Microsoft Buying Yahoo

Wow, 46 billion dollars.  I wonder what this means to the Yahoo PHP teams and YUI.  As far as I understood Yahoo is heavily invested in PHP. More to come on this.

Bloomberg.

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Daily Find #22

Lightbox extension for BlogEngine.Net

SQLite on .NET – SQLite is the DB of choice for fast, small footprint architecture.  Think Mobile OS or Google Gears.  Speaking of Google Gears where is Microsoft’s version?

Best C# Web Sites – Most are community based, some are tutorial like sites, still a nice collection

How to Add Holidays to Outlook 2007 Calendar

More Free HTML/CSS based website templates and another one here – If you didn’t already need more – via DevHawk

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5 year old, whisky, & football

How in the world do these 3 thing things relate?  It’s not easy but let me share with you the best conversation I’ve had in while.

So last night my 5 year old, Nick, and I are watching the Lakers survive a comeback attempt by the Rockets.  Nick always wants to know whom I’m "Yeahing for".  We also use the game to keep up on his numbers, who has more, less, how much by-it’s a good way to keep him sharp and for me to get my NBA fix.  Anyway’s, they flash some highlights of a Timber Wolves game and Nick belts out "Hey is that the whiskies team I saw play".  Ahh, maybe I heard that wrong, repeat.  Oh yeah, he said whiskies.  "Duh, Dad, I went to the football game last week with Grandpa, UC was playing the Whiskies."  Not Whiskies I pointed out to him, they played the Connecticut Huskies.

I laughed for a good bit over that one.

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New Gmail 2.0 Version Today

There is a new version of Gmail out today, my account got upgraded not entirely sure if everyones has. It seems much faster, although it did make me disable firebug. Gmail Label Colors is broke and so is Better Gmail. Hopefully they’ll be a fix coming soon cause I’m not use to the “old” gmail and MIGHT be willing to switch over to the new Live.com since you can FINALLY get a live.com address.

Update – You can go back to the previous version of Gmail – Top Right Corner -> Previous Version

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Spam good for economy?

We’ve recently began to get a lot more spam at work.  It comes in the form of attached PDF files that are stock “tips”. (On a side note, have you ever watched the price on these stocks after getting these emails, they do go up for a period, someone is making money here, although illegally).  A colleague was talking to me about the impact spam & the cost associated to continually fight it.  That got me thinking, is spam really that bad for our economy?  Lets look at what it effects. Note: I’m talking spam here, not opt in email marketing.

Hardware – ISP, Corporations, Home users all need more of it, specifically storage devices.  ISP & Corporations need better routers & higher performing CPUs.  Benefits companies like Cisco, Western Digital, RAID providers, basically any hardware related company benefits here which in turns benefits countries like Twain, China, and other Asia Pacific hardware manufacturing centers.

Bandwidth – More spam means less bandwidth.  ISP have to install more fiber, which benefits telecommunication companies.

Man Hours – More network administration is needed to manage and facilitate extra hardware and software, this benefits IT workers

Software – Software companies are making a killing selling spam prevention software.  The best part for these companies is that spam tactics change everyday, so their software must too, which is great for maintenance  renewals.  Sales & Software developers benefit from this ever growing changes.

Productivity Loss – Ok the big question.  All this prevention but still spam gets through.  How much time is wasted at looking/managing/deleting spam? Personally speaking, maybe 15 minutes a week, which can’t be a realized effect can it?

Conclusion

Spam is good for the economy IT/Tech industry. It keeps the machine rolling. Yes it’s a nuisance but the positive effect it has on the industry far out weighs the negative.


While this post may prove spam’s contribution to the economy, most people want to stop spam before it starts. Spam blockers are an amazing tool that really limit the amount of spam in your inbox. Learn about spam online and get the right tools to stop it in its tracks.

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Trip Report – Catalonia Riviera Maya

Overview

My wife and I visited the Riviera Maya from April 15 – 22.  7 relaxing days away from our beautiful but rambunctious kids.  This was the first time away from our youngest baby so my wife had some jitters plus it was her first time out of the country.  This was an all inclusive deal, again a first time for the both of us.

Flight

We had a 4 PM direct flight from Indianapolis.  We flew Frontier Airlines.  All Frontier jets come with a LCD with 30 different TV stations all included.  Plus they serve a nice sandwich and chips during the flight.   The plane was half full so the crew was very relaxed. They get an 9 out of 10 from me.  We arrived in Cancun at 7 pm their time.  The flight home was uneventful which is good thing for air travel.

Cancun Airport + Transportation

Cancun airport is crazy, they do get you thru customs pretty quickly, but man what a shell shock. My Spanish was rusty but I didn’t realize how rusty. An airport worker got us to our private transportation.  I sent an email to Cancun Transfers asking for a nice SUV - they delivered, a brand new white Ford Explorer.   Our ride their was awesome, our driver was great.  However our ride back (again Cancun Transfers) was a nightmare.  I swear the guy almost killed us at least 5 time, speeding like crazy.  It’s at least a  good hour trip to the Catalonia Riviera Maya from the airport.

Hotel

We stayed at the Catalonia Riviera Maya.  It’s basically two hotels together that act as 1. Check in was a breeze and we were given a room on the Riviera side, next to their newest building.  Before we left I dropped them an email explaining this was our belated honeymoon and if they could do something special for my wife.  In our room was a bottle of Champaign and chocolate covered strawberries in a nice arrangement.  The “Cat” as returning guest call it, has 5 total restaurants, 5 pools, and 2 swim up bars. The grounds of the hotel are absolutely beautiful and really kept up.  The beach was crowded but my wife and I always found a couple of chairs (people do play the chair game).  The Cat is situated in a mini cove with a small reef and has really good snorkeling – they give you snorkel equipment for an hour use per day, plus other water activity equipment.  We snorkeled everyday.  The hotel guest are mix of family’s, retirees, and couples.  It’s not a party crowd but people are drinking and having a good time.   The rooms are basic, and clean.  Our bathroom was very nice, dual shower heads, marble.  We had a king’s bed that was a little stiff.  The cat doesn’t have ocean front views (it’s right on the ocean but the hotel is turned in on angel), but our room did a have a ocean side view.  It really feels like your in the Corona commercial on the beach.

Drinks

Let’s just say I became real good friends with a couple of the bartenders at the swim up bars.  Between tequila poppers, green ice shots and strawberry banana daiquiris we drank to our hearts content and more. Nothing like a tequila sunrise at 10 am, on the Riveria Maya. They’ll make them as strong as you want, just ask.  I hit up the sports bar a few time to catch some scores, rum & cokes, and had a good time in there too.  They serve dos equis on tap.

Food 

The Cat features 2 buffets (they serve the same food, one is open air, the other is enclosed), 1 Mexican, 1 Italian, 1 Steak a la carte restaurants where you have to make reservations. The buffets are good, not great, they have a different dinner theme ever night. Breakfast was good there.  During the day the steak restaurant is a grill serving hamburger, hotdogs, chips, salsa, plus more, a real nice selection.  After a few drinks in the morning we pigged out here everyday, my wife was a huge fan of the place.  This is the place you make reservations for the a la carte’s too, so make sure you get your reservations in early.  We ate at the steak restaurant first.  I had baby back ribs, my wife had a ribeye.  My ribs were great, a different type of rib then most American ribs.  The ribs were smaller in height, same length though.  In fact I noticed everything was smaller then in America, chicken, bacon, etc… Must be the size of the livestock. The Italian was fabulous, I had plenty of house wine.  The Mexican was also good.  The secret gem of the hotel is an ice cream parlor where you can get banana splits, crepes, and more.  We made sure to hit this place every night.

Service

The service in the hotel is top notch.  From the waiters to the bartenders we could not ask for better service. We always tip a little although it’s not expected.  It’s almost a shock to come from America where most customer service lacks to a place like this.  We never got the animal towels from house keeping but they did their jobs and we did not have an issue with anything missing, although we did keep our valuables in a locked suit case just in case.

Xel-Ha

We did the all exclusive here, snorkel equipment, locker, all you can eat buffet & drinks at Xel-Ha.  I would recommend going here if your hotel doesn’t have good snorkeling.  The underwater rock formation is amazing.  We did the lazy river (which unlike the water parks in America, is a real river). It’s a cool place to go once but I don’t think we would go a second time.

Playa Del Carmen

The shopping & night life here is awesome, a must go.  You can barter some real good deals.  We got our 4 year old a soccer outfit that was originally $35.00 but ended up paying $5 for it.  I also got some fat Cuban cigars here.  We felt generally felt safe here but I wouldn’t roam alone late at night.

Puerto Aventuras

This is a gated community that Cat resides in and we used the Cat’s bikes to ride there.  It’s a cool place that has a dolphin adventure, a few shops and restaurants.  You can see what the local fisherman bring back too. We totally felt really safe here.

Weather

The entire time it was sunny, highs between 88 – 92.  It was the best weather you could ask for.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

I’ve been tagged for this 5 things you didn’t know about me.  Here goes.

1) I play pickup basketball at 5 A.M. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at the local YMCA.  Been doing it for almost a year.  I feel so much better after playing in the mornings. It’s really cool that we can get a pickup game of 8-14 people so early in the morning.

2) I played basketball against Kobe Bryant in a high school summer league basketball tournament.  He was good…great, but I had no real idea who he was.  How things have changed, today high school athletes are famous by their sophomore year – See O.J. Mayo.

3) I despise cell phones.  There is something to be said for not being reachable.  I didn’t get my first cell until 2 years ago. I was forced by my wife.

4) Paul O’Neill was my neighbor for a time.  He had a batting cage & automatic pitch thrower set up and numerous professional baseball players came over to hang out.  I was 9 years at the time, it was unbelievable cool. 

5) I’ve sent over 10 million emails in my life.  I did a ton of email marketing for P&G a few years ago.  They have huge lists, all opt in of course, so I’m not worried about the spam cops.

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Passport Finally Here

Checked the online status of my passport this morning and bam, it has been overnighted. We got it on 4/5. Oh yeah, this is good. Some lessons learned from this experience:

  1. Our government is completely a reaction factory, no forward thinking or proactive thought comes from the bureaucratic mess in Washington.

  2. The State Department bureau of consumer affairs has handled the overload pretty well in my opinion. They did a good job of explaining the problem and what the public should be aware of by reporting to the media and via their website. I never had a big problem getting thru to the passport centers via phone, 3 or 4 tries by 10:00 am and I was thru with a ~10 minute hold time.

  3. Some passport reps are more helpful then others. On 3/27 a gentleman informed me that the State Department had waived the expedition fee and gave me the scope how to get my passport early. Other reps were….kindly not so helpful.

  4. Congressman’s aides aren’t the sharpest & with a little leg work you can find more info then they can. Jean Schmidt’s aid gave no real help, besides tracking my passport was in New Orleans. They need to talk to the rep above on how things work.

  5. Florida, Texas, Alabama, & the cruise lines will benefit for a long time because of the changes in passport requirements. For a family of 4, passports will run $400, some people are going to bark at that and take their vacations in the US instead. College spring breakers are normally last minute planners so they won’t have time to get it them. If I was in the Mexican tourist industry I’d be ponying up the dollars to lobbyist to get a “smart” drivers license that was cheaper then a passport and more distributed, that is what Canada wants too.

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Passport Headaches Continue

See Part 1

So the passport situation has not got any better. We are supposed to be leaving on April 15, but the State Department Passport website says we won’t get our until April 29, that’s not good. I called my congress woman, Jean Schmidt last Wednesday and left a message. I was surprised to get a callback the next day from one of her reps. She took my info and said would have a follow up on Friday. Friday, then Monday came and went with no call back. (One note – when you say you will call back on a certain day, please do). I tried getting thru to the passport center number, but their automated system says all the reps are full and then hangs up on you (ever heard of a call que?). The US government dropped the ball big time on this, by not preparing itself with it’s own regulations. I love to see my tax money at work. I’ll keep you updated…

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Alex does patty cake

My wife called yesterday while at work and said Alex did patty cake for the first time. I didn’t believe until I got home, sure enough he was. I got this on video today:


Video: Alex does patty cake

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