July 2011 Blog Posts
Now that the lockout is over and football is on the way…

…We can again get the fascinating, insightful and in-depth analysis from ESPN that we’ve all come to know and love, especially from Trent Dilfer and Mark Schlereth.

On how Plaxico Burress will perform now that he is back in the NFL after his prison term, Mark offered the following fascinating, insightful and in-depth commentary:  he could be rusty and out of playing shape from being away from the game, but he could also be refreshed from being off his legs during all this time, possibly giving him what he and his teammates’ used to call ‘fresh legs’ in training camp.  It will be, and I quote, “a bit of give and take.”

You can’t find this anywhere else.

posted @ Sunday, July 31, 2011 7:07 PM | Feedback (0)
Glitches when running Microsoft Expression Blend under Parallels on a Mac

Thankfully, others have experienced this as well, but suddenly I had a weird issue with trying to run Expression Blend from my Macbook Air, which hosts a Windows 7 installation under Parallels.  When I would run it, it would look like it was running under 4-bit graphics or something, and totally unusable.

Apparently, it is due to how WPF apps (which I take Expression is, though I haven’t had a problem with Visual Studio 2010, which I think is a WPF app as well) work with hardware acceleration in this environment.  In any event, the fix is fairly simple. 

  • Open up regedit
  • Create a new key called Avalon.Graphics
  • Create a new DWord value called DisableHWAcceleration and give it a value of 1
  • Restart Expression Blend

Works for me.

posted @ Saturday, July 30, 2011 6:34 PM | Feedback (0)
If it doesn’t exist in a current file format, does it still exist?

As an undergrad, I wrote a novel for my senior Honors thesis.  Even after all this time, I’m still unable (and probably too biased) to figure out whether or not, on a scale of 1-10, whether it rated a 1, or if maybe, just maybe, it was good enough to rate as high as a 3.  If I ever make it to that point, and have the time, when I’m in my fifties, I think I might try to re-write it.  But the purpose of this post is not about literary criticism.

I wrote it on an electronic typewriter, model of which I don’t remember, but which I do remember purchasing from the Macy’s in the Galleria in Houston, which was a block or so from where I lived, and from whom I was foolishly given a credit card.  It used an entirely proprietary ‘floppy drive’ using proprietary 2” discs (IIRC).  When I left Houston to move to Miami for graduate school, in a state of utter monetary destitution, I sold the typewriter and I think I ended up just throwing away the discs.

Fast forward a few years to today….

As is apparently common for various reasons and which I’ve noted before, I have a ridiculous memory of musical passages.  I actually have a list of songs, or song fragments, that I’ve kept of things to look up at some point.  This past week or so, I finally decided to try and figure out where a particular song came from.

The only thing I remembered was that the song contained the word ‘September.’  As I think you might imagine, trying to determine from Google, power though it may be, using just that word was not exactly useful.  So, I took the plunge, and cleared out a passage to a back closet, and pulled out the box containing my old tape cassette collection, as well as the box containing my album collection.

You can probably already guess where this is going.  I am 99% sure that I no longer have any device whatsoever anywhere that can play a tape cassette.  It is hard to guestimate accurately (I think that’s an oxymoron) but from looking at the stack of tapes arranged on the floor and doing some simple math, it looks to be about 600 cassettes.  Since I only at one time actually had anything that could play albums, that is only 50-60 or so.

Going through them was fascinating in many ways, in particular, finding all of the bands that, even to this day, I have no real recollection of, as well as seeing a name and remembering the snippet of a song from a group that, by simple virtue of looking at a calendar, I can’t have listened to in over a decade (at least).

Through the power of my Zune subscription (cross referencing ITunes and Amazon in places), I’ve been tracking down various things, and a couple of things have struck me:

  1. The fact that you can actually still find and download music for some of these groups is amazing.
  2. The fact that you can still find recorded existence, but can’t download, of music for some of these groups is annoying.
  3. Most relevant to this post, the fact that you can’t (except maybe barely) find recorded existence for some of the groups is scary.

Without the fact that I have the physical record, in the form of a tape cassette, of some of this music, you couldn’t know that it ever existed at all.  For instance, there was a Canadian band called Darkroom that had a song called “Don’t play with breaking hearts.”  There doesn’t appear to be anyway to find this music at all, unless you can buy it in album or cassette format, and even then, you would have to know ahead of time exactly what to search for.  (Update: God bless You Tube.  You can find the song here)

I’m not the first person to wonder about this, but I wonder….how are future historians going to deal with this?  Cue the Ken Brooks’ PBS music while some voiceover recites the contents of some letter from a Civil War vet, “Dearest Karen, the rebels pushed against our outer positions, but we held….” or whatever.  They are able to do this because there is some physical letter they could read from.  A hundred years from now, when someone discovers an Outlook 1997 file (or whatever) that contains email from some important figure, will they be able to recover any of the data?

In case anyone is wondering, the name of the group that had the song with the word ‘September’ in it is the Lucy Show, the name of the ‘album’ was mania, and the name of the song is ‘Sad September.’  Not a great song, but not bad, which you can listen to here:

posted @ Friday, July 29, 2011 7:56 PM | Feedback (0)
Juneau CTP3 breaks Visual Studio 2010 Entity Model Designer

So, this is supposed to allow you to do “database design work for any SQL Server platform” within Visual Studio, blah blah blah.

Unfortunately, it throws this error in Visual Studio 2010:


Uninstalling Juneau doesn’t fix it, neither does reinstalling SP1, nor following some other things I’ve seen suggested on the InterWeb.

Luckily I have a half dozen machines so it only happened on two of them (note to self: remember not to randomly start loading every CTP that looks interesting on multiple machines at once before determining if it hoses them).

Still looking around for a fix.

posted @ Sunday, July 24, 2011 7:37 PM | Feedback (1)
SQL Query Troubleshooting Tip #1

If a query that has been running without a hitch suddenly crawls to a standstill for no apparent reason, try updating statistics.

In SQL Server, run sp_updatestats.

And if you are experienced with SQL Server, think of trying tip #1 first, not four hours later.

posted @ Wednesday, July 20, 2011 7:08 PM | Feedback (0)
Poi Dog Pondering – Simple Song

A while ago, I posted about a song that I had heard once on the radio, never since, and couldn’t find through Google anywhere.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try and find it again, and was able to.  Sort of.

The main lyric that I ‘remembered’ was:

“I haven’t said grace at dinner/Since the day my father died”

which drew nothing useful on Google (well, except for a bunch of personal stories on various peoples’ blogs, which may or may not be useful depending on your life circumstances).  It turns out that I had ‘mis-remembered’ the lyric slightly:

“I never said grace before dinner/ever since my father died”

which is technically ungrammatical, though since it is a song lyric, I guess that is irrelevant.  It is (slightly) interesting to me that just the subtle change made it ‘invisible’ to search (though it only returns two links of relevance….I actually don’t remember exactly how I found it this time).

Anyway, this song is almost definitely inappropriate for my blog because, well….it’s happy.  Generally, I don’t do happy.  Maybe it’s because the video (of not very good quality) shows a whole bunch of places where I live, but it’s not a bad song.  The lyrics devolve into  “babbling like an idiot” range a bit (“where do the souls of unrealized dreams go?  do they twist and turn with incompletion?  or vaporize like butterflies in fields of zen like resolution?”……uh, let me get back to you on that), but I guess that is emblematic of how you feel when you are hopelessly in love, babbling like an idiot.  Or so I’ve heard.

One annoying thing is that you can’t actually buy the full length original release version (which I’m fairly certain is how I heard it that one time on WXRT), unless you can find a physical copy of it.  It isn’t available for purchase online, except in a shorter version.  I really hate that.

Anyhoo, enjoy.

i'm happy to see you every time i see you coming my way
i get so excited baby and calm somehow deep down inside
i just wanna state this simply, inside this simple song 
i just wanna love you


posted @ Saturday, July 09, 2011 6:12 PM | Feedback (4)