Do you know your shortcuts?

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A somewhat funny one today.  I always find it interesting just how often somebody is doing something “the long way”.  Having used and been enamored by computers for a long time I know most of the basic keyboard shortcuts which have over the years become pretty ubiquitous in the Windows world at least.  However, as somebody who actually works in an IT department with other people who also work in IT it never fails to amaze me just how many of these people don’t use keyboard shortcuts.  There is little more annoying that watching an “IT professional” in a meeting on a projector shakily highlighting a word and then moving the mouse up to the “edit” menu and clicking “copy” then moving the mouse back down again and moving through the document with the little bar on the right with the shaky mouse to the right spot, then putting the mouse where the word would go, then moving the mouse back to the “edit” menu again and finally clicking “paste”.

While this is ultimately annoying with anybody, it is always especially annoying to me when it is somebody who should “know computers”.  There is very little reason everybody out there should not know ctrl + x, ctrl + c, and ctrl +v, but there are lots, way more than you think.  You may be surprised by this, but there are studies to prove it….seriously.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/crazy-90-percent-of-people-dont-know-how-to-use-ctrl-f/243840/

Negative Nelly

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Although I am on a spin these days to avoid the negative Nelly view of the world, it is good to read the articles sometimes as quite often it will be a much more realistic view of what is out there or what is to come.  So after a week or so of reading how HTML5 was going to save the world, it was interesting to see the opposite view.

http://www.infoworld.com/d/html5/11-hard-truths-about-html5-169665?page=0,0

D

Think outside the box

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Don’t you hate that term… A term normally thrown around by some management know it all (is that me??) in a lame attempt to try and get people to think about something in a different way.  As often as not we are trying to tackle an issue head on and we aren’t seeing things from another angle. 

So what does thinking outside the box mean?  Well, I find the best place to look for an example of something that is out of the ordinary is to look for people that are trying to do things erroniously.  Generally hackers or trojen writers since they are trying to use the tools at hand in a unique way to get a job done, that people may not done to them.

Anyway an interesting article this morning about how to create 2 files with the same name in windows.  As I am sure you will quickly way “that isn’t possible”, but just think outside the box 🙂

http://blogs.technet.com/b/mmpc/archive/2011/08/10/can-we-believe-our-eyes.aspx

 

Why did you go with C#…

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Just reading a post today and it was reminding me of our (my) original foray into .NET.  At the time athough most of our applications were coded in VB5/6, most of the employees at the company were either recently graduated from school in some form or another or had previous lives as java or C++ programmers.  So with some of the old issues of varient types and string concationation issues fresh in our minds as well as the indication from MS at the time that C# was to be the primarily supported language for the .NET platform…..C# here we come.

Looking back it seems that it was the right decision, but it could have gone so wrong.

http://blogs.lessthandot.com/index.php/DesktopDev/MSTech/vb-net-isn-t-c

Consumer vs Commercial

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Reading a posting this morning for “The Death of .NET” and wanted to elaborate a little bit on one of the comments that was made.

But there lies the difficulty: We are in an increasingly consumer-centric world and increasingly things that don’t have a consumer message are seen as obsolete or unimportant.

A lot of the time the press and much of what we see is written from the view of a consumer and consumer products.  How to build web sites, how to market, how to ….  However there are a lot of companies out there, some of which are household names, which aren’t really consumer companies.  Probably the 3 most notable these days are IBM, Microsoft and RIM.  IBM isn’t a big surprise there, but MS and RIM?  You basically need to realize that although both RIM and MS play in the consumer market, the bread and butter of their profits are driven from companies.  RIM certainly sells Blackberries to you and I, but when it comes down to it, it is the Blackberry Enterprise server integration and all of the security that surrounds the Blackberry that makes RIM money.  MS has a similar issue such that the bulk of its money comes from commercial sales of Windows and Office to businesses, both big and small.  This is also the reason neither of the companies are going bankrupt and time soon, they have a vested infrastructure, which although it can be replaced will last at least a decade even if they completely drop the ball.

Google and Apple are on the other side of the coin.  They are consumer companies that dabble in the commercial business, and have the exact opposite problem.  People like them, they want their stuff, but how they do business makes companies nervious.  Google can’t simply access any company data and scan through it to see what you need to buy… that would have implecations from insider trading to security, to industrial espionage, to heaven knows where.  Apple, cannot simply throw a solution out today and then take it back tomorrow because not enough business used it.

As individuals we often forget that if something happens to our phone we throw it away and get a new one, but as a company if 1000 phones just went offline for even an hour, it just cost the company untold sums of money.  Requirements are different, the solution is different, the marketing is different.

http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/blogs/enderle/the-death-of-net-and-the-power-of-perception/?cs=48151

Wood burning stoves

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I recently purchased a Vargo wood burning stove for back country camping, mainly to have the benefit of not needing to carry as much fuel with me when I camp.  The main expectation I have is that I will be have to carry enough alcohol and a stove to get me through the tough times of either it being too wet, windy or possibly tired to be bothered with the wood on a given day.  I did my first trip with the stove a couple of weeks ago and I was quite impressed with how well it worked for me.  Anyway today I came across a post where somebody was complaining that they didn’t like the wood burning stoves for a few reasons, so I thought I would add to that thread. http://sectionhiker.com/wood-gas-stoves-second-thoughts/

From my view here are the main points:

Good:

  • Less fuel to carry:  as the old saying goes ounces in the morning are pounds at night, so even if I can carry 1/2 as much fuel that is always good.
  • Easy to use: wood stoves are very simple to use and I have generally found it easier to light a fire in the stove than in the fire pit, which is always good.
  • Naturally “Eco”: the fact that I am getting fuel from the forest around me rather than lugging it from a store it was trucked to makes me feel better about the world 😛
  • Gives me something to do: although as is mentioned in the other article you do need to watch the stove, I have generally found this better rather than worse.  I usually am sitting there waiting for my water to boil anyway so tending a little fire is cheap entertainment.

Bad:

  • Pot soot: This is pretty well documented, and I would highly recommend if you are going to start carrying a wood burner you will probably want to start carrying pot cozies too.  Personally I didn’t find this to be an issue and I don’t carry a camp towel either.
  • More Stoves: I did save overall weight, but now I effectively carry 2 stoves, a small alcohol backup and the primary wood one.  I am sure I could probably move to the wood only, but I am just not there yet.
  • Limited Temperature and Control: I find the wood is similar to trying to cook with a small alcohol stove, there is pretty much just an on/off.  Technically I could probably get it to simmer, but it would require some serious effort.  If you like to really cook things on the trail that are more than rehydrating foods, then this probably isn’t for you.

Just my thoughts so far, but I do like it and this is the one I have:

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/HikingCamping/StovesFuel/Stoves/PRD~5024-197/vargo-titanium-hexagon-backpacking-wood-stove.jsp

 

 

Canoes

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Spending a bit of time paddling a big canoe into the wind recently I was hunting around for some rules of thumb.  This seems like a pretty good article.

http://www.outdoorplaces.com/Features/Paddle/pickcanoe/newcanoe3.htm

Understatement of the day:

A 17 foot long touring canoe can be a beast for a solo paddler on a windy day.