Archive for February, 2008

Tag Hi 5 Meme

Tagged by Joan (though I’m not sure what exactly a “Hi 5 Meme” is).

5 things found in your bag: (Since I am a guy I am going to substitute “pockets” for bag)

1. HTC Touch Dual
2. Wallet (given to me by the co-founder of Circos.com and a former Microsoft colleague)
3. Keys
4. Paper towel (I don’t usually have tissue packets, so I carry around a paper towel… I don’t re-use it…)
5. Creative Zen Vision:M MP3 player

5 favorite things in your room:

1. My bed
2. My clock-radio
3. Figment from EPCOT Center
4. Books that sit nearby the window
5. Okay, my bedroom is pretty bare so I’m just listing the things that happen to be in it. I was going to list “clock radio” again for #5 but really, it’s not one of my favorite things.

5 things you have always wanted to do:

1. Learn Mandarin
2. Go to Llubjana, Slovenia
3. Write a novel
4. Feel well-rested
5. Learn how to play Weezer’s Acapulco on guitar (or their demo version of it, “Puerto Vajarta,” which is actually better)

5 things you are currently into:

1. My new iMac
2. Demetri Martin comedy videos
3. New job at work (Microsoft)
4. Trying out different types of sake
5. Becoming a better writer

5 people you want to tag:

I don’t know their blog addresses so this tag-a-thon is going to die with me.

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Do lapel flag pins = patriotism?

The talk revolving around whether Obama is unpatriotic because he doesn’t wear a US flag lapel pin is dumb.

Doesn’t this congressman realize how ridiculous he sounds?

World Wide Telescope

While Microsoft is actively trumpeting the launch of its commercial software (Windows Server 2008), a small project from Microsoft Research has garnered interest.

It’s called the WorldWide Telescope and basically allows people to look around the night sky and zoom in to see stars, galaxies, solar systems… anything that has been captured by the high-powered telescopes that are whizzing about our heads.

If you’re interested in astronomy or simply looking up at the stars, take a look at the demonstration of WorldWide Telescope.

Ever wonder what an Embassy caution message looks like?

As a US citizen abroad, I get messages from the U.S. Embassy every once in awhile.  I thought for the Americans that are still living in the USA, they might find it interesting to see an example of a “caution” message that is sent out:

—-

Security Message from the United States Embassy

February 28, 2008

The United States Embassy in Singapore wishes to call to your attention the recent escape from detention in Singapore of known terrorist Mas Selamat Kastari. The Embassy notes that this escape has been widely reported in the media. The Embassy has no information concerning any specific threat to Americans or American interests in Singapore, but does remind Americans that the Department of State issued a Worldwide Caution on January 17, 2008 describing the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against Americans and interests throughout the world. American citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Local authorities advise anyone who has information concerning Kastari’s whereabouts should call 999 in Singapore.

The full text of the World Wide Caution can be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_1161.html# . U.S. citizens living or traveling in Singapore are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy in Singapore is located at 27 Napier Road, tel. (65)6476-9100. For after-hours emergencies, please call (65) 6476-9100 and listen to the instructions to reach a duty officer.

American Citizen Services
American Embassy Singapore
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
Tel: (65) 6476-9100
Fax: (65) 6476-9232
SingaporeACS@state.gov
http://singapore.usembassy.gov

Re-synchronize Outlook with Exchange calendar

I checked my calendar in Outlook this morning and saw, to my horror, that my meetings and appointments were not showing up on my main work machine. The calendar appointments were still on my Exchange server as I could see them via Outlook Web Access, and I was also able to see it in the Entourage calendar on my iMac.  I was perplexed why the appointments weren’t showing up in Outlook.

Also worrying was whether this meant a lot of my other calendar appointments were out of sync – could I trust the calendar on that machine anymore?  Instead of trying to figure out what happened and how it got out of sync, I decided to just wipe out the calendar and have it resynchronize with Exchange.

The link below provided quick steps for how to do that:
Resynchronize Outlook with Exchange

I don’t know why the calendar appointments disappeared in Outlook on that machine.  I have a feeling it is related to syncing the Entourage calendar with iCal… there have been reports of losing contacts and calendar appointments when sync’ing on the Mac (but those have also involved sync’ing with .Mac, iPhone, and iCal all together…)

We’re all going to be broke

Headlines from MSNBC.com today:

“Consumer confidence weakens”

“Foreclosures up 57 percent in the past year”

“Producer prices soared in January”

“U.S. home prices fall sharply”

It is the end of America.

Adobe PDF file editing – freeware

You may be familiar with this scenario. You download a document from the internet – an application form or some other document that you need to fill out.

Why… why… why do people save these forms as PDF files? Even worse not even in the PDF form format where certain fields are editable but as a pure .pdf.

This means that unless you own a PDF editor, you have to download the form, print it out, and then either edit it with a typewriter or handwrite onto the printed form. Perhaps you can scan it in and convert it into a text document that you can then edit, but that is also an annoying step.

I went on a search for freeware that would allow me to edit PDF files. Windows wins out in this regard, I was able to find PDF-XChange Viewer. It is freeware from Tracker software products. It allows you to enter text into a PDF (admittedly clunky – you basically have to draw textboxes where you want to put text). It works for basic purposes.

Sadly, for Leopard on the Mac, I was unable to find any freeware tool that would allow me to edit a PDF file. I thought Skim would do it, but it doesn’t.

Score one for Windows.

And to go on a mild rant – while I love my Mac, it does frustrate me to hear about how they’re more stable and that things are just “more intuitive.” Ultimately I think people are simply more forgiving when it comes to a Mac.

Here’s an example of user-UN-friendliness. To re-index Spotlight:
“Open the Spotlight system preference, click the Privacy tab, click the plus button, and add the volume you want to reindex. Wait five minutes, select the volume in the privacy area, and click the minus button to remove it. Spotlight will index the volume again from the ground up.
Note: Before reindexing the drive, repair permissions. Also, if the drive has just recently been indexed, give it another day or so before reindexing. It’s possible that Spotlight hasn’t completely finished indexing the drive even though you’re allowed to use it.”