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Entries From September 2007

September 26, 2007

Secret Stash Update

Filed under Blogging


Another new post on the "Stash." Read it here!

Don't have access? Let me know and I'll hook you up. Click here and tell me why you deserve access (yes, even father's of the blogger have to click).

iPod classic 160 GB

Filed under Gadgets, Movies, Music, Travel, Video Games


I'm going to spend quite a bit of time on an airplane soon, so I wanted to find something to keep me entertained.

I initially thought about getting a Dell XPS M1330 laptop. I was actually one click away from buying it today when I realized the ship date was after the bulk of much of my traveling.

I'm actually glad I didn't get the laptop. I don't travel very often, so the laptop would probably sit unused most of the time.

So the next best thing...an iPod. What I like about the iPod over the laptop...

  • Much cheaper ($350 vs. $2,500)
  • Much better battery life (7 hours vs 3 hours for watching movies)
  • Much smaller (can fit in my jacket pocket)
  • Much lighter
  • Fast charging (about 2 hours for 80% capacity)
  • Less concern about theft
  • Should arrive next week

I figure I will load it up with...

  • Season 5 and 6 of 24 (from iTunes)
  • Several seasons of South Park (from iTunes)
  • A few movies I haven't seen (from iTunes)
  • Some audio books (from iTunes)
  • The 3 video games iTunes has (Ms. Pacman, Tetris, and Sudoko)
  • My music collection

Putting everything on the iPod means I don't have to worry about bringing a bunch of DVD's with me.

I decided on the 160GB over the 80GB because of battery life...the 160GB can do 7 hours of video watching on a charge verses only 5 hours on the 80GB.

There are two color choices, black or white. I went with black.

Any suggestions for good audio books, TV, or movies available on iTunes are welcome!

September 25, 2007

Shhhh! New post on Secret Stash...pass it on

Filed under Blogging


Check it out here.

Don't have access? Let me know and I'll hook you up. Click here and tell me why you deserve access.

September 24, 2007

Scene It? Xbox 360 Edition

Filed under Movies, Video Games, Xbox 360

I'm a big fan of the DVD board game Scene It?. I found out that Scene It? is coming to Xbox 360.


But what is more interesting are the 4 wireless controllers that come with it...The Big Button Pads.

The 4 colors make it obvious which player you are. The big button makes buzzing in simple.

A controller with a big button doesn't seem very useful beyond trivia games...but there's more going on here.

The big button is actually a 4 way direction pad. Since this controller is wireless, you can rotate it so that you have the A, B, X, Y buttons on your left or right...an ambidextrous game pad.

I bet this controller will be used for the simpler games available on Xbox Live Arcade that don't use the shoulder buttons, triggers, or 2 joysticks. It should make the 360 more approachable for the less hardcore gaming crowd.

Alert!!! Another New Post on Secret Stash

Filed under Blogging

Another post added to the Secret Stash.

Check it out here.

Don't have access? Let me know and I'll hook you up. Click here and tell me why you deserve access.

September 23, 2007

New Post On Secret Stash

Filed under Blogging


I added the first post to the secret stash. It's where all the juiciest posts go.

Check it out here.

Don't have access? Let me know and I'll hook you up. Click here and tell me why you deserve access.

New Version of Windows Live Writer

Filed under Blogging, Software


A new version of Windows Live Writer is out. It is Beta 3, the last beta before the final release.

If you are blogging...get this software! It makes everything *much* easier.

New in this version...

  • Insert videos using new 'Insert Video' dialog

  • Upload images to Picasaweb when publishing to your Blogger blog

  • Publish XHTML-style markup

  • Use Writer in 28 additional languages

  • Print your posts

  • Justify-align post text

  • Better image handling (fewer blurry images)

  • Resolved installation issues from last release

  • Many other bug fixes and enhancements

Download it here.

September 20, 2007

Ski Resort in Dallas

Filed under WTF

This is unbelievable. A new 600-room ski resort is in the works for Dallas called "Bearfire Resort." Here's an article about it.

Dallas only gets snow about once every 5 years...and it rarely lasts for more than a day. So how are they going to make a ski resort? They are using Snowflex.

Opens in the Fall of 2009.

Definitely check out the video above to appreciate the scale of this project. Amazing.


September 19, 2007

Vista Gem #5

Filed under Computers, Programming, Software


Just learned about this one today.

Windows Vista supports both hard links and symbolic links. The command line option to do this is called "mklink." It doesn't appear that the GUI (explorer) supports creating symbolic/hard links. Once they are created, the GUI can modify and delete the symbolic/hard links.

A symbolic/hard link is similar to a Windows shortcut, but more powerful. A symbolic/hard link acts just like the file/directory it points to. If you are writing an application that will open a file, you don't a have to do anything special to read a symbolic/hard link...just read the file normally. A shortcut is just a text file with information about the file/directory it points to. In Windows, shortcuts work effectively as symbolic links. From the command line, they don't.

For example, you have a text file named "happy.txt" with a shortcut called "happy.txt - Shortcut.lnk" If you double-click on the shortcut, Windows will open happy.txt as you would expect. From the command line, type "more happy.txt - Shortcut.lnk" and you will see the contents of the shortcut and not the contents of original file happy.txt. If you tried the same thing with a hard/symbolic link, you would get the contents of happy.txt in each case.

Probably not that interesting to Windows users, but *very* interesting to people bringing software over from the UNIX world where symbolic/hard links are commonly used. Now that it is a standard part of the console on Windows, I would expect more people (especially software developers) to start using it.

This article has a couple of nice pictures that describes the difference between hard links and symbolic links. Basically, a hard link points directly at the data and a symbolic link points at the filename that points at the data. It's a subtle difference. This website does a nice job of comparing the two types of links. A symbolic link can exist when the data has been removed, a hard link can't. You can use a symbolic link on your hard drive to point to a file on your USB flash drive. If you remove the USB flash drive, the symbolic link will point to nothing until you return the USB flash drive. You can't make a hard link from your hard drive to a USB flash drive.

Windows has actually had hard link support since Windows 2000, but it was only available through an API call (CreateHardLink), had no command line option, and it only worked on NTFS. Back in 2000, most systems used FAT, so hard links were of little value.

September 18, 2007

My First Credit

Filed under Movies, Work


Check out the October 2007 (Issue 111) of Cinefex (a magazine about movie special effects).

On page 72, I got my first credit!


September 16, 2007

Mr. Woodcock

Filed under Celebrity

I was watching my Dallas Cowboys beat up on the Miami Dolphins today (37-20) at my favorite local hangout, Monaghan's.

I met a couple of guys that were Cowboys supporters. One of them, Mike Carnes, was escaping from LA for the weekend. He didn't want to be around Hollywood when his movie "Mr. Woodcock" opened. Mike wrote the script...and this is his first movie.

September 9, 2007

Notepad Replacement

Filed under Computers, Programming, Reviews, Software

I spend much of my time editing text in Visual Studio. I love their text editor...but Visual Studio is too big to load just to edit an occasional text file. For that, I use Notepad or Wordpad.

I ran into an issue where I needed to look at a specific line number in a text file. Visual Studio lets you jump to a line number, but Notepad/Wordpad don't.

I could load Visual Studio and then jump to the line number...but I decided to look for a Notepad replacement...and I found a great one!


It's called Notepad++. It is *exactly* what I was looking for...a free editor that gives you all the functionality of Visual Studio in a text editor that loads very quickly.

Things that I like about Notepad++:

  • Line numbers/go to line number
  • Free
  • Quick to load
  • Bookmarks
  • Ctrl-F3 Search (searches for the word under the cursor without opening a dialog box)
  • Uses the same keyboard shortcuts that Visual Studio uses
  • Regular Expression Searches
  • Tabbed Document Interface
  • Syntax highlighting for C++, HTML, XML, Python, Lua, JavaScript, C# (and many others)
  • Support for Windows, UNIX, and Mac line ending
  • Macro recording/playback
  • Plug-in Support
  • Spell Check
  • Alt-Left Mouse Button select (great for selecting a single column of text)

You can download Notepad++ (npp) here. I used npp.4.2.2.Installer.exe.

Highly recommended!

September 5, 2007

BioShock Review

Filed under Reviews, Video Games, Xbox 360


I finished BioShock yesterday. I don't want to give anything away in case you might play this game...there are a lot of fun surprises.

In short...I loved it.

The story line was incredibly deep. Probably the thing that sets this game apart the most is the art direction and the architecture...it is beautiful to just look around the very detailed buildings of this underwater city from the 1940's.

The game is very dark in its mood and disturbing in its images and sounds. It's very creepy. It's rated "M"...so don't play this game around kids...you might scar them for life! There are scenes that remind me of some of the more gruesome parts of the movie "Seven."

This game reminded me of several movies I've seen. I already mentioned "Seven." Others include...

This is the first game I've played where you are judged by your actions. You can be a good guy or a bad guy...and each choice will give you a different experience.

I chose to be bad my first time through. I'm going to play the game again, but this time I'm going to be good.

I played on the easy level first...and it was virtually impossible to die. I was more interested in the story, so I'm not disappointed with the lack of a challenge. Now I'm going to replay on the hardest level (which gives you 40 achievement points if you can do it).

This game is certainly discussion worthy. Several of my friends and co-workers are playing it and I hear conversations daily about the game.

I'd put this game up with Gears of War as a must own 360 game (also available on the PC). Go get it!



About September 2007

This page contains all entries posted to David's Blog in September 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2007 is the previous archive.

October 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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