Archive for December, 2010

End of the year adventure in Seattle

December 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Last year, right before Christmas, Amanda and I drove to downtown Seattle, and shopped around the Westlake Center for the afternoon. Today, we took the bus out to Seattle, and our bus went through the bus tunnel, which it hasn’t done before. I found it to be rather cool. I think with what they did with the bus tunnel is a good idea. The stop in the tunnel is at the bottom of the Westlake Center. So you just take the escalators up to either the mall or Macy’s. And given that it was a rainy day today, being sheltered was appreciated.

Pikes Place Market also seems to be doing well. Many shops have sprung up and there are a lot of places to eat around there. Today we were able to have lunch in the restaraunt on the second story across the street from the market. The view was fun. We even bought some fish from the “fish throwers” and I have video of that which I’ll be postin on my SkyDrive later.

Taking the bus out to Seattle for lunch and shopping was an enjoyable experience.

Categories: Hobbies

IP Addresses Advertisers use

December 22, 2010 1 comment

I know that blocking internet ads based off of IP Addresses is an arms race, but hey it’s fun. I thought I would publish the list of IP Addresses that I have my Windows Firewall block. The other thing I do, since blocking google ad services results in videos not loading, is create an Internet Options Zone Restriction against http://* Since it’s on the restricted sites list it can’t run any scripts. – – –

(This list has been updated at

Growing up in different worlds

December 21, 2010 Leave a comment
The other night my sister who’s eight years younger than I am, called me up and asked how to get a screen shot of her computer. I walked her through using the PrtScn key and pasting the result into Paint, but I was caught of gaurd when she asked me what Paint was. How could she not know about Microsoft Paint? When we first got a computer playing with Paint was the only thing to do on the computer besides play Mine Sweeper.
I remember having lots of fun with that computer. It ran Windows 3.1 and for a while the only programs it had installed where Compton Encyclopedia and WordPerfect for DOS. So when we weren’t gung ho about doing homework we would play Mine Sweeper, Solitare, or Paint. Paint was a staple of the first few years of my home computing experience. We had so much fun moving the mouse around, drawing shapes of different colors. Sometimes we’d be so proud of ourselves we’d print our pictures out to impress our parents. How could my sister have forgotten all of this?
Oh wait, I was eleven when we had that computer. So by the time my aforementioned sister was old enough to start playing on the computer the family had a newer Windows 98 computer with actual computer games to play. Weird.

I’m glad I made it to the Post

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment
On Microsoft campus there’s a shop called The Post. It’s a shipping service with the best prices around. I used it to ship my families Christmas gifts to them. I arrived right when they opened at 9:00 am today. There were a few other people there and so I was served pretty quickly. Today we walked past there for lunch and the queue coming out of The Post was huge! It looked like it would take an hour to get through the queue. People had stacks of boxes that they were shipping. I sure am glad I made it there first thing in the morning.
Categories: Organizations

Quick and easy plan to make a fortune

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment
For all of those who have met Isis, they know that she makes very stange noises. She does not meow, but she does makes noises. Since these aren’t typical cat noises, but are still organic, they are a movie sound engineers dream; an otherworldly yet organic noise. Now all I need to get is get in contact with a Hollywood sound artist, and my fortune will be made. We’ll record Isis, and all of the varied sounds she makes, and I’ll just rake in the royalties as her sounds appear in any movie needing a unique sound for a cute monster or alien.
Categories: Pets

Trouble with blocking internet ads based off of IP Address

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment
The IE team has a good article on the pros and cons of different solutions to blocking ads while using a browser. I have taken the approach of blocking based off of IP Address using the Windows firewall. I was hoping to use the router firewall, but firewall management is horrible with it. I personally would like discovering the IP Addresses to block to be easier, but o’well.
Two problems that I’ve discovered thus far with IP address based ad blocking is that two of the larger players (Microsoft and Google) will serve up non ad content from the same IP Addresses as their ad servers. For example, I figured out the subnet that Microsoft uses for serving up their ads. I blocked the subnet in my firewall, and everything seemed great until I went to Photosynth itself wasn’t blocked, but it’s CSS file was, causing Photosynth to become unusable. The other problem I encoutered is ads in videos. Since I ended up blocking the mandatory ads which are shown before viewing videos I effectivly stopped myself from seeing any videos. So it was great for not seeing banner ads, but sadly also blocked plenty of entertainment.
It wouldn’t surprise me, if in the future even loading the basic html page will require viewing a mandatory ad first. I know it’s been tried in the past, and failed because users left the website, but if all of the big players started doing it at the same time it would turn into something everyone would somehow deal with.

Does it scare the cat?

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

For those who don’t know, Isis (our cat) doesn’t meow. She will meow when something is really bothering her (bath, etc) but that’s it. So to me, it seems like it must hurt her to meow making it only worth it to her when something more painful is going on. The last few days though we’ve been surprised to hear little meow’s. But they’re generally followed with a dash across the condo. It makes me wonder if Isis’s is meowing, not knowing she’s the one making the noise, and is then running away from the source of the noise. One can only wonder.

Categories: Pets

What makes a bad program (and something Windows can do about it)

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment
In a conversation I had a while ago somebody mentioned the aspects of a bad or malicious program. One of the aspects being that the application messes with other applications resources; namely files and registry keys. Do we all agree that a if an application messes with another applications files that it’s a bad, and potentionally malicious program? Good. Two types of programs are brought to mind which have this aspect are: Content Indexers and Anti Virus’s.
My personal opinion are that Content Indexers are good, but Anti Virus’s are worse than the virus’s. But both of these applications are designed to not interfere with "good" programs. Anti Virus’s do interfere though. I’ve had to write a lot of "fixes" to code where the code is trying to do something to a file which was recently modified, but once in a while it can’t. Why can’t it? Because the AV is scanning the recently modified file and has an exclusive lock on the file. This will really trip up a program because it goes to open the file and receives an exception that it can’t. In my opinion the best thing to do would be to get rid of AV’s, but that’s not going to happen; plus CI’s could cause the same problem.
So how could Windows change to help applications given that these two "bad" types of programs aren’t going to go away? Windows could have the methods which open file handles to have wait timeouts. In my situation where my application writes out a new temp file and then reads from it, it’s okay for wait for the file handle to become available. It makes my code look a lot better calling a WaitToOpenFile method, than writing a loop around every call to FileOpen.
So, what can I do to get Windows to add this to thier API?

Kitty Krash

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment

This morning, just after Amanda and I made the bed, we were getting dressed and Isis jumps up onto the bed. I was standing on the right of the bed and Amanda was standing on the left of the bed, in between the bed and her dresser. Isis must have decided that being on Amanda’s dresser would be better than being on the bed and made a running sprint towards the dresser. From what I could tell it looks like that she was able to jump where she was planning on jumping. However, it didn’t look like she got the jump she wanted. I think Isis was able to lift her front paws up high enough that they made it to the top of the dresser, but that was it. Bam! Isis head butts the dresser and falls. I couldn’t help but laugh, it was so funny. I see Isis take off and a moment later all I see are her back legs spread wide in that they still had forward momentum, but the rest of her body did not. Then I see Isis fall in a ball of scrambling fur and paws as she tried to find a hold on something. Isis didn’t find a hold on anything and hit the floor. Amanda immediately picked her up and started consoling her while I stood there and laughed and laughed. If only I knew to have recorded it.

Categories: Pets