Sunday, March 22, 2009

And now for something completely different: A Camping List.

So I went camping in Goblin Valley this weekend with a few friends and had an awesome time! It was perfect weather, I went mountain biking, and I spent the night out under a clear sky full of stars. I did however come back with a bit of a sun burn because I forgot to bring a hat and sunscreen, which is something that I seem to do every time I go pretty much anywhere. Even after spending an hour or so the night before worrying if I had packed everything I still managed to miss something important, so today when I was unpacking I decided to finally make a list of items to consider taking when camping.

The list is comprehensive but by no means all inclusive. It covers everything that I can remember having packed (or having forgotten) for a camping trip or vacation over the last few years. Also it all fits neatly onto one page divided into 6 categories, namely: Camping Items, Cooking/Eating Items, Food Items, Personal Items, Clothing, and Fun/Games. This makes it easy to skip over sections that are not needed (I have yet to actually bring the Cooking/Eating items when camping, but still have often found things that were missing). The general idea is that from now on I will print off the list when packing and scratch things out after they have been packed or justified for being omitted. 

This does not mean that I will never forget something ever again when going camping, but now when I do I can add it to the list and hopefully it will not happen again. Think of it as a programmers approach to bug-tracking a camping trip :-P Also I am posting the list here so that 1) I can find it again whenever I need it and 2) to help any other hapless soul who is tired of forgetting something when packing and getting burned for it (literally). Hopefully someone else will find it useful too.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

1000 Sheep vs. 1000 YouTube Musicians... who wins?

This week's crazy videos are brought to you by Johnny Chung Lee, who is well known online for his creative uses of the Wii Remote, but apparently is also good at finding cool videos on YouTube. The first video involves a lot of sheep and a lot of free time, where as the second video involves a lot of YouTube musicians and, well, a lot of free time. If you are still hungry for more go check out the Procrastineering Blog for more cool videos and awesome projects.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like we have another contender that is throwing his guitar into the fight. See him play 32 songs in 8 minutes below and then go check out some of his other work at

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

MSDN Beginner Lessons or: How I Learned to Program and Love Web Development.

I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to work at an Internet Service Provider as one of my first jobs, and in between helping Mary Kay Cosmetic consultants try to get online using dial up I spent most of my time learning about how the Internet and the World Wide Web work inside and out. I also credit a large portion of my customer service and troubleshooting skills to the year and a half that I spent on the call floor fixing things over the phone. After moving on to work for computer help desks and eventually finish school with a Computer Engineering degree, I can still say that a lot of what I have learned has been through trial and error or through reading articles and watching videos online.

Recently I have had a few friends ask about getting into creating dynamic web pages. While creating a Facebook or MySpace page is a good start for web development, many people have grandiose visions for new business ideas that will make them filthy rich. If you aim to create a website to take over the world, I suggest you do it the old fashion way with VC funding and a professional web development team, but creating a simple yet functional website is really not that difficult. Most people are familiar with basic HTML now days and a fair number have event taken the initiative to learn CSS or Photoshop for higher level design. It seems like the last hurdle to get over is going from static to dynamic websites. Sure, you can setup a hosted blog or add a calendar widget to a static page to increase it's functionality, but if you are willing to spend a bit more time you can easily apply all of your static website knowledge (HTML, CSS, Design) to creating dynamic html pages.

If anyone is interested in learning about programming I suggest the MSDN Beginner Developer Learning Center which contains both a Web Track for web development and Windows Track for software development. Both of them cover use of the free Visual Studio Express Edition tools which are professional quality development environments that greatly help the development process. For an example of the material, here is a video that shows an introduction to the Internet and how static and dynamic web pages work:

<a href=";showPlaylist=true" target="_new" title="Introduction to the Web as a Platform">Video: Introduction to the Web as a Platform</a>

Friday, March 6, 2009

Three branches of the USA government....

You have ten seconds.... name the three branches of government. T minus....10..9..8..7..6..5..4.......Times up.

I hope you got it right. Because apparently only one out of 3 people in America can do it. And that is a sad fact indeed. If you cannot name Executive, Legislative, and (my favorite :-) the Judicial... you need to watch this episode of the daily show, where the honorable Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is a guest on the Daily Show. Watch and learn...