nice! package suggestions for missing commands

For all I know this has been around for awhile and I’ve just not run into it before, but on my Ubuntu 9.10 VM:



a little late for 2009 Daylight Saving Time fixes, isn’t it?

We’re around 90% through the year, after all 😉



It’s nice to see some places doing the smart thing (IMHO) and dropping DST.

Argentina Standard Time:
Removes DST for 2010 and later years.

W. Australia Standard Time:
Removes DST for 2010 and later years.

Seemed a little odd to me that Georgia decided to hop forward an hour permanently, though.

Georgian Standard Time:
Changes the display name and time zone bias from UTC+3 to UTC+4.

House of Contagious, how may we infect you?

The current tally for the women of the house stands at:

  • Jessica: diagnosed at the Duke Urgent Care place last night with H1N1
  • Sarah: diagnosed earlier with Pink Eye
  • Caroline: diagnosed earlier with Hand, Foot, Mouth

McCotter has a bit of a cough and I’ve got a cough and sort throat, but otherwise we’re fine.  Not sure how long it’ll stay that way with the cooties flying around the house, though 🙂

What’s pinned to your Win7 taskbar?

I think it’d be interesting to hear what others have pinned to theirs, so I’m going to start with what I have pinned to mine:


I think it’s more interesting than something like desktop icons because there’s typically much less room for pinning things than the desktop.

In left-to-right order:

  • Main IDE since what I’m working on these days focuses mainly around the Microsoft stack: ASP.NET web sites, C# libraries and apps, some Silverlight, etc.
  • Cream
    • My current-favorite vim variant, mainly because it’s the easiest I’ve found in letting me switch from “vi mode” (classic vi/vim behavior – they call it expert mode) and “normal mode” (where things like ctrl-a, ctrl-c, ctrl-v, etc. all work like you’d expect in a normal Windows-based editor).
  • SQL Server Management Studio 2008
    • Still my go-to tool for most of my database design/development.  I still start from developing my schema first and push that through linq-to-sql or linq-to-entities to the app code. EF4 supports domain-first, but I probably still would do the schema manually at least for while.
  • LINQPad
    • I purchased the Autocompletion, too – I use LINQPad for my ad-hoc queries during development, staging, and on my production instances too. 
    • I mainly find it faster to be able to do things like from row in Table where row.SomeOtherTable.SomeValue == 3 select new { row, row.AnotherTable } or whatever rather than manually write out the inner join’s.  On occasion I’ll use it to generate a sql statement for me my writing out the linq or lambda-based version. 
    • Since it doesn’t (yet) export to Excel natively, I still get ad-hoc spreadsheets by having it generate the sql for me (in the cases where it’s faster/easier, usually if there’s 3 or more tables involved or weird grouping or whatever) and then hop to SSMS, run the sql there, and have it do the “Save Results As” to CSV thing.
  • Outlook 2007
    • My personal mail is through gmail, but work is on Exchange, so I added my gmail account via IMAP to Outlook as well so I do both through Outlook most of the time.  Much easier for adding screen shots to emails, although I’m guessing there are extensions/addons/scripts to make the gmail email compose support just pasting an image from your clipboard as well.
  • OneNote 2007
    • I’m constantly keeping little notes and tracking things (personal and for work).  Longer-term things I typically do through Google docs, but my short-term work around is in a few OneNote notebooks.  Ages back I would have just kept things in a new vi or notepad process, but it’s much nicer to have a place that doesn’t need to be (explicitly) saved.  Probably no real need to pin it, but I find Win+9 (9th item on my taskbar) easier than Win+Shift+N for launching it – Win+N is still what I use for a new Unfiled note, though.
  • Royal TS
    • I TS in to various machines (development, staging, production environments for the most part) through out the day, and I’ve finally found the Terminal Services client I’d always been waiting for :)  On top of that, Stefan Koell, the developer, has been crazy responsive to feedback, so even the tiny things I had questions about or problems with he jumped right on.  Awesome app.
  • VirtualBox 3.0
    • Since it’s Win7 on the laptop, Hyper-V is out.  I’ve used VMWare in the past as well, just decided when VirtualBox 3.0 came out to force myself to try it out.  I do some TFS 2005 testing and Linux development work in VM’s (Win2k3, Ubuntu) with it.  The only thing that I’ve noticed it doesn’t support that Hyper-V did was snapshotting while the VM is running, but I almost never do that anyway, I like taking snapshots with the machine off, so I didn’t really mind that.


    There you go!

    Admittedly, this is my primary development machine so it skews that way for what’s pinned (I pin Quake Live on a different machine).

    Ok, now it’s your turn.  If you’re reading this, please make a blog post (or whatever mechanism you want, N different twitter updates) for what you have pinned and either add a comment here or email me about it.  If you’re not running Win7 or just chose not to customize what’s pinned, feel free to instead cover desktop icons (or whatever the OSX equiv is for launching apps).

    I’m looking forward to seeing what others have pinned!

    Happy 3rd Birthday, McCotter!

    Here’s the picture taken just before we went out Trick-or-Treat’ing.  He ended up falling face-first down the brick stairs at the very first house, so he was a pretty bloody Buzz during most of the trip (I was worried that he’d lose too much blood from the cut on his nose, but it stopped eventually).  Of course, he was a trooper and kept going and trick-or-treating just fine. 🙂

    He’s very silly – just look at him funny and he’ll start laughing, and he’s very ticklish!

    The sad part is he got up at 2am (almost 4 hours ago) and when I went into his room to settle him down and put him back to bed, I totally forgot to tell him Happy Birthday!  I’ll have to make sure to do it when he gets up again in about an hour 🙂


    Happy Birthday!

    note to self – it’s TRIZ

    Many years ago, I read an article about this engineering approach that came out of Russia that I found fascinating – at the 50k view, it took engineering problems and tried to restate them a little abstracted from their specifics, isolating it to a specific contradiction, and then look around (for instance, in existing patent databases) for ways of solving the abstracted problem, then reapplying the approach back to their specific problem.


    If that’s too simple and understandable, there are more PM-type versions of TRIZ explanation, too.  I’m pretty sure you need some of those 3D glasses (and some changes in brain chemistry) to really grok this one:



    Every few years it pops back into my brain and I spend about 20 minutes trying to figure out what that approach was called and eventually get around to it, but I figured if I wrote about it once, then when I want to remember it in the future, hopefully I’ll remember faster 🙂

    Here’s some examples of applying TRIZ, FWIW, hopefully to help make it a bit more concrete.

    Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween!