I’ve redesigned the baby changing station. After a week of experience I think I’ve smoothed out most of the pain points.
I’m growing new pet peeves though.
Sleeves are traumatic. Getting those little fingers up there and bending his elbow has so far been the biggest challenge. If George is wearing 3 layers thats 6 sleeves to negotiate. If he poo’s and needs a change straight after getting dressed that’s another 6 sleeves off and then 6 sleeves on again for the re-dress. 18 sleeves in total. Some sort of velco might be better. Already I’m filtering for favourite gowns and bibs.
The best baby designed thing I’ve used so far is a bib with velco fastening on the side front. Clever.
The battery powered breast pump is also fantastic, but a silent model would be killer!Thumbnail Viewer
I was delighted to find that fellow new Dad Robbie Morris put the source up for an ASP.Net Photo Album Application.
One of the unknown challenges I’ve run into is how to put all the pictures of him up on the web for my relatives that live so far way in the shortest amount of time possible. So, I opted to write this little page in ASP.NET for use on my wife’s website that will go through a given folder and create a thumbnail version of every .jpg, .gif, and .bmp it finds (assuming the folder in the querystring parameter has write permissions granted to the IUSR_machinename account). The page can also take another querystring parameter and use it to generate a nicely formatted HTML page and TABLE displaying the thumbnails with links to the original image.
I had to convert Robbie’s code from C# to VB.Net and added the ability to read a top level directory to see all the Albums underneath.
You can see it here.
I managed to get this going while George was sleeping so not bad for a few hours.George Pic’s
Here they are:iMate + Bluetooth Headset rocks
I like this set up because
- Easy (no thumbs) text messaging
- Ability to check out email (I’m using pop) easily over GPRS
- No wires to headset
- I can write and make appointments when talking
- I can talk & walk and talk & type easily
The Imate/PPC2003 has sorted out the SMS bugs in PPC2002 and has bluetooth headset profile.
How could the experience be better? Hopefully in the next generation the Pocket PC Phone will approach the size of the new HP Pocket PC’s which are nearing Palm V size. Real shirt pocket stuff.
Other thing would a well designed carrying system. The best one I’ve used is the Ericsson T68 horizontal holster.Wireless net link a boon to HB firm
AirNet, a Wireless ISP that I’m involved with, is starting to raise its profile. Hopefully we’ll have broad band (2MB) access at the beach in teh next 2 months.
A wireless internet solution has transformed the link between Rissington-based businessman Brian Mackie and his colleagues in London and Europe.
Mr Mackie runs MSI trans-action, an international translation service handling millions of words a year in many languages, from his home office in rural Hawke’s Bay.
The business has a London headquarters, but Mr Mackie has relocated its management to New Zealand because of the great lifestyle.
MSI trans-action relies heavily on the internet to stay in touch with clients and translators, but using a dial-up connection was slow, error-rich and incredibly frustrating, he said.
There was no chance of getting broadband through our phone line, because land-based technology for it did not exist where he lived.
Working with the Hawke’s Bay-based wireless ISP Airnet, Mr Mackie now has a super-fast, two-megabit broadband internet link that provided a constant, stable connection more than 40 times faster than dial-up.
His Airnet link runs faster than the system in the company’s London office.
“The ability to move high volumes of data was increasingly vital in our business and Airnet created the solution.”
Mr Mackie said Airnet had devised and installed a bridge to its existing network, extending its range beyond the Heretaunga Plains to include Mr Mackies property just outside Rissington.
Airnets chief executive Cecil Averill said Mr Mackie was typical of many who had moved to Hawke’s Bay to live in a less stressful location yet telecommute across the world.
The company plans to extended its coverage to Maraekakaho, Waimarama, and Ocean BeachGo offshore for growth
I understand Bennett’s frustration in the ComputerWorld article today:
Go offshore for growth: Medary
But I think a better focus is less on outsourcing offshore, more on moving New Zealand developers from services work to product work.
In a market with low access to capital, tech companies will trend towards services as it is low capital but gets business in the cashflow grind. The multiples of return on effort is therefore low. Outsourcing is just growing the market, not the multiples.
In a country with a small number of people, far better to increase the margin by having our smart people effort put into products that can be sold many times independent of effort.
If that is the goal then the support environment to achieve that is quite easy to define, including:
- Support in productizing IP (like R&D tax relief)
- Beachhead programs - leveraging doors that have already been opened
- Support in productizing (which TradeNZ do today)
On a product I have been working with we thought we did an OK job on the UI (it was pretty), but we ran into a recent US import who is a Human Interaction expert, who put a process around gaining user feedback. Tying this into the IPENZ education drive its clear that we don’t train or have jobs for the type of skills that are required for software productization. We are great developers but we don’t know how to work with other specialist who make a product world class.
Having done services and now starting to have a bit of success with products to me it is very clear the leverage that products can provide and how much more value can be created when we lift our best brains out of fee for service work.
There seems to be growing energy in the miniPC space.
I Like that they’ve thought about how to use it as a PDA and MP3 Player with external controls and a standby mode (hopefully faster than than current XP standby).
Combined with a Port Replication, these little guys are starting to get compelling.
What they also indicate is that the swapping PC model really doesn’t work. Now I have everything on my Tablet and my desktop (with nice key board and screen) sits as a backup device. Why? Mainly becuase I’m popping mail so it’s easier to work on the one PC. Also when I’m doing dev it would mean moving projects and probably databases which is too much effort for more than a day of development.
A hosted Exchange service might help break the stickiness but then I have the multi mail account problem, where I need to manage my various personalities. Outlook over POP does that well.George
Anna gave birth to our first child on Sunday morning. George is 8lb 15oz.
Fantastic support from Wellington Hospital team.
Pretty scary being fully responsible for another person, but will be fun living up to the challenge.Cingular gets AT&T Wireless
This was a surprise:
Vodafone executives woke on Tuesday to find that they had been outbid in their efforts to capture AT&T Wireless. Bellsouth and SBC approved a bid of $41 billion, or $15 per share for the company that will be merged with their Cingular joint venture. Cingular will leapfrog Verizon Wireless to become the largest wireless carrier in the US. At the end of 2003 the carriers combined had 46 million subscribers, average revenue of about $54 per subscriber, and a subscription lifetime of about 33 months based on fourth quarter results. By way of comparison Verizon announced that it had 36 million subscribers, ARPU of $50 but it had a considerably more loyal base of customers with anticipated subscriber lifetime of 58 months..Net Connected Logo
We’ve passed the .Net Connected Logo requirements for AfterMail.
Testing involved sending our software to VeriTest in France. Few hoops to go through but process was worthwhile. Still waiting to be loaded onto the Directory.
Program info is here: www.microsoft.com/net/logo/ready.asp.iMate Bluetooth Saga
Update on my bluetooth issue.
I brought a PocketPC 2003 Phone Editition Device (iMate or XDAII) primarily because with my 2002 XDA device, after talking on the phone with a it close to my ear for a few minutes, I could smell chicken.
The XDAII had bluetooth, so for me the killer feature was to use a wireless headset. I had an Ericsson HBH-15 ($399) headset from a few years ago.
The HBH-15 didn’t work. Too old I guess.
I did the google research and thought the Sony Ericsson HBH-65 ($NZ299) would be be the best. Turned out that in the later builds Sony Ericsson had added some features to their implementation of bluetooth that meant that it didn’t work with the iMate. Rats! Also the ear piece ring thing kept falling off.
I followed a recommendation and brought a plain jane BlueTake headset ($190) over the web from an Australian site. It arrived late, photocopied documentation and the transformer didn’t work. Bah! So I went to Dick Smith and brought a generic transformer ($39) with lots of different plugs. Of course non of the supplied plugs fitted so I had to cut the plug off the old transformer (voiding the warrantee) and solder on the new transformer.
The BlueTake was working, but feels junky and the buttons are useless. Works for a day - poor sound quality. Then I charge it overnight and the indicator light never gets to the fully charged state. Next the thing starts beeping. Not loudly, just every 20 seconds, every 20 seconds, every 20 seconds, every 20 seconds.
OK, so I go to the local Vodafone shop and they have a Nokia Bluetooth headset. Try it. Sound in good, voice out bad. They suggest a Siemans device ($499 - ouch). I pass.
Tried another Vodafone shop. They have Sony Ericsson HBH-35 ($199 pictured). Tried it, feels good.
So finally I’m happy though considerably poorer and now the owner of an HBH-35, HBH-15 (from 2 years ago), HBH-15 ($399) that’s been chewed by a dog, HBH-65 and a defective BlueTake device.Debug vs Release
Get performance AND debug symbols: Have your cake and eat it too!Word is done
I live in Word (well a mixture of Word, Visual Studio and maybe Visio) and I just realized how much Word sucks.
Styles. Everyone should use styles. They should separate the text of the document from the look of the document. So Word should encourage users to only associate styles to text elements and not allow direct formatting attributes to be set. Imagine how much complexity that would remove.
But styles don’t work. Say you have several heading levels, each one indented. You would think that the normal text below would assume the indent of its heading level. I’m sure you can make Word do that but I have no idea how.
Also when I try to fix up style settings in other persons documents, why is the ‘Update to Match Selection’ only sometimes enabled. Beats me.
Styles just don’t work well enough.
XML. This one really frustrates me. The Word team had a great opportunity to create a write once, publish many model. How many times do we need to create a document that needs to be in print and also on the web? Word, with its spell check features and writing tools should be the preferred environment for creating chunks of text that can be published in a variety of places. I should be blogging from Word, not a Web based text control with no spell checking.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful. I’m in awe of how complex Word is. But what have you done for me lately?
What is the economic impact around the world of having to maintain multiple versions of the same text in Word, HTML, and even in ASP.Net pages? Of cutting and pasting in and out of Word to get spell checking?
Its time to start again. Not more features added. Word, as we know it, is done.
We need a new model. A rewrite. A trimmed down authoring surface. No direct formatting allowed. All Data available in raw XML. If MS doesn’t do it, its a great opportunity for a start up - with a nice clear exit.Whidbey release timing
Beta schedule for Whidbey is discussed here:
June for ‘blessed’ public beta 1, but very interesting is a go live license from beta 2. That means you will allowed to deploy production apps from beta 2.
Ummm, so that would make it release wouldn’t it?
(If it looks like a duck it must be a duck).
Here’s the Reg link for making Google your default search engine.
Than means in the IE address bar you can just type
go find this text
and google will return the search results for ‘find this text’.Send rich (HTML) email alerts
For a CRM type application I recently built I wanted to send all staff an email each morning with a list of tasks outstanding and a fairly formatted table with the sales pipeline.
Rather than build up the HTML as a string and load it into the email I decided to build a reporting page in ASP.Net. My alerting engine calls the page (passing in the user key). This allows me to maintain the same ASP.Net programming model and reuse controls already developed. Also its much easier to work on the reporting format.
The Key bit of code is a function to call a web page and get a string of the html response.
Public Function GetPageHTML(ByVal URL As String) As String
‘ Retrieves the HTML from the specified URL
Dim objWC As New System.Net.WebClient
Return New System.Text.UTF8Encoding().GetString(objWC.DownloadData(URL))
Sending the email message as html is done by using BodyFormat property …
sBody = GetPageHTML(sURL)
Dim server As SmtpMail
SmtpMail.SmtpServer = Config.SMTPServer
Dim msg As New MailMessage
.To = dr(”Email”)
.From = Config.AlertAddress
.Subject = “Alerts for ” & DateTime.Today.ToString(”d MMM yyyy”)
.Body = sBody
.BodyFormat = MailFormat.Html
Microsoft is testing a prototype tool designed to streamline the development of applications based on Outlook.
On Microsoft Watch.
The just released .Net tools for Office excluded Outlook so here is the catch up. Growing more important with MS’s push towards smart (fat) client apps.
Also check out Infragistics new ASP.net controls. Very slick for building rich web based apps, including some very nice scheduling components.Next toy
Full featured PC in near PDA size.
Check out the video …Shoot the Messenger
Messenger seems to finally be back up. Seems to have been offline for the last few days in our area. Having had to go without I can see I take Messenger for granted now. Especially when working in virtual teams.Server Move
My web server has been intermittently throwing packets around my hsp - causing grief. Looks like a network card issue but we can’t nail down.
So I’ve been forced to move everything off that box onto another server. Databases, web sites and a few services. Pain in the rrrr’s.
I’ve moved from Windows Server 2000 to 2003 and am running both IP addresses on the new server. Next step will be to upgrade the flakey server bios and upgrade the OS to 2003. Then start to move things back. 5 hours of unproductive time but at least that’s done now.