multi goodness

On my XP Build List I have two items: MaxiVista and UltraMon.

I’ve been using multiple monitors since my days at BondNet in 1995. There are lots of documented productivity improvements with multi monitors and I say with certainty that once you go multi-head you won’t go back. I am able to keep my Outlook tasks and calendar open all day long on the second screen. I keep MSN Messenger and Winamp open there too. This way I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to look over at my calendar and interrupt, click, click to get back to what I’m working on. I keep these things in the same place all the time. I foresee a future where we’ll have many application specific displays all around our desk area. Think about your telephone, you always know where it is, it never moves, and you don’t have to move your email aside to get to it. Same thing here.

At work I just purchased a dual-head ATI video card and grabbed a second 19″ CRT (3200 x 2400 effective resolution), but there are many other alternate ways to get to multiple monitors. You can buy a second PCI video card which I’ve done before. One of the cooler options is MaxiVista. It creates a virtual display adapter which connects a second networked machine running the client software. Windows handles it from there.

I had a old Dell Pentium II laptop with a beautiful 14″ LCD that had been collecting dust. Well, not anymore… For the $49 registration fee I have 786,432 more pixels to work with. The performance is completely fine for what I use it for, but I wouldn’t try anything super fancy without gigabit networking and/or until the product matures further.

I also saw this come across my Engadget RSS feed: Easy Cheap USB secondary monitor option.

And if you are going to be going the multi-head route you’ll definitely want to pick up a copy of UltraMon. It fills in all sorts of features such as allowing different wallpaper, screensavers and taskbars for each window. When you run it you’ll see why the separate taskbar is a must have.

Bonus tip: I originally had an animated gif for the MaxiVista graphic, but it just got too annoying. In IE, you can stop animated gifs from animating by hitting the stop button after the page has loaded.



New .Text skin today. I somehow borked blockquote in CSS and couldn’t fix it so I figured I take the opportunity to add a little slickness.

I found this here. Credit for HabaHaba 0.95 belongs 100% to:

Author: Christian Nordbakk
Date Created: 5/22/2004 1:40:08 PM
Author’s Website:
Christian Nordbakk’s HabaHaba 0.95 skin based on his original AnotherEon001 skin that is now packaged with .Text. You can see it in use at his blog (link above).



Your humble blogger is just a bit humbler — I did not pass the Who Wants to be a Millionaire quiz.

There were about 100 people in line when they let us in, many daytime tv watchers in town on vacation, a few postal working jeopardy wanna-be types, and miscellaneous others. They lead us all into a cafeteria type room, hand out the scantron, #2 pencil and individually numbered envelope with 30 questions inside. Ten minute time limit. I made it through the first half with a really good feeling that I nailed almost all of them. The second half was trickier – questions ranging from ancient Greece (who was Cleopatra romantically linked with before Marc Antony) to soap operas (what soap takes place in Pine Valley). While I felt I did ok I knew I was going to get a few wrong there. Put your pencils down, time’s up.

Note, to this point nobody’s looked at my personality questionnaire, talked to me or taken my picture.

They announce, almost immediately, the numbers of the folks that passed the test and move on to the next round. #73 was not called

I guess if I want to be on TV and win a million dollars I’ll have to rely on something else besides smarts. Sexy bachelor? Daring Fear Factor guy? Knower of grocery prices?



Downloading the pictures from Beach Party 2004 using the normally stellar XP Picture transfer wizard thing I pointed the files to be saved into a folder that doesn’t exist anymore (partially my fault, partially MS’s) with the “delete pictures after copying them” checked on. So you know what comes next, the pictures vanished. Fortunately I have experience with undelete and the memory cards on cameras. Basically its pretty easy to do. I purchased Undelete from Executive Software makers of Diskeeper – which I swear by. Downloaded the installer and chose the “emergency recovery” option when the installer runs – you don’t have to actually install anything. A few clicks later, the pictures are all restored good as new.

Note, undelete works well in these situations because the camera card isn’t being used to write new stuff to like your c: drive does avoiding the possibility of writing over the data you are looking for. Also, though I recommend undelete for these tasks, I don’t like their recycle bin modification thing that gets installed when you install it. There might be a simpler, cheaper tool out there, but I knew Undelete and had success with it.


the sprint that became a marathon

My evite to “Beach Party 2004” said Milford, CT, Saturday 1pm-5pm. I show up, burgers and dogs come out, get grilled and eaten, drink some beers etc. When the host made a comment like “we are going to have a keg later” at around 3pm I figured either, the party (of around 20 people) would have to drink an entire keg in one hour or the party was not ending at 5pm. Actually we ended up having a fantastic time through sunset, dinner, dance party, nightswimming, late night calzones, sleep-over, breakfast, and more lounging by the pool in the sunshine.

Many thanks to the hosts for putting on a great event.

Hollie has good coverage here.


maybe I could turn my kitchen into something else (since I won’t need it anymore)

 Via Consumer Whore

My favorite mix is Grape Nuts and Pop Rocks, I call it Jon Bon Denver. Cereality is a breakfast cereal bar and cafe; they serve 33 cereals and 34 toppings, the employees wear pajamas, but the best part is these Chinese takeout-style cereal bowls. Currently they’re only in Tempe, but they want to come to your town. And yes, they have soy milk.

Comments: How are they going to address the low-carb crowd? Do they need to?



Plaxo is a friend of a friend type contact management system. Essentially everybody that downloads plaxo and signs in (it’s free) becomes connected and gets automatic updates anytime anyone updates their contact info.

Plaxo 1.0 has always had the side benefit of syncing contact lists between systems.

This was all working great for me and everyone should join plaxo just for the contact management, but Plaxo 2.0 has filled the final piece of one of my techno-puzzles.

I’ve got Outlook at work, Outlook at home and a Motorola MP200 MS Smartphone.

Using Exchange 2003 I can synchronize my phone to the home calendar, email, contacts all over the air and bi-directionally.

All good except my home calendar doesn’t have much on it so syncing to the phone doesn’t deliver much value. Plaxo 2.0 now has added calendar, tasks and notes to their synchronization features. Which means I have total synchronization between home, work and mobile phone. I can even set my phone to “automatic” ringer mode which, since it knows if I have a meeting scheduled, will change the ringer to vibrate only if the time is blocked off in my calendar. Sweet.


make your own pizza restaurant

I bought Paradox of Choice (mentioned previously here) and it has been illuminating on several fronts.

… as choices proliferate, people have a harder and harder time making decisions. And they end up less satisfied with the decisions they make. They are filled with regret over those that turned out well but might have been better; they develop unrealistically high expectations; and when decisions disappoint, as they almost always do because of these expectations, they blame themselves. The result is stress, unhappiness, and in extreme cases, clinical depression.

One of them is what I suspect to be a under-discussed secret to Microsoft’s (and Apple’s) success.

When it comes to computing, most of us would prefer that somebody else go through the painful process of deciding what the best way to accomplish something is.

As a conscientious computer user, always looking out to the future and competitors to my platform of the moment, I have strived to stay “up” on what else is out there. I’ve ran almost all the major platforms at one time or another. For anyone going to install (most) Linux packages know, from the beginning you are presented with choices you have no idea how to make.

Welcome to Gentoo Linux, would you like to install via stage 1, 2, or 3 tarballs? Next partition your filesystem designing your own layout and using one of three different tools. Then pick a filesystem, ext2, ext3, reiserfs, xfs, or jfs. Configure the kernel manually or use genkernel? Pick a bootloader, GRUB OR LILO. Pick a system logger, sysklogd, syslog-ng, or metalog. Pick a cron daemon, dcron, fcron, or vixie-cron. That’s just basic command line linux, next we’re going to force you to pick between KDE and gnome and one of countless windowmanagers. (What advice do people give when picking between KDE and Gnome? KDE is C++ and Gnome is C. Great, thanks, that helps.)

Linux users love this choice and I’m sure it has to do with personality traits, this kind of treatment leads me down the thought path of “Jesus, you guys should sit down, make the hard decisions, pick the best technology and make it the best it can be.” You can’t help but believe that if the KDE and Gnome teams worked together they’d end up with a better product than what they have now.  

It seems many groups are starting to get this now. You definitely see it happening in the Java camp with IDEs. I absolutely hated having to pick a Java IDE. They all had features I liked, but none of them came close to what I expected, especially knowing what I was missing. Once you’ve made a choice, the nagging feeling like you are missing out induces unhappiness in the choice you’ve made. Microsoft on the other hand has Visual Studio. Everybody accepts that as the standard. In addition to be customizable and adaptable there are literally hundreds of add-ins, helpers, tools build around it that enhance the functionality and deliver on all those little things that are left out of the base product. Of course there are choices outside of visual studio (notepad, emacs, Borland) but its understood that those are not meant to be general purpose tools and only people who come in with twenty years emacs experience or work for Borland 😉 will use something other than VStudio.

The culture of Linux is “gee, I like this tool, but it would be better if it were written in C instead of Python” so I’ll spend my time recreated what you did but “better” in my eyes. This is where IBM needs to step up to the plate. Red Hat I suppose has tried this, but they don’t have the gorilla mass (800 pounds) to accomplish anything earth shaking.

I’d keep going, but I’ll leave it here for now.


to,tal,ly weeaak

I haven’t been watching South Park as religiously as I did through the first five seasons or so, but based on Vinod’s recommendation I tivo’d the A.W.E.S.O.M-0 4000 episode.

Nice to see Matt and Trey still got it.