Eric Richards' place of techno (as in technology) happiness, rants, and corporate love.

Browsing Posts published in August, 2006

Half of the initial 125 tickets for this fall’s Seattle Mind Camp have been sold.

Pretty good event price for $30 and a day long fest of meeting and discussing with some of the fun techie people in the region. It’s my first and I’m looking forward to it. I really got a blast out of the Gnomedex 6 interaction. If you haven’t been out of your own corporate waters for a while, I recommend something like this:

Over Half Of Early Bird Tickets Sold! | Mind Camp

Okay, I don’t need a buggy time-sink in my life. I’ve decided that being an early adopter just isn’t for me anymore. Can you believe how much stuff is shipped buggy in this day and age with a promised firmware update?

Sometimes I can stand it. My Buffalo LinkTheater works just fine for me. It plays DiVX and WMV and I occasionally use it to do slideshows of pictures and listen to music. But it took a server update and a few firmware updates to get it where it is, and now the support for it (which is why I bought it – it had an extremely passionate support engineer) is dwindling and most owners have begrudgingly flipped the bit on it and consider it a waste of money.

Eventually, I’ll get a big iron Vista Ultimate machine that I can run Media Center on. The Buffalo will work with it, but the Xbox 360 will work with it extremely well for WMV and MPEG2. So I hope to record OTA HDTV on my old Gateway and dump it into a directory that MC is watching to playback.

Once I can find a card that’s been stable for a while…

More: DailyTech – ATI TV Wonder 650 Total Recall

 Here’s another great Channel9 screencast (15 minutes) about what it takes to go through and create browser ready forms via the InfoPath 2007 designer. Such a forms look and act like InfoPath within your browser but do not require the user filling out the form to have the InfoPath rich client installed.

This is our #1 customer ask from the Office 2003 InfoPath and the team has done a fantastic job putting this together.


Just when life is getting wonderful and easy, I start thinking about making it all complex again: ATI releases TV Wonder 650 OTA HDTV tuner card – Engadget .

We don’t have cable. We don’t have satellite. We have a cheapo OTA inside antenna for watching fuzzy local broadcasts. But what I’d like to do is hook up a tuner card to my big-iron Gateway box so that we could record HD broadcasts and watch them later over our Buffalo LinkTheater system.

I think putting the card in and getting it working would end up being the easy part.

Getting a good strong signal only halfway up the valley and within all of our glorious trees would be the hard part.

But I’m thinking about it…

Man, I feel stupid.

It’s probably not a good thing that the Windows Mobile 5.0 Bluetooth configuration UI for my Bluetooth GPS receiver has made me feel stupid, but I kept trying to get the damn thing to work after installing the A06 ROM upgrade. It worked once, surely the setup steps I did then was so obvious that I’d remember.


After failing over and over to get the BT GPS signal to connect, I finally gave up and, imagine, went to the manufacturer’s site for configuration documentation (what shipped wasn’t for WM5.0). Bluetooth GPS setup on the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS . One ba-da-bing later all was working and the light on the receiver went from a mocking flashing state to a conquered steady state.

Now I can start getting serious about GPS fun.

The building wave right now, as more and more data gets into the cloud, is to make it easy to move that data around. I see that the Windows Live Writer SDK comes with documentation on the live clipboard; I’m really interested in experimenting with the clipboard to see if it’s possible to easy load it up with microformat XML to get info from one page into another, and ideally into Office as part of that loop.

Why microformats? It’s like small languages. Rather than go and write a big huge new language or modify an existing one, sometimes it’s easier to break out lex & yacc  (or bison or whatever the cool hip compiler kids are using today) and write up a quick language with some relevant semantic actions and do what you need.

XML is the new language of data and it makes that little data dance around, angelized and free:

Instead of throwing away what works today, microformats intend to solve simpler problems first by adapting to current behaviors and usage patterns (e.g. XHTML, blogging).

Source: microformats | About microformats

Watching GPS trends… 

I’m going to start paying attention to the handheld GPS market. Here’s a press release on the $225 Magellan Explorist 500 LE: Link to Magellan GPS .

I currently have a Magellan Meridian Platinum. It’s a fine machine I got back in… 2001? I think the end of 2001 or very early 2002. I’ve been downloading tracks from it recently and transforming them into polylines on a Virtual Earth custom web page.

Works. But. The Meridian uses a twist-to-tighten COM connection. I only have one computer left with a COM port. Moving to USB is a must; BlueTooth would be a big gain, too. And accuracy. I’ll probably buy a Magellan product again. For a Y2K product, the Meridian just worked and had lots of great features.

GPX Resources

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Given that I spent Saturday afternoon playing with GPS data exported from my handheld GPS to GPX, I think I need to save this link for later: Link to GPX Resources

I was super surprise to see the map data stored in GPX and very tempted to download the schema, load it into InfoPath, and create an editor. But what I really wanted at the time was the track in the data to try out the polyline drawing within Local Live maps. It worked well, though I’m afraid either my GPS isn’t super accurate (they all have a bit that’s off) or the polyline is off.

Currently, I’m working on a system to offload a track into a web page all set up to render the track as a polyline. I’m curious if I should do multiple segment coloring… over time? My altitude data looks off, so coloring the line by altitude is currently not something I can do with my current equipment.

Holy smokes! I am flabbergasted! I wrote this post initially for my blog and then I decided to add my Eric’o'theque account to Live Writer. In the process, while this post was open, it made it as a post to add to this blog as well.

Wow! It did actually download the template so that I could see what it’s going to look like in my blog. Fan-damn-tastic!

Playing with the View menu revealed that there is a “Normal” view so that one can see what their entry should look like in an RSS reader.

I think I might be in love… now I just wish I could configure all my blogs on one machine, save that off and move it to the other four machines I use during the day.

When I was at Gnomedex, I was surprised at the general dismissive nature present towards making money towards web / online advertising. Dave Winer elaborates a bit here: Making money with ads? Not much longer…

Perhaps there needs to be a more deeper analysis of what a person wants and what’s going on for them in order to even begin to offer them a set of ads relevant to what they are looking for.

That kind of attention tracking – data mining – crosses a scary boundary. What’s the benefit to the user? More crap to consider buying? How do you get the ads to more or less be on their side and relevant? If there was a relevancy quotient associated with most ads today, 0.0 to 1.0, how many would be hovering near zip, zero, zilch?