Archive Of Blog Entries (Oct 2005 to Jan 2006)
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Archive of Blog Entries

blog entries from Oct 2005 to Jan 2006...

Mon, 23 Jan 2006 04:36:11 GMT

Tip: MS Paint Power User -- Setting Line Thickness

Setting Line Thickness for Shapes in MSPaint.exe

[A serious stab at getting the not-so-serious 'MVP for MSPaint' award.]

When annotating a picture with MS-Paint it's handy to use a thick line-style.

But there is no 'line-thickeness' panel available when drawing ellipses, rectangles, polygons, and rounded rectangles.

[Continues...]

Read On...


Fri, 20 Jan 2006 01:39:36 GMT

Tip: Don't Want Outlook Notification About EVERY email?

Annoying Outlook Popup

Consider this scenario: You get a lot of emails that aren't quite spam, but you don't want to be notified about them.

(Maybe they come from the office pest or a mailing list you only occasionally read)

So you created a rule in outlook that moves them into your inbox and marks the item as 'read'.

While the rule works fine -- you still get that annoying popup about every single message!

a rule that moves it and marks it as read is not good enough

My boss found the solution this morning and shared it with us:

What you have to do is create TWO rules:

  1. The first rule marks it as read.
  2. the second rule moves it to the folder

Make sure the two rules are executed in that order!

Now the email will still come in, but the popup won't be displayed.

(This is written up in a KB article at microsoft... i don't have the number for it right now... here's a google groups message about it)

Read On...


Thu, 19 Jan 2006 20:49:14 GMT

Hanseldotted

spike in traffic due to hanselminutes

TimeSnapper got hanseldotted last week -- on Scott Hanselman's excellent new podcast: Hanselminutes, developed in conjunction with Carl Franklin. The graph at right shows the effect it had on timeSnapper's traffic.

And an interesting fact is that if you flip this image horizontally, it has the same shape as a running tally of Mike Gunderloy's offspring.

number of children at casa gunderloy>Mike Gunderloy
>19 January 2006
>Another week, another doctor appointment. Not much longer till there's another baby to go with it.

(from Daily Grind 801)

They don't watch tv out on the Palouse.

Read On...


Wed, 18 Jan 2006 23:05:48 GMT

Thought for the day

You know your book is attracting the wrong audience when...

Customers who bought this book also bought
  • Cyanide pills.
  • A noose.
  • A sniper's rifle.

Read On...


Tue, 17 Jan 2006 21:24:20 GMT

rescued by timeSnapper

working query almost lost, but for timesnapper

Timesnapper just saved me a lot of work!

I forgot to save a little "working query" I was using yesterday -- but found it with timesnapper and had it retyped in just a minute.

This has happened twice so far this week.

So there's another use for timeSnapper --> retrieving work that is otherwise lost for good.

I'm not recommending timeSnapper as an alternative to saving your work :-). But it's a handy fallback.

Read On...


Sun, 15 Jan 2006 23:45:02 GMT

Copy, Copy, Copy, Paste: PowerToy Needed.

Append To Clipboard, PowerToy required

I have a little request. What I'd like is a keystroke that appends the selected text to the current item in the clipboard.

Rather than doing this:

  • Copy, switch document, paste, switch back again.
  • Copy, switch document, paste, switch back again.
  • Copy, switch document, paste, switch... etc...

You could just go:

  • Copy, copy, copy, switch document. Paste.

[continues....]

Read On...


Wed, 11 Jan 2006 04:38:34 GMT

Where's my damn robot?

all the robots are missing

It's 2006. by now my first personal robot should be obsolete and rusty. but do i have a personal robot? no, damn it. i don't even have programmable shoelaces, or hair that needs a reboot.

[off topic rant begins here]

Read On...


Wed, 11 Jan 2006 04:13:34 GMT

the SecretMaker

secretMaker... i dont know what it does

I don't know what a "SecretMaker" is -- but i just found one on 'Download.com' (see image on far right) and i like the name.

Another groovy piece of software just released, the treeGx [image at near right] from Dev Components. check it out.[found at the daily grind]

TreeGX from Dev Components

We listed timeSnapper at Download.com yesterday, but apparently a 'free listing' takes about a fortnight to show up. So don't hold your breath. Meanwhile if *you* are a user of timeSnapper, why not blog about it and try and help it find it's audience.

[continues..]

Read On...


Mon, 09 Jan 2006 03:28:09 GMT

It's raining B&B's

hailstone from brisbane, accompanied by beverage

Huge monsoonal storms in Brisbane at the moment (it's summer in this hemisphere remember?) and on Friday we had a fearsome hailstorm.

Here's a photo of a B&B (Benedictine and Brandy) made by my brother (Farmer JEB) using one of the bigger-than-a-golfball-sized-hailstones that Allison (JEB's wife) bravely retrieved from the back yard...

If you drank five of these, then got in your car and had an accident, could you claim for hail damage?

[continues for larger image]

Read On...


Sun, 08 Jan 2006 22:09:30 GMT

Suspicious Mail

It seems that my blog doesn't please everyone. I recently received a threatening package in the mail, as a blatant attempt to stop me from publicising my frank and open opinions. Sorry Scoble, but it looks like blogging isn't all good.

[I have documented the ensuing investigation here]

Read On...


Thu, 22 Dec 2005 23:32:55 GMT

Unposted thoughts and SkunkWorks

Last blog entry for the year i reckon. list of things i haven't released:

  • quicklaunch and tasktray sharing meme
  • cubicle back care, ten tips
  • w3scg to be completed and 'launched'
  • owner draw combo -- the full gamut
  • asp.net hosted shell applciation
  • 'kingShark' -- the ajax command line language
  • forgiveness -- the pre-xsl parser language
  • tixInBoxes -- the ajaxian wiki form engine
  • skunkWorks -- overview
  • exercise/social
  • human versus computer
  • modified online Game Of Life for two players

Read On...


Thu, 22 Dec 2005 23:21:45 GMT

The True Meaning of Xmas

My mother complains every year that christmas has lost its true meaning. It's buried in the brightlights and the capitalism.

Last night I drove past a house where the christmas lights had been arranged into the name 'Jesus' and I thought that this was a particularly clever idea.

I went home and did the same thing, arranging my christmas lights so they said, simply 'Leon'. With a name like Jesus, i figure that guy must have been Spanish. A creative lot, your spaniards: look at Gaudi.

This is the beauty of Christmas: a time to just forget about all the world's problems and focus on yourself for once.

Ahhh. Hope that makes mum happy.

Read On...


Thu, 22 Dec 2005 22:51:43 GMT

No shortage of Punny Titles over at the Monad centre

Someone over at microsoft's script central is in a festive mood, using puns in the titles of all the articles.

Did you know it takes fifteen muscles to laugh, but it only takes three muscles to groan?

MSH is an interesting thing... but if you haven't had time to read about it, don't worry. You are not inadequate.





Read On...


Wed, 21 Dec 2005 03:39:27 GMT

TimeSnapper Supports Multiple Monitors!

example of mutliple monitors... maybe we cannot quite handle that many monitors... but we should be able to cater for *your* setup

TimeSnapper now supports multiple monitors!

Atli and I have released the new version (1.6) which also has a bunch of other funky new features.

Multi Monitors was by far the most requested feature, and Atli was already working on it before we released the first version.

There's a groovy new TimeBar control, that lets you see your entire day's activity at a glance.

The TimeBar Control

And a handy archiving feature to help you keep TimeSnapper under control.

The next wave of features are already in development, as the project rollicks along. If you have any suggestions, flames or ideas, drop by the TimeSnapper Google Group and tell us your thoughts.

Read On...


Sat, 17 Dec 2005 04:02:57 GMT

Microsoft to give away Windows for Free... (maybe)

Okay you sick bast*rd, microsoft, why are you trying to make me buy things?

The audacity of this one just floored me.

A "Shop for music online" button turned up inside windows explorer, where I was expecting to find the "Make a new folder" button.

On closer inspection, the tenuous excuse microsoft have for showing me this button: One of the subfolders contains a three kilobyte file called "ping.wav".

Ah, anyway: I see the future now...

Read On...


Fri, 16 Dec 2005 03:53:54 GMT

Elevator Pitch of the Century!!

How long should it take to give an overview of your product? Some people say five seconds, some people say twenty seconds.

DataObjects.NET have revolutionated the elevator pitch: they're going to give you an overview in just two to fours hours!

Here's the content from their Overview page:

Uh, yeh guys. I want to spend 4 hours reading through an animated (god help me!) powerpoint presentation.... infact, thanks to NADD, i lost interest before i even got to the word PowerPoint. Next product!

Read On...


Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:52:02 GMT

Forget Intellisense: I want IntelliSEARCH

intellisense with wildcard searching

Intellisense is most useful when you know what the member name "starts" with. But what about when you know that the term contains a term... but you're not sure what the actual word is. The Intellisearch search box will cure that: enter a search term and it will highlight any terms that include that sequence of characters.

And I don't want you monkeys to go jumpin up and down saying 'Oh you should check out ReSharper' or leaping to conclusions saying 'CodeRush already does that!' because I don't think they do.

(okay, coderush has this navigation feature that is similar, but never mind that, sparky)

And as for that damn resharper, as brilliant as it is (and yes it's very brilliant) it's just far too sloooowwww on big projects. We've purchased it here but now we mostly turned it off. (One resilient developer continues to persevere with it.

Read On...


Tue, 13 Dec 2005 01:43:07 GMT

FU: Findability precedes Usability.

a suggested improvement to help scan through the complex janus property pages

I use the Janus GridEx Grid control every day. And they have thousands and thousands of properties. You get lost looking through them.

What I'd like to see is a little textbox at the top of the "Control Designer" form (the form that lists these thousands of properties). Whatever you type in this text box is searched for and highlighted amongst the property names and values.

Aww i can't explain this good. Check out the screen shot I mocked up:

Read On...


Mon, 12 Dec 2005 02:01:32 GMT

Help Needed with a little .Net function...

 

        /// <summary>

        ///Given an 'ISO 4217' three letter code for a currency...

        ///Return the 'CurrencySymbol' that represents it

        /// </summary>

        /// <param name="ISOCurrency">3 letter ISO427 currency code, e.g. "USD", "GBP", "EUR", "AUD"</param>

        /// <returns>Currency Symbol, e.g. "$", "£", "€", "$"</returns>

        public string GetCurrencySymbol(string ISOCurrency)

        {

            return "HELP ME!";

        }

Read On...


Fri, 09 Dec 2005 10:27:49 GMT

Lessons from Amazon referrals

For the first time in a long time, I've had a quick squiz of my amazon referrals. And I was met with just a few little surprises.

Read On...


Thu, 08 Dec 2005 23:19:17 GMT

Kitchen KanBan: Some 'Life Hacks' I want

  • Remote control coffee machine
  • RSS feed for my fridge
  • Barcode scanner next to the kitchen-bin, so that as i go to throw out an empty food container i can scan the label and automatically create a PRO (Pantry Replenishment Order)
  • Self-emptying dishwasher. Empties itself into adjacent cupboard. Not as hard as it sounds.

Come on lifehackers, get building.

Read On...


Thu, 08 Dec 2005 20:48:41 GMT

VS 2003: Macros needed

Okay lazyweb --- try and implement the code that goes behind these two message boxes... and i don't want to hear anyone say "oh just wait till you get visual studio team system.".

I want real solutions, that work today. ;-)



I think a Visual Studio Macro could be enough to do it -- or a full blown Visual Studio Add In.

Please Lazy Web -- Save Me From Premature Shutdown or Check in!

Read On...


Wed, 07 Dec 2005 20:10:16 GMT

Some Recent Picks...

Get another language under your belt, fatty

Why The Lucky Stiff's Online Ruby Tutorial

If you've got two minutes spare, then go to this website and get your hands dirty learning ruby. I'm not one of those crazed ruby fanatics, but this tutorial is just perfect. Well worth your time.

Also, javascript enthusiasts, check out NET WAR: Justin Walduck's AJAX strategy game.

Admin Foo!

I tend to pick on sysAdmins. It happened to me slowly over a long period of time.

They gripe me about little things. They reset the name of my computer without asking me. They run around unplugging things without telling anyone why. They complain when you take over a server and use it for your own purposes.

But adminfoo.net has set me right. This is a brilliant site helping admins do good.

GlyFx

Australian design company that makes great icons. They have some free icons here. (Recording this for my own reference as much as yours. Found via Larkware).

And in other net news...

This article on ajax is getting a lot of attention -- very few people realise it's a spoof.

Read On...


Thu, 01 Dec 2005 03:08:53 GMT

Conway's Game of Life (in Javascript)

Based on the work of Sean McManus. How to play and summary of the rules at the bottom of the page.

Read On...


Wed, 30 Nov 2005 00:59:26 GMT

Obstacles To International Development

international development barriers faced during work on timesnapper... with link to timesnapper to dry and draw you into downloading this excellent program

TimeSnapper is largely written by Atli Björgvin Oddsson, who lives in Iceland.

But I wanted the chance to dabble in the code too -- so he set up a vault code repository. Vault has performed exceptionally over the long distances involved (see image).

You really can't get two people working further apart, unless you're willing to offshore your development to the moon. (Somewhere, i know, a web 2.0 company is planning on selling that very idea to some dull witted VCs)

(dragon inspired by trogdor the burninator, found via Harmony Steel.)

(Map of the world thanks to brave explorers who ventured out in bygone times and circumnavigated the globe, taking measurements along the way)

And as a longtime victim of microsoft sourcesafe, there was no effort involved in learning to use Vault. The more I look into it, the more I find interesting features I'm keen to play with. (For example, integration with Dragnet, the bug tracking system also from Sourcegear)(And I wonder what's in the email tab? (see image...)

select an item in the tree to start receiving email notification for changes... i just think i might

By the way... Eric Sink DID NOT pay me to write this entry. Not that I'd object if he did.

Read On...


Tue, 29 Nov 2005 03:31:52 GMT

TimeSnapper.com: free download

TimeSnapper.com 63K download

I am damn excited about this! You're gonna like this too. I can tell, just from looking at you.

My colleague, Atli Oddsson and I have built a website at TimeSnapper.com, where you can download the updated and improved version of our winning entry from the Larkware developers competition.

(this new version is for the 1.1 framework, it has more options, and better help.)

In case you've arrived late in the game: TimeSnapper is a re-branded name for our tool called "Snapper" which is an "Automatic Screenshot Journal"

It sits in the background of your machine quietly taking small screenshots of everything you do.

Download it and run it -- all day every day. Put it in your startup, so you'll never forget to run it.

When it's time to fill out a time sheet, or review where all your time went, or work out why your machine crashed, -- TimeSnapper is the way to go.

When you're wondering when and why you started procrastinating this morning: TimeSnapper will show you where. It's scary the truths that TimeSnapper will reveal.

Read On...


Mon, 28 Nov 2005 04:13:28 GMT

Essential Ajax Resources pt I

One thing every ajax developer needs: a 'waiting' icon to show that something is in progress...

Here's some examples, collected from around the web 2.0...

Read On...


Fri, 25 Nov 2005 03:29:41 GMT

Software Hurts The Mind

Articles that deal with the agony of a software lifestyle.

There seems to be a common thread amongst these articles... maybe I'm imagining things... they're all pretty damn interesting and well written pieces.

Read On...


Wed, 23 Nov 2005 00:43:34 GMT

Mailbox Size Limits: Gotta Love Em!

clever corporate people trying to keep their email under 1 gigabyte

I just emailed a project manager at a company I know, and the email bounced back -- telling me her mailbox no longer existed.

I was surprised -- and assumed it meant that the manager in question had left the company (they do have quite a high turnover at the moment)

Turns out, she'd exceeded her company's ONE GIGABYTE LIMIT on mailbox size, and emails were being rejected in the meantime.

Welcome to 2001 guys! Pity you got here four years too late, and Moore's Law has moved on since.

Here's the equation as far as I can tell:

1 GIG of hard drive space:
      $1.

Three hours of the manager's time cleaning up their hard drive space:
     $500.

Making it appear to customers as if your key staff have quit:

   priceless

Read On...


Thu, 17 Nov 2005 03:05:17 GMT

Let's Go Right Ahead

What bugs you at software presentations?

Most people list complaints such as over-dependence on Powerpoint slides, small unreadable fonts, lecturers that talk too softly, or who mumble, demonstrations that crash.

My own pet peeve is a strange one.

Read On...


Wed, 16 Nov 2005 02:11:37 GMT

Pay Day for the Ideas Rat

Strewth Ruth. Atli Björgvin Oddsson and myself won the Grand Prize in the Larkware Programming Contest.

How did that happen? I hear you gasp. Well, here's the story.

Read On...


Tue, 15 Nov 2005 03:48:42 GMT

Ten Goods Deeds A Blogger Can Perform

I've been complaining a lot on this site lately. And it's not just me. Complaining is a common hobby, a near epidemic.

But what are some GOOD DEEDS we can do with our blogs and our abilities? How can we turn our brains around and use them for good instead of evil?

Ten Goods Deeds A Blogger Can Perform

  1. Install a Firewall on your mother's computer
  2. Put virus scanning software on your cousin's computer
  3. Run a spyware remover on your brother-in-law's computer
  4. Backup your dad's digital photos to CD ROM and store them somewhere away from his home
  5. Teach your grandmother to use email so she can get in touch with old boyfriends
  6. Teach your uncle why he shouldn't click on attachments
  7. Backup your nephew's website. He doesn't realise that the webserver is about to crash
  8. Someone in your family is a genealogical enthusiast. Help them put their research online
  9. Pay for some of that shareware you use every day
  10. Bite the bullet and publish some of that code you've written in your spare time

That's all i can think of for now. Now I'll go back to kicking injured puppies.

Read On...


Fri, 11 Nov 2005 05:03:44 GMT

Nagging Little Imbecile

Yeh I know that I "should" reboot once I've received updates. But can you please tell me what has been updated? And give me a few clues as to what will go wrong if I hold off for a few minutes?

Interrupting my work every five minutes is a rude thing to do, so when you do it, please provide details.

Read On...


Fri, 11 Nov 2005 03:37:26 GMT

Is MS Windows ready for the desktop?

I've got a swag of incoming links from this article: Is MS Windows ready for the desktop?.

I like people whose weapon of choice is satire. Better than trolling

Read On...


Fri, 11 Nov 2005 00:36:12 GMT

"What's your solution?"

I don't think I've ever seen such a brilliant error message, as one I just found at solucija.com

It not only includes the connection details.... but the PASSWORD TOO!!!

I love the site's slogan:

uh, my solution involves *not* telling everyone my password.

Read On...


Fri, 04 Nov 2005 12:00:08 GMT

Comparison of three Ajax Portals

Not wishing to harp on ajax portals for too long... but here's a comparison of 'google/ig', live.com and the independent (french?) netvibes, in two categories: weather and aggregator.

Read On...


Fri, 04 Nov 2005 11:17:39 GMT

Sony, Spawn of Satan

Big news sweeping this net lately: Sony are evil

Sadly, few have stated the argument more elegantly than Pennino:

While I agree with Pennino, I particularly think that artists should be urged to boycott Sony. This is one of the most thoroughly pre-meditated crimes imaginable, and it has been performed in the name of talented and creative people. If they have any concern for their reputation (which we can be fairly certain they do) then they ought to look elsewhere for ways to distribute their work.

Read On...


Fri, 04 Nov 2005 10:43:55 GMT

Five Ways To Play Nice with 'Live.Com'

You've got a blog?
Here are five ways you can increase* the chance that your feed will show up properly in Live.com

(* update: live.com still reserves the right to fail at any moment)

Read On...


Thu, 03 Nov 2005 04:51:34 GMT

live.com... cactus.com?

I've really tried to resist bagging this big announcement from microsoft. but i've also made the mistake of trying to use live.com

Your online world gets better when everything works simply and effortlessly together.

Pity that the 'out of the box' experience (1) didn't work, (2) wasn't simple (3) wasn't effortless and (4) lacked 'togetherness'.

I clicked all the bits that looked clickable, watched as things changed. One box said: "You can see your Windows Live Mail or Hotmail inbox here if you sign in."

Hmmm. I was already signed in... my name was displayed in the top right, proof positive that my sign-in was successful. But no email showed up. Five minutes of digging showed me that what they meant to say was:
"You can see your Windows Live Mail or Hotmail inbox here if you sign in *AND* you've joined the beta program, for which we send you to a page from which you have to hunt around before going to another page... and even then you'd better have hotmail because we don't accept anyone else."

But of course the real test of an aggregator is: Does it successfully aggregate secretGeek.net/rss.asp??... the answer a resounding NO!

Read On...


Wed, 02 Nov 2005 04:42:59 GMT

Passfaces... Very memorable

Pass Faces typo'Passfaces' is some kind of proprietary technique for using a series of faces instead of a password.

Apparently it's intuitively easier to remember faces than letters.

It's funny the way memory works.

I'll always remember their website for the typographical errors.

Read On...


Mon, 31 Oct 2005 04:26:30 GMT

Joe Celko, Bill of Materials, hierarchical nested trees, data explosion...

Are any of these words ringing any bells?

Could someone please prepare some sort of injection device that can put all of this knowledge into my brain without hurting me too much. I am trying to use conventional reading materials, but the impedence mismatch is too great and my eyes are burning.

On the plus side this is one of the most fun things I've dealt with in years.

Read On...


Sun, 30 Oct 2005 07:02:27 GMT

Nitpicking Yahoo Mail

This message is not flaggedWhile I'm complaining about usability...
here's something i've seen in Yahoo mail that bugs me a little.

Read On...


Sun, 30 Oct 2005 06:31:31 GMT

Messenger Disgruntlement

MSN Messenger just interrupted me (and millions of other people), insisting on installing a new version.

I was stunned by its arrogance. Not the interruption aspect. I've come to expect that from software. (It lives to annoy, and I am its humble servant). What gets me is the assumptions it makes on my behalf.

Read On...


Fri, 28 Oct 2005 03:00:17 GMT

The Search Ends Here

new google feature  Sick of finding things in the last place you'd ever look?

Read On...


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Humans: A Tragedy. Humans: A Tragedy.
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A flowchart of what programmers do at work all day A flowchart of what programmers do at work all day
The Telepresent Man. The Telepresent Man.
Interview with an Ex-Microsoftie. Interview with an Ex-Microsoftie.
CRUMBS! Commandline navigation tool for Powershell CRUMBS! Commandline navigation tool for Powershell
Little tool for making Amazon affiliate links Little tool for making Amazon affiliate links
Extracting a Trello board as markdown Extracting a Trello board as markdown
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You Must Get It! You Must Get It!
AddDays: A Very Simple Date Calculator AddDays: A Very Simple Date Calculator
Google caught in a lie. Google caught in a lie.
NimbleText 2.0: More Than Twice The Price! NimbleText 2.0: More Than Twice The Price!
A Computer Simulation of Creative Work, or 'How To Get Nothing Done' A Computer Simulation of Creative Work, or 'How To Get Nothing Done'
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Line Endings. Line Endings.
**This** is how you pivot **This** is how you pivot
Art of the command-line helper Art of the command-line helper
Go and read a book. Go and read a book.
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Do *NOT* try this Hacking Script at home Do *NOT* try this Hacking Script at home
The 'Should I automate it?' Calculator The 'Should I automate it?' Calculator

Archives Complete secretGeek Archives

TimeSnapper -- Automated Screenshot Journal TimeSnapper: automatic screenshot journal

25 steps for building a Micro-ISV 25 steps for building a Micro-ISV
3 minute guides -- babysteps in new technologies: powershell, JSON, watir, F# 3 Minute Guide Series
Universal Troubleshooting checklist Universal Troubleshooting Checklist
Top 10 SecretGeek articles Top 10 SecretGeek articles
ShinyPower (help with Powershell) ShinyPower
Now at CodePlex

Realtime CSS Editor, in a browser RealTime Online CSS Editor
Gradient Maker -- a tool for making background images that blend from one colour to another. Forget photoshop, this is the bomb. Gradient Maker



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How to be depressed How to be depressed
You are not inadequate.



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