All quiet on the MidWestern front

Once again I’ve fallen into the trap of not blogging.  I find that I have 8,000 things to say, but none of them rise to the top to justify getting blogged.  That’s pretty funny to write given that I’ll put darn near anything up here!  That’s the beauty of real blogs – no editor to get in the way of ones thoughts, but also the curse.  Who knows if what I write is interesting to anyone besides myself?
So here’s a quick brain dump of whats going on in my world, for those who care, and for those who just happen to stumble across my rantings!
  • I’m spending time learning Visual Studio 2005.  This product is very cool! I’m looking forward to it being my full time IDE.  Hopefully the bugs that some people have encountered with it won’t be an issue for me and my team of kick-ass developers (most of whom have already fallen in love with the kit and can’t wait for us to move our main application over).
  • I’m intrigued by Asterisk, the open source phone system.  At our office we are using a Cisco phone system, and it works very well.  The problem is that I don’t see it being affordable for a really small office.  It looks like Asterisk might be able to do the job.  It’s pretty funny – I’d link to the Cisco site for more information on their product, but it is impossible to find a simple page that describes what they do in the VOIP world.  Instead there are 1000 pages that all describe bits and pieces.  I’m sure a good link is in there somewhere, but screw ’em – if they can’t make it easy, then no link love for them.  This research has nothing to do with work – I’m just curious.
  • Linux continues to intrigue me.  In the "good old days" I worked a bit with Unix, even on an IBM RT system.  While I find my lack of skill (currently) with Linux frustrating, I do know that if I pick up a bit every day, soon I’ll become capable in it.
  • Microsoft continues to push my buttons when it comes to open source.  Keep in mind, I am not an open source fanatic, but I appreciate what all the coders out there are doing for the greater good.  Recently MS has done such stupid stuff as tell the world that 3rd world countries don’t need open source software, and even going to the extent of having the UN remove any reference to open source in a document they had prepared for a summit.  From now through the next few years, MS needs to do the absolute minimum to piss off the world, instead, they keep on doing everything they can to make everyone hate them.
  • I’m working on getting my web site up and running.  This will be a location to log and comment on any and all bugs that we run into as developers on the .NET framework.  This will be open to MS products and other products built on .NET.
  • I’m pining for an XBOX 360.  I don’t have enough toys yet – haven’t blown a circuit breaker at home in a long time!
  • Deb and I are going through some flying videos that we have – I need to get my license updated before we can go flying with her as a passenger – need my medical renewed and to spend probably 10 hours with an instructor to shake off the rust and get my biennial review done.  She’s pretty stoked about getting her pilot license, but the costs are a bit staggering these days.  I’m sure once we are both licensed, the urge to own a plane again will be strong!  In the meantime, she points out that in the 6 years we’ve been together, I’ve never taken her up in a plane.  Yikes!

Well, there we go.  I’ve got a bunch more on my plate, but this is what I’ve thought about already this Sunday morning.  Perhaps i need some Focusyn 🙂

If you do read this blog, plop a note in the comments, let me know I haven’t lost all my readers!

Time to go get some breakfast!

Soap has an expiration date?

In this office, not only do we provide free hand soap, but I personally refill the dispenser when necessary.  Truly, I am a great man…
Regardless of my greatness, today I discovered that soap appears to have a finite lifespan.  While refilling the hand pump with SoftSoap, I noticed that the jug that contained the replacement SoftSoap had an expiration date on it of 07/07.  This is quite interesting.  I didn’t realize that soap "went bad".  I thought the presence of bacteria was what made things "turn", and I’m surprised to find that apparently SoftSoap is just as susceptible as milk.
I wonder what would happen if you used soap after it expired.  Perhaps for each second washing your hands with it, would more dirt appear? 
I might have to put a jub of the stuff in a cabinet in a few years and see what evolves in there…

NetFlix lawsuit settlement – only good for the lawyers

Another class action lawsuit, another settlement that pretty much benefits no one but the lawyers.
Here is the salient fact:
It’s alleged that NetFlix deceived people with its unlimited DVD rental claims.
As part of the settlement:
The person who filed the lawsuit (class representivie) will receive: $2000.
Those of us who were supposedly cheated will get a free one month upgrade to the next higher level of service (read this whole posting!).
The lawyers who handled the process: $2.5 million dollars
Yup, you and me, we get a free month of upgraded service, the lawyers get $2.5 million dollars.
It gets better – for most people who get the free on month upgrade to the next higher level of service (from three DVD’s checked out at a time to four, for example) that free month upgrade becomes a repeating charged monthly upgrade unless you explicitly change your service back to the old service level.
So, to repeat: $2.5 million for the lawyers, $2000 for the guy who initially complained, and most people who sign up for the free increase in service level will then have to actively downgrade it at the end of the month or they will be paying Netflix more money every month (I suppose they have to afford the legal fees somehow).
The American Legal System. – it’s wonderful in its complexity, and how frequently it tries to screw the little guy.