This copy of Windows is not genuine? What!?

OK. This is it. I've patiently worked through many Windows Vista annoyances since blogging about my initial, positive impression of the OS; and I haven't terribly minded. Linux taught me to put up with a lot I guess, but that is another post – with regard to Vista and Linux. ;-) Now I am downright angry, though.

Tonight I came home and expected to continue fixing a bug for work. All I needed was Vista's VPN and RDP clients – nothing more. Well, not even that much works tonight because Vista tells me that my copy of Windows is not genuine!

I've read about this issue on Slashdot – caused by a recent (stealth) Windows update or simply updating a driver as I recall – but never figured it would happen to me. To be clear, the experience absolutely sucks. (...technical term for a "Was I just mugged?" customer experience, Microsoft.)

What to do? Well, I got so sick of Vista's 15-minute, likely-infinite loop of "Windows must be reinstalled to activate", logging in, and repeating that I'm running my Dell XPS's diagnostics for a calming distraction. ;-| ...pretty sad. However this plays out, I'll definitely share the Vista "experience" that awaits me!


Championship Off Road Racing Rules

I don't know much about Championship Off Road Racing; but racing is racing, and I love watching CORR whenever I catch it on SPEED. ...800 HP trucks, sliding and flying around a dirt track with ridiculous power and speed. I like. ;->

Ironically, CORR is often right in my back yard. A race is coming to Chula Vista soon, and many other CORR races I've seen on SPEED were held in San Diego too.

Enough. I'll look into attending a CORR race and seeing the power of these trucks first hand. When I do, I'll follow with a post and pics to share the experience.

In the meantime, I at least know who Carl Renezeder and Kyle LeDuc are. ;-D


Winter 2008 SoCal Code Camp Dates Announced

SoCal Code Camp recently posted the dates for Winter 2008 Code Camp at Cal State Fullerton. If you develop software and live in or can get to Southern California, mark January 26th and 27th on your calendar.

Code camps are simply the most cost-effective (i.e. free), informative dev events I attend each year. They are for-developers-by-developers events, and this model produces great results in my experience.

The SoCal Code Camp gang organizes a code camp north of San Diego each winter, at Cal State Fullerton in the three years that I've followed them. They similarly hold one each summer in San Diego - usually at UCSD, although I've ironically attended fewer code camps in San Diego than up north. Go figure. (In my defense, summer in San Diego is a huge distraction!) 

Wherever you live, if you're a developer, there's a likely a code camp in your area. Check it out if you never have. You'll likely find sessions of interest to you - from basic .NET, Java, and Ruby sessions, to architecture, test-driven development, SQL Server BI, and WCF sessions. They're infectious. :-)

I plan to attend and present at January's code camp at CSU Fullerton. SoCal Code Camp indicates that it will open its site in October to session submissions; and as I learn more, I will follow with details.


IASA San Diego ITARC Next Month

IASA's San Diego ITARC (IT Architecture Regional Conference) is coming October 15th and 16th, and I look forward to attending both days. I'm especially happy to see an architecture event come to San Diego, my other options generally being San Francisco and Chicago – not very convenient.

Plus, what a deal! ITARC registration costs no more than airfare to a typical conference.

San Diego ITARC's speaker lineup, including IBM's (and IASA's own) Scott Ambler, looks great; and its sessions schedule looks good too. I will comment on this post to share some of what I find.


Wait for 802.11n?

Over the last couple months, I encountered several articles that advised waiting to adopt 802.11n. One addressed large enterprises and another addressed small businesses. Others addressed whoever would read, though.

While large enterprises and small businesses face difficulties that may warrant waiting (lots of distributed resources and limited resources respectively), the increasingly common wisdom that everyone should wait on 802.11n perplexes me. I've been happily using 802.11n since January; and my Cat-6 cables are out of sight unless I want Gigabit Ethernet for something particularly intensive. I just consistently enjoy a 130+ Mbps link with no wires. Fast Ethernet is done on my network.

Interoperability issues? None. Downshifts to 802.11g speeds? Nope. Surely I use only one manufacturer's products then, right? No, I'm using a mix of a few random vendors' draft products. Try as I have, I just haven't been able to stub my toe on any of the concerns I've read. Frankly, as I near a year with 802.11n, I can't imagine going back to cables, 802.11g, or (Lord, help me!) 802.11b. ...would never know it from all that I've read since I took the plunge, though! :-)

To large enterprises waiting on the sidelines, follow the progress of the few that are already playing. Network World's article on Morrisville State College's 900-AP rollout is a good place to start, and Morrisville isn't alone. However, to individuals and small businesses with the knowhow to configure anything 802.11 already, who are sick of cables to get decent mobile performance, who may already have an occasion to add wireless gear (a (couple) new notebook(s), a long-overdue broadband router - whatever), waiting on 802.11n doesn't make a lot of sense to me.


Halo 3 Launch in Irvine, CA

One last thing before I head to bed. I'm going to the Halo 3 launch in Irvine next Monday night and think it will be pretty cool. I don't play video games much anymore, but Halo was incredible; and I have a friend who tested Halo 3, which personalizes the game for me a bit. Anyway, I'm excited to go and report what I see.


Portugese Grand Prix and AMA at Laguna Seca

For the first time in a while, I tuned in to a lot of racing on SPEED over a weekend. On Sunday I watched MotoGP at Estoril Circuit in Portugal and AMA Supersport and Superbike at Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. What a blast! 


Why MotoGP reportedly has marketing problems is beyond me, certainly judging by the Portugese Grand Prix. Sunday's race was fast (of course), twisty, and full of great sweeping camera views across drool-worthy elevation changes; it was competitive; and riders pushed the limits of their world-class equipment. I like watching drag and oval-track racing, but come on - and without the protections of a five- or six-point harness, a chassis, and a cage no less! Whatever the problem is, I don't think it's MotoGP's product.

Plus, this season boasts a classic underdog story. I don't particularly root for Valentino Rossi, but I was cheering for him at the top of my lungs when he won on Sunday. After his cursed 2006 season, he effectively entered 2007 with underdog status in my mind; and that's enough for this American. (Plus, go Yamaha!) ;->

Anyway, here are my limited impressions of Sunday's Portugese Grand Prix:
  • Dani Pedrosa
    • smooth inputs judging by his on-board camera – like he was yawning at 40 MPH, only nearer 200 MPH
    • looks like he just uses his middle finger to brake – interesting because someone suggested middle-finger braking to me recently
    • s~q~u~i~r~m~y bike during turn entry :-|
  • Valentino Rossi
    • dizzying at times to watch braking, aggressively lifting his rear tire (My Lord!)
    • bike agile as heck through the chicanes (Yep. ...sounds like an R6.) ;->

...more to come regarding AMA Supersport and Superbike at Laguna Seca. ...must sleep. :-D

NetBeans 6.0 Beta 1 Ready

If you haven't read the news elsewhere already,... :-) ...NetBeans 6.0 Beta 1 is ready. I had occasional difficulties using pre-beta milestones on Vista over the last couple several months, tinkering after-hours; but I'm generally impressed with NetBeans 6.0. Beta 1 should have fewer remaining wrinkles to iron – and no more JDK changes. The final release should be dreamy.



Just living life offline in recent months – working, working on and riding my motorcycle, visiting with family, and corresponding with friends, I've been too busy to post. ...plenty to share but I haven't yet found the rhythm to post in harmony with everything else I'm doing. Oh, well. That's blogstipation I guess. :-)


Embrace the GIMP

I recently found myself tinkering with graphics for various projects, and the GIMP served me well as it has consistently for nearly 10 years, across numerous Windows and Linux versions. What surprises me is how many people remain unaware the GIMP exists – and what a great tool it is. Of course, full-time graphics and photo professionals typically sidestep the GIMP for Illustrator and Photoshop, just as I use Visual Studio instead of SharpDevelop for my .NET development; but for me, others who's work calls for occasional graphics hacking, and many hobbyists' needs, the GIMP is a wonderful, free tool. If you've never heard of it or used it, embrace the GIMP!


Doubling Gmail Contact Groups?

Now that I've been using Gmail for a while, I generally love it; but I've encountered a persistent, annoying issue with contact groups and wonder whether someone has tamed it.

Basically, my contacts' displayed groups frequently double:

If I select affected contacts and "remove" their duplicate groups, they return to displaying their groups normally - for a while. Within a day or two, they – though I'm not positive the exact same contacts are involved – return to doubly displaying their groups. Frankly, this doubling affects more of my contacts than not.

Any ideas, Gmailers?


End of the Innocence?

Now that Google has agreed to buy DoubleClick, I wonder how many knee-jerk zealots in clubs Micro$ux and M$ will leave club Google for club Googl€. Their reflexes may be slow (and require more taps), but knees will surely jerk. Thankfully I find such chapters in the Angry Geek Saga hilarious.

As if this wasn't already (heck, inherently) obvious, it's abundantly clear that Google's brainiacs are bloodthirsty for profit just like Evil Bill and his cronies. Forget the cover of OSS and being the underdog that rose to the top. This is how enterprise works. Get it, ├╝ber angsters?

I say God bless 'em! DoubleClick is a smart move for Google; their shareholders are well served; and, hey, there's always Internet Junkbuster. ;->


MIT Me Please

Catching up on IT news this afternoon, I happened upon a little article in the March 19 issue of InformationWeek that I will never forget. Through its OpenCourseWare (OCW) program, MIT is putting its courses – over 1,800 of them – online for everyone. Cost? Nothing. No credit, no degree? No problemo. 

Thank you, God! :-D


Holy Fox!

Timing in life is bizarre. I haven't thought (never mind spoken) of FoxPro in years - until last week.

A conversation about naming controls made me think of FoxPro because a VFP 6 project happens to be the worst example of controls naming (try none) I've ever encountered. For months after said project, I had nightmares about Text31. ;)  (Its meaning is as obvious to you as it was to me I'm sure!)

This led me to briefly define VFP, or rather its forgotten role in Microsoft's portfolio. Wikipedia does a better job providing all the details; but I essentially explained that VFP's role is (was) to slowly bleed features into other Microsoft tools, look alive by absorbing occasional hand-me-downs, and retain its loyal developer base.

Well, the charade is finally over after all these years. As irony would have it, I learned Monday that Microsoft announced it will release VFP to CodePlex, making VFP 9 the last Microsoft release. Amen. Long may ye run, FoxPro!


Reflections on Coke

Yesterday someone I know was drinking a Caffeine-Free Diet Coke and asking why bitterly.  I told him it was probably best called Coke Pointless, and that made him smile where it fell short. :-)

This reminded me of my random fountain-drink recipe for the world. Forget "Coke-ness" coming from restaurants quickly making room for Coke Zero and the like.  How many restaurants have the nozzle real estate?

My solution is simple – and works for Diet Pepsi too. (Shhh. Don't tell the folks at Coca-Cola.)  Fill up 90% with Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi, as your current restaurant's allegiance allows; then simply top off with Coca-Cola Classic or Pepsi respectively.  Adjust percentages to your liking, and enjoy! :-D


First Impression: Windows Vista

For the first time since the Nintendo 64's release, I promptly ponied up for technology.  The day of Windows Vista's consumer release, I ordered a Dell XPS notebook with Vista Business.

I've only had a few hours to tinker with it over the last couple nights, but I like what I see.  Sure, the obvious changes aren't radical; but that's good in my estimation.  What I liked about XP Professional seems to remain, and what's new is downright slick!


Flashbacks to Hotmail

I'm pretty new to Gmail, and already I'm having flashbacks to Hotmail. For the last hour I've been greeted by:
We're sorry, but Gmail is temporarily unavailable. We're currently working to fix the problem -- please try logging in to your account in a few minutes.
So much for a few minutes. Isn't SaaS great? At least in the good old days I could call my ISP or hit my Exchange server. ;-)



I've finally landed in the blogosphere to share thoughts regarding software development, investing, moto(r)sport, and my other interests. Welcome!