Monday, June 28, 2004

I mentioned in an earlier blog about getting more memory for my laptop in order to run Virtual PC. Well, it works well - my laptop is still responsive even running an XPE image in VPC. Problem is, when the VPC is backgrounded, it's responsiveness is roughly analogous to the reflexes of a frozen bag of 12-count shrimp. The solution? Keep the VPC in the foreground. It won't ever be as responsive as a real machine, but foregrounding it means it'll respond more like an iguana next to an air conditioner.

And I've heard from John Vorchak that Fedora Core 2 will run in a VPC - I'll have to try that later...
OK, Devcon is here. I'm in the speaker room sitting next to John Vorchak, typing in my blog and reading some news articles. I need to track down Mike Hall so I can make sure my labs are correctly setup for tomorrow, and I need to make sure the whole thing runs smoothly, but other than that, today is an easy day. Of course, it's still early, plenty of time for the fickle finger of fate to induce some mental vomiting...

And with that bit of imagery, I bid you good morning!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Well, Devcon is coming up fast - I'm busy putting the finishing touches on the last lab I'm doing (a basic XPE lab) and wanted to make sure the readers here that are going to Devcon know this:

Go to the Devcon Attendees site, and print out the materials for the labs and sessions you want to attend.

I can't stress this enough - we'll have copies of the materials on hand, but from what I know, there won't be a big binder full of content handed out this year. I might be wrong, but if you print out your own copies, you'll be sure to have them. Plus, there are last minute changes going on all the time, so if you print them the day before you arrive, you're sure to have the latest content.

Plus it saves me spending all day Monday printing up the latest copies of the lab manuals.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Not exactly XPE related, but cool anyway - atomic teleportation. Basically, NIST scientists have figured out how to transfer quantum properties from one atom to another with no movement involved. Reminiscent of quantum teleporation, but in this case the particles are bigger and the goal is more attainable - data transfer with computing applications.

My only problem is gonna be trying to figure out the front-side bus speed of gold connectors v. copper on my new Quantum 2010 motherboard... :-)

Atomic particles 'teleported' - News - ZDNet

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

You know, I need to be more diligent before posting to my blogs. I've got the Google toolbar on my machines, with a Blog This! button on them. I find a cool website, I click Blog This! and create the post.

Problem is I have two blogs - one for XPE, and the other a personal blog for political issues. If I'm not careful, I wind up posting political essays to this blog - not good juju.

If you catch one of these, ignore it - I try to keep them straight, but sometimes one slips through the cracks. When I do catch it (usually shortly after I've clicked "Post") I go in a move the post to the right place.

BTW, the time interval between when I click "Post" and I notice the blog setting is wrong is known officially as an "ignosecond".
Well, my memory arrived for my laptop today. Got an e-mail from our Admin Assistant saying "Come and get it!" When I got to her office, she wasn't there, the door was locked, and my memory, wrapped in pink bubble-wrap, tempted me from forty-eight inchesaway. OK, so four of those inches were solid oak door, but still, it's agonizing.

In any case, I've got a machine that runs VPC, so I'm working my labs on it. Once I get my laptop up to snuff, the files get moved over and I'm ready to roll.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Not exactly technically related, but good to know - mainstream media is now learning about blogs, blogging, and bloggers. Meet Joe Blog -- Jun. 21, 2004

Thursday, June 10, 2004

If you caught the last post, sorry. I have a politically oriented blog as well, and posted an entry to wrong place.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Just a quick update today. Been working on a spec for a really cool tool. I wish I could say more about it, but it's still in the planning/review stage. Once it's something more than vaporware, I'll make a small announcement.

Also been working to make sure the Devcon XPE SP2 CD's are good to go.

We had a meeting today on the lab machines we're gonna use at Devcon. Mike Hall is setting everything up for us and gave us the skinny - they're smokin' 2GHz machines with 1+Gb memory, and we'll be using Virtual PC to run our images in. This is causing some wringing of hands for people who count on EWF to work (I don't personally know if EWF will work in VPC), and I'm concerned about Bluetooth working in a VPC as well. To make things easier, I'm gonna implement VPC on my laptop, but I need to upgrade it - VPC loves memory, so I'm gonna upgrade my laptop from 512Mb to 1+Gb to accomodate it.

On a personal note, I'm getting some CD's from the local library - Aaron Copland's Rodeo Ballet overture. You've heard the key theme before - it's the background music to the "Beef - It's What's for Dinner" commercials. Now you know.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I thought, coming in today, I'd be able to handle a newsgroup issue about old QFE's not having additional info docs in them - easy breezy day, run down some info, fill in some doc forms, piece of cake. I had left early Monday evening to catch game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals (Calgary should have won it Saturday night, but it was entertaining, at least), so there was some late mail waiting for me when I hit the door. Knew I should have called in sick...

OK, here's the scoop on part of XPE SP2 - the install is handle by our XPE QFE installer. We're not delivering a completely new database this time - we're delivering a database update, so you don't have to uninstall SP1 to get SP2. Now, the XPE QFE installer is just a small app that reads an INF, then imports some SLD's into the DB. In the case of SP2, it's about 200Mb of SLD files, but the principle is the same.

Now, we want you to be able to get back to SP1 without having to uninstall the whole thing, so we added this cool feature, where the installer would pop up a dialog before the install started telling you to backup your DB. We even wrote a doc on how to do it and put a link to it in the dialog. Cool so far - it had all been tested and has been working fine for two weeks now...

Last night, one of our guys took a look at the dialog I had designed (did I mention that the XPE QFE installer is my project?) and said, "That's crap". Unfortunately, he was right - it was crap. It looked like something from a Junior College VB class. It had to be redone, which meant talking with the dev and tester to get everything lined up again, then updating the design spec for the new stuff that needed to be there so the dialog looked OK. Minor panic attack first thing in the morning, but I'm tough, and I've got the meds to prove it.

There was also some questions about my uninstall doc (yes, we tell you how to uninstall SP2 from your DB too - calm down, not that tough). Seems someone in our "extended" family (i.e. someone who uses XPE but isn't on the XPE team) didn't read the instructions and assumed I had missed a step. I hadn't, and that problem went away quickly as well.

And then I had time to write the additional info docs...

Oh, and if you haven't heard, Devcon 2004 is scheduled for the end of June in sunny San Diego. Although I'd prefer to continue heading south to Tijuana, I'll be stopping in San Diego to talk, run a lab or two, meet and greet, and basically do what I'm paid to do - try to make XPE make sense to everyone.

We're giving out XPE SP2 CD's at Devcon - not Beta, but not RC either. Something in the middle with pop-ups that look like Junior College VB projects (RC and RTM will have the real installer).