category archive

Category: Misc

How to get someone to answer your question

Awesome, devious tip from KC Lemson about how to take advantage of technical people's egos to get the information you need.

Celiac Chicks

I've been helping some friends of mine set up a weblog using Movable Type. I'm very impressed with MT; I may switch to it when my Radio license expires. I found a great hosting plan for my friends: $50/year (or $4.95/month), including free MT installation. mtvHosting's service has been top-notch; if your site doesn't require Windows, I highly recommend them.


A couple of months ago, I volunteered to serve as speaker coordinator for PADNUG, the Portland Area .NET User Group. (Apparently, group president Chris Goldfarb was feeling a bit overwhelmed. ;-) As it turned out, we didn't have a speaker lined up for the rapidly-approaching July meeting, so I coordinated myself to give the talk, Create Great .NET User Interfaces. This is a reprise of a presentation I gave several times at VSLive! conferences a few years ago.

I was pleasantly surprised to meet several fellow .NET webloggers during and after the meeting: Scott Hanselman and Microsoft's Jim Blizzard kibitzed from the front row. And though I didn't recognize him at the time, Rory Blyth, a shoo-in for the title of "Most Entertaining .NET Weblogger," stopped by my table at the Buffalo Gap Saloon several times to steal french fries.

Before the meeting, I reviewed Scott Hanselman's tips for a successful presentation. The one thing I wish I had done differently is create links in a single location to all of my sample projects; I fumbled a bit trying to locate my sample code. Overall, though, the talk seemed to go OK. I look forward to presenting again the next time I can't find a speaker. (If you'd like to speak to our group, please don't hesitate to drop me a line.)

MSN Search Site Preview

While checking my referer logs today, I discovered this. Cool, huh? Why didn't Google think of that?

True Confessions

OK, I'll admit it: When I read this, I feel like this.


Scoble writes:

It's my perception that John Dvorak, columnist at PC Magazine, loves taking outrageous views on things. Why? Because then people talk about him, and link to him. John seems to think that if everyone talks about his outrageous ideas and links to him, that makes him successful.

Hmm... sound like anyone else we know? ;-) I think Scoble's just upset because Dvorak stole his move.

Better Than Reality Television

Ole Eichhorn links to one of the more gripping tales I've read in recent memory: The story of AccordionGuy's new girlfriend, who was not who she claimed to be. This story has it all: romance, suspicion, betrayal, and investigative work worthy of Lieutenant Columbo.

My only question is: Do you think it's true?

Irony Can Be So Ironic

Scandal Rocks Yoga World: Bikram Choudhury, founder of the fastest-growing style of yoga in America, has copyrighted his poses and is threatening to sue anyone who teaches his "hot" style without permission. My favorite quote:

Choudhury, 56, is a yoga guru so brash that he has been known to compare himself to Superman and Buddha, teach from a throne wearing nothing but a tiny Speedo and a headset mike, and proclaim his style as "the only yoga." When asked how he could make such drastic statements, he told Business 2.0 magazine: "Because I have balls like atom bombs, two of them, 100 megatons each. Nobody f*&ks with me."

Ah, enlightenment!

And so it Begins...

If It Weren't So Sad, It Would Be Funny: The New York Monaghan Association decided against carrying its traditional banner in the New York St. Patrick's Day parade, because apparently County Monaghan (a map of which is featured on the banner) bears a striking resemblance to Iraq.

New Yorkers, of course, are still angry with Iraq due to its involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Future of IT in USA?

Over in the FTPOnline discussion groups, Ray asks:

Now that foreign H-1Bs have flooded the IT job market in the USA and many firms are simply "off-shoring" their IT work to Asia, is there a future?

First of all, I'm not sure I accept that "H-1Bs have flooded the IT job market in the USA." What exactly does that mean? Are there more H-1B workers than Americans in the U.S. IT industry? I think not. But setting that aside for the moment...

I think there is a future for IT professionals who are willing to adapt in order to remain competitive in today's changing market.

In the 1970s, the U.S. auto industry faced stiff competition from Japan. Protectionism didn't work; Americans bought Japanese cars because they offered consumers what they wanted: improved fuel efficiency at lower cost. In order to compete, Detroit had to adapt in order to meet Americans' needs as effectively as the Japanese were.

Similarly, if U.S. companies are hiring H-1B employees or sending IT work offshore, it's because foreign workers are meeting those companies' needs better than Americans are willing or able to. In order to compete, Americans must adapt: Are we willing to relocate to where the jobs are? Are we willing to work as diligently as foreign workers without demanding unreasonably high compensation? If coding becomes a commodity, are we willing to learn new skills, such as architecture, design, or project management, to distinguish ourselves and justify the salaries we desire?

Where do Americans work in, say, the garment industry? Hint: It's not in the sewing sweatshops. We learned long ago that, to make a decent wage in that industry, we needed to learn new skills to justify that wage. The IT industry now faces a similar situation. Those willing to adapt will remain competitive and employable; the others should perhaps consider changing careers. Or moving to India.

Why Did Google Want Blogger?

Why Did Google Want Blogger? Wired News quotes Chris Cleveland, CEO of Dieselpoint, who thinks Google intends to take advantage of the fact that RSS is easier to index than HTML. In addition, changes.xml at would enable Google to know minute-by-minute which blogs have been updated and need to be re-indexed, allowing better search results in near real-time.

An interesting theory, but I'm not sure why Google had to buy Blogger in order to do this...?

Scott Guthrie Eats Dog Food

Dogfooding and Showstoppers: Fascinating piece by Scott Guthrie about how Microsoft uses beta products internally (a practice known as "eating their own dogfood," or "dogfooding") to shake out bugs. The most interesting tidbit, I thought, was that has been running on ASP.NET for about a year.


It occurs to me that my hometown of Portland, OR has become rather a hotbed of .NET talent. Some of the .NET luminaries who hail from PDX:

Did I forget anyone? I'd like to make it to a nerd breakfast one of these weeks so I can hang with these guys, but I can't drag myself out of bed at that hour. (Don't they know that nerds are night people?)

...or is that Extinguished?

Power of Ten Distinguished Speaker Award recipients (L to R): Marian Kicklighter (accepting on behalf of Daniel Appleman), Keith Pleas, Jonathan Zuck and Phil Weber

At its annual Readers Choice Awards ceremony at VSLive! in San Francisco this evening, Fawcette Technical Publications presented four of its long-term speakers with the "Power of Ten Distinguished Speaker Award." The recipients -- Dan Appleman, Keith Pleas, Jonathan Zuck and Yours Truly (that's me on the far right) -- have been speaking at FTP conferences since their inception in 1993. Thanks, FTP! (Unconfirmed reports suggest that one or more of the Limited Edition award certificates may soon be available on eBay.)

PalmOS to support .NET

PalmOS v6.0 to support .NET
Source: Sean 'Early' Campbell & Scott 'Adopter' Swigart's Radio Weblog

Speaking at VSLive!

I'll be speaking at the VSLive! conference in San Francisco on February 12. The PowerPoint slides for my presentation are here.

Quote of the Day

Alvin Toffler: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

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.'"

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?

Rumor: Microsoft Buys Borland?

Interesting rumor: Is Microsoft planning to buy Borland?

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?

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! :-)

Quote of the Day

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

Quote of the Day

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


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.


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!

Gives "Jumper" a Whole New Meaning

Woman starts car with baby's tummy.

Link Love from Ellen Feiss

Apropos of nothing... Have you seen the Apple "Switch" ad featuring Ellen Feiss? Apparently she's attracted considerable attention because she appears rather... mellow in the ad. Now, at last, after turning down offers from Letterman and Leno, Ms. Feiss has granted her first interview. Too funny.

Update: My referer logs have alerted me to the fact that, as a result of this item, my site now appears in the Top 10 results of a Google search for "Ms. Feiss." Now I face a dilemma: Do I honor my stated purpose for this site, to discuss primarily ASP.NET development issues? Or do I generate traffic by shamelessly pandering to the techno-zeitgeist? ;-)