Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pictures from Whistler

More can be found here. More pictures coming as soon as I find the disposable camera we used on the slopes.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

SnTT - Turning off the agent auto run feature

You should have known I wouldn't be able to shut up that easily. :-P

I'm working on some resource reservations problems and have been modifying scheduled agents and they run as soon as they are saved. This is standard Domino behavior, but starting in Domino 7.0 you can turn this off:

Amgr_SkipPriorDailyScheduledRuns = 1

Thanks to Julie Kadashevich for following up on this after Lotusphere last year.

Technorati tags: ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

going dark for a while

I'm sorting out some major life changes so I'm taking a break from blogging for a while. I really don't want to discuss what's going on right now, after I get things sorted I'll share.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Back from Whistler

Last week I was in Whistler, BC on a ski trip. It rained some, snowed some, and the conditions were just okay. We attended a martini party, paying $20 apiece to get in, which got us nothing, then another $12 apiece for the worst martinis either of us had ever had. So for $64 we had two martinis. It's apparent this is a for-profit event now.

We attended a comedy show one evening featuring a lesbian comic I had never heard of. She was hysterical! Unfortunately we were forced to endure a horrible drag queen doing a Newlywed Game on stage. I don't understand why some people think every gay event has to have drag queens. I really think women dressed as men are icky.

There was also a banquet, which featured a performance by The Alexa Brothers from Cirque du Soleil. Now that was simply amazing. Now I have to go to Las Vegas and see them live. There were also three other performers who wandered the crowd. One was a gymnast and contortionist who did all sorts of cool things, another was a comic character with a huge overstuffed butt who did botched versions of the gymnast's tumbling, and the last was a disheveled looking clown type in a suit who followed people around and heckled them. It was a lot of fun.

Until the drag show started. The same horrible drag queen from before, only this time he was lip synching to some screechy song that was being played so loud my ears were distorting. That was followed by The Alexa Brothers (did I say they were amazing?) and then... a burlesque show! I wonder who planned that one. 800 gay men in the audience and there are a bunch of women on stage stripping. It was like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

On to the skiing. I love skiing, and I like to think I ski well. Steep doesn't bother me much, and I rarely feel out of control when I'm on a groomed surface. Even ice doesn't phase me much. The only things I don't like are powder, big bumps, and trees. Despite this I had two seriously scary experiences.

The first was on Tuesday. My partner and I had an all day lesson with a group of about 6 people, and we learned a lot of the little things that help make you better. On the last run of the day we were skiing a narrow traverse down to the Big Red Express, which we would ride back to the top of the mountain. There was a low road, about 20 feet below and there were trees along the hill between the two roads. The run was an easy green, but it was full of newbies who were scared out of their minds and acting accordingly: skiing in wedges, arms stuck straight out, taking up more space than you ever would have thought possible.

I was skiing along the edge of the run, making short quick turns to control my speed and keep out of the way of the freakazoids blocking the main run. Suddenly one of my skis caught a chunk of ice, came off, and I went hurtling off the side of the run. Straight toward a tree. The next few seconds took about 3 years. I heard myself yell "not the damned tree!" I slid, flipped, somehow managed to keep from hitting my head, and ended up on my right shoulder on the low road. The world was still spinning as someone was yelling from above, asking if I was hurt. I was shaken but thankfully okay. As scary as that was, the next was even worse.

The WinterPRIDE folks arranged for daily guides. People would meet at a central location on the mountain du jour (it alternated between Whistler and Blackcomb), split up by ability levels, then spend the day skiing (or boarding) with a guide. Friday was the first day we joined the guided group and we had a good time, so we decided to join the same guide for our last day skiing on Saturday.

We did the first warm up run off the Symphony Express, then went back up the same lift and regrouped at the top. The guide, Michael, asked "who wants to do trees". Two out of 8 people said yes immediately. The rest of us looked around at each other with terror in our eyes, and I finally said I didn't want to and asked to be pointed toward the groomed run that would intersect with wherever they were going. Then the rest chimed in with their concerns.

Let me take a moment to explain where we are at this point. The top of Whistler mountain is accessed by two lifts, Symphony and Harmony. We were above the tree line in a big bowl that had a trail groomed through it, but it's largely left intact for people to just ski wherever they want. I will also point out that I typically ski steep terrain and my skis are shaped accordingly. They're not made for powder or tree skiing. They're made for speed and carving, with wide tips and tails and a narrow waist. Powder skis are wider throughout to provide more surface area so you can "float" through the snow.

After we all shot down the tree idea, the guide said "oh well, let's just go over this way". He was taking us through the untracked snow, which consisted of about 14" of fresh powder over the old base. As we skiied off the trail my skis kept trying to carve and I had to fight to keep them out of the snow. For a while I could see the groomed trail below us and tracks of other people who had skiied to it, so I didn't freak out. We kept going and going, and soon the groomed trail was hidden behind the trees. When we got to where we would have to ski out the only option was through the trees.

What ensued was about 25 minutes of hellish mayhem, with at least one member of our group down at any given time. I fell twice, once when I hit an unexpected bump and was launched face first into a snow drift, testing the forward release on my bindings (which thankfully worked), and another when I dodged someone who had fallen, went out of control, and fell into a tree well.

That trip through the trees was the most harrowing ski experience I have ever had, and I've had some doozies. I have since dubbed our guide "Michael the Death Guide". He didn't see the humor in it, possibly because there was none.

The new Lotus SMB site

While I was out of the country Lotus launched a new SMB site. The nerve of some people. Alan Lepofsky blogged about it, so I took a look. And I was tremendously disappointed. The navigation was awkward, it was visually cluttered, links with the same name went to different places... it was just a mess. Rather than kvetch on Alan's blog I just expressed my lack of enthusiasm and was going to leave it at that.

Then Alan got all customer-focused on me and asked the team responsible for the site to contact me. And sure enough, I got an e-mail from the Senior Manager of SMB Marketing asking for constructive criticism about the newly launched site. I don't know whether my input will result in any changes (and I'm not an egomaniac like The Freeman), but it was an extremely surprising turn of events. It was like a trip back to the Usability Labs at Lotusphere: I was heard!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Whistler, BC and kitchen disasters

First there was the annual trek to the Lake Tahoe timeshare, then I was home a week. Then there was Lotusphere, and I've been home a week. Now that I've not had sufficient time to recover from either of the previous two trips, it's off to the third: Whistler, BC. This is another ski trip specifically to coincide with the WinterPRIDE event. If you're there and see me, say hi. :-)

This morning was spent doing all those tedious things that you just have to do before you go on vacation. This afternoon I found sufficient time to carve a nice chunk off my thumb, using a ceramic-bladed mini mandoline.

What was I doing with this miniature instrument of torture? I'm very much a foodie and love to cook. Since we're going to be gone next week and things have been crazy lately I decided to fix a nice romantic dinner. The menu:

Spinach salad with raspberry honey glazed cashews and crispy fried onions served with a warm bacon dressing

Filet mignon with a horseradish and ginger crust
Jicama, radish and jalapeno cole slaw with a champagne vinegar dressing
Jasmine rice with saffron, English peas and diced carrots

Blueberry gelee with fresh blueberries, balsamic vinegar glaze, and Grand Marnier whipped cream

I even got heart-shaped foil cups for the dessert! I was using the mandoline to slice the radishes for the slaw. I couldn't find the guard, so I was slicing the radishes on the mandoline until I got nervous, then using the back edge of a kitchen knife to push the radishes against the mandoline blade to do the rest of the slicing. On the last slice of the last radish, the kitchen knife slipped off the radish and my thumb hit the mandoline blade.

That's not the worst part of all this. I was prepping the filets when my partner came into the kitchen and asked what I was doing. He had been asleep (he works nights) and missed the thumb drama. I told him, and he reminded me that we are going out to dinner with friends tonight.

It's all about the communication, people. Enjoy the silence next week. :-)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Comment problems

Blogger is having a problem with comments on a subset of blogs. There is no ETA for a fix yet. There is, however, an ETA for me moving my blog to Domino: February 17th.

UPDATE: And of course Blogger fixed it about 2 minutes after I posted this. I'll still be moving my blog to Domino in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Moving toward the 3D Internet

Computerworld had an article today about IBM updating its research image. Included in that was a link to some work IBM has done with Second Life and Computer City in creating a 3D online store. When executives talked about Second Life during the Lotusphere 2007 OGS I was admittedly skeptical. I'm still not convinced there's much meat on that bone for business end users, but it could be interesting for B2C interactions.

While this is going on Microsoft hasn't been standing still. They recently recently launched WinFX as .Net 3.0 and Avalon as Windows Presentation Framework (WPF). Together these allow developers to code web sites that do both 2D and 3D rendering on the Internet, and they also have people working on 3D stores. They also have another set of technologies to provide 3D visualization on the Internet using spatial mapping. If you haven't seen it yet, check out Photosynth.

I don't know where any of this might lead but it is very, very interesting.

Do you really know I'm me?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

  • There are 2,293,260 people in the U.S. with the first name Charles.
  • Statistically the 9th most popular first name.
  • 99.61 percent of people with the first name Charles are male.
  • There are 698,927 people in the U.S. with the last name Robinson.
  • Statistically the 20th most popular last name.