Scott Hanselman

Zero to Three Month Baby Ultimate Tools List

January 12, '06 Comments [12] Posted in Africa | Bugs | Parenting | Tools | Z
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HappyZ1Z is 6 weeks old now, heading towards seven. He's certainly a much more interesting person now and getting more interesting every day.

Folks who think they know me ask questions like, "Does he have a blog? Did you register ComputerZ.net? Where's his pocket-protector? Is his GPS-enabled?" I'm actually a little more pragmatic than my friends may think. I want Z to be much more than the sum of his parents. I want him to make mud pies and put bugs in jars and hike. If he wants to code, great. Hopefully he'll spend him life not in front of a screen. This means I will be a more outdoorsy person (like my dad) so that he might find more balance in his life than I have found (so far) in mine. I want him to be comfortable in Portland, New York or Bulawayo. I want him to be a flexible and competent citizen of the world. I hope I have the tools to turn him into a interesting, non-neurotic individual.

Many of you have mentioned that you've either just had a child or are expecting. Many others with kid experience kindly offered me advice. Some I took, some I discarded. Here's some tools (and books and techniques and what-not) that we've found useful in this, the "fourth trimester" (While he's 0-3 months.)

Books

Equipment

  • BabyBjorn - This was recommended by many and while its a little spendy, it's worth it. It's expandable and will grow with him. I carry him around the house happily and he tends to sleep right on my chest after a few minutes of walking.
  • Nojo Baby Sling - More flexible and soft than the BabyBjorn, this carrier lets you hold the baby in about six different positions and also allows Mom to breast-feed while he's in the sling.
  • Sony Baby Monitor - I tried and took back a number of Baby Monitors and this one was the cheapest and had the best sound quality. The receiver is also rechargable and waterproof.
  • Diaper Genie - Makes poo disappear. Yay!
  • Graco Travel System - This combination car seat, car seat mount (LATCH), and stroller (pram) is a winner. Complex to initially assemble, but a snap to use. Wife Acceptance Factor is high and it will grow with him.
  • Boudreaux's Butt Paste - Great stuff, helps his tushy not be red. He hasn't had diaper rash yet.
  • Bouncer - I knew I'd forgotten one. JasonF reminded me about the bouncy seat. Z digs it very much. However, I'm thinking the swing, while huge, might be better.
  • AVENT ISIS iQ Duo - This is a great breast pump. We did have a blown power supply early on, but their support was great. What's really significant about this pump is that is has only one button. You pump "manually" like a standard manually pump and it records and watches your rhythm. When you find a rhythm you like, you just press the one button and it continues automatically what you did manually. Amazing. It's the iPod of Breast Pumps, if there can be such a thing.

Other Tips

  • Boobs - It's good to have at least two of these. Man-boobs don't count. We're fortunate enough that breast-feeding is going well and I think Z will be better for it.
  • Patience - Sometimes he just needs to cry to release stress. If he's fed, he's dry, he's healthy, he's slept, maybe he's just releasing stress.
  • Routine - We figured this out early. Around 8pm we start the house winding down. We turn down the lights, turn on some music and I give Z a bath. We feed him and put him down. He's 6 weeks old and will sleep from 9 to almost 1am. He feeds then, and will sleep until 4 or 5. Feed again and he's down until 9-10am. For us, this equals success. Folks always ask if your baby sleeps through the night. As far as I'm concerned we've got that now, it's just that the night is 4 hours long. :) I don't expect him to sleep for 6 hours straight for a few months.
  • Multilingual - Mo is already chatting with Z in Ndebele (Zimbabwe's Zulu dialect) and I'm hoping to include Spanish as well when it's time. Check out Milind's FAQ on raising polyglots.
  • Swaddling - When he was in the womb he was swaddled 24 hours a day. If we swaddle him 6-10 hours a day, he's very comfortable and sleeps much better. We swaddle him while he sleeps and he is less likely to wake himself up by bonking his own head.
  • Tummy Time - We let him chill and move around on his tummy for a a while every day, the intent being to avoid having him on his back too long and to build neck muscles. Seems to be working, he's starting to hold his own (giant) head up.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled technical blog.

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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Paving my machine for a fresh 2006

January 12, '06 Comments [6] Posted in ASP.NET | Ruby | Watir | Subversion | Tools
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Before Start MenuBefore DesktopCrap. I had to pave (reformat, start over, reimage, toss) my machine yesterday. After eighteen months of increasing Windows arthritis, it was getting unbearable. At one point I was unable to get on wireless and when I did, I couldn't browse. It was like the registry got the flesh-eating virus and it was moving fast.

So, I imaged the drive ASAP (Thanks TrueImage!) and went to talk to Corillian IT. They formatted and re-ghosted my IBM T42 back to the default Corillian T42 Developer Image. I followed Omar's flattening tips, which were well-timed. The Office 2003 Save My Settings Wizard is pure gold and so few people know about it. You likely have this on your machine now, under Office 2003 Tools.

Eventually I'll add back everything in my Tools List, including all the add-ins and Explorer integration stuff I like, but first I needed to get my system back to a state that I call "marginally useful." Here's the things I installed yesterday before I found myself productive. Yes, I likely forgot something important, but these other tools will trickle back in as I realize I need them.

The images to the right there are my "Before" Desktop and Start Menu. Here's what I installed on my fresh "new" system before the machine was usable.

  • Command Prompt Here
  • Consolas (the Vista Command Prompt Font) and changed my command prompt to use Kermit Green on Black and 16 pt font.
  • Plugins for GDS to index ZIP files, etc.
  • Ruby, Watir
  • SlickRun Beta
  • PureText
  • WindowClippings
  • LinkedIn Toolbar (for the Anagram-style address grabbing)
  • Plaxo
  • Mono 1.1.13 for Windows
  • GetRight Pro
  • iTunes
  • del.icio.us integration with FireFox (This FireFox extension is brilliant. More on del.icio.us soon.
  • Magnifixer
  • Foxit PDF Reader
  • BlogJet
  • TrueCrypt
  • SmartFTP
  • EFax
  • Paint.net
  • At this point, my main system is pretty usable for day-to-day tasks. Eventually I'll get my tools back on in an on-demand fashion. Not bad. Elapsed time was about 3 hours from the restoring of the base Windows XP Pro OS image to this point. I did also leave the machine on over night to get my FolderShare shares re-synced.

    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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    Hanselminutes Podcast 1

    January 11, '06 Comments [22] Posted in ASP.NET | Reviews | Podcast | XML | Bugs | Tools
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    HanselminutesI've started a Podcast with the expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple.

    Avoid wasting the listener's time. 

    • I've said that podcasting sucks before, so it's my goal that this not suck. Carl has done a great job with the production and the quality of the sound and editing is first rate. However, this isn't .NET Rocks, nor is it the Hanselhour. The first show is a little long for my taste. I'd like to get them to ~30 minutes, which is 15-20 if you listen fast, and full of content.
    • This podcast will have similar content as my blog - gadgets, obscure bugs that everyone hits, software development discussion, trends, techniques. It'll have a high "content/crap" ratio. The sponsors have a short blurb at the beginning and at the midpoint, and the sponsors are pertinent to the technology. There will also be a partial transcript of the month's shows printed in the .NET Developer's Journal magazine.
    • I recommend you listen to it in double speed to make good use of your time. Winamp is a free MP3 player known for it's flexiblity with playbackspeed. It could also be a good commute listen, or something you listen too while you're coding or eating lunch.
    • Each show will include a number of links, and all those links will be posted along with the show on the site. There were 15 sites mentioned in this first episode, some planned, some not.
    • The basic MP3 feed is here, and the iPod friendly one is here. There's a number of other ways you can get it (streaming, straight download, etc) that are all up on the site just below the fold. I use iTunes, myself, to listen to most podcasts, but I also use FeedDemon and it's built in support. IPodder is also a nice, free, client.
    • I have, and will, also include the enclosures to this feed you're reading, so if you're already subscribed to ComputerZen and you're not interested in cluttering your life with another feed, you have the choice to get the 'cast as well.
    • If there's a topic you'd like to hear, perhaps one that is better spoken than presented on a blog, or a great tool you can't live without, contact me and I'll get it in the queue!

    I hope it doesn't suck. Enjoy.

    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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    egoSurfing

    January 10, '06 Comments [3] Posted in Musings | Tools
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    EgosurfingThis was sent to me by David Totzke James Bogosian. It's really just a page ranking system that we've seen over the last 5 to 8 years. There are many search engine ranking tools that tell you what results page you end up on.

    However, I haven't seen one that actually calculates (via some Blogshares-style numeric voodoo) your "ego."

    The AJAX-y implementation and the speedometer are actually pretty slick, and I spent some time taking it apart.

    Here's mine. I notice that Dave Winer and Martin Fowler are in there also. Either way, this doesn't bode well for me. Looks like I need to check my fat ego! Here's a few other fun ones: Chris Pirillo, Greg Hughes, Chris Sells, and Rory. Enjoy!

    P.S. Just in case you have any idea that this isn't complete nonsense, notice that I'm only one line down from "blackmarketkittens.com."

    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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    SQL 2005 Create XML Schema Collection weirdness

    January 10, '06 Comments [3] Posted in XML
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    SQL 2005 XML CollectionsThis is weird, and while I'm an XML wonk, I haven't been a SQL wonk in a while. I created a new column in a database with the new SQL 2005 XML type. Then I went to the W3C XHTML page and copy/pasted the XSD for XHTML Strict. Since the syntax is

    CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION NorthwindCollection AS 'your xml schema here'

    I needed to escape the quotes, so I converted all ' to '' via a selection-based replace. So then I had:

    Use Northwind;
    CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION NorthwindCollection AS
    '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <xs:schema version="1.0" xml:lang="en"
        xmlns:xs="
    http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
        targetNamespace="
    http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
        xmlns="
    http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
        xmlns:xml="
    http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace"
        elementFormDefault="qualified">
        ...etc...lots more schema here...
    '

    But I got this error:

    Msg 2206, Level 16, State 1, Line 3
    Namespace prefix 'xml' can only be associated with the URI 'http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace' and this URI cannot be used with other prefixes.

    Which is weird, because the prefix IS obviously associated with the correct namespace and used correctly in the xml:lang attribute on the root node. Here's where it gets weird. If you REMOVE the xmlns:xml line from the ordinarily correct schema, it works fine and is added to SQL 2005's types section as a value XML Schema Collection. (see image)

    It appears that this namespace is hard-coded inside the SQL 2005 somewhere along with the xml: prefix.

    UPDATE: The reserved prefix is documented, but a smidge buried for my taste. Thanks to Harry for the pointer. I'm still not clear on why the namespace itself has to be removed from the document.

    Use Northwind;
    CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION NorthwindCollection AS
    '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <xs:schema version="1.0" xml:lang="en"
        xmlns:xs="
    http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
        targetNamespace="
    http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
        xmlns="
    http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
        xmlns:xml="
    http://www.w3.org/XML/1998/namespace"
        elementFormDefault="qualified">
        ...etc...lots more schema here...
    '

    I have no conclusion here (yet) or idea why this works this way, but one day someone may need to get the XHTML schema into SQL Server to store notes or something for a content management system and this post may help them. I'll update it as I get more information or as I become less ignorant.

    Now playing: Goapele - Intro

    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.