Archives for 2004

I'm An Uncle!

Posted on 12/29/2004 to Family & Friends

On Monday I became an Uncle. I now have a beautiful niece named Eliana. She is more perfect than the most perfect niece I could've imagined. I think every dad should have a little girl. Hmmm...

Posted on 12/9/2004 to Education

While channel surfing this evening, I caught an interview on MSNBC with Charles Best, a high school teacher in the Bronx and the founder of DonorsChoose.

From the How it Works page of the DonorsChoose website:

The DonorsChoose model of citizen philanthropy begins with a teacher who wants to provide his or her students with an activity that school funds would not cover. At this website, the teacher can describe a student project and list the materials needed to make it possible. is not a bulletin board where teachers can directly post their proposals, however. Before accepting a proposal, DonorsChoose staff and volunteers verify the teacher's identity; confirm the existence of requested materials; negotiate discounts and attach a cost to the proposal; and, finally, review the proposed student project. If anything is unclear, staff email follow-up questions to the teacher.

Next, civic-minded individuals can browse teachers' submissions. A donor can make a tax-deductible contribution that fully or partially funds a chosen proposal.

In this, the season of giving, this site makes it easy to help out the future of our country.

Sprint PCS Customer Service Sucks

Posted on 12/9/2004 to Companies That Could Do Better

I was going to give you all the details of my recent two day ordeal in dealing with Sprint PCS Customer Service, but I've decide it was too long a story. Instead, I will warn you about them. If you having billing issues that are anything other than the simplest of issues, expect a nightmare. It is likely that the first person won't be able to help you, and it is possible that their supervisor will fail miserably as well. Our situation involved changing phone numbers and getting new phones. Our problem was being billed for the same period of time on both the old numbers and the new numberss (old #'s were disconnected and replaced with the new #'s, at no time did we have all the numbers active). The problem was made even more complicated due to the billing errors being spread over two billing cycles.

All I wanted was an adjustment for the errors. I've got no problem paying what I am supposed to pay, it isn't like I was seeking customer satisfaction credits (the first rep asked how much credit I was looking for when I asked for her supervisor, and went on to say that perhaps she could just issue a credit, how much do you want?). Another rep (this one a supervisor) tried issuing credits for all kinds of stuff that wasn't billed wrong, but failed to see that I was being double billed.

Anyway, I hope you never have complex billing issues with Sprint. If you do, go ahead and call in as soon as you get the bill and recognize the error, and climb the chain of command as far as you can above the first two levels. You might have to wait for a callback, which is why you shouldn't put off the initial call.

How About Now, Bill?

Posted on 12/6/2004 to Sports

So now that the Cowboys are 4-8 5-7, and after Parcells' boy, Vinny Testaverde threw two critical 4th quarter interceptions (both of which led to Seahawk touchdowns), will he go with Drew Henson? If he does, will he let Drew finish a game, rather than yanking him in an attempt to secure a meaningless win?

I know that the defense self-destructed, I know that Quincy Morgan ran a terrible route on the second INT, I know Vinny threw a late TD on a broken play, and I wonder what the heck the OC was thinking in throwing the ball so much midway through the 4th quarter with a lead, when they'd been running so effectively, and I know they recovered an onside kick after the late touchdown (possibly blown by the replay booth officials, but if so, it was one of many blown calls -- going both ways, with equal impact) to keep hope alive. I also know that at some point you have to play for your teams' future, and not the present.

Considering that every win now likely just means a lower draft pick, not a playoff appearance, play the young guys. I am sure that Drew can go in and throw 2 INTs just as well as Vinny. Wouldn't the team be better off next year with him having more game experience under his belt heading in (unless Bill is already planning on Vinny being back as the starter...@#*!&?!) In Vinny, you know what you are getting, a veteran QB, at the end of his career, who will lose as many games for you as he wins.

Then, along came Jones, Julius Jones -- 30 carries, 198 yards, 3 touchdowns, including the game winner from 17 yards out. By the way, with 33 yards on his final two carries -- also the final two offensive plays (that gained yards) of the game for Dallas, it appears that the OC finally realized the error of his previous pass happy play calling ways.

I still say start Drew.

(If it isn't obvious, I began this post after Vinny's second INT led to the Seahawks going up by 10, and finished it as time expired and the Cowboys up 43-39.)

Happy Turkey Day!

Posted on 11/25/2004 to In General

I hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving holiday.

I'm heading down to Austin in a bit for some turkey with my sister and brother-in-law, and then some Texas football tomorrow afternoon.

Happy Birthday Caleb!

Posted on 11/5/2004 to Family & Friends

It's hard to believe that a year has passed since we were blessed with Caleb's early arrival.

Every day offers something new...sounds that are starting to sound like real words beyond mamma and dadda, different reactions and facial expressions, interest in something he'd previously been oblivious too...the list goes on. I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

Kids...they take us on such a magical ride!

Getting Things Done

Posted on 11/4/2004 to Day Job

Here it is, barely after lunch, and already I've completed a number of tasks today. This feels good. Lately, at work, I've been like a hamster running on it's wheel -- never really getting anywhere. Sure, I was head down working, but the things I've been working on had tasks spanning several days, or more. Finally, I've had a few things that were started and completed on the same day.

I think it is important that as many days as possible leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment. Otherwise, you feel stuck in a rut, or in my case, like you're running on a hamster's wheel.

Verizon FIOS Service Installed!

Posted on 10/20/2004 to Technology

Well, the install didn't exactly go smoothly, but I now have fiber installed all the way to the house. Fiber for my internet connection and fiber for the phone line (note: not VoIP).

I won't go into details on the difficulties during the install, I leave it at Verizon messed up, and it took an additional two days to make it right. To their credit, I will be getting a generous bill credit, and like the rental car commercial, they try harder.

My last speed test showed that I am getting the bandwidth that I am paying for, so that is good. Now I just need to see about getting the dynamic DNS functionality in the router they provide to work with my EasyDNS account.

It's 2:23 AM...

Posted on 10/9/2004 to Sports

...and ou still SUCKS!

Verizon FIOS

Posted on 10/6/2004 to Technology

I placed my order yesterday for the FIOS service from Verizon (and for their phone service). For those of you not familiar with this service, it is fiber to the premises -- that means the connection from my house to the outside world is fiber. That's right, fiber all the way to my house. My internet connection will be over the fiber, as will my phone service. Sometime by mid-next year, I should be able to cancel my cable service, as Verizon will be offering TV over the fiber.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this! Once the install happens, I'll post again about the overall experience.

By the way, I ordered 15 MB down/2 MB up.

Netflix Etiquette

Posted on 9/23/2004 to Entertainment

I've had a movie checked out now for about a month -- so far it has gone unwatched. I really should watch it, and I know that eventually I'll want to see it, but at the moment, I have absolutely no desire to watch it. So my question is this: how long do you let a movie sit unwatched before sending it back?

3 Years Later

Posted on 9/8/2004 to In General

Today is the 3-year anniversary of something I’d rather forget. It’s been 3 years since I left Colorado. Some of my long-time readers might recall a post from August of 2002 where I said it was the 1-year anniversary of my departure from Colorado, and wonder what the heck I’m talking about now.

In August of 2001, I was hired by a company in Fort Worth, Texas. Our house in Colorado hadn’t sold, and we had a 1 bedroom apartment in Fort Worth available to use practically free of charge for a couple of months. So the plan was for my wife and 13 month-old son to stay in Colorado until the house sold, or as long as made sense. To my wife, about two weeks made sense. On September 5th, 2001, my dad and I flew up to Denver to pack the house and move everything to storage in Fort Worth, while my wife and son joined me in the tiny 1 bedroom apartment.

On September 8, 2001, I was busy driving a big ass moving truck through southern Colorado, across northeastern New Mexico, and down into the Texas panhandle. I’ve not been back to Colorado since.

Before we moved to Colorado, I went practically every year since I was 6 or 7…sometimes twice a year (to ski, snowboard, and camp). Now, here we are three years later, and I am dying to get back, if just for a visit…just a few days. Work keeps getting in the way, or perhaps I keep letting it get in the way. Maybe it is time to rearrange my priorities and take a little break. I’ve got old friends to catch up with, and maybe even a new one or two to meet in person for the first time.

1 Gmail Invite

Posted on 9/3/2004 to Cool Stuff

It seems like Google has been flooding everyone with Gmail invites lately, but in case you still don't have one, I've got one left. Leave me a comment if you would like it -- first come, first served.

Update: I'm back up to 6 available invites -- no takers? Must be a sure sign that everyone has a Gmail account (that or I have no readers).

Companies that Suck

Posted on 8/18/2004 to Companies That Could Do Better

I've added a new category to the weblog -- Companies that Suck. As you might guess, this category is where I will post information about companies whose products, services, policies, or employees suck.

Basically, whenever I have a problem with a company, I will write a post about it. Not to worry, I will keep it professional, and strive to present the facts -- no need for personal attacks. If a company steps up and resolves the problem, I'll write about that too. Of course, the next logical category is for Companies the Rock, or something similar. Maybe tomorrow.

New Day, New Category, Hoping for a New Me

Posted on 8/4/2004 to Health and Fitness

Man, I am tired! Up at 6 am this morning for what I hope is the first of many morning workouts. No more going to the gym late at night to avoid the crowds, no more being away from the house, leaving my wife with the kids for 6-12 hours a week while I go to the gym, no more excuses for not going to workout -- I hope.

It's been a long time since I consistently worked out in the mornings, but I've always gotten the best results from such workouts. I am hoping that history repeats itself, even though this will be my first attempt at early morning workouts without a regular workout partner. (I wonder if my wife will get up a little early with me?)

My setup is quite simple. I've been using dumbbells almost exclusively for upper body workouts for the past 2+ years and I need flexibility with regards to the location of the equipment -- it is starting out in the garage, but could move to the gameroom, or even my office -- so I went with Powerblocks, a nice incline/decline/flat bench, the Powerblock stand, and an exercise mat. As far as the Powerblock setup, I got the Pro Rexan set up to 85 lbs each, with the option to go up to the Big Block set (125lbs each) within 6 weeks at the same price as if I had bought it originally (saving almost $100 vs. buying it separately).

Anyway, as I mentioned, the first workout was this morning, and it went well. There is obviously an adjustment period anytime you switch weight systems or routines, but the workout felt good. The weights felt good, and are real comfortable to use.

Now I hope I can make it to lunch without needing a nap. ;-)


Posted on 7/14/2004 to In General

Live Strong is an educational program of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It is a resource for cancer survivors, their friends and families, caregivers and health care providers. Support those living with cancer, support the LAF.

If you've been following the Tour de France at all this year, perhaps you've noticed many people, riders, commentators, officials, and fans, wearing yellow wristbands. These wristbands are not for security, they don't designate the wearer as being affiliated with the Tour, they simply show support for the LAF and for those living with cancer. These yellow wristbands are engraved with Lance's mantra of LIVESTRONG, and are being sold to raise $5 million for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. You can get yours here.


The Paceline

Posted on 7/13/2004 to Sports

For your Tour de France/Lance Armstrong/USPS Cycling Team fix, check out is the official fan club website for Lance Armstrong and the USPS Cycling Team. They've got tons of news, plus daily updates from the Tour by folks like Chris Carmichael, Graham Watson, Chris Brewer, and many more.


Posted on 7/13/2004 to In General

Anyone have a spare Gmail invite for me? If you do, Contact Me.

Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1

Posted on 7/1/2004 to Developer Stuff

VS 2005 Beta 1 is now up on MSDN Subscriber Downloads.

X-Voter in the News

Posted on 6/22/2004 to Politics received some national press this week.

Check out Jacob Ogles' article, Voter Drives, Without Politics, at

Los Lonely Boys

Posted on 6/14/2004 to Entertainment

If you haven't already heard Los Lonely Boys, you should give them a listen.

Their style of music is summed up best by guitarist Henry Garza, "People always ask us what kind of style we play. I tell 'em it's a cross between Stevie Ray meets Santana, Jimi Hendrix meets Richie Valens, or the Beatles meet Ronnie Milsap. I call it my music burrito theory. What we've done is made like our own tortilla, right, with all the knowledge of all the greats that are out there, I can't even think of 'em all right now, but we put 'em inside the tortilla, fold it up in there, we make our own burrito and we're sellin' it to the world, y'know?"

Posted on 6/4/2004 to Politics

The development of has been a side gig of mine for the last few months. Finally the site has launched, so I thought I'd give mention to it here.

Anyway, check it out, and let me know what you think -- good or bad. I'll pass the information on to the appropriate people.

Ideally, you will all love the idea and sign up right away! ;-)


Posted on 5/12/2004 to Cool Stuff

Not sure how I missed this.  Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has his own weblog

Being that I am a lifelong Mavs fan (well at least since I was 8, when they came into existence), I think this is very cool.

Maybe I missed it because I had to take a break from all things related to the Mavs after their “One and Done” trip to the playoffs this year.

New Home Update

Posted on 4/25/2004 to In General

In case you were wondering where I've been for the past couple of months, I've been busy, very busy.

Aside from every day life -- 40+ hour job, parent of 2 young children, etc, we've been house hunting, and I've been working a side project.  Between those two things, I've hardly had time to breath.  The good news is that the house hunting is over officially.  In fact, we are signed sealed and delivered, having moved in this weekend.  I'll save you the boring details of it all, except to say that the neighborhood has fiber to the curb and most houses come already networked.

Now if I can just get everything unpacked and get finished with this side project -- more on that later.

.NET and Land Thieves

Posted on 1/25/2004 to Developer Stuff

Just thought I'd give my previous post a little .NET twist.

If you've followed this weblog for any length of time, then you know that I track all referrers via an HTTPModule that I wrote a year ago.  What you don't know is that I recently implemented a way to “misdirect” certain referring sites, such as those responsible for referrer log spam.  At first I thought about just adding the sooner fan site that was responsible for the land thief traffic to this list, but then I thought of something else -- something a little more fun.  Now my Referrer HTTPModule intercepts sites with “sooner” in the hostname and displays an intermediate page before allowing them to access the post they so eagerly want to read.

Copy and  paste this Url into your browser ( - sorry not going to link to their site), then follow the link on that page back to my site to see what I mean.  Now for most of you, the humor will be lost, but Longhorn fans, as well as anyone who despises ou, you'll get a kick out of it.

Welcome Land Thieves ;-)

Posted on 1/25/2004 to Sports

Just wanted to point out that I've updated a post from 2001.

It seems that a land thief (sooner) came across it and decided to post it on one of their fan sites, resulting in a large amount of referral traffic.  Anyway, thanks -- I guess.

ASP.NET Webcast Week

Posted on 1/19/2004 to Developer Stuff

Just a reminder that this is ASP.NET Webcast Week...

"Learn about ASP.NET from the experts! These free events are live and interactive. Live code demos and attendees asking in depth engaging questions are all part of this live event. This is a great way to get educated, engaged, and enlightened on Microsoft developer tools."

Music Rebellion Update

Posted on 1/10/2004 to Entertainment

I was just over at, looking to spend my last couple of dollars on 10 cent songs, when I noticed that they were no longer 10 cents.

It looks like they've started pricing based on demand, which in a lot of cases appears to still be cheaper that the other download sites.

Cheap Music Downloads

Posted on 1/9/2004 to Entertainment

In case you haven't heard, has $0.10 song downloads for a limited time.  It looks like once the promotion ends they will change their pricing structure so that the download price is dependent on song demand.

One of the nice features is the ability to fund your account using PayPal.

The BCS, Computer Polls, and College Football

Posted on 1/5/2004 to Sports

I came across a post by Jason Salas concerning the BCS and it's use of computer polls to aid in determining a champion.

First a quick correction to his post, he's got the polls and their champs reversed...USC was voted #1 in the AP, or writer's poll, while LSU claimed the BCS championship, resulting in them being named #1 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, which is contractually obligated to name the BCS champion as their champion.  The interesting thing is that three coaches didn't do this, rather they kept their #1 team from the final regular season poll (USC) intact.

The problem that I see with the computerized rankings is the same as with the human polls -- that is they are opinion based.  Sure, from week to week, someone just plugs in a bunch of numbers and the computer spits out the rankings, but in the beginning of each and every one of the computer polls, the developer had to decide on the things that are important in ranking teams and how important each of those things are in relation to the other things.  Like any other computer program, the computer polls are only as good as the people who designed and wrote them. 

As far as the BCS goes, my gripe isn't with the computer polls, though I do scratch my head from time to time, after seeing some of their rankings, wondering what they were smoking when they put their system together.  My problem is with the BCS itself, and with the AD's who insist on using it to determine a national champion, rather having a playoff as is done in every other college sport at every other level.  Personally, if we have to have the BCS, I would make these changes...1) Remove strength of schedule as a BCS component.  Strength of schedule is already factored in to each and every poll, including the human polls.  (Don't tell me that the voters don't take into consideration who a team has played, and possibly who those teams have played, when voting.)  2) Put margin of victory back in.  I just don't see how you can have one without the other.  The kids playing the games have no control over who is on their schedule, but they do control the outcome.  Shouldn't a team be able to offset a weak strength of schedule by a wide margin of victory?  I think so.  3) Finally, remove the bonus points for quality wins.  They should already be reflected by record and strength of schedule.

Congrats to USC, and to those 3 coaches who had the balls to vote against their contract.  Now let's have a playoff.

Think Through Form Validation

Posted on 1/1/2004 to Developer Stuff

I was in the middle of registering for an account at when I came upon some poorly coded form validation.  One of the fields is the answer to a secret question.  The user gets to choose the secret question from a list 7 options -- I chose one that asks “What is your father's middle name?”  The problem I have is that the validation requires that the answer must be at least 6 characters -- my father's middle name does not meet this requirement.  Come to think of it, besides my own middle name, no one else in my immediate family has a middle name 6 characters or longer. 

Fortunately, I can get around this by choosing a different question (assuming I don't run into similar issues), or I can elect to not have a secret question, and thus no need for a secret answer...I wonder if selecting this option will still require a word of 6 or more characters...let's see...

Ok, it didn't balk at not having a secret answer, but upon submitting the form it did tell me that I don't have permission to access the server.  Great.  So much for trying them out for their free DNS services.  I guess I get what I pay for.

Welcome to 2004!

Posted on 1/1/2004 to In General

Happy New Year!

Wow, has it really been 4 years since we rang in Y2K?  So much has happened to me and my family in that time -- from moving to Denver just two weeks before Y2K and having child #1 in mid 2000, to moving back to Texas in late 2001 and more recently having child #2 just under 2 months ago -- yet it seems just like yesterday.

As I get older, the hands of the clock seem to move ever faster.  I'm barely in my 30's, what's it like in your 40's? 50's? Or even older?

After a night of staying at home, watching movies and eating the best filet mignon I've ever cooked (along with some very tasty roasted poblano and garlic mashed potatoes -- my creation as well ;-), with the wife and the little ones, it is time to get some rest.

Hope you have a happy and prosperous 2004!