Scott Hanselman

Get those pixels working for you

December 3, '09 Comments [56] Posted in Reviews | Tools
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Lots of MonitorsI just can't say enough about multiple monitors. I've had two monitors since 2003 and three since later that same year and have been hooked ever since.

If you're working on a computer I'm convinced you need to fill your field of vision with the work at hand. Working on something important on a 15" monitor is like viewing an eclipse through a pinhole projector. I prefer to stare directly at the sun*!

I was over at Brad Wilson's house yesterday and he mentioned he was going to buy a new 27" computer and needed to get rid of his Dell 30" (3007WFP-HC). Since I freaking LOVE Dell Monitors, I jumped at the chance (after calling my wife and asking her permission) to give myself a Christmas Gift and promptly drove away with a new 30" monitor for $700.

That's insane, you say! That's too much for a monitor! I say, nay nay. Even if it lasts only a year - and it will likely last much longer - that's $2 a day for pure joy and a nice tax deduction.

This brings my collection of Dell Monitors to 4 and my collection of screens to 5. Here's the lay of the land today. I even threw the 7" iMo Mimo Pivot in there for fun.

Screen Resolution

So that's 7130 wide, and roughly 1600 tall in most places. The machine is still running the same two (now obsolete) $75 video cards as when we built the "Coding Horror Ultimate Developer Rig" a few years back.

I'm running just TWO NVidia GeForce 8600 GTS with 256megs each. They are VERY modest cards, in my opinion, but the work nicely and I still have a WEI of 6.4 for Graphics even on this two year old machine.Performance Information and Tools

All you need to run multiple monitors is, ahem, multiple monitors, and a video card (or two) that has more than one connector. I have two cards that each have two DVI connectors. You can use two cards that each have one connector but you'll soon run out of slots on your PC.

If you don't have an extra monitor, maybe you have an extra laptop? You can use your laptop as an extra monitor with MaxiVista.

Get those pixels working for you! Go get another monitor!

 * I'm kidding. Seriously, what's wrong with you? ;)

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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Review: Zeo Personal Sleep Coach

December 2, '09 Comments [21] Posted in Reviews
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imageThere's been jokes for years asking if I sleep. I do tend to stay up late and I get a lot done between 2am and 5am, but I sleep quite nicely, thank you.

However, I've always been fascinated by sleep. How long does it take me to fall asleep and how deep do I sleep? According to my wife I can fall asleep mid-sentence and I have personally slept through no less than three earthquakes.

DSC_0330 by ComputerZenHere's a shot of me being beaten in my sleep by my two sons.

I'm already plugged into other devices like my insulin pump and my blood sugar meter, so I've been used to testing my system and getting a number, then acting on that number.

When I heard about the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach, I knew I needed to check it out. It's basically a fancy clock radio with a headband. The headband has a pad and a number of metal contacts. You wear it - like a heartbeat monitor for your head - while you sleep. It's weird the first day, but meh, you get over it.

The headband recharges in the top cradle of the device, and when it's on you it transmits data back to the base station. There's an SD card slot with data card. You login to the Zeo site and upload the data occasionally.

 myZeo Personal Sleep Coach - Windows Internet Explorer

The site is quite fancy and lets you look at your sleep from a number of dimensions. The Zeo measures how long you are in Light Sleep, Rem Sleep or Deep Sleep. You can see in this chart below that I had an awesome REM night on Friday. This is totally true. I was dreaming up a storm and knew it. When I woke up I was impressed that the Zeo had picked up up. I dreamt for over 3 and a half hours that night, compared to only 90 minutes the previous night.

myZeo Personal Sleep Coach - Windows Internet Explorer (3)

This chart view shows how much time I spent in each phase. notice how it only took a few minutes to fall asleep. I'm known for this and the Zeo also picked up on this as well. I went straight from awake into deep sleep in about 10 minutes.

myZeo Personal Sleep Coach - Windows Internet Explorer (4)

The best part - the part  I most enjoyed - about the Zeo is the SmartWake feature. It's an alarm clock, but instead of waking you up at 8am, for example, you tell it to wake you up near 8am at the best time for you. You ever wake up right in the middle of a dream or right when you're in really deep sleep? SmartWake will watch how you're sleeping and wake you up +/-30 minutes of your preferred time. For me this really worked. It totally woke me up at the right time and I found I awoke more refreshed than usual.

The worst part of the Zeo, really the only bad part for me was that after 5 straight days of wearing the headband it began to "burn" my forehead. These weren't bad, but there were red marks that were significant enough that my wife said "what happened to your head." These weren't just pressure marks but tiny, minor electrical irritation or burns. I've not heard anything about this irritation on the web or on their site, so perhaps I'm just hyper-sensitive to the tiny bit of electricity that powers the sensor. I mention it just because it would prevent me from using Zeo every single day. I'd probably use it only 4 times a week as each day this mark got worse. Your mileage may vary.

UPDATE: Zeo responded in the comments and in a private email, and a few of you in the comments pointed this out as well. The marks after wearing the band are very likely something allergic, not "burns" or electricity related. Here's what Zeo said in a private email, and I think this makes a lot of sense. I'm likely a statistical anomaly, but either way, the marks clear up in a few hours and won't keep me from using the Zeo:

The most probable cause of the irritation is either a dirty sensor pad or acne mechanica.  The headband can get dirty over time due to a build-up of oil, dead skin, sweat, lotions, etc.  Depending on your skin type, this can result in irritation.  If you think you have a dirty headband, we recommend either replacing it or hand washing it with a mild detergent such as Woolite.
With regards to acne mechanica, we consulted with a dermatologist who advised that there is a small percentage of people who get irritations from the normal contact and friction of wearing anything on the head or face.  This can include hats, caps, and even the Zeo headband. We wanted to make sure you were aware of this possibility.

They've also got a Sleep Coach online that will analyze your sleep patterns as well as some questionnaire data and suggest specific ways you can improve your sleep. While using the Zeo was really fascinating and a valuable experience for me, for me it just confirmed that I sleep awesomely.

There's a 30-day risk free trial right now where you can use the Zeo for $19.95. If you keep it it's between $200 and $249 depending on whatever specials they are running. I haven't decided, but since I have no sleep problems and even according to the Zeo itself my "ZQ" showed I do just fine.

That said, just take a look at the site. These folks really dig sleep. The Sleep Info Center is impressive in its scope and I found it a valuable read. I haven't decide if I'll keep it, but I will say this, if you're into analysis or you have any issues sleeping, you can't beat a $19.95 trial. I'm really enjoying the experience.

http://www.myzeo.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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PDC09: ASP.NET MVC 2: Ninjas Still on Fire Black Belt Tips

December 2, '09 Comments [7] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | PDC | Screencasts | Speaking
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PDC09 While I was at PDC last week in Los Angeles I got to present an ASP.NET MVC 2 presentation. Phil has been home playing with his new baby so I was thrilled to be able to give a presentation on his behalf. I gave the talk immediately after the Day 2 keynote a few minutes after they announced that they were giving all attendees custom laptops.

This talk was a (virtually) no slides, just demos talk. I showed some new ASP.NET MVC 2 features, some tips and techniques that aren't/weren't ASP.NET MVC 2 specific. I also mentioned some community projects that are doing some cool things in the ASP.NET MVC space like MVCContrib and MVCTurbine.

You can watch the HD version of the talk using Silverlight Smooth Streaming 1280x720 here or the non-HD version embedded below.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

You can download the talk in these formats:

There are a number of interesting one-off utilities for downloading all the PDC Videos in a particular format. Here's a few of note:

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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Hanselminutes Podcast 189: 2009 Holiday Geek Gift Guide with Richard Campbell

December 2, '09 Comments [0] Posted in Podcast | Reviews
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Chumby My one-hundred-and-eighty-ninth podcast is up. It's the day after Thanksgiving (in the US) and we're making our way deep into the holiday season. Scott chats with Richard Campbell and they each share their best gadget gifts for the geek in your life. I've put a bunch of these on my Amazon Wishlist!

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Links from the Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate aboutTelerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio 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. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

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 188: ASP.NET MVC 2 Beta with Phil Haack

December 2, '09 Comments [0] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | PDC | Podcast
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mvc-logo-landing-page My one-hundred-and-eighty-eighth podcast is up. This last week I was at PDC but just before he left I chatted with Phil Haack about his exciting release of ASP.NET MVC 2 Beta. They chat about the changes, and Scott gets a surprise phone call from The Gu.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate aboutTelerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio 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. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

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.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
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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.