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Trail of the Drunken Package

While it’s yet to arrive, tracking my Cup<T> coffee mug has been… exciting.

A friend put it best via IM this morning:

Michael: HA HA that looks like the trail of a drunk snail

It’s out for delivery here in town at the moment, but it’s voyage from California has been quite exciting—it’s like the Travelocity gnome is with it and showing it the sights of America.

The drunken UPS delivery...

Yes, ladies and gentleman…

That’s from California to Georgia to Illinois to Texas to north Kansas and now back to Wichita.

The little 1.5lb package that could…

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Categories: Everything Else, Insanity!

Who’s Who Not Knowing Who?

May 7, 2009 Comments off

Years ago, back when I had a couple consulting businesses and such running, there was a bit of value in some of the “Who’s Who” books and such for social networking.   A lot of the current networking appliances (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, user groups, etc) weren’t around and the “big books” were common—if you could weed out the scams.

I actually had an invite to the “2010 Edition of Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals Throughout the World” today… but they don’t know who I am… or simply fail at mail merge.

[…clip…]

Greetings [Firstname] [Lastname],   

In recognizing your work in the field of [field], it is my honor and privilege to inform you of your selection as a representative in the 2010 Edition of Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals Throughout the World. Our membership committee has scoured professional journals, industry newsletters, and corporate resources to compile our summary of individuals who fit the bill: professionals who represent the best and brightest in their industries. You are one of those selected.

[…clip…]

So.. seriously, does anyone have those books sitting around anymore?  If so, why?  A book containing all of the executives and professions throughout the world would require more than my package-hiding UPS man to deliver.

I don’t even own a telephone book—letalone a reference book of complete strangers (though, that’s somewhat one in the same).

Hidden Package…

April 30, 2009 1 comment

A bit off topic, but fun none-the-less.

Hidden Package Fail

Home yesterday and saw the UPS truck pull up, so I opened the garage door to go get the mail too and low and behold, the UPS man did his best to hide the packages on my front porch.

Can't see them, can you?

It’s worth pointing out that my front door is in a 15ish foot courtyard.. surrounded by a brick wall with only access from the walkway.  Putting the boxes ANYWHERE except right infront of the door almost guarantees “hidden.”  Apparently Greg Dean’s “Real Life Comic” really is “real life”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

At least it’s better than the FedEx dude who puts the boxes… stacked up.. in front of the door or the DHL delivery person who has left packages OUTSIDE the courtyard (basically in my front yard).

The fun note is that it looks like it’s smiling with the Amazon box.  A happy front porch (and even happier—the boxes were filled with coffee K-Cups).

 

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Categories: Everything Else, Insanity!

Setting the ViewPort for iPhone/iTouch Ready Web Sites

January 13, 2009 Comments off

Scenario:

After rolling out two new web applications targeted for WindowsMobile and Blackberries, we had a request to test and support Apple iPhone/iTouch devices.  Not a big deal, or so I thought.

Unfortunately, Safari on these devices displayed properly, but every page required zooming and was almost impossible to read.  There had to be a way to get Safari to respect the set width of the page rather than scale it out.

Solution:

Michael: “are you setting the viewport?”

Thanks to Google and a bit of help from a friend (thanks Michael!), the mysterious solution was just a meta tag away.  The best place to start would be the “Safari Web Content Guide for iPhone OS”.  I had found bits of this document elsewhere, but the information about the Viewport tags are extremely helpful.

The default viewport width is 980px; however, you can hard code the width of your page.  I placed the following tag in the <head> section of my MasterPage for the mobile site.

<!– meta tag for iPhone/iTouch devices –>

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=350px” />

That worked; however, the HTML elements (buttons, selects, etc) were still far too small.  It seems that “fit to device” is more explicitly expressed with the device-width value.

<!– meta tag for iPhone/iTouch devices –>

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width” />

device-width not only fit the text to the screen, but also properly scaled the elements as well.

Excellent. ๐Ÿ™‚

I need to fully read that Safari Web Content Guide to see if there are other wonky tags for iDevice goodness. ๐Ÿ˜‰

AddALL To Find Books

January 5, 2009 Comments off

I came across the AddALL Book Search from one of the speakers at a conference last year—not sure which one; it was one of those “oh, I’ll have to check that” scribble on a notepad.

http://www.addall.com/

What’s cool about this site?  It searchs almost all of the booksellers at the same time!  Rather than checking Buy.com, Amazon.com, Half.com, and whatever else—this free service goes out, finds those listings, and returns them to you.  I hunt for books—a lot—and this has been a huge time saver.

So, let’s say I’m wanting to find David Astels’ Test Driven Development: A Practical Guide to have a spare copy at the office:

Searching AddAll

Then pick it out of the search results to see a price comparison.

I can see that the cheapest price (with shipping) is from the used marketplace at Amazon.com.  Good deal and a lot less time spent hunting through the various sites.

Price comparison

To further geek it up, you can add this as a customized search engine to FireFox or Internet Explorer.  The URL is:

http://www3.addall.com/New/submitNew.cgi?location=[YOUR COUNTRY]&state=[YOUR LOCALE]&dispCurr=[YOURCURRENCY]&type=Title&query=TEST

For me, it looks like:

http://www3.addall.com/New/submitNew.cgi?location=10000&state=KS&dispCurr=USD&type=Title&query=TEST

The codes can be found on the AddAll site, just snip up the URL. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Categories: Education, Everything Else

Fall Project Wrapup – Home Makeover Edition

December 23, 2008 1 comment

Since moving into my new place in July, I’ve had a lot to do on the homefront.  It’s kept me extremely busy and thankful for the family truck (I can hardly carry groceries in my car, let alone tons of dirt and rock).

Gardens and drainage

Unfortunately, the gardens were not well tended to and had washed away over the years—leaving the draining towards the house rather than away.  After countless truckloads of dirt to fill in, gravel to top out, and natural rock for edging, the finished product looks good.

Front of Home   Closeup on Rocks

The backyard has had similar attention; however, is lacking the natural rock.  I’ll get to that this spring; I was waiting on the new fence to be installed… which it was last week!  The best part is that the vines and groundcover is gone and no longer needs tending—the rock looks clean and will be a LOT easier to maintain.

New privacy fence

The old fence was starting to crumble (a bit old) and was a simple, short picket fence.  I prefer privacy fences—especially since I’m looking to put a swimming pool in within the next couple of years.

The old fence had to be removed…

Old fence...

To make way for the shiny new fence…

New fenceNew fence 

The new fence looks good, the gates are a GREAT bonus, and removing the 6’ partition by the patio really opens up the back yard.

New courtyard walls

When I bought the home, the home inspector pointed out that the courtyard walls were collapsing.  Not just by a bit—but by nearly 8–12” on either side.  The the inspector and real estate agent assured me it’d be a couple hundred to jack up and fix.  A few months later—not a single mason would touch the wall to “jack it up” and guarantee it wouldn’t fall back down within a couple of months because the footings were broken out.

So, new walls!

Courtyard WallsCourtyard Walls

Updated fireplace

The home had a gas starter, but the fireplace hadn’t been used in years.  After debating gas logs vs. wood burning, I stumbled across FireCrystals at a local showroom.  Less expensive than a gas log, zero residue (my LCD TV is next to the fireplace), and a very customized, unique look sounded like just the ticket.  With this, I also replaced the old, brass fireplace doors with something a bit more modern (which matches the black glass TV stand).

After removing the old doors and cleaning it out, it was time to lay in the base crystals and UBurner…

Base and UBurner

Layers of clear, then emerald and bronze, then a reflective jade on the top gives us the finished product…

Finished fireplace with crystals!

Here’s a few of the other smaller projects:

  • Installed a slider shade for the skylight (keep heat out, heat in depending on the season).
  • Installed a new hood vent and duct outside.
  • Replaced all blinds in the home with new mini blinds; replaced window coverings with vallances.
  • Cleaned out and refinished daylight window downstairs.
  • Added ceiling fans in the living room and kitchen; replaced dining room chandelier with newer model.
  • and dozens of other “oh, we should do this…” projects. ๐Ÿ™‚

A busy, busy year indeed!

Categories: Everything Else

Technology Changing Christmas Traditions?

December 23, 2008 Comments off

A bit of an observation this holiday season…

With Christmas only a few days away, I’ve been preppin’ for the Christmas Eve festivities at my home.

  • Christmas Tree
  • Stockings on the Mantle
  • Unhealthy Holiday Foods
  • Christmas Cards
  • Gifts Wrapped in Paper and Ribbon

Christmas Cards:

Growing up, collecting and sending Christmas cards was a tradition.  I remember my parents sending out a hundred or so cards and then taking great pride in setting the received cards in bookcases, on the mantle, and in other nooks and crannies around the house.  Looking back, it seems like (perhaps unintentionally) an odd act of quantifying friendships—the more cards, the more friends you could show you had.  My parents have toned it down since then; I think they sent out about twenty cards this year with holiday newsletters included.

I also sent out a few cards this year, but it felt awkward.  99% of the potential card recepients I either email on a regular basis, twit back and forth with, instant message, or voice chat via Skype or in EQ2.  Maybe I’m too much of a techie, but it seems silly to fight the hordes at Hallmark when I can simply pop open a window and wish someone a happy holidays and catch up on the events of their day.  Most likely they already have photos of their kids/family/etc on the internet and blog posts detailing big adventures of the year.

Gifts Wrapped in Paper and Ribbon:

Around the office and between my friends and I, we ended up exchanging more gift certificates, Amazon.com credits, and the such rather than tangible gifts.  Even a few years ago, gift certificates were considered the “cold hearted” way of gift giving—now it’s pretty common.  As thoughtful as a gift may be, no one likes returning gifts and gift certificates allows a lot more flexibility.

Both of these, of course, could have roots back with the slowing economy and whatever other hardships people could be facing (holiday cards are expensive); however, it seems more of a social change rather than economic.

 

Categories: Everything Else