Saturday, January 28, 2006

Cleaning out the closet

Maaaaaaaaaan... today I decided to clean out my closet, removing all the clothes that don't fit anymore. Last year I lost like 20 pounds and dropped two inches from my waist (party on Gar!) I didnt realize that I had 10 years of clothes in my closet. There were a lot of shirts that I hadn't touched in a long long time. In the end, I now have a two foot high pile of shirts and pants (many more shirts than pants) that are way too big for me. These are either going to get handed up to my dad or donated. We usually take our donation stuff to Katy Christian Ministries, and they either distribute it or sell it I think. I can see the back of my closet now, it's much more manageable. I just wanted to share that personal victory with the internet. ',;-)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Email Clients... revenge of the suck!

Waaaaaaaaah... ok. I'm really frustrated with email clients right now on Windows. On Linux, I use Evolution (which is not perfect, but close). On Windows, I don't use an email client, but my mom does. She needs an email program that's easy to use and also a calendar application. Outlook 2000 She used to use Outlook 2000, but she had a lot of problems with spam. Outlook 2000 has a really stupid spam filter that just filters the sender (which is totally ineffective since spammers swap out their from addresses frequently). Outlook 2000 also has some inherent problems in how it deals with messages. If you get an email with images that are pulled from the internet, it will automatically display those images (suck!). If there are hyperlinks in a message, there is no way to see where they point until you click them (suck!). When you are composing a message and you want to select addressees, there is no clear way as to how it generates the autocompletion list. I have yet to figure it out. SUCK! Yea... Roadrunner email We have roadrunner and I set my mom up with a roadrunner email address a long while ago. Back then, GMail didn't exist and Yahoo had a really cruddy interface. What I wanted to do was let her use Outlook which she was used to using. Little did I know the entire valley of suck that awaited my mom in that email account. No spam filtering, 20 MB limit, an absolutely excremental webmail interface. Boo. So, many spam messages later, I decided to try and be creative. I got her a GMail account (which is great, by the way) and set up roadrunner to forward all mail to GMail, then set up Outlook to pull messages from GMail. Yay, it was working great! Except... in a few days, her roadrunner mailbox filled up and started bouncing messages. Apparently, roadrunner email doesn't believe in deleting messages that it forwards (even though EVERY other email service will remove / archive / trash messages that are auto-forwarded to another email account. SUCK! So, that idea was shot down... which leads me to...... Thunderbird Mozilla Thunderbird is hotness. 1.5 RC1 was out and I installed that. It was updated to RC2 and that becamse the final 1.5. Great, party down. Thunderbird has integrated spam filtering, a sane address book, a sane message composition system, and a nice simple interface. It detects phishing, doesn't automatically show internet images, deals with attachments in a totally sexy way. Thunderbird is great. Except... when it comes to dealing with messages sent from Outlook. Most of the people who send my mom mail (or at least the source of the chain mail, jokes, funny attachments, whatever) use Outlook (2000, 2002 or 2003). Outlook viciously mangles messages when they get forwarded by everyone. The HTML messages get totally messed up with the tables in tables in div's in tables in div's in whatever. Clicking "forward" makes Thunderbird cry. Sometimes, when Outlook forwards an inline image, it doesn't show up in other email clients. Also, when you try to forward an email with an inline image in Thunderbird, it doesn't send the image along. For some reason, the IMG tag has a "moz-do-not-send=true" attribute which tells Thunderbird to not send the image (even though I told Thunderbird to always send images instead of just linking them). Hmm. Apparently this is a known bug in Thunderbird and will be fixed in mid-February when is released. Hmm... waiting sucks, and I don't want to subject my mom to nightly builds that may cause her to grumble curses in my general direction. Also, Thunderbird doesn't have a built-in calendar (yet) that works well. Sunbird is still a ways off (still very unstable). Mozilla Lightning (Thunderbird + Sunbird) is something I'm really looking forward to. But... alas, I needed a calendar too... which leads me to.... Outlook 2003 I decided to bite the bullet and put Outlook 2003 on my mom's computer. Installation was easy (a few hundred megs for an email client does sound a bit excessive, though). It has email, calendar, tasks, the works. Sounds good. However... I quickly realized that Outlook 2003 is not a big jump from Outlook 2000. It had a few of the nasties fixed such as blocking messages from the internet and showing hyperlink destinations. But... without installing Microsoft Word, the email composition is dismal. Entering addressees sucks as bad as in Outlook 2000. In fact, it is exactly the same. The whole application looks like a patchwork. There are pieces that look new and flashy, and there are a lot of pieces that look like they were left in there from Outlook 2000. Suck. Suck. Suck. I was thoroughly unimpressed. Suck. It has a few nice features in the email component, but nothing that Thunderbird didn't do (except for dealing with messages sent from Outlook well). On the bright side, my mom is now able to forward all the messages she wants without incident. She also has a decent calendar app that she can use to set reminders and stuff. But... she's stuck with a substandard spam filter and a clunky interface. She got used to Thunderbird's hotness and going to Outlook is like jumping 6 years into the past. Suck. Chances are that we'll put Thunderbird back on there sooner or later... then I'll be happy again. Or, we can wait until Evolution gets ported to Win32 and she'll have the hotness of Evolution (with calendaring as well). It will be a happy day for me when I can share the hotness of Evolution with the Win32ers. I don't know why this whole episode got me all worked up... I guess it's just that I get so frustrated with bad software. I'm a bit of a selective perfectionist when it comes to software, you could say. ',;-) />

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Gentoo Linux Laptop

Yay! My new laptop is in and it's HOT! I spent the last 24+ hours (awake and asleep) setting it all up. Now it is built up and stable, party on! I'm running Gentoo Linux built from Stage 3, but I had to rebuild everything because GCC 3.3 was on the LiveCD but it doesn't support a Pentium M architecture directly. I had to build stuff with GCC 3.3 to get it to boot on its own, then I upgraded to GCC 3.4 and rebuilt everything with the proper optimizations. It runs like a dream! I'll post some screenshots later...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sinus Infection

Blah. Sinus infection sucks... but I'm on Z-Pac (sp?) It's some good stuff. It is a 5-day antibiotic, so by Sunday I'll be totally clear of little critters. In practice, I'm usually cleared by day 3 (sometimes 4) but you gotta make sure you finish up the prescription. I get these sinus infections whenever the weather changes. 2005, however, has been a very weird weather year and the last time I got hit was March. To add insult to injury... my insurance changed from a copay system to a deductible system, and I didn't have my HSA debit card yet, so I had to pay for the doctor's visit out of pocket, more so than I would have about a week ago. Ah, but life is good, I took a sick day and stayed home from work. ',;-)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Back to work...

Well, the holidays are officially over, time to get back to the daily grind. I'm looking forward to it, actually. That means I'll have more nerdy things to report on! (When I'm home, I try to nerd out as much as possible, but the holidays are usually very busy with non-nerdy things) ',;-) Right now at work I'm working on a GUI framework based on the Spring Framework for .NET ( It's an "Inversion of Control" (IoC) container that is a port of the same framework for java (which seems to be popular). It allows us to develop software in parallel and forces us to take a component-oriented approach to development. I'll post some more juicy bits about it later, right now I need to get to bed because I'll be waking up at 4:30am tomorrow... gnight!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Ok, it's now 2006 for all US time zones (I think). Happy New Year to everyone! I wish you all the best in the coming year and may it be as good (if not better) than 2005! New Year is a great time to reflect on the past year and see how you feel about it. Yes, that's a bit cliche, but it's just one of those things that people do. This year has been an incredible year for me! Let's do a quick recap...
  • I had a new year's resolution to lose weight last year. I ended up losing 20ish pounds and dropped two inches off the waist. I'm fitting in my size 36 pants now and most of the clothes in my closet don't fit me anymore.
  • I'm in a great relationship with a great girl! Our closeness has only increased over the year (does that make any sense?) We're always finding things that bring to light just how alike we are in our ideals, dogmas, and methodologies. It's great to be able to talk to someone about a situation and have them say "Yea, I feel exactly the same way!" That's a cool feeling.
  • My work has gotten more fun. I have been given fairly free reign over how I do my job (programming). I can pick my tools and feel free to explore new things. We have new and interesting projects that people want to use and are itching to use. We're making our company oodles of cash money and they are compensating me fairly well. (I could always use more money, though... that goes without saying).
So yea, it's been a great year. But now, time to think about 2006. I have made some resolutions that I plan to keep for 2006. I'm gonna put them on the internet now to make them permanent!
  • I want to push my weight below 200 lbs. I plan on being more consistent with my running regiment. I have been going to the gym on a very regular basis (3x a week), but I want to start taking the aerobics classes to do some fat burning.
  • I want to keep more in touch with my extended family. My cousin is getting married in February and I feel like I don't know him anymore. I haven't really been as close with my cousins as I would like. I plan on hanging out with them whenever I can and plan some family outings and such. Also, I would like to get closer to my brother. We don't really do much together and it would be nice to just hang with him.
  • I want to learn to read and write Armenian. I can speak (well enough). But my vocabulary sucks and I can't read or write very well. There are some great websites that have lots of good info... I'll post some links later. One comes to mind: Armeniapedia. I would also like to at least attend one Armenian youth function / gathering / party.
That's about it. Not a long list, but it has all the important things. These are goals I feel I can attain. This year I also plan on starting on my MBA. I have a GMAT study guide now and I just have to schedule my GMATs, then fill out my application. That should be interesting. I think I will need to start working from home a bit (instead of going all the way down to the office) to make sure I don't burn myself out. Ah, so yea. I'm ready for 2-double-oh-6. How about you?