Classic Windows Scripting

September 29th, 2007
ancient script

Before .NET and PowerShell were dreamt of, VBScript and COM objects were the most powerful scripting tools available in a vanilla Windows install. Using Microsoft’s default facilities is worthwhile because it obviates the need to deploy additional software and cope with that software’s life cycle and incompatibilities. For instance, a script written for Windows 2000 is likely to continue working in Windows Server 2008 x64 Edition. I use PowerShell/.NET for Windows scripting now, but I still regularly use VBScripts which are several years old. Here are several of these simple scripts. Read the rest of this entry »

Laws of Red-Light Robotics

May 3rd, 2007

Robocop warned us that the privatization of justice has a dark side. This week I was visited not by the Robocop’s bumbling would-be replacement, ED-209, but by his traffic citation analogue — a ticket from a Redflex red light camera with speed sensor. Read the rest of this entry »

Ubuntu: Feisty, Indeed!

March 23rd, 2007

The upcoming Ubuntu release is entitled Feisty Fawn, in keeping with the adjective-animal naming convention. I installed the current test release, herd 5, and although I’m reluctant to proclaim that it a drop-in replacement for the typical home user, I may begin using it as my default desktop OS. Read the rest of this entry »

REST Easy, Rails 1.2 is here

February 13th, 2007

Rails makes it easy to relate URL’s to their respective controller methods. If you want another action, just add the method to the controller and append the name to the controller URL. However, this controller-centric approach is a mixed blessing, because it lends itself to redundancy and extraneous methods. The recent Rails 1.2 release introduces RESTful facilities and a resource-centric URL structure that makes it easier to remove the junk and keep the CRUD. Read the rest of this entry »

Paint.NET 3.0 Released

January 31st, 2007

I was introduced to Paint.NET following the recent 3.0 release. Rather than try to compete with the likes of PhotoShop or Gimp, this open source program nails the “basics” with an interface whose simplicity belies it’s strength. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Television Cliches

January 30th, 2007

In a recent episode of Everybody Hates Chris, a class assignment entailed taking care of an egg as if it were a child. Of course this plot is familiar to those of us who watch more than a modicum of television. Like a light version of cinema’s trains, falling leaves, and sunsets, sitcoms repeatedly invoke their own set of classic vocabulary. Here’s my top-10 list of TV cliche’s… Read the rest of this entry »

Blogger Enters 1995, Buys Cell Phone

January 29th, 2007

So I finally broke down and got a cell phone. After weighing my options for ten years I found a plan that makes sense :-). Since I can’t use a phone at work, and I don’t often get calls requesting my assistance with open heart surgery, it was hard for me to justify a lengthy contract. I was almost ready to sign a 2-year Sprint contract when a friend of mine suggested that I consider a prepaid plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Translucent Tables with CSS

December 11th, 2006

An intranet site facelift recently called for a table with a translucent background. Firefox, my preferred browser, has supported PNG’s optional alpha channel for some time — a feature that assigns an opacity to each pixel, from fully transparent to fully opaque. A quick google search revealed that Internet Explorer has offered PNG alpha support since version 5.5, so I got started. Read the rest of this entry »

Rails Page Caching Explained

December 2nd, 2006

Page caching is the simplest form of caching that Ruby on Rails offers. When invoked, page caching saves output to Rails’ public directory where it is subsequently served along with the other static pages. Of course this is advantageous for high traffic sites or pages that are slow to render. In most cases, page caching works without any config file editing. I, however, encountered a minor problem that prompted me to investigate this simple mechanism a bit further. Read the rest of this entry »

PowerShell: Windows Administration Evolved

November 15th, 2006

Yesterday Microsoft released their new command shell, Windows PowerShell (via Aaron Tiensivu). This next-generation shell offers an administrative environment that strives to replace a jumble of administrative commands with a consistent, extensible interface. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the Zune ads

November 7th, 2006

Microsoft is taking a decidedly muted marketing approach with Zune, their potential iPod competitor. We’ve been inundated with ads for the incrementally improved iPod Nano and Shuffle, but there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent Zune campaign, despite the imminent November 14 release. Zune Insider offers a peek at some TV ads, and my opinion is mixed. Read the rest of this entry »

Two small steps for Microsoft, one giant push towards convergence

October 31st, 2006

Today Microsoft released a major update to the X-Box 360 dashboard as well as Windows Media Player 11. In concert, these upgrades allow you to stream video to your X-Box 360 from your PC, flash drive, CD/DVD, or soon-to-be Zune! The 360 dashboard upgrade is rather exhaustive, but the video sharing features are the most compelling. Read the rest of this entry »

X-Box 360 Red Ring of Death

October 3rd, 2006

Console gamers like myself are largely insulated from problems that plague PC gamers. Just insert game, press power, and play. No specifications or tweaking to worry about, no drivers to upgrade, no crashing… Here, let me turn on the X-Box 360 and show you. Wait, what?! No, Dead Rising is not supposed to look like colorful HD noise! I’m sure it’s a fluke, I’ll just reset… Uh oh…… the pretty green lights around the power button have turned red and the 360 refuses to boot! Read the rest of this entry »

Is Anything Cleaner than a Toilet Seat?

September 21st, 2006

Even in a society preoccupied with cleanliness, one might expect the restroom — in particular, the toilet — to be slightly unclean. We wouldn’t want to eat off of a toilet seat, for instance, or do anything with the water but flush it. But unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you’ve heard at least one “dirtier than a toilet seat” study. Here is a compilation thereof, and you don’t even have to wait for the news at 10:00. Read the rest of this entry »

Merger between HP and Big Brother?

September 20th, 2006

Hewlett-Packard’s deceptive practices are not limited to their outrageous figure-slimming cameras! Apparently HP feels that what happens in the boardroom should stay in the boardroom. So vehemently that in order to investigate leaks, HP resorted to questionable techniques to obtain phone records, contacted journalists under false pretense, and mulled the possibility of undercover operations involving clerical or cleaning staff. Read the rest of this entry »