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I Hate Linux

Saturday, July 30, 2005

New home for South Dakota Political News

My friend Dan (of tdaxp fame) recently launched a new website: The Jim River Report (named after the James River) which is patterned after the familiar and simple Drudge Report look.

A quick look shows it to be a news and blog aggregator with a focus on South Dakota and the politics that help keep it fun as well as some from around the country.

Good luck Dan with your new found attempt to corner the Republican news outlet market. One wonders if this new site will have higher page rank than my blog or yours.

Friday, July 29, 2005

8 Toolbars under IE7

Not long after my previous test with the Google Toolbar, I threw on the Yahoo Toolbar with no problem and began to wonder... how many others could I get to work? So decided to test this.

Thus far far... I am at 8.

For those morbidly curious who might want to try this themselves, the toolbars in question are:

Of course, there are a couple of minor problems that I have run into:

Currently, the layout of all of the toolbars is a bit tricky for me, I imagine that if I were using my laptop right now instead of through two layers of VNC I might have an easier time.

Also, one toolbar I did add early on was the Anti-Phishing toolbar from Netcraft and it worked fine, unfortunately for some unknown reason when I try to show it now IE goes down hard. I’ll look into that a bit more later to see if I can’t find a fix or determine if it isn’t working well with a given toolbar and which one that is.

Google Toolbar under IE7

It is being reported by some hacks who will not be linked to from here that new IE7 beta breaks the Yahoo and Google toolbar.

Not having much time to test with, I threw IE7 on to my laptop at home through two different VNC sessions (that is the reason for the not so pretty looking screenshot) to see what it did to the Google toolbar. The result? Worked fine.

It looks like Andrew Orlowski should do some research and possibly even testing prior to leveling seemingly unfounded and false allegations.

A little later when I have some time I will throw Yahoo on the laptop and see how that works, however for now I think these results pretty much speak for themselves.

EDIT: 7/29/05 11:23AM CDT:
I just took this test a bit further and got 8 Toolbars under IE7 working.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Most Expensive Ice Cream Cone Ever

After seeing Charlie and the Chocolate factory last night, Chad decided that he was in the mood for some ice cream and we came to the choice between a short drive to the local Culvers, or a shorter drive to a place called Cold Stone Creamery that was just across from the theater.

Having never been to Cold Stone, we decided to go there. Upon getting inside, we were greeted by a line of more than 30 people which zig-zaged through a standard line barricade setup. While waiting I was taking a look around and was impressed by much of what I saw. The place was far cleaner than I had expected and had been well cared for since being built (6+ months ago at least).

It was during my attempt to decide what to get out of their 28 regular mixes that I realized: They make their own ice cream.

No, I don’t just mean that they put their ingredients in the machine, press go and come back an hour later... I mean they do all of that and mix in their own ingredients when you order.

Once you’ve reached the front of the line (which took us 20+ min), they use a couple of large spoons to scoop out the actual ice cream from the display area, and then knead it a shape more suitable for the adding of ingredients. Into mine, chocolate chips and a piece of cookie dough were added and well kneaded. Later, the preparer added some fudge and caramel to the mix before asking me what I would like it in.

One may be wondering “Wouldn’t the ice cream melt due to all of that?” Such was my thought too until I found that the name of the place actually meant something. The surface that the ice cream was being prepared on was a wide piece of very cold stone, so cold that metal scrapers were needed to remove the bits of ice cream that weren’t served to the customer.

Having 3 sizes of: ‘Like it’, ‘Love it’ and ‘Gotta have it’, I ended up going for the medium size and ended up paying $5.22 for my ‘Cookie Doughn't You Want Some’ mix in a waffle cone while Chad paid about a buck more for the larger size of something else (whose clever name escapes me and which he was not able to finish) in a waffle cone bowl.

Quite a good treat, albeit rather expensive.

Adding to the experience was the workers (6 of them behind the counter) breaking into song from time to time with brief ditties, one began:

Hi-ho! Hi-ho, we thank you for your dough…

Interestingly, all of those tunes I remember hearing (4 in all that were repeated) were all based on old Disney themes and I was forced to wonder what sort of deal they had with for these performances to be safe.

It was later on that I noticed that every time someone would come in, one of the workers would yell (and I do mean yell) “Welcome to Cold Stone”.

Overall, quite an enjoyable experience, except for the length of the line, the premium price paid for such a treat and the excess of calories that my body did not need that night.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Review

This evening I had the pleasure of seeing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with my friend Chad down in Sioux Falls.

Having never read the book and only seen the original movie a few times I still was quite entertained by the effects, songs and overall great casting and acting.

Christopher Lee as the evil dentist father (“If you go, I won’t be here when you get back”) was brilliant. Johnny Depp as well was great and never went too far into the realm of craziness that other actors may have taken the part. Of the children, those you were supposed to hate you did... those you were supposed to like you did, and those you were to be indifferent to you were.

I was a little disappointed however to not have the classic (or remake of) “Oompa loompa doompadee doo” song; however those songs they did have were very well done.

I was also a little disappointed in how they handled the first ending attempt (if you see it you will understand), but aside from that I found it to be well worth the price of admission.

Do see this movie if you get the chance as it is great for kids of all ages.

I must say though, I am surprised by the fact that there has not been a golden ticket contest as a tie in to this movie.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Laughably Insulting

There are times when you are insulted and you fight back.

There are times when you are insulted and you are quiet.

There are times when you are insulted and you can't help but laugh.

This is the 3rd case.

Now and then I go through some of the logs to see what pages and search terms (often entertaining stuff) are referring visitors here, recently I came across one page which spent a fair amount of time badmouthing me and my blog, including this wonderful quote:

On topic; as he is not able to write any form of PHP, has a very little understanding of computers and seems to be manipulated by Microsoft Manipulations Inc., it doesn't wonder why he's mind is so infected with stupid things to do.

I can often be loud and opinionated, and when I am so, I tend to justify what I say and ground it in fact. After reading the entire post, including the line above I couldn't help but laugh and say:

Wow, even if I were to be drunk and moments away from passing out while griping about something that really ticks me off... I know I would be more logical and coherent than that!

In closing... I think I will stoop down a few levels and respond to the persons comments on me and my blog with a line often heard on old episodes of Jerry Springer... "Shut up! Shut up! You don’t know me! You don’t know me! F#*& you! F#*& you!" and so on.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Going to be a good week

Ever have one of those days where you realize that it is going to be a great week... or at least, it better damn well be one? This week I expect will be one of them... or if it's not, I will be quite disappointed.

Between it not being my week to drive for the carpool, having a birthday, auto insurance rates going down(due to birthday), the first annual Brendan Grant Appreciation Day, and also of Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica returning for their new seasons, as well payday #2 of a three paycheck month.

All I need now is to win the Powerball and find my dream house affordably priced and it will be a perfect week me thinks.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What happened to the .netcpu? It was sold

I just heard back from A Dot on what happened to the ,netcpu (dotnetcpu) product. Turns out, it has been sold to Microsoft.

Dont get me wrong, I am in some ways rather happy to hear that... but at the same time, kind of let down too because it seems that it will take a lot more to get some of these in house to look at.

Now comes the fun part... hunting down a contact at Microsoft for this.

What happened to the .netcpu?

Remember the .netcpu? If not, here is a quick rundown: It was/is a small processing board that contained a mini CLR (Common Language Runtime) that would enable developers to write programs for it using Visual Studio.NET and C# (or any .NET language really) that could be used in embedded systems. Back in December WindowsForDevices.com and others wrote about it, as well as there being a great deal of interest within the general blogsphere. Brilliant idea... except... where are they?

While preparing for a recent 'What is .NET?' presentation I gave here at work a few weeks ago, I went to their website and was greeted with a friendly "You are not authorized to view this page" message. This same message has greeted me every time I've tried to visit it over the last month.

The website of the company making it, A Dot Corportation is accessible, but not the actual products webpage.

After my presentation, a number of people expressed interest in learning more about this part given the number of embedded products we make, so one hopes they come back soon. In the mean time I've got an e-mail into A Dot asking if/when the page will be back up, because when it is, I will need to try to get an eval board or two in for us to play with... err, experiment I mean.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Thoughts on War of the Worlds

I ended up seeing this movie this weekend and walked away realizing how unrealistic it was.

No, it has nothing to do with the aliens invading, or the death rays, or even the concept that beings from space who have been planning an invasion for a million plus years have never developed the ability to detect body heat remotely or immunology and virology (you know, the ability to look for viruses and bacteria and check to see if they will kill you!)... no, something far bigger.

Tom Cruise and family flee from the aliens in... a mid 90's Plymouth Voyager.

Am I the only one who finds this a bit unrealistic? As a former owner of such a Voyager (a blue 93 to be exact) who was stranded along the interstate once because of it, and later had to drive it home (~50 miles) at less than 20 MPH)... I refuse to believe that the vehicles transmission would let them drive for as far as they did without any problem.

Heck, I expect that later in the movie when he is carjacked... if he would have calmly said "Hey man, I don't think you want this thing... the transmissions in these things are known to blow up around 70,000 and I'm already 50,000 over due... this thing is a death trap, trust me, you don't want it" the wanna be carjacker would have backed off and let him go... but then, that's just me.

Flat XML Serialization

Serialization in .NET rocks! It makes some of ones tasks of constructing an XML file out of values from a class and vice versa so simple.

Recently at work we had a need to send an XML string across the wire without all of the extra hard returns and formatting, however I did not have much luck other doing a quick and dirty Replace() on the string (which was enough for the time being). Later, seeing someone on microsoft.public.dotnet.languages.csharp asking about how to do this... I decided it was time to find a way... unfortunately, Google failed me, running searches such as: 'XmlSerializer format c# flat', 'XML Serializer format', 'Serialize format c#', 'XmlSerializer format c# flat' and many others... all without luck. (Note: those search terms are only here to help Google pick up on this page in case

In order to serialize something normally, you need to create a stream (to resource it will be serialized to (string, file, etc)) that is indirectly used by the serializer. This stream is often wrapped in a stream writer of some sort, often a TextWriter or StringWriter in my case.

If you create a new XmlTextWriter that uses the previously created TextWriter or StringWriter, you can better control the output, nambly by setting the Formatting property of the XmlTextWriter to None.

The following code is an example of how I traditionally serialize a class to a string (albeit stripped down a bit):

StringBuilder serializedOutputStringBuilder = new StringBuilder();
XmlSerializer s = new XmlSerializer( typeof( ClassTypeToBeSerialized ) );
StringWriter w = new StringWriter( serializedOutputStringBuilder ) );
s.Serialize( w, value);

We modify the creation of the StringWriter be created as an parameter for the creation of the XmlTextWriter ala:

StringBuilder serializedOutputStringBuilder = new StringBuilder();
XmlSerializer s = new XmlSerializer( typeof( ClassTypeToBeSerialized ) );
XmlTextWriter w = new XmlTextWriter( new StringWriter( serializedOutputStringBuilder ) );
w.Formatting = Formatting.None;
s.Serialize( w, value);

It's that simple, sure wish I had figured out how to do this a couple of weeks ago instead of having such high quality logic as:

serializedOutput = serializedOutputStringBuilder.ToString().Replace("\r\n","");

Yes, I know that this is a minor discovery and countless others have used it in past, I only offer this write up in the hopes that any others trying to find this method can do so more easily.

Friday, July 01, 2005


With the recent announcementof the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Conner I can't help to begin to think some crazy thoughts... With all of the recent filibuster fun in the Senate over lower court nominees and such battles nearly being over with now... I am glad to see that there is again major cause to watch CSPAN and watch our elected representatives compare each other to the worlds most hated individuals.

My bet: It will be on day 3 of the hearings on Bushs nominee before someone invokes Hitler.

Yes, I know, there are other reasons to watch CSPAN, the chief amongst them being the Prime Ministers Questions. For those who do not know it... I will just say this... watching it will at times make a typical American wish that their country had long ago adopted the British style Parliamentary system, if for nothing else but as an excuse to see their elected officials dance.