29 September 2005

Yay for Nathan. And Happy Birthday.

Last night I got a chance to hang out with my Sean, Dave, and Nathan.  It's been a while since I've had a chance to see Nathan since he's been in Germany most of the summer.

It's Sean's birthday today, YAY!  He's old.  But he's one of the coolest old guys I know.  He's also a horrible influence on me.  When he's had to much to drink he like to call people little piggies!  I suspect he secretly has a piglet fetish.  Not really sure what a piglet fetish is exactly, but if anyone has one, it would be Sean.  Happy Birthday, succa!

On that note, can I just say great job on the company last night Nathan.  That was pretty excellent.  Sorry you couldn't play with us, but I'm glad we got hooked up at the end.

The last point is about Serenity on Friday.  I'll be checking it out with Dave and I'm pretty excited.  Not leg-humping excited, but pretty close.  Don't stand to close.

22 September 2005

Oodles of Charm

So I'm driving through Hollywood on my way to UCLA with my good friend Habbib in the passenger seat.  The wonderful thing about hanging out in vicinty to him is that he is positively dripping with charisma and charm.  Some have called him a "lady magnet", still others have referred to him as the Sultan of Suave.

For my own part in this story, I was pretty much just the driver and an innocent bystander.

Okay, back to Hollywood.  It's hot out so I have the air-conditioning on in the lovely Kia Amanti I was renting.  My friend and I were heading to meet up with a scoundrel out on the UCLA campus.  As we inched along, two ladies in the car next to us started making eye contact. It was pretty subtle. For all of like twelve seconds.

It was obvious to me that Habbib had once again ensnared some helpless chicas with his ultra-hip hair-do.  Habbib was oblivious in his own special way.  Then they started winking.  At this point I pretty much knew he'd have to talk to her or they weren't going to leave us alone.

Those of you who know me are aware of my almost painful shyness around anyone of the fairer sex.  It didn't help that these two were so blatantly enamored with my friend, while so pointedly ignoring me.  I just sat there staring straight ahead and whispering out of the corner of my mouth.

They motioned for Habbib to roll the window down and proceeded to give his ego a verbal massage which finally enlightened me as to why they call it a "happy ending".  He of course reciprocated in an astonishing display of flirtatious reparte.  Needless to say I took copious notes in the hopes of one day being able to reuse the simpler bits of prose that seemed to come so naturally from him.

Alas, they were just going to the store to by cigarettes. Upon learning this he immediately suspended negotations and threw an assortment of "second-hand smoke kills" leaflets through their window before we raced off to get on the 405.

There were two great lessons that day.  The first, was hang out with Habbib if you want to see what it's like when they put a bloody fish into a sea filled with sharks.  Secondly, it doesn't matter how hot you might be, one cigarette makes you look really ugly.

19 September 2005

Me, Sick?

Evidently sitting through hours of conference presentations, eating conference fare, and being altogether to busy to workout are indeed, bad for your health.

Today I should be enjoying the sunshine of beautiful Phoenix and preparing to be poked and prodded tomorrow.  After all, it's better to go into serious stuff like that with a clear head and calm heart, right?

Instead, I'm stuffed up, more than a little cranky, as well as sore and sensitive.  You can pretty much sum it up with blech.  Sad but true, even I get sick and tired from time to time.

For my true fans, please be patient.  I have excellent pictures from last week, several in-depth posts and a couple of essays on the way.  Ever the perfectionist, I need to have my head screwed on so I can polish them up and get them out there.

For those who are able, we need many prayers for my friends baby.  Healing, good test results, peace for the family.  My knees are getting a workout, are yours?

15 September 2005

Most Creative Give-Away

Walking through the Expo today I came across several old friends who I haven't seen for many years.  Amazing what can change in a decade, huh?

While wandering around I came across a company MyKB that makes a knowledge management solution.  The give-away was an old 5.25 inch floppy disk that had the words:
Still supporting your customers with old technology?

This was by far the most creative give-away of the whole conference.  When I gave the guy kudos I mentioned that I was posting on my blog that they would receive my vote for most-creative.

Now you guys all know my policy of not supporting junk.  Ever.  So to make sure I would be able to post it, I went and ran through their live demo and checked out the material on them.  Needless, they meet my requirements for not sucking!  If they had I wouldn't have posted their name, just that they gave away a cool gift.

Now that you know, go check them out.  You can find them at MyKB.com (which makes sense, right?).

Brett is SOOO Cool

At the opening keynote they announced an amazing deal to a limited set of attendees.  They were offering an HTC Universal (JasJar) for $149!!  This is a device that has an MSRP for $800 and will regularly sell for at least $600.  What an incredible opportunity.

Of course, during the session I was paying attention, but some of my colleagues took initiative and ordered online from their devices right away.  Cool use of technology, eh?  So when no one else got one, my group of friends (except me) all got in on the deal. I was bummed.

All yesterday, they were walking around using the cool new device, emailing, messaging, etc.  I was even more bummed.

Then suddenly at Universal Studios last night, my day brightened like a new dawn!  My good friend Brett who had ordered one, won another one for wearing a special hat.  In an amazing act of generosity, he offered to sell me his extra one for the price of the offer.  Can you say AMAZING!  He could have sold it online for more than a thousand dollars (several are listed on ebay for $1200-$1500) and instead he gave it to me for $150.  What a guy! Needless to say, I owe him big time.

My second piece of good fortune was that Taft won a stuffed puppy and gave it to me, also.  What great people, eh?

So now, I'm walking around with my amazing new phone, enjoying the sessions and posting from this outstanding device.  I am truly blessed.

14 September 2005

Business Intelligence

The new SQL Analysis Service, BI Development Environment, and Reporting Services are just cool.

It seems like every couple months I find myself arguing the merits of constructing and analysis database (warehouse, mart, etc) with someone who just doesn't see the value.  Most of the time, that really means they don't understand the costs involved.  Either they think it costs (money, time, resources) more than it truly does, or they believe they can achieve the same result another way.  Occasionally they just don't understand the full benefits.

With this new package of tools and capabilities it should hopefully make it easier for engineers to embed rich business intelligence data into more solutions.  The impact points for this type of data aren't just powerful, they are pervasive.

Another aspect I am looking forward to is how easy it will be for average knowledge workers to increase their efficiency significantly without learning new tools or rolling out all kinds of new infrastructure.

Keep an eye out for cool some more detail on this cool technology.

PDC So Far

Visiting the PDC this week and heartily enjoying myself.  Met up with old friends, hanging out with new ones.  There have been several great presentations.  Most humorously the video with Bill Gates & Napolean Dynamite.  Most excellently the presentation on Office "12" running on Windows Vista.  When they presented the amazing conditional formatting techniques I almost peed myself.  The most impactful , most transformational new technology is the SQL Service Broker, it will totally rock and I'm already deeply and passionately in love with it.

A presentation I've just sat through was on Microsoft's planning for the RFID space.  The new API's they are coming out with, the provider model, and the backend integration points are very hot.  This will definitely be a technology to keep an eye on in the coming months.

Of course I picked up lots of shirts, widgets, and assorted vendor crap, but the biggest thing I was looking forward to is that each attendee will get a copy of SQL Server 2005 when it ships.  What a coup!  This was on top of the GBs of DVDs of other bits already available.  My knees get weak when I think about all the cool stuff I'm going to get to play with once I get back to the real world.

Sometimes I Stumble

This will be hard for a lot of you to believe, but I screwed up and hurt a friends feelings yesterday.  I know, I know...not what you'd expect from the bastion of sensitivity that is me.  Needless to say, I've been feeling awful about it, and beating myself up at random intervals.  I'd hate to lose a good buddy just because I'm a ignorant.

12 September 2005

...And that's the truth.

A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.
-- Terry Pratchett

Head Spin

It's been a while since I've had the time to post and now I am correcting that.  If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well, right?

In the airport today, watching our culture of consumerism in full effect.  Surrounded by greedy little piggies engorging on anything and everything.  As I tried to not be revolted, at them and more at my own hypocrisy, I was gently convicted.  After all, I pretty much fashion the world to suit my own timelines and desires.  In many cases I manage to pull off that swindle slicker than most.  Is that wrong?

My friend Brett (such as stand-up guy, by the way!) asked me a very pointed question earlier this weekend.  Even entangled in the throes of significant inebriation it still hit me like a ton of bricks. Okay, so it didn't really sink in until I sobered up and was recalling the conversation.  But it sure made me rethink my own stance on how transparent I can be.  He wanted to know why someone with such apparent confidence and competence in so many areas could be so inept, ineffectual and downright cowardly when it comes to women.  To put it in the words of Travis "My Whitebread Friend", how come you aren't spinning any game?

With my usual self-brutalization I had to honestly admit that I've been hood-winked and bamboozeled.  By me. Myself.  I.  My prime and potent ability to self-modify was keeping my goals in line with my sense of self-preservation.  If being vulnerable can lead to pain, simply don't desire things that leave you vulnerable.  All nice, neat, and logical, right?  Don't want what will hurt, you won't pursue things that hurt, you won't get hurt.  Nice theory, anyway.

Now I've seen the man behind that curtain.  Game on.