma prevalence, asthma mortality, and ozone pollution. Like Phoenix, though, Fresno has particularly low pollen levels." - We live about forty miles from Fresno, my daughter is an asthma sufferer. We've been considering a move from the valley because of it. Sigh.
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Visio 2003 RTM - [9:14 AM]

Well I guess since Scoble posted a link to a story about the release of Office 2003 I can talk about Visio 2003 being released, right?

The code walked out the door Tuesday August 19, 2003! It'll be quite a while before it hits the shelves because it takes a while to duplicate it. So please be patient. This release of Visio was our first the Office team's development process, which was a bit strange to say the least. I am however confident in saying it's a very stable product and should please our third-party development community.

My favorite Visio 2003 features are:

1) Macro Recorder - Now you can record your actions and play them back. We created this feature so folks could see how to write macros. Our object model is super rich and can be quite daunting to a coder that's never used it before. Now when you have a question about how to do something, just record it and check out the code we generate for you!

2) ActiveX Control - The folks that worked on this did a super job. You can now embed Visio right inside your application. Be it VB, VB.Net, C#, or a C++ managed/unmanaged application. It's a super powerful way to stick a diagram right inside your application without recreating the wheel.

3) New selection model - If you've used Visio in the past you know what I'm talking about the first time you pause over a Visio shape and see the new handles. The tweaking of the selection model continues to improve. E.G. Pausing over a shape will now result in a "lollie-pop" handle poping up so you can rotate the shape without changing to the rotation tool. It's subtle but powerful! You'll understand once you see it, that's all I can say.

There's tons of other stuff in there as well, most of which I've been looking at for two years so it's hard to remember what's new. Once you have it come back to the Visio site for tips and tricks, you won't be disappointed.
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Movie line of the week answer - [8:47 AM]

Stripes movie posterAll right! That's the way I like it, more than one guess, but not too much more than that. It was pretty much the usual players, thanks, I appreciate the fact that you come back for the movie line.

Our winner is a repeat of last week! Congratulations Moose, I sure wish I knew who you were!

The correct answer is of course....

Stripes

Classic Bill Murray film. That particular line was spoken by the late great Mr. John Candy, it's hard to believe he's been gone for over nine years.

Thanks again for playing everyone, and remember "That's the fact Jack!"
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Thursday, August 21, 2003

Movie line of the week - [9:17 AM]

Hot buttered popcorn and a movie, ahhh!Not even a trip to the dentist will stop me today! Are ya'll ready?

Here it is...

Well, my name's Dewey Oxburger. My friends call me Ox. I don't know if you've noticed, but I got a slight weight problem.

Ok, quick, what movie! Send your guesses here.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Thanks for all the help! - [11:05 AM]

Yesterday's plea for help didn't go unanswered. Tommy Williams, Mike Wilbur, and Tyler Love all had great suggestions and I now have a plan of attack to recover my battered hard drive. By recover I mean get stuff off it I need, then scuttle it.

Thanks guys!
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Your mileage may vary - [10:13 AM]

I'm seeing reports all over the place about e-mail problems. Wild stuff to say the least. I guess Outlook 2003 is paying off big for me. I haven't had a single problem with e-mail since this started, like I said your mileage may vary. If your client app cannot connect do you have a web UI to your e-mail? If so use that to thin out the garbage. Folks you don't know, e-mail with attachments, etc... automatic trash.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Ideas welcome - [2:21 PM]

Before I get on the horn with someone at helpdesk I thought I'd throw this out to the general public. My earlier post about boot problems are not solved. I can boot from the CD, as recommended, but I cannot get repair to work. I can hop out to a command shell and browse files and directories, good sign, but I can't get the darned thing to boot. I tried a fixmbr, no luck, although it did say that the master boot record was hosed. So, what next? It's an IBM ThinkPad 600x and I don't think you can just pop the hard drive out and stick it into another box. I've had it out and it doesn't look very standard. Hmmmmmm, suggestions anyone?
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That's Odd?? - [12:44 PM]

I've tried to visit the Oddworld Inhabitants web site a few times over the past couple of weeks and I get nothing. Did they implode or something? The Google cached page includes the strange comment "... that's funny, there is a slip of pink paper here on my desk ..." dated August 1, 2003.

Did I miss something?
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Nice job Bill - [10:19 AM]

Bill Lazar [BillSaysThis]: "First real results with C#" - It looks like you've done a great job Bill! Keep hammering away, it'll pay off. The best apps are those you write for your own personal use. They tend to fit better because you only have to satisfy one user, yourself.
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Interesting - [9:40 AM]

MSNBC: "More than 160 priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee have signed a letter arguing that married men should be allowed to enter the priesthood." - I have a better idea. Leave the Catholic church, then you can get married, have children, and still serve God. What a concept! Sorry for the sarcasm there, but if you don't like the rules get out of the game guys.
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Major Malfunction - [9:26 AM]

I have a laptop I do my "administrative" work on. I run e-mail, run the bug database, and write documents on it. It's getting fairly long in the tooth and it's not overly useful for development work, except for experimental code and small projects. The battery need to be replaced so it's not very useful as a portable machine and it mainly sits in its' port replicator these days. This morning when I fired it up I noticed the drive making a funny little grinding sound, that was followed by a message telling me \WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM was missing or corrupt and I should re-run setup from the original CD and "Select 'r' at the first screen to repair". I've been writing some documentation on that machine, docs that I haven't pushed into our SPS server yet. I hope the repair works.

Sigh.
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Good times - [9:10 AM]

Robert Scoble: "Dude, if every one of our single employees took to the phones there wouldn't be enough people to deal with a problem like this." - I think that's an excellent idea, well maybe not ever single employee, but at least every single developer/technical person. If I were running a company I would require the development team to first learn the product like a user. As part of that experience I'd require them to listen in on technical support calls and later I'd like to see them actually take calls and answer the questions. Why? It's nice to be in touch with your user base. They make or break your product and you should cater to them. I worked phones for Visio, in developers support, and I think it made me a better developer. I heard what folks were using Visio for first hand and heard about the warts on the product when things didn't work as advertised. I passed many a request to the API/ShapeSheet guys and they implemented the requests that came in most often, no really they did.

If you write code for a living I'd encourage you to talk to the user of your product. See what they're doing with it. You don't have to answer phones to find out, go to a trade show and demo the product. I LOVE trade shows. It's an absolute blast to demo your product and answer questions about it, sometimes those questions are TOUGH to answer, but it's worth the experience.

Man, I wish I could go to another show. Hey, marketing, you listening? Smile, life is good!
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Monday, August 18, 2003

RC's adventures in XBox - [9:35 AM]

StronglyTyped: "This piece of code reminds me of the code we use to write for MODE 13 on the PC (320x200x256)." - This is pretty slick. It's quite possibly a new market for the XBox isn't it? I wonder if anyone has jammed a bunch of modified XBox's together to form a farm of servers? I think they could make a slick dedicated web server or database server, or my all time favorite, a render farm.
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