Sunday, December 30, 2007


I was very excited about Vista before it came out in 2006. That quickly waned. My son Matt got a new fire breathing machine last year just as the Core 2 Duo's and Vista were becoming available. It got set up numerous times, with Vista, then XP, then dual boot, etc. but the Vista experience was something I decided I didn't need for myself. I didn't want to upgrade any of my personal machines, and for my work PC I use Server 2003.

We had a nice little laptop in my group that has Vista on it. I've dragged that around the country a bit. Most recently I stuck a 4 GB flash drive on it and ReadyBoost turned the somewhat slow 3.5 pounder (with only 1 GB RAM) into a respectable machine.

A couple days before Christmas I decided to finally build a new PC for my studio. I had two new 400 GB SATA drives (which I RAIDed) from Black Friday shopping. I also had a new 20x DVD burner (also BF). I already had a very nice full tower case I wasn't using, and I pulled the killer Antec power supply out of my old studio PC. I also sucked out another great optical drive and the firewire PCI adapter (the motherboard I bought did not have firewire and I need it for my Canon video camera and for my Edirol FA-101 audio interface). I ended up getting a E6750 Core 2 Duo, 4 GB of 800mHz RAM, and a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L motherboard.

I bought Matt a new ATI 3870 chipset video card and took his old one. It's no slouch for what I am doing, but he is a gamer and needs the smoking hot card.

So I stuck everything in the box and turned it on. Keep in mind that is was a fairly ambitious build - lots of stuff. Sometimes when you stick so much in a new box, you end up having to remove lots of stuff to troubleshoot. Not this time. I turned it on and everything worked.

First I installed XP and Office (but not much else). Then I wanted to create a dual boot. I downloaded Vista x64 with SP1 RC1 from MSDN. Since I had created only one partition, it would not load without blowing away XP, so I resized the partition and then installed Vista (64 bit), activating it with my MSDN license.

The bottom line, is that the Vista installation was incredibly easy and trouble-free. Everything just worked as it should. The performance is fantastic - blazing fast. So far, I love 64 bit Vista! I would say that this machine is the best and fastest I have ever used, and the excellent OS is a large part of what makes it so good.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Vail Skiing Report Card

So how did it go?

Sunday - I sucked big time. I was gasping for air the whole day. My "performance package" rented skis were totally alien to me. I was somewhat terrified by the experience. I had some control toward the end of a very short day on greens. Lots of new snow the previous day, but nothing like that mattered. Not good. D+

Monday - Complete turnaround. Everything worked. It was easy to ski like you knew what you were doing. I thoroughly enjoyed everything. I had a little pain in my calf from the boot. Everything was beautifully groomed. Best skiing day of my life. B

Tuesday - I went up the mountain by myself and did exactly one run (albeit a long one). The pain in my calf was unbearable. The skis felt foreign again. There was a little new snow that just made it slippery. Went for a run in the morning - gasping for air the whole time. D

Wednesday - The calf now had a real bruise. I bought some shin guards and got different boots. What a huge help that all was. There was 10+ inches of fresh power of the finest kind all over the mountain, and very little grooming. Skiing in the deep powder is new to me, but it was gloriously fun. Best skiing day of my life (again, and reigning). B+

Thursday - Still feeling OK on the calf front, and the legs feel good too. Explored the mountain a bit more with my companions, and navigated all the way to the back bowls by myself in the late morning. The powder was mostly gone. Towards the end of the day I did an intentional fall with the helmet cam on. On the very last run I charged down a steep part of a well skied over blue run (that was crusty) and I fell fairly spectacularly. How fitting that my first fall was on the last run. B

Something that was different at Vail from the gazillion Holiday Valley (etc.) trips was that I never even saw the inside of a bar while skiing. No drinking until apres. Respect for the mountain! I suppose the next time I ski a lesser place, though, I'll need a drink to help me forget I am not at Vail.

Party scene gets a B- for this trip. Enjoyable, but very reserved - nothing at all as crazy as I prefer (occasionally). I suppose that's about what it should be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Vail December 2007

I haven't had time to do everything I would have like to do while I am here in Vail, but I have uploaded all my photos and helmet cam videos. I'll add to this post as time permits.

In general, the skiing was better than I imagined. I had some issues the first day with new skis, the altitude and the big mountain, and on the third day I couldn't bear the pain from a bruise on my calf, but otherwise it was outstanding.

I always wondered if I would be able to ski multiple days in a row. No problem!

Slideshow (double-click and open it in another window):

Helmet cams (see what I saw and try the amazing youtube control):

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Work Around Shmerkaround - View by Date, Newest First - Use the ID Field

Today I had to do something simple and I couldn't remember if I had done it before or not (it sure seems like I had). I needed to make a document library view that shows the newest documents first.

It seemed to me like this was a simple to do thing but that I had employed some trick in the past. Memory told me I had to use a calculated field. For some reason, I remembered wrong. Or not how to do it. In a document library, the modified field is not available for calculations (or sorting). Since I couldn't calculate on it but I thought I could, I did what we all do, I looked around for an answer. I found lots of bad answers and questions in blogs.

Next I just dug in and improvised, and found a simple solution. The ID field is sequential and thus was usable for a created order and it is sortable. A simple work-around-ish solution.