Archive for February, 2009

Thinking In Blog Posts

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Lately it seems like as soon as I close my eyes at night my mind starts working on blog posts. I start thinking about something and my mind organizes my thoughts in the way they would be organized for a blog. The problem is that I’m really trying to get to sleep so the posts never actually get written. In fact it seems like as soon as I open my eyes and get out of bed the mind shuts down and I lose the whole thought line. Sigh!

So the end result is that mentally I have written a lot of posts but the blogs themselves are not seeing any activity. I’m not sure what this all means.

Has my mind become hard-wired to thinking in 500-1000 word bites? Is this good or bad? I need to think about this.

How Many Countries Are There?

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I actually care about the statistics for the blog that is part of my day job. Largely I care because by boss cares but there is a fair amount of ego involved. The latter is why I checked the statistics on visitors by country recently. Since August of 2008 the blog has been visited by people from 173 countries. I didn’t even know there were that many. I thought the number was fewer than 120. But apparently not.

Even still there are a number of countries on the map that still do not register visitors. There are at least a dozen countries in Africa who have not come my way. One in central Asia and North Korea. In some ways the North Korea is a surprise because I would have thought there were a lot of people doing searches for programming and computer science related stuff. On the other hand I know they have serious Internet censorship. But I get visits from Iran all the time. In fact I have visits from all the middle eastern countries. I’m only missing one in Europe – Serbia. No one from Greenland – is there anyone in Greenland? Of course Greenland is technically part of Denmark so perhaps people from there are visiting and showing up under Denmark? Could be.

Any way you look at it I am missing visits from about 18 countries. But I think population wise I’ve hit a good part of the population. Not that it matters much in the grand scheme of things of course.

When Software Just Works

Monday, February 16th, 2009

For a number of reasons I have been upgrading the software on my laptops lately. The one I am working on was basically a wipe and reinstall. It was time. This meant I have been installing software. One of the tools I use a lot is Windows Live Writer. For a while I have been upgrading rather than doing a clean install. This is great because it means I don’t have to reset up all my blogs – I use WLW for four different blogs all on different blogging platforms.

But with a clean install to a wiped system I had to reset them all. Step one is to fire up the wizard and point to my blog – in this case http://blogs.n1zyy.com/mistert. Then it asks me for my username and password. Off it goes and it figured out everything else I needed automatically. This all worked just as easily for Live Spaces, Community Server and Blogger. Well I had to tell it that I was using blogger but that’s not much in the way of extra steps. Live Spaces I told it to use Live Spaces and gave it my Live Id and it was even faster. It was all so easy.

Why doesn’t every application around work that easily?

I’m a PC and I’m Four and a Half

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

I think this is about as cute a software commercial as I have ever seen.

Video: Kylie

If you have to tell people …

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

My favorite Margaret Thatcher quote is “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” I was reminded of this the other day when I saw a huge pickup truck with a bumper sticker that said “Sexy ass woman driving a big ass truck.”  While there is no question that was a “big ass truck” I have a real hard time seeing the driver as a “sexy ass woman.” Well unless “sexy ass” has nothing to do with appearance. This woman was scary. Every time I have seen a bumper sticker or a license plate that indicated the driver/owner was sexy, beautify or otherwise attractive the bumper sticker was saying things that where contradicted by seeing the driver.

So I was thinking, if you have to tell people you are sexy are you really? Or is it just what you want to think of yourself as? I made the same statement with regards to being a new media expert recently. If you have to tell me you are an expert in blogging or Twitter or other social media isn’t that a sign of something missing?

Sure if you have things to tell me so that I can conclude you are an expert myself that’s fine. Or if someone else tells me “oh so and so is an expert” maybe I’ll listen. Although to be honest I’ll probably want some sort of evidence. There are too many cases of the one eyed man leading the blind out there in social media.

I see people put themselves out as experts on social media all the time. All too often they have Technorati rankings lower than mine (on my main blog which even when it was double what it is now was not that impressive) or they are “Twitter experts” and they have a follower count or a Twitter grader rank lower than mine. Not that I am an expert or anything like a social media star. I know people who are blogging, Twittering, Friendfeed, Facebook stars and trust me I am no where near where they are. I’m just saying that if you are a media star there should be statistics to back it up.

And there are other things. Like being smart or knowledgeable. Don’t tell me you are – act like you are and I’ll figure it out.

Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have positive self-images of themselves. If someone wants to look in the mirror and see a smart, sexy, just incredible person go ahead. I do. But I don’t go around trying to convince people that the thin, athletic, smart sexy guy with a full head of hair I picture in my head when I think of myself is necessarily the same as their reality.

Happy Anniversary to Me

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Not my wedding – that’s next week. It will be 32 years with me and Mrs. T on the 12th. But today is five years of me blogging. Mrs. T says it seems like a lot longer and I guess in some ways it does. Yet in other ways is seems like I have just started. Actually marriage is the same. In some ways it seems like we have always been married and in other ways like we are still newlywed.

So if you are interested my first recorded blog post is at http://thespoke.net/blogs/alfredtwo/archive/2004/02/07/6063.aspx on a site that is pretty much all closed up now.

25 random Things That Annoy Me

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
  1. Airport security – Every time I take off my shoes for the scanning machine I count that as a victory for terrorists.
  2. People who stand on the left (or passing lane) on moving sidewalks. Get out of the way people!
  3. Arena security. Come on does anyone really believe that the issue is security and not just a way to prevent people from sneaking in their own food?
  4. Drivers who do not use turn signals. When I think of all the turns I could have made earlier if people were signaling I resent the time I’ve lost.
  5. Airports that charge for wi-fi. I might not mind so much if they didn’t price it based on an imaginary 24-hours of use when people are likely not to use it for more than an hour or so.
  6. Expensive hotels that charge for wi-fi. The cheap hotels give it away for free so why to the expensive ones charge?
  7. Programming languages with semi-colons. They’re just a crutch for compiler writers anyway.
  8. Command line interfaces that do not use complete, correctly spelled English language words.
  9. People who block traffic in supermarket isles. Stand behind your cart not along side it people!
  10. People who stop inside doorways. Move out of the way so other people can come though.
  11. Places that do not warn people of allergens in the food. Especially nuts and peanuts! One of these places is going to make my wife a rich widow one of these days.
  12. People who share too much private/personal information too loudly in public places.
  13. Prices that also say “plus tax” without saying how much tax will be added. Trust me when I tell you that in a place 1,000 miles and several states from home I have no clue what the local sales tax is.
  14. Airport food prices. There is no reason a tiny “personal pizza” should cost as much as an extra large pizza that feeds three people at home does. The same is true for food concessions at sporting or entertainment events.
  15. Places that automatically put mayonnaise and/or mustard on hamburgers. Or anything that is not easily taken off. If you’re going to add stuff that is hard to remove it should be clearly stated so I can ask that you not do it.
  16. Fountain beverages that include more ice than beverage. The stuff comes out of the dispenser plenty cold enough for me. If I’d wanted a glass of ice I would have ordered one.
  17. LINUX – it’s a virus which is why it doesn’t “need” an anti-virus program. There are not many complaints I have about operating systems that LINUX doesn’t implement.
  18. People who are regularly late for appointments. Once in a while things happen but if you are late a lot it is your fault and wastes my time.
  19. People who toss their cigarette buts out their car windows. That’s just gross.
  20. People who don’t take time to air out after smoking. The smoke sticks to people like nauseating perfume for several minutes after the smoking stops.  Stand out in the cold and windy until it clears so I don’t have to smell it.
  21. Coffee breath. Even worse when mixed with smoker’s breath. Take a mint after coffee – thanks!
  22. Drunks. Everyone is entitled to screw up and get drunk once. After that if you don’t know your limit you are an idiot who should not drink at all.
  23. Cursing. If your vocabulary is so limited that you need to use “cussing” words work on your vocabulary. Or grow up. Or both.
  24. Too much perfume. The best smelling person is a clean person. Perfume too often replaces one bad smell with another that is even more irritating to the nose.
  25. Getting stuck in heavy traffic. I’m learning to be patient in it but it is still annoying as all get out.

25 Random Things About Me

Monday, February 2nd, 2009
  1. I ride a unicycle. I keep toying with the idea of buying an off road unicycle and a large wheel unicycle for road riding.
  2. When I was a teen I rode a bicycle from California to Delaware with a group. Nothing like travelling coast to coast on a bicycle to understand America.
  3. My original major in college (which I completed half way through my junior year) was sociology.
  4. I’ve only dated one person more than a couple of times and we’ve been married almost 32 years.
  5. I don’t drink alcohol but not because of religious reasons. I think it all tastes bad and the idea that it impairs judgment is enough reason to eschew it anyway.
  6. I like to play poker. I’m not good at it but it is fun and since it is a skill game I have a chance of getting better.
  7. I collect poker chips from casinos/card rooms where I have actually played. I have chips from about 20 places in 9 different states.
  8. I ride a snowboard these days because my knees like that better than skiing. I miss the skiing though.
  9. I have had ambitions to work at two companies in my career that are really hard to get jobs at – Digital and Microsoft – and have been able to work for both of them.
  10. The first programming language I ever learned was FORTRAN. It’s been over 15 years since I wrote a program in it though.
  11. The first programming language I taught myself was BASIC-PLUS. Over 30 years later I still choose a version of BASIC as my programming language for most things.
  12. I had lunch with Grace Hopper once. She was visiting the college I was attending and a small group of students had lunch and discussion with her.
  13. I was an operating system developer for almost two years. During that time I wrote the UI for a print/batch system from scratch. In BASIC-PLUS! Well I wrote some assembly language code too.
  14. I’m a preacher’s kid and proud of it.
  15. As a young person I was a “fire buff” and went to a lot of big city fires – sometimes riding fire trucks. Other times I went in my father;s car because he was a chaplain for the New Your City fire department. I had my own turnout coat and boots too.
  16. I’m an avid reader and will red almost anything but my favorites are science fiction and history non-fiction.
  17. I like to go snowshoeing in the winter time. Nothing like a walk in snow covered woods and trails.
  18. My summer exercise is kayaking.
  19. I used to SCUBA dive but it’s been years.
  20. Snorkeling is one of the things I really like to do when I can get into warm clear water. Doesn’t happen enough. Warm clear water is only found in swimming pools in New Hampshire.
  21. I’m addicted to email. But than if you know me at all you probably know that.
  22. I’ve written several textbooks – all on Visual Basic.
  23. What I really want to do is write fiction. I can’t seem to find the discipline to actually it though. I did try once and there are some short samples at http://www.acthompson.net/Fiction.htm I just looked at the dates on those and can’t believe it has been so long.
  24. I have not lived in East Hampton, NY since I was 5 but I still think of it as home.
  25. I am genetically incapable of keeping my opinions to myself. That probably explains why I am writing this. And blogging. And Twittering. And getting involved in all sorts of online forums.