Friday, February 20, 2009

The Secret to Happiness is... Low Expectations :-P

The TED 2009 conference was earlier this month, and already there are a number of great videos posted on the website ranging from Bill Gates talking about malaria and education to the Siftables demo of spatially aware tiles to Venezuela's El Sistema youth orchestra. There are too many good presentations to mention, but I highly recommend browsing through the site and signing up for the newsletter since you are guaranteed to find something that piques your interest.

I watched the presentation from Barry Schwartz about Practical Wisdom, but I think that his 2005 presentation regarding the Paradox of Choice was much better. In fact, seeing as there are so many options for videos that are bound to make you unhappy trying to choose, how about you just sit down and watch it right now:



If that doesn't make you feel better or at least get you to stop worrying so much about all the silly (and not so silly) choices you have to make in your life, then maybe your expectations are set too high.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Pandora Radio for Windows Mobile!

Pandora has supported a few Sprint and AT&T mobile phones for a while now, but they recently announced support for a few Windows Mobile devices as well. This is very welcomed news, since my life pretty much revolves around Pandora now. I listen to it at work and at home using OpenPandora, and even coughed up the $36 for a year subscription to remove the few advertisements that they do play. Now with access to it on my phone I can listen when I go bike riding or am stuck in the car for long periods of time.

The Pandora website only allows you to download and install the software onto select phones, but all Windows Mobile phones are essentially the same. All you need to do is find a copy of the CAB file and transfer it over to your phone using ActiveSync or a memory card and install it. After that load up some headphones and start rocking out! Works great over AT&T 3G or using WiFi.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oh no... they are replicating! Run for your lives!

So... funny a thing happened today: I got to work, forgot everything I knew about programming, and spent the entire day looking things up on Google. OK, so I didn't really forget everything, but I have started to become burdened by all of the subtle nuances of the various different programming languages that I work with on a daily basis. Between ASP.NET, C#, HTML, JavaScript, MS SQL, VBScript and Powershell it can be very difficult to remember what you are trying to accomplish let alone how to do something like String Formatting and Interpolation. And then every once in a while you add in a completely new language and your whole programming world gets flipped upside-down. For instance, I am currently learning IronPython and having loads of fun dealing with “indentation = code block”, which means that whitespace is now important (complete bizarro-world from other programming languages!) .

It is for this reason that I decided to start a second blog devoted entirely to code. Not just any code, however, this blog will hold my super awesome “I can’t believe how simple that was, it only took 3 hours of research to figure it out” code snippets that I have found on my quest for intergalactic domination. I really should write them all down in a book and sell a million copies, but seeing as books have yet to keep up with hyperlinks and labels, a new code blog will have to do for now.

So without further ado I present to you Http://CodeBlog.Theg2.Net

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Some weeks are just harder to enjoy than others :-|

Lately it seems like the more that I try and plan or prepare for something, the more likely things are to turn out nothing like I expected. These last few days are a great example: I had big plans for the weekend and the Super Bowl, but ended up missing out on most of them due to a sprained knee that I incurred while snowboarding on Saturday. The rest of my weekend was reduced to hobbling around the house and wallowing in my own self pity, but luckily it is starting to feel much better now and with any hope I will be able to walk without a limp by Wednesday. Yippee!

This seems to be a particular case of “When it rains, it pours!”, as I also had my main home computer crash (Blue screen of death, time to buy a new drive and reload the OS), a slew of financial issues to deal with (Citi credit card APR got bumped up by over 10%, HOA levied a $500 special assessment fee, Car registration is due, and I’m still waiting for my 1099 statements so I can do my taxes...), and a general pattern of small to epic failures that are enough to leave me with feelings of desolation and despair. And that is not to mention the ever growing mountain of work projects with my name on it.

Although oddly enough that mountain of work is how I managed to get through these difficult times, as it gives me something positive and productive to focus on (and puts money in the bank :-). Each task that I complete or problem that I solve is one less burden to bear, and the gratitude from a customer who’s problem I have resolved goes a long way to lift my spirits. I like to think that helping others is my way of self medicating... either that or buying a nice big new toy, but unfortunately this time that will have to wait.

It has however made me start looking at new ways to help out others. So far I have decided to start donating blood, which is a simple one hour time commitment that is guaranteed to make you feel better. I also am looking at opportunities for volunteering, however I have yet to find anything that I feel passionate enough about to give up a large block of what would otherwise be my free time.

I also am still working on my goals to be more active in various communities and to keep learning new things. I attended the annual HOA meeting for my complex and plan on attending other monthly meetings whenever possible. Also I stumbled upon a free MSDN event that is coming to Salt Lake in a few weeks, which I plan on attending to learn more about Microsoft’s plans for “The Cloud” with the Azure Services Platform.

I truly hope that your week is going much better than mine, and with a bit of luck this dark cloud will break and things will return to “normal” again soon.