Archives for 2002

Time to Get Playing!

Posted on 12/30/2002 to Technology

My wireless ethernet bridge just arrived. Too bad I've got some other stuff to take care of today -- I can't wait to get this thing hooked up to my Xbox and use the Xbox live service. Guess I should use this time to think of a username for the service.

Xbox Live

Posted on 12/26/2002 to Technology

One of my most anticipated gifts this year was Xbox Live. Now the question is "how should I connect it?"

My office shares a wall with our living room, and the wall just happens to be the one that the TV is on, so I could easily run CAT5 between the two rooms. But I've also got a wireless access point in the house. So I set out looking for wireless solutions for the Xbox. Lo and behold, I found this. Now I need to see who carries them locally, and decide if I want to fight the post holiday crowds.

Potentially The Best Present Ever

Posted on 12/25/2002 to In General

I just got potentially the best present ever -- a ticket for tonight's Power Ball. This is a big deal for two reasons.
  1. I don't live in a Power Ball state (or even very close to one).
  2. The last estimate I heard was around $300 million.
Of course, I don't expect to win, but at least now I have a chance.

Thanks Tom!

Happy Holidays

Posted on 12/24/2002 to In General

Heading over to the in-law's now. Won't be back online for at least 24 hours. Boy, these holiday's sure put a crimp in my coding productivity.

p.s. I have learned that I am getting XBox Live and at least one game that supports it. Unfortunately the in-laws don't have a high-speed connection, so the "live" part will have to wait until I get back home.

Cleaning Up

Posted on 12/24/2002 to Site Information

Don't mind me, I am just tidying up around here. Trying to get all these entries a bit more organized. This doesn't impact links to specific entries, only where they show up when clicking the Category links.

Recent Entries List Implemented

Posted on 12/24/2002 to Site Information

In case you haven't noticed, I've added a new feature to this weblog of mine -- a list of recent entries. The functionality for this is provided by the RecentEntries server control that I just created for my weblog app. I can specify the number of posts to show (default = 10), and I can even tell it to only show recent posts for a specific category. Well, that's about it.

New Look

Posted on 12/23/2002 to Site Information

It seems that everything is distracting me from the tasks at hand, which is to overhaul the weblog app. You need not look any further than this website for proof. Instead of working on the weblog app, I've give my personal site a new look.

Hope you like it.

Need To Read

Posted on 12/21/2002 to Developer Stuff

I need to read this article: What Is RSS?. At first glance it looks to provide excellent coverage on the different flavors of RSS, as well as things to think about for the developer building tools to consume them.

Features? Speak Up Now

Posted on 12/20/2002 to Developer Stuff

Now is the time to let me know what you'd like to see in this app. Of course, it might be hard to tell what it needs, when you've never used it and I don't have a current feature list.

Oh well, if you think of something, let me know. If it is already implemented, I'll say so.

The Overhaul Has Begun

Posted on 12/20/2002 to Developer Stuff

Vacation time is here again, and that means that it is time to overhaul my little weblog app. Busy, busy, busy.

Windows .NET Server RC2

Posted on 12/19/2002 to Technology

I just finished loading up .NET Server RC2 on my old desktop. Everything went well except that my 4+ year old Netgear NIC wasn't recognized. This is odd, as it was recognized when I installed beta 3 of .NET Server on this same box a few months ago. Oh well. Instead of digging around for a disc I know I'll never find, or looking for the drivers online, I just slapped in a NIC that came with my DSL installation kit. Worked instantly.

So now I am going to play around on RC2. I think I will install the SharePort Team Services and then create the weblog solution web that comes with FrontPage 11.

I am sure it sucks, but I've got to see it. I'll keep you posted.

Minority Report

Posted on 12/18/2002 to Reviews

I just finished watching Minority Report for the first time. I had heard very good things about this movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is not to say that it is in fact a great film, just very enjoyable to watch.

If you haven't seen it, go rent it, or maybe even buy it. I did, and am glad.

It's time for some sleep, perhaps I'll write more in the morning. That is, if there is time before I am off to see The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers :-D. You know, there is a B&N right next to the theater, so perhaps I will stop by afterwards and see about picking up a copy of the collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick that contains The Minority Report, which of course is what the movie, Minority Report is based on.

Office 11

Posted on 12/17/2002 to Technology

Well, I just installed beta 1 of Office 11 (I obtained it at the Microsoft booth at XML Conference and Exposition 2002). So far, I've played with XDocs, including designing a form based on a web service, and also a schema. I even went so far as to connect to a database for populating the data for a couple of drop-down lists. Seems very straight forward (at least for the simple things I've tried so far). Based on the little time I've spent with it and the demo at the conference, I can see a lot of use from XDocs for capturing data.

I've also opened up Word and briefly looked at it's XML features, including creating a document based on an XML schema. This didn't seem quite as intuitive, but I need to spend more time with it. My inclination is that Word is not yet ready to be used as an XML editor. For now, we'll stick with XMetaL and XML Spy.

Finally, I opened up FrontPage. I won't go into any of the details of FrontPage other than to say that one of the prebuilt web solutions that it ships with is a weblog solution. Since I have been building a weblog app, I find this interesting. So now I am off to setup the Frontpage weblog solution. More to follow.

Roy Williams Must Have Heard Us

Posted on 12/15/2002 to Sports

As Roy Williams walked off the field at Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium, chants rose up from the crowd "STAY ROY STAY!". Maybe he heard us, or maybe he just realizes the potential benefits of coming back for another year -- either way, he is coming back. Right now, he is probably a late first round or early second round pick, but if he can put together a full season playing the way he has over the last half of this injury plagued season, he will likely be a top 5 pick. Here's hoping that he puts it all together.

For those of you that doubted me when I speculated that he would not leave, be glad that you were wrong.

I've Been Busy

Posted on 12/12/2002 to Developer Stuff

I've been busy attending talks and talking to vendors at XML Conference and Exposition 2002.

The good talks have been few and far between. The one highlight so far was yesterday's first keynote presented by none other than Don Box. It was a nice look inside the world of SOAP and Web Services.

One other highlight was my aquisition of beta 1 of Office 11. I really liked the demo MS had of XDocs, and I can't help but to wonder if the next version of Word might work as an XML editor, instead of having to use something like Epic or XMetal.

Going To Baltimore

Posted on 12/8/2002 to Developer Stuff

I'll be in Baltimore all this week for XML Conference & Exposition 2002. It is a real short notice trip. I went last year, and frankly didn't get a whole lot from it. Then I went to VSLive! in San Francisco back in Feb of this year, and that was supposed to count as my big conference for they year, but then my bosses boss said that I should go to the XML conference when he learned this past Friday that I wasn't going (3 others from my group are already going). So, I spent the rest of Friday nailing down travel arrangements.

I am going to try hooking up with Ken. We've only ever talked via email and IM, so I am looking forward to the possibility. If there is any once else out there that lives in the area or will be at the conference, email me.

I'll be in the Inner Harbor area, so if anyone has suggestions for things to do or places to go, drop a comment here, or email me.

XML Schema and RSS

Posted on 12/8/2002 to Developer Stuff

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've written a very basic Xml schema for RSS 2.0. It is very basic only because it currently includes only the elements that I use when building RSS files. Within the next day or two, I will flesh it out so that it matches the RSS 2.0 spec.

Additionally, after I had my schema, I then used the xsd.exe utiliy to create a class file from the RSS schema. I am now deserializing XML feed files into a rss object and then using that object within the feed reader included in the weblog app I am building.

I know, this isn't exactly earth shattering, but it is fun doing things a little different from how I am accustomed to doing them.

.NET Based Weblog App Update

Posted on 12/5/2002 to Developer Stuff

It seems like I've been working on this .NET based weblog application forever! Truth is, I really haven't done much with it since summer. The problem right now is that it works for me, but I wouldn't be comfortable handing it out to anyone else - but I want to. So the dilemma is finding time to clean things up and finish up some features that are still undone.

Here is what it has so far:

  • a custom server control for handling the templating needs of the weblog, including entries, archives, comments, and trackbacks
  • An XML Schema that provides Intellisense to the HTML view for said server control.
  • It generates valid RSS 2.0 XML files.
  • It includes an RSS Feed Reader.
  • It includes a commenting system.
  • It includes a trackback system.
  • It can ping when an entry is created or updated.
  • It can handle multiple weblogs.
  • It has a hierarchical permission system for allowing/disallowing activity based on user roles.
  • You can specify when an entry goes live.
  • You can specify when an entry has expired.
  • You can assign entries to categories.
  • There is a comment notification system that emails each distinct person that has posted a comment for a specific post whenever there is a new comment, including the person who posted the entry initially.
hmm...what else? That is all I can think of for now. Things that need to be done:
  • User admin is incomplete
  • Fixed (almost) - I wrote an XML Schema for RSS - it works for 0.91,0.92, and 2.0 (working on 1.0) - I should have known better than to trust the dataset to infer the proper schema.Currently read RSS feeds into datasets - this works as long as elements are not duplicated at different levels within the file: this is bad because you could specify for example a category element as a child of channel and also as a child of item, which results in an error like this when reading the XML:
    The same table (category) cannot be the child table in two nested relations.
    The catch is that this implementation easily handles 95% of the feeds I subscribe to, in all flavors of RSS. If I fix the problem, I will end needing to add code to handle the variations in the other flavors (I know, I'm lazy)
  • I'd like to clean up the HTML that is rendered by the custom server control. It needs to be more like the repeater control in that if you don't put the HTML in one of your templates, it doesn't get added to the page.
  • Finally, I'd like to overhaul the UI for the admin area.
To be clear, this is not a complete list, there are more things to do, I just can't remember what they are at the moment.

So there you have it. I guess I should post something over at metaApps so that people who end up there but not here know that it isn't dead.

Time to Lighten Up

Posted on 12/5/2002 to Sports

Did I mention how thrilled I am for my favorite basketball team? The Dallas Mavericks are now 17-1 on the year - that is the 4th best one-loss start ever! I think the Rockets of 93-94 own the best start at something like 22-1. Mavs and the Lakers, in L.A. tomorrow night - GO MAVS!

In other news, it appears that my Cowboys are trying to make a late season rally for a respectable record. I really wish they wouldn't - better record = lower draft pick.

Holiday Update

Posted on 12/5/2002 to In General

Well, I tried to skip out on my picture being taken for later use on a christmas tree ornament, but my boss would have nothing of it. Tomorrow we are supposed to decorate our ornaments. That is something I will pass on - unless I can put a Star of David or a menorah on mine. But then, what is the point? I wouldn't want someone making a manger scene as part of my Hanukkah decorations (if I had any).

I am not sure why I am more bothered by all of this Christmas stuff this year. I have dealt with it all of my life. Heck, we even had a tree when I was a kid (mom's family is not Jewish, though she converted before I was born - to a few this will mean that I am not Jewish, but that doesn't change how I was raised or what I believe).

I have strong memories of a day during the first grade when my mom and the mom's of the other couple of Jewish first-graders came to school and we shared with our teachers and classmates the story and traditions of our minor holiday of Hanukkah. Unfortuantely I don't remember how I felt about doing this at the time. Over the years I have wondered if this one event sheltered me from insensitivity regarding religion (at least in school). As far as I can recall, I was never messed with because of my religion (and rarely for any other reason).

Instead of asking what I got for Christmas, they'd ask about my Hanukkah gifts. I never had to explain why we didn't have lights on the house, or why I wasn't in school during the High Holidays (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur). More than likely, the kids probably thought it was cool that I potentially received gifts for 8 nights and that I was allowed to miss school for the other, more important holidays. Of course what they didn't know is that while I might have received gifts on 8 nights, my parents were no better off than theirs, so in the end we all got about the same amount of stuff. Also, they probably didn't know that while I wasn't in school during the High Holidays, I still had to do any assigned work (due the day I got back) and typically had to take a test earlier if an idiot teacher had scheduled a test for one of those days.

Perhaps the answer is to be more open about my religion -- so people "know".

But I have a problem with that approach. Instead of someone saying "if I had known...," wouldn't it be better to say "I didn't know, and I didn't want to make any assumptions..." (or something similar)? Besides, like I said in my earlier post, my religion is my business. I won't impose my beliefs and traditions on you, please don't impose yours on me.

Are we too closed-minded as a society to realize that we are not all the same, and to be sensitive to possible differences?

I Am In A Funk

Posted on 12/4/2002 to Day Job

What is a guy to do when he doesn't share in the celebratory mood of those around him? No, I am not talking about a win by my favorite sports team's arch-rival, I am talking about this holiday season.

A company Christmas tree...Christmas decorations all up and down the hall outside of my office...even a little departmental tree right outside my office door...everyone is required to have their picture taken to hang on the tree...12 different Christmas activities for the 12 days of Christmas (whoever came up with that, by the way? my calendar shows it being just one day - perhaps someone was jealous of the 8 nights of Hanukkah?)...where will it end?

So you might wonder if I have ever said anything to anyone about this -- no. You might then wonder why the hell I am complaining when I don't have the courage to say anything. Here's the religion is no one else's business. I shouldn't have to complain about the excessive Christmas celebrating going on in the isn't like I work for a church or something. I was under the impression that most companies had moved away from Christmas celebrations in favor of holiday celebrations -- but I guess I am mistaken.

Am I wrong to feel this way?

It's not that I want to rain on anyone's parade or be considered a party pooper...but we are talking about work here. You want to put some Christmas type stuff up in your own office or cube, great, but you don't need to put it all over every other piece of furniture and wall in the building. You want to have a work sponsored party during the holiday's? Well that sounds fun, but consider some of your coworkers might not celebrate Christmas and call it a Holiday Party instead of a Christmas party.

Heck, it's not even like I am asking for official recognition of the other winter holiday's...just don't cram Christmas so far down my throat.

The Streak Ends

Posted on 12/1/2002 to Sports

The Mavericks bid for the most consecutive wins to start a season ended on Thanksgiving. However, they won two nights later to improve to 15-1 on the year. Now...knowing that the longest win streak to start a season is 15, we also know that though they didn't tie or break that mark, they are now tied for the best start to a season after 16 games.

It's that whole silver lining thing -- as if they needed it.

The Mavs Look To Tie History Tonight

Posted on 11/28/2002 to Sports

The Dallas Mavericks take on the Indiana Pacers tonight, in search of their 15th straight victory to start the season.

Dallas whipped the Detroit Pistons last night, for the 2nd time in less than 3 weeks, 102-82, to up their record to 14-0. Everyone thought that last night would be the night for the streak to end. Afterall, the Pistons were embarrassed by the Mavericks in early November, losing by 39 (largest lead was 52). The Pistons had three days off to get ready, they had their home crowd behind them, the had revenge as a motivating factor, yet they were missing one crucial element -- superior talent. Sure, the Pistons are one of the top teams in the East, and the East does seem to be in the midst of a resurgence, but they still aren't close to the best in the West. Here's hoping that these two teams meet again before the season is done ;-).

As far as tonight's game with the Pacers, this will be a tough test for the Mavericks. The Pacers own the league's second best record, but have yet to face a top team from the West. In fact, when facing any team with a winning percentage above .600, they have lost. They key tonight will be Indiana's shooting. They are one of the few teams in the league that can shoot over the top of the Mavericks' tough zone defense. Personally, I can't wait!

Good things come to those who wait, and damn am I glad that I stuck with this team through the 90's!

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on 11/28/2002 to Family & Friends

I am not going to list all the things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving, I know what they are, and they know who they are. So instead, I just want to wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Use It or Lose It

Posted on 11/22/2002 to In General

Due to a change in my employer's vacation policy, I must use all of my time off for 2002 before the end of the year, or I lose it. To most of you, this might not seem like a big deal, and really, it isn't, I just get a lot of time off in the final two months of the year.

Let's see, I've been back from Mexico for two weeks now, and already I am on my last day at work prior to another week off. Then it is back in the office for the first three weeks of December, and then so long 2002 - no more work until 2003. I don't know what to do with myself and this time off. I am typically not the type of person to take a week off unless I have plans to go somewhere. Being that I did just go to Mexico, it isn't likely I will be making another trip this year.

What's a guy to do? I could work on my weblog app (by the way, I need a name for it - it was metaBlog, but I don't know if I care for that, and lately I've used blog.NET, but still uncertain), it is way past time for completing that thing. I could probably get a ton of stuff done on it next week. But I just hate staying at home when I am off from work.

I could take my son somewhere. I don't know where. I'd love to go camping with him, but at 2 years 4 months, he is still a little young for enjoying that. We could go visit my mom, but she was just here with us for 5 days. I am going to Austin on Thursday (not sure if the trip will be made pre or post turkey) so that I can make the Texas vs. a&m game Friday morning. Even that leaves me empty. I could go down to Austin a few days early and just hang out. It's a great town for that.

Maybe a shitload of snow will fall between now and my next week off, the end of December. Then I can easily decide what to do - head to Breckenridge for a week of snowboarding. I haven't hit the slopes since winter 2000-2001, when I had my one and only ski-pass. I was so bummed about moving from Colorado back to Texas last Fall that I didn't have the heart to go riding this past winter.

Enough rambling, time to surf for something fun and exciting to do next week!

metaWeblog API and XML-RPC for .NET

Posted on 11/19/2002 to Developer Stuff

I did notice that Charles Cook has an XML-RPC library for .NET that could greatly simpilify implementation of the server side of the MetaWeblog API version.
[Brian Graf's Weblog]

Charles Cook's XML-RPC library for .NET is indeed very handy. I was able to quickly and easily implement "pinging" of using it. I haven't done anything with the metaWeblog API (or Blogger API in .NET), but I bet it would be easy as well.

Sports Crazy Friday Night

Posted on 11/15/2002 to Sports

It would have been nice to have 3 TV's setup side by side - I had three big games running near concurrently tonight.

Here is the tally:

In the NBA: The Dallas Mavericks extended their season opening winning streak to 9 games and halted the Boston Celtics 6 game winning streak, 97-86.

In the NHL: The Dallas Stars stayed unbeaten at home and handed the Colorado Avalanche their first road loss with a 4-2 victory. Dallas leads the NHL in points with 26.

In Men's College Basketball: The 4th ranked Texas Longhorns (their highest ranking ever) opened their season against #16 Georgia in NYC at Coaches vs. Cancer Classic with a 77-71 victory.

So there you have it - 3 games, 3 big wins. Time to prepare for college football tomorrow.

Hmm What Conferences Should I Attend?

Posted on 11/14/2002 to Developer Stuff

It's time to start thinking about which conferences to go to in 2003.

I went to VSLive! in San Francisco this year, and am considering it again.

Where have you gone? Would you go back? What conference have you wanted to attend, but haven't?

Back From Vacation

Posted on 11/11/2002 to Family & Friends

We survived our trip to Mexico. It was nice to get away for a few days. Though we missed Jacob, it was very relaxing to not concern ourselves with him for a week (thanks mom!). The resort was nice, but not great. We spent most of our time at the resort with just a trip into Playa Del Carmen for dinner and an all day excursion to the Mayan ruins at Chitzen Itza (pictures soon) taking us away from lazy beach/pool time.

I doubt that we'll be heading back to Mexico anytime soon. There are just too many other places that we can visit that are of greater interest to us.

Big Weekend in College Football

Posted on 11/1/2002 to Sports

Several of the top teams in the land face what should be stiff challenges this weekend.

My rooting list:
Above all others, Texas Fight! (Texas at Nebraska) - Dating back to 1991, Nebraska has lost one game at home - that loss came at the hands of the Longhorns in 1998. Texas is 3-1 versus the Cornhuskers since the inception of the Big 12.

Colorado at ou - Bob Stoops has never beaten Colorado in his time at ou. After another horrible start, Colorado seems to have found their form, though I wouldn't give their recent victory over Texas Tech as much weight as the pollsters seem to have done. Go Buffs!

Minnesota at Ohio State - The Golden Gophers knocked off Ohio State on their last visit. It was the beginning of the end for John Cooper. Will it make a difference - will it inspire the Ohio State players that were around for that embarrassment? I hope not. I am rooting for the Gophers on this one.

Georgia at Florida - Is Georgia really a top five team, or have they attained their lofty placement simply because they remain unbeaten? Unfortunately, beating Florida won't reveal a lot about this Georgia team, as Florida is definitely in a down year. Nonetheless, go Gators!

Boston College and Notre Dame - I've been waiting all year for someone to knock the Irish from this inflated pedastal they're on. I don't know that this will be the week, but I hope that it is.

Pitt at Virginia Tech - It is looking more and more like Miami will reach their game against Virginia Tech undefeated. This means that I will be wanting Va. Tech to knock them off. But before I can wish for that, I need someone to knock off Va. Tech. Pitt gave Notre Dame a scare last week, and they beat Va. Tech last year. Go Pitt!

So there you have it - my rooting list for this weekend. While it is unlikely that all of the teams I am cheering for will win, there is a good chance that a couple of them could pull the upset, launching Texas back into the top 5. Yes, that is assuming Texas beats Nebraska - but I have faith. Afterall, it isn't like Texas will be trotting out a&m's wrecking crew ;-).

DSL Is Coming

Posted on 10/24/2002 to In General

DSL is coming...should be installed tomorrow. Then I can finally rid myself of the cable company. Yea!!!

Messing Up My Routine

Posted on 10/23/2002 to In General

The move to the new place has just wrecked my routine. Don't get me wrong, I like the new place, but for the past 2 days, I've had no desire to go workout after work. It could have something to do with the 30-40 minute commute (versus 5 minutes before), or it could be the fact that I no longer have a workout room to fall back on, like I did in the townhome. More likely, it has something to do with no longer being a quarter mile away from my gym. Now, I must go to a Bally's (where I have a lifetime membership, but it is 4 miles or so away from the house, or I go to my old gym, which is in the opposite direction of the house - but semi-close to work.

Whatever it is, I've got to get it worked out. I've been very good about getting exercise over the past 6 and a half months.

We've Moved

Posted on 10/21/2002 to Family & Friends

Over the weekend we moved out of the townhome in the city and into a house in the suburbs. Though I liked living close in to downtown, Jacob needed a yard, and we were all sick of the 2 flights of stairs that took us up and down the 3 levels of the townhome.

The move was uneventful, as all moves should be. Now comes the fun part of unpacking and getting the new place like home.

Setting Up A Friend (with metaBlog, that is)

Posted on 10/14/2002 to Developer Stuff

I just set my friend, Cuyler, up with his own metaBlog site. I can wait to see what kind of goodness he posts. My guess is that the topic will be far ranging, but will probably all come back to technology somehow.

Texas Longhorns Survive SI Jinx

Posted on 10/6/2002 to Sports

The Texas Longhorns football team barely survived the infamous SI jinx with a win against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

Being a season ticket holder, I was naturally at the game -- and I must say that in the end, I was as down as one can possibly be without actually losing. Texas didn't play well. All three areas had big letdowns. The offense was ineffective, the defense gave up a couple of crucial big plays, and special teams - well, the kicker missed 3 field goals. Granted there were some bright spots. The offense looked superb at times in their 5 wideout set, and the defense came up huge with an interception to kill OSU's final drive. Heck, even special teams accounted for OSU missing an extra point (enormous btw, considering it forced OSU to go for two to tie instead of kicking a PAT).

As always, after the game we began dissecting the team's performance. We were especially focused on what the implications of the narrow win would be on the rest of the season, beginning next Saturday with ou in the Red River Shootout. Were we this bad? If the offense was so ineffective against the OSU defense, how would we fare against ou's defense? Would it end up coming down to a field goal attempt for the win? If so, who would kick it for us? Typical stuff.

We then proceed to search for difference in our routine on that day. Let's see, there was the quick trip to the Co-op for some UT gear (a no-no from now on - if you don't own it before the season begins, you don't get it until after the season). Due to the game's early start, we never had our pre-game shot of tequila. Then it hit me - the cover of Sports Illustrated. We had survived the jinx! It was close, but in the end we overcame the SI jinx - I suddenly felt at ease with the world.

Of course, I watched the majority of the top 10 teams also struggle, which helped as well.

The one thing that I have learned over the years is that on any given day, any team can win, especially when that day is in early October at the State Fair of Texas and the game is Texas - ou. Forget last week, throw the records out the window, it is time to get it on!

Hook 'em!

Losing Focus

Posted on 10/4/2002 to Developer Stuff

Over the past year, my friends and I have repeatedly discussed getting out of the tech industry. The discussion typically starts out as a general bitch session about some work related incident, and then turns to "boy I sure would like to be done with this mess", and then we all nod in agreement and start talking about what we'd do.

More and more, I am seeing this same sentiment expressed across the web on the various tech related sites I visit. Of course, I didn't think that my group of friends were the only ones to be disillusioned with this industry, but I had no idea the feeling was so widespread.

I got into this industry because at one time I really enjoyed technology, I enjoyed immersing myself in the latest and greatest, I loved creating things. I still enjoy technology and creating things, but more and more I find myself longing for a simpler life. A life where I touch technology because I want to, not because I have to.

Of course the technology industry has afforded us a very nice lifestyle, a lifestyle where we don't have to worry about finances quite as much as the average family. Where we can splurge on high dollar items without going further in debt. Where we don't have to save up to take that really nice vacation - we just go.

So, while I find myself struggling to stay focused, I am not quite ready to give up the perks of the trade. Now, if I could just figure out how to maintain focus so that I am not forced from my perch before I am ready.

By the way, I'd like to be a park ranger for the National Forest Service.

TrackBack and metaBlog

Posted on 9/27/2002 to Developer Stuff

I've been busy looking into this whole TrackBack thing. You can see what I've been up to over at

Busy, busy, busy...

Posted on 9/21/2002 to Developer Stuff

Work has been busy again. This time I am having more fun. I've been building little utilities for our web content group (a small group within the Content Management Dept.) - things like XML/XSL transformation utility, that lets them select an XML file and then select a stylesheet and a location to save it, then with a click of a button transform the XML into whatever they needed. Simple, I know, but they had been hand coding HTML from the XML files! The next step is to make the utility so that it selects XML from our repository and then once the HTML is generated it continues on the process of creating a mak file and content collection (for NXT3). I've also bit a handy little utility that allows them to do find and replace on entire directories or single files using regular expressions. It came in very handy when I had to remove class="" from several hundred HTML files.

Well I am off to Austin for some Longhorn Football.

4th Wedding Anniversary

Posted on 9/12/2002 to Family & Friends

Gidgit and I are celebrating our 4th Wedding Anniversary today.

It's been 2 years since we actually celebrated. Last Sept. 12th, we were still in shock from the day before and in no mood to celebrate.

This year, and in the years that follow, it will be different. We will celebrate the memory of those that perished on 9/11/01, and celebrate our health and togetherness. By the way, we are also celebrating with a little trip out of the country.

Fighting Spam

Posted on 9/8/2002 to Technology

I've been using SpamCop to filter spam for several months now. Initially, I relied on the many blacklists that they use, but recently switched to implicitly blocking all mail, and explicitly allowing only mail from legit addresses/domains. This worked very well, aside from the minor inconvenience of having to add addresses to my whitelist from time to time. Recently, I've been getting more and more spam with my own email address in the from field, which means it is making it through as my domain is on my whitelist. It's time to look for another solution.

I've tried Spam Assassin, but didn't like it enough to shell out $30 for it. Today, I came across a review of CloudMark SpamNet. Visit their site to read up on their unique approach to fighting spam. After I've used it for a bit I will post a review.

Birthday And Longhorn Football

Posted on 8/30/2002 to Family & Friends

I've decided to take the long weekend off. No computing. This decision was made easier by the fact that I am 1) celebrating my 30th birthday today, and 2) I am about to head down to Austin to continue celebrating it through the weekend, and 3) Texas Longhorn football kicks off tomorrow night and I will be there.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

My Home Grown Weblog Application

Posted on 8/29/2002 to Developer Stuff

Believe it or not, I'm walking on air, I never thought I could feel so free-hee-heeee....
[smack!] Sorry...I started typing the first few words, and the rest just came flowing out. You all do remember that TV show, right? The Greatest American Hero? Anyway....

What I meant to say is "believe it or not, I've found renewed enthusiasm for my weblog application" - to the point that I am once again writing code.

What happened, you ask? Simple, I started mocking up a new admin site and that just seemed to get the juices flowing again. The next thing I knew, I had this whole new thing staring back at me from the screen. Give me a few more days and you can see it too.


Posted on 8/27/2002 to Developer Stuff

I am having trouble motivating myself to continue work on the .NET weblog app. It's not that I don't want to continue, it's just that everytime I think about working on it, I quickly find other things to do. I've essentially taken the last couple of weeks off from the project, hoping that I just need a break - if that's the case, then a couple of weeks hasn't been long enough. I am still not ready.

The worst part is that there is so much to do. Perhaps that is part of it, maybe I am overwhelmed at what's left. There is no more "low hanging fruit" to be picked off. To make anymore progress, I must face the issues I've been putting off.

This always seems to happen with me and my side projects.

What a Year!

Posted on 8/24/2002 to In General

Today marks the one year mark since I loaded up the truck with the bare essentials and our dog, Molly, left Castle Rock, Colorado, and headed to Fort Worth, Texas.

Friday, August 24th, 2001.

It is a day I will never forget. Leaving Colorado and my family was one of the hardest things I've had to do. Fortunately, my family followed only a couple of weeks later. Unfortunately, I still live in Fort Worth - not Colorado.

This coming Thursday will be my first anniversary at PPC. The next day, Friday, August 30th, I turn 30.

Did I mention that I received the employee of the month award for August? It isn't company wide, just for our Content Management Dept., nonetheless, there are still 60+ people to choose from.

Well, time to get ready to go to Gidgit's 10 year high school reunion. Time to be bored out of my mind.

Officially a Texan Again

Posted on 8/22/2002 to In General

Today I gave up my Colorado Driver's License. You see, I needed to finally get my Texas Driver's License. I had one before, but I had to give that up to get my Colorado license. Fortunately, if you know your old DL# and it hasn't expired, then all you have to do is request a duplicate license. Of course I had to stand in line to update my address and have a new picture taken, but no eye exam or anything. That will happen next year when my license expires and I have to renew. Speaking of renewal, they wouldn't let me renew today because I wasn't within one year of the expiration of my DL. It expires on my birthday in 2003 (8 days shy of being able to renew). The lady asked if I wanted to come back next Friday and take care of the duplicate and renewal all at once, but after already waiting 45 minutes, I decided against it.

So that's it, it's done. One last thing about DL's...I prefer the Colorado method - they have these little Driver's License stores all over, there is rarely a wait, and you get your DL right then and there. My Texas DL will arrive in 2-3 weeks. Until then, I have a paper certificate without a picture.

Fort Worth .NET Users Group

Posted on 8/22/2002 to Developer Stuff

The Fort Worth .NET User Group finally had a meeting this past Tuesday. Until now, .NET developers on the west side of the D/FW Metroplex had to drive to Dallas for their DNUG meeting. I am glad that this is finally off the ground. I was too lazy to drive over to Dallas after work. Also, my department typically has a little happy hour get together the third Thursday of every month, which is when the Dallas group met. So no more excuses.

The Circus

Posted on 8/19/2002 to Family & Friends

We took Jacob to the circus yesterday. He enjoyed it. We enjoyed it. I don't know if I would go again.

Including tax and fees, our tickets were over $25 each. Parking $6. The worst food I've ever had at an event like this - $14 (3 little corn dogs, a soggy pretzel, and 2 regular drinks). We also had fries, but I took those back when we realized that they were all mushy.

Did I mention the cotton candy that cost $10? Oh yeah, you get a goofy little hat with it.

The cost of items once you got inside were simply insane. In addition to the expensive cotton candy, they wanted $6 for a sno-cone.

I won't even go into the toys which started at around $6 for little trinkets and went up from there.

The greatest show on earth might also be the biggest rip-off on earth.

At least the elephants were good.

Longhorn Football

Posted on 8/10/2002 to Sports

The Horns had their first full squad practice of the season. Now it is time to get down to business. 3 weeks from now, we should be celebrating victory #1 of the year - a win over UNT. We'll also be celebrating my big 3-0 (actual b-day is Aug 30th).

Hard Knocks

Posted on 8/1/2002 to Sports

So what did y'all think about the first episode of the 2nd season of HBO's Hard Knocks, featuring the Dallas Cowboys?

Personally, I enjoyed it, though I could have done with a little less of the Cowboys Cheerleaders (did I just say that?). What's up with that woman telling them that they were all too fat? I mean, these were healthy, skinny women. No wonder so many women in America have eating disorders.

Armstrong Wins 4th Tour de France In A Row

Posted on 7/28/2002 to Sports

It's final, Lance Armstrong has won his 4th Tour de France in a row!

Coffee Good

Posted on 7/23/2002 to In General

A couple of weeks ago, this place opened up in the lobby of the building I work in. At first, their product tasted a bit weak, but got better over the next couple of days. Today, I learned that a large latte gets only one shot of espresso - no wonder I wasn't getting the same boost from that as I get from a venti latte from Starbucks. I had them add another shot, it was yummy.

What a Weekend

Posted on 7/22/2002 to Family & Friends

What a weekend! It was non-stop action from the time I left work, until I went to bed last night. Jacob turned two on Saturday, and we had a big birthday party cookout for him over at my in-laws. Everything went real well, and a fun time was had by all.

Thanks to all those who came on Saturday, and to everyone who helped put it together. Jacob really enjoyed it.

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Heras Takes 2nd Place

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Heras has raced around Beloki to claim a US Postal one-two. He was 1'04" behind his team leader.

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Lance Takes The Day!

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Lance Armstrong has won the stage to Plateau de Beille! His time is 6h00'29" - an average speed of 33.21kph for his 14th stage win in the Tour de France.

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Final Kilometer

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Lance is now less than 1km from another stage win in the Tour de France. He is 55" ahead of Beloki and Heras who are still together in the battle for 2nd and 3rd place.

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Heras Drops Beloki

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Heras has attacked Beloki and is now racing for 2nd place behind his team leader, Armstrong.

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Lance Goes Alone!

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Lance has now come around Heras. He's not going to follow today. He has dropped both Beloki and Heras and is now racing on toward stage win number 14 in his TdF career!

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Heras Goes To The Front...

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Roberto Heras has surged to the front and again only Lance and Joseba can follow. There are now just three riders racing for stage honors...

TdF - Stage 12 Update - Let The Game Begin!

Posted on 7/19/2002 to Sports

Floyd Landis has taken his place at the front of the peloton as they begin the final ascent of the day. All nine US Postal riders are at the front of the main pack. They are 2'45" behind the leading trio of Jalabert, Dufaux and Nozal.

Jacob's Site Gets a Facelift

Posted on 7/17/2002 to Family & Friends

Jacob's website received a facelift recently. I originally designed his site while in the hospital after his birth (don't worry, mom and baby were sleeping). It was definitely time for a fresh "kid friendly" look. I think I accomplished my goal. I also wanted to begin using metaBlog, the weblog application that I am building.

For those of you looking for content from the old site, it is still available, though I will be moving the content into the new site soon. Webservices

Posted on 7/17/2002 to Developer Stuff

After learning of the Webservices yesterday, I went right out and downloaded the SDK and got myself a dev token.

I finally had a chance to look at it today, and have built a simple page that searches for books about ASP.NET. You could see it, but I broke it.

The webservice looks like a good start, though there are some things missing, such as a product description. However, I could see this being used by someone who is an Amazon affiliate, like myself, to display a list of books to their visitors. Taken a step further, I might look for visitors coming to my site from search engine sites, get their search terms, and display a list of books based on those terms. I nice personalized list of books reflecting whatever it was that drew the visitor to my site.

aka Jerk

Posted on 7/13/2002 to Sports

I just watched a replay of Friday's stage of the Tour de France. The stage itself was inconsequential for the most part, it's what happened afterward that has me posting.

For those of you that watched the race, did you continue watching as the camera followed the stage winner, Erik Zabel, as he got off of his bike? If you did, then perhaps you know why this post is titled "aka Jerk". For those of you that missed it, Zabel pulled down every video camera within arms reach as walked away from the finish area. He reached out and grabbed the front of the cameras and violently jerked them down. None of the camera's were doing anything wrong as far as I could tell, yet he did this.

Does anyone know what the deal is with this?

MLB All-Star Game Called After 11

Posted on 7/10/2002 to Sports

Bud Selig and the powers that be within baseball brought this years version of the Mid-Summer Classic, the MLB All-Star Game, to a fitting end. With the score tied 7-7 and both teams down to their final pitcher, the game was called after 11 innings.

I can't help but think how fitting the ending is considering that this season will most likely end unresolved in a strike.

Armstrong Wins 2002 TdF Prologue

Posted on 7/6/2002 to Sports

Lance Armstrong started defense of the Yellow Jersey on the right foot, or wheel if you will, with a win in 2002 Tour de France Prologue. Armstrong topped Laurent Jalabert by 2 seconds.

The .NET Weblog Tool

Posted on 7/2/2002 to Developer Stuff

Well, that sort of defeats the whole idea behind content generation and publishing, doesn't it? The whole power of Radio is that it's "desktop publishing". Your server doesn't need to be anything except a dumb HTTP server that supports the GET protocol basically.[Drew's Blog]

Except that my web server already has I get a few hundred hits a day. What do I care? :-) I understand what motivates someone like Dave to make it just require FTP and no active server components. He has a monetary interest in working with the largest crowd possible. Personally, I don't have any such need. I'd rather prefer something powerful and dynamic over something static and flaky, but that's just me. :-) [The .NET Guy]

Exactly! Let me burn cycles on my server - it has plenty to spare. :-) As to Drew's later point about caching and page regeneration, I actually don't care too much about complex caching and page generation algorithms for this application. If I have to re-generate a page every time I get a request, that's ok with me, assuming we're not talking about a huge amount of CPU time (which we shouldn't be). I'm also willing to have to tweak .aspx files and/or code to customize my site (theme, page layout, etc.), rather than have a complete customization engine...[Greg Reinacker's Weblog]

There sure is a lot of talk about a .NET weblog tool. I suppose I really should get metaBlog finished. Speaking which, I still don't know about the name, but I just can't think of anything else at the moment.

Coming Along Nicely

Posted on 7/2/2002 to Developer Stuff

In case you haven't been keeping up with the progress of the .NET weblog tool that I am building, it is coming along nicely.

Follow along at

Rain Rain Go Away

Posted on 7/1/2002 to In General

Can't this rain go somewhere else? Someplace where it is needed more?

At least we haven't received as much rain as south and central Texas.

Texas Longhorn Football

Posted on 7/1/2002 to Sports

Does anyone know what F.I.T. stands for? Email with your answer.


Posted on 6/28/2002 to Developer Stuff

My new weblog tool, metaBlog should be ready for it's first beta release sometime today. (fingers-crossed).

The initial beta is going to be limited, so please email if you'd like to try it out. (You'll need ASP.NET and SQL Server).

.NET Weblog Tool

Posted on 6/25/2002 to Developer Stuff

I am building a weblog tool in ASP.NET. It is called metaBlog (tenatively). It is not yet ready for distribution, but you can follow its progress at

Texas Wins National Title In Baseball

Posted on 6/22/2002 to Sports

The Texas Longhorns topped South Carolina 12-6 to win their 5th National Championship in baseball.

The excitement started right off the bat as the Gamecocks loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the first inning, but Texas ace, Justin Simmons escaped the inning allowing just one run. The Texas offense came right back, putting 3 runs on the board in their half of the first inning. Both teams added another run in the second, and then things settled down for a couple of innings.

Then in the fifth, Chris Carmichael, startig for the first time in a month, homered to right with two men on. Texas later added another run, making the score 8-2 heading into the seventh.

The wheels began coming off for Texas, as the Gamecocks continued their late inning heroics by scoring two runs each in the 7th and 8th innings, bringing them to within 2 runs at 8-6. Once again, the Texas offense rolled up at just the right time, adding 4 runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth. Huston Street closed out the game to become the first CWS player to earn 4 saves. Street was also name MVP of the tournament.

Texas Advances To CWS Championship Game

Posted on 6/21/2002 to Sports

The Texas Longhorns topped Stanford to move to within one win of their first national title in baseball since 1983.

Texas awaits the winner of South Carolina and Clemson.

Netflix Opening 10 New Distribution Centers

Posted on 6/20/2002 to In General

Netflix cranks up DVD distribution With 10 new distribution centers opening throughout the country, the online DVD-rental company believes it has the capacity to handle up to 1 million orders a day. [CNET]

I have been using Netflix since last October and generally love it. Shipment times have been good for the most part, with most CD's arriving within 3 days of shipping. Hopefully this will cut times to 1-2 days.

Message for Netflix: How about an alert via email whenever my queue gets low, or heaven forbid empty?


Posted on 6/18/2002 to In General

Due to recent remarks by Ted Turner, equating Israel with terrorists, I will no longer be using AOL products, including AIM.


Posted on 6/17/2002 to Sports

I did it again. For the second Monday in a row, I was up at 1:30 AM CST watching the USA in the World Cup. This one was against Mexico.

I might have mentioned this once before - I am not a big soccer fan. I am an occasional fan who understands the importance of this event on the international stage. But more than that, I am an American. So I stayed up late, and what do you know...I couldn't have asked for a better reward than what the team provided, a 2-0 victory over Mexico.

Being a football fan, I am always weary of "prevent defenses", they always seem to give up more than the regular defense. However, in this match they got it right. In what ended up being a brilliant strategical move, the US focused on defense, and waited patiently for opportunities to present themselves. When the time came, they took advantage. By the later stages of the game, Mexico had worn down completely from trying to apply so much pressure for most of the game. They seemed to play right into the hands of the USA. Of course, none of this would have been possible without another amazing effort by Friedel. I'll say it again - amazing.

Next up Germany. This one starts at 6:30 AM locally, so I will get a bit more sleep.

Happy Father's Day

Posted on 6/16/2002 to Family & Friends

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.

U.S. Moves On Despite Thumping By Poland

Posted on 6/14/2002 to Sports

South Korea bailed out the U.S. soccer team today. People will say that the U.S. backed into the next round. I wonder what Portugal, France, or Argentina give to be in our shoes?

The more I watch these World Cup games, the more it seems like winning isn't the real objective, at least not in this round. The objective here is to survive, and the US team has done just that. Sure, it might all be over soon, but until then...



Posted on 6/12/2002 to In General

By now, you've heard about the wildfires raging in Colorado, specifically the Hayman fire. This time last year, we lived south of Denver in Castle Rock, which last I checked was on the edge of the evacuation area. For the first time since having to leave Colorado, I am glad to not be there.

World Cup and College World Series

Posted on 6/10/2002 to Sports

I was determined to watch the whole US vs. Korea game, and watch it I did. I stayed up until after 3:30 AM to catch the whole game. Boy am I tired today.

I was thrilled to see that the Texas Longhorns have moved on from the Super Regionals to the College World Series. Hopefully it will not be 2 losses and out as it was with their last visit. My one concern is the performance, or lack thereof, of Justin Simmons, the Longhorns regular season ace. He is just not been the same since getting hammered by tamu in the opening game of the Big 12 tourney.

ΣΕΧ Or Sigma Epsilon Chi

Posted on 6/5/2002 to In General

Did you know that I once started a franternity with several friends while I was attending the University of Texas? It's name was ΣΕΧ. We even registered with the University as a service organization, which required a meeting with the Dean of something or other.

Too bad it didn't last.

Google, Soccer, Radio Userland, and American

Posted on 6/2/2002 to Sports

Soccer, weblog, american led someone to my Radio Userland based site that has been up for only a day or two.

Now I know how to draw people to my site ;-).

Soccer & The Average American Sports Fan

Posted on 5/31/2002 to Sports

In the first game of the 2002 World Cup, Senegal upset France, the defending World Cup Champs.

I am not a big soccer fan, but I do watch games that involve the US from time to time, and I definitely watch during the World Cup. I also watch the title game - usually. In this regard, I would guess that I am close to the typical American sports fans as far as soccer is concerned.

This morning, I found myself drawn into the final 20 minutes of the opening game, but only after noticing the France was trailing 1-0. I just wonder if this is the sort of game that is needed to boost viewership in the U.S. You know we always love the underdog, as long as the underdog isn't playing our team. Big name teams getting beat create excitement in fans of lesser teams and the mindset that anything is possible.

A few more upsets wouldn't hurt to test this theory.

RSS News Feed

Posted on 5/30/2002 to Weblog Applications

Here's how the story goes...

I downloaded Radio.Userland. Why? I don't know, I wanted to see what it does and how it works. Anyway, I was checking out their News page and realized that I could easily make content from metaBlogs available as a news feed as well. 15 minutes later, it was done.

Dallas/Fort Worth Sports

Posted on 5/30/2002 to Sports

What is it about this time of year? Save for a couple of years in the late 90's when the Rangers where winning, June and July are two of the lonliest months for sports fans in the D/FW metroplex.

I would include August, but with August comes football. Sure, they might not be regular season games, but preseason games and reading about how your favorite college team is doing with its preparations for the upcoming season is 100 times more enjoyable than following the woes of the Rangers.

A new dimension to football season is that following close on its heals is the start of basketball season - something that has become enjoyable again for the metroplex sports fan only in the last couple of years. For a while there, it was football leading into hockey, but with the Stars sudden demise, thank goodness for Mark Cuban and the Mavericks.

So, my question to you is this: how do you deal with the doldrums of summer sports here in the metroplex?

No Sleep

Posted on 5/29/2002 to Family & Friends

What do you do when your kid won't sleep by himself? We've tried ignoring him, but you can only take so much crying.

I need sle...zzz...zzz...zzz...zzz...zzz...zzz

Migration From Blogger To metaBlog: Complete

Posted on 5/28/2002 to Weblog Applications

With relative ease, I was able to migrate 2 years worth of content from Blogger to my new system, metaBlog.

The metaBlog system itself is still a bit rough around the edges, for example, I don't have the archive functionality built yet. Also, the comments feature doesn't work. I had multiple users setup to post to my Bloger blog, I still need to set those users up in my metaBlog blog and point their posts to the right user ID.

Finally, you might notice the new design of the site. It might stay, or not. I am undecided.

metaBlog Part 2

Posted on 5/28/2002 to Weblog Applications

The weblog system that I've been building is almost ready for it's coming out party.

Of course it is not 100% ready yet, but it is ready enough to begin using. The first task will be migrating this site to it. BTW, the system is tenatively named metaBlog. You can learn more about it at

metaBlog Part 1

Posted on 5/15/2002 to Weblog Applications

I am building my own blogging system. I've been building it for a while. It is mainly for myself and my friends and family to use, but once complete, I will make the code available. There is no website for it at the moment.

Another project.


Posted on 3/3/2002 to In General

I have begun applying some of my latest content management code to the family web site - well, to the development version of the family web site. If all goes well, the development site will move into production within the next week. This also means that folks will finally be able to post their own content for the site.

In other news, Jacob had tubes put in his ears this past Friday. The procedure went smoothly, and he is doing very well. The decision to have tubes put in his ears was a tough one, but ultimately the best one. They should greatly reduce the number of ear infections that he has, which will make his life more pleasant.

One last thing - I recently upgraded the code on this site to v1 of ASP.NET, which in turn broke some things. For the time being, the archives remain dead.

Ricky, Ricky, Ricky

Posted on 2/26/2002 to Sports

Will this guy ever get is act together?


Posted on 1/18/2002 to In General

Is anyone out there?

MovableType Experiment

Posted on 1/14/2002 to Weblog Applications

I am experimenting with Movable Type is this bad?