Friday, April 30, 2010

A Shrinking Herd

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Having less horses?

Barring some accident, it’s not something I’ve experienced in the last six or seven horses. Ever since my wife got her first horse, she’s been finding ways to increase her herd. She either buys them, is given them, or boards them.

However this past week we ended up losing two boarders, going from eight to six horses.

Good to see, from my perspective since it’s less work. For either me or my wife. I was actually surprised to see her mention it a few times, but in a good way. She’s OK with it, and I’m glad. She’s mentioned a few times that it’s nice to be down to six.

At the rate she was going, I thought that we might end up with 50 by the time I retired.

Six Months

“Show up for work on time for six months and then we’ll talk. Until then, I have four words for you: shut the fuck up.” – Kitchen Confidential

I wish people showed up and heard this on their first day of work.

Windows 7 v the iPad

No, I didn’t buy an iPad, but I have to say on a trip to the Apple Store this week (for an iPod issue), I played with one for about 20 minutes and I came to this conclusion.

It. Is. Cool.

It’s not semi-cool. Or neat. It is very, very cool. I had seen one in Best Buy a week or so ago, but didn’t have time to play with it. However I did spend some time reading about it and then comparing it to my Windows 7 tablet.

I have one of the Acer 11” laptops that Microsoft gave out at the PDC with a touch screen, the Win 7 touch pack, and Office 2010 Beta. I’ve used it for 3-4 months, and I like it. It was a little slow, but I added an SSD, and that helped speed it up pretty well.

However compared to the iPad, in some ways, it’s miles behind. Here’s a short review of some of my thoughts.


I read on LCD screens a lot. My iPhone is (almost) my exclusive reading device, and in the last 2 years I’ve gone through about 100 books on it. It has a great form factor for me, I can use it at night, even in indirect sunlight, and it’s always with me. So I compared it to the other devices.

Win 7 – I used the tablet to read in bed a little and it worked well, but it was too heavy. Even resting on my chest, it was uncomfortable after about 15 minutes. The navigation of flipping pages and moving around was crude compared to the Apple interfaces, and even compared to the Google Android interface. Some of that might be hardware, but hey, it’s the same generation. Arguably this is newer than my iTouch, but works worse.

iPad – I sat in the store and tried to read for about 10 minutes. I like the display, and the animations of turning pages is cool, though a waste of CPU power. I’d prefer that power running Twitter or something in the background. However this wasn’t great either. Despite the lighter weight, I couldn’t grip the iPad well. It’s too heavy to hold for long in one hand, and it felt like it might fall out of my hand. In bed it would probably work better, but not sure it’s better than my iPhone.


I tried to do a few things on the devices, open web pages, type emails, view pictures, etc. My thoughts.

Win 7 – Fails miserably. Trying to navigate with my fingers, which is relatively fast in terms of ergonomics, didn’t work well. The familiar gestures of moving things, sliding them, getting focus into a text box, all felt crude, slow, and half-assed on Win 7.

The absolutely most annoying thing is that it switches from landscape to portrait too fast. And not only does it switch, it pops up a dialog that says “some applications might not work in portrait mode”


That is, oh-so-annoying. And until you close the dialog, it won’t switch resolutions. How many times I’ve been tilting it back and forth wondering when it would switch, only to finally notice the dialog in the taskbar.

This is a dumb implementation and I haven’t found a way to turn it off. Worse, when I’ve slightly tilted the tablet while reading, it switches. And then switches back.

And even worse (yes there’s an even worse), there are times that the device doesn’t register the rotation correctly. I can’t click on things, or the click seems to be a half inch or so off.

Steve, maybe it’s your device.

Maybe so, but this is the device Microsoft handed out at the PDC last year to show off Win 7 and the tablet technology. I think that Microsoft needs to go to One Infinite Loop, wave around a checkbook and get a few UI developers to come work for them.


This touch implementation sucks, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to open the keyboard, use the keypad, and reorient myself to working with a sideways display to get the properties for the display and manually set it back to landscape.

iPad – It was cool and quick, and doing things like checking a few emails or looking at web pages were much better than the iPhone. Getting a few, limited things, done was where this thing shined.

Virtual Keyboard

I first used a virtual keyboard on Android, and despite having a physical keyboard on the phone, I found myself using the virtual one more and more. My experiences here.

Win 7 – One word sums this up nicely: sucky.  It’s slow to react, it’s the wrong size, it’s not easily placed where you can two-thumb it, and it just doesn’t work. Using the stylus is the best method I’d found and that’s S-L-O-W in a way that makes it worth finding a place to set the device down and open the screen, wait for it to sync over and type on the real keyboard. It’s a shitty experience (apologies, but no other word conveys it as well).

iPad – It’s a big iPhone keyboard. It’s in a slightly weird size, and for serious typing, like blogging, I’d want a real keyboard, but I could two thumb it and type almost as fast as the iPhone. Watching the Apple Store people I think I could be at pertty good speed in a few days.


The iPad is cool, but limited. The Win7 tablet lets me do most things, but I avoid going tablet because it really, really annoys me. I was hoping to use this thing as a tablet often, take advantage of the form factor to read, browse the web, etc., but for the most part, it sucks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Busy Busy Day

It’s been a few busy days in a row. Today started with a dentist appointment, which was at 8. And I had to get Kendall to school since Tia had a call, so I was racing around to get work going, get her to school and then to the dentist.

The dentist went well, but didn’t help my stress level. I think it’s more the idea of being there, and the stress of someone picking and scraping my teeth with sharp instruments. I keep feeling myself tensing up, the muscles in my neck and shoulder tightening and I have to relax.

And do it again in 2 minutes. Ugh, I hate the dentist. Even though I have a good one, with relatively pain free hygenists. At least everything was fine with my teeth.

Then it was running a couple errands and taking a work call that slowed me down. Back at home, trying to cram in some work, talking with my business partner, getting kids from the bus, I feel behind today. Plus there are a few things that I’ve been researching and trying to get through. Pressure.

At least tonight isn’t too busy. Delaney has a cello concert, so it’s not a down night, but no karate, no exertion, no scouts to think or talk to, a quieter night. I had a decent night’s sleep last night. Not great, but not bad. I need a couple more.

Maybe I need a couple days off.

Alive Another Day

The Nuggets won last night, which surprised me. I watched part of the game and it seemed as though they were falling apart again at times, just not playing together, rushing, and losing their cool. However I turned it off in the third and apparently their shooting went well.

At their best, I think the Jazz is a better team. However in spite of that, it seemed that Williams was getting some suspect calls (to me). Not changing the game necessarily, though Billups got into some foul trouble. More that it was frustrating.

Officiating isn't necessarily making a difference, but it did seem to be more a part of the game with the Nuggets the last few nights than it should have been,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Crossing the Line

When I first saw the headline, I thought it was Kobe Bryant and ignore the story. However after hearing it debated for over an hour on the radio, across a couple days, I had to check out the Miami GM apologizing to Des Bryant. It’s quite a story, and I think this definitely a big mistake on the GMs part.

When you are interviewing people there are things you can ask, and things you cannot ask. There are also things that you should not ask. This was probably an illegal question since this was essentially a job interview, but it was definitely an improper question.

What can and can’t be ask varies by state in the US. Most of the guidelines are based on non-discrimination laws, which are interpreted to say you can’t ask how old someone is, if they have kids, etc. What you can do is ask them to talk about themselves, but you can’t ask a woman, for example, if she plans to get pregnant in the next year. There’s a good list here in a PDF.

I heard one former NFL player on the radio say that he would have punched the guy for asking the question, and it would have been a bad move. I tend to agree, but I’d think I’d cheer him on for doing it.

Book #36 – The Hunt for Atlantis

base_media A new author, and this is one case where the “sample” provided by Amazon and Barnes and Noble helped. I read the first 20-30 pages as a sample, enjoyed it, so I grabbed the book.

The Hunt for Atlantis starts with the search for Atlantis, a husband and wife team in the Himalayas following a lead. They’ve left their daughter behind for one of the first times, and it’s a good thing when they are betrayed by one of the members of the expedition and killed.

The book then cuts to 10 years or so later, where their daughter is a grad student, seeking funding for her own Atlantis search. It’s denied, but a corporation offers to fund her. And as she accepts, another corporation tries to kill her. From there it’s a wild ride as she gets a bodyguard that is obviously attracted to her and saves her life a few times as they search. The search goes to South America, the the Med, then back to the Himalayas.

The book is somewhat predictable, but it’s fun to read, it gets exciting, and while it’s obviously fiction and you never believe it could happen, it does get exciting at times and is fast paced. You can see the twist coming, but it’s still a fun read for a rainy day.

On Time

Got Kendall to school on time today for the first time this week. Actually it was Tia’s doing, getting her up and showered and then shuffling us out the door. We’ve typically been 5-10 minutes late this week, which puts Kendall behind on the early work.

Not sure why it’s so hard with her, since we seem to get Delaney out the door fine. Definitely something to work on.

Book #35 – MoneyBall

I had wanted to read Moneyball for years, having heard it talked about on the radio and Michael Lewis interviewed a few times. So when I had some money, and was searching for something non-fiction to read, I grabbed it.

It’s great. Lewis does a fantastic job of mixing in stories with facts, and walking you through some personalities of the game of baseball. It’s almost as much a book on cultural stereotypes and the lack of desire to change as it is on baseball.

Lewis looks at the success of the Oakland As, a small market team whose payroll is a fraction of larger teams, like the Yankees, who they compete with. The GM of the As, Billy Beane, was a talented player, arguably the most talented player in his draft (that included Daryl Strawberry and Len Dykstra), but never made a success. He was scouted and talked about, but mentally didn’t succeed. So when he becomes a GM, he looks to do things differently.

And he uses math, or statistics rather, to analyze players. He hires people outside of baseball (non-players), that love the game, and revamps the way Oakland signs and drafts players. With quite a bit of success. Despite the success Oakland has had consistently in the regular season, it still appears that many teams haven’t caught on.

It’s a fun read, and you find yourself drawn into reading about the players that other teams pass on. We jump in and out of the 2003 draft as the As pick players that other teams aren’t looking at. We see the GM that won’t watch games, and is larger and stronger than many of his players.
It’s a fun read, one that I’d recommend as a read to anyone.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Trip Booked – TechEd 2010

Tia thinks I’m crazy to book early, but I like to have a choice of flights, and I like to get things off my plate. I heard back from someone about TechEd today, so I decided to just book the trip. One less thing for me to worry about.

SQL Saturday #22 in Pensacola is the weekend before, and I am speaking there first. A few of the Red Gate people are flying to New Orleans and driving to Pensacola.

That sounds like work, so I booked two one-way flights. I arrive around 2pm in Pensacola on Friday, will speak Sat and then catch a ride back with some Red Gate people to New Orleans where I’ll spend Sun night, Mon, and Tues meeting with people before coming home early on Wed.

No sessions for me, just touching base with authors and saying hi at TechEd, so it should be a light week with the chance for me to get some work done.

I did have a fun 15 minutes wasted on the phone. I had to cancel two trips earlier this year, so I wanted to use my credit. Apparently United doesn’t issue “credit.” What they do is allow you to rebook the flight, charging you $150. However you can’t use the website to rebook the ticket. Instead you have to call an agent.

And oh yeah, they charge you $25 for the agent.

So I call, we get my account up, and 10 minutes later he says that I can rebook one flight. OK, I agree to do that. He gets my info, goes through things, and then says it’s $150 + $25 for $175 and I have $168 credit. Am I ready to book?

Holding my temper in check, I then ask can he waive the agent fee, but apparently he’s a dim bulb, reading from a script or not allowed to deviate. We go around a few times, me using logic, him passing the time reading from his script. I ask can I book two one-ways with this ticket, and get credit from my other flight. No, he can’t handle that, but his grasp of the English language isn’t great, so I hang up.

Book through Expedia, get my itinerary on my phone, just easier.

Good thing I went for a run afterwards.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Genius Bar

I made an appointment last Friday for the Apple store Genius Bar today. I’d been stuck on an iPod Touch firmware upgrade and wasn’t sure what to do. It’s a 15-20 minute drive up there, but I could combine this with other errands, and I need it for teleprompting. In fact, I depend on it some days.

I got there, and I had someone ask if they could help as I walked through the store. At 10:27 in the morning it was quiet, but busier than I expected. I said I had an appointment and they pointed me at a person to check in. I did, giving my name, and they put me in the Q.

IMG_0673There are lots of monitors in the store, and here’s one behind the bar that shows who’s next for iPod/iPhone help, rotating with the Mac queue, and helpful tips on how to use your devices. I learned a few things last time just watching the display.

The lady in front of my was struggling with her iPhone, and I’m not sure I would have had the patience, but the guy did a good job of explaining things to her and helping  her out.

Finally it was my turn, I explained what I’d done, and he said he’d try a couple things. First he wanted to flash my iTouch back to base with his MacBook, and then upgrade it.

To check on my purchase, he had me sign into the MacBook with my account, and the upgrade appeared. He downloaded it and fixed up my iPod. To be honest, it wasn’t that simple and required a couple of flashes to take. He said that likely my downloaded image was broken somehow, and I could have deleted it and tried again, but I didn’t think of that, and it was worth the time for him to fix things. He even gave me power to charge my laptop while he flashed things. I worked for 10 minutes, doing a little writing while it was working, so it wasn’t a waste of time. We did a partial sync, which worked, and I was out the door, my iTouch working again.

I checked out the iPads on the way out and they are cool. Not sure they work for me, but they are very, very cool.

A Career Day

3-3, 3HR, BB

I was hoping yesterday’s baseball game would be cancelled. After the blizzard on Friday and Saturday, camping trip with the Scouts, sleeping on a cot in a sleeping bag, up late, up early, I was beat and surprised on Sun morning to see that our game was on. The weather had cleared, so Delaney and I left early, around noon, got home, cleaned out the car of camping stuff, I did a run, and packed up for baseball.

The weather was nice, and we were playing a team that I’ve know a few years, and joke with the guys there. I got moved up to third, not sure why after a miserable first two games where I went 0-5, 2ks, 2 popups, and a walk. I did move around the bases well, but wasn’t feeling it yesterday. I was also starting at 1B, which I did like.

We were visitors, and after two line outs, I was up. I’ve faced the guy before, and he’s not overpowering, but has moved the ball well in the past. A foul, a ball, and a called strike that I should have swung at. Another ball and then he hung another strike just on the outside corner. I’d switched to my bigger, 34 inch bat, and caught every bit of it. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was out.  I jogged around, joking with a few of the players in the field.

My next time up, in the 4th (we weren’t hitting well), I faced the same guy. Worked to a 2-2 count, and he almost got me with an outside curve, but I fouled it off. One thing I’d tried is to take a bigger breath as he comes set and then exhale before he throws. He threw inside, I pulled the arms in and while it was a slower pitch, I got some arms behind it and it flew high down the right field line, arcing foul, but not enough to go foul. HR #2, which was cool. I’d had a couple of these days in the last 5 years, 2 HRs in a game.

We were getting killed, mainly from walks by our pitcher, but also some suspect defense. I had the shortstop throw one about 5 ft over my head, the 2nd baseman bounce two to me that I missed. One crossed me up, but one I should have stopped, or blocked better. The catched got a slow roller and threw it to me, but hit the runner. All in all, we played poorly, and as the weather turned worse (cloudy, windy, cold, some sprinkly rain), we had some long innings in the field.

However we joked around and it was fun. The 2nd baseman said he wanted to get me up again to see what would happen. I did come up in the 5th, and with a new pitcher saw a good one on the outside corner, faster than the first guy, and I held off swinging. After I saw 4 straight balls, none of them close, I regretted not trying for that one. I managed to get around the bases on a FC and an error and go home, which hurt. I’d jumped and come down awkward on my right knee, tweaking it early during warmups. Running was not in my agenda. After the 2nd inning, I was playing close to first, trying not to move too much.

We were down 12 in the 7th, and I was 5th up. We got two quick outs, but then two on, and so I was coming up for the fourth time, down 12. A third pitcher, who had a different delivery, good speed, but a curve as well came up. Same story for me. A good one outside that I let go for a strike and then 3 straight balls. I was thinking that I’d get a walk, but committed in my mind to swinging at anything close. Deep breath, let it out, and one low over the plate I went down to get. Caught it, and the right fielder was running back to the fence, the ball at him.

It didn’t feel strong, deep, but not strong. I figured he’d catch it at the fence, or it would hit the fence, but I was wrong. It cleared the fence. Barely, but it was over for my hat trick. Lots of congrats on the jog around, and then we were out of time, so congrats from the other team as well.

Lucky swings, given the way I’ve played the last couple years, but strong ones, and I saw the ball well. I was relaxed, and I cared less and less about performing for the team and just played for fun. Those days don’t happen often, and that’s a first for me, three home runs in a game.

I am glad the game wasn’t cancelled now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back from Camping

And I was thrilled to wash my face and hands properly for the first time in two days.

We had fun, the weather wasn't too bad, but we didn't tent, spending the night in the building located at the campsite instead with about a dozen others that didn't want to set up tents on wet ground.

Delaney did well, helped out, got some signoffs and made another step towards Eagle. I'm proud of him. He was independent and definitely more mature at this campout than he was last year.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steve’s AAA

I got a call a little over an hour ago from my oldest son. He ran out of gas on the way home from work :)

Part of being a Dad is rescuing people, and today’s my day. After towing Tia out in the Prius, I got dressed again for the snow, went out and unhooked Tia’s truck from the trailer, packed up the two gas cans and headed out. I had a couple gallons in the gas one, and while I think my son needs to learn to manage his own finances and money, but I also don’t mind donating a little gas when something like this happens. I’ve been poor and stuck before, and it sucks.

So I drove out, found him, got him some gas to get going, got a very hearty thank you, and then went to the gas station to fill up both my cans. The weather is clearing, but it’s still a mess and it’s good to keep some gas and diesel around.

I learned something

Gloves that aren’t waterproof suck in the snow.

That’s what I learned today. On Apr 23, two days after I was running in shorts and a t-shirt up the road in 60F weather. A day after Tia and I took a walk up the driveway and pulled out all the markers.

The weather in Colorado is definitely crazy, and today is proof of it. Delaney and I are supposed to go camping with the Scouts tonight, about 10mi away. I’d been watching weather and last weekend they were looking for 50F, possible rain. A couple days ago it was rain and low 50s.

Last night, when we went shopping for food with the scouts, it was cool, and they were calling for snow tonight. Not last night. Tonight.

I woke up around 6am and it was white outside. I couldn’t see without my glasses, but with everything outside the window white I knew it was going to be an ugly day. And it is, snow on the ground, a couple of inches as I went down to work at my desk. Power has fluctuated a few times, which makes me glad I switched UPSes and the generator tested OK the other day.

I figured our trip to UC-Denver for a tour was cancelled, but I wanted to get to the store and get a couple more things for camping. That looked like a bad idea. The Scouts are still going, though I got an email that tonight was optional for everyone. Probably a good idea as it’s going to be wet everywhere.

However Tia had a doctor’s appointment, and she left right around 11 to get down there. Five minutes later I get a call that she’s stuck in the driveway. So I get dressed, pull on ski pants, big boots, ski jacket, gloves and go start the tractor. It’s not that cold, which is good since really cold weather makes starting the tractor hard. I drive down to her, attach the tow hook to the Prius and pull her out of the driveway and slightly up the road. It’s a mess, and since she and Kyle need to come back later, I decide to plow the road once, and the driveway. I get that done, but since I’m always wiping off the windshield, the gloves are getting wet.

I didn’t think much of it until my fingers started to get really cold. I had expected one hand to be cold since I had to pull off a glove to get the gate open (it wouldn’t open for some reason), but the other one, the one wiping the glass, was cold.

I wasn’t done, and I made it worse. With the gate open, I needed to lock up the horses, which means that I needed to throw them some hay as well. To do that, I had to open the back door of the barn. To do that, I had to scoop snow away from the metal tracks, and I had to use my hands to dig things out.

So with cold, numb, wet hands, hay in my mouth and face, I finally went back in, 40 minutes later, and sat down to relax.

Ugh, what a day.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

e-Ink Improvements

I saw this article on the improvements from E-ink that are coming. There are two videos, one of a better screen that can handle simple animations, likely getting into actual products you can by in about a year (early 2011).

The other was low power, but more durable. The guy in the second video smashes a fist into the screen.


I like the idea of e-ink, but after having a Kindle, and and  iPhone, the iPhone just works better.

Good to see rights being upheld

It’s in the UK, but a speaker who was searched because he had a “confident attitude” was awarded money by a judge for the event.

I am highly torn on this whole security debate and the Patriot Act in the US. On one hand I want authorities to be working to keep us safe. If they find someone that has committed an act or terrorism on US soil, put a bullet in their head. I’m perfectly happy with the notion of self-defense and deadly force.

However when we have suspicions, we get into a gray area.

When we have laws that allow police to act upon suspicions, however, we get into the area of abuse. And being human, someone will abuse those rights. Not everyone, but someone. And the money money or power that’s involved, the more people are likely to abuse things.

This is why we need to keep our civil rights codified, and upheld. Not that the government won’t break those laws at times, but they need to be held accountable for those breaks. If the individuals allowing the rights abuses were wrong, they should pay a steep price.

Rebuilding the Home Server

My Windows Home Server died a month ago, just as I was getting ready to leave the country. I didn’t have time to deal with it, but since I was still in the process of moving data over to it, I felt fairly safe. When I got back to it a couple weeks ago, I found that a disk drive had died, and it must have been the boot drive as the BIOS reported a “disk read error” on startup.


Rather than panic, I searched around and found this thread on the Microsoft site that noted how to copy data off disks. That’s an easy one, basically drop the disk in another machine, show hidden folders, look for the “data” folder. I copied all the pictures, music, and video off the drive. Backups were gone, but I was OK with that for now.

The next step was to get new drives. I isolated the broken one, RMA’d it to Western Digital, which went well, and then went out and bought a new drive. I got another 2TB drive, and an external enclosure from NewEgg. Those allow me to easily add more space since the inside of my old Dell E521 is crowded.

While waiting for new drives, I reinstalled my 1TB, 2TB, and a slightly older 320GB drive into the machine and re-ran setup for Home Server. That’s easy and I was back up. I used the same password and machine name, but I found something interesting.

My client machines could connect to the shared folders, but I couldn’t setup a backup. Must be some signature/encryption link. However if you rerun setup for the Connector software, it takes a few minutes, and then it rebuilds everything as it was.

That’s done, I’ve copied music, video, and pictures back to the Home Server for sharing, and reset backups on 2 machines. My wife needs to do hers and we’ll be protected again.

At least internally. I need to get something going offsite, at least for the photos.

What a Difference a Night Makes

My neck/back was still sore last night. I took some Naproxen before bed, lay down, and then tried to stay on my back all night. This morning I woke up, and it still hurts, but it’s way, way better than it was yesterday. I could barely get out of bed yesterday. Last night it hurt while watching Delaney at karate. Today it’s slightly sore if I do some movements, but if I sit at the desk, it’s hardly noticable.

That pillow I have is amazing.

I’m on TV at the Tweet-up

I was listening to the announcement of SQL Server 2008 R2 yesterday on a call from Microsoft. It was released to manufacturing, downloadable on May 3. While listening and making notes, I wandered over to the Microsoft SQL site and was surprised to find a video montage of the Tweet-up I attended in Bellevue a couple of weeks ago.


It was an interesting event and I’d like to do it again.  I almost didn’t go after a crazy month of March for travel, but I was curious what was worth Microsoft flying 8 of us to Bellevue for a day.

It turned out to be a fun event. A wine tasting mixed with an R2 briefing and discussion of the product. Donald Farmer and Dan Jones led the briefing, while we tended to joke and make fun of them, but also talked about the product. We were tweeting like mad while this was happening, in between sips of wine, of course, and it was fun.

But it was too late in the day. Starting at 5pm PST, most of the East coast had gone home, so we had very little interaction from outside the room. We heard a few things later on from others, but the spontaneous nature of the event was lost a bit.

I think it was an interesting idea, and I would like to do it again, perhaps even at something like the PASS Summit or TechEd.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I tweaked my neck last night and spent the night tossing and turning, slowly, in pain. I woke up this morning, unable to get comfortable and hurting. Tia set me up with a heating pad, and ibuprofen, and I lay in bed all morning, listening to a conference call and working on my back.

This afternoon I felt better, and came down to the desk to get a few things done, but it’s still sore and likely to be sore for a day or two. No karate tonight for me, since I need to get better before camping this weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Crazy Day

Tia still sick, coughing a lot of the night and that made it hard for me to sleep.So after I got both kids to school, I went back to bed for an hour nap. That helped, and I'm not sure I'd still be going if I hadn't.

Today was busy at work, after I lost half a day yesterday with Kendall at the doctor. A sinus infection for her, so she's on meds. Plus I had scheduled an author lunch, so I had to run out there to meet my guy, buy him lunch, chat a bit. It was very productive, but it left me feeling behind on other things. Definitely need to do a little more work tonight, after scouts.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sick Girl

Kendall woke up today coughing more. She seemed to be getting better, but then was worse today. She said her throat was more sore, her nose running, and since Tia had gone on Thur to the urgent care and gotten some meds, we decided to take Kendall to the doctor.

I got to do it since I had time, so we drove to one urgent care (closed), and then another. In and out in 20 minutes with a prescription of amoxicillin to try and combat things.  On the way home Kendall said she didn’t think she should go to school with antibiotics in her system.

I disagreed.

Update Issues with the iTouch and iPad games

I finally went to update my iTouch with the new 3.x software update today. I had been letting it run, despite the protests from kids that a few of their favorite games from my iPhone won’t run on the iTouch. However today I saw a note from ProPrompter, the teleprompter software I use, that the new version of their software has a remote feature, allowing a 2nd iPhone/Touch to control the prompter. With all the mistakes I make, that would be a great feature.

So I decided to buy the upgrade. I connected my iTouch to the laptop, went to the Apple Store, and purchased the upgrade. I let it run while I was running. I came back, expecting to update things, and found a brick. I had the dreaded “recovery mode” screen.


I wasn’t sweating it since I’d had this on my iPhone before (and I was sweating then) and knew how to recover. I tried my few techniques and when they didn’t work, I dragged the iTouch to me desktop and did a restore there as a new device.

That ran over lunch and I dragged it back to my laptop where I restored from the backup I had on it. As soon as that was complete, the iTouch restarted, and asked me to update it to v3.x software. I said OK and ran through the same process, including it being bricked again.


That’s annoying. I suspect that my iTunes might be out of date somewhat, so I updated iTunes.

It still didn’t work, so I’m slightly stuck now. I have a v2.2 OS on there that works, but my teleprompter is broken. I think I’ll call the Genius Bar.

The iPod and Publishing

100426_r19553_p233[1] I haven’t read it all, no time, but this article, Publish or Perish, is a great look at the publishing business. I caught it from Tim O’Reilly on Twitter, and while I do think it misses some points, it does say, as I believe, that the publishers are missing the point. They think they’re in the book business. They’re not. They are in the entertainment business.

The other thing that annoys me is that publishers say they are losing money on e-books, getting $9, not $13 per book. However they don’t have returns with e-books. No $5.20 charge against inventory, shipping, etc.

Publishers are hurting, no doubt, and the entertainment-TV-movie generation doesn’t help people read more books. However I also don’t know that publishing is a bad business. It’s just not the multi-million dollar business that gets you a building like this, the Random House building in NY.


It also doesn’t get you a 48,000 sq foot building in NY, which is what MacMillan is looking to sublease.

Get used to publishing as a new business, one that doesn’t necessarily make you huge profits. Understand that publishing is a business, not an investment.

A quick trip to the doctor

xuh This morning Kendall woke up sicker, coughing more, sore throat, and her nose running (which is new). Tia had gone to the doctor on Thur, finally took her medicine a few days later, and felt better. So I ran Kendall up to the doctor.

Actually the urgent care, actually two urgent cares. The first was closed, so we went to Parker for the second, had her seen inside of 10 minutes, and 10 minutes later walked out with an antibiotic prescription that we filled on the way to school.

Hopefully she’ll start feeling better soon. It’s been like 10 days that she’s been feeling slightly sick.

Dutch Oven Chili

Next weekend we have the annual spring campout for the Boy Scouts. It’s the Advancement campout where the leaders get the new scouts that crossed over last month moving in Scouts with their Fire and Totin’ Chip cards, start them moving to Scout rank and Tenderfoot, and the older scouts do some teaching. Delaney is working on First Class, and that has a lot of cooking and first aid, so I grabbed my Scout cookbook the other day to find some things to make next weekend. I’m one of the 2 or 3 chef dads, so I wanted to prepare a few things.

Delaney looked through it as well and asked if we could try a recipe he picked out. I said sure and he chose Campfire Chili, which is a pretty easy recipe. I grabbed ingredients on Sat and then after baseball yesterday sat down to get to work. It’s a pretty easy recipe, with just a few ingredients

  • 2lbs ground beef, and an onion
  • 1 15oz can each, dark, light, and red kidney beans
  • 29oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp each chili powder and garlic powder and 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt, pepper

I could have easily dropped the dutch oven on the stove and made it there, but there won’t be stoves next weekend, so I decided to have a go of it outside. Which meant buying and lighting charcoal. I bought a chimney awhile back and this was the first time using it. So in between working on the sprayer and getting weed killed out, I lit charcoal, let it get hot, and then put it in our fire pit, with the Dutch oven on top. I browned the meat and onion in there, which went pretty good. It’s a heavy pot, so instead of pulling out meat and then draining it, I tipped it and used some paper towels to sop of up most of the grease. Those coals cook well and my Lodge red gloves came in handy.

Then Delaney helped me to dump in the other ingredients, mix them up, and put some of the coals on top of the lid. That was interesting, and it worked out well. Two hours of simmering, which didn’t quite work out as well with all the wind. On the campsite I’ll have the ability to shelter it more, or dig down into the ground a bit.

After that, I put it on the stove briefly since it was more like 2 1/2 hours and my coals were pretty done, the chili just warm. My fault, doing too many chores, but I did come in and make cornbread in the oven to go with it and we had a nice campfire meal at the counter.

I learned a few things, which was the point. One, I need a lid stand. Taking off that lid is find with Delaney’s lid lifter or my gloves, but I need a place for it to live. The other is that I need a small brush to clean off coal dust. Don’t want that in the food.

The last thing? I need a low stool. I’ll likely look on the ground and my knees and back do not appreciate supporting the rest of me. Since I need to get to Bass Pro shops and return some shoes, I’ll probably head up Tues or Wed and get a few other things as well.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


We got killed today at baseball, and it was all one inning. I think we were down 2-0 or 3-0 into the 6th and then our pitching fell apart. We went through 3 pitches in the inning, they batted around at least once, and maybe twice, and we had numerous errors, but some good hits on their side.

I played center, and had some good catches early, 3 of them, then missed on that was short. I was close enough to get it, but I’d run the wrong line, and it was 1 foot to the right of my glove. Then in the 6th, I was running in on one and just missed snagging it on the end of my glove. I could have gotten a force at second, but wasn’t thinking and threw it to short instead. Just stupid.

At the plate not much better. A walk on 4 pitches and then a strike out on 3, where I swung over 2 dropping curves. Just poor hitting and I turned my head. Definintely could use some more hitting practice.

Still it was a fun time, a good group of players on both sides, and a nice way to start Sunday. Glad to see no one got too upset, though we have a couple guys with tweaked arms. Not sure what that will mean for the next few weeks.

Day 586

A run with Delaney. I convinced him to get out and run, with his black belt test likely later this year and the need for him to run 2mi in 20:00 min, he put on shoes and went up the road with me.

It was a slow jog for me, but he worked pretty good up to the bus stop, about .75 miles. Then I went down another .25 miles while he rested. He struggled on the way back, so I did a lot of in place running to keep pace with him. I motivated him to alternate walking and jogging back, so it was a good workout for him.

I read 2.01mi in 26:49, with a walk back up the driveway that I cut off.

After baseball, I needed a nice slow run.

Baseball Morning

For me. Up early, can’t sleep, Tia coughing at times, stomach rumbling after too much green chili. Just made sense to get up and get going, so I’m dressed and about to leave. We have our second game today, another early one, which I like.

I was sure it was going to rain and the game would be cancelled. That would fit in with the luck we’ve had with practice this year, but it didn’t. Just some drizzling yesterday, so we’re on. Hopefully I’ll hit better this time.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Delaney brought a friend home after school, I had to argue with Kendall a bit to do homework (Tia stepped in make it happen), then get her to piano. Tia was still sick, and on a conference call at 6, Delaney’s friend’s parents were late getting him picked up. We were late, leaving the house at 7:30 for a 7:30 show, and had every reason to just bail on Kyle’s one-night comedy night at school.

I’m glad we didn’t.

We knew that we should support him, and so we dragged the kids down there, and they were very upset that we were late. We arrive, walk in to a small audience of almost all kids. There were 10 kids on stage + 2 MCs running a “Whose line is it anyway?” skit with a series of games.

And it was hilarious. The kids were having fun, and had us laughing in the audience as they went through various games based on sharades, changes midstream from the audience and MCs, and more. They did a great job, Kyle was really funny, and I wish that I had video taped some it since it was great.

Nice to see him up on stage having fun, and it was just what I needed after a long week.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Last Day at Breck

Likely. I don’t think we’ll get back up there Saturday and they close Sunday for the 09/10 season.


But I got to go today, which was cool. After I missed last week, and then missed Saturday with a sick household, it was good to be on the slopes. I planned this day off earlier in the week, let my boss go, scheduled stuff for work, and then let go this morning, heading off to the mountains.


I had things packed, so I arrived at Breck around 10:25, pretty good time after leaving the house at 8:30. It was sunny, warm, about 50F, and I almost left my jacket in the car and went with a windbreaker. I’m glad I didn’t since it was windy up there, and a slight chill in the air.


I had never skiied Peak 7, so I got off the gondola there and jumped on the lift. Hardly anyone was there, and they didn’t even check my pass. At the top, I headed down a run in the center of the peak, and didn’t see another person until I got down to the last hundred yards near the lift. That’s my type of Thur skiing!


My next run was the same, though I saw two guys going down about halfway. It felt deserted to me, and as I cruised over the Peak 8, it was very quiet all over the mountain. No lines, and hardly anyone on the slopes. With music playing in my ears, it was very relaxing.


The snow wasn’t great. It’s slushy, and at times the board would stick for a second and throw my balance off. I fell down the first time it happened, and then learned to watch out for it. The nice thing was that it was soft, no ice at all.


Except for Sawmill. I took that over to Peak 9, and it had some big, exposed patches of ice. I was careful to stay upright on them.

I headed back to Peak 8, and then 7 in the afternoon, and got a textthat Tia had gone to the doctor. She was sick, so I decided not to push it for a late day. I went through the trees briefly, but it was so slushy and warm, I broke through the crust when the board stopped sliding and then fell over. A slight knee tweak, so I decided that was a bad idea. I left around 1:30, grabbed lunch on the way, and headed home, arriving to pick up Delaney from the bus.

It was a beautiful day to end the season, if that’s the end. A-Basin is still open, and I would like to try and get up there a few times in the next few weeks, at least to see what it’s like.

Talk Radio

After a tea party rally yesterday, or recently in the Springs, it’s amazing what I hear on the radio. As I drive to Kendall’s field trip, I lost the ESPN station, so I switched around the dial and landed on a few conservative talk radio stations.

Are only crazy people allowed to call? Actually that’s a joke since I heard a few rational people as well. Among the interesting comments,

A guy called in to say he had attended the rally as a protest against the tea party. Apparently he was yelled at to “get a job” since he wasn’t working. What about the people supporting the tea party? Weren’t they supposed to be working? Or are they out of jobs?

Someone else rationally was talking about the opposition to gay marriage, and the laws being promoted to outlaw it. He said a “freedom of religion” requires a “freedom from religion” as well. It a religion codifies some thing like opposition to gay marriage, are they not just as bad as any oppressive regime?

Lots of people complaining about the Obama administration, and saying that they aren’t racists because they oppose Obama. Some old lady even said that “racist” should be outlawed as a word.

Doesn’t the freedom of speech mean that those words can be used. Even the “N” word can be used. It’s frowned upon, but I wouldn’t want to oppress anyone that feels the need to use it.

Sometimes it’s embarrassing hearing people in this country talk. I guess they would say I’m embarrassing to them, such as the fact I didn’t think Clinton should have been impeached for sex. That’s one of the things that makes this country great though, we have varying opinions.

I do think that we could improve our country, and simplify our tax system. I think that we should perhaps re-evaluate what’s important to us. But I don’t think that it’s a Republican or Democratic solution that will work. We need to get more people to work together, from both sides, and more compromises. I’d also like to see everyone that wants to complain about the other side start to make reforms on their own side rather than just complaining about the other side. Cut some of your own programs first.

Embracing Heritage

Delaney has spent the last two nights working on a project for social studies. He had to pick a country to research, and he picked Pakistan. Surprising to me, but he embraces his heritage, and was excited to learn more.


He asked me for help, but I’ve spent 30 years running from my heritage, and wasn’t much help. So he used a bunch of Internet sources, researched things, and wrote up a lot of facts on the country. He was interested in it, and excited, so I think he learned a lot.


I hope he gets it to school in one piece. With his backpack, cello, and the project, he has quite a load today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Writer in Residence

I’m not sure it’s my influence, but I found this note on Kendall’s door tonight.


She was working a little book, she made it herself with paper and staples. I’ll get a copy tomorrow, but it’s about the horses she likes.

Very cool.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It pays to engineer

As I drove to drop Delaney off this morning at the bus, I saw this:


This is my neighbor’s leanto, just off the road as I leave the property. Apparently it didn’t survive the wind all that well. Part of his roof was ripped off:


I didn’t see this one being built, but I looked at it closely to check out the construction. Seemed flimsy to me. Not a lot of cross bracing, and the roof was 2 4x4s, butt jointed with the posts and screwed in. Not much support there.

And apparently not enough screws.

This Sucks

I checked weather this morning, trying to decide if I could wear shorts. I was on my iPhone as I made my way down to cook breakfast for Delaney. There was this icon, kind of like this one, with 3 blue horizontal lines.


The forecast is wind.

I don’t think I ever have seen that in the forecast. It says “gusts up to 40” today.


No shorts, though mostly because I need to feed horses and I don’t want hay everywhere. I am wearing the five fingers, though I change for horses. I need to find some large shoes that I can fit into with the five fingers on as a kind of overshoe for feeding horses.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Kendall has been coughing all day. Not that sick, but enough that I think it was good she stayed home, especially with no medicine to give her for the day. I gave her some nighttime medicine, but it wiped her out earlier, and so we need to get something for tomorrow.

No tutoring tonight, which is OK. I think Kendall’s doing well, it’s a short week with a field trip for her on Friday, and it’s near the end of the year.

Hopefully Delaney and I don’t get it. Kyle’s been fighting it, and Tia is sick. She would be better off resting than traveling to Atlanta, but it’s a big meeting for her.


Yesterday was the first baseball game of the year, and with only about 40 minutes of practice for me so far this year, spending 3 hours in cleats was a long day. My knees and ankles were sore afterwards, and I spent the afternoon doing some chores around the house.

When I lay down last night I was really sore. Not at all in the mood to do anything, and lay in bed with Kendall watching TV. I was dreading getting up this morning as I struggled a little going up and down stairs last night.

However I felt pretty good this morning. Sore, but not nearly as sore as I was yesterday afternoon. I think I might even run a couple times this week in cleats, just to try and build up some muscles. I think it’s also time to start wearing the five fingers again, and build up some foot strength.

A Bucket of Manure

I started my day with a bucket of manure. OK, maybe not started, but Tia left this morning around 10 for the airport and a short trip to ATL. Delaney was at school, me having gotten him up and fed, but Kendall was feeling sick.

She lay in bed, watching TV while I went out to help Tia disconnect the truck and then going to feed horses. It was a nice, non-windy day, so I fed one load on the track, another in buckets as the wind picked up a little.

Then it was manure time. Gemini has a nice set of piles in his run, so I went out and scooped those up, trying to keep them clean and not have things ground into the dirt. I’ll go later and get Cowboy’s run clean as well before he ruins things.

I felt like emptying a full bucket of manure was a heck of a way to start the workday.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

No More Amazon

I went to check my Amazon affiliate account last night and it was closed. I hadn’t received a note and I was confused, since I had just received a payment a week ago. I sent a query, and this morning I heard back from them.

Apparently the new Colorado law, HB 10-1193, apparently is looking to force online retailers to collect sales tax from consumers. So while Amazon will continue to sell in CO, they will no longer allow associates in this state to advertise for them.

That stinks. In fact, it’s annoying since I have a strong affiliate backing and typically end up with a nice book income every month. However I signed up with Barnes and Noble and I’ll be using them and perhaps fixing old links where I can. Hopefully that will result in referrals.

The bill is a mess, especially in this case. While I am an affiliate, most of the referral sales I make for Amazon are not in CO. In fact, very few of them are. The vast majority of them are in other states, or even countries.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book #34 - Rework

41XlDHL-ZzL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_I have been a fan of 37 Signals for some time, and I read their blog regularly. I think they go a great job of writing about how to run a business and not build an investment.
Rework is a summary of quite a bit of advice from their blog that has been rewritten and compiled. It’s a business book that give you advice on how to start your own business, how to hire people, how to get motivated in a real way.
This isn’t the book for someone that wants to start a company and sell it for a million dollars. It’s not a book that helps you get rich quick. It’s a book that tries to get you to think about how business actually works, build something that you are proud of, and something that succeeds.
The book is a series of chapters, each broken into short 1-2 pages snippets of information on a particular topic. Each section has an illustration from the 37 Signals artist, all of them quick sketches, and many of them humorous looks at the topic.
You could get all of this information from their blog, but it’s nicely summarized and edited in this book. It’s not a reprint of the blog, it’s a rewrite of the same information, but cleaned up. They talk about how their initial draft was twice as long, but then cut down the verbosity to get to the meat of the topics. That’s advice they give you for business as well. Don’t use more words than you need.
Something I need to learn.
This is a great business, book, in my opinion. One that’s worth reading if you are even thinking of starting your own business.

Back to the Routine

It’s good to be home. Taking Kendall to piano, back in my bed, it’s a relaxing evening at home, just chilling out. Looks like no skiing tomorrow, which is disappointing. I was hoping to go, but Kendall is a little sick and doesn’t want to go. Plus it feels like a little craziness over the last few weeks, so I’ll chill out tomorrow, fix the hay wagon, hang out with kids, fix some fence.

I Love Being Home

Arrived back at 2:30, and with no checked bags, I got out quicker. And home quickly in the 911, with the top off.

I like being at home.

The Tweetup

An interesting experiment from Microsoft tonight. They brought 8 or 9 bloggers/press people from around the country to Redmond for a 3 hours briefing/wine tasting. We were picked up from the airport, taken to a hotel in Bellevue and then shuttled to the Commons building on the Microsoft campus. It’s a rather amazing building, with the feel of an upscale mall food court inside where Microsofties can eat, get their hair done, and even do a little shopping.

We were meeting in a rather amazing set of private rooms at one end. It was called the Great Room, and reserved by appointment.


It had a receptionist, and we had to give her our names to get access, even though we were a groups escorted by Microsoft people. It seemed a little silly, but we did it and then stood in front of a great door, easily 4ft wide and 9-10ft tall. We stood, and stood, and finally it opened.


By sliding! In true Star Trek fashion, it slid into a pocket noiselessly and we entered to find a large lounge area, with couches, TVs on all walls, and a crew doing video and still photography. There was a separate room with two XBOXs, a Surface computer, and a lot of wine set up on a bar, complete with attendants. We also had a small alcove with food set out. All in all, a rather impressive gathering.

Lots of wood trim, as you can see above, and even a great picture that Andy Warren pointed out to me.


Don’t recognize it? Maybe this small caption in the lower right corner will help.


Silly, but we’re geeks, right? And it got me to take a few pictures.

We had some wine and Donald Farmer (@donalddotfarmer) started the type of presentation that I’d like to see more of. This was his first slide.


Not a great technical briefing, but it was a chance for him to summarize why they built R2 as they did, and give a nice overview of what was included. Dan Jones helped, and for the most part I think it provided a framework for us to talk about the product later, but with a slide like the one above every 2-3 slides, and a new wine appearing, we were joking and harassing each other more than we were talking seriously. There was one serious journalist there from Forrester, but for the most part we were geeks. Myself, Andy Warren, Denny Cherry, Jen and Sean McCown, Jorge Segerra, and Bill Graziano.


We tweeted quite a bit, and it was fun to see tweets pop up on the side large screens. A few people had laptops, and it was a fun group of Microsofties. Donald, Dan, Buck Woody, and a few other bloggers from the SQL team.

We had a hashtag, #sqlr2, and there was a fun stream, but not a lot of response outside of the room. I think that was one failing in that we didn’t schedule this to start at 10 or 11am PST so that people around the country could respond to our posts. Here’s a snippet of the stream from near the end of the night.


It was a fun time, I got to see some friends, and even Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp stopped by later on. The seven of us guests went out to dinner, chatted, and had fun. It was good to catch up, and debate a little on SQL Server, the community, PASS, and more.

I think this was a good event for me, I did a short video interview (not sure where that might appear). There are pictures on Facebook from the event, and I have a few things that I’ll be writing about here in the next few months as R2 launches and the SQL community becomes hungry for more information. As much as I am traveled out for the time being, this was a good event and I think it was worth two days of travel.

Book #33 – Money to Burn

51z2Wh-HZSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ This reminds me more of a Stephen Frey novel, but Money to Burn is a Grippando, and perhaps his best one year. In this one we have a rising star in the investment bank world, a young man that is the youngest investment advisor to win an award at a prestigious Wall St. firm. He’s on vacation in 2003, with a new girlfriend and they sneak away from the 300ft rented yacht his firm owns. They rent their own sailboat and get married. The next morning he wakes up to find his bride has disappeared.

Cut to 4 years later, where he’s on his way to another dinner event. He’s rich, married to a new wife, and still a star. However in a novel that’s written from the headlines of the past couple years, the sub prime mortgage crisis is looming and he’s warned his firm.

However that’s not the issue. He checks his balance on the accounts to find his entire portfolio, worth millions, has been liquidated and transferred offshore. He contacts his firm, and it appears to be an identity theft crisis. Until the next morning when all of a sudden it appears the subprime crisis has hit, and his firm is about to take a $20billion writedown. Survivable, but a bad one. And with the stock of his company falling it appears that he might be the one that shorted a lot of the stock.

Now he’s not a victim, but a suspect. As he races to try and clear his name, there appears to be a conspiracy afoot.  The book builds, but then ends in an almost too quick, too unbelievably fashion as his dead first wife reappears.

The writing is good at the beginning, like the other Grippandos, but then he struggles to cleanly finish the book. The story gets a little too fantastic, with mobsters and assassins running around, but it’s an exciting read until the last few dozen pages. Then it seems to end too quickly, too suddenly, and too conveniently.

However it was a fun read, and you almost are cheering for the bad guys here as it appears we have a nice target for the subprime crisis.

Book #32 - Caught

51BWgdzkEOL._SL500_AA300_ The new Harlen Coben novel, Caught, once again set in New Jersey, but not a Myron Bolitor novel. However Win makes a surprise appearance, which was exciting for me. Like Hawk in the Spenser novels, he adds spice to the stories.

In this one, a young girl at a high school disappears. She just vanishes one day, not coming home at night and her parents realize in the morning she’s gone. They’re devastated, but then they’re just a small part of the rest of the story.

We open with a young coach, a good man that enjoys working with kids. He’s gotten a call for help from a young woman, and is going to a house at night, after coaching a basketball game, to see what he can do. It’s a classic mistake, like the next victim in a horror movie walking down a dark hallway. You know it’s the wrong thing to do, Coben writes with a sense of forebodind, and you can feel it. He arrives, enters, and …

is ambushed by a reporter. A young rising woman that does exposes on TV. She’s been searching out child molsters/porngraphers, and she captures the young coach on film, supposedly going to meet with an underage girl for an affair. He runs out, and the book jumps.

It’s months later, the girl still missing, the coach now on trial, but it’s the testimony of the reporter, who entered the coach’s house, that is the center of attention. Her illegal entry is portrayed as part of the DA’s case, and charges are dismissed. She is the real center of the story as she tries to uncover what really happened. The coach proclaims his innocence, and the reporter starts to wonder if she made a mistake.

The novel is like other Coben’s, thought a little darker. We follow the reporter through her investigations, her firing, her attempts to track down others that can help her understand. As she goes through the book, there are twists and turns, Coben making us think that it’s one character after another that’s responsible for the missing girl, or the frame up of the coach.

And like most Coben’s, there’s a twist at the end, bringing the story to a startling conclusion. It was a fun read, one that I had trouble putting down.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Downgrading Your 2008 Database to 2005

I have seen this scenario asked about more times than I’d care to think about, but it’s one of those areas that I feel I ought to get down to make sure it makes sense in my head.

You upgrade your SQL Server database to 2008, but you leave the database in 90 compatibility mode. Maybe you restored a backup, or attached the files, but in any case, it’s a 2005 database in your mind. Something doesn’t work, and so you want to move it back to SQL Server 2005 while you fix things.

Easy, right? Backup the database that’s a v90 database and restore it on a SQL Server 2005 instance. Wrong, that doesn’t work. The files have been physically changed to the 2008 format. Detach / attach doesn’t work either.

What can you do? I’ve seen this and in my mind you have a couple of options. IF you still have the old SQL Server 2005 instance, then things are easier, and you can just move data.

xferdb task The two options I see are using the copy database tools in SSIS to move the data, or doing it yourself. I have been wary of the wizard tools and had problems with them in SQL Server 2000 DTS. They might work now, but I still am wary.

Instead my plan would be to a) move objects, and b) move data.

For the first item, you need to handle the following:

  1. Logins – Use sp_help_revlogin
  2. Objects – Script out all objects
  3. Permissions – This should come from #2, but make sure that users are created and synced. sp_change_users_login can help find any that are not.

That’s pretty simple, though if this is the complete instance level move, you need to check on jobs, packages, etc. that might need to be moved back to 2005

To move data, there are multiple ways, but I think my dbsp_bcp_out and dbsp_bcp_in scripts that I wrote years ago would work. I used these to suck out all data in a database and move it back in. If you are doing this in a static database I would likely script out all constraints and drop them before doing the inserts and then add them back later. If they were in effect in the source, you should be fine with the integrity of the data.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dad/Delaney Workout

It was just Delaney and I at karate tonight with Kendall and Tia off doing some horse thing. We went down to town early so Delaney could get some Chipotle. He got sick Mon and lost his burrito, so he wanted one tonight.

We sat in Chipotle, working through a language arts assignment before karate, and then we headed over. It was the advanced adult class, but with a few kids, and Delaney and I were next to each other for the warmup. That's unusual, but it was kind of fun to be right next to him.

It was a good, sweaty, hard workout tonight.

The Payroll Disparity

There was a complaint from the Milwaukee Brewers owner was complaining a bit about the disparity between his payroll and the Yankees. Apparently the Yankees infield makes more than his whole team. Mike and Mike on ESPN were talking about this and discussing the merits of the complaint.

I think there’s some validity to the issue of the Yankees far outspending the other teams. However they are working in the rules, and they pay back more in a luxury tax that goes to the other teams.


I think that if the Yankees were spending $80mm on a payroll and the Steinbrenner family was making $500mm in profit we’d hear other complaints. As much as it might be an issue with disparity, at least the Yankees are spending on the team, on the sport, and trying to win. You could argue the Marlins and Pirates aren’t spending enough at all.

But what should they spend? If they are losing money, or not making enough profit, should they still be spending? We always hear baseball is a business, so should owners lose money if they don’t have to? I think not. They ought to be able to spend what they want. I could see some parameters around min/max profit percentages they’re allowed and requiring them to spend more, but I don’t think they should run in the red.

There’s also the issue of debt. Many owners are in debt from building  a stadium or even purchasing the team. That’s an iffy one. I think that a highly leveraged purchase of a franchise ought not to be approved. It distorts the way someone would run their business, the team. Instead I’d like to see requirements that owners, and their partners, actually put 50% or more of the purchase down without borrowing. That way they wouldn’t be looking to pay down so much on their debt.

Spring Snow

This past weekend Delaney and I were heading out and talking about removing the driveway markers from the driveway. We have 1/4” mile driveway, uphill from the house, and without markers, it’s hard to find the road in the snow.

I’m glad I didn’t, because I woke up to this:


Actually I woke up to Delaney (no alarm set), asking if school was delayed. Only a couple inches on the ground, and the roads are fine, but it was still an adventure.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

60K Service

I am hoping to get one last day in at Keystone mountain tomorrow, and was worrying about letting the Prius 60k service go, so I decided to head down today and get it done. I dropped it off and then got a ride to the library where I can work a bit, edit articles, and get ready to take a day off, and then have another day off Thur as I’m up at Microsoft for some event.

I checked on the basic service, which is really change the oil and inspect things. There are air filter replacements, but I can blow those out at home and get some more life out of them. There’s also a list of stuff that they guy presented me. Things like coolant flush, transmission flush, etc. I checked online and there is some disagreement on what’s required, though it seems that most of it isn’t necessary.  I told the guy to just do the alignment/rotate for today, but he was going to call with more information in a bit.

I did see that transmission flush and coolant should go to 100k miles, but I think with the heavy driving we do that it’s cheap insurance to add that in now, so I think I’ll do that one today and then be in good shape for some time to come.

New Business Cards

I’ve always seen business cards with my phone and business address, which for the past 8 years has been my home. However concerns about identity stuff have prompted me to consider changing things. I’ve been meaning to get cards without the address and today I did it.

I got a mailing from VistaPrint, offering free business cards (you pay shipping) and so I updated my business card to have my Twitter and FaceBook addresses, but removed my home. I left my cell on there as it’s a business line for me. $10 in shipping, and avoiding about 30 other offers VistaPrint gives you (I like those options, just don’t need them now), I have business cards on the way.

Vacation Presentation

Kendall packed up a bunch of brochures, her flash drive, a posted, and her London map. She’s supposed to do a show-and-tell presentation today at school about her trip over Spring Break to London and she’s excited. Tia and I helped her to a slideshow, and I’m hoping she has fun doing it.

I’ll upload some pictures from it soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

HTC Pro Trade-In

I saw a note that T-Mobile is accepting trade-ins of an iPhone for credit towards a new HTC HD2. That’s interesting, and almost tempting. Not that I don’t like my iPhone, but I’ve been tempted to look on eBay for a 16GB one as I’m running low on space. Plus I’d like to have a GPS on mine. That’s one thing I miss from my G1.

I read a review on the HTC today, and it said that it was like an iPhone, but had better hardware in the device. The only thing lacking was apps.

Like that’s not a big deal. The apps make the phone. That’s the power of the iPhone/iPad package. All those apps, the silly one the useful ones, the quick reference ones, those are all the things that make the iPhone powerful. I listen to music, read books, check mail, and just handle a bunch of little things.

I do wish I had multi-tasking, and I’ve been slightly scared to add Backgrounder to my jailbroken iPhone, but I might do that soon. It would be nice to keep a few things going at a time. Not often, but there are times that it’s slow to switch between things. If nothign else, I might like to keep the Kindle app running all the time.


Saw my first iPad commercial, kind of done in the style of the iPhone commercials. Very cool, and I can see why they might sell 300k of them this weekend. Not sure it's something I need now, but it certainly looks like a nice casual couch/travel computer. Certainly would be more convenient in many places.

Good to be Back

It was nice to be back at karate. In the last 2 1/2 weeks, I hit two Wed classes, 2 weeks apart, and that's it. So it feels like I've been away a long time. I was hoping to get back into the swing of things with 3 classes this week, but I'll be out of town Thur/Fri, so it looks like 2 classes again.

Delaney was back in class, but he had a headache, I think low blood sugar, and dehydration, so he ended up sitting out the last 20 minutes of his class and sleeping during mine. Hopefully I can get him back on track this month and get him in the swing of things.

Easter Skiing

Tia’s back was still sore, and Kyle was feeling sick, so when we got up, it was just Kendall, Delaney and I to go skiing for Easter. We checked the weather, which was calling for some wind at Breckenridge, and then they didn’t want to go. I was getting annoyed, but Tia stepped in and told Delaney he needed to go. I walked out to do some horse chores, and when I returned, Kendall was walking around looking for Easter eggs.

Tia told her that she needed to get away so the Easter bunny would come, and so she agreed to go. I packed up the little kids and we headed to Breck. We got there, and it was a beautiful day. There was supposed to be an Easter Egg hunt every hour, but it was at this tiny area, and we’d just missed one. Kendall said “let’s just ski”, so we headed up the mountain.


Delaney had a new board, and I was worried since it was about 14cm longer than his old one, but he did great. In fact, he led us down the first time and Kendall and I worked to catch up. It was sunny, not windy, and we went across Peak 8 to Peak 9 and back, having a good time and getting in a good 6 or 7 runs before heading home. No traffic, and the kids joked with each other on the way home, playing games on the iPhone.

A great day in the mountains.

Express Yourself Clearly

Recently my son had a short paper to write for school. He’s a sixth grader, and this year is a turning point for him where he’s expected to think a little more about his writing as well as tackle longer assignments. In this case it was a 2 page paper on Sophocles, and he was struggling one night with the paper due the next day.

Before you say that he should succeed or fail on his own, I agree with you. However as a parent, or manager/mentor/helper, you pick and choose those places where you provide assistance, and to what level. In this case he’s had a major change in his life with sixth grade and the beginning of Boy Scouts. While this doesn’t matter for college in terms of his grade, it is the place where he is gaining a base of learning, and I think it’s the time where I provide more assistance than I might otherwise provide.

Next year will be a different story. I’ll let him struggle, and potentially mis assignments if he doesn’t manage his workload. But I digress.

The issues that he had with producing a coherent paper that explains his thoughts while presenting information were similar issues that I see from many of my authors at work. The issues are also similar issues that I see in many blogs. While I’m not a top-notch writer, and I take liberties at times in blogs and editorials, I tend to see a few common mistakes in a lot of pieces that people write.

Don’t use pronouns

That was the main advice to my son as we worked through his paper. He, and many others, tend to use pronouns (“it”, “his” and “they” especially) to convey their thoughts. However they often have not tied the pronoun to a specific noun and the reference in ambiguous.

Most people learn this in grammar school, but they seem to forget it when there’s no grade attached to their work. As an example:

Sophocles was a great writer. He often worked with Aeschylus and his plays were similar.

What does “his” refer to? Is it Sophocles or Aeschylus? Either could be the reference and the reader has to take a guess. It’s possible that context before or after this sentence will help you to understand the reference, but it’s equally likely that you will mis-interpret what is intended.

This same type of ambiguous reference occurs in many technical articles, often when someone is trying to compare two items and show how they work in a similar manner. I correct this type of reference constantly, and often ask for clarification from authors.

So my advice is…..don’t use pronouns.

If you can avoid one, avoid it. Repeat the noun and make it clear. This does two things. One it helps the reader to better understand your meaning, but it also forces you to be more specific.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

First Practice of the Season

Barely a practice at that for my new baseball team. It’s a mish-mosh of guys, one I played with last year and then a few from other teams thrown together. It was up north, and early, so I left around 8:15, thinking it would be about 45 minutes.

It was closer to an hour and I arrived about 9:10 as people were warming up. I got to the field with my stuff as they started infield and I got a call from Tia. She'd pulled a muscle and couldn’t feed horses. I said I was an hour away and could Delaney do something to help. I felt bad, but I couldn’t help in the short term, and 45 minutes or so wouldn’t make a difference to the horses. I put the phone down feeling bad, but also wanting to get a little work in. I’ve missed 2 other practices and this was a good time to get some in since the first game is next week.

So I threw a bit, and surprisingly the arm felt good. I went left handed, and took my new first baseman’s mitt out for the first time. It was a struggle to catch balls, and I definitely need some practice with it. It’s stiff and hard to catch in, so I’ll work on that this week.

I took some infield, doing OK at first, and scooping a couple bad throws, missing a couple others. I tried to take it easy since I hadn’t warmed up the legs that much. I got some outfield as well, and misjudged the first fly, and then caught one. I also chased down a couple that were too far to catch. One was in front and I might have made it, but the first day of practice isn’t the time to go crazy trying to impress people.

Then the wind kicked up. We tried for some batting practice, but dust and dirt was all around. I managed to get up there, with the ball coming at me and jumping around. I did see the bp throws well and managed a couple good hits, but it was quick. 5 per person, which isn’t much. I’d definitely like to get out and hit the cage this week, or set up my pitching machine.

I left about 45 minutes in, or tried to. I had to write a check, and then took off, heading back to take care of Tia. Not much of a practice, but it felt great to be back out there.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Working on Taxes

I hate doing taxes, but we've put it off enough. We need to get it done so that we can fill out the financial aid forms for Kyle as well as just get it done for ourselves.

So Tia decided we needed to take an hour tonight and assemble stuff to send to the accountant. Not my favorite thing to do at all. At least I have a beer in hand.

Good Reading Quarter

With 2 long trips (St Martin and the UK), I managed to read more than expected this first quarter. I think my wife traveling as well, leaving me a lone a lot, contributed. I still have a few reviews to write for the London trip, but it’s likely to be 35 books in the first quarter of the year.

Book #31 – Bad Luck and Trouble

51hL3RzXVNL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ I’ve read Bad Luck and Trouble 3 times, including last week in London. After Gone Tomorrow, I was excited to read another Reacher novel and this was the only other one on my iPhone. I think the “there dead men walking as of right now. You don’t throw my friends out of a helicopter and live to talk about” quote is one of my favorites. I think this is my favorite Reacher novel. This or The Enemy.
In any case, it opens with part of Reacher’s old squad being killed. His math ability comes in to play throughout this book as he tracks down Neagley in LA where she’s investigating the loss of one of their teammates. As they try to figure out what happens, I found myself wondering why they get so focused in one area. Then again, I’ve read the book.
Eventually 2 other former colleagues show up, and they begin investigating the loss of 4 colleagues, wondering how they could have been killed and have their skills deteriorated that much. The end is exciting, with Reacher taking a big chance, but it’s a heck of a read. I’d recommend this one first of all the novels in this series.

Book #30 – Gone Tomorrow

51SZb0t9fVL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_ I actually bought Gone Tomorrow last year and read it, but finding myself in London, with a limited supply of books due to the lack of desire to pay for a data connection, I started re-reading this one and found myself excited and drawn back in.

The book is written with a new twist at the start. Jack is riding the subway in NYC and going over the Israeli Suicide Bomber Watch list, which apparently has 11 points for women. And there’s a woman on the car that is ticking on all the points he lists.

The suspense builds for a few chapters before ending abruptly in a suicide. From there it winds into a twisting turning story of Homeland Security and the implications that this woman, who worked at the DoD in the Pentagon, is somehow looking to cause problems for a former Special Forces operative that is running for Congress.

Jack digs through in his regular way, taking a stake in the situation and manages to figure things out before anyone. Similar to his brushes with the law in Tripwire, he must solve things while avoiding the authorities. He also gets hurt at the end of this one. One of the more exciting Reacher novels.