Jason's Blog

Archive for August, 2006

For the love of fall

by on Aug.29, 2006, under General

I woke up this morning with the first real taste of Fall – temperatures that actually felt decently cool. I’m not talking the 70’s that you can wear shorts in. I’m talking temperatures that made me feel like long sleeve shirts were the order of the day! I’ve been looking forward to this for sooo long. The days with cooler temperatures are generally my favorite days of the year! Now, I do love an occasional hot day – gotta have those for swimming & scuba diving, but nothing beats a 70 high, 50 low kinda day in my view.

Now, perhaps I’m nuts, but I love wearing long sleeve shirts, changing colors on the trees, leaves crunching while I walk, hayrides, cider, and EVERYTHING that goes with this. There are few things on this earth other than fall that can get me this sentimental. There’s just something about seeing the colors change, and watching leaves fall from the trees. There’s seeing all the halloween decorations, and later thanksgiving decorations, that just hits at the core of my being. All of those feelings, and seeing those things that I live, well, all that happens as the temperatures drop! Perhaps that’s why I look forward to this time of year. It just makes it easier doing things, going outside, and enjoying the scenery. For example, this weekend I’m hoping to go up to the corn maze, take another trip to my grandmothers, and perhaps see some of those colors I’ve been talking about – it’s not very easy to do any of that kind of stuff during the summer!

Soon too, it will be time for pumpkins (and PUMPKIN PIE!!!!!!!!), halloween, thanksgiving, and all the holiday cheer, but I’m going to wait to talk about anything other than pumpkins & ghosts & ghouls until AFTER halloween at the earliest. For now I’ll finally pull out the flannel shirts, enjoy weekend trips, and revel in the ability to leave my windows open at night. I have to say it – I’m definitely looking forward to the fall this year, and all that comes with cooler temperatures!

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The Microsoft “byte” that I have to scratch

by on Aug.28, 2006, under General

For those who aren’t aware of it, I’m in the Microsoft Vista Beta test group (in other words, I get to play with Vista and test out the betas). Mostly right now, I’m using this to make sure web apps I’ve developed at work, play well with Vista and the new Internet Explorer. However, occasionally I see something that I just have to talk about that gets under my skin. The issue today is browser support. I received an email here today asking me to to either confirm or reject media delivery of the Vista test media. Naturally, me being an Internet freak, I had no real need of physical media. SO, naturally, I click on the link and expect to hit the survey to say “nope, no need for the media”. And naturally, Microsoft being Microsoft, the link instead takes me, repeatedly, to the account summary page for Windows Live.

Now, to clarify, you use a Live account to access your Beta materials. So my initial assumption was that there was something in my Live account page that I needed to fix or update. I played with this for a while, before giving up, and going to the windows connect page directly. Thereupon I WAS able to login and access the survey. SO, the question I had was “why doesn’t the link in the email work??”. I shot off a quick email to Microsoft. Guess what happened – I got a typical Microsoft response:

“Hi Jason,

This is a known issue with non-IE7 browsers that happens if you attempt
to navigate directly via the link. If you sign into Connect, and
manually navigate to the download you should have no problems. If you
have further questions regarding the LONGHORN/WINDOWS VISTA beta
program, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

*Microsoft Representative*
Longhorn/Windows Vista Beta Program”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is PRECISELY why Microsoft products WILL fail, long term. Because instead of fixing the problem by perhaps fixing the script which does the redirects, or finding some other solution, I’m told that I need an Internet Explorer browser to get the link to work. Note, it’s possible it’s IE7 only – I don’t have an IE6 browser handy at the moment to test with, and as such, even Microsofts own browser may not work. Still, that I have to use a product other than one of my choosing when trying to browse a website – that’s not something that I’m willing to do, normally. At that point, 90% of the time I’ll just stop using that website.
This point is key: any product requirement which makes it more difficult for me to use my browser of choice will just push me away from using that product. I want to use FireFox as my browser by default – I use IE when I have to, but I still am not a fan of the product. IE7 though better overall is not as good (in my person opinion) as FireFox – just for the reason of having a browser that works ACROSS platforms, and not on a single system (see my developmental blog for other reasons why I use firefox vs IE7).

To toss in another note on why this is a big deal – in the future, all the web applications I’ve been working on, we’ve told our users (who are ALL windows users, btw) that Firefox WILL be required for the web applications to work. This is because I know that the Firefox web browser will work, standards compliantly, across any system they might be using. When Microsoft decides to start fixing problems, instead of saying “you need to use our products” – that’s when maybe I’ll switch back. Oh yeah, and they also have to support other platforms instead of trying to lock me into one that’s not of my own choosing. Until that happens, Microsoft is going to lose customers. They’ve already lost more than a few, and I keep getting more and more people off of Microsoft products.

Ok, sorry for the rant and rave here. Just some days, stuff like this gets under my skin and won’t leave until I itch it a bit.

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Few entertaining quotes

by on Aug.28, 2006, under General

Saw this online today, had to post it for others to get a few quick laughs wink

It Cleans Those Leather-Belt Wounds Right Up

Loan officer: My husband’s parents were married for 50 years.
Receptionist: What’s the secret of being married that long?
Collector: Alcohol.
802 South Westnedge Avenue
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Overheard by: just passing by

via Overheard in the Office, Aug 28, 2006

Aren’t Asians Supposed to Be Smart?

Interviewer: Have you ever had to deal with rude or irate clients over the telephone?
Asian interviewee: Yes, at my last job I had to call the USA, and you know how rude they can be.
Interviewer: Yes, I know all too well, considering I am American and so is this company. This interview is now finished. Try not to hit my car on your way out of the parking lot…You know how Asians can’t drive!
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Overheard by: Elle (the other interviewer)

via Overheard in the Office, Aug 28, 2006

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Why engineers should never have time alone

by on Aug.17, 2006, under General

This is a shining example of the true insanity of engineers. Of course, the geek/engineer in me still wants to ride in it, and drools at the thought of doing something similar. Then, the practical part of me says only with lots of life insurance first. And only once. Or twice.

Mr. Stephen Kropp: I pray to god you never go down this path with your racing obsession wink

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Good luck getting to 30

by on Aug.17, 2006, under General

This is definitely a major puzzle… wooh. Um, yeah, it’s going to get your brain going for a while wink Anyways, take a look and see if you can make it to 30. Thanks to Joe Beda at 80% for the link.

[edit] btw guys, I’m kinda stuck now at 13… URGH, brain benders!

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God, Americans have a sad understanding of science

by on Aug.16, 2006, under General

I could say a lot on this topic, but this graph says a lot without a single written word. I will say this though – Americans ask why the average citizen is behind the rest of the world on science, history, math, etc. We ask these questions continuously, but until we start accepting basic scientific principles and theories, we’re never going to advance in science. Evolution, for all those naysayers or fanatics out there, IS a basic theory and it works. It works, although there may be slight changes to how it works as we understand more, the basic theory is valid and should not be open to debate. Question it yes, to refine the theorem, but as any scientist knows, “Theorem” is really more “fact”.

Another example of people questioning basic science is the question of the age of the Earth. I’ve had people tell me that the science supporting the age of the earth (4.5 billion years) is invalid, that there isn’t any real proof of it. I say this – until we stop blinding ourselves out of blind obedience to personal views, and REALLY look at things, not with eyes clouded by personal views (ok, I’ll be more direct, religion is generally the culprit here, although ignorance can be just as bad), Americans are not going to improve in science. Until we accept science as providing facts about the physical world, we’re going to continue to fail in science.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think science can explain God, religion, nor many other “questions” that exist. Every scientist I’ve met agrees – God is one thing science can’t prove or disprove. I have faith in God, and that he does do a lot in this world. My views on God and science have common areas at times, but science for me is HOW the world works. Trying to state that science isn’t valid, that things like evolution, carbon dating, or even basic biology don’t work or are wrong is just “blind” stupidity.

I know there are people who’d like to debate my views on this, who’d love to spend hours trying to convince me that I’m wrong and that the science isn’t real, or is fake, or is just wrong somehow. I used to spend this time trying to prove they’re wrong. However, I’ve given up on that, as some people will choose to blind themselves, and be stupid, no matter how much the truth will stare them in the face. Until Americans start facing the truth, and look it and understand and accept it, Americans will not advance in the scientific world.

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