Microsoft’s Settled for Relevance

This post summarizes my thoughts on Nadella’s Microsoft very nicely.

When OneDrive gets provider-side encryption and an API that puts it on par with Dropbox… the war is really on.

Sick

I really don’t like being sick. Nevertheless, the seasonal sinus fairy came to visit.

My poor liver.

A Reminder from the Terminal Cow

This morning, my terminal cow had to remind me of something fundamental.

 ___________________________________ 
/ You have literary talent that you \
\ should take pains to develop.     /
 ----------------------------------- 
        \   ^__^
         \  (oo)\_______
            (__)\       )\/\
                ||----w |
                ||     ||

URL Update

I’ve been doing a pretty bad job of updating this blog. Part of the reason is that I wanted to update the URL to move the blog to the root. I finally got around to doing that today. It’s not that painful, so I don’t know why I waited so long to do it.

In the meantime, I’ll start off by sharing an interesting WordPress trick that I picked up here. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to stop spambots from registering on this site and my many other WordPress sites. I may have finally figured out a way to do that. I just implemented it. We’ll see how well it works.

The trick is to add the following block of code to your .htaccess file in the root of your WordPress installation.

# BEGIN ANTISPAMBLOG REGISTRATION
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} POST
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} .wp-signup.php*
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !.galaxycow.com. [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^$
RewriteRule (.*) http://die-spammers.com/ [R=301,L]

Of course, you need to change “galaxycow.com” in the above code to reflect what your site is using.

We’ll see how well it works. Thanks to D’Arcy Norman for that neat trick.

A Single Kick

This past weekend I had the honor of participating in the Alabama State Games‘ Taekwondo competition. This is the third year for my son to participate in this particular tournament. It was my second. I started TKD in November of 2011 and have advanced at a moderate pace to a blue belt with a red stripe.

Originally, I started TKD as part of my effort to lose 120 lbs. and get my health back. It has assisted in the loss of 80 of those lbs. (and I’ve been stuck there for quite a while, unfortunately, but that’s another story). Now the love of TKD has taken me over and I thoroughly enjoy it for many other reasons. I especially enjoy the sparring competition. I’m not very good at it, but I still enjoy it.

I signed up to the competition as a green belt. I downgraded myself just so I could feel better about it, yeah. What of it? My son entered as a blue belt (he is a red belt in class). I had a pretty good inkling that I would fight one of my classmates who is also a green belt. That worried me a little bit. He’s taller than I am and when I fight, taller people are the bane of my existence. They’re hard for shorter people to fight. You have to be able to move/dodge and out-fake them quite a bit and that’s just not something I’m good at.

This classmate had acquired an annoying new skill that drives me crazy when fighting taller people. The defensive side kick posture plagues me. I spent all week trying to figure out what to do about it. When we got there… he didn’t use it. Not at all.

Now that I’ve set the stage, here’s what I remember of the fight.

My coach was one of our black belt classmates who actually taught him the defensive side kick posture (and yeah, he uses it on me in class, damn him). My opponent’s coach was, shockingly enough, my best friend… who is also a black belt in our class. I actually didn’t realize it was her until after round 1 was over.

Anyway, round 1 begins and I launch into this guy with a fast kick. He immediately charges me with a front push kick and brawls me out of bounds. I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting the defensive side kick. I did not expect him to go with a gate crash style of offense. That shock played all through the first round and I think I may have scored 1 point. I went out of bounds twice. If I went out of bounds again, I would start losing points. That’s no good at all. Inbetween the rounds, my coach asked me what was wrong. He mentioned that he’s doing the same thing every time – a front push kick and leaving himself open.

It was about this time that I realized my best friend was coaching my opponent. I was a little flabbergasted at this. She knew all of my tricks (what few tricks I had) because she worked with me a lot in class and we’ve spent a lot of time discussing tactics in matches. She knows what I’m thinking. This can’t be good. It’ll either make or break me. At first I was a little ticked, then I realized… wait… she’s probably in a worse position because she’s conflicted about what to give away to my opponent about what I’m doing.

The second round begins and he gate crashes me again. This time he brawls me out to the side of the mat and one of the few things that I remember from this fight is that I felt my foot hit the very edge of the mat. I could tell that if I didn’t lock my leg and strengthen up, I was going out for that third time. I refused to let it happen. I puffed up and pushed myself off to the side to get away from him. On the way out I did a switch roundhouse or something… I think… and started to make up the point deficit.

By the end of the second round I wasn’t as behind as I thought. I could do this. I sat down and expected them to call the fight. I was sure I had lost. However I was quite surprised to discover we were going for a third round. This shocked my friend/opponent as well. He told me later that he used all of his energy in the first and second rounds and had no gas left for a third. I was the opposite. I decided to capitalize on this chance to take the fight back to him.

Again my coach warns me about the front push kick and the gate crashing tactics. I’m getting wise to it. I’m not dealing with it perfectly, but I was getting him off me more effectively. The third round starts and I managed… somehow… to launch into him enough to completely tie the score at 22-22.

That means an overtime round.

In Olympic WTF sparring rules, an overtime round means whoever lands the first scoring kick wins. I went to the side of the ring. My coach stands in front of me and smiles. I didn’t sit down.

“Aren’t you going to sit down?” he asked.

“Nope.”

I was pacing side to side to keep my heart rate up. I wanted to get in there and finish this so bad I could taste it.

“Alright,” he said. “Here’s what’s going to happen. The ref is going to say begin and he’s going to charge you with a front push kick. Get out of his way and get him back. Either get out of his way or front push kick him first.”

“Done.”

The ref called us back to the ring. I waited patiently. The ref said begin. Sure enough, my coach had called the shot. He drives forward with a front push kick. I did the same thing. I went forward into his kick with my own front push kick. Apparently we made contact at the same time – or enough of the same time to confuse the judges on who landed the kick. I remember my right leg going down to the mat and my brain asked… “Is this match over? No one is calling it.” Quickly, I did a switch roundhouse and tagged him with my left leg.

Bingo. That was the kick they scored.

In the end, I won the match. Somehow.

It was exciting. It was stressful. It was rewarding. I bowed to my friend, shook his hand and hugged him tight. He’s a great guy and he fought hard. He told me later he wanted to give the kids a good fight to watch. He knew that if he had done the defensive side kick it wouldn’t have been exciting at all. I was going to try to make it exciting – I had spent all week preparing for it. In the end it was the wrong thing. I finally starting to develop enough instincts to bend the match in my favor when I need to.

It was a great, great experience.

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Introducing Windows Red: A serious plan to fix Windows 8 | Microsoft windows – InfoWorld

Introducing Windows Red: A serious plan to fix Windows 8 | Microsoft windows – InfoWorld

This is an interesting article, but it still addresses the overall cosmetic flaws with Windows. Windows has had much more fundamental flaws since the days of Windows 3.11 that still go unfixed. I’ll list a few of them here. These flaws prevent me from ever using Windows again as my main personal operating system and if you knew better, you’d feel the same way.

  1. File system events do not work properly.
  2. The concept of application installations (and all the garbage that comes with it – DLL’s and the like) is completely broken.
  3. The concept of drivers, both signed and unsigned, is broken.
  4. Windows does a really shitty job at supporting standards (calendaring, email, instant messaging… I’m looking at you).
  5. NTFS needs to advance beyond its current incarnation. (To be fair, HFS+ does too).
  6. Windows is far, far too fat. It used to be bloated before. Now it’s just ridiculous.

Now let’s look at some of the more recent destruction with Windows that really takes this to a whole new level. Here I’ll rope in some other items that really irritate me.

  1. Office 2013 is really, really broken. The file formats issue was a real problem in Office 2010. Now it’s just a disaster. The amount of people calling me because documents do not open in different versions of Office is absolutely ridiculous.
  2. The Office server ecosystem is in a state that requires your entire enterprise to move to the same versions/releases of Office and servers all at once to support full functionality. I have yet to meet a single enterprise (Microsoft’s own included!) that can support this type of migration and arrangement. This isn’t realistic and I don’t understand why Microsoft continues to shrug it off.
  3. The Microsoft account ecosystem is a disaster. Have you tried telling Office 2013 that you have an Office 365 account AND a Microsoft account? Good luck with that.
  4. On the server side, it’s way… WAY too hard and time consuming to actually implement functionality. The amount of knobs and switches you have to tweak to make something work on EVERY server is insane.

I continue to be baffled as to why anyone puts up with this… or spend money on it.

2013 Goals

Here’s a few of my 2013 resolutions… er, goals, I mean.

  • Write more.
  • Laugh more.
  • Lose 45 more lbs. (and then I’m done) and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Earn a blue belt.
  • Share more.
  • Get back into photography and art.
  • See more shows.
  • Live more.
  • Write an iOS app.
  • Complete a book/story and publish it.
  • Learn more, especially around code.

Not too bad for goals, no?

What are yours?

Six years old!?

I can hardly believe it, but this blog is six years old. That’s pretty crazy. I suppose one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to blog more… but we all know how that goes. I will promise to try. How about that?

Communism on MacBreak Weekly

This morning on the way in to work, I was listening to the MacBreak Weekly episode 283 entitled, “Author, Author.”

I had always suspected Leo Laporte was smoking crack. Now there is no doubt. I don’t know if I can ever listen to him again. Maybe if I take a little break I will be able to circle back around to it.

In other news, I declared podcast bankruptcy and erased about 7gb of podcasts I will not have time to consume.

Bah, I hate it when people use the word “consume” like I just did.

An Update on Physical Health

It has been a long time since I took a few moments to update the notes on my physical health.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and put on a CPAP machine. The doctor thinks it’s because I am fat. That is probably true. The CPAP is meant to be a stopgap until I can get my weight problem under control. The CPAP has been a godsend to my quality of life. It has been responsible for so many improvements from blood pressure to energy level that I highly recommend a sleep study for everyone. Seriously. So many issues from headaches, narcolepsy, blood pressure, acid reflux and mood have improved dramatically.

This has empowered me to get on an exercise regimen. For two years now I have really not committed to solving this problem. It has been harder than quitting smoking for me. I have yo-yo’d for two years on the top 10 lbs. Of my weight. I am tired of it and have made tremendous changes in what I eat and how much I eat. I have started exercising fanatically and using livestrong.com to track my calories. I am now back to -10 lbs. From my starting point.

Today I encouraged myself by putting on a pair of pants that haven’t fit me for years. Not only do they fit, they are practically falling off of me.

If I can do this and really get down -130 total lbs., I will be the shit. It is extremely hard to modify my old habits that I have had for 24 years, but the fact is I just need to get off my ass and stop eating stupid crap.

So far it is working. We will see if it continues.

No, we won’t. It will continue, period.

It will.