Scott Hanselman

Just exactly HOW powerful is Google? Just WHAT can you find?

March 5, '03 Comments [0] Posted in Web Services | Africa
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A lot of people comment on the top of the my wife and my Wedding Cake.   It has myself (wire-rim glasses, goatee, traditional Scotish Kilt and Sporin) and my wife (with Traditional African Kente Cloth designs and a matching flower arrangement.)

They say, "How ever did you find a cake topper like that?" and I say "I googled for 'Scottish Interracial Cake Topper' and well, the rest is history."  What kills me is, they usually assume I'm kidding.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wireless - An excuse to not pay attention....

March 5, '03 Comments [0] Posted in Musings
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Convenience and portability -- usually touted as the key benefits of wireless technologies -- can also be the biggest drawbacks of wireless in a business environment. Before we rolled out wireless technologies at InfoWorld, meetings were focused on the particular agenda at hand, and although we had our share of boring meetings like everyone else, most people were engaged in the discussions. After all, meetings are only called when teams need to discuss issues face-to-face in an environment where everyone needs to contribute or be aware of other points of view. Now that we have 802.11 in conference rooms and BlackBerrys in use by a number of employees, the quality of the interaction sometimes declines as the people in the room check e-mail, and send and receive instant messages. In some cases, I have been to lunch with BlackBerry users who feel compelled to check and read e-mail while I'm talking to them (I can see your furtive glances under the tablecloth, and I can hear the telltale clicking a mile away). Although wireless technologies promise to link teams more efficiently than ever before, when managed improperly, they can erode the basic fabric of business: human interaction.
[
Chad Dickerson]

Yeah, I'm as guilty of this as anyone...Wireless, Blackberries, all this just enables people who already have a high incidence of ADD to have even....ooo! Shiny!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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MSI2XML and back...converting Windows Installer Databases to XML

March 5, '03 Comments [0] Posted in Web Services | XML | Tools
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http://msi2xml.sourceforge.net/

"The command line tool msi2xml converts Windows Installer Databases (.msi) to text based XML files. The complementary tool xml2msi reconstructs the .msi from the XML file."

Utterly brilliant. [Via Almost Perfect] [Via Joshua Allen.]

Ooooo....that is nice...

The command line tool msi2xml converts Windows Installer Databases (.msi) to text based XML files.
The complementary tool xml2msi reconstructs the .msi from the XML file.

There are several possible uses for msi2xml/xml2msi:

  • Quality assurance: use the human readable XML file to compare changes between different versions of a .msi file.
  • Version control: many version control systems are text based. Store the XML file instead of the .msi file.
  • Automated build systems: using xml2msi, existing installations may be updated with new files, and automatically rebuilt.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Pushing The Limits of Instant Messaging...

March 5, '03 Comments [2] Posted in Web Services
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Well, it's happened.  I've just hit the maximum number of contacts allowed in MSN Messenger - 150.  I hit it naturally, and without trying, and now I'm stuck trying to figure out who to yank.  Current 57 of my close, personal friends are logged in, and 93 are not.  These are real people that I REALLY talk to.  About 10 are non-technical friends, and the other 140 are people I work with (and talk to all the time), MSFTies, RDs, or people I just really like to have hanging around in my System Tray. 

I probably get 15 to 20 random "do you know how to..." chats a day, and I probably produce at least that many a week.  I don't chat idly, there's no time.  I do however revel in the convenience of asking, or being asked, a directed question.  I prefer IM to the phone since IM affords me the luxury of lag time...I can't chat with someone on the phone and pause for 3 minutes after I've been asked a Question..."Oh, I wasn't paying attention to you anymore...could you read back the transcript?" 

How can I stay 3 or even 6 degrees away from the rest of the Connected World if I can't even keep 151 people at my fingertips?  Please, 250 at LEAST. 

It's a sad day for instant messengers everywhere...

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Screen Scraping, Sleep(), Web Services, and the Bible

March 4, '03 Comments [2] Posted in Web Services | Tools
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I'm trying to help my friend out by automating the task of extracting Bible scriptures off her Watchtower Library CD-ROM. Of course, the data's encrypted so I have no choice but to scrape it. She wants to type a list of citations into Word and have those magically be replaced with the actual scriptures they're referencing. No problemo, I said.

When all else fails, build it yourself. So I read all about EnumWindows keybd_event, GetClipboardData, and friends and started hacking away in C++. It worked and it was much faster than the other tools. I ran into the some timing issues that required scattered calls to Sleep throughout the code, though. When I tried running the program on a different machine, it turned out that the time the script had to sleep at different points needed to be increased. Hmm.

Then I realized that when I finally gave my friend this program, I'd have to modify and recompile it to get it to work on her machine. The last thing she needs is for me to give her a copy of Visual Studio. (Besides, that would be illegal and I never break the law.)
[Injektilo]

Does it strike anyone else as ironic/odd that:

  • The Bible CD people felt the need to Encrypt the Bible on their CD?
  • Also, is it a sin to screen-scrape the bible? :)

And lastly, rather than all this machination why not just call a Bible Web Service?  The wisdom of the ages is just floating out there in the cloud, right?

Check out the programmable Bible: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/106/43.0.html
and more importantly http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/share/services/api/.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.