Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This Is No Way to Promote Tourism

How about extreme nasty tours. The weather is Cleveland is turning sour. It should stay that way for a while. Tourists are now few and far between. But it's not so bad that one can't enjoy a brisk walk by the sea shore!

Beats me where the audio went on this, but just think shwwwwwwwwew ...
and a little rock and roll at the end.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Verse Uverse, We All Verse

Ma Ma Ma Belle! I'm not sure what the AT+T breakup was really all about in the first place, since so much of it came back together. Once upon a time there really was very little competition in the U.S. in most of what was then the telephone business, but look what it is now. AT+T has a few competitors, but it has huge market share in so many of today's (much broader) communications markets.

They now have all of my personal communications. And long before even cell phones, in the early days of home Internet service, I was wishing for a single provider to sell it all to me. Somehow I now wake up in the middle of the night and it has happened (it could be because I missed one of my Lyrica pills, though, because my skin also feels like it's peeling off).

My TV, home phone, cell phone, and Internet are all from the same provider. AT+T Uverse was the latest addition to this pile, with television and Internet services. So, what's it like? It certainly is impressive to look at the router config screen and see that 25 megabits of IP are coming into my house.  I haven't had the service long enough to say much about reliability. 

There definitely are limits to what it can do. I am supposed to have 6 mbit down and 1 mbit up of Internet. This seems to be rock solid, unlike the cable TV provider, which felt inconsistent. Cable was supposed to be faster on the down side, but it seemed to be spotty. On the TV side, yesterday we were recording two HD programs and watching one regular program in one room. When I tried to tune to an HD channel in another room, it said it could not (sorry, Dave). I can live with that (I watched a different, recorded HD program).

We bought the whole bevy of channels - 341. There are maybe 10 more HD channels than we had with cable (48, I think). It comes with a DVR you can access from other sets (or even control over the Internet). It can record 4 programs at once, two HD. American HD is a lot of data - 1920x1080 - so that's pretty impressive. Although we usually are not technologically deprived, we didn't have a DVR before this. It a keeper, something we can't do without. Pausing live TV. Gotta have it.

As a quality freak (but really only an expert on the audio side), I was concerned about excessive compression on the HD cable channels. With cable, you could see lots of artifacts if you looked at where subtle gradations of color were supposed to be. Uverse was supposed to be better, using MP4 compression. I don't think it holds up very well under close scrutiny either, though. Color gradations seem less blotchy, but animation of things like background colors is jumpy. Only a picky person would notice, and I would need side by side installations to give a more accurate account. And that ain't going to happen.

So, I am happy, but I won't save any money (not much, anyway) and the difference in the amount of service we are getting is negligible.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Route 66" on WRUW

Eclectic. To me, that's always a positive word. I suppose there may be some things eclectic that I would want to avoid, but I'm not sure what they would be.

The term is perfect for describing a radio show I have been enjoying the last few years. It is inexplicably called "Route 66." You can find this show on WRUW 91.1 FM in Cleveland or http://www.wruw.org/ every Wednesday from 9:00 A.M. to Noon.

Your DJ Carl's shows normally cover multiple genres, often within one set. It is always fresh and heartfelt programming. And eclectic. Not to the point of obscurity, but in range. You can get everything from jam bands to punk rock, classic rock, any form of jazz, world music, odd imports. Nothing is off limits (although I'm not sure I've ever heard him delve into any orchestra music).  All mixed up and presented with a curious thread. 

You can check out some older shows as well: http://www.wruw.org/guide/show.php?show_id=163

Carl - for that dip into orchestra music that I think you should feel challenged to make, rather than the usual 19th century longhairs, maybe some Moondog would work.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Happy Birthday John Lennon

John Winston Ono Lennon
9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980

... and an early happy 72nd birthday to Bill Wyman (October 24, 1936). This is a picture of me with Bill a few years back. It was at a book signing at the Rock Hall. I was standing with a few other people waiting for Bill and didn't realize that I was standing almost right next to Gary Brooker ("Whiter Shade of Pale").

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Relative URL's In a SharePoint Masterpage

I've mentioned that I hate branding, right? It is kind of nice, though, when you get it right. I've had some recent little successes that have made me happy. Or it may be the Lyrica I've been on for the past month that keeps me happy (nice drug).

OK, so while you are out there messing with masterpages, you might want to add a static URL link that goes to the current site. Here's mine that worked so nicely:

Text="Metadata Search "
runat="server" CssClass="ms-SPLinkButtonInActive" Font-Size="XX-Small"/>
"$SPUrl:~Site/../Search.aspx" goes to a page saved at the root of the subsite. Naturally, you could specify a path into the subsite as well.

There also was a significant amount of pain that went into the meticulous placement on the masterpage. I'm not sure if I am satisfied with the way I did that. We'll see when I roll it to the QA and production environments. It is pretty! Likewise, I'm still debating on the actual location of that file, etc., but in the mean time, you've got your relative URL.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Adding a "Fake" Item to the Views Dropdown

I recently built some demos using Bamboo Solution's fantastic "List Search Advanced" web part. I called it "Metadata Search" since that's what it really is - a search on any of the columns (but not documents in a library). We needed to have a search limited to individual lists but we couldn't use the out of the box Advanced Search web part because it needs a defined scope.  We have too many subsites (Microsoft recommends no more that 200 scopes, or something like that). We could have tried to roll our own, but Bamboo Solutions to the rescue! Highly recommended.

The primary use of the Bamboo search web part will be from a special search page that I will add to the site template. In looking for other ways to incorporate it, I came up with something interesting. I created a view called "search."  It didn't matter what was on the view because I hid it.

Then I edited the web part page and hid the view web part (in the Layout section). It is now a web part page which shows in the view drop down, and I can add web parts to it. I added the Bamboo Solutions search web part, but it could be anything. Instructions, maybe.

Do not remove the list view web part from the page. If you do, the page will no longer show in the drop down. You may then need to delete it with SharePoint Designer.

The users turned down my idea, but it's still a nifty (stupid) SharePoint trick that I'm sure I will use someday.