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October 29, 2004

Jackpot!

This story has nothing to do with code, but I don't care. It's my blog.

Two weeks ago, I evicted the dead beats living in one of my rental homes. Yes, angryLandlord is on my resume as well. Don't feel sorry for them. They were almost three months late on their rent. They still owe me over $5000.

Anyway, the renters packed in a hurry, leaving the entire garage chock full of stuff. Today, Joy and I went over there to sort things out and see whether there was anything that we could salvage (read: sell) to recoup our losses. Most of the stuff was junk, but then we hit the Mother Lode. We discovered a cache of thousands of brand new trinkets from Universal Studios and Disney World. Things like earrings, keychains, bracelets and necklaces. All of them were still in their original packaging from the manufacturer. Based on the price labels on each item, the retail value of our find is approximately $20,000.

Right away, Joy and I are thinking "eBay all the way" for this stuff. Sold in bulk, we could probably clear a couple grand out of the deal. After digging a bit further, though, we found an invoice. As it turns out, a large portion of the stash we found was part of an order placed by Universal Studios to a marketing trinket manufacturer in San Francisco back in May, 2001. Apparently, our renter worked as a broker for the trinket manufacturer and when Universal Studios rejected the order, he never returned the merchandise to San Francisco. He socked it away until we found it today. Heh...During our garage excursion, we did better than Geraldo did when opening Al Capone's Vault.

Not wanting to be a party to potentially stolen merchandise, we called the Sheriff who then contacted the other parties involved. The trinket manufacturer has a week to prove that all of the merchandise is theirs (via invoice records), or it all reverts back to us. It turns out that the whole "posession is 9/10 of the law" ideology doesn't apply as smoothly as it does in the movies.

After the sheriff left, we found a few more boxes loaded with brand new Disney embroidered shirts. Anyone want a Mickey Mouse polo shirt?

11:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

October 28, 2004

Successful Nerd Dinner

The inaugural Nerd Dinner was pretty successful. Considering the short notice that I gave which led to several local notables not being able to attend (eg. Russ Fustino, Joe Healy and Joel Martinez), I felt very good about the fact that eleven people turned out. My goal was ten.

One of the guys asked me what the purpose of the Nerd Dinners is, and I told him that I had no friggin idea. I just thought I would stage the event and see where things went. Conversations at the event ranged from lasik eye surgery to SQL Server Reporting Services to general technology consulting issues. The venue (Millenia Mall food court) was pretty comfortable. John Bailey discovered that there is an open WIFI connection being served up by the Panera Bread restaurant. We can all bring our laptops next time. I believe that everyone had a great time.

I have scheduled The Orlando Nerd Dinner (Episode II) for Wednesday, December 1st, 2004. Please RSVP here if you would like to attend.

09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

October 20, 2004

Inaugural Orlando Nerd Dinner

The Inaugural Orlando Nerd Dinner will be held at the Mall at Millenia food court on Wednesday, October 27th at 6:30pm. Please RSVP by posting feedback to the Orlando Nerd Dinner blog. Even though this is short notice, I hope that you can all make it. I look forward to seeing you all there!

11:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

Newest ASPSOFT Family Addition

Congratulations to Steve Joubert and his wife Vicki on the birth of their daughter, Abigail Hope!

09:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Remote Exchange Bliss

One of my consultants, John Bailey spent this past weekend becoming intimately familiar with Microsoft Exchange. The mission; Enable full Outlook/Exchange integration (email, calendar, contacts, etc...) without direct VPN access, while also enabling remote SmartPhone ActiveSync to Exchange. A little registry tweaking here, a little RPC over HTTP there...Sprinkle in some help from friends at Microsoft (John is a human Rolodex) and voila! We have a winner. Now, we can all use the Outlook client as well as Outlook Web Access and everything remains in sync. This is no small feat for a distributed company such as ours that does not use a VPN. If anybody else needs help in this regard, you know who to call.

09:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

HotFixes for HotFixes

When something like the most recent ASP.NET vulnerability becomes public, Microsoft goes into scramble mode to release a hotfix. Unfortunately, these hotfixes can't go through the normal rigorous testing process that Microsoft has implemented. It turns out that SQL Reporting Services doesn't play very well with the new ValidatePath module that patches the vulnerability. Fortunately, Microsoft was quick to clean up their mess by releasing a KB Article that addresses the issue.

09:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Good SPOT, Bad SPOT

I found out that the SPOT watch that I received in the mail last week was not, in fact, in response to my team's SPOT application proposal. It was a gift to me from Microsoft to congratulate me for becoming a Microsoft Regional Director. It was a nice gift; that is, until I took it on a plane. You see, I already have a cool Movado, so I really don't feel like wearing a dorky SPOT watch around. I still like playing with it, though, so I put it in my suitcase on my way to Chattanooga.

It turns out that SPOT watches don't react well to either the depressurization or the cold at 35,000 feet. The watch was DOA when I arrived in Chattanooga. Piece of crap. Let's see how Fossil customer support handles this. Hopefully, they'll stand behind their product, considering it was less than a week old when it broke.

The ironic thing is, I got an email today saying that my team's SPOT application proposal was approved. I'll use this blog to chronicle our adventures in SPOT development. Go ASPSOFT!

11:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Google does desktops

If you haven't already read the news, Google just released a free downloadable search engine for your desktop. It makes searching for files on your PC really easy. It works by indexing your files while your PC is idle. Then, when you click on the Google Desktop Search icon in your System Tray, it opens a browser with the familiar Google search page, only this time, it is being powered by a local mini web server that it installs on your PC.

I gave it a try and searched on some esoteric terms that I knew existed in various different files on my PC, and I got results back in sub-one-second response time! I previously used Agent Ransack, which worked great, but took much longer to get results back. This may be a Beta product, but Google seems to have a much different definition of what Beta means. After all, GMail is in Beta and works pretty damn good, too.

12:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

Short Circuit

After arriving back home from Chattanooga, I went into my office to make a few phone calls to the team to get caught up. The line was dead. After verifying that the problem wasn't with the phone (tested the line using a simple old fashioned phone), I began tracing the phone line back to the source at the wall. It turns out that my cat got a little hungry yesterday and ate right through it.

I spliced the line back together, but I didn't have any electrical tape handy, so (in true MacGyver style) I used postage stamps.




A bit more expensive than electrical tape but hey, whatever works.

01:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Chattanooga Pooh Pooh

On Tuesday, I flew to Chattanooga to speak at the Chattanooga .NET User Group. Ya gotta love those turbo-prop puddle jumper planes that they use to get you to out-of-the-way places. I brought along my Garmin Street Pilot III. I take it everywhere I go, because I'm so directionally impaired that I couldn't find the Eiffel Tower if it were in the middle of a cornfield. Despite having the most recent maps loaded, though, the GPS unit couldn't find the meeting location (or any of its nearby cross streets). I tried MapQuest, Yahoo Maps and MapPoint from the hotel (which had free wireless internet, thankfully) with no luck. So, I struck out on my own and (naturally) got completely lost. A friendly native at a gas station offered to let me follow him to the highway so that he could get me going in the right direction. Apparently he has my affliction, because I ended up going the polar opposite direction of where I needed to go. I called Eric King (CHADNUG president) and he eventually returned my frantic voice mails and helped me find my way. Luckily, I had predicted such a mess and had allowed enough time to get lost.

I arrived just in time for the meeting. The developers there were great. They actually asked intelligent questions and several of us talked for awhile after the meeting. I only wonder what the heck they are doing in Chattanooga! It's hardly a technology center (their words...not mine). After the meeting, I stopped at a McDonalds drive-thru to grab some food. The cashier was captivated by my Street Pilot and looked at me like I was driving the Starship Enterprise. I felt like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future trying to explain to him how it worked. Considering that they still don't even accept credit cards there yet, I wasn't too surprised.

01:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)