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Finally: The 1600-volt Compact Hairdryer
You have to love Amazon. They will sell you anything. Get them while they last ......

Posted On Thursday, November 3, 2011 6:10 PM

Configuring the Synology DS1511+
My last post related the sad story of a dead HP MediaSmart Home Server. This time, I will relate the steps I took to configure the Synology DS1511+ for use. To avoid unnecessary typing, I recommend this post to provide the basic details. It is written for the older DS1010+, but the process is the same for the DS1511+. … OK, now that you have read that, I have different drives in my NAS so I had a different kind of problem. I chose to go with five Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green SATA II drives (WD20EARS) ......

Posted On Friday, July 8, 2011 9:40 PM

Quieting Outlook 2010
I had an Outlook irritation that I resolved recently. I have many irritations with Outlook, but the one I fixed was some of the sounds it makes. Every time I viewed a new folder, it made an irritating noise. Every time I deleted an email or RSS item, it made a different irritating noise. With no program option available other than the new mail sound, I went into Control Panel | Sound | Sounds tab for some surgery. Scroll down the Program Events list until you get to the Microsoft Office section. ......

Posted On Sunday, April 10, 2011 8:36 AM

Black Friday
Retailers are desperate. Amazon has “leaked” their entire Black Friday movie deal schedule. More deals here. I have used their daily deal too ......

Posted On Sunday, November 21, 2010 8:02 PM

I Choose iNada
As a laptop and Kindle user, I have been looking at the usual cyclical Apple frenzy in the press with the same kind of amused tolerance I give my three-year-old son. They never seem to learn, and they keep repeating the same things. However when I read articles like this, I am reminded that that is not always the case. I am a happy user of a monster-sized HP HDX laptop, HP touch screen all-in-one system, and multi-screen Dell desktops at home as well as a HP business laptop at work. I have no iPod, ......

Posted On Saturday, April 3, 2010 9:43 AM

Blocking the "Green Meanie" Popup Ads
I am not sure why it took me so long to implement, but I finally had it with the Vibrant Media IntelliTXT in-line text advertising and their intrusive pop-ups. You have probably seen them yourself. They are the highlighted green words with a double underscore present in many news and blog pages. While they generate money for those sites, they are as irritating as hell, so I decided to remove them. I opened a web page which I knew would display the Vibrant advertising. A few seconds after the page ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 11, 2009 5:32 PM

Emergency Food Distribution
While walking a street in Old Town San Diego one evening after a busy day on a business trip, the scene below was one I just had to take a picture of with my phone. I am sure the church did not intend the juxtaposition... Maybe the trash truck crew had some fun though ......

Posted On Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:03 PM

I Was CompuServe 73700,3344
My first remote computer access outside my home was via CompuServe in 1985. I sat at my original IBM PC and connected via a Hayes Smartmodem 1200 to the service. I spent lots of geeky time sucking text through that modem and its replacements. I used CompuServe from all over the country as I traveled, and even internationally a few times. It worked great and kept down the long distance phone bills. Remember those? Back in the day, we had to call long distance to a company's bulletin board service ......

Posted On Saturday, July 4, 2009 4:28 PM


Wow.  Five years of posts.  Of course, the last eight months have been pretty empty, but I am starting a new WPF project at work that looks to be very interesting.  I hope to get back into the posting routine as the work evolves.  We are working on the design right now.  More to follow on that.

I may also be posting on management of a distributed software development team.

Posted On Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:01 PM

LCD Screen Drawings
My children's artwork adorns the walls of my house in several locations. It is regularly replaced with the most recent efforts, since the preschools seem to excel at a multitude of different craft projects. At home, we favor crayons and washable markers, but we keep close control of them. This evening my three-year-old decided to climb up Daddy's chair and get onto my desk. A ball point pen beckoned from a pen holder placed far from a child-accessible edge. The canvas -- two 19-inch LCD screens. ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:59 PM

Tafiti Search
Microsoft announced the availability of a new Tafiti experimental search front-end based on Silverlight. I tried out the Halo 3 branded system, and it is visually very nice and functionally very smooth. However, as a search engine front-end, it is currently a failure. I sent the team the following feedback: Sorry guys, but I have to grade it as a complete failure. 1) You completely fail to operate under a common setting (popup blocker set at medium) in your own browser (IE7) 2) You cannot bypass ......

Posted On Friday, September 21, 2007 11:02 AM

Strange Amazon Connection
We got a very strange recommendation from Amazon for our four-year-old. We do not understand it either ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 8, 2007 7:33 PM

Merry Christmas: Santa's Goin' To Kokomo

Merry Christmas!

Mike Love's Santa's Goin' To Kokomo

Posted On Friday, December 22, 2006 8:27 AM

Google Code Search - Finding Source Code
Google Labs has come out with a new means to find source code online. Google Code Search is a feature that returns hits from within posted source code. It did not take long for me to ignore the main page and set the advanced search page as my shortcut. So far, it seems heavily weighted towards Java (not surprising), with less available from C-based sites. The results layout also needs more differentiation between each separate result -- things blend together too much. More to follow as I use the ......

Posted On Thursday, October 5, 2006 6:09 PM

We Declare - 230 Years Ago
It was very bad 230+ years ago in North America. Compare the bulleted list to the news of today and see if our world really compares. Personally, I like the sentence below, in red, that after listing his errors, calls the King of England a Tyrant. IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 4, 2006 7:23 AM

Comment Spam
I just got hit with dozens of spam comments from China.  Isn't there a newer version of .TEXT which provides better comment management?  A bulk delete capability would be awesome.

Posted On Monday, April 25, 2005 2:28 PM

New Dell Computer Crapware
Today I got to unpack and set up my new toy. After over five years of existing with the same old 1.1GHz P3, I finally got my brand new Dell XPS 400 -- Pentium D Dual Core 3GHz Processor 930, 4GB DDR2 SDRAM, 256MB nVidia GeForce 7800 GTX, and other toys -- Sweet! I plugged in two 19-inch LCD monitors that I had ready, fired it up, and promptly got deluged with the Dell advertising crapware. I had to read the startup configuration screen very closely to make sure I was not agreeing to AOL Broadband ......

Posted On Friday, June 2, 2006 9:12 PM

International Units Trivia
How many of the following 29 units have you never heard of before? The international system of units consists of a short list of base units defined in an absolute manner that does not refer to any other units. The base units are consistent with the part of the metric system called the MKS (meter-kilogram-second) system. meter for distance kilogram for mass second for time ampere for electric current kelvin for temperature mole for amount of substance candela for intensity of light Other international ......

Posted On Sunday, May 28, 2006 7:01 PM

Google Analytics
Update 1: For some reason, the data has stopped. I am tweaking things to see if I can get it to appear again. Update 2: Hmmm. It may not be me. The demand for Google Analytics surpassed even our highest expectations and as a result some customers may temporarily experience report-update delays. All data continues to be collected and no data has been lost. We are currently adding resources to ensure high-quality service. We apologize for any inconvenience. I have added the code for Google Analytics ......

Posted On Friday, November 18, 2005 9:58 AM

Google Zeitgeist
What is it? zeit·geist | Pronunciation: 'tsIt-"gIst, 'zIt | Function: noun | Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) | Date: 1884 | Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era In Google's reality, it is a place where they list their most popular queries, or as they put it, "Search patterns, trends, and surprises according to Google". Check it out. Some interesting things pop up there ......

Posted On Thursday, November 17, 2005 7:48 PM

Visiting Memory Lane
Today I did some long delayed work and started cleaning out our garage. I needed to free-up space, so I went about straightening up the scattered lumber and tossing out the old and broken things that I held on to for very good reasons -- I just cannot recall what they are now. One stack of boxes held all the old bits of computers that I have bought over the past 21 years. Some things brought a smile to my face. Here are some of the bits I came across. Remember these? CD caddy - These were how we ......

Posted On Sunday, April 9, 2006 6:55 PM

Blogiversary 2
Last year I had hoped to cover so much, but then real life entered the picture and intruded on my time. Two years ago, I started blogging on GWB, and continue, in the hobbyist mode. I support the family via my military job, but I still try to find the time to keep the updates to the EDR. It is a modest income to put against the credit card, but nothing to live by. I hope to get going on VS2005, EntLib, GAT and other neat stuff from Microsoft. We will see how the time is taken up through this coming ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 21, 2006 2:56 PM

Billion Dollar Idea Busted
The Smoking Gun has the goods on a would-be con artist and forger who was caught prior to trying to pass off $1,000,000,000 bills -- yes billion dollar bills. And they were supposedly from 1934 no less. The real hint that something is up, of course comes in the third page of the article. Note the purported date of issue of the supporting bank certificate and maybe you can see what one possible use of the bills could be ......

Posted On Thursday, March 16, 2006 7:42 PM

Sinking Aircraft Carriers
Almost two years ago, I posted the answers to a private trivia challenge I was involved in. In the interim, the US Navy has intentionally sunk the ex-USS AMERICA (Hull #66). That ship was subject to a series of real-world tests you rarely get to do -- survivability of a modern aircraft carrier when hit with modern weapons. The details and results are classified, but in the end the ex-AMERICA slipped quietly beneath the surface having survived the weapons, but not the scuttling charges. Another carrier ......

Posted On Friday, February 17, 2006 5:06 PM

Sony DRM Defeated
Last time, Sony's DRM was defeated by a dark marking pen. This time it is a piece of tape. (Who knows, the pen may work as well.) A Gartner research post Sony BMG DRM a Public-Relations and Technology Failure describes the simple technique. They also sum up the music industry's efforts at implementing DRM quite eloquently. “Gartner believes that it will never achieve this goal as long as CDs must be playable by stand-alone CD players.” We have come full circle on this story and I am now ......

Posted On Tuesday, November 22, 2005 5:01 PM

Google Analytics Too Successful
After wondering why the data stopped flowing, I reverted to my original Analytics domain of After a time, I checked back and found this notice. The demand for Google Analytics surpassed even our highest expectations and as a result some customers may temporarily experience report-update delays. All data continues to be collected and no data has been lost. We are currently adding resources to ensure high-quality service. We apologize for any inconvenience. I guess a free ......

Posted On Monday, November 21, 2005 6:32 PM

This Blog For Sale
I come cheap! ;-) I guess I need to get back to writing. My blog is worth $3,951.78.How much is your blog worth? One week later, my blog is now worth $7,339.02. Yippie ......

Posted On Monday, October 31, 2005 11:16 AM

Microsoft World Domination - Total Control Edition
Remember this? For those of you who do, you may recall how everyone figured that Microsoft would squash every other software company and there would be No Other Software But Microsoft. This was the type of attitude that helped create the Open Source Software (OSS) movement -- kind of like Flower Power for computers. OSS seemed great until the big boys saw money to be made, and have been elbowing in ever since. The Anybody But Microsoft (ABM) people run as a subset to the OSS group. They want nothing ......

Posted On Friday, October 7, 2005 11:56 AM

When a 747 is Like a Kite
The National Hurricane Center says that Hurricane Katrina has sustained winds of 165 mph. People are throwing around lots of statements about what that will do to buildings. Suffice it to say that most of the modern construction and all the weaker buildings will be heavily damaged if not leveled. I did some quick research to put this wind speed into perspective. Making lots of assumptions about weight and control, it would theoretically be possible to fly a Boeing 747-400 like a kite in Katrina's ......

Posted On Sunday, August 28, 2005 2:57 PM

IE7 is Boring
Lately, you would think that web browsing was the next best thing to nirvana, rapture, or that sweet shivering feeling of goodness you get from cold ice cream on a hot day. At least, that is what I have been reading from Firefox aficionados on pretty much a daily basis over the last several months. I guess I need to expand my web surfing to juicier web sites. I must be missing something. I have found IE7 (Beta 1) to be boring -- and I think that is exactly what I want from a browser. When people ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 10, 2005 8:07 AM

Hurricane Fixes Artificial Reef

This is neat: Dennis fixes artificial reef by turning Spiegel Grove upright

It is about the only good news I have heard during the last five hurricanes.

Posted On Saturday, July 16, 2005 2:13 PM

Blog Tweaking
I will be tweaking the appearance of my blog over the next several days, so excuse the progressive changes.  I am also reminding myself about what I have forgotten about customizing CSS as I go.

Posted On Friday, July 15, 2005 8:20 AM

Hurricane Dennis Observations
We are very thankful here in the Orlando area that Hurricane Dennis went elsewhere. We feel for the people in the Pensacola area who are getting whacked by the storm, which is coming ashore right about now. Central Florida got hit by some strong storms from the feeder bands, but they were very much like our almost-daily thunderstorms. I saw some tree damage, but no building structural damage. I also see that my weatherdude and reporter predictions have come true. They are using videophones to go ......

Posted On Sunday, July 10, 2005 12:17 PM

Creating Program Icons
MSDN has an excellent explanation in their 2001 article on Creating Windows XP Icons. You will need a competent graphics program and the time to do the work. Need something quick? There are 132 sets of free icons over at Pixiegirl Presents, ranging from to useful, to the interesting, to the eclectic. Want something professional? IconExperience sells multiple collections on a range of subjects ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 22, 2005 7:12 AM

MSDN Event != Happy Spouse
My spouse is well-trained. Every time I attend an MSDN Event, the first thing she asks is if they handed out a free t-shirt. I had to tell her that there were no shirts this time. She was disappointed. She was again bummed when I told her the Microsoft pen was black ink. She is a blue ink fiend, and a connoisseur of pens. She got excited, though, that I had picked up two of the Microsoft notepads. She loves to use them for shopping lists. Naturally, she is tough to please. Today, Russ Fustino gave ......

Posted On Thursday, June 16, 2005 7:29 PM

Referrer Spam?
Recently, I have a gotten a couple of strange referrals. They come from different URLs, but all look the same. These refer to one of my older posts with a rather simple URL something like “http://buy-my-stuff.... and nothing else. It will be a commercial site rather than a search engine, blog or other such site. Strange. Accessing these sites, I usually get some form of "This account has been suspended" message. I can only assume that this is a form of referral spam. I know some blog ......

Posted On Friday, June 10, 2005 3:53 PM

Hurricane Baby Boomlet
I guess it was inevitable. Hurricane Charlie roared through central Florida on August 13, 2004. Many people were without power for days. In some cases it was almost two weeks. Forty weeks later was May 20, 2005. Hospital data for the last 3-4 weeks shows a 18-26% rise in the birth rate. The story is here. I guess it had something to do with all those candles ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 7, 2005 10:39 AM

Google Print
The Google Print Beta is available here. Publishers and libraries seem to hate it. I wonder how much more effective/different it is from CiteSeer. They are really aiming high: "Google's mission is to organize the world's information, but much of that information isn't yet online. Google Print aims to get it there by putting book content where you can find it most easily - right in your Google search results." I am waiting for the threats to melt your computer down if you dare use another search engine. ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 31, 2005 7:26 PM

Gmail Allocation Slowly Increasing
The press was effusive when Gmail came out with a <gasp!>1 GB</gasp!> limit. They just spewed all over themselves when Yahoo! matched it. They choked when Gmail went to <gasp!>2 GB</gasp!> of space. Since then, Google has been slowly increasing personal allocation. Of course, since Gmail is not yet at the next (psychologically significant) whole number <gasp!>3 GB</gasp!> barrier, the press is silent. This morning, my Gmail inbox holds this line: You are currently ......

Posted On Monday, May 30, 2005 9:55 AM

Office 2003/XP Add-in: Remove Hidden Data
Microsoft brought this version out last July, but I missed it. It can be downloaded here. What kind of personal data is buried in Office documents? Quite a bit, actually. Here is what the tool removes: Comments. Previous authors and editors. User name. Personal summary information. Revision marks. The tool accepts all revisions specified in the document. As a result, the contents of the document will correspond to the Final Showing Markup view on the Reviewing toolbar. Deleted text. This data is ......

Posted On Sunday, May 22, 2005 7:59 AM

Deleting Comments
For everyone on GWB, if you have to delete a comment, you need to fill in the Clearscreen HIP control with the appropriate answer to get it to work.  Otherwise, you will get an object not found error.

Posted On Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:01 AM

Nautical Terminology: Chewing the Fat
"God made the vittles but the devil made the cook," was a popular saying used by seafaring men in the 19th century when salted beef was the staple diet aboard ship.  This tough cured beef, suitable for long voyages when nothing else was cheap or would keep as well (remember, there was no refrigeration), required prolonged chewing to make it edible.  Men often chewed one chunk for hours, just as if it were chewing gum and referred to this practice as "chewing the fat."

Posted On Tuesday, April 26, 2005 11:02 PM

Defending Your Home Computer - Part 1
Years ago, I was head of a military school that taught, among many other things, computer network defense. We hads lots of unknowing people come through our school and receive our firehose of information over a two-week period. There was way to much information to teach in that time, so we provided a supplemental CD with the full course materials and additional references. I wrote a very basic summary of how to defend your home computer, giving examples and recommendations based on how I was doing ......

Posted On Friday, May 27, 2005 4:41 PM

What to Wear at Disney
First off, I would like to thank the Windsor Family (all eight of you!) for the questions about your upcoming trip. I am not the answering service you may think I am, but I am willing to help out where I can. In that vein, I will answer the common theme you all seem to have: You have no idea what to wear. [This will also satisfy you lurkers who are also hitting my blog via Google.] Think of the following as some suggestions. Comfortable Shoes. This is the Number One Most Important Thing. You will ......

Posted On Thursday, May 26, 2005 12:58 PM

Google Search Tips and Tricks
Want to search just your blog on GWB? One way to do it with Google is to use modifiers. For example, you can search just my blog for "hurricane" with the search string " inurl:mtreadwell hurricane," or you can use the blog search box which adds the site an inurl modifiers for you. Google has lots of operators, modifiers and special features. Here is a summary of the current features culled from their web site. Modifiers allintitle: If you start a query with [allintitle:], Google ......

Posted On Thursday, May 26, 2005 11:03 AM


One year ago today, Jeff set my blog up for me and I made my first post.  This one is my 121st.  I have tried to post lots of different information in this blog, from programming, to Naval terminology and history, to hurricanes, and more.  For any readers for whom English is a second (or third, or more) language, I have tried to be grammatically correct and avoid contractions.

I would like your suggestions for future posts, so please leave me a comment.

Posted On Monday, March 21, 2005 9:21 PM

Shutting Down Comments on a Post
I never thought that I would have to do it, but I shut down comments on my Gmail post and removed it from syndication. People got completely out of control with wanting Gmail invites. The ME TOO! cries were mostly from India, but there were others as well. I got tired of the inbox spam feeling. If you need a Gmail account, just wait. They will open it up again. I have no invites available. Update 1: See the comment below for what I mean ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 8, 2005 7:32 PM

Catching Up / Hurricane Preps Continue
Posting has been slow recently because of work in the real world and a family trip. When you travel over 2700 miles in a vehicle with two small children (aged 20 months and 3 months) you need to take some time to recover. Other than unpacking, truck cleaning and yard work, there has been little free time. There is still some work I need to do on the EDR and, of course, the Honey Do list. I did manage to get an order in to a reseller of hurricane panels two weeks ago to protect my most vulnerable ......

Posted On Sunday, April 24, 2005 12:14 PM

Chris Brumme: Please Come In From The Cold
I agree with Chris Anderson and Brad Abrams. Chris Brumme needs to resume blogging. He has written some of the highest density blog material ever ......

Posted On Thursday, April 7, 2005 8:27 PM

Hurricane Preparations: Stucco Cracks and Holes
Added Update 2. Stucco is concrete. Concrete is brittle. Brittle materials crack. Therefore, stucco cracks. Boy, do I know stucco gets cracks. I just spent many hours sealing cracks on the outside of my house. Since a crack is also a hole, it lets in water and bugs. Paint is very important when you have a concrete house. A number of houses built by Ryland Homes leaked during last year's storms. Much of the leakage was directly through the concrete walls due a failure of the paint system. (There were ......

Posted On Wednesday, April 6, 2005 11:47 PM

How to Understate an Airbus Accident
My degree is in Aerospace Engineering, so I have followed aviation even as I drove ships around the ocean for a living. I am concerned when planes lose major chunks in flight. AVweb has a story on the Latest Airbus Missing Rudder involving Air Transat, a Canadian charter airline, Airbus A310. The Mail & Guardian story is here and an interesting blog analysis here. Update 1: France Issues Emergency Airworthiness Directive On Airbus Rudders Update 2: US inspections are now required, but Reuters ......

Posted On Thursday, March 17, 2005 9:23 PM

Microsoft Forums (for Developers)
I found this somewhat inadvertently. Things are sparse at the moment, but I see that the forums on the Windows Forms website will be moving the the MSDN site. I wonder if this is the eventual future for Microsoft's newsgroups? What else may be moving? A welcome message says is reasonably enough: "Welcome to the Microsoft Forums for Visual Studio 2005 Q & A. Many of you might recognize some similarity with the Asp.Net Forums. We've taken the 2.0 version of that code base and extended upon it to ......

Posted On Thursday, March 17, 2005 7:45 PM

Stock Photos for Presentations
I recently needed to decorate a one-off Powerpoint presentation with some washout background pictures (such as this and this) and used the stock.xchng site (hat tip to Chris Anderson). The terms are reasonable and the pictures are of good quality. This is a great way to spice up a boring default template. Recommended ......

Posted On Sunday, March 13, 2005 4:32 PM

Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam
The Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam has presented quite a few interesting pictures since it was activated in 1996. It is interesting to see the weather in the area, and I have to make some adjustments for the three hour time difference. The new webcam was installed in September 2004 in time to catch the eruption series that was soon to follow. The website archive has the eruption series. The March 08, 2005 Eruption Event Movie is described thusly: The network connection to the VolcanoCam had failed the ......

Posted On Sunday, March 13, 2005 3:09 PM

Gmail Update and Invitation
Update 1: This account did not come with a pile of invites, so I have none to pass on. Update 2: If you want to get a Gmail account, you will need to wait. It does not appear that they are accepting new applications. You will just have to keep checking back and waiting. Update 3: Comments are closed on this post. It took them awhile, but Google is now issuing invitations to those of us who signed up and waited patiently. The advertised capabilities are nice. This is the one and only email they have ......

Posted On Thursday, February 17, 2005 7:53 PM

Home Depot Self-checkout Fails To Impress
Actually, it was an implementation of technology that just got me extremely irate. I was so upset that I just left my purchases there and went over to the nearby Lowe's ... but I am getting ahead of myself. There are plenty of other people just like me who are unimpressed with this technology, so I am not substantially advancing the discussion here. (I do hope I end up feeling better, though.) Try this Google search, or this one to see what I mean. I was attempting to purchase six things: a bag of ......

Posted On Friday, January 14, 2005 8:31 PM

Nautical Terminology: Log Book
In the very early days of sailing ships, the ship's records were written on thin shingles cut from logs. These shingles were hinged and opened like a book. The entire record was called the "log book." Later on, when paper was readily available and bound into books, the record maintained the name. Today, almost any record can be called a log. The ship maintains several legal records in logs. The ship's Deck Log is the primary record of daily events. It is maintained on the Bridge while underway and ......

Posted On Sunday, January 2, 2005 6:15 PM

New Year Happiness and Mourning
We are starting another new year. We have plenty to be both thankful and sorrowful for. We have our health and our family. We mourn the hundreds of thousands killed by the tsunami knowing that many more will die of disease and starvation. Many will never be counted. We are happy for a relatively calm election cycle here in the US. It could have been much worse, but the problems seem minor and are not in Florida. We are happy that Jeff provides us this wonderful place to hang our hat in the blogosphere. ......

Posted On Sunday, January 2, 2005 10:02 AM

Never Buy Milk at Walt Disney World...
...unless you cannot avoid it --- or, where once again I learn that marketing is all about location, location, location.... In early October, the wife and I took a trip to Epcot at Walt Disney World here in Orlando. We are season pass holders, so this was an easy thing and we enjoy it. It was very warm then, so we took some extra bottles of milk for the kid to eat. Little did we know she would be a hungry little spud. Faced with the prospect of a potential hungry, screaming, irritated child, we did ......

Posted On Monday, December 6, 2004 6:56 PM

Aiming Low as an Operating System

It took me several tries to achieve this.

You are Windows 1.0.  You're a worthless piece of crap that should've never been born.  Luckily, your parents were able to conceive again.  They rarely let you out of the closet.

Which OS are You?

Posted On Wednesday, November 10, 2004 8:21 PM

I Am a Modern File Extension
I had always wondered. It figures that I am something that evolved after DOS. I am still very happy that I chose to not program in C for Windows286. Which File Extension are You ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 10, 2004 5:56 PM

The Industrious Clock

I got a link to a neat web clock display that can keep you watching.  Here is the Industrious Clock.

Here is an earlier effort - the Clock Block.

Posted On Thursday, October 28, 2004 8:21 PM

The Perfect Storm of Baseball
This evening, the Boston Red Sox finally attained the dreams of generations of Boston fans -- and I congratulate them. My friends know that I am not a baseball fan, but that I have an intense dislike of the New York Yankees. I believe it started with Mr. October Reggie Jackson, but it quickly segued and narrowed to George Steinbrenner himself. I cannot think of a better poke in the eye than this. I feel both happy and sad for Sox fans. I am happy that the 86 year drought is gone along with the Bambino’s ......

Posted On Wednesday, October 27, 2004 11:41 PM

The Rules of Spam

In case you were never aware of them, you can find the full set of Rules, Admonitions, Corollaries, Commentaries and Explanations here.  The main Rules are:

Rule #0: Spam is theft.
Rule #1: Spammers lie.
Rule #2: If a spammer seems to be telling the truth, see Rule #1.
Rule #3: Spammers are stupid.
Rule #4: The natural course of a spamming business is to go bankrupt.

Posted On Saturday, August 21, 2004 2:29 PM

Hurricane Duration
I can see among my referrals that quite a few people are looking for the duration of a hurricane. As with anything, the answer is "it depends." It depends on what you are measuring and where you are. You can measure the duration of a tropical cyclone based on time elapsed of hurricane force winds, tropical storm force or greater winds or any number of other measures. The ultimate data repository is at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, National Centers ......

Posted On Monday, October 4, 2004 7:51 PM

You know you live in Florida when...
Those crazy people at the Orlando Sentinel (subscription required) have been at it again. I think they need to go bake on a beach for a week or two. You just gotta keep laughing. Of course, they also claim that this was a "once in a lifetime" kind of hurricane year. Yeah right - until next year. - - - - - Whether natives or newcomers, residents of the Sunshine State (Ha!) have faced a multitude of, er, weather challenges the past two months. Yet, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne have made us get ......

Posted On Saturday, October 2, 2004 1:21 PM

Nautical Terminology: Wardroom
The Wardroom originally was known as the Wardrobe Room, a place where officers kept their spare wearing apparel.  It was also the space where any loot, secured from enemy ships, was stored.  In an effort to have some privacy on a crowded ship, officers would sometimes take their meals in the Wardrobe Room.  Today, the Wardroom aboard ship is where officers take their meals, relax and socialize.

Posted On Saturday, October 2, 2004 12:43 PM

Hurricane Jeanne Survival Lessons
Posted Update 3 below (See all my hurricane entries here.) We have had way too much adventure around here (Orlando) recently. Three hurricanes in a six week period is pretty much enough for everyone for the next decade or so. At work, we joke about going around to all the "Florida - The Sunshine State" signs at the state welcome centers and changing them to read "Florida - We're Over It" instead. You really come to appreciate the small comforts of life when your bathroom fan has no power. As with ......

Posted On Wednesday, September 29, 2004 6:52 PM

Nautical Terminology: Sally Ship
"Sally ship" was not a ship, but a method of loosening a vessel that had run aground from the mud holding her fast. In the days before sophisticated navigation equipment, ships ran aground much more often than today. A grounded ship could be freed with little or no hull damage if she could be rocked out of her muddy predicament. To free her, the order was given to "sally ship". The crew gathered in a line along one side and then ran from port to starboard and back and forth until the vessel began ......

Posted On Sunday, August 8, 2004 10:07 PM

Plylox Clip Installation/Removal Tips
I still do not really like these things as I describe in my Frances Survival post, but I have learned a few things about putting up large plywood shutters using Plylox clips. (See all my hurricane entries here.) Since I have not had time to implement my barrel bolt plan, I had to refine my installation technique. Putting up a large shutter is cumbersome. I have four that are large. Installation is greatly eased if you add a handle to the outside of the shutter. My simple handles consist of a length ......

Posted On Saturday, September 25, 2004 9:32 PM

Hurricanes Just Keep Coming
OK, enough now. Our little slice of Florida here near Orlando will shortly be hit by our third hurricane of the year. The outer rain bands are moving across the area now. We got hit by Hurricanes Charley and Frances, then were faked out by Hurricane Ivan. We were sorry (in a sickly happy way) that the Florida panhandle got whacked by Ivan. Now, we have Hurricane Jeanne approaching. The sad fact is that many fewer people are evacuating for this storm than for previous ones. I hope those staying are ......

Posted On Saturday, September 25, 2004 4:44 PM

Long-term Hurricane Lessons
After the storms, we have come across some additional long-term lessons. Update 1: Test your computer UPS batteries. One of mine failed quickly during the first hurricane and did not let me do a controlled shutdown. They have all been replaced. Update 1: Do not underestimate the effects of stress. Florida has been the 2004 target, and people are beginning to think every hurricane is going to try to fit through their window. The easiest thing to ease this appears to be simply talking about it and ......

Posted On Thursday, September 16, 2004 6:55 PM

Nautical Terminology: Splice the Main Brace
A sailing ship's rigging was a favorite target during sea battles, since destroying the opponent's ability to maneuver or get away would put you at obvious advantage. Therefore, one of first the things tended to after a battle was the repair of broken gear, and the repair of the sheets (lines - not "ropes" - that adjust the angle at which a sail is set in relation to the wind) and braces (lines passing through blocks and holding up sails). The main brace was the principal fore-and-aft support of ......

Posted On Saturday, September 11, 2004 10:44 AM

Clippy Resurrected

Oh ... my ... God --- please save us!

Clippy has a blog.  ;-)

Posted On Saturday, September 11, 2004 10:26 AM

Welcome to the Hurricane Blog
Well sort of, but I have been distracted by external events for the past couple of weeks. Check out all of my hurricane related posts here. Work and weather defense has been keeping me away from almost everything else. Now, a third hurricane (Ivan) is approaching. This too we shall survive, but I wanted to make some comments for those of you who are not in the state. I would not necessarily accuse the news media of lies, but they exist to attract your eyeballs, so they tend to exaggerate and sensationalize ......

Posted On Friday, September 10, 2004 10:10 PM

Hurricane Frances Survival Lessons
Added Update 4 below. See more hurricane entries here. When you have two hurricanes in three weeks, you are bound to come across new challenges. We are preparing for Hurricane Ivan at the moment. While Charley and Frances made it “X makes the spot,” Ivan will make it an “asterisk.” (Update 3: I was wrong about the location, since Ivan whacked Pensacola instead.) My post on Hurricane Charley Survival Lessons is a good place to start your reading. Here are some additional items ......

Posted On Thursday, September 9, 2004 8:49 PM

30 Things We Learned from Hurricane Charley
The Orlando Sentinel (subscription required) ran a great story this morning about things we learned from Hurricane Charley. Here is their list (slightly modified to remove some specific local references). Water is a comfort food, but 3-day-old Cheetos are too. We shouldn't complain about all the "useless" tools in the garage -- we actually DO need a generator. You can't spell "priceless" without I-C-E. Shadow animals on the wall -- still fun! It's your God-given right to sit on your back porch and ......

Posted On Saturday, August 21, 2004 10:29 AM

Nautical Terminology: Cut and Run
Most often thought to mean the cutting of an anchor line in an effort to make a quick getaway, whether from storm or pirates.  It is hard to imagine that many ship's masters enjoyed routinely losing an anchor or two, so it more likely refers to the practice of securing the sails of a square-rigged ship with rope yarns that could easily be cut away when a quick departure was necessary.

Posted On Friday, August 20, 2004 7:07 PM

Hurricane Charley Survival Lessons
When a hurricane approaches, a computer literate individual (geek) has extra work to do. While most people just bring in the loose outdoor material, the geek also needs to prepare electronic systems. As a point of reference, we live a little east of Orlando. The center of the eye passed to our west, but we were inside the eye wall, so we got hit with the best winds the storm still had to offer with a steady wind of 90 MPH and gusts to 105 MPH. Here are a few things to keep in mind about storms. Power ......

Posted On Wednesday, August 18, 2004 6:57 PM

Microsoft Bob = Abandonware
When I look at my referrers list, I am amazed at the number of people who still search for this abandoned Microsoft product and find my post on Microsoft's April Fool MSDN RSS listing. (Hint for all you searchers --- it was a joke. The program was not posted for download.) I was reminded of this today by reading Dvorak's latest column on “The Bottom 10: Worst Software Disasters.” There, proudly at #10, is Microsoft Bob version 1.0a. In case you did not know, Microsoft Bob 1.0a combined the contents ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 17, 2004 9:17 AM

Service Packs and Hurricanes
Within the past few months, I repaved my machines, removing old versions of win98 and WinME, installing fresh copies of WinXP. I installed Windows XP SP2 on my machines and was pleased to find that all installations went without a hitch. I did not play with any of the Release Candidate bits, so I was underwhelmed by the much vaunted Security Center. I expected it to appear on my Start menu. Nope. I looked at the Start menu properties for a customization to make it appear. Nope. I finally found it ......

Posted On Friday, August 13, 2004 5:46 PM

My SOHO RAID Plans Change
In Robert Burns "To A Mouse," the author said that the "The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley." In modern English, we render this as "the best laid plans of mice and men, oft' go awry." I remember reading the entire poem during high school long ago. I was reminded of that when I found the report I subsequently wrote for my English Literature class. Little did I know that the saying would apply very strongly to me. I wrote earlier that I intended to add a SATA RAID to ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:56 PM

My SOHO RAID Equipment
Case and Power Supply I chose an Antec SLK-3700 since it is a well-built, solid, and cost-effective case. For this upgrade, I went with the Antec SLK3700-BQE (the "Black Quiet Edition") because it offers four external 5.25" drive bays. Three of these bays will be occupied by the four-drive RAID enclosure and the fourth will hold the DVD. The case is essentially the same as their basic 3700, with a few extra tweaks. It's pitch black and employs several quiet features I like. The hard drives mount ......

Posted On Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:43 PM

Nautical Terminology: Topside Animals
I got an email a week or so ago asking for a list of items that was frequently used to build familiarity with equipment on a ship during Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification. The intent was for the candidate to learn both nautical terminology as well as the equipment. The list usually took the form of “topside animals“ or “animals on the bow.“ People generally had to list and explain 10 or 15 items. It has been a long time since I saw the full list, so ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 14, 2004 8:23 PM

In my last entry, I referred to but did not give the prices and sources of the parts for the RAID project. One disclaimer is that these are final prices and generally do not include either shipping or taxes. If I had looked a little longer, I probably could have shaved a little more off the prices. The enclosure kit is available cheaper at several places, but not in black. Total cost falls to less than $1000 if we do not buy a spare drive. I was really tempted to go with the 250MB drives in order ......

Posted On Monday, July 12, 2004 8:42 PM

SOHO RAID to the Rescue
It always seems that disk drives fail at the most inopportune time. Of course, there never really is a good time. This failure has kept me too busy recently with the recovery process. I had backups, but they were elderly, so the disk is off for a clean room recovery process. What is especially irritating is that the failed disk is a nearly new Western Digital Caviar 160GB EIDE hard drive. It was manufactured September 30, 2003, installed in our SOHO server in late November 2003, and failed last week. ......

Posted On Monday, July 12, 2004 3:47 PM

Nautical Terminology: Listless
When people are listless, we consider their "get up and go" has "got up and went." They are marked by having low spirits, showing no enthusiasm, or lacking zest or vivacity. When a ship is listless, she is sitting still and perfectly upright in the water. (Technically, “list” is a static measurement of the ship's angle from being upright while stationary with no external forces. Dynamic forces that cause a ship to move from an upright position create what is referred to as “heel” ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 30, 2004 7:59 PM

At-Home Training Course for Naval Officers
It took a bit of extra time, but I have completed my EDR programming mission. Now back to the regularly scheduled blog. My previous effort at simulating Navy life was mostly oriented towards the enlisted experience. Today I got a reasonable simulation of the different jobs that officers hold onboard U.S. Navy ships. Now this is oriented towards Surface Warfare Officers, but you'll get the idea. All you have to do to become a Surface Warfare Officer is complete the at-home training curriculum in the ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 30, 2004 5:39 PM

When Real Life Intrudes
It has been awhile since I blogged last, but it turns out the real life took precedence. In my case, there was some official and personal travel as well as an illness that sapped me and took all my energy away. Happily, I am on the mend now. I managed to get a little bit done on the EDR, but still have more work ahead of me. I am writing a support program to display the characteristic curves of electrical fuses. The worst is behind me now that I have wrangled the data into a usable form. I hate doing ......

Posted On Sunday, June 20, 2004 12:00 PM

Nautical Terminology: Three Sheets to the Wind
We use the term "three sheets to the wind" to describe someone who has had too much to drink. As such, they are often bedraggled with perhaps shirttails out, clothes a mess, and with wild hair. The reference is to a sailing ship in disarray, that is with its sheets (lines - not "ropes" - that adjust the angle at which a sail is set in relation to the wind) flapping loosely in the breeze. When loose or let go, the sheets would let the sails go slack. The ship would then lose speed and control. It ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 26, 2004 6:22 PM

U.S. Aircraft Carrier Trivia Answers
Added Update 6 below. I wrote an entry that asked some trivia questions about U.S. aircraft carriers. Here are my answers. Obviously, the third and fourth questions may change, since a ship headed to the breakers can be detoured to become a museum. How many U.S. aircraft carriers have been SUNK by enemy action? Six LANGLEY (Hull #1) was sunk as a result enemy action about 75 miles south of Tjilatjap 27 Feb 1942 (see comments below) LEXINGTON (Hull #2) was sunk as a result of enemy action at the Battle ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 26, 2004 5:39 PM

Nautical Terminology: Taken Aback
My little the nautical terminology series has gotten an unusually high number of hits over the past few months. Let's continue with the next few relating to wind during the days of sail. One of the hazards faced in the days of sailing ships has been incorporated into English to describe someone who has been jolted by unpleasant news. We say that a person has been "taken aback" when the person is at a momentary loss; unable to act or even to speak. A danger faced by sailing ships was for a sudden ......

Posted On Saturday, May 22, 2004 6:51 AM

Lorem Ipsum
Ah, the good old Lorem Ipsum. The best resource for Lorem Ipsum information and generation appears to be That site includes a Lorem Ipsum generator that does a little more than just regurgitate canned sentences. Another (less polished) site is This second site's benefit is generating Lorem Ipsum in different character sets for web programmers to use against their solutions. Here are some of the gory details from What is ......

Posted On Wednesday, May 19, 2004 4:35 PM

Design Guidelines: Something for Everyone
Microsoft is in the throes of designing Longhorn. The design of the .NET framework started the process of formulating the current design guidelines that are being used to guide the development of the API. Microsoft has been amazingly open with the process. They have been using their blogs to solicit input to the process. The main blog for this is from Brad Abrams with additional material by Krzysztof Cwalina. More static material is available on MSDN. Basically, the blogs highlight updates to the ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2004 6:15 PM

Translucent Windows Patented?
Code it while you can. The following may soon be Patent Pending. private void tmrFader_Tick(object sender, System.EventArgs e) { if (m_fadeDir == FadeDirection.In) { if (this.Opacity <= 0.99) { this.Opacity += 0.1; } else { this.Opacity = 1; tmrFader.Enabled = false; } } else if (m_fadeDir == FadeDirection.Out) { if (this.Opacity >= 0.2) { this.Opacity -= 0.1; } else { this.Opacity = 0.25; tmrFader.Enabled = false; } } } Sigh. I hope it's thrown out on prior art. (/. is on that here.) ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2004 4:37 PM

Nautical Trivia: Aircraft Carriers
I served for a couple of years aboard the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN-71). I thought it would be an interesting blog entry to ask you, the audience, historical knowledge questions about what has happened to the ships which have served proudly as aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy. First some facts. USS LANGLEY (Hull #1) was the first carrier. USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH (Hull #77) is under construction and will be commissioned in several years. OK, now the questions. How many U.S. aircraft carriers have ......

Posted On Monday, May 17, 2004 7:28 PM

Nautical Terminology: Took the wind out of his sails
Often we use "took the wind out of his sails" to describe getting the best of an opponent in an argument.  Originally it described a battle maneuver of sailing ships.  One ship would pass close to its adversary on its windward side.  The upwind ship and its sails would block the wind from the second vessel, causing it to lose headway.  Losing motion meant losing maneuverability and the ability to carry on a fight.

Posted On Saturday, May 15, 2004 12:31 PM

.NET app.config Files
Another thing to remember. The Mothership's view of app.config files. Suzanne Cook's .NET CLR Loader Notes: one on app.config files and one with examples. A Google search ......

Posted On Friday, May 14, 2004 3:23 PM

Windows Client Side Caching
I need to keep a reference to this. This proved to be a space hog on my old laptop (taking 5.5G of an old 7G drive). The C:\Windows\CSC directory is where Windows keeps the document files that you have marked for being available offline. CSC was the working name for the feature now called Offline Files. It stands for Client-Side Caching. Details on removing/controlling CSC are here ......

Posted On Friday, May 14, 2004 12:02 PM

Google's Eyes are on Gmail
My earlier entry on this topic got the most interest of anything that I've written on this as-yet young blog. Now that the Gmail vitriol has subsided somewhat, we are beginning to see some more rational evaluations of the future service. The best so far seems to be David Pogue's evaluation in today's New York Times. His article was expanded on by Robert MacMillan in his Filter column in the Washington Post. Both are recommended to be read carefully. For an opposite view, read Walt Mossberg's piece ......

Posted On Thursday, May 13, 2004 5:56 PM

I Dislike: Lawyers and Politicians

 I especially dislike lawyers and politicians who are

  • Shocked
  • Appalled
  • Disturbed
  • Offended
  • Troubled

and spout their nonsense in front of a television camera.  For both groups, continued employment in your current profession will not solve your problem.  I recommend a psychiatrist, medications and a new job.

Posted On Wednesday, May 12, 2004 6:31 PM

Nautical Terminology: Head
The "head" aboard a Navy ship is the toilet or water closet. (For the Navy, water closet is more official than toilet or bathroom. The spaces are commonly labeled “WC” even though that is not a popular usage in the United States.) The term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was fastened. This position allowed any odors to be ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 11, 2004 6:47 PM

I Dislike: Free Auto Dealer Advertising
I'm not sure about other people, but I feel that when I drive my vehicle I have a right to attach the decals and stickers that I desire to it. My desired form of automobile advertising usually stays along the lines of college decals, flags, and a single statement of rebellion: “I Love Jet Noise.“ My current issue is with the fact that most automobile dealerships in the United States fasten small placards, license plate frames, or stickers to the rear of your vehicle. They presume they ......

Posted On Tuesday, May 11, 2004 6:42 PM

RFID Hysteria
There is an article on that reports on the current level of hysteria in California over RFID use in stores and libraries. I found one paragraph to be particularly amusing. “Privacy advocates fear RFID will become as omnipresent as video surveillance and give marketers an even more sophisticated way to track people's whereabouts, interests and habits. For example, could a store's RFID readers collect information on what products a shopper previously purchased?” Unless ......

Posted On Saturday, May 1, 2004 6:03 AM

Nautical Terminology: Between the Devil and the Deep
As mentioned before, in wooden ships, the "devil" was the longest seam of the ship. It ran from the bow to the stern. Depending on the ship's construction, it could be along the keel, along the railing or somewhere in between. When at sea and the "devil" had to be caulked, if it was above the water line, the seaman sat in a bo'sun's chair to do so. The bo'sun's chair was usually just a board suspended from a rope. The seaman was suspended between the "devil" and the sea -- the "deep" -- a very precarious ......

Posted On Saturday, May 1, 2004 5:07 AM

May Day
It has been a busy time since my last post. I have mostly completed my work on my custom base class, having only a few things left to do. I also made a trip to Pascagoula for my day job. The flight experience is worthy of another blog entry. For today, it is May Day. There are brief explanations of the history of May Day here and here. I'm sorry, but this is one day celebrated by many that just escapes me. I'm sure it is a fine workers' day, but for me it is just a weekend day of work around the ......

Posted On Saturday, May 1, 2004 4:55 AM

Nautical Terminology: The Devil to Pay
Today, the expression "the devil to pay" is used primarily to describe having an unpleasant result from some action that has been taken. An example is when someone has done something they should not have and, as a result, "there will be the devil to pay." Originally, this expression described one of the more unpleasant tasks aboard a wooden ship. The "devil" was the wooden ship's longest seam in the hull. Caulking of seams between boards of the hull was done with "pay" or pitch (a kind of tar). The ......

Posted On Saturday, April 24, 2004 8:11 AM

Nautical Terminology: He Knows the Ropes
In the very early days, this phrase was written on a seaman's discharge to indicate that he was still a novice.  All he knew about being a sailor was just the names and uses of the principal ropes (lines).  Today, this same phrase means the opposite --- that the person fully knows and understands the operation (usually of the organization).

Posted On Monday, April 19, 2004 5:10 PM

Page 23
Picked this meme up from here. "And I must say immediately what a great honor and a great privilege I think it must be for you, the people of Cottington, to have this gleaming new motorway going through your cruddy little village ... I'm sorry, your little country village of cruddy Cottington." - From the fifth sentence on page 23 of Douglas Adams' The Original Hitchhiker Radio Scripts. Here's what the meme suggests you do: Grab the nearest book.Open the book to page 23.Find the fifth sentence.Post ......

Posted On Saturday, April 17, 2004 12:35 PM

Nautical Folklore: Superstition of Friday
The reluctance of seamen to sail on a Friday reached such epic proportions, that in the 1800s the British Government decided to take strong measures to prove the fallacy of the superstition. They laid the keel of a new vessel on Friday, selected her crew on a Friday, launched her on a Friday and named her HMS Friday. They then placed her in command of one Captain James Friday and sent her to sea for the first time on a Friday. The scheme worked well, and had only one drawback ... neither ship nor ......

Posted On Friday, April 16, 2004 7:47 PM

Nautical Terminology: The Bitter End
As any able-bodied seaman can tell you, a turn of a line around a bitt, those wooden or iron posts sticking through a ship's deck, is called a bitter. Thus the last of the line secured to the bitts is known as the bitter end. Nautical usage has somewhat expanded the original definition in that today the end of any line, secured to bitts or not, is called a bitter end. The landlubbing phrases "stick with it to the bitter end" and "faithful to the bitter end" are derivations of the nautical term and ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 13, 2004 4:22 PM

Friendly Reminders
Here in the United States, April 15th is the dreaded day by which we must file the forms (and possibly pay) for our Federal and state taxes for the previous calendar year. Inevitably, the television news will station a reporter at a post office to interview the late filers as they come to mail their tax returns (the requirement is a postmark no later than midnight before penalties start to apply). Each year you can hear the same lame stories from the poor unfortunate souls the depressed journalists ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 13, 2004 4:10 PM

Airplane Experiences: TSA
Yesterday my wife and I flew back home after attending my mother's funeral. Our daughter was an amazingly accommodating 8-month-old and slept for most of the flight. As I watched Baggage Carousel 16 (on Level 2 Side A of Orlando International Airport (OIA) (after having some adventure finding where it would appear (for the unfamiliar OIA terminals are HUGE (and so is the parking)))), I saw our luggage begin to appear. I spotted the blue TSA tags that indicated that the Transportation Security Administration ......

Posted On Sunday, April 11, 2004 4:41 AM

Night of the Living Dead: Microsoft Bob
Update: I have a later post on Microsoft Bob here. When I came back from a trip today, I found an interesting item in the RSS feed for MSDN Subscription Downloads: “Microsoft Bob 1.0a was posted to MSDN Subscriber Downloads on March 31, 2004.“ I found that difficult to believe, so I looked at the XML of the feed itself. <item><title>Mi... Bob 1.0a< /title><pubDate>Wed, 31 Mar 2004 16:36:35 PST< /pubDate><description... Bob 1.0a was posted ......

Posted On Saturday, April 10, 2004 5:35 PM

Nautical Terminology: Knot
The term knot, or nautical mile per hour, is used world-wide to denote one's speed through water. Today, we measure knots with electronic devices, but 200 years ago such devices were unknown. Ingenious mariners devised a speed measuring device both easy to use and reliable, known as the "log line." From this method we get the term "Knot." The log line was a length of twine marked at 47.33-foot intervals by colored knots. At one end a log chip was fastened. It was shaped like the sector of a circle ......

Posted On Monday, April 5, 2004 1:15 PM

Microsoft's Hype Machine
Microsoft is famous for vaporware. A decade ago, merely announcing the intent to develop a product that was two years from shipping was enough to crash the competition. Today, it's not that easy, but Microsoft's marketing is still making it hard for current customers. A case in point is the supersonic nature of the PDC 2003 hype for Longhorn and its attendant technologies. The press ate it up and made it seem like you would be deploying it Real Soon Now. While I feel the technology will be neat and ......

Posted On Sunday, April 4, 2004 11:57 AM

Nautical Terminology: Mind Your P's and Q's
There are few of us who at one time or another have not been admonished to "mind our P's and Q's," or in other words, to behave our best. Oddly enough, "mind your P's and Q's" had nautical beginnings as a method of keeping books on the waterfront. In the days of sail when Sailors were paid a pittance, seamen drank their ale in taverns whose keepers were willing to extend credit until payday. Since many salts were illiterate, keepers kept a tally of pints and quarts consumed by each Sailor on a chalkboard ......

Posted On Saturday, April 3, 2004 5:14 PM

My Maps

Everyone seems to be posting these, so here are mine.

You can create your own maps here.


Posted On Friday, April 2, 2004 3:51 PM

Nautical Terminology: Gun Salutes
In the days of cannon, it took as long as twenty minutes to load and fire a gun. When a ship fired her guns in salute, she rendered herself powerless for the duration of the reload. By emptying their guns, the ship's crew showed shore batteries and forts that they were no threat. Over time, this gesture became a show of respect, with both shore and ship gun batteries firing volleys. While many people like to say the 21 gun salute was a tribute to the American Revolution, a number determined as a ......

Posted On Thursday, April 1, 2004 7:04 PM

Airplane Experiences
It is truly amazing what you can see and hear while flying. My day job took me to Washington, DC today for a meeting. Some simple observations. US Air Airbus A319 aircraft seems to have had their seat pitch reduced. At 6'3“, I do not really fit in cattle class. Middle school students should only be moved by air in isolated charter aircraft. Subjecting the traveling public to them is near criminal. Doing it in batches of 40 is criminal. While I was glad to not have any of the aforementioned ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 30, 2004 6:33 PM

FA-18C Becomes Crispy Critters
Oops. The national media covered this while the smoke was rising then moved their eyes elsewhere in a search for more explosions. The jet was from the Valions of Strike Fighter Squadron 15 based at Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. I deployed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt with that squadron in 1993 and am familiar with seeing them flying over Virginia Beach. The local Virginia Pilot offers more detail than the national reporting, including the fact that after the pilot ejected the plane ......

Posted On Saturday, March 27, 2004 7:18 AM

First Ever South Atlantic Hurricane?
My Naval service has made me extra aware of watching the weather. I have IE shortcuts set up to the local National Weather Service radar in the Tampa area that covers us here in Orlando from the west as well as others in their network. I prefer the NWS radars over those of local TV stations because I can get a loop and they has no advertising. The NWS radars provide the data to places like and The NWS national loop is very convenient to track what's happening where our ......

Posted On Saturday, March 27, 2004 7:01 AM

Nautical Terminology: Cup of Joe
I have to start writing shorter blog entries. When I joined the Navy, the old salts told me I would be smoking within a month, I would learn to drink alcohol heavily, and I would be swilling coffee by the pot within a week. Happily, I am still a nonsmoker and did not become an alcoholic, but I succumbed to brewed caffeine. At one point I was the only functioning (i.e. not gut wrenchingly sick) Tactical Action Officer on my ship while we were deployed in the Mediterranean. After 30+ straight hours ......

Posted On Friday, March 26, 2004 8:22 PM

Nautical Terminology: All Aboard!
Nautical terminology is full of wonderful history and detail. It reflects the nature of people to be reasonable when they come to naming things. Much nautical terminology, especially that from the days of sail, seems mysterious because in today's world we have no referents to make it familiar. Take the concept of a board. To us, it is a thing you buy at excessive price in a home warehouse store. In the case of our story, it goes all the way back to the Vikings. To them, boards were what they built ......

Posted On Thursday, March 25, 2004 6:39 PM

President and Owner
Each year, MSDN needs acknowledgement of life to keep sending me a free copy of MSDN Magazine. It's a great magazine and you should race out and buy one at your local bookseller today. I always have to smile and laugh at the inevitable marketing survey that is embedded in the web form. I have a small side business that supports the EDR, but it is not of any greatly significant magnitude. Here is how I answered their survey (and I'm trying to be serious here). The asterisks indicate mandatory items. ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 23, 2004 3:41 PM

Story Number One: World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to an aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly ......

Posted On Monday, March 22, 2004 6:11 PM

Tap Tap Tap ... Is this thing on?
Hi. This is the inevitable first blog post. My name is Mark Treadwell and I am what some other people elsewhere have referred to as a hobbyist programmer. To me, a hobbyist programmer is someone who writes computer programs for the enjoyment of the challenge rather than to put food on the table. I'll talk about the day job that permits this indolent luxury later. In 1982, I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering. This knowledge has basically ......

Posted On Sunday, March 21, 2004 7:22 AM

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