Friday, June 29, 2007

I Can Has Cheez Burger?

OK, I can't put off passing along this site any longer as this picture put me over the edge this morning. I don't know if you've jumped on the lolcat meme that is popular these days yet, but if not the best jumping on point is I Can Has Cheez Burger?

They have about 5 or 6 photos a day, and at least one of them gets me doubled over in laughter.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bipartisan Consensus

Not on the cloture vote for the immigration bill, but on raising their own pay.

My Kind of Living

This scientist lived for two weeks under a lake in a steel capsule designed to keep him alive. It included a toilet, an algae garden for converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, a bed, an exercise bike which generated electricity, and a manhole so fresh water and food could be delivered by divers. It doesn't look like the capsule had windows, though, which would have sucked. He kept in touch with the outside world using a waterproof laptop and a wireless Internet connection.

I've always been in favor of living environments which would conceal the fact that humans are living there. My big wonder is why more dwellings are not placed underground or buried in a hillside. I would imagine that climate control would be a lot more energy efficient.

Via: Boing Boing

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Men Responsible For My Addiction

These guys perhaps started what today is known as fantasy baseball.

Being from San Diego (where we only had a minor league baseball team called "The Padres") I never really got into baseball. Last year a friend needed one more person to fill out a league and asked if I would play. I told him I don't know a thing about any of the teams, and that I would play as long as he didn't mind my coming in last. The other friend with him assured me that by the end of the season I would know the names of all the players on all the teams by the end of the year.

Unfortunately he was correct. I ended up coming in third, and in the same league this year I'm currently first in my division, second overall at the halfway point. Oh, and it's one of three leagues. I'm first overall in my second league, and seventh in my third (note: never autodraft in a league if you care about winning).

I skim some 30 blogs every morning (and throughout the day) for fantasy news, as well as visit a couple of the larger sites and each of the league sites. Fortunately I'm not the betting type or I would have an even larger problem on my hands.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Still think God doesn't know you masturbate?

http://www.miamiherald.com/460/story/147572.html

Ok... so the title is inappropriate. Sue ...uh... someone other than me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wonderful World of Widgets

I've added a new one on the right, showing a list of junk I have for sale on eBay. Fabulous.

I'm in major cleanout mode in the house right now (I've noticed this trend on other blogs involving other guys in their mid-30s... must be some sort of meme). I've cleared junk out of the garage and organized it (who says miracles ceased with the times of the apostles?). The office is next.

10 Things We Can Learn From Apple

A brief list on things Apple gets right. I was familiar or recognized most things on this list that Apple does, but this particular one I didn't realize until I read it:
Hide The Screws. This is a classic Apple move. Mimic real world artifacts and make things feel less like technology devices and more like something you'd find in the real world. Pick up your iPod. It has no visible screws. It isn't even clear how the device comes together. Hiding the ugliness of technology makes these toys more endearing. Features like coverflow and the upcoming time machine further this notion of pulling design inspiration from the real world.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Not-So-Global Navigation In SharePoint

This is another fabulous adventure in nerdville. I'm posting this mostly for my own edification, so the three people who read this blog and are not finding themselves here via the General Lee, feel free to move along.

I am still getting my head wrapped around the paradigm that is SharePoint. From one perspective, it's a great platform to starts or build your intranet on if you have a lot of money (I call it "intranet-in-a-box") and not a tremendous amount of know-how. You can start creating portals and sites in no time at all, create rudimentary data models to hold information, set permissions on everything, and then start pumping information into it.

From the other perspective (that would be mine, or if I may be so presumptuous to call my perspective "the developer at large") it can be a complete PITA. I'm finding that even the slightest modification to the system which can not be handled via the web-based tools or even the new SharePoint Designer software requires time, patience, and a deep swear jar.

The latest incident involves trying to use the same global navigation bar in the "MySite" portal as the parent portal. I would think this would be a fairly trivial task, but not really. Actually, it kind of is after googling the entire Internet and finally finding a solution (it's located in the comments).

Of course, the solution didn't quite work as-is, so I'll regurgitate.

In the masterpage of the offending MySite portal there is a "SharePoint:AspMenu" tag, which is where all the action is at. There are at least a couple, so find the one specifically with the "TopNavigationMenu" ID. Mine looks something like this:
<SharePoint:AspMenu
ID="TopNavigationMenu"
Runat="server"
DataSourceID="topSiteMap"
EnableViewState="false"
blah blah blah />
Note the DataSourceID. This tells the control where to get the info it needs (namely the titles on the menu and the links they go to).

This object containing the DataSourceID is located a little further down the page:
<asp:SiteMapDataSource
ShowStartingNode="False"
SiteMapProvider="SPNavigationProvider"
id="topSiteMap"
runat="server"
StartingNodeUrl="sid:1002"/>
OK, now we're getting somewhere. According to the aforementioned post and comment, this little bit of code provides a contextual data source for the menu at run-time. The way to force it to use a data source of my choosing (there are a handful of them defined in the web.config for the application) is to wipe that piece of code out altogether and replace it with something resembling the following:

<PublishingNavigation:PortalSiteMapDataSource
ID="topSiteMap"
Runat="server"
SiteMapProvider="CombinedNavSiteMapProvider"
StartFromCurrentNode="true"
ShowStartingNode="false"
TreatStartingNodeAsCurrent="true"
TrimNonCurrentTypes="Heading"
/>
And for this tag to be recognized on the page there must be an accompanying registration for it at the top:
<%@ Register Tagprefix="PublishingNavigation"
Namespace="Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.Navigation"
Assembly="Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing, Version=12.0.0.0,
Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=94de0004b6e3fcc5" %>
So far, so good, except after doing this I received the following error message on the page:
Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=94de0004b6e3fcc5' or one of its dependencies. The system cannot find the file specified
Huh?

Turns out the problem here is simple -- the "PublicKeyToken" didn't seem to match correctly for me as quoted in the post. Along side that registration I put in were other registrations which had matching PublicKeyToken values. I simply copied that value over and voila, it worked.

So far the only menu I can get it to display is the custom one you create through the process of customizing the site navigation for the specific MySite portal. I can't figure out how to set the site navigation to the same one as the parent portal, but as long as I have some control over it for the time being I'm fine with having to set the navigation in two different areas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Photosynth

Check out this awesome demo. It's a piece of work-in-progress software that takes photos of a subject from a variety of sources and creates a 3-d spatial representation of the subject.

The demo for Photosynth actually starts about 2:50 into the video. The beginning is a demo of another product called SeaDragon, which is also very cool and has some interesting ideas on interfacing and organizing/storing visual information.


Via: The Volokh Conspiracy

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Current Favorite Commercial



I generally enjoy the AFLAC commercials, but this one just slays me.

I wonder if they are taking a shot at this company.

Why The Japanese Are Smarter Than Us



Because they know how to make vector physics fun with these hyper-dramatized demonstrations. My favorite part is the crash gear the driver wears while the guy in back doesn't have any on, all for a top speed of just over 62 mph.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

TV Bugs...

Bugs. You know those little graphics that persist on the TV, usually in a lower corner, that helpfully tell you what channel you're watching? You know, the little things that have turned into the most invasive, annoying thing on television (and that takes in reality programs, Jerry Falwell, and all manner of infomercial).

I hate 'em. With a passion. So much so that I have decided to make a running list of channels that do *not* have them. At this point, I've only found TCM - Turner Classic Movies. Let me clarify... it's the only one with programming that I'll watch *and* that does not have a bug in the corner. I've had to make concessions for other channels, like SciFi and Cartoon Network, both of which are at least reasonable in their invasion; small, translucent graphics that don't move, glimmer, or make sound.

Watching a local broadcast station with my wife, a show which had been recorded on DVR, we were interrupted by a loud thunderclap and a graphic which covered the lower third of the TV screen. It was a severe weather warning. For last week. I played it back to get some statistics. The sound bite was 4 seconds, more than enough time to obscure the audio of the program. The graphic lasted a full minute, replaying the same message several times. At the end, the thunder clap sounded again, in case we missed it the first time, to let us know our chance at reading the text was gone. For 15 minutes. Then it came back.

Great.

Now, I don't like to offer complaints without some kind of solution. So let's look at the good stuff first. Ok, severe weather. If we were travelling, we'd want to know and may not have the forethought to go check online. Or look outside. Fair enough. And if we weren't actually *looking* at the TV, we'd miss the graphic-only announcement. The thunderclap is an attention-getting device.

But it doesn't take into account timeliness or annoyance. How about this... play a small beep, and run the text across the bottom of the screen, like the good old days. It's easy to ignore or read, at the viewer's discretion. It also doesn't obscure the program. If it's really urgent, break into the show, just like the good old days. That would let us skip forward if the information is no longer valid.

Another solution I have for non-news interruptions is this; don't. I have satellite, so I *know* which damned channel I'm watching. In fact, I'm more familiar with the stations by their programming because there are so many providers that it doesn't make sense to refer to a station by frequency selection when talking to others. So get rid of them. And those 'helpful' previews or announcements about upcoming shows?

Kill 'em. Kill 'em all.

Do it between shows, during the normal ads. Do it online when I'm looking up a show I already like. Send me a freaking email, if I've opted in. But DON'T DO IT DURING MY SHOW!!! I'm watching to be entertained NOW. I am NOT interested in being interrupted to watch something else in the future.

If I developed or starred in a TV show, I'd be greatly offended that my hard work was being interrupted by the *next* work that was going to be interrupted.

I have a pad of paper on which I write down shows that are advertised this way. Every few days, I write to the stations (when possible) and let them know I specifically will NOT watch what has been thrust upon me during one of these blipvert bastards. I encourage everyone to do the same.

Let's reclaim our sacred vegetative time *during* the shows. Write your favourite stations and tell them to remove the damn bugs, and NOT to interrupt our mindless absorption. Do it now, do it often.