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Meanwhile, back at the farm...

The Personal Blog of Mike Farmer

Updated: 2018-02-07T14:17:25.815-08:00


New Site and New Blog!


I'm now over at My New Site

Come take a look!

Helping Out a Friend


This post is a call to all my followers out there to help a good friend of mine. Bob Laidig has been working with me at Sento for 5+ years and has been a good friend and trusted co-worker. Bob is now moving on to another opportunity and in conjunction with his departure I would like to ask all my friends and followers to donate to a good cause that Bob is undertaking

On June 28 - 29, 2008, Bob would like to take part in the 2008 Harmons Best Dam Bike Ride which is a ride to raise funds for finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. He is currently about $275 from reaching the minimum $500 entry. Please take some time to visit the donation website, read about the cause, and make a donation.

Thank you!

Click here to visit the site or copy and paste the following link:

The Joys of Creation


The following was taken from The Music and the Spoken Word

Nancy was eight years old when a teacher looked at her drawing and spoke six words Nancy would never forget: “You’re not very talented, are you?”

The words not only embarrassed her, they burrowed inside her, creating a firm resolve never to make a fool of herself by attempting to draw or paint again.

It took more than five decades for Nancy to outgrow this image of herself as a clumsy, artless, and uncreative person. Today Nancy knows something she wishes she could have understood when she was eight: the reason we create is not for the praise of others but because we love something so much we want to see it exist.

That’s what creative people do. They bring to life things that didn’t exist before.

Creativity is one of the great, mysterious hungers we all have as mortal souls, and there are as many ways to express this divine drive as there are people who feel it. Some of the most creative people in the world never pick up a paintbrush, sit down at a piano, or fill a page with words. Yet because of them, the world is filled with scented gardens, warm quilts, and loving relationships. Sometimes the most important thing we create is as simple as a smile.

Many of us have something we’ve always wanted to try to do but never quite got around to it—perhaps because we lacked the confidence, or maybe because we were afraid we would fail. The good news is this: when we set aside our fears and begin to create, we make not only our lives but our world more meaningful and more wonderful.
One wise man put it this way: “God left [the] world unfinished. . . . He left the problems unsolved and the pictures unpainted and the music unsung that man might know the joys and glories of creation.”1

1 Attributed to Alan Stockdale by Sterling W. Sill in Conference Report, Apr. 1960, 70.

Mitt Romney's CPAC Address


You probably heard the in the news yesterday that Mitt Romney announced that he is suspending his campaign for the Presidency of the United States. You probably heard a clip from his speech at CPAC where he outlined that because of the treat to our country from Jihad and the inevitable retreat by the Democrats, he could not continue to split the Republican vote. Doing so would only weaken the opportunity to send John McCain, who has been a strong supporter in our battle against Jihad, to the White House.

What you didn't hear in the news was the rest of the speech. You can read it here. You can also watch it right here:


Here are a few excerpts that I thought were most notable:
The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960's welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven't given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and to remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.

The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and father. Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of a nation. I wonder how it is that unelected judges, like some in my state of Massachusetts, are so unaware of this reality, so oblivious to the millennia of recorded history. It is time for the people of America to fortify marriage through Constitutional amendment, so that liberal judges cannot continue to attack it.

Most politicians don't seem to understand the connection between our ability to compete and our national wealth, and the wealth of our families. They act as if money just happens – that it's just there. But every dollar represents a good or service produced in the private sector. Depress the private sector and you depress the well-being of Americans.

That's exactly what happens with high taxes, over-regulation, tort windfalls, mandates, and overfed, over-spending government. Did you see that today, government workers make more money than people who work in the private sector? Can you imagine what happens to an economy where the best opportunities are for bureaucrats?

It's high time to lower taxes, including corporate taxes, to take a weed-whacker to government regulations, to reform entitlements, and to stand up to the increasingly voracious appetite of the unions in our government.

Operational BI


Mark Madsen is blogging about Operational BI. Operational BI just means that BI is more accessible to end users.
Vendors in the business intelligence and enterprise applications market have been talking a lot about operational BI, making BI pervasive and active/dynamic data warehousing. They're responding to the need businesses have for up-to-date information at the point of use so decisions can be made more quickly or tasks can be done more effectively.
Making operational BI a reality will require two things: front-end tools that address the specific interface needs at the point of usage, and a metadata-driven query layer that isn't tied to a specific UI.

Mark goes on to note that we wont likely see any of the predominant BI vendors adopt either of these two things. Why? Inertia. The article is a good read, and I recommend it because it explains the problem very well.

I believe there is a a market for a metadata-driven query layer. Something like this would be complex, but as I've said before, I believe the talent and tools exist, they just aren't focused.

Sexy Enterpise Software?


Scoble is out of his element writing about Enterprise Software, but he hits this nail right on the head.

Why enterprise software isn’t sexy � Scobleizer — Tech geek blogger

I have invested by interests and schooling in Enterprise Software. I love Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing. To me, the concepts are really exciting. The software itself -- not so much. The trouble is that most enterprise software is massive. It is extremely complex in its implementation and its goals. Because of this, more time is spent on functionality than usability. When was the last time you saw a UI to enterprise software that you liked?

Here's the trouble. We really don't care enough about it to spend the extra cash to make it thus. Enterprise Software doesn't need to be sexy to get used. Consumer software does. CIO's are going to buy software for the company that will bring value and that value isn't going to be measured by how many warm-fuzzies my employees get while using it. It's based on cost savings and maximizing revenue, more of the former for CIOs.

So as much as I'd love to see enterprise software vendors build sexy applications, I don't see them wasting time on eye-candy any time soon. There is, however, a great deal to be excited about in enterprise software. As with any software, it doesn't matter how well it looks in comparison to how well it runs. The back-end may not have the polish we would like, but the stuff that goes on there to simplify complexity and provide value is simply amazing. It's worth looking at and studying.


I really should put this in a separate post, but I must point out one other thing here. If you want to point a finger at one other contributing factor to the lack of sexy enterprise applications, I think you have to point to Java. Most enterprise applications are built on Java. Java has the ugliest UI libraries out there. One way to quickly start building sexier applications is to either dump Java or encourage Java developers to work on libraries that actually look nice and encompass modern UI techniques. I don't mean to pick on Java here (if you know me, you know I'm not a fan), but to me it is an obvious conclusion.

Crayon Physics


Thanks to Scoble I found this incredible video.

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Web Page Rendering On IE vs Firefox


A lot has been written and said about rendering differences between IE and Firefox. I don't want to go there, but I do want to point out an observation I've made. It used to be that most sites looked really nice when rendered in IE. I used IE for all my browsing about two years ago. Then I switched to Firefox and haven't looked back. One thing that I noticed when I first switched is that many sites just didn't render right when viewed in Firefox. Over the last two years things have really changed. It is very rare that something doesn't render correctly in Firefox these days. That could be attributed to a lot of things, but regardless, rendering is generally not an issue. (I should note here that the difference in standards IS an issue for the developer, but for the person doing the browsing it's not an issue.)

Since my hard drive on my MacBook Pro died earlier this week, I have been forced to use IE a lot more -- especially at school. I've noticed something that caught me a little by surprise. IE was having a real hard time rendering many of the sites I use. Most of the really popular sites with big development budgets look great, but many of the "Web 2.0" sites I've visited don't look right. This is very similar to the experience I had when I moved to Firefox.

So why the switch? I don't know. But if I had to guess I would say that it probably has to do with another observation I've made. If you are a web developer and you don't work specifically on Microsoft / .Net products, you are probably using Firefox to run your site during your development process. When you finish or get ready to deploy, then you test on IE and make changes. Am I out of whack here? If I'm right, then what that means is that more and more web sites are being built with Firefox standards then kluged to work with IE. That would explain the shift.

Well, I could be completely wrong here, but this is just a hunch. Anyone else made any similar / supporting observations?

When OS X Goes Bye-Bye


I had the unfortunate experience of losing my hard drive on my MacBook Pro this week. Thanks to Mozy I had at least a partial backup which included my most critical files. So, I'm out a laptop until next week -- what do I do? I have two servers at home (ok, just beefy desktop machines running as servers). I consolidated them into one server and used the other as desktop so I could do work and school stuff.

Which OS? Hmm, going to Windows sounded excruciatingly painful. That would be my last resort. Well, I chose Ubuntu. I've used SuSE in the past, but it's become to bloated for me and I wanted to try something new. Gutsy Gibbon seemed like it was worthy of a try. So here's how it went:

Step 1, install the OS. Very simple. Dowloaded the ISO, burned it to a CD and booted. Everything went great. Now that it's up, WOW, the desktop looks great. It's no Leopard, mind you, but for Linux it looked fabulous. In my opinion, it also looks better than Vista -- but what doesn't.

Step 2, install VMWare Server. Yep, I know, I didn't want Windows, but I needed it for a stats test that requires SPSS -- for Windows. I had to have it done last night so on it went. Being on the bleeding edge in Linux has its downfalls, however, and VMWare was a bear to install on this new kernel. I was a little out of my element so I didn't take very good notes, but thanks go to Google and Forums for showing the way.

Step 3, after being spoiled by iTunes, having music in the background all the time and not having the luxury or time to re-record all my CD's (yep, lost my music library), I needed some tunes. Jango to the rescue. Whew... now that that's taken care of...

Step 4, Oracle Client. Oracle client for 10g R2 installed just fine after I told it to ignore system prerequisites. Just had to setup my environment and it works just fine. This is really getting to be old hat for me now.

Step 5, ruby and oci. The project I'm working on is a ruby script for archiving our data warehouse so ruby and oci were next. I ran into some trouble because zlib isn't installed by default on Ubuntu but after installing it using aptitude and recompiling ruby everything was setup fine. I also installed Ruby on Rails at this point because, well, I was there and I like having it available if I feel like doing anything for fun.

Step 6, install a vpn client. Oh boy, now I got to mess with the kernel again to try to install Cisco's VPN Client for Linux. After a failed attempt and some googling, I just bagged it and installed vpnc through aptitude. I setup the config file and ran vpnc from the command line. After a few trial and error runs on the config file it connected beautifully. Wow, who knew about vpnc? Not I, but now I'm glad I do.

Ok, so, about 10 hours later I'm up and running ready to get back to work. So why blog about all this? Well, for one, I wanted to tout Ubuntu. It really is a great desktop alternative. I would use it any day over Windows. If you haven't tried it in a while, give it a shot. It's impressive. My biggest hassle so far is getting used to using the control key instead of command/alt for everything. If anyone knows how to switch that in GNOME, please, let me know.

Another reason for the blog post is to point out that there is life after OS X. I know I'm a real sucker for Apple products, but if you can't afford it or can't stomach Apple culture then there are viable alternatives to running Windows. There will be a little learning curve, but if you don't mind getting your feet wet on the command line and learning something new then Linux deserves a serious look.

My Social Networking Winner and Losers


It's been several of months since I denounced Social Networking and then renounced after a few days. Since then I have created accounts on many networks and thought I would categorize some of the more popular sites as winners or losers. So here are my reviews of whether the social networks are, in my opinion, winners or losers:Facebook (Loser)That's right, I may be the only one saying it, but after about a month of really trying to get some value out of Facebook I simply never found it. Sure, there are a lot of neat things about Facebook. I liked the video stuff and the whole idea of being able to make applications. Trouble is, most of the applications don't do much more than provide some kind of entertainment. No value there for me. I get my entertainment doing things with my family. Now days I rarely visit my Facebook site and the ironic thing is, I rarely see any of my friends doing much out there either. Overall, with all the hype, I was expecting more from Facebook and has been a huge let-down.Plaxo (Winner)For a long time Plaxo was just an online address book. If that's what you still think it is, you need to take another look. They have basically 2 new features I have adopted that I use all the time. First, I now have the ability to sync my calendar and contacts with Outlook, Google Calendar, & iCal (on my Mac and my wife's). This synchronization happens almost instantaneously and is reliable. Plaxo is still working out some of the glitches and occasionally I have to resync one of my sync-points, but for the most part it works really well.The second feature I love is Plaxo Pulse. This is a fabulous way for me to see everything that my contacts are doing. It aggregates feeds from most of the social networks along with Amazon wish lists and blogs. One of my favorite features is that I can see what RSS feeds my friends are sharing from Google Reader. This allows me to see what my friends are reading and lets me quickly and easily take a look myself.Twitter (Winner)This one was a complete surprise to me. Never did I think that logging my life 147 characters at a time would be so fun. The best part about Twitter though is that I get to follow some amazing and interesting people. I love to see what they are doing, reading, and talking about. I have always maintained that if you want to really learn about something, you should hang out with people that are already doing it. Twitter does that for me.Here are some other interesting things that I've observed through Twitter: I now feel like I'm friends with people I've never met. I have a resource that I wouldn't have otherwise -- for example, the other day I asked the editor of MacWorld Magazine (Jason Snell) if he thought a product was worth the price. I had an answer within an hour. That blew me away. I also find out news from Twitter. Between Dave Winer and Robert Scoble, I'm able to keep a pretty good pulse on the web world. I have also been updated on weather (snow storms), the California fires, and earthquakes. All this news came to me a lot sooner than through the news networks or even my RSS feeds.FamilyLink (Loser -- so far)FamilyLink is a social network for genealogy and is the brainchild of Paul Allen, one of the founders of the most successful genealogy web site ever, FamilyLink has the promise of being something really great. The idea of having a place where one can collaborate their work with others on their family tree is one that I've had for a long time and one that I think has a lot of potential. So, why the "loser" status? The site is just to young. The interface is ugly and buggy which makes it frustrating to work with. Collaboration is the idea, but the implementation feels like it was done by a bunch of beginning programmers. Fa[...]

Using Subversion Branches and Externals


If you have been following my twitter feeds lately you already know that I've been trying to figure out some subversion stuff for a current project I have to come up with some process around using subversion. Well, I'm a real newbie at this and Google was only slightly helpful. Well, I think I learned what I set out to learn and I thought I would post my findings here.


Creating a Branch:
syntax: svn copy source target
example to copy from trunk to current directory:
svn copy svn://localhost/trunk/DW/RIM/RIM/Stored/MY_STORED_PROC.sql .

Merging changes:
syntax: svn merge svn://original_path_to_file -r[Original Version]:[Version to Merge] /new_file_path
svn merge svn://localhost/branches/DW/RIM_1.4/MY_STORED_PROC.sql -r1:2 ./MY_STORED_PROC.sql

Creating Externals:
Externals can only be created on directories, not individual files.
Externals provide an alias to a directory within subversion
Creating externals involves setting a property on a subversion directory.
To create a directory that has subdirectories that are externals:
1. Create a file with the alias definitions. The contents of the files should be like this:
alias_directory_name path_in_subversion
for example
$ cat alias_def.txt
stored_proc svn://localhost/trunk/DW/RIM/RIM/Stored

You can create multiple subdirectories with multiple entries. For example
$cat alias_def.txt
stored_proc svn://localhost/trunk/DW/RIM/RIM/Stored
tables svn://localhost/trunk/DW/RIM/RIM/Tables

Once the definition file has been created, it can be applied using the svn propset command to a working subversion directory using the following commands:
svn propset svn:externals . -F alias_def.txt
svn update

These commands will create the directories "stored_proc" and "tables" with the appropriate contents as defined in alias_dev.txt in the current working subversion directory.

Matt's Pensieve: PC vs. Mac Pet Peeves


Matt Freestone is one of my best friends and favorite associates. We've worked together long enough now and agree on so many things that people we work with even get us mixed up now and then.

So I was happy to read something that finally gives people something substantive to tell us apart. Mike will be the one with the shiny MacBook Pro. Matt will be the one with the shiny PC.

Between Matt's post and my previous post on why I use a Mac, it's easy to see that to each is own, and that even goes for OS religions.

10 Reasons Why I Use a Mac


So I've been using a Mac in some way or another for just about a year and a half now. I had long been a user of Windows and even DOS. About 4 years ago I started to experiment with Linux and liked it, but was deterred by how difficult it was to do what should be simple, like watch a DVD. I had long been a Mac hater. Like most Mac haters, it was the culture more than anything that turned me off. The other big reason I hated it was because I thought it didn't have any power for anyone that wanted to get "real" work done.Now that I have switched to a Mac, I am amazed at how much I love it. It's not perfect, mind you, but it is by far the best experience I've ever had on a personal computer. As much as I love it, I am astounded when I see people buy a computer without taking into consideration a Mac. So I thought I would list 10 reasons why I use a Mac to see if I can illustrate why it should be considered. This is not meant to be a marketing post for Apple. It's just a way for me to explain why I will stick with Apple over Windows.1. *nixThe number 1 reason I love my Mac so much is because of the BSD Unix that it runs on. This not only provides me with the memory management, file system, and folder structure that is characteristic of such a system, but it gives me the ability to harness the power of a true terminal / shell. Although this may not be a big deal for most users, it's a huge deal to me. I love my bash prompt. iTerm is almost always running and I love it because I can simply and quickly accomplish many things that make everyday use of my computer more pleasing and more effective.The other fantastic benefit of using a traditional Unix folder structure is that I no longer have to deal with the Windows Registry. If I backup my home folder and my computer completely dies, I can restore my home folder and I'm back up and running, preferences, settings, and all, in no time. You would never dream of doing this in Windows.2. NaggingI can't stand Operating Systems that want to tell you everything they are doing... constantly. Windows will not leave you alone no matter what you want to do. I often sit in meetings with people trying to demo something on Windows. It literally takes them as much as 10 times longer to do something than it should because they have to confirm that they really want to do something. Windows also constantly wants to brag about how it does something for you. The little popup in the bottom right corner wants to inform you every time Windows accomplishes anything. I'm sorry, but this is annoying.For the most part, OS X only notifies you if something goes wrong. I don't get a popup for everything and anything it does. It's clean and it leaves you alone so you can do your work.3. OrganizationWhen I switched from Windows to a Mac I wanted to copy photos, music, and documents to my Mac. Then it hit me, I had no idea, despite my best efforts to organize, where all that stuff was! Sure, I had "My Music", "My Documents", and "My Pictures" folders but almost every app I used on Windows put their stuff anywhere they liked on my hard drive. It was a nightmare trying to figure out where everything was. In fact, I just gave up and started over bringing this stuff to my Mac from it's original source.iLife (iTunes & iPhoto in particular) has changed everything. All my music is now well organized. My documents are all in one place. My photos are all neatly organized and easily accessible. That is how it should be. My "Home" folder has everything that I want in it. I can quickly and simply find everything that belongs to me on my computer.4. StabilityMy first Mac was a Mac Mini G4. My wife still uses this computer and it is the mai[...]

BI, where's your focus?


I'm seeing a lot of really interesting ways of displaying / visualizing data these days from the big Business Intelligence (BI) companies and from some smaller, even web-based, companies. There is a small effort to utilize Web 2.0 technologies, although I think for the most part the people building BI apps don't understand Web 2.0. (I've ranted on this before.)

Data Visualization is absolutely essential in BI tools. But in then end, I'm just looking at charts and data. Anything beyond that is either organization of data and eye candy or delivery (getting it on the web / dashboard / email / etc). But is this where the real focus should be?

I don't believe that enough attention is being given to meta-data. Meta-data, or data about the data, should be generated and gathered into a repository and then opened up to the world. Imagine a meta-data repository that could be searched and made available using all these neat visualization tools. The key is that the meta-data also knows how the data should be organized and delivered to the BI / Data Visualization tools.

Here's how I see it working. I pull up my Dashboard on my Mac which has a simple widget with a search bar. I type "Gross Sales" and then I'm presented with search results from my meta-data repository of all the data elements in my enterprise that match the criteria. In the list I see "Gross Sales - The total gross sales of products". I click on that and another small list appears below with check boxes. Items include "by Region", "by Product", etc. I choose the categories that I want and click Run. I am then prompted for a date range or a list of common / custom filters. When I click "Generate", the data comes up in a chart and I'm given a limited number of controls to customize the display. When I click Save, my chart is saved and automatically updated from that point on. My BI tool then becomes my own dashboard already built into OS X.

What's going on in the background? Utilizing web services, I'm making several calls to my meta-data repository. Once enough information has been collected from the end-user on what they want to generate a database (or cross-database) query then the meta-data repository generates the query and runs it on the database. The third party application then, also using web services, requests the data which is returned in a standard XML format for manipulation.

The real trick here is that you need an amazingly intelligent meta-data repository / server. That is why I think this is where the focus should be. We have enough tools to make our data look pretty, what we really need are systems that know and understand our data so that we can make informed decisions without all the domain knowledge that is currently housed in the heads of data stewards in the enterprise.

There are a lot of really bright innovative people out there that can solve this problem. In my experience, groups of individuals are capable of solving any problem with the proper focus. Right now the BI world is focused on the easy stuff. Now let's buckle down and get on with the next frontier of Business Intelligence - Data Intelligence.

Parallels Shared-Networking on the Fritz


I love Parallels and I use if often. For networking, I have chosen Shared Networking for ease of use and so that I only have to have a VPN client on my Mac. Last night I was in need of printing from Word 2007 to my shared printer. But for some reason, my Parallels machine couldn't connect to the network. I looked at the IP settings and sure enough, it wasn't getting an IP address from Parallel's NAT service.

Well, I fought with releasing and renewing the IP address to no avail. Then, because I was frantic, I switched the networking to Bridged. The Parallels machine got it's IP from my router and I was back in business. But I don't want that machine to use Bridged networking permanently.

So I fought with it again this morning. With some help from Google, I discovered that the NAT service is located at /Library/StartupItems/Parallels/pvsnatd. Issuing a simple stop and start from the command line was all it took. Within seconds, my Parallels machine was able to get an IP address from the NAT Service and I was back in business. Strange that the NAT service was either hung or just stopped working.

Commands issued:
sudo /Library/StartupItems/Parallels/pvsnatd stop
sudo /Library/StartupItems/Parallels/pvsnatd start

Hope this helps anyone else out there that runs across the same issue.

Hey world, I'm on Twitter!


Yep, that's right. I'm on Twitter. I've been on it for about a week now. So far I've really enjoyed getting tweets from those that I follow. I've also been adding my own. Then it hit me... NO ONE IS READING MY TWEETS! Why am I doing this? So I invite the world to follow me. I promise to be somewhat entertaining, informative, and always open to discussion. If you are a fellow twitter person, I'd be glad to follow you too! Let's see if this twitter thing can actually bring value.

Web 2.0 Components Are Tomorrow's BI Front End


Business Intelligence (BI), generally speaking, is behind the game. This Blog post talks about something that I've been thinking about for about 2 years now. BI vendors have been extremely slow at adopting Web 2.0 techniques and technologies into their primary applications. I've seen Business Objects begin to dabble in the realm but the potential there is enormous and virtually untapped.

Will it take the "Google of BI" software to revolutionize the industry? I don't see any of the major BI players, including Oracle, Business Objects, Cognos, and MicroStrategy, being able to really harness the power of Web 2.0. Why? Momentum. These company's have too much invested in their monolithic, exceptionally complex, forklift-implemented applications and architectures. Their only hope is to buy a smaller, innovative company and start swapping out components in their architectures. By the time they pull this off, it will be too late.

So where are the BI equivalents to Flickr, YouTube, Google, Facebook, etc.? Hmm... I don't see any. Where are they? Anyone else see the void/opportunity that I see?

Oracle Pushes Enterprise 2.0


No other company is in a better position pull off Enterprise 2.0 than Oracle. There are others that are close, but Oracle has a huge edge up on the competition. The main component (other than cash) that gives them this edge is Fusion. Think of Fusion as a central information hub that contains and maintains business rules. All information in the enterprise eventually ends up going through this hub for processing and distribution. By abstracting business rules into an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) and by providing consistency from Database to CRM to ERP, Oracle can, with the proper vision, make Enterprise 2.0 a reality.

Oracle continues to bring in big revenues and don't be surprised if that trend continues. No other provider can offer the complete dream that Oracle can. If you think Oracle is going to drift away being overcome by open source competition, you are in for a big surprise over the next 5 years.

Ease of Use. Apple Wins!


I was just noticing that you can download your contacts in LinkedIn into your address book. I was happy to see that they had instructions for Windows and Mac. But notice (by clicking the URL below) how many steps it takes to get the export imported into the various address books.

View Screencast

Is it any wonder that more and more people are switching to a Mac?

Paul Potts


The story of Paul Potts blows me away. I was introduced to his story last Friday when one of my professors presented it as sort of a "feel-good" moment. More important than his voice, Paul shows that there is talent out there to be discovered, and when it is, it motivates and inspires us all.

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Setting up Oracle on Ubuntu Running on Parallels


I recently created a Parallels image for some classmates running Ubuntu with Oracle 10gR2. I included instructions on how I created the image and I thought it would be helpful to anyone else out there to see how I did it (not necessarily how it should be done). To make this post more searchable from Internet search engines, I've included all the steps here rather than posting a link to a pdf. Enjoy!SUMMARY:Ubuntu Server User: duser, pw: duser User: oracle, pw: oracle Hostname: vm-ubu-oracle Static IP: User: root, pw: duser Link: http://vm-ubu-oracle:10000Oracle: SYS pw: oracle Admin: http://vm-ubu-oracle:1158/em TNS Entry:ORCL10 = (DESCRIPTION = (ADDRESS_LIST = (ADDRESS = (PROTOCOL = TCP)(HOST = vm-ubu-oracle)(PORT = 1521)) ) (CONNECT_DATA = (SID = ORCL10) ) )Setup Parallels NetworkingNote: All networking is using the Parallels default for shared networking. Some of this has to be tweaked a little to allow for static IPs and to ensure a consistent network between your Ubuntu Server and your Mac.Go into your OS X System Preferences, NetworkClick on Parallels NAT, ConfigureClick on TCP/IP Change Configure IPv4 to "Manually" Set the IP Address to last number in the IP address can be anything between 2 and 9. Whatever you choose will be the IP that the Ubuntu server will see your Mac as. I will be using 6 throughout this documentation. (Also set: Subnet Mask:, Router: Apply Now and close System PreferencesOpen Parallels, PreferencesUnder the Network Tab, ensure that "Enable DHCP scope for shared networking" is enabled.The 3 IPs should be as follows:Start: the Server Edition (492 MB) of Ubuntu from here: a Parallels ImageCustom ImageOS Type: LinuxOS Version: Ubuntu LinuxRAM 512Windows XP CD KeyCreate a New Hard Disk15000 MB, Split Disk, ExpandingShared NetworkingDefault Adapter (networking), Connect on StartupName of Virtual Machine: Ubuntu OracleOptimize for better performance: Virtual MachineRemove Floppy Drive and Sound Card.Decrease video memory to 4MB.Start Virtual Machine attached to installation ISOUbuntu InstallationLanguage: English, Country: United States, Keyboard US EnglishHostname: vm-ubu-oraclePartitioning: Manual - 1GB swap (required by Oracle). The rest for Primary Bootable.Timezone: Mountain, Clock NOT set to UTCUsername: duser, Password: duserSoftware to Install (leave blank) NOTE (courtesy of On the “Installation Complete” dialogue, choose “Go Back”, and then select “Execute a shell” from the menu. Run the following commands (ignore any errors and accept defaults if prompted):umount /dev/scd0chroot /target /bin/bashmount /dev/scd0 /media/cdromaptitude install linux-genericaptitude remove linux-server linux-image-server linux-image-2.6.20-15-serverexitshutdown -h nowSetup access and aptitudelogin as dusersudo visudoadd the following line if you wish to not be bugged when running sudoWARNING! This isn't considered safe practice. I just do it because of the volume of sudo commands that will be entered during the setup. If you wish, you can remove these edits once the setup is completed to be safe:duser ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALLchange the members line to read[...]

Binary marble adding machine


I ran across this site this morning and loved the video at the bottom. That is one cool piece of work.

Binary marble adding machine

Personal Finances Mockup


I have had a number of responses on my post about Quicken. Most of you wanted to see the spreadsheet that I talked about in that post. Well, at the possible expense of using the idea to become the next big breakthrough in personal finance and getting all the credit for it, I have posted a sample mockup on Google Docs for you to look at.

You can view it here.

Your first impression may be, "That's it?". Well, yes, that's it. But name a personal finance application that would be so helpful in planning how you spend your money and where. The beauty is its simplicity.

BYU Football


Ah, I can smell it in the air. BYU football is almost here. If you want to wet your appetite a little, you can always listen to last season. I started listening to the games last night.

Ok, I'm pumped.