Sunday, November 20, 2005

My New Blog: blog.hergert.us

I've decided to go purchase my own domain name and set up my own blog, and also add things to it as I go. I don't want to just have blogging, but I'd like to maintain projects I work on, family stuff, pictures, etc. So we'll see how it goes.

It's over at http://blog.hergert.us. So this probably will be my last post over on this blog. I am still tweaking that one to look the way I want. There is so much more ability to customize and makes things your own when you have your own setup. Plus having your own domain really gives you a presence as well.

Oh and by the way, I am using WordPress as my blogging tool with a MySQL database. Wordpress is an awesome blogging tool, its just great! I highly highly recommend it if you want to use a powerful and slick blogging tool.

Monday, November 14, 2005

FolderShare

This site allows you to sync up any two computers as well as share files to friends over the web. Its a pretty cool application. I guess it used to cost a fee, but Microsoft apparently bought FolderShare and now you can get the service for free. I've already begun syncing up the pictures from my Powerbook to my desktop so in the case of a failure on either, I have a mirrored copy of the files I hold deerest.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tom Cruise Kills Oprah

Found this funny Quicktime spoof on waxy.org from when Tom Cruise visited the Oprah show. Its called "Tom Cruise kills Oprah". haha

Flight Patterns

Wow, this is a really sweet page. Its flight plan visualizations from the FAA, its amazing to see all the air traffic in the US. Plus its a neat visualization in itself.

netvibes.com

Yeah, this is sweet. Netvibes.com

This is web 2.0, most definitely. Beats start.com and live.com hands down. Microsoft should be hiring these guys or secretly copying them. Because these start-up guys have better ideas and a better implementation of a portal than billion dollar Microsoft has been able to do.

Yahoo! Local Maps Beta

Yahoo! has come out with a Beta Version of its local maps feature. Its a very neat interface. Its based in Flash. Now, I think this is good because it provides a very neat interface that is very responsive and rich. But at the same time I see it as cheating because I've always seen Flash as not a true web standard and design. I mean, it has its place, but I think they used it so they could quickly jump into the frey of leading map providers (Google Maps and Virtual Earth).

Speaking of leading map providers...what the hell is MapQuest doing in all of this? They used to be my favorite place for maps and now Google and the rest came along and have kicked the crap out of MapQuest. Their interface has changed slightly, but the maps are no where near as interactive as the other competitors. And they don't provide satellite images (Yahoo! maps beta should add that too). I hope MapQuest is working on something big, otherwise they should just shut their doors because their interface right now doesn't hold a candle to Google, Microsoft, and now Yahoo.

Anyways, back to Yahoo! Maps Beta. I really like the little overview map in the upper right of the interface. The fact that you can navigate using it and get a high level idea of what you are looking at is quite beneficial. I think others should copy it. Who can make a better version of it? I love this competition between these guys, its making these map providers create better and better apps. Ahh, to be a consumer in today's tech environment is awesome.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Washington, DC

Got back from my business trip to Washington, DC last week. It was pretty tiring but I enjoyed it. We stayed and trained actually in Arlington, VA, but our hotel was right next to Arlington Cemetery and we were able to visit DC on a few occassions.

We went down there to train on a software product called JRules from a company called ILOG. Its a rules engine based in Java that we plan to use within our company. Pretty neat product. Training was good, learned alot and I feel alot more comfortable with the product. Now the difficult part begins... designing and writing our applications to use it. Using a rules engine kinda changes the way you think about things because its not the same as straight forward programming. Not so procedural, I guess.

Boy did I miss my family. I cried like a baby saying goodbye to the wife and kids. I missed them so much. I hated going away. It was exciting to be going on a business trip, but it sucked leaving family. But I think it made me realize more how much I love them and how much I hate going a day without seeing them.

In the evenings, we tried to get out and go to dinner and see some of DC in the remaining hours of day light. If only we had gone a week later we would have benefitted from switching back to Eastern Standard Time... ah well. So we were able to stop at the Washington Monument, the Capitol, The White House, the WWII Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and the Lincoln Memorial. We were out until 10:30p that night seeing those places. When we were at the White House we witnessed a protest led by Cindy Sheehan mourning the 2000th American death in Iraq. It was pretty intense with all the people chanting and shouting at each other. Both sides were represented so there was some tense moments. Very interesting.

Overall, I had a good time. Learned alot and was very tired every evening. Washington, DC is a very interesting place and I'd like to visit it again with my family. The business trip was fun too, learned alot about a good product and look forward to using it.

live.com and start.com

Microsoft recently announced the launch of a new site called Windows Live. I read about it above on News.com as well as on Google Blogoscoped. Now will somebody please tell me what the difference is between Windows Live and Start.com? Please!? They are practically the same thing, at least thats what it looks like right now. Little portlets you can drag around, customizable content, changing the number of columns, show/hide, etc. Its all the same...whats going on here? Apparently, this page will have more. It already has an email portlet (pretty neat indeed), and supposedly will have an MSN Messenger portlet as well among other things. So where is start.com going to go? Who would use start.com if Windows Live is the souped-up version of start.com?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Halloween Costumes 2005 - Part 2

Well, here they are. The final costumes. They took alittle longer than expected but boy was it worth it. They really look good. I just finished up the second crayon hat last night and fitted the head straps this morning. They are going to get their first test tonight at a local Halloween party at the fire hall. Hope they stand up to my boys!

Basically, to give a quick description of how I made these; I bought some colored fabric and some black iron on interfacing as well as some foam paper for the cone hats. I also purchase some wooden rings that I believe are used in embroidery and just pulled off the clamp.

I started by sewing the colored fabric into pillow cases, although they tapered as they moved away from the opening. This way they wouldn't be too baggy at their shoulders. I then hemmed the bottom to hold the wooden ring that would give the costume its circular shape (like a crayon).

I then printed out copies of the crayola logo and the wavy strips (I am anal about making it really look like the original) and used that as a stencil on the black interfacing. We also cut out the words "RED" and "GREEN" for the back of the costumes. My wife and I ironed it all on and cut out the holes. Looked great. Then onto the hats.

It took a couple of tries with white paper to get the right look but I ended up with a shape I liked and cut it out and super glued it into a cone. Then I cut out a ring to attach to the bottom of the cone and then edged the ring with a vertical piece to give the cone hat that distinctive edge that crayons do. Then just placed a little circular piece at the top of the cone to close it up. Then I super glued an elastic piece from ear to eat and, voila!, it was done!

I took way too long with these, but I am such a perfectionist, its disgusting. But I am sorta proud of these. My wife helped me a ton and was so supportive, just letting me do my thing, giving me great input, and helping where she could (and I'd let her, hehe).

Can't wait to show them off tonight at the party. Then they will be wearing them to the PAETEC Halloween Party next Thursday. I won't be around, I'll be out of town on business in Virgina/DC but my sister-in-law is coming out to Rochester that day to go to the party with the wife and kids. But then next Monday we'll do the real thing and hopefully really haul in some massive amounts of candy with these things!
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 14, 2005

Google Toolbar works with Firefox 1.5 beta

Looks like Google released a new version of the Google Toolbar for Firefox (they blogged about it here). I wanted 1.5 beta AND my google toolbar a couple weeks ago...so I just hacked it. I mean, it actually sounds worse than it was. Just changed the maxVersion level of the plugin to 1.5+ and viola! it works! But maybe I will install the 'official' one that works now. :0)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Halloween Costumes 2005 - Part 1

Well, I have been working every night for the past week on the boys halloween costumes. Tonight I decided to take the evening off to watch my show (Lost on ABC) and relax alittle. Anyways, they are going to be crayons. Red and green. I have spent way too much time on making these things as perfect as I could. I have been sewing, cutting, drawing, stitching, etc and boy is it fun, but tiring. I will definitely try and post pictures of the final costumes when they are finished. I will try and describe how I made them as well, I am pretty impressed with myself. I searched the internet to see if anyone had done something like this before (in the way I wanted them to look) and I did not see anything, so I did it all from ideas my wife and I came up with. We'll see...

Amazing Hand-Eye Coordination (Ikaruga Game)

Check out this video where some guy is controlling a 2 player coin-op game using one hand for one player, and one hand for the other. Give it a couple minutes to stream, google video can take a few minutes to load a video.
Anyways, this isn't just some simple top-down shooter, this is one intense looking game. It really looks pretty fun, actually. Its called Ikaruga (see review here on gamespot.com) and I guess its available for the gamecube.

digg story

Free Downloadable Fonts

Nice find here on Digg. Digg story here; it links to dafont.com which has some really great free fonts. From well known fonts from advertisers, movies and TV shows, to some plain out useful fonts. For example, I'm always on the lookout for some nice mono-spaced fonts. Currently I love BitStream Vera Sans Mono (available on dafont, by the way), since I am coding all the time. But here is a nice list of other mono-spaced fonts for use. Give them a try, I know I will be running them through their paces in Eclipse.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Skipping Verizon Wireless Voicemail Message

Have you ever been annoyed by that default lengthy voicemail message of Verizon Wireless customers you may call? Or possibly even long lengthy annoying voicemail greetings of the customers themselves? Don't fret any longer, there is a solution! When the message begins to play, hit "*" and the message will immediately stop and then you will hear the welcomed "beep" to instruct you to begin your message. Whew!

What a welcomed shortcut this will be, especially for all those housewives calling their husbands when they are late leaving work who conveniently "miss" the call(s). Now they can leave tons more angry voicemails. But I don't know anything about that sort of thing, its just a hypothetical example. ;0)

Oddly enough, I found this out watching Google Current this afternoon. Its a pretty interesting station if you are lucky enough to have it in your area.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

MS Office 12 Beta Screenshot from PDC 05

Office 12 Interface screenshots were released today. Its currently being slashdotted, so you may want to wait a bit before trying. Anyways, they look pretty nice. I like the new way the menus work. Apparently Microsoft is trying to get away from the 'old' hierarchy menus. Hopefully using them will be intuitive. Can't wait to get a hold of this.

Monday, September 12, 2005

MSN and Google in Politics

Over on Scoble's blog he noted how apparently MSN appears to be more conservative and Google more liberal. And to see what he means, plug "failure" into each search engine and see what the top result is in each. Interesting.

For the lazy people, Google's results and MSN results.