Sign me up!

Coast-to-coast Wi-Fi, via "stratellite", for $29/month. I want it! (Don't tell Sanswire, but I currently pay $39.95/month for pokey 19.2 Kbps CDPD access from my Palm computer. I'd gladly fork over $50 for unlimited, nationwide Wi-Fi.) Source: Wired Magazine

permalink 27 Dec 02 10:47 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Tech
Quote of the Day

Orson Welles: "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!"

permalink 26 Dec 02 3:19 PM · Comments (1) · Tags: Humor
Present Company Excepted?

"Bloggers are navel-gazers, and they're about as interesting as friends who make you look at their scrap books." Source: Wired Magazine

permalink 24 Dec 02 2:48 PM · Comments (2) · Tags: Blogging
Quote of the Day

Douglas Adams: "You live and learn. At any rate, you live."

permalink 23 Dec 02 1:07 PM · Comments (1) · Tags: Humor
Lost Weekend

Actually, that's a slight exaggeration; this annoying problem only cost me Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Yesterday, without apparent provocation, Windows Explorer's file context menus began to appear extremely slowly. I'd right-click on a file, and Explorer would take a trip to Hourglass Land; sometimes it would take up to 5 minutes to emerge from its coma.

A Web search revealed that I had lots of company, but no definitive solutions. I ran Windows Update. I defragged my hard drive. I optimized my registry. I installed FileMon and RegMon to see if they could uncover any obvious problems: Nope.

I did notice that if I logged on as a different user, the problem didn't manifest itself, so it was apparently something in my user-specific registry settings. Finally, I stumbled upon this post from Kent W. England. I looked in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\\*\\shellex\\ContextMenuHandlers, and there it was: A reference to a seldom-used shell extension which had apparently been uninstalled or otherwise corrupted. I deleted the offending registry key, and voila: Problem solved!

This, right after I'd had to repair the Windows installation on my laptop, because the Workstation service refused to start. See? That Friday-the-13th superstition is bogus: It's Friday the 20th we need to watch out for!

permalink 21 Dec 02 10:24 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Software
Quote of the Day

Frederick L. Collins: "There are two types of people -- those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'"

permalink 21 Dec 02 9:54 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc
Quote of the Day

Loved this quote from Dorothy Parker: "If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised." :-)

permalink 14 Dec 02 12:54 AM · Comments (0) · Tags: Humor
No Wonder Americans Are Overweight

The first Segway electronic scooters have shipped. Call me old-fashioned, but why can't these people just ride bicycles? The weather is obviously pleasant enough where they live that they can zip around on an open vehicle, and 12.5 mph (the Segway's top speed) is a piece of cake on a bike. They could get an excellent bike for far less than the Segway's $5,000 price (they could get two or three good bikes for that price), and get in better shape while they're at it. What am I missing?

Update: OK, I guess if you need to carry 100 lbs. of cargo, a bicycle isn't practical. But how many Segway owners fit that description?

permalink 13 Dec 02 12:12 AM · Comments (1) · Tags: Misc
Obscure Bug of the Day

My ASP.NET app suddenly began to "forget" information I was saving in the Session object. Turns out my personal firewall was set to block cookies by default; ASP.NET uses a cookie to track the session ID. Changing the firewall setting fixed the "bug."

permalink 12 Dec 02 8:09 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Programming
Rumor: Microsoft Buys Borland?

Interesting rumor: Is Microsoft planning to buy Borland?

permalink 12 Dec 02 8:05 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc
Microsoft Strong-Arms PC Vendors (Again)

Last week, Robert Scoble reported that, beginning next year, Microsoft will no longer allow vendors to ship systems with both Win2K and WinXP, and allow customers to choose which to install.

According to The Register, this violates the terms of Microsoft's settlement agreement with the DOJ. Interesting. Is there a lawyer in the house?

permalink 12 Dec 02 10:02 AM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc
Revenge of the Nerds

Hate spam? You may enjoy this story about how several fed-up Slashdot users got even with a notorious bulk e-mailer. I did! :-)

permalink 11 Dec 02 5:47 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc
In Praise of Haloscan

Robert Scoble is looking for a third-party solution for comments on his Weblog. I've been very happy with HaloScan: It's stable, it's fast, and it lets me edit and delete comments. Its latest cool feature is an RSS feed, so new comments appear in my news aggregator. Tell 'em Phil sent ya!

permalink  9 Dec 02 4:09 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Blogging
Quote of the Day

Krishnamurti: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."

permalink  8 Dec 02 7:25 AM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc
Business Week: Usability Is Next to Profitability

Business Week: Usability Is Next to Profitability. A nice piece on the business case for usability. According to the article, companies are beginning to learn that a focus on usability doesn't just lengthen schedules and cost more; it actually gives them a competitive advantage.

permalink  6 Dec 02 10:49 AM · Comments (0) · Tags: Usability
Quote of the Day

Soren Kierkegaard: "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

permalink  6 Dec 02 10:39 AM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc
How Many Web Servers Do I Really Need?

I now have three separate Web servers running on my desktop: IIS 5.1, which I use for ASP.NET development; Radio Userland, which I use to maintain this site; and ZoneAlarm Pro, a personal firewall. I can't help but wonder if all these servers adversely affect my system's performance. Can anyone refer me to information on this subject?

I do know that the latest release of ZoneAlarm has a problem with a few of the sites I visit regularly. Here's one:, my credit union's Web site. The home page starts to load -- I can see the title and a customized vertical scrollbar -- but then it just sits there, unless I deactivate ZoneAlarm. What's up with that?

permalink  5 Dec 02 4:21 PM · Comments (3) · Tags: Software
Life Balance

I discovered a revolutionary piece of software last week: Life Balance, from Llamagraphics, Inc. Most To-Do List apps encourage you to prioritize items by urgency: their due date. If you're like me, your life is full of things you consider important, but which aren't really urgent. Some of mine are: Be a better husband; learn to speak Chinese; improve as a musician; get in better shape; cultivate personal relationships, etc. Life Balance is revolutionary because it helps you prioritize by what's important, not merely what's urgent. (Not only that, but it's the first widely-available Windows app I've seen that's written in .NET.) I urge you to check it out.

permalink  4 Dec 02 3:46 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Personal, Software

In other ego-surfing news, my article "A Tale of Tabbed Pages" is featured in the premier issue of ActiveUp Software's monthly newsletter. ActiveUp, you'll recall, is the creator of the excellent HtmlTextBox, which figures prominently in the content management system I've been developing for FTPOnline.

permalink  4 Dec 02 3:08 PM · Comments (0) · Tags: Misc

Received the coveted link from Robert Scoble today. I guess now I'd better come up with something to justify all the traffic I'm about to get!

permalink  4 Dec 02 3:02 PM · Comments (1) · Tags: Misc