Thursday, December 29, 2005

Da Bears

Can you believe it, Division title for the Bears!!! Woohoo!

At the beginning of this season, I was pretty sure the best we could hope for was a 10-6 record. Depending on how we play Sunday, it could end up being 12-4! Of course, since the game is meaningless for the play-off picture, Lovie may not play the starters throughout and thus we may not win. But, I for one, think the game does mean something. If the Bears can hold out and win, they will have swept every team in the Division. That is an important goal for the subconscious of the team, proving that we have the skills to do something we haven't done for too long. So, I'm going into Sundays game (wearing my kickass new jersey my wife got me for Christmas) hoping to see all of the starters play a good solid game.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas

Tis the day before Christmas, and all through the house, we are getting ready for the yearly travel to see the relatives. Hopefully, this will be the last year we have to travel all over hell and back, next year, if we are lucky, we can host. Until then, there is just one thing to say...

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Almost 10 Years

I've been with my wife for almost ten years (married 4+). We met on New Years Eve 1995. I told her that night I wanted to marry her. And while, things started out very rocky, we've been quite happy for the better part of the last decade.

Something very normal happened tonight when I got home for work. Something normal that really made me smile, after words when I thought about it. She was in the kitchen, and I came up behind her and started kissing her, just to say hello. Within moments we were hot and heavy, making out like teenagers.

I love that after almost 10 years we still do it for each other. Damn I love that woman!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Esquire Cover Gallery

I caught this over on Boing Boing. Very cool stuff. Great to see the artistic climate of any given year from the '30s to now.

New Interface (Again)

Not one to leave well enough alone, I've redone the interface, again. The only real reason for doing so was to do it. The look and feel that I had before was about 1/2 my own, and 1/2 taken from an open source skin.

This one is all me, done 100% in CSS, except for the parts that Blogger inserts and I can't control. Thoughts, comments?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

24 Ways to Impress Your Friends

With the countdown to Christmas, a group of developers has come up with 24 ways to Impress Your Friends. There are some very cool one listed already, like Easy Ajax with Prototype and CSS Layout Starting Points.

Merry Christmas!

Adobe Formerly Macromedia

Well it is finally complete. Macromedia is now officially part of Adobe. I know a lot of MM developers are worried that Adobe is going to "ruin" the MM product line, but I just don't see that happening. The same concerns were voiced when Macromedia purchased Allaire, but MM only made ColdFusion bigger and better. This time Flash is the target product (at least that's my guess) for a merger; and when combined with Photoshop and ColdFusion, you have a complete solution for web application design.

Sadly, one of my favorite MM products, Fireworks, may not survive. I love Fireworks and would hate to see it replaced with ImageReady, which I see as a very weak product when compared. Overly, I'm excited about the possibilities of the new Adobe. Congrats to both companies! :)

New Interface

I'm not sure if I like this new interface or not. I've noticed that it is missing some of the blogger features, and it is a bit tough on the eyes. Any thoughts?

UPDATE: I hated it, so I came up with a totally different one! :)

Monday, December 05, 2005

8 is GREAT!

For awhile yesterday, it looked like the Bears may not pull it off. The defense was not playing it's normal game; and it looked as if once again, Favre would beat us on the home field. Thankfully, that didn't happen. Tillman and Vasher are my heros of the game, with one pick each and yet another touchdown for Vasher (he is just amazing!).

The best part of the game for me was watching the Bears defense go over to Favre at the end of the game and shake his hand, give him a pat on the back, etc. There was a lot of respect shown for one of the greatest to play the game - just as there should be.

Now on to the Stealers. Early in the season, I wouldn't have said there wasn't a chance the Bears could win. But now, the Bears 'D' is super-hot, and the Stealers are having some issues. With the Vikings only 2 games behind, we can't afford to lose this game.

Weekend

Getting to spend a weekend with my brother and sister, his wife and her boyfriend was amazing. For many reasons that I won't get into, I haven't been able to see them for years. It was completely amazing.

The last time I saw them, both were just kids. I feel so lucky that I got the chance to see them now, and to start getting to know them again.

For me, this past weekend was Christmas, and I couldn't of got anything better.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Family

My brother and sister are coming down from Minneapolis as I type. I'm a bit of a nervous wreak, because I haven't seen them in five years. Crazy.

I'm sure it will be a good time, now I just have to figure out a way to pass the time until they get here...

Not Quite

OUCH!!! I didn't pass the MCP exam. But I don't feel that bad about it, just frustrated. The exam was supposed to be on SharePoint. However, most of it ended up being about other MS products that I've never used. Thanks MS! The good news, I still almost pasted and now I know what to focus on for next time.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Microsoft Certified Professional

In about two hours I am taking my first Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exam. The exam is on SharePoint, which I've been working with pretty extensively for the past several months. I'm a bit concerning about the exam, since I have never taken a Microsoft test, and don't know what to expect. With any luck, I will be a MCP by 3pm today...

ExternalInterface, CSS, & Tooltips, Oh My!

This is just bad ass! Eric Dolecki, lays out a clean way to use JS CSS and Flash to create clean Tooltips. I've added this technique to my toolbox , and can't wait to start playing with them. Thanks for the info Eric!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

You know you're a geek when...

I love LEGO's and I used to love paper/dice based roleplaying games. Now, the perfect combo BrickQuest.

Turducken

This year for Thanksgiving, we went the cajun route. For years, I heard about Turduckens, on Food Network, via blogs, on the radio, etc. I've always wanted to try one, and this year, I finally got my chance. Weighing in at 15 pounds, with another 23 pounds of sides and ice, our local UPS driver was very curious about delivery. He had to warn me before picking up the box, and good thing he did, cause I almost dropped it. After almost 3 full days of thawing out in the fridge, and 5 hours of cooking, it was finally time to eat...

While it wasn't exactly what I expected, it was quite tasty. I was hoping to cut into the bird and see rings of turkey, stuffing, duck, stuffing, and finally chicken and stuffing. As it turned out, you could easily see the turkey and duck, but the chicken almost seemed missing in action. The duck in our turducken was huge, which might of accounted for the chicken being hard to locate. The turkey very moist, the duck was incredibly flavorful, and the stuffing was yummy.

Now that I have done the turducken thang, the next step is making my own. Of course, I will buy the birds pre-boned, but... I think it will be a wonderful and tasty challenge to make one, next year.

Monday, November 28, 2005

7 in a Row!

The last time the Bears lost a game, the White Sox were still hoping to be World Champs! As a die-hard Bears fan, I'm always quick to say that the team is good, and will win, etc., etc. Of course, normally, non-Bear fans and the press are quick to point out just how bad the Bears are, and how they don't stand a chance. Finally, though, things are a changing. Dr. Z from SI, picked the Bears as his upset of the week. Vegas has the Bears to bet the Packers, and if you look at the power rankings... well, people are finally starting to believe that we can win games. If you look at the remaining games, we stand a very good chance of winning at least 3 of the last 5 games. That would put us at 11-5 or maybe, just maybe 13-3! :) That is good enough for me, and could very easily be good enough for NFC Champs!

The play-off picture could be very sweet indeed for the Bears, if we get a bye and home field for game 2. I don't see many NFC teams being able to beat us at home in the playoffs. Alanta, Seattle and Dallas are not cold weather teams, and dome teams, so I'm hopeful!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Whole Foods & Lobster

Whole Foods is one of my favorite stores of any kind. Of the many things I love about them is the way they do what they do. That this example, accorded to Reuters, Whole Foods plans to stop selling live lobster. What impresses me, is not just the desire to make the world a bit better, although that is great from a company this big, but I'm really impressed by Whold Foods thinking outside of the box. By announcing that there was a deadline to produce better methods for capture and transport of live lobster, Whole Foods put the industry on alert. I don't know how big of a customer Whole Foods is, but I would imagine considering the price per pound that I've seen, they are a great customer, buying the highest end product. This should be a good incentive for the lobster industry.

Anyone who knows anything about business knows the saying "The customer is always right," and that is what Whole Foods has done, is said, look I want your product, but only if it meets my standards. If more of us did that at the grocery store, perhaps our food in general wouldn't be laced with so much crap...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Yahoo Maps Mash-ups

So I'm been a big fan of Google Maps since they hit the scene. What was not to like? A slick AJAX application with the ability to use the data in your own web apps.

I was very excited when Yahoo! annouced the new beta version of its maps application. Written using Macromedia Flex, it raised the bar on mapping applications. I noticed, but didn't think much of it, that there was an API just like with Google. Then, I saw this, Justin Church takes the Yahoo API, adds a little Macromedia Flash, and pow, you've got fully customized skinned maps... very slick.

UPDATE: Somehow I missed this: Yahoo! Maps Applications Gallery

Football

It was a good weekend for me with Football. First, the Bears pulled off another victory, 4 in a row, hot damn! With the home game Sunday against the 49ers, it should go to 5 in a row! Woohoo!

Added to my joy was the solid win of the Colts over the Patriots. I've never been a fan of the Pat's, and it has always been tough to watch Manning and company struggle in Foxboro. With a 7-0 record going into the game, it was clear to me that it would really be the biggest game for the Colts, on the way to the Super Bowl. Proving they can beat the Pats, it seems somewhat likely that we could see a Manning vs. Manning Super Bowl. Wouldn't that be grand?

Kansas

What the hell is wrong with Kansas!?!
I'm speachless here, completely dumbfounded.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

SharePoint Resources

I've been doing a lot of work with Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server lately. While the official training I got was pretty good, it's been the blog community that has really provided the most information. Without some of which, I would be up to my neck in crap. So I thought I would point out the sites that really have helped me and offer up a GIANT thank you to the creators...

Thank you guys for helping a WSS/SPS newbie survive! :)

Monday, October 31, 2005

3 IN A ROW!!

Even though the second half of the game was some of the hardest to watch football (what the hell was wrong with the refs!?!), the overtime victory was sweet indeed. My wife pointed out, early in the second half that the Bears almost always get an interception, and she was right to worry. The defense, getting almost no rest, really fell down in the second half. When the game went to overtime, my first thought was that we are better off not having the ball first. I knew that the 'D' would have to win the game and boy was that a hell of a way to do. 'Peanut' Tillman has been one of my favorites for a long time, and that interception, and in fact his whole game, are a great example of why.

4-3, all alone in 1st place. Gotta love it!

One of Many Reasons I'm Not a Republican

The following two headlines, nevermind the stories, are one of many reasons I'm not a republican.

Now you may think it's not fair of me to link the two to the Republicans, but, if you look at the membership of the house, who else would (should) I blame?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Bears Win

I never thought I would see the day when Brett Fave's Packers were 1-5. The Pack did their normal yesterday, with Brett coming from behind ready to send the game in to overtime. Then the Vikings did something I wouldn't expect them to be capable of, they drove down the field, and formal Bears kicker, Paul Edinger pulled off an impressive 56 yarder (a career best) with 2 seconds on the clock! After watching that game, and seeing that the Lions won against the Browns, I was very concerned about the Bears ability to maintain first place in the division.

The game was good, not great. But, it was nice to see the team win the way they promised at the beginning of the season they would. The offense got the required points, and the defense held the Ravens back, forcing them to punt on their last five positions, very nice. Thomas Jones, had another 100+ yard day, which was sweet indeed. More and more, I'm wondering if Benson was a complete mistake. Maybe that draft pick would have been better used on another position...

Even though I wasn't happy to see the Lions win, it does make Sundays game more exciting. And, if when the Bears win, they will be 4-3, not a bad place to be, considering the record of the rest of the league.

Oh yeah, and the Sox won both games this weekend - putting them in a great position to win their first World Series in 88 years. I'm not a baseball fan, and I grew up on the Northside, making me more likely to be a Cubs fan; but I have to admit, it was pretty exciting to watch the last couple of innings of the game on Saturday. So, yeah, I guess I have to say it: "Go Sox!"

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Being Rachael Ray

I've had a crush on Rachael Ray for a long time. 30 Minute Meals is a standard in our house. I love her casual, sometimes goofy way of talking about food. The NY Times ran an article yesterday going in to detail about her past, her future, and how she got where she is today. It was great to read about how she got her start, pretty impressive really. Though I have to say, I'm a bit concerned about her having her own afternoon talk show... But, I'm sure I will watch it, at least once. And a monthly magazine? And her own personal EVOO? Sweet.

There is also a Slate article out there, from July, about why food snobs should stop hating her. It raises a point that a lot of people mention with Rachael, if her 30 minute meals can really be made in 30 minutes. The author of the Slate article couldn't do, and I'm not sure I could - but that isn't the point. The idea is quick and easy meals.

And finally, there is a interview with her at Popcrazy, I'm not sure when it was done, but it would see awhile ago as Rachael's show Inside Dish wasn't on the air yet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bears Win (again)

The Vikings were just sad on Sunday. I knew they were having problems this year, but damn! Ouch. Tthen again, even in years when the Bears are really bad, and the Vikings are supposed to be good, the trip south to Chicago doesn't go well for them. After all, it's been what, 6 years now since they have won at Soldier Field?

Now on to the Ravens, they have the same record we do, and the game is at Soldier Field, AND Vegas has Chicago to win, so with any luck, we will be 3-3 come Sunday evening. Detroit should lose to Cleveland, which would make us alone in first place! Of course being in first place and at .500 is pretty damn sad, but I will take it!

100 oldest dot com domains

I forget where I saw this, but it's pretty cool. It's interesting to see where major companies realized having a domain name was a good idea. Some of them, like HP and Northrop aren't very surprising, but the fact that Microsoft is on the list blew me away.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Parmesan standards to be lowered in U.S.

This just makes me sad. Kraft will no doubt be able to convince the FDA to change the rules (after all, everyone knows that the Bush administration is business first, people last). The standard for this cheese should be 12 months, it's bad enough that Kraft has gotten away with 10, but 6! YUCK.

I stay away from Kraft products as a general rule, this, just make my desire to avoid them stronger.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

20 CSS Tips and Tricks

Pete Freitag, has posted a list of some great CSS Tips and Tricks on his blog. The number of must use, must not forget entries is quite high, making it well worth a read.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blog Spam

After getting yet another spam comment to my blog, I have decided to make comments available to only registered users. Spam sucks... :(

Bears Win

Ok, it's a little late, but what a game! The Bears didn't just win, they won with authority! Orton showed real promise. Even though the Bears lost to the Redskins, and Orton did have some issues, he never looked nervous or overwhelmed. In fact, he didn't look like a rookie at all. He displayed real promise in game one, and in game two he delivered. Then there was Thomas Jones, 20 carries for 139 yards, nice, very nice! Of course you can't forget Mike Brown, back to his old tricks (41 yard interception for an easy 7). And Bobby Wade, 71 yard punt return, just gravy!

The Lions, on the other hand, just looked sad. In the preseason I read a lot about how great Joey Harrington was, how much promise he had, and how this was going to be his break out year. Yeah well, I guess you can recover from 5 interceptions, but I just don't see it coming.

On Sunday, the Bears take on the Bengals, and while the Vegas odds are once again in favor of the opponents, I'm still thinking the Bears got it. The Vikings couldn't stop the Bengals, and the stats say it all. Culpepper threw 5 interceptions (who would have guessed that Culpepper and Harrington would have similar days!?!), plus 2 more fumbles and the Vikings defense was seemly asleep.

Yes that was an impressive victory for the Bengals, but I think it says more about the state of the Vikings, then the Bengals. The Bears D is smoking hot this year, as one of the TV commentators put it on Sunday, no team is going look forward to playing these guys this year. If Orton, Jones and Moose can repeat the play of last week, the Bears shouldn't have any problems.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mapping the Blues

The fine folks over at Cinematical came across a great use of Google Maps, for any Chicagoian or just film fan. The Blues Brothers - Chicago Filming Locations.

I have often looked for various spots used in the movie over teh past 20+ years. Its nice to have them all mapped out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

DHTML Lemmings

Remember the game Lemmings? I used to play it for hours, for me, it stands right up there with Tetris as one of the best puzzle games ever.

Caught a killer version of it on Boing Boing this morning, written in DHTML! SWEET!!

Friday, September 09, 2005

CF Forms, Reordering Select Boxes

CF Jedi Master, Raymond Camden, has posted a sweet little tutorial on making a CF 7 Flash form with a select box that allows items to be moved up and down without reloading the page.

I've been working on a little project of late and had attempted this one myself with no luck, now thankfully, I can give up my sad attempts and move on with my life! :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Editable Combo Box in Flash

I'm always searching for better UI, to that end, DesDev has posted a nifty trick for adding a custom entry to a combo box in Flash. Good stuff!

Dr. Z Picks Bears

While the official Vegas numbers aren't very pretty at the moment, it looks like SI's Dr. Z has picked Chicago to beat the Washington on Sunday! I'm not a subscriber, so I can't read the whole article, but from the 'preview,' it's clear that he is going with da Bears!

I have to agree, our much improved defense, our rookie quarterback (who I am hoping can cut it), our new offensive coordinator, Ron Turner, and perhaps most importantly; the fact that the team is very healthily at the moment leave me with no choice but to pick da Bears by 200 points (ok, maybe not 200, maybe like 7)!

Naked Chef Helps to Reform UK Schools

Saw this on Slashfood (a new daily read of mine). I've always liked the Naked Chef, as a chef, but now it appears he is using his fame to better society and I like him even more. His project Feed me better, along with his show and book Jamie's School Dinners have helped convince the UK government that school lunches need to be changed. Dropping the fat content down to 10%!

I known for a long time that school lunches in the US are crap, and I guess the UK is no better. Or at least, were no better until recently. Way to go Jamie Oliver! Now we just need the Food Network to pick his new show and convince US schools to stop teaching our children bad food hibits.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

OldVersion.com

Via fullasagoog.com I noticed a entry on Drisgill.com about OldVersion.com. What a beautiful site (not for its design, mind you, but its content). If you ever find yourself needing a copy of AOL v1.0 or MSN Messenger v3.0, etc, this is the place to go. What a wonderful resource.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Da Bears

Well I'm happy to say the Bears won on Friday. The Bills may not be the toughest team in the NFL, but watching the game, one thing was clear, our defense is hot! Of course pre-sesson doesn't mean anything, but I do love seeing the team win.

Friday was a good day, and today, the news is very good. First, the distractions of the status of Cedric Benson are over. He agreed to terms on a 5-year deal. I personally don't have a high degree of excitement about him as a player, but we shall see. The better news, to me though, is the announcement that Kyle Orton is going to be the starting quarterback! Thank God! Chad Hutchinson just isn't any good. And as a Bears fan, I know what a bad quarterback looks like! I urge all Bears fans everywhere to hope and pray that Kyle has at least a little Big Ben in him....

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Flickr Fun

The best thing about open APIs for web sites is the interesting uses that people come up with. Flickr allows anyone with a bit of creativity to access their entire system. Two of my favorite uses are:
Not only are these great uses of the Flickr resources, but also, a great waste of time! ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google Talk

This is no surprise for the people who follow Google-happenings. The latest free tool in the Google family is out in, beta, of course. Google Talk is a Jabber based IM client with voice communications built-in.

At this point, I use GAIM, and I can't see changing that; unless, Talk starts to support AIM, Yahoo! and MSN IM services, then, I would switch. The Talk interface is simple and clean, with no ads (yet...). Also since GMail is my primary email these days, I like the interact there.

The first Easter egg has already been located, check out this Wikipedia article for details on hunting the Wumpus...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Bout Time...

I was surpised to read about Kanye West calling for an end to gay bashing in Hip Hop, but I have to say, it's about time someone did. Who knows if it will have any effect, but it looks to be a step in the right direction.

CF != PHP

There is a very interesting thread on the blog cf.Objective about comparing PHP to CFMX. I for one, am sick of attempting to explain the beauty and power of ColdFusion to those who haven't "seen the light." I've been working in ASP.NET lately (not by choice) and if ever the easy of use and true RAD nature of CF was apparent, it is now.

I don't know enough about PHP to compare it, thus I have stayed out of the converstation, but I think its a good read for anyone who needs more ammo for this seemingly endless debate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My Cat Hates You...

Thanks to Kimba for this, I needed a smile and she came through... even though I'm pretty sure she didn't know I needed a smile... or did she?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When Google Maps Isn't a Good Thing...

I have to agree with JD, this is just scary! I see so many possible things coming from this, that I'm not even going to list any of them...

Firefox Tip

Andrei Zmievski has a great tip for Firefox users on how to add support for multiline URLs copied from email or documents.

This one is a God send for me, as I'm offen send long crazy links from family, friends, clients, etc that I have to rebuild in a text editor.

Monday, August 08, 2005

R.I.P. Peter Jennings

The passing of Peter Jennings last night is very sad. From the time that I can remember watching the news, it was always him that I seeked out. He, is the only news caster that I have ever felt trust for.

My favorite moment in his career was at the beginning of the first Gulf War. After days of being on the air, almost non-stop, he looked into the camera and took a moment to thank CNN and it's reporters for being so well prepared in Baghdad. Only a true professional would end a newscast by thanking his competitors for doing their job, and doing better than his own network could.

Goodbye Peter Jennings, you will be missed.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Makes me want to drink...

I love this!

There is a beer ad that is making the email rounds:

CARLTON DRAUGHT BIG AD

From a blog post I read (I think at Ad Jab) the ad was released to a small number of people, and has spread to be viewed by over 20 million in just a couple of days. You gotta love the power of word-of-mouth (or email) marketing.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Jaundice Sucks


Getting Treatment for Jaundice
Originally uploaded by dah007.
Watching your one week old baby turn yellow, then get pricked with needles, then get put into a ventilator over night with crazy purple-blue lights just sucks!

On the other hand, having your baby get better in less than 24 hours is ... priceless.

(sorry couldn't resist the pun)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

City Creator

Saw this on Boing Boing this morning... I remember seeing this back a couple of years ago when it was new. I totally forgot about it, pretty slick interface and a good time waster...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Evelyn Rebecca


Evelyn Just Born
Originally uploaded by dah007.
I am very excited to announce the arrival of my daughter, Evelyn Rebecca. She was born on July 20th at 8:24pm, weighing in at 6lbs 3oz, 19.75 inches in length, a healthly full head of hair and some pretty big feet.

Both mother and baby are doing well. I am so excited to begin this new phase of my life.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Top 10 downloads of the past 10 years - CNET

As more and more sites celbrate 10 years on the net, I'm sure we are going to see more of these lists: Top 10 downloads of the past 10 years - CNET.com.

A couple of things come to mind about this. First I was surprised to see how many of the top 10 items that I have downloaded, 9. And how many of them I currently have on my computer, 5.

My other thought was about lists in general and how much we seem to love them. It seems everyone has a top x list or a best of list. I guess to me, lists are trival, though I have to admit, I do look at them to see how my own personal tastes are represented. Maybe that is the point of them, for each of us to be able to confirm that our own tastes are normal or at least within the cultural norm. Of course, there is the flip of that. Sometimes it is nice to know that your tastes are above the norm, cause we all know how cool it is to be "different".

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

U-Haul SUCKS!

We just moved into our new house over the weekend. While everything went pretty smoothly, one company U-Haul almost managed to screw everything up. Whenever possible I use the internet for my commerce needs. I bank via the net, window shop, setup utilities, etc. So when it came time to rent a truck for my move, I of course used the company's web site to make the reservation. On the receipt it stated that someone from the company would call me within 24 hours to confirm my reservation, and my pickup location. Fair enough. Roughly 36 hours after making the reservation, I got a bit nervous since I hadn't yet heard from the company. I decided that I better call them to confirm that there weren’t any problems. After being on hold for 60 minutes I was told that they were behind and someone would call me soon. At this point I was less than 24 hours from my scheduled pickup time so I decided that I better call the local U-Haul office and see if there was anything they could do for me.

My local office told me that the reservation that I made online wasn't valid until someone called me back, which may or may not happen in time for me to get a truck. Furthermore, even if I did get the truck via the reservation, I could not have it for the amount of time that I requested. When I asked what I should do to insure that I did in fact get a truck for the day I needed, I should make a new reservation with the local office and cancel my existing one with the corporate office.

This is what I did, thankfully. Considering the number of upset and confused people at my local U-Haul office when I went to get my truck, I can tell I wasn’t alone in my troubles.

The moral, don't use U-Haul, ever! If you have to, do so through your local office, not the corporate reservation system. What should have been a simple process was made almost impossible by a company that clearly cares little for customer service.

Hyundai Santa Fe

I've now had my Hyundai Santa Fe long enough to rake up 10,000 miles so I thought I would post a few thought about it. Overall, I can’t imagine a better deal for the money. After rebates and wheeling and dealing, I got my 2005 Santa Fe GLS 2.7 for just under the dealer invoice ($20k); and I don’t know of any SUV in it’s class that comes in at that price with number of options and of course a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty.

What has impressed me most is the amount of utility that I have gotten from it. When the seats are folded down, I am able to get enough boxes in the back to make the Santa Fe very useful in my recent move. On top of that, when the seats are up, there is plenty of room for me, my wife, a car seat for our soon to arrive baby, our 65 pound black lab (behind the seats) and one more adult.

Then, there is the gas mileage. While the posted numbers of 19 and 25 are fairly poor, my real world experience puts those numbers closer to 25 and 30 (assuming you keep your foot out of it). Not the greatest, but certainly not horrible.

When all is said and done I can easily recommend this SUV for anyone who needs a basic family and stuff mover.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

How It Works... The Computer

Caught this on Boing Boing, really made my day. Someone took the time to scan a kids book from the early 70's on how computer works. Amazing to see just how far we have come!

Google Earth


Once again, Google has gone and impressed me. The purchase of Keyhole back in Oct. of 2004 and then the launch of Google Maps made sense, and I assumed that whatever Keyhole turned into, it would more or less remain the same cost/profit model. Now, Google has released the next version of the product, Google Earth. And, once again, Google given the average net user a wonderful tool, for free (how long they will be able to keep this up is something that I am very unsure of). The personal version is free, and there are other versions that you have to pay for, but from my casual research, it appears that the power to price ratio or ROI is pretty high!

The feature that really raised my eyebrows was the 3D buildings, in a word... "DAMN!" Check out the screenshot of downtown Chicago.

Art Cars

Art Cars, gotta love them...

Friday, June 24, 2005

LEGO BrickJournal

Saw this over at Boing Boing, to cool. I haven't played with Legos much since I was like 14 or so, but with a baby on the way, and things like this, I can't wait to get back into them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Happy Birthday PacMan!!

Happy Birthday PacMan! I can hardly believe it, but PacMan is 25 years old!! Wow, seems like just yesterday I was pumping quarter after quarter into PacMan machines.

Video Game Commercials

Killer collection of video game commercials.

Futurama Taglines

Sweet Flickr set of all the opening onlines from the once great Futurama.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Stanley Kubrick's Chicago

Before Stanley Kubrick was a movie director, he was a photo journalist. The Chicago Tribune has a photo collection up on some of his work from a trip to the city for Look magazine Stanley Kubrick gives Chicago a Look. My favorite shot is the first one State Street.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What Video Game Character Am I?

I found this while researching SharePoint today... Allways nice to have a laugh in the middle of boring research.

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.

I strive to improve my living conditions by hoarding gold, food, and sometimes keys and potions. I love adventure, fighting, and particularly winning - especially when there's a prize at stake. I occasionally get lost inside buildings and can't find the exit. I need food badly. What Video Game Character Are You?

Oops List

Normally I don't find humor in others misfortune, but The Oops List has some very interesting and humorous pictures.

Dude!

This one from the "Dude!" department. The site slayeroffice has some of the sweetest favelets that I have ever seen. My personal favorite is Color List, however all of the tools rock. A must for any web developer.

Friday, May 27, 2005

GMail Skinning

The best result of working with open source and industry standards is often how open and useable your product becomes. Google products are often reused for unexpected uses, different from the orginial purpose (i.e. using a Gmail account as a backup harddrive). Now comes skinning for GMail. Sweet!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Google Tools

Google has added a personal portal area to it's offerings. While Yahoo!, MSN and others have long had this functionality, in typical Google fashion, it is clean and well done.

In realted news a new site, Chicago crime database, is up. It offers free access to all of the cities reports crimes with Google Maps built-in. Very slick setup! This has already proven to be a great tool for me, as I am shopping for a house/condo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

da Fox

I do not use Firefox because it is safer than Internet Explorer. I use Firefox because of the freak-in cool extensions!

My must have list has grown to include the following:
And of course:
When it comes down to it, I would still use IE for many tasks, if it was safer, oh, and of course, COOLER! ;)

Monday, May 16, 2005

More Star Wars Goodness...

BBC has a Star Wars quiz, allowing you to test your readiness for Episode ]I[.

I only got 1 wrong, making me a Jedi Master... woohoo!

Also the BBC has a great story about the Star Wars marathon.

And finally, check out Ebert's review! NICE!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Store Wars

The release of Star Wars is upon us. And with it comes a great new parody Store Wars. Follow the adventures of Ham Solo, Chewbroccoli (my favorite), C3Peanuts, Tofu D2, Obi Wan Cannoli, Cuke Skywalker, Lord Tader, and Princess Lettuce as they fight to save organic foods and the ways of the Farm.

There are so many things to love about this, it's a FLA, it's about organic foods, and it's a Creative Common release. Go see, learn, enjoy!

Why I Love CF...

Those who know me, and what I do have no doubt heard me go on and on, and on, about the things that I love about ColdFusion. Well I just found another thing to totally love.
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="css/main.css" title="Main Style Sheet" media="screen">

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="cssprint.css" title="Print Style Sheet" media="print">

Most web coders know the differences between the two lines above. The second is supposed to make it possible for the browser to have different print styles. This doesn't really work, because all browsers suck as a printable platform. CF 7 introduced a new tag, <CFDocument> allowing direct output to PDF or FlashPaper. What I didn't know, and I'm not sure is in the docs is that when it renders, it will pull the print style sheet. What does this mean? It means that you don't have to have a separate index page for your printable reports. For example, the project that I am working on right now has a calendar with events; because of this new feature, I have added a "print" link to every page that opens a new window with the current page inside a <CFDocument> formatted for FlashPaper or PDF.

Thus allowing a completely controllable print version and thanks to CF7 and use of multi stylesheets I only have to change one file to tweak the print output.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Smut-Stripping Tech

This is a mistake, plain and simple.

Censorship is always wrong, and always a bad idea. Allowing a third party to strip "bad" things from DVDs so that you don't have to watch the movie with your children just helps reinforce the truly horrible concept of parenting by proxy. If you don't want your children seeing excessive violence or sex, don't let watch the movie. As a soon to be parent, I can't imagine letting some faceless third party company decide what is ok for my children to see or not see. But then again, I can't imagine attempting to change someone else’s art just to make someone else more comfortable.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Color Picker

I think I just discovered my favorite color picker of all time... or at least a really neat one! ;)

A beautiful mix of Flash and Flickr... Color Fields Colr Pickr

Happy Birthday Hubble!

It seems almost impossible, but it’s been 15 years since the launch of the Hubble Telescope! In those years, Hubble has redefined the way we view space (pun slightly intended). She may not be with us for much longer, but her place in space history is guaranteed.

Register
Space.com (requires IE) - Zoom in on a Hubble image of the Whirlpool Galaxy.

Insect's View

I found this on Boing Boing this morning. Wow, what incredible images, Rick really captures the strange beauty of the insect world.

Vader's Blog

The tell-all blog of the dark master is truely eye-opening...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

LEGO League World Festival

Here is a great example of why LEGOs are the best toy in the world.

Friday, April 22, 2005

HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!

Today is Earth Day, so reuse that cup when you go to Starbucks, or don't waste paper or something. Though it is important to remember, we aren't trying to save the planet so that it survives, we are trying to save it so that WE will survive! The planet is going nowhere...

New job... Again

I have changed my job, I now work for a consulting company in downtown Chicago.

This is a complete move for the better, and I'm very excited about the posibilities for my future.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Phishing Quiz

How good are you at detecting a scam or a phishing attemp via email?

Take the quiz and find out!

I got a 80%

Steve, Don't Eat It!

As a foodie, I'm not sure if I should be interested or completely disturved by this: The Sneeze or Steve, Don't Eat It!

Monday, April 11, 2005

MAX 2005

MAX 2005 has been announced, and it will be at: The Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, CA from October 16th to 19th. Now I just have to figure out a way to insure that I am there... Hummm, maybe I should sign up to speak...

Color Picking

If you are like me, finding that proper color combo for a new web site or application can cause real pain. I have relied on several color picking web tools in the past and thanks to Digital Media Minute, I have discovered another one. Since I know I’m not alone, I figured I would share my growing list:

Blog Saves World!

Ok, not exactly, but thanks to this blog I had the ability last week to hang out with someone that I haven’t seen in a decade. Back in December, I was reintroduced to this friend while looking through my logs. Since then, we have talked on and off via email and then last week, we got together to catch up over a beer. Blogs as a fad and technology may come and go, however, for me; being given the chance to catch up with an old friend who I may not have found otherwise made it more than worth it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Google Does It Again

Sweet. If this pans out, it could really change the way taxi services work.

Happy April Fools Day!

Happy April Fools Day!

Google has a cute joke going.

707 Panel

This is way too cool, I want one!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

CFForm.com

Mike Nimer has launched a new site CFForm.com. The site serves two purposes, as a place for tips and tricks from the community and as an exchange of skins and rules for the XML forms.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

CF7 Wack

The Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Web Application Construction Kit
is out! The latest edition of Ben Forta's ColdFusion bible is well worth getting for anyone who is making the jump into CF or just wants to sharpen the skills. Of course, I am a bit bias because I was the technical editor for the book.

To show just how strong the CF community is, check out the Amazon Early Adopters list, at the time of this writing, CFWACK is #2 and the Advanced book (Advanced Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Application Development) is #13!

New Bugs Bunny

This just isn't ok. I understand the desire of Warner Brothers to update its image for a new generation, but Bugs isn't supposed to be scary looking! WTF!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

CF7 Forms Goodness

asfusion.com has a very inventive and slick use for the new Flash forms in CF7. It takes a real thinker to imagine using cfform to create PowerPoint like presentations. I'm dying to see the source code, it should be pretty easy - this opens all sorts of possibilities, imagine on-the-fly, dynamically produced presentations that met specific customer demands!

Add that to the list of reasons that the upgrade is worth it!!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Incredibles

I finally saw Pixar's The Incredibles last night. In a word, it is Incredible! The art and animation was top notch, the water especially caught my eye. Most of the computer animated movies to date have been children’s movies with adult overtones in the plot, The Incredibles was the opposite, an adult plot (without be kid unfriendly) with enough simple jokes and visual cues to keep children completely entertained. When I saw Robots last weekend, I was struck by the number of times that my wife and I laughed out loud; with The Incredibles there was an every larger number. Once again, Pixar has proven they can do no wrong (with an office space like this, how can they not!) - Lets just hope the next Pixar project, Cars isn't a mistake (I'm a bit worried).

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Amazon Web Services

This may be the coolest use of web services ever: amaztype

More Proof

For those who need it, here is more proof that ColdFusion 7 is the a major upgrade from MX.

Using the built-in event-gateways and Jabber, Boyzoid show a way to use CF7 to send and receive IM messages on all of the major networks. On a personal level, I can imagine a whole slew of things I might want to IM myself from my home server to me when I'm away from the house. However, this has major "real-world" business uses as well. The ability to communicate in an automated two-way fashion opens a lot of doors and IM services are getting more and more use these days by folks in the business sector.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Robots

Yesterday, my father, wife and I went to see Robots, and I have to say it is one of the best animated movies that I have ever seen. The art and animation was completely top notch, if not the best I have seen. There is one scene that really comes to mind, a Mouse-Trap/Rollercoaster like transportation system that the main characters use to get around Robot City. In a word, wow. Other than the art and animation, the plot, acting, direction, were all right up there with any classic Disney or, the new standard, Pixar movie. Oh yeah, and with the voice talent Robin Williams, there are some truly enjoyable moments.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

<CFDump> Without Style

If you have ever experienced <cfdump> without style, and wondered what the cause is, Daemonite demostrates the cause and the fix.

Ice Wall

Having lived in Minneapolis for 8 years, I know how boring long winters can be... I heard about this on NPR last night on way home (I guess I know why they call it All Things Considered now, huh?). The environmentist in me doens't like the idea of using 6,000 gallons of water a day this way, however, I have to say, it's pretty cool.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cause we aren't fat enough, yet...

This is sad, like us Americans aren't fat enough yet.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Microsoft Creates Weasley Clock

Even though MS doesn't mention J.K. Rowling or Harry Potter directly, clearly this new clock is based on her Weasley's clock in Chamber of Secrets.

Stolen concept or not, super sweet!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Knowlegde for those in need

If you are like me, you are always being asked by friends and family what different technology is, and how it works. Enter HowStuffWorks and What Is? These two sites are endlessly usefully for helping those who are less knowledgeable about the geekly world.

Happy Birthday Yahoo!

I can't believe that today is the tenth birthday of Yahoo! I remember the first time I ever used it, via a text-only browser, Lynx on Prairienet in Champaign. It was one of the first web pages I ever saw, and it really moviated me to learn HTML and get into web-page design. It seems amazing that was ten years ago... wow, congrats Yahoo!

CF 7, Gotta Love It...

So I'm at work yesterday, and the CTO asks me to make a ColdFusion report with many pages, many pictures and a need to print well. As any internet programmer knows, formatting HTML for printing knows that it is near impossible to make it look right. As advanced as web browsers are, they just can't provide a clean and simple way to print well structured reports (headers, footers, and page numbers). After spending the better part of 4 hours messing with it, I finally got it to look acceptable. Only about 15 minutes of that time was the queries, and the basic output.

With CF7, I could have finished that in less than 30 minutes. The new reporting features are, in a word, badass! The ability to output directly to PDF and FlashPaper, with advanced headers, footers, and page numbers is basically worth the price of upgrading, by itself.

Tim Buntel's blog highlights another kick ass feature, the ability to "skin" the new more powerful charts.

Friday, February 25, 2005

ColdFusion MX7

I'm a bit late on this, but Macromedia has released ColdFusion MX7. In my opinion this is the biggest release in a very long time. The Flash forms, report builder (what out Crystal), event gateways, redone graphs and charts, etc, etc. If you are a ColdFusion developer, and you haven’t gotten into CF7 yet, don’t delay!

SHAMELESS PLUG: A couple of months ago, I wowrked as a Technical Editor on the latest edition of Ben Fortas CF book, the Macromedia ColdFusion MX 7 Web Application Construction Kit. It will be available on April 1st (no trick, no joke!), so go out and buy yourself a couple of 100 copies! ;)

Star Wars Knock-Offs

Came accross this via Boing Boing this morning: Star Wars Knock-Offs. Pretty funny stuff, the scary thing is, I remember many of the products!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tennis in the Sky

Tennis on the rooftop helipad of Burj Al Arab, the world’s largest hotel, how insane. I can't imagine why I will ever be in Dubai, UAE - but if I am, I have to go - what a cool place! The tennis match is just the latest sports stunt, Tiger Woods once teed off from the same Helipad, which is 1,000 feet above sea level.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A parent's primer to computer slang

I noticed this over on a Flash blog,
A parent's primer to computer slang. From the Microsoft At Home Security center comes a guide to l33tsp33k.

Way to funny! But, I have to admit it shows a degree of throughness on the part of Microsoft to include such information.

Baby Update


Evelyn 2
Originally uploaded by dah007.
My wife is now almost 17 weeks along and it's getting very exciting. Last Friday (the same day we finished moving!) we had our final ultrasound. It was amazing - seeing the little head, arms and legs moving around inside my wife was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. We also found out the sex, our baby, is a girl!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Finally Moved

I have finally finished moving from Urbana to Chicago. As it turns out, it was a massive pain in the ass. My buddy Keith and I started packing up a U-Haul truck (who of course screwed up my reservation) at 1:00 pm or so on Friday. I expected be done by say, 3 or 4 at the latest. As it turns out, we didn't finish until almost 7:30! We finally got to Chicago around 10, and started unloading at around 10:30. Sadly, we didn't finish unloading the truck until almost 3 am.

I spent the rest the weekend attempting get everything straighten out, but I was (and still am) so sore that I really didn't get much done. The apartment still looks like a complete disaster, but with any luck it will soon be organized.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pale Male and Lola

New York Hawks Spotted Mating

Pale Male and Lola, the famous hawks who live in New York have been spotted mating. Very cool - I wondered if they would go back to "normal" life after their home was taken away and then rebuilt for them. Its nice to see that nature can overcome us humans. Score one for nature...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Traffic HELL!!!

Until I move next week, I've been living Monday to Friday in Chicago, then driving down to Urbana on Friday night and returning to Chicago with a truck load of stuff on Sunday. Last week I left from the Northwest suburbs at 4:30pm on Friday. I got on 294 South at roughly 4:45pm; and *sigh* I got to I57 at just after 6:20pm! What a hellish trip! From there to Urbana was smooth sailing but damn the trip through the city just SUCKED!!

After carefully planning, I determined the "perfect" route for this weeks trip, I thought I had come up with a pefect solution to the traffic. Things started well, at about 4:45pm I started worming my way South on a variety of roads, my goal, was to get past the O'Hare toll-booth before I got onto 294. This is where things went very wrong... I ended up lost, in some strange suburb that I had never even heard of with no clear way to back to the highway. Finally I found 294, and quickly got back on - just to realize that I had gotten on the highway going North not South! The next exit, was just after the O'Hare tollbooth, meaning I would have to go all the way North to the airport, get off, get back on going South and fight my way through the tollbooth! It was now 6:25pm and over an hour away being even close to 57, meaning I had at least 2 plus hours to go. So I gave up, called my wife and went back to my place in Chicago - which still took me a another hour!

OUCH! Thank god, next week, on Thursday, not Friday will be the last time that I have to do this post work trip...

Lack of Updates

Well I'm back in Urbana for the weekend - packing and helping my wife get everything in order for the big move next weekend.

I still don't have high-speed internet in Chicago, and I can't quite get myself to use a dialup connection. So, I'm taking a moment off from packing to enjoy my high-speed connection here, while I still can. I expect that once have a real net connection again I will be updating more often.

Life in Chicago has been pretty good thus far. The job is good and I'm getting into my new routine and other than traffic I have no complaints - it's good to be back where I belong.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Foodies Delight

The wife and I are both foodies (n. a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink)). If our TV is on, it is most likely on Food Network. The Food Network site has always been a bit of a disappointment to me. Sure you can find the latest recipes from Emeril, but there has always been something lacking to me. Or perhaps, I was overly distracted by all of the attempts at ecommerce - ads and links everywhere to shopping pages on the Food Network site itself.

Things are getting better however. With the launch of Iron Chef America the Food Network has finally started to get into the whole interactive TV / Web thing. There is a game that allows you to play along with show, in real time which I found to be a real enhancement to the overall experience of watching. When you add good background information (bios on chefs and challengers, movies on food shopping for the show, etc), it looks like the marketing brains at Food Network finally are beginning to get it.

Another Food Network discovery I made this morning was Alton Brown’s web site and blog. If you are into food and if you are even the slightest bit geeky, Alton Brown is the cook (I don’t think he is a real chef) for you. Proof of the fact that he is a true geek’s cook came when Wired did a piece on him last June. I think he may be my hero... :)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

From The Too Cool Deptartment

Looks like flexible displays are one step closer to reality. This post on Gizmodo has the details. Right now the only prototype is business card sized and can only display blue - but the possibilities for this technology are pretty sweet. How about a new HDTV that you can roll up and take with you? Or a computer monitor that can be wrapped around any surface. I read about this technology a couple of years ago, I'm glad to see it finally panning out.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Moving On (up)

I haven't been posting much lately, due to the fact that I have been very busy. My life is about to change quite a bit. First of all, as of Jan 31st, I will have a new job, not in Champaign/Urbana, but in the Chicago area; which of course means that I am also moving. Too many people have gotten into trouble with their blogs and work, so I won’t ever mention who I work for - but needless to say I find it to be a big step up from where I am currently.

I can't help but notice that once I move, I will have gone full circle. Starting in 1995, I went from Chicago to Champaign in 1995. Then I moved to Minneapolis, then Odessa, and then Urbana, now, I will be moving back to where I started. It isn't a pretty circle, but I’m excited to be going back to the Windy City.

Monday, January 17, 2005

An Old Friend

About two weeks ago I started to feel the need to game. I knew that I could shell out $50 for Halflife 2, and be extremely happy, however, I also knew that HL2 would distract me far too much from the things in my life that needed to get done. So I decided to go for a something else, something that I had lying around.

Enter Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. When it came out, I played it and its two expansions for over six months; and now I'm playing it again. Morrowind is by far the best RPG that I have ever played. Even though I know the whole plot, and where to find half of the items, I am still enjoying it as if I had never played before. I can't believe how enjoyable this game is - since reinstalling it, I've become completely hooked - again.

Of course, I know I will really get sucked up, when the next chapter, Oblivion comes out at the end of the year.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

More LEGO Goodness

Thanks to a Google Ad, which took me to a consulting firm agency that offers LEGO creations; I ended up finding a really cool site of LEGO creations. The guys stuff that really impressed me was Sean Kenney, check out his Philadelphia's Ben Franklin Bridge built in just two hours!

LEGO Computer Case

How sweet is this. I normally am not down for custom cases, but come on, a case made of LEGO's it just too cool - I guess it really goes to prove the LEGO effect that I mentioned before....

Thursday, January 06, 2005

CF and Double-O

CF blogs are a buzz about OO and CF lately:
(Matt Woodward's Blog, Ben Forta's Blog, Mossy Blog, An Architect's View, etc.)

And I think its great! I have often complained that ColdFusion’s biggest asset, as a language, was also its biggest weakness. ColdFusion can be picked up, with very little pain and suffering, by anyone who knows HTML. And that makes it great - unfortunately this easy of use can lead to some seriously bad coding! I have met several CF developers over the last couple of years who never learned any other language, and never took the time to really learn CF, because they didn’t have to. This leads to programmers who don’t know a thing about best practices, proper ways to structure code for easy of maintenance, and worst of all, code with a complete lack of structure.

If you are coming from HTML to CF, normally you can use a page to page, code as you go style. This works and is even a decent strategy for small applications that have a linear workflow. However, once a developer has moved on to more complex applications (eCommerce store, intranet sites, etc) this lack of structure will kill you slowly over time. To me, this is where OO can really make a difference for CF developers. OO forces you to think ahead, to (dare I say it?) plan out your application, before you code! It also makes you learn about frameworks, objects, inheritance, and reusable code. If new CF developers learned OO, I believe it would lead to better CF applications all around. Which is not to say that I think all CF applications need to be OO; in fact, I would dare say that many CF applications would gain little or nothing from the overhead that true OO brings. But learning OO and starting to think in the structured way that is OO can increase any CF developers work.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

World's Tallest Bridge

Via Boing Boing this morning, a satellite image & pictures of the world's tallest bridge in France. 890 feet above the ground and is 1.6 miles long! And to top it all off, it looks cool! ;)

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The LEGO Effect

Last night, while trying to determine how long I have been using Flash, I came across this article on Macromedias web site. It really made me smile to read it. Jonathan Gay's story, about his experiences that lead to the development of FutureSplash is very interesting, but the part that made me smile most was the beginning – and his mention of LEGO bricks.

I too, grew up with LEGO's, and I have always associated them with bringing out my creative, technical, and problem solving skills. When my brother was old enough, I handed down my LEGO's to him. Now he is an adult and has developed similar abilities. My wife’s little brother plays with a lot of LEGO's and he too is developing the same skill set.

Now I'm preparing to bring my own children into the world, and I'm counting down the days until my brother and I can hand down our collection to them. With any luck, The LEGO effect will continue.

Spirit Aniversary

Yesterday, the Mars rover Spirit marked its 1 year anniversary on the planet. NASA receives lot flak for the way it does things and the very ugly mistakes that have happened; however it does not get enough credit for the things that go right. Spirit and its sister rover Opportunity were only designed to last 90 days on the surface and yet, thanks to massive over engineering by NASA, the two are still going, still providing new data about our mysterious red neighbor. Congrats to the rover team!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Let us all hope that 2005 brings peace and prosperity to the world.

World's Tallest Building

As of yesterday, the world officially has a new tallest building. Known only as Taipei 101, it is a beautiful building that the government of Taiwan hopes will bring it international attention.

Growing up in Chicago, I know a thing or two about tall buildings, after all Chicago held the title of world’s tallest building, with the Sears Tower, for most of my life. And this one is truly taller than the Sears Tower, unlike the Petronas Towers which opened in 1998, and claimed to be taller than the Sears Tower. This really bothered me - not just as a matter of pride, but because it was only taller in a technical sense. It was given the title; because its spire, which is enclosed, raises the height of the building to a total height of 452 m (the roof line is closer to 405 m). The Sears Tower is 442 m tall, but the antennas are not allowed to be included in the height (which would make the Sears tower the tallest since at roughly 535 m tall). Taipei 101 is 448 m tall, at the roof line, and 508 m at the spire, making it truly the tallest building.

There are projects around the world that would, if completed, take the title away from Taipei 101, but for the moment Taipei 101 gets the honor.