Review: Seagate Expansion Portable 2TB External Hard Drive (STEA2000422)

  • September 29, 2019
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Seagate Expansion Portable 2TB External Hard Drive HDD, with USB 3.0 (STEA2000422), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fast Storage for Windows and Mac I’ve had an off-and-on relationship with Seagate, going back and forth between them and Western Digital when I need both internal hard drives, as well as external hard drives. For external hard drives, I’ve picked up the following over the last two to three years:

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Review: The Role-Playing Game Primer and Old School Playbook

  • August 19, 2019
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Role-Playing Game Primer and Old School Playbook, by Chris Gonnerman. A Quick and Helpful Read, Especially For Basic Fantasy About a year and a half ago I was on a temporary kick to read up on different pen-and-paper RPGs, having lost track in early/mid-2000. Around then I discovered the Open Game License, and Basic Fantasy. Fast forward a year and change and I was once again looking into ‘OSR’ RPGs, having dusted off Basic Fantasy, and picked up Dungeon Crawl Classics, Swords & Wizardry, Blood & Treasure, and a few others.

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Review: One Week Ultimate Werewolf

  • March 3, 2019
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of One Week Ultimate Werewolf, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Still Just Too Random One Week Ultimate Werewolf isn’t my first game of the series, having played many of the One Night variants in the past. However, those have never really clicked with me, as they’ve felt just way too random. In this variant we have a box much larger than the One Night versions, with many additional components.

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Review: Dungeon Mayhem

  • January 12, 2019
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dungeon, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Great Filler Game for Any Level of Player In short, Dungeon Mayhem is a great little filler game, that’s easy to teach, for two to four players, with the sweet spot being somewhere within three and four players. In Dungeon Mayhem each player selects one character from a total of four characters, with each have the same basic abilities, as well as a few unique ones.

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Review: Starlink Battle for Atlas: PlayStation 4 Starter Edition

  • December 8, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the PlayStation 4 Starter Edition of Starlink, Battle for Atlas, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Starter Edition Just Doesn’t Pack Enough Value I’ll be honest, I was interested in No Man’s Sky, until I heard how many promises they broke as part of the release. However, an open world game where you could explore new worlds and, especially, engage in space combat, really appeals to me.

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Review: PDP Cloud Media Remote for the PlayStation 4

  • November 11, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the PDP Cloud Media Remote for the PlayStation 4, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fine for the Functionality it Provides With the PlayStation 4 Sony hasn’t made it very easy to pick up a dedicated remote for the system. With the PlayStation 3 Sony had a branded PlayStation 3 remote that was quite good, for a fairly reasonable price. With Sony’s push to have the PlayStation 3 be a household’s first/only Blu-ray player, a capable remote was required.

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Review: Cooler Master CK550 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard

  • October 17, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Cooler Master CK500 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Quite the Lightshow, Once You Get Used to It A few months ago I was starting to look around at replacing my Bloody’s B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, since while it was a very nice keyboard, the limited lighting options were bothering me. I took a look at a few different keyboards, but hadn’t settled on actually purchasing one, before the Cooler Master CK500 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard became available for review.

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Review: Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack & Baby's First Blocks Bundle [Amazon Exclusive]

  • September 3, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following a review of the Amazon-exclusive Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack & Baby’s First Blocks Bundle received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Nice Little Bundle Over the last couple of months our child has progressed to the point where he’ll take care of satisfying his play needs, and is working on really controlling his fingers and hands. So it was perfect timing to try out the Amazon-exclusive Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack & Baby’s First Blocks Bundle, which contains two toys that can help with developing hand-eye coordination.

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Review: Summer Infant 3DPac Stroller

  • July 29, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Summer Infant 3DPac Stroller, Lightweight and Compact Carseat Adaptible Design with Convenient One Hand Fold, and Reclining Seat and Extra-Large Canopy for Comfort, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Just Wish it Were Easy to Unfold and Had More Storage Our son recently got too big for his infant-sized car seat/carrier, which meant that one of our strollers, which depended upon the carrier, could no longer be used.

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Review: Sony SRS-XB31 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (SRSXB31/Ll)

  • May 18, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sony SRS-XB31 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (SRSXB31/Ll), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Works Well For Parties, Not So Much For Audio Books We’ve tried a few speakers for when we work or entertain outside in our backyard, but haven’t found the perfect speaker quite yet. So when I showed my SO the Sony SRS-XB31 she was interested in us giving it a try.

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Review: Under Armour Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 18 Ounce Tumbler

  • April 25, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Under Armour Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel 18 Ounce Tumbler, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. I’ve Spilt Almost as Much Water as I’ve Drank So that headline is a bit of an exaggeration, but using this I have spilt water: During two standing meetings. All over my significant other. Onto/into my bag. At least twice. All over the front of my shirt, more times than I cared to count.

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Review: Kaiju Crush

  • February 3, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Kaiju Crush, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Rock, Paper, Scissors, Destroy While Kaiju Crush isn’t a very deep game, we’ve enjoyed every play of it. The idea is simple: each player selects a kaiju/monster and tries to destroy as many tiles in the city as they can, keeping in mind what types of tiles they are, and which objectives for bonus points is active.

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Review: Dr. Brown's 4 Piece Options Wide Neck Bottle, 9 Ounce

  • January 10, 2018
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dr. Brown’s 4 Piece Options Wide Neck Bottle, 9 Ounce, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Has Become Our Favorite Bottle Quite simply, Dr. Brown’s 9 ounce 4 Piece Options Wide Neck Bottles have become our favorite bottle for our now child. Before having our child we received a number of Tommee Tippee bottles, and some Avent bottles. While we started with those, once we tried out the Dr.

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Review: Philips Sonicare FlexCare Whitening Edition

  • January 2, 2018
  • James Skemp
Should Have Included Colored Bands This is a quick review of the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Whitening Edition bundle. I purchased this a couple of months ago since I’ve had great luck with Sonicare products in the past, but had disposed of mine when I moved in with my partner about a year ago. Since she expressed some interest in trying one, I picked up this bundle so we could each have one.

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Review: Logitech G903 LIGHTSPEED Gaming Mouse with POWERPLAY Wireless Charging Compatibility

  • December 1, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Logitech G903 LIGHTSPEED Gaming Mouse with POWERPLAY Wireless Charging Compatibility, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Solid Mouse, But I Prefer My G502 Until a few years ago my last experience with a wireless mouse was with some model by HP. In addition to a poor battery life, I went through two charging stations before I finally gave up. However, a few years ago I was given the option to take a Logitech M310 back to my work desk and give it a try.

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Review: Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online

  • November 11, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online, written by Andrew Groen. As Interesting as Ancient Historical Accounts First let me say that I have never played EVE Online. The idea of the game appeals to me quite a lot, but I don’t have it in me to actually put in the effort required to be more than the lowest of roles.

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Review: Ghost in the Shell README: 1995-2017

  • November 8, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ghost in the Shell README: 1995-2017, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Thankfully, Focuses Mostly on the Animes First, I’ve been a fan of Ghost in the Shell animes since forum posts pointed me to watching the original Ghost in the Shell movie shortly after The Matrix came out, and I wanted to watch more movies like it. I wasn’t expecting much from the new Ghost in the Shell movie, so I wasn’t surprised when it wasn’t that great.

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Review: Fitbit Charge 2 Bands,Fitbit Bands Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Metal Replacement Bracelet Strap, Wristbands Accessories for Charge 2 with Stronger Magnetic Clasp

  • October 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of xinkeji’s Fitbit Charge 2 Bands,Fitbit Bands Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Metal Replacement Bracelet Strap, Wristbands Accessories for Charge 2 with Stronger Magnetic Clasp, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Metal Bands are Better than Plastic Slightly off-topic, but I’ll first note that the name of this product is absolutely ridiculous. I’m not sure how they want people to actually refer to this, especially since a number of companies produce metal bands for Fitbits.

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Review: Wickedly Prime Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks, Korean Kalbi

  • October 14, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Wickedly Prime Organic Roasted Seaweed Snacks, Korean Kalbi, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Strong in Flavor Having already released products within their AmazonBasics brand, Amazon has started to move into the arena of food with their Wickedly Prime brand. I’ve been a big sushi eater for over a decade, but about a year ago I tried Kirkland Signature Roasted Seasoned Seaweed Winter Harvest.

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Review: 5-Minute Dungeon

  • October 4, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of 5-Minute Dungeon, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Five Frantic Minutes First of all, 5-Minute Dungeon does not actually take only five minutes to play, since the setup, especially depending upon the number of players, does take a couple of minutes. However, once you’re actually setup, 5-Minute Dungeon does take around five minutes, if not less. Players each select one of 5 character boards (with each board having two characters on it) that will determine their deck and special ability.

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Review: JLHua Silicone Multi-Use Cartoon Cat Trivet Mat (set of 6 Pack) Insulated Flexible Durable Non Slip Hot Pads and Coasters Cup Mats

  • September 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of JLHua Silicone Multi-Use Cartoon Cat Trivet Mat (set of 6 Pack) Insulated Flexible Durable Non Slip Hot Pads and Coasters Cup Mats. Yup, Grumpy Cat is Purple We have three cats in our house so you could definitely say we’re cat people. When we wanted to get new coasters to supplement what we had already I took on the task of finding some that looked cool.

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Review: Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends

  • September 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Two Games in One I have a coworker and friend who I’ll occasionally play games with over lunch, and for the rare couple nights. She’s someone who you could totally see fighting in the arenas millenia ago, in a previous life. So it was her that I wanted to play Tash-Kalar with for the first time, given how thematic it is, which works out well since the game itself recommends that your first game be a two-player High Form game, with some of the more advanced cards left out.

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Review: Babymoov Dream Belt – Maternity Sleep Support & Cushion for Ultimate Comfort during Pregnancy

  • September 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Babymoov Dream Belt – Maternity Sleep Support & Cushion for Ultimate Comfort during Pregnancy, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Feels Good, When It Works My partner is currently 36 weeks pregnant, but for the last couple of months she’s had difficultly getting to, and staying, asleep. This is naturally part of pregnancy, but we’re constantly on the lookout for products that can help her through the nights.

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Review: AmazonBasics PlayStation 4 Controller Charging Cable

  • September 5, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of AmazonBasics PlayStation 4 Controller Charging Cable, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. An Improvement Over AmazonBasics’ Last Offerings The AmazonBasics line of products has quickly become my go-to for USB, HDMI, and digital audio cables, as well as for Nintendo 3DS/DS and tablet carrying cases. However, the last batch of USB cables I purchased for my Android devices have ended up aging quite poorly, due to what I believe is the small size of the plastic on the Micro USB end.

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Review: Galaxy Trucker

  • September 4, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Galaxy Trucker, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Too Random For My Taste When it comes to board games that I really enjoy playing I definitely enjoy games with strategy, with a bit of luck involved. Galaxy Trucker has pretty nice components, and an interesting enough dynamic, where each player must build a spaceship and then use it during space travels to handle various events.

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Review: New York Slice

  • August 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the board game New York Slice, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Delicious Fun The idea behind New York Slice is actually pretty simple, and something you may have received a taste of as a child. Given a full pizza, or a cake, how do you best slice it so that everyone gets a fair share? Simple: let the person that cuts it select the last piece.

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Review: Enjoy Learning Japanese Kanji: Discover Their Hidden Meanings

  • July 30, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Enjoy Learning Japanese Kanji: Discover Their Hidden Meanings, written by Kun Ho Park and Kyung Yong Kong, and received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not a Book for Beginners Right off I’m going to state that I failed when it came to this book. I have a number of books to help learn how to read Kanji, but as with all of them, despite my best efforts I’ve failed to gain much from them.

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Review: FELINE GREENIES Dental Treats Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor 11 Ounces

  • July 30, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of FELINE GREENIES Dental Treats Oven Roasted Chicken Flavor 11 Ounces, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Mostly Cat Approved Years ago, we started giving Greenies to our cat after the vet had recommended them to help clean our cat’s teeth. Since then I’ve picked up Greenies on an occasional base for my last cat, but never for the three cats I’m living with now.

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Review: CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Salmon Paté Wet Cat Food Trays

  • July 30, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of CRAVE Grain Free High Protein Salmon Paté Wet Cat Food Trays, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Messy to Open, Despite Little Juice We have three cats of varying ages, who mostly free-graze on dry food throughout the day. As a treat we’ll give them varying types of wet food, with one of them just lapping up the juices, and the other two eating what they can.

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Review: AmazonBasics Xbox One Wired Controller

  • July 4, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the AmazonBasics Xbox One Wired Controller, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. In My Eyes (and Hands) A Much Better Xbox One Controller Note: This item does not yet seem to be available for purchase from Amazon. For these reasons the links point to my review on Amazon. I never owned an original Xbox with the ‘Duke’ controller, but as a longtime PlayStation owner I recall noting how fat the Xbox 360 controller felt in my hands.

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Review: One Night Ultimate Alien

  • June 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of One Night Ultimate Alien, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Another Game in the One Night Series The One Night Series of games consists of Werewolf, Werewolf Daybreak, Vampire, and now Alien. Each of these games can be played by themselves, or can be combined to allow for more players and different experiences. For gameplay, they’re very lite versions of Ultimate Werewolf, as instead of playing over the course of many nights, you effectively play one night and then figure out who, if anyone, should be killed.

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How to Backup SNES Saves With the Super UFO Pro 8

  • June 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
For the last handful plus years I’ve been worried about losing some of the saves I have on a few SNES (Super Nintendo) games. Recently I saw a video review by My Life in Gaming on the Super UFO Pro 8, which promises to be able to copy carts, as well as backup saves. Based upon that video I decided to ignore some of the negative reviews of the Super UFO Pro 8 and pickup one from eBay (which was slightly cheaper, and faster, than picking one up from Amazon).

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Review: Pfister Weller LG49-WR0K 2-Handle 8-inch Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Nickel

  • May 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Pfister Weller LG49-WR0K 2-Handle 8” Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Nickel, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Looks Nice, But Expect a More Advanced Installation First, I’ve never installed a faucet before I tried installing this Pfister faucet. But now that I’ve tried to install one I’ve done so, but not this model. A month or two ago we replaced the shower curtain rod, toilet paper, and hand towel holder, in the first floor bathroom, with ones that have a brushed nickel finish like this Pfister Weller.

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Review: Sony HT-CT80 Soundbar Home Speaker

  • May 29, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sony HT-CT80 Soundbar Home Speaker, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Working Great in Our Kitchen For a couple of a months we’ve been looking at Soundbars at Costco, and at what Best Buy has on sale each week, to use within our living room. We previously had a 5.1 system in there, but once we switched to a smaller table for our TV stand, we didn’t have the room.

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Review: Petstages Channel Scratcher Catnip Blasted Scratching Post Station for Cats, Large

  • May 28, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Petstages Channel Scratcher Catnip Blasted Scratching Post Station for Cats, Large, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Did Nothing For Our Three Cats We have three male cats at our home who love their cat tree, and scratching up the carpet. With our stairs having recently been relieved of their carpet, they’re no longer able to attack a corner of one of the stairs up from the landing between the first and second floors.

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Review: Anpro Stainless Steel Heavy-duty Fruit and Vegetables Masher, Potato Ricer

  • April 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Anpro Stainless Steel Heavy-duty Fruit and Vegetables Masher, Potato Ricer, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Results in Amazing Mashed Potatoes I’m not much of a cook, so when the Anpro Potato Ricer was available for review I asked my girlfriend, an amazing cook, if she’d be interested in helping me out. She said she had never used one, but would be interested in doing so.

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Review: Bloody B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

  • March 26, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Bloody B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Questionable Spacebar, But Otherwise Quite Nice When I was building my gaming rig a few years ago I picked up a Logitech G710+ Mechanical Gaming Keyboard. That was my first mechanical keyboard, and still works great, but I don’t do too much PC gaming these days. So when I had the opportunity to review Bloody’s B720 Light Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard I opted to take it to work, especially since the keyboard I had there was showing its age.

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Review: Contigo AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 24 oz

  • March 26, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Contigo’s 24 oz AUTOSEAL Chill Stainless Steel Water Bottle, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Another High Quality Contigo Product About 3 years ago I invested pretty heavily in Aladdin brand water bottles, after a co-worker turned me on to them. Unfortunately, after time I found that the tops were pretty easy to break, and the bottle easily dented from relatively minor falls.

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Review: Mystic Vale Card Game

  • March 22, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Mystic Vale, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fantastic Game First, I absolutely love Mystic Vale. It’s probably my favorite game of the last six months, at least. In Mystic Vale two to four players play as druids trying to build out their starting cards to earn the most points. The cards are the most interesting and fun part, so I’ll start there.

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Review: Grammar For People Who Hate Rules

  • March 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Grammar For People Who Hate Rules, written by Kathleen Watson. A Great Little Book to Help Improve Your Grammar and Spelling Well over a decade ago, at my first job after college, I had the opportunity to work quite closely with writers and editors in a communications department, before my subgroup of web developers was moved over to IT. This experience, combined with the pursuit of a philosophy degree in college, and working with editors in the years since, has lead to me having a real interest in making sure that my spelling and grammar are correct.

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Review: SteelSeries Spectrum 4xB Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 (White)

  • February 24, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of SteelSeries Spectrum 4xB Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 (White), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. So Many Wires, But Great With Computers A number of years ago I received the SteelSeries Spectrum 4xB Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 for review. At the time I kept putting off reviewing them since the wires kept driving me crazy when I tried to use it with my Xbox 360.

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Review: DII Natural Coir Fiber, 18x30 Entry Way Outdoor Door Mat with Non Slip Backing - Home Cat

  • February 24, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the DII Natural Coir Fiber, 18x30” Entry Way Outdoor Door Mat with Non Slip Backing - Home Cat, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. So Far Works Great Outdoors First, based upon Amazon reviews it appears that there’s some number of individuals who are selling rip-off and/or copy-cat versions of DII’s doormats. Given the quality of doormat I received, I would highly recommend making sure you purchase this product from an Amazon Prime eligible seller.

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Review: Order of the Gilded Compass

  • February 11, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Order of the Gilded Compass board game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Dice Rolling With a Bit of Setup, But Enjoyable First, if you’re not very lucky with dice, you should probably move on as Order of the Gilded Compass relies very heavily upon the luck of the roll. Two to five players take turns rolling dice, assigning some number of them before play continues to the next player.

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Review: London Dread

  • February 9, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of London Dread, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Cooperative and Atmospheric, But Probably Best With A Single Group of Four London Dread is a cooperative board game for two to four players, where they attempt to travel around London over the course of a day or two, investigating areas, tackling location events, before taking on an antagonist, and then eventually moving on to another story.

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Review: Conan Board Game

  • February 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Conan board game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Amazing Components, Unique Gameplay, for Dedicated Players/Fans Recently I started really getting into the second edition of Descent, where a single player plays as the overload, and up to four other players take on the roles of adventures in either one-off missions or as part of a larger campaign. So when I had the opportunity to try out the new Conan Board Game, I leapt on the chance.

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Review: Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

  • January 17, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A Nice Bump From Mysterium, But Don’t Expect Short Games I picked up a copy of Mysterium back in July 2016, and recently picked up a copy of the Hidden Signs expansion, since my girlfriend wanted to play the game every time we had a game night, and when she’s interested in a game I try to keep her interested in it.

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Review: Microsoft Surface Mouse

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Microsoft Surface Mouse, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Nice Mouse, But I’ll Stick With My Logitechs The Surface Pro 4, by itself or combined with a Type Cover, is already pretty sufficiently covered when it comes to a pointer device. However, since I already had some with my old laptop, I ended up using a Logitech M310, putting the wireless dongle in the USB port.

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Review: Microsoft Surface Keyboard

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Microsoft Surface Keyboard, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. For Desktop Use, Works Great When I purchased my Surface Pro 4 a while ago I ended up purchasing a Type Cover to go along with it. In addition to protecting the Surface’s screen it works great as a keyboard. When given the chance to try out the Surface Keyboard I took the opportunity, to see if it would provide a better experience when at home.

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Review: Magicka Mayhem

  • January 16, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Magicka Mayhem, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Messy Rule ‘Book’ Requires Future Updates or House Rules First, while a friend and I started playing the Magicka PC game, we didn’t get far before quitting. So I have only a minor understanding of the video game that Magicka Mayhem is based upon. However, this game requires no knowledge of the source material.

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Review: Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice

  • January 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Thematic Dice Rolling Game, For Better or Worse I know very little about Luchadors, other than that they wear pretty distinctive masks and attire. And I know something about wrestling having been a young boy in the 80s and 90s. Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice doesn’t require that you know much more than that, as it does a fairly good job of being quite thematic out of the box.

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Review: Citadels (2016 edition)

  • January 10, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the 2016 edition of Citadels, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A Very Nice Upgrade to the Original Game I originally purchased Citadels, with The Dark City expansion back in October 2014. I played the game a handful of times and generally enjoyed it, although games pretty consistently took closer to 60 minutes than 20 minutes (the box suggests games take between 20 to 60 minutes).

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Review: Bissell 2001 Hard Floor Expert Cordless Canister

  • January 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Bissell 2001 Hard Floor Expert Cordless Canister, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Struggles with Carpets, and Limited Battery Runtime Having recently torn up the carpet in the first floor hallway and living room (the two rooms having already been done), and finding some really nice hardwood floors, we were excited to see the Bissell 2001 Hard Floor Expert Cordless Canister available for review.

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Review: Grifters

  • January 3, 2017
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Grifters, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Interesting Dynamic Makes for a Fun, Quick, Game I’m familiar with the Dystopian Universe having played The Resistance and Coup. However, no knowledge of the universe is required, and outside of the currency and general aesthetic, this game isn’t tightly tied to the rest. Additionally, while both The Resistance and Coup involve secret identities, Grifters instead involves recruiting characters and then using them either individually for their special abilities, or in a team to complete jobs.

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Review: Onitama

  • December 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Onitama, a board game for two players, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Simple to learn, but very strategic and enjoyable In Onitama each player has a master and four pupil pawns. Then five move cards are pulled out, with the rest placed back in the box. Each player receives two, while the fifth is temporarily set aside, but helps determine the first player.

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Review: Kanagawa

  • December 17, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Kanagawa, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Beautiful game, best learned from someone else Kanagawa, as the box suggests, has some extremely beautiful artwork and components. That’s what appealed to me about the game when I was looking at the product page, and what people I played with commented on. But when I was reviewing the rulebook before the first game I played I was a little intimidated, and was immediately glad that someone else in the group had played before.

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Review: Unusual Suspects Board Game

  • December 2, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Unusual Suspects Board Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. The Game of Stereotypes The first and only game of this I played lasted one round. One round because we eliminated the guilty party. One round because no one wanted to play a second game. Initially I thought this was going to be similar to Guess Who. And it is, but how you determine the guilty party is by looking at the individual’s photo and coming up with what stereotype(s) they match.

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Review: LucidSound LS20 Amplified Universal Gaming Headset

  • December 2, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the LucidSound LS20 Amplified Universal Gaming Headset, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Amazing Build Quality, But Heavy and Tight Having recently moved in with my girlfriend, I’m no longer able to crank up the sound and openly chat with friends during our weekly (or at least when we can now) gaming sessions. While we’ve bounced around a few services, we’ve stuck pretty closely with Google Hangouts.

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Review: Radiance LED String Lights

  • November 21, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Radiance LED String Lights, 5 ft, Silver Wire, Warm White, Battery Powered (2 Pack), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Bright and Flexible The first thing to note about these lights is that they consist of a wire between the lights, meaning they’re easy to bend into place. The lights themselves are additionally pretty bright, with 15 lights on each ‘string.’ The lights are a part of the light, which means they don’t stick out too far.

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How to Copy a PICO-8 Game From a PocketCHIP

  • November 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
Having recently received my PocketCHIP I decided to start going through PICO-8 Zine #1 and its first tutorial. However, being the person I am, I hadn’t written too many lines before I started wondering how I could source control the games I work on on my new PocketCHIP. Since I’m using a MacBook Pro, here’s how I was able to copy my games off of my PocketCHIP and get them into git.

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Review: Isotoner Men's Microsuede Devin Hoodback Slippers

  • November 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Isotoner Men’s Microsuede Devin Hoodback Slippers, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Best slippers I’ve ever owned In my adult life I’ve only owned two pairs of slippers, both within the last half decade. For whatever reason I never had much of a use for slippers in the past, but as time has gone by I’ve wanted a pair, more for leaving the apartment than anything else.

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Review: Galiva Men's Cotton ExtraSoft No Show Cushion Socks

  • November 10, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Galiva Men’s Cotton ExtraSoft No Show Cushion Socks, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. I’ll stick with my Hanes I’m pretty brand loyal, but when I had the opportunity to try out a pair of Galiva socks, I decided to give it a try. After all, it has been a couple of years since I’ve tried anything else. Initially I was a little impressed, since the socks came in a hard box.

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Review: DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Heat Resistant, Everyday Kitchen Basic Oven Mitt, 9 x 8", Set of 2, French Stripe- Chambray Blue

  • October 24, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the DII 100% Cotton, Machine Washable, Heat Resistant, Everyday Kitchen Basic Oven Mitt, 9 x 8”, Set of 2, French Stripe- Chambray Blue, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. What’s an oven mitt if it can’t keep your hand cool at oven temps? (Since Amazon combines the reviews of a number of other items, if reading this review on Amazon, these are for the 9 x 8” oven mitts, specifically the French Stripe, Chambray Blue, style.

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Review: Raspberry Pi User Guide, Fourth Edition

  • October 22, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Raspberry Pi User Guide, Fourth Edition, written by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, and received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A good basic overview of the Raspberry Pi My experience with the Raspberry Pi is limited to a year of owning three Pi 2s (one that I turned into a backup server, one into a RetroPie machine, and one that never left the box) and one Pi 3 (that I just started to get setup as an updated RetroPie machine).

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Review: Treasure Hunter

  • October 7, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Treasure Hunter board game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not as complicated as it first seems The last Richard Garfield board game I purchased was King of Tokyo (and the CCGs Magic and Netrunner a long time before that), so I’m a little familiar with his games. When I saw that Treasure Hunter one plays two to six players in 40 minutes, I figured this would be a perfect game to play during our weekly game lunches at work.

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Review: OtterBox SYMMETRY SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7

  • September 18, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the OtterBox SYMMETRY SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A cross between an OtterBox and a slim case I’ve always preferred slimmer cases for my phones, so when I picked up a Samsung Galaxy S7 a handful of months ago I ultimately decided upon the tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for my device. However, my girlfriend uses an OtterBox, specifically one of the DEFENDER SERIES cases for her Galaxy S6, and I recently picked up a bike, and we were going to be out biking, with our mobile devices in tow.

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Review: OtterBox DEFENDER SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7

  • September 18, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the OtterBox DEFENDER SERIES Case for Samsung Galaxy S7, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Bulky, but definitely secure I’ve always preferred slimmer cases for my phones, so when I picked up a Samsung Galaxy S7 a handful of months ago I ultimately decided upon the tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for my device. However, my girlfriend uses an OtterBox, specifically one of the DEFENDER SERIES cases for her Galaxy S6, and I recently picked up a bike, and we were going to be out biking, with our mobile devices in tow.

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Review: tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for the Samsung Galaxy S7

  • September 18, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the tech21 EVO ELITE Protectective Case for the Samsung Galaxy S7. Slim, with access to all ports, and feels secure When I first picked up my Samsung Galaxy S7 a handful of months ago I naturally needed a case for it. My carrier, US Cellular, had a sale going on, so while I normally wouldn’t, I decided to pick up a case for my device in-store.

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Review: K'NEX Beasts Alive Robo-Jaws Building Set (34406)

  • September 9, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of K’NEX Beasts Alive Robo-Jaws Building Set, number 34406, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Complicated instructions The last K’NEX set I helped build was for a large rollercoaster, a handful of years ago, and when I was growing up I was more of a LEGO and Technic kid. So given that I was looking forward to building this set, since the rollercoaster was a lot of fun, and the pieces are generally fun to put together.

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Review: Tally Ho!

  • September 6, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Tally Ho!, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Surprisingly enjoyable and fair When I was initially reading the rules of Tally Ho! I was admittedly wondering how fair and fun the game was going to be. However, having now played the game I can honestly say it was both enjoyable and fair. Tally Ho! plays out on a large board, with all but one space filled by a double-sided tile.

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Review: Smugglers Family Board Game

  • August 23, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Smugglers, Family Board Game, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Interesting, but slightly complex with components that may not last First, I own and play quite a lot of games. But I played Smugglers with someone that I would consider fairly versed with games, and someone who is more into ‘classic’ games. I was also going to play this with a child aged near the bottom of the recommended age range, but haven’t had the chance yet, and might skip it based upon my experiences.

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Review: Case Logic Kickback for Surface Pro 4 (CKSE2197)

  • July 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Case Logic Kickback for Surface Pro 4 (CKSE2197), provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. I’m pleasantly surprised I’ve had my Surface Pro 4 since November 2015, and have been pretty good about keeping it relatively safe. However, the backing was starting to show a little wear the last few months, so when I had the opportunity to try out Case Logic’s Kickback (CKSE2197), I decided to do so.

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Review: Lance Gluten Free Cookie Sandwich, Peanut Butter, 5 oz

  • July 19, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Lance Gluten Free Cookie Sandwich, Peanut Butter, 5 oz, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. The cookie just seems off Over the last year I’ve been having some stomach issues, and while tests seem to have suggested I should be fine, I’ve been trying to introduce more gluten free items into my diet. So when I had the opportunity to try Peanut Butter Lance Gluten Free Cookie Sandwiches I decided to do so.

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Review: DII Home Essential Chevron Luxury Throw for Indoor/Outdoor Use, 48x67

  • May 23, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the DII Home Essential Chevron Luxury Throw for Indoor/Outdoor Use, 48x67, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Warm and great length, but scratchy and loosing threads First I have yet to use this blanket outside, and based upon what I’ve experienced thus far I probably will not. Not because I don’t think it can handle it, but rather because I’ve found it to be perfect for use on my couch when I want to lay down with a book.

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Review: Panasonic WINGS Wireless Bluetooth Sport Clips with Mic + Controller RP-BTS30-Y

  • May 17, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Panasonic WINGS Wireless Bluetooth Sport Clips with Mic + Controller RP-BTS30-Y, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. I just can’t get used to the WINGS A number of years ago I had some fantastic earbuds by SONY. They were very simple, but they fit right in my ear, and featured volume controls on the wired connection. Since then I’ve hesitant to try other earbuds as less and less feature adjustable volume controls, and I’ve never really been interested in Bluetooth ones.

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Review: TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA855RE)

  • May 16, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA855RE), provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Works, but only at 2.4 GHz Even in my apartment I have a slight dead zone at the farthest end of my apartment. I’ve tried using a router to extend my connection in the past, but they’ve all required a wired connection to the device itself.

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Review: Alienware Alpha and Steam Machine Carrying Case (A7888952)

  • April 30, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Alienware Alpha and Steam Machine Carrying Case (A7888952), provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. Nice tight fit for the Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK In February of this year I was lucky enough to receive an Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK for review. Since I’ve been trying to be better about putting away my consoles when I’m not actively using them, which I was treating the Alienware Steam Machine as, I was starting to look at picking up or using one of my usual containers for the purpose.

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Review: Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii (2014)

  • March 27, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Kindle version of Brian Ruh’s Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii (Second Edition). An interesting look at Mamoru Oshii’s works Like many others, my first introduction to Mamoru Oshii was via the first Ghost in the Shell movie. At the time I was looking for something like the Matrix, and the Internet of the time highly recommended looking at Ghost in the Shell.

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Review: Amazon Fire 7 (2015 release) Case

  • March 20, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Amazon Fire 7” (2015 release) Case - Slim Lightweight Standing Custom Fit Cover for Amazon Fire 7 Inch Tablet, received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. Not as good a fit, but still nigh perfect Right around Christmas I was out shopping around for a replacement to my second generation Nexus 7, due to speed and battery issues. Within a couple days I had picked up one of the 2015 models of the Amazon Fire 7.

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Review: Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK Desktop Console (Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD) NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU

  • March 1, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK Desktop Console, featuring an Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPU, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A weird hybrid First I’ve got to say I’m not sure how to review the Alienware Steam Machine ASM100-4980BLK. Do I compare it to the consoles, as that’s what they’re trying to make (especially with SteamOS being the OS on this machine)?

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Review: ZAGG Slim Cover, Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 4 (MC3WKK-BB0)

  • February 20, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the ZAGG Slim Cover, Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Tablet Keyboard for Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and 4 (MC3WKK-BB0), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Actually on par with the official type cover When I purchased my Surface Pro 4 a number of months ago I opted to spend the extra money to get the official type cover with it. Having used a couple other two-in-one machines, getting used to the keys wasn’t too hard.

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Review: Sennheiser HD 471G Headset with Inline Mic and 3 Button Control

  • February 12, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sennheiser HD 471G Headset with Inline Mic and 3 Button Control, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. High build quality, and terrific sound Probably a decade ago I had a coworker who lent me a pair of her Sennheiser headphones for a couple hours one day. I was looking at picking up some nicer headphones, and she thought that listening to her’s might sway me, I think.

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Review: Amazon Fire HD 8 (2015 release) Case

  • January 25, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2015 release) Case - Slim Lightweight Standing Custom Fit Cover with Auto Wake/Sleep for Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet, received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. Nigh Perfect A few weeks ago I was looking at tablets since my second generation Nexus 7 is starting to get rather slow, and doesn't seem to want to hold a charge as well as it once did.

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Review: Verso Fire 7 2015 Case - Sea Blue Classic Slim Fit Premium PU Leather Book Folio Style Protective Case (7 inch Display - 5th Generation, 2015 Release Only)

  • January 25, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Verso Fire 7 2015 Case - Sea Blue Classic Slim Fit Premium PU Leather Book Folio Style Protective Case (7 inch Display - 5th Generation, 2015 Release Only), received as part of the Amazon Vine Program. If only the hinge were better A few weeks ago I was looking at tablets since my second generation Nexus 7 is starting to get rather slow, and doesn't seem to want to hold a charge as well as it once did.

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Review: Fury of Dracula Third Edition Board Game

  • January 10, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Fury of Dracula Third Edition Board Game, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. So many pieces, but easy after a week I haven't played any of the previous editions of Fury of Dracula, so I can't speak to the changes made in this third edition. However, as I understand it, the game has changed for the better. This supports 2 to 5 players, with one player controlling Dracula and the others controlling one or more of the hunters.

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Setting up a Raspberry Pi 2 Samba server (in early January 2016)

  • January 9, 2016
  • James Skemp
The following is how I configured a Raspberry Pi 2 as a samba server, using a Seagate Backup Plus Slim, 1TB, drive. For ease I purchased the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit. It runs about $70 and includes enough to get up and running with the Raspberry Pi 2, with the Pi itself, a nice case, power supply, HDMI cable, WiFi adapter, and SD card with NOOBS/Raspbian installer.

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Google Services on the Amazon Fire HD 8

  • December 13, 2015
  • James Skemp
xda-developers has a post, Installing Google Framework/Playstore without Root (5th Gen Amazon Fire 2015), that includes a couple different sets of instructions. What worked for me was grabbing the mega.nz zip download and then: Make sure you're a developer and you allow apps from unknown sources. Install ES File Explorer via the Amazon Appstore. It's something I install on all my Android devices. Extract the contents of the zip you downloaded from Mega somewhere.

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Review: Adonit Jot Dash - Fine Point Precision Stylus

  • November 14, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Adonit Jot Dash - Fine Point Precision Stylus, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not what I was expecting For the most part I'm not yet at the point in my life where I need to use a stylus pen for my electronic devices. My fingers are the right size, and with devices getting larger, I don't need the precision. I'm also not much of an artist, so it's not necessary to draw.

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Review: Panasonic ER-GB60-K Precision Beard and Hair Trimmer for Face/Hair

  • November 9, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Panasonic ER-GB60-K Precision Beard and Hair Trimmer for Face/Hair, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Spoiler: I really like them. Finally, something that works with my beard Right away I'll say that I haven't used these to clip the hair on the top of my head. I have some barbershop-quality clippers from Wahl that I use for that, and I've had no reason to try anything else.

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Review: Homeland: The Game

  • October 20, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Homeland: The Game, provided to me as part of the Amazon Vine program. A sort of board game Resistance Reading through the rules for the first time I kept thinking about the game The Resistance (although there are many games like this). In The Resistance every character is either part of the resistance, or part of a group trying to sabotage them. As the game progresses you start to figure out who's who, in an attempt to score a win for your team.

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Review: Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (2012)

  • September 20, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Nightmares from the Deep: The Cursed Heart (2012), available on Steam and for physical purchase. A good way to get into the genre (I played the Steam version of this game, and this review is based upon that.) This was the first real hidden object game I played, thanks to a kind Reddit user who gifted me a key. It was actually quite good, with great artwork.

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Review: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Base Set

  • September 15, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Wrath of the Righteous Base Set, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Too soon to tell When I saw the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game available from Amazon Vine I jumped on the chance to give it a try. Unfortunately the complexities of the game currently result in this partial review. This review will be updated in the coming days and weeks as we further play the game.

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Review: Dimension: The Spherical Stackable Fast Paced Puzzle Game

  • September 14, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dimension: The Spherical Stackable Fast Paced Puzzle Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fun, but I don't think it'll turn into a staple (Normally I'd work this into my review, but it's a little harder this time. As noted above this is a review of a product I received for free, through Amazon. I try very hard to not let that impact my rating.

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Review: Batman Fluxx

  • September 6, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Batman Fluxx, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Not just a minor tweak of Fluxx Ever since I was introduced to Fluxx well over a year ago (I think it was Oz Fluxx) I've been interested in the game. Thus far I've played Oz Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Pirate Fluxx, and Cthulhu Fluxx, having purchased the latter in July 2014. When I saw that a copy of Batman Fluxx was up for review I wondered how the game would play compared to the others, and requested a copy.

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July 2015 tablet recommendations

  • August 29, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is an email I sent on July 23, 2015, to someone who was looking to purchase her first tablet. It's now a month out of date, but I hope it helps someone, or is historically interesting. Fair warning this is a long email, but you don't have to read it all. If you want to skip ahead I've put bold text to help you skip around. You can either keep reading now, or skip ahead to the bold text in parens below.

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Review: Lumo Lift - Posture Coach and Activity Tracker

  • August 25, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Lumo Lift - Posture Coach and Activity Tracker, provided as part of the Amazon Vine program. Works, but Android app leaves much to be desired I'm a web developer. I sit at my desk for much of the workday and rarely get outside of the building I'm in until the day is done. I've always wondered how bad my posture is, so when I saw the Lumo Lift up for review I decided to give it a try.

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Review: George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill

  • August 9, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor/Outdoor Electric Grill, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Can't replace the clam shell models A couple years after college I started hearing about George Foreman's lean, mean, cooking machines. Since I was living alone at the time, and wasn't much of a cook, I decided to try one of the early models, with the plates that could not be removed.

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Windows 10 touchpad fix for the ASUS X200M

  • August 7, 2015
  • James Skemp
I recently decided to upgrade my ASUS X200M, after successfully upgrading my mom's. Unfortunately, after upgrading my machine I ran into an issue where the touchpad was completely unresponsive, and I was forced to either use the touchscreen or a USB mouse. After a bit of looking around I found a post on CNET's forums that detailed a way to fix unresponsive touchpads in Windows 10. While the original question was about an Asus Transformer T100, this also worked for the X200M.

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Review: Sony SRSX55/BLK Powerful Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • July 26, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Sony SRSX55/BLK Powerful Portable Bluetooth Speaker, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Sounds great to me First, I feel as though any review about audio equipment requires a disclaimer if you're not an audiophile. So, "I'm not an audiophile." That said, after almost a month of using the Sony SRSX55 I can honestly say that it sounds great to me.

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Review: BLU Studio C 5.0-Inch Android Smartphone

  • June 27, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the BLU Studio C 5.0-Inch Android Smartphone, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Very decent entry-level phone First off, as I appear to be unable to use my existing SIM card from my provider with this phone I was unable to use it to make standard calls. However, I did use it for playing music, browsing the web, and Google Hangouts.

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Review: Bang Gang's The Wolves Are Whispering (2015)

  • June 26, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Bang Gang's 2015 album The Wolves Are Whispering. Another beautiful album Warning: I find music to be very subjective and find it hard to explain why it is that I might like a song in words and without being able to sit someone down and let them listen with me. So the number of music reviews I do is very low. However, this album has been out for three days and has no reviews on Amazon.

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Example libGDX orthographic camera controller

  • June 20, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following class can be used in a libGDX project as a framework for your own orthographic camera controller. This has been tested with libGDX 1.6.2, but should work in versions back to at least 1.4.x. View the code snippet on GitHub. OrthographicCameraController.java

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Review: MANGROOMER Professional Body Groomer and Trimmer Wet or Dry

  • June 19, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the MANGROOMER Professional Body Groomer and Trimmer Wet or Dry, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Budget product, that isn't as good as my Philips Norelco For better or worse, this review of the MANGROOMER Professional Body Groomer and Trimmer will be based upon my experience with the Philips Norelco BG2040 BodyGroom Pro, which I've had for almost a year and a half.

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Long Live the Queen: Attempt 4 (Blind)

  • June 13, 2015
  • James Skemp
Week 0 Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: We're almost home. Your room is just the way you left it.Elodie, Crown Princess: ...Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: I know it's hard to leave your school and all your friends, but I've arranged the best possible tutors for every subject.Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: You'll have to work hard this year to prepare yourself before your fifteenth birthday, but I know you can do it.

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Long Live the Queen: Attempt 3 (Blind)

  • June 13, 2015
  • James Skemp
Week 0 Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: We're almost home. Your room is just the way you left it.Elodie, Crown Princess: ...Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: I know it's hard to leave your school and all your friends, but I've arranged the best possible tutors for every subject.Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: You'll have to work hard this year to prepare yourself before your fifteenth birthday, but I know you can do it.

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Long Live the Queen: Attempt 2 (Blind)

  • June 13, 2015
  • James Skemp
Week 0 Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: We're almost home. Your room is just the way you left it.Elodie, Crown Princess: ...Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: I know it's hard to leave your school and all your friends, but I've arranged the best possible tutors for every subject.Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: You'll have to work hard this year to prepare yourself before your fifteenth birthday, but I know you can do it.

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Long Live the Queen: Attempt 1 (Blind)

  • June 13, 2015
  • James Skemp
Week 0 Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: We're almost home. Your room is just the way you left it. Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: We're almost home. Your room is just the way you left it. Elodie, Crown Princess: ... Joslyn, King Dowager, Duke of Caloris: I know it's hard to leave your school and all your friends, but I've arranged the best possible tutors for every subject.

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Review: Cyberlink PowerDVD 15 Ultra

  • June 9, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Cyberlink PowerDVD 15 Ultra, provided to me for free as part of the Amazon Vine program. Error 0110 When I was building my gaming PC I picked up a Blu-ray drive after a few weeks, to compliment the DVD player, and so I wouldn't need to power on my PlayStation 3 to watch certain movies. However, despite hearing good things about the free options I found the setup to be too large of a pain.

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Review: Chill Bag - Bean Bags Bean Bag Chair, 5-Feet, Charcoal

  • June 2, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Chill Bag - Bean Bags Bean Bag Chair, 5-Feet, Charcoal, provided as part of the Amazon Vine program. Massive If there's only one thing I could say about the Chill Bag I would simply say that it's massive. While the product name makes note of bean bags, the Chill Bag is instead filled with over 35 pounds of multi-colored pieces of foam, spread out over around 5 square feet, once fully expanded.

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Review: Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch (SE4008-FFP)

  • May 28, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Linksys WRT 8-Port Gigabit Switch (SE4008-FFP), received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A great basic switch It has been many years since I've used a network switch, as wireless has become fast and prevalent enough that most devices are just wireless now. However, since I'm running into an issue where wired computers weren't on the same subnet due to the usage of a router.

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Review: Just Desserts

  • May 15, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Looney Labs' Just Desserts, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Just Delicious Having played the game with three different groups, consisting of 2, 4, and 5 people, I can honestly say that every group I've played it with has had a great time. I won't go into the actual rules, other than to say that they're relatively simple to learn and pick up.

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Review: TP-LINK Archer T9E AC1900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter, 5Ghz 1300Mbps + 2.4Ghz 600Mbps, Beamforming, 3T3R

  • May 4, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the TP-LINK Archer T9E AC1900 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter, 5Ghz 1300Mbps + 2.4Ghz 600Mbps, Beamforming, 3T3R, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. On par with a wired connection, but mind the size I've used one other TP-LINK product, an AC1200 USB adapter, which I generally found to be acceptable. So when I saw this I thought about another machine I could switched from a networked connection to a wireless one.

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Review: Mars Attacks The Dice Game

  • April 14, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Mars Attacks: The Dice Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fun, but the theme may be an acquired taste Being a fan of the Mars Attacks movie, I was interested in just how well a dice game based upon it would be. The game actually puts you into the role of the Martians, and does not really tie into the movie.

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Review: Karma Card Game

  • April 10, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Karma Card Game, provided to me by the Amazon Vine program. Simple enough for kids, but fun for all A number of years ago I was introduced to the SET Card Game by a former co-worker. SET is fairly basic game that requires a deal of thinking, and is something I really enjoyed playing. So when I saw the SET name on the box for the Karma Card Game I knew I had to request a copy.

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Review: SET Dice Game

  • April 5, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the SET Dice Game, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. A pleasant twist on the SET card game I was introduced to the SET card game a little over four years ago by a former co-worker. Having more experience than I, she kicked my butt every time we played together, but it was enjoyable, and I still did sufficiently good at the single player variant.

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Configuring a libGDX project to run as a desktop application in Android Studio

  • March 13, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following will quickly cover how to setup a newly imported libGDX project to run a desktop application, via Android Studio 1.1.0. This assumes that you have already created a new libGDX project and have already imported it into Android Studio. If you have not, please review Creating your first libgdx project with Android Studio 1.1.0. With the project imported, select the configurations drop-down, or navigate to Run Edit Configurations.

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Review: LG Electronics Gaming 24GM77 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

  • March 8, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the LG Electronics Gaming 24GM77 24-Inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor, released in late 2014, and currently available for purchase for a little over $270. The product I received was free as part of the Amazon Vine program. Very nice, but may not be required For context, I have two rather old HP monitors, from 2007, which up until early last year I was using for my PC monitors.

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Review: LibGDX Game Development Essentials (2014)

  • March 7, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of LibGDX Game Development Essentials, written by Juwal Bose, and released in December 2014 by Packt Publishing. Difficult to follow, but not a complete waste of time LibGDX Game Development Essentials is hard to follow along with, and since I'm one of those learners who likes to follow along when I'm learning a technology, that made this book troublesome. On the one hand, I certainly got something out of the book, and successfully got a glimpse of just how powerful LibGDX is.

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Creating your first libGDX project with Android Studio 1.1.0

  • February 28, 2015
  • James Skemp
This is a quick 'tutorial' on how to get started with libGDX with Android Studio 1.1.0. Unfortunately while libGDX can be used with Android Studio 1.x, documentation regarding it is sparse. I'll assume that you have Android Studio 1.1.0 (1.x generally) installed and properly running. If you haven't already, download libgdx from the official site. The file name should be gdx-setup.jar, and will be run whenever you need to create a new project.

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Review: Munchkin Panic

  • January 28, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Munchkin Panic, provided for free as part of Amazon Vine. Enjoyable even for solo play Thus far I've only been able to play solo games of Munchkin Panic, so this review will be based upon that fact. I've never played Castle Panic, which this game is a variant of, but I'm familiar with Munchkin. So I wasn't quite sure what to expect of this game when I got it.

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Review: RADical ROACH Deluxe Edition (2014)

  • January 11, 2015
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of RADical ROACH Deluxe Edition, available on Steam and Amazon. Not Rad 'RADical' ROACH is just not very enjoyable. I somehow made it through the first two levels, and recently opted to run it for a little over an hour today to just get the trading cards (which are worth next to nothing in money and gems). I'm thankful I only paid 17 cents for this, thanks to a bundle.

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Review: TP-LINK Archer T4U AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter

  • December 31, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the TP-LINK Archer T4U AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Quite the big boy On a Windows 8.1 machine, the TP-LINK Archer T4U AC1200 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter does what it says. Speed tests and usage suggest that it's on par with a wired connection, and I had no issues playing online with it.

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Review: Perfect Fitness Pushup Stands

  • November 22, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Perfect Fitness Pushup Stands, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Makes pushups easy I don't find pushups all that difficult, outside of the fact that I just don't know what to do with my hands. Since my apartment is carpeted, putting my hands into fists results in carpet marks on my ends, and some irritation. As a developer, who works on a computer most of the day, stretching my fingers out causes me some concern as I'm wary of wrist issues.

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Enabling ADB on a Lenovo A7600-F TAB A10

  • November 6, 2014
  • James Skemp
As of this post, Lenovo does not have an ADB Interface Driver for their Lenovo A7600-F TAB A10. However, since I'd like to develop on it, I had to find a solution. An initial forum post pointed me to the older ADB Interface Driver for their ThinkPad Tablet. However, trying to update the android_winusb.inf with the necessary information was throwing a signature error when I tried to install it on Windows 8.

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Review: Cash N Guns Second Edition

  • November 6, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Cash N Guns Second Edition, received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Fun with a good group When initially reading over the instructions for Cash N Guns I wasn't sure how it would actually play. The idea of robbers trying to split the loot from a heist is pretty easy to understand, but would it play out fairly? Having now played the game in a group of five I think it went fairly well.

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Review: Gray Matter (2010)

  • October 26, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Gray Matter (2010), available for the PC on Steam and on Amazon.com. An enjoyable story, with minor puzzles I find point and click adventures to be generally enjoyable, but the older I get the more interest I have in the story they tell than the puzzles. So when I finally started playing Gray Matter, which I received for very cheap as part of a bundle, my main focus was on the story.

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Review: Mega Bloks Call of Duty ODIN Space Station Strike

  • October 16, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Mega Bloks Call of Duty ODIN Space Station Strike set, provided by Amazon as part of the Amazon Vine program. Call me an impressed Mega Bloks first-timer I'll be honest; I'm a LEGO guy. My sister and I grew up with LEGO, and I have fond memory of them. We did have some Tyco blocks, but we were primarily LEGO. I'm not a fan of Call of Duty, but the set looked pretty interesting, and had a 'less than LEGO' price, I figured it would be worth a try.

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Review: The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition: Computer Modeling and Animation (2014)

  • September 27, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics, Second Edition: Computer Modeling and Animation, published in 2014, and written by John M. Blain. So much information Many many years ago I did quite a bit with POV-Ray and Rhino3D, but as I got older focused more and more on the web. While I'd heard of Blender many times in the past, I had also heard that the GUI wasn't exactly friendly for new users.

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Review: Devil Kings (2005)

  • September 6, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Devil Kings, released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2. Perfectly acceptable example of the genre There's something satisfying about games of this particular genre. You play a kind of super-powered individual, able to wade your way through groups of the enemies armies, fighting your way to their lord(s), and taking them down. It can certainly be repetitive, yet despite that ... the simple controls, basic story lines, multiple characters, and excited announcer, drives you play each character, and at increasing levels of difficulty.

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Review: Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350)

  • September 1, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of a Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router with Gigabit & USB Ports (EA6350), which I received as part of the Amazone Vine program. Runs hot, but nice interface and speeds I have a couple routers around the house, but I've always been a fan of Linksys, so when I saw the opportunity to review the Linksys AC1200+ I snapped it up. Unfortunately, while it has a number of good points, I'll ultimately be unplugging it and using an existing device instead.

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Review: Shadowrun Returns (2013)

  • August 2, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Shadowrun Returns (2013), available for PC on Steam. Enjoyable story and gameplay After having the game for a little over 9 months, I've finally beaten the main campaign, Dead Man's Switch, of Shadowrun Returns (2013). It didn't take this long to beat it because the game wasn't enjoyable, but rather because the machine I had until a few months ago wasn't ideal for gaming, so it wasn't until the last three months that I really got into this.

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Review: Still Life (2005)

  • July 29, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Still Life (2005), available for PC on Steam. Great story, interesting puzzles Having liked Syberia (you have to like a game if you've bought multiple copies over the years), when I saw the Still Life trilogy in a bundle (Post Mortem, Still Life, Still Life 2) a few months ago I decided to pick it up. While it's taken me a while to get to this game (not thinking, I played the second in the series first), I'm glad I finally did.

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Review: Belkin Universal Case and Cover for 7-Inch and 8-Inch Tablet, Ink

  • July 19, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Belkin Universal Case and Cover for 7-Inch and 8-Inch Tablet, Ink, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Actually like it more than my Supcase case The Belkin Universal Case and Cover for 7-Inch and 8-Inch Tablet has a fairly low rating on Amazon as I write this, and has had a low rating since I ordered this a few weeks ago.

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Review: Fearless Fantasy (2014)

  • July 13, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Fearless Fantasy (2014), available for PC on Steam. Enjoyable, but controls are a bit iffy While Fearless Fantasy isn't long (there's only 13 sections), it's nonetheless an interesting game. The combat mechanic is probably more suited for touch-based devices (I found windowed mode makes the game a little easier, than playing full screen in 1920x1080), it still keeps combat interesting. Because of the mechanic, I did find myself having to grind earlier levels for experience, and ended the game with level 17 characters.

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Review: To the Moon (2011)

  • June 28, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of To the Moon (2011), available for PC on Steam. Good story, but iffy controls From the reviews of this game I was expecting a short game with a good story. And having now beat the game in a little over 3 and a half hours (having only looked up if I needed to get off the horse to exit the stage; we'll get to that in a bit), that's exactly what I got.

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Review: Hexcells Plus (2014)

  • June 20, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Hexcells Plus (2014), played on the PC. More of the same, with a bit more complexity Having gone through the first Hexcells rather quickly, I just as quickly started playing the standalone Hexcells Plus. While this game contains the same number of puzzles as the original, it adds additional gameplay dynamics. While I finished the first in less than 2 hours, Steam reports that I put in 8 hours on this version.

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Review: NETGEAR Trek N300 Range Extender and Travel Router (PR2000)

  • June 17, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the NETGEAR Trek N300 Range Extender and Travel Router (PR2000), which I received as part of the Amazone Vine program. Works perfectly to convert a wired connection, with no loss of speed The NETGEAR Trek N300 Range Extender and Travel Router (PR2000) can assist as either a simple wifi router for a normally wired home network, as a wireless range extender, as a protected wireless hotspot on the go, or to convert a wired device to a wireless one.

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Review: Hexcells (2014)

  • June 14, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Hexcells (2014), played on the PC. A short, but enjoyable, puzzle game Ultimately, I recommend Hexcells, especially for the price I paid ($1.25 with the standalone expansion), as I got a around 110 minutes of play. It's a pretty basic puzzle game, with some extra dynamics added in as you progress. I do wish that the puzzles were a little more complex, but I also tend to enjoy this type of game, so the general idea wasn't new to me.

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Review: Radiant Historia (2011)

  • May 30, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Radiant Historia (2011), released for the Nintendo DS. Fantastic music and interesting branching story When I ordered Radiant Historia back in February 2013 I'll readily admit that I played for only a few hours before I let it, and my 3DS, sit and gather dust. At the time the cheapest new copy of the game I could get was $70, so I was expecting much more from the game.

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Review: The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (2013)

  • May 15, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (2013), played on the PC. An enjoyable hack and slash dungeon crawler Having recently built a gaming PC I had to think hard about what game(s) I would initially pick up. Since Diablo II was such an enjoyable game, and one of my most memorable experiences when I was PC gaming, I initially looked at Diablo III. However, the current state of the game, and knowing that eventually the DLC and base game would be selling for half the price, led me to look elsewhere.

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Review: Getting Start with Paint.NET (2013)

  • April 13, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Getting Start with Paint.NET (2013), written by Andros T. Sturgeon and Shoban Kumar, and published by Packt Publishing. Excellent primer for your average user In the past I've used Adobe Photoshop for my own personal use, as well as at work for relatively simple work. However, after losing my discount a number of years ago, I've kept my eye open for good alternatives, especially for those that were asking for my recommendation on software.

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Review: Ghost Trick (2011)

  • April 3, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ghost Trick, released in 2011, for the Nintendo DS. What a very good game A very short while ago I watched a video that featured Ghost Trick briefly, and I fell in love with the graphic style of the game. After ordering it with some other DS games, for use on my 3DS XL, I decided that it would be the first of the batch that I would play, and therefore also one of the first games I had played on the system in months.

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Review: Panavise PortaGrip Phone Holder with Windshield Mount

  • February 18, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Panavise PortaGrip Phone Holder with Windshield Mount, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. No suction due to cold, but great grip Right away let me say that I wanted to like this product. Unfortunately, a lack of suction made it impossible for me to fully test this in my car. However, given the weather in Wisconsin, I fully attribute that to the extremely cold weather.

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Goodbye, Pearl

  • February 4, 2014
  • James Skemp
This is sad, and something that I had to write. You can probably skip it. Around 2 a.m. this morning I put my cat down. I'm glad I never changed her name when I got her as it let me give her the nickname of 'pretty girl Pearl,' and I always smiled a little when I said it ("I'm a poet and I didn't even know it"). It was peaceful, and I hope that one day, when I get sick and/or just plain old, that I'll be able to go as peacefully.

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Review: PlayStation 3 EX-02 Next Gen Bluetooth Headset with Faceplates

  • February 2, 2014
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the PlayStation 3 EX-02 Next Gen Bluetooth Headset with Faceplates, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. External speaker is key I've tried two different microphones before this headset: the one that came with Warhawk and the PlayStation 3 camera, and since I rarely play multiplayer games, and PlayStation players are less likely to have microphones that Xbox 360 players, both were just fine.

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Review: Rolodex Mesh Mobile Device Tablet Stand

  • December 4, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Rolodex Mesh Mobile Device Tablet Stand, which I received as part of the Amazon Vine program. Perfect with my Nexus 7 I currently have a Nexus 7 with a case that allows a certain level of tilting. However, since the case is relatively soft, it doesn't work as well as I'd like. I was also looking at purchasing a larger tablet over the holiday season, so when I saw this up for review I jumped at the opportunity.

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Review: Contrast (2013)

  • November 16, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Contrast, released in 2013, for the PlayStation 4. Charming Since Watch Dogs was delayed, I've been thinking about what game would be my first PlayStation 4 experience. Between Contrast, Flower, and Resogun, I ultimately decided upon Contrast, since while I had played flOw first on my PlayStation 3, I had already played (and enjoyed) Flower on the PS3, and wanted something slightly different.

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Rough guide on manually setting up Git on Windows

  • October 6, 2013
  • James Skemp
For both machines I'm doing this on (running Windows 7 and Windows 8) I had already installed Github for Windows. However, since I've been converted to posh-git, I wanted to do an install that would get me away from continuing to use it. The below is roughly what I did, and may not be completely correct. Install the latest version of msysgit (currently 1.8.4). Set execution policy (run as administrator).

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Git/posh-git commands

  • September 25, 2013
  • James Skemp
This is a rough list, in no particular order (yet), but here's the commands I've found useful after being converted to posh-git after my Google+ post. git add -u Add all changes (including deletions) git rm <file> Stage file deletion. git commit -m "Message" Commit with Message. git push Push to GitHub git status See what has changed/etcetera git pull Pull from GitHub git add <tab> <tab> Add multiple files, space delimited git diff <file> Difference.

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Goodbye BlogEngine.NET

  • September 22, 2013
  • James Skemp
On July 13, 2007 I converted my blog over from WordPress to BlogEngine.NET (having previously used custom code written in PHP). It was a great switch, as I was beginning to really dig into .NET, and I've found there's no better way to learn something than actually doing something with it. While I don't think I did much with the beta, I was in on 1.0 and was fairly active at first.

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Review: Alice: Madness Returns (2011)

  • September 8, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Alice: Madness Returns, released in 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A dark masterpiece I picked up a new copy of Alice: Madness Returns for the Xbox 360 back in April of 2012. Since it came with a copy of the original American Mcgee’s Alice, I decided to start with that in May. However, it took me until November of that year to beat that game (it was good, just long), and then I didn’t start the main game until the middle of August.

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C2-12828-1 and Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention

  • August 10, 2013
  • James Skemp
Last month I was playing Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention on the PlayStation Vita. I had finished the game, but had started a new game and was picking up the Diez Gentleman by losing to Raspberyl. Unfortunately, when I lost to her I kept getting the error code of C2-12828-1, and the game crashed. In my particular case I just didn't have enough room in homeroom. Unfortunately I forget the exact number, but the game wants you to keep more slots open than you need.

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Review: D-Link Wireless N 900 Mbps Home Cloud App-Enabled Dual-Band Gigabit Router (DIR-855L)

  • July 21, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the D-Link Wireless N 900 Mbps Home Cloud App-Enabled Dual-Band Gigabit Router (DIR-855L). Very nice, save the short power cord While I just replaced my router with a MediaLink router (since I wanted wireless N), when Amazon Vine offered this D-Link router I figured I would give it a try, since I had noticed issues with my laptop losing wireless and my tablet experiencing extreme drops.

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Review: Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Quickstart Cookbook (2013)

  • June 30, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Quickstart Cookbook (2013), written by Jose Luis Latorre Millas, and published by Packt Publishing. The .NET Framework is just too big .NET 4.5 came out a short while ago, but the amount I’ve been able to do with it has been fairly limited. So when I was asked if I wanted a review copy of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 Quickstart Cookbook I went ahead and took the opportunity to do so, to see what I could look forward to.

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Unofficial Xbox Live API wrappers

  • June 9, 2013
  • James Skemp
This morning I created two API wrappers for the Mashape implementations of XboxApi.com and XboxLeaders.com. These unofficial APIs allow you to pull information from Xbox Live for particular users. I've used a simiilar structure for both (based upon XboxLeaders.com's PHP wrapper, since I thought I was working against there API when I was in fact working against XboxApi.com's ...), and both are available on Github. XboxLeadersWrapper XboxApiWrapper In order to use these APIs you'll need to have an account on Mashape, subscribe, and generate keys.

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Review: Instant .NET 4.5 Extension Methods How-to (2013)

  • May 3, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Instant .NET 4.5 Extension Methods How-to (2013), written by Shawn R. McLean, and published by Packt Publishing. A quick introduction to .NET extension methods In the 5+ years that I’ve been doing .NET I’ve been created my own extension methods twice. I was already aware that LINQ was built on extension methods, but I very rarely found myself needing to extend something that I didn’t already have the code for.

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Review: Tomb Raider (2013)

  • April 12, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Tomb Raider (2013). Reboot: Successful I’ve never bought a Tomb Raider game before this one. Actually, I did buy the Lara Croft PSN/Xbox Live game, but that’s not really a Tomb Raider game in the classic sense. I also received a free copy of Tomb Raider: Underworld via PlayStation Plus, but I’ve yet to finish it, and don’t have much drive to. However, Tomb Raider is not only the first Lara Croft game I’ve paid full price for, but one of a very few games I’ve picked up almost immediately after it was released.

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Review: Spec Ops: The Line (2012)

  • March 9, 2013
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Spec Ops: The Line (2012). A squad-based shooter with an excellent story I really bought the SOCOM 4 Full Deployment Edition because at the time it was the cheapest way to quick up everything to get started with PlayStation Move. And in fact I only played it for a short time before I moved on to other games. I’ve since tried to get back into it, but since I had issues getting the game running again (odd patch issues), I haven’t done so.

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Brief thoughts after 1 month of GitHub

  • March 1, 2013
  • James Skemp
I've been using GitHub for a little more than a month now, and it's been about 2 weeks since I shut down the machine running my local Subversion instance. GitHub for Windows needs some work, but given that Phil Haack is/was working on the Windows aspect, I feel pretty confident that it'll continue to get better. Moving to a system that allows for public repositories also allowed me to publish some really old code, that might be of benefit to someone.

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Converting from Subversion to Git on Windows

  • February 9, 2013
  • James Skemp
With the news that Visual Studio 2012 will support Git out-of-the-box, and me deciding to stop storing my repositories locally, I decided to switch to Git this weekend. They say the best way to do this is via svn2git, which unfortunately uses Ruby. Since I'm on Windows, and haven't done Ruby development, I needed to download Ruby using RubyInstaller for Windows. Next I needed to have RubyGems support, which meant downloading from RubyForge.

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My Video Game Tracker (for Windows Phone 7) on GitHub

  • January 15, 2013
  • James Skemp
Yesterday morning I committed version 1.2 of My Video Game Tracker to a public repository on GitHub. At this time I intend on letting my publishing license lapse on Windows Phone development (which is still a number of months away), and have decided that I probably won't do anything further targeting Windows Phone 7. In the coming weeks I'll probably also post the Madison Metro application that I was working on, warts and all.

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Review: 72 Pin Connector for NES 8 BIT Nintendo System

  • December 30, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of a 72 Pin Connector for NES 8 BIT Nintendo System (Bulk Packaging), by Classic Game Source. Our Nintendo was purchased new (as far as I know), way back when they were still being sold in stores. However, we haven’t played it all that much, since, like many others, the console would blink instead of playing the game. Last weekend I visited my sister, who has it now, and I couldn’t get it come on at all.

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PlayStation Plus for PS Vita launch line-up

  • November 16, 2012
  • James Skemp
Updated 11/20/2012 with PlayStation Network prices. On November 19th PlayStation Plus members will get access to free PlayStation Vita games, as part of the Instant Game Collection benefit. The question is, if you’ve been sitting around waiting to pick up a PlayStation Vita, is now the perfect time to do so? If the question then becomes, how much am I saving by getting these games for free, keep reading.

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Review: Milwaukee Mafia (2012)

  • November 1, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following if a review of Milwaukee Mafia (2012), written by Gavin Schmitt. Is a picture worth a thousand words? First, I should note that I’ve known the author for around a decade, so my review have some level of bias. Second, having followed the project, and been part of the Kickstarter effort, my experience with the book has been fairly long and diverse. While I was initially expecting a typical, written, book, Milwaukee Mafia, as the fact that it’s part of the ‘Images of America’ series, consists mostly of photos, all with captions, and short introductions beginning each of the six chapters.

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Review: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters)

  • November 1, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters). AmazonBasics: When price and quality matters While a number of retailers will try to sell you expensive cables, I’ve personally found Amazon’s AmazonBasics line to be exactly what’s needed, at an even better than expected price. This isn’t the first HDMI cable I’ve received in the AmazonBasics line, but I don’t believe my previous cable supported ‘ethernet, 3D, and audio return’ like this one promises.

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Review: SimpleSleeve, Premium Neoprene Sleeve for Apple iPad

  • September 16, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the SimpleSleeve, Premium Neoprene Sleeve for Apple iPad. A well made cover; one happy purchaser Seeing as how my Nexus 7 has officially converted me to Android tablets (although we’ll see what Microsoft’s Surface devices are priced at), I figured it was time to finally write a review for the item that’s been keeping my iPad safe for almost a year and a half.

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Review: Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (2009)

  • September 16, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad (2009), for the Xbox 360. Ignore the cover, Onechanbara actually isn’t that bad Honestly, I hesitated bringing this up to the counter to pay for it. However, with the 3-point-something rating, new copies selling for over $60, and the store having it used for $6.30, I had to pick up Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad. I’ll admit it, as I guy who likes girls sex can get me to purchase something, and Onechanbara certainly promises that.

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Upgrading to .NET 4 on an IIS site supporting a .NET 2.0 child application

  • August 5, 2012
  • James Skemp
Today I decided to finally make progress on a couple pending applications. As part of that process I needed to upgrade one of my sites to .NET 4. Unfortunately it has a child application that needs to say as .NET 2.0/3.5. After approximately 30 minutes of downtime, I finally got things configured correctly (seemingly). Here's what I ended up having to do. This assumes IIS 7.5. Wrap the system.web and system.

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Review: Mafia II (2010)

  • May 8, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Mafia II (2010), for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. If you enjoyed The Saboteur, you’ll enjoy this While I was playing Mafia II I was constantly reminded of The Saboteur (2009), and since I enjoyed that game, I would consider that a good thing. The game features much of the same, with gun and hand fights (the latter of which plays an important part in the story) and driving.

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Review: Ninja Blade (2009)

  • April 24, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ninja Blade (2009), for the Xbox 360. A lot of quick time events, but an overlooked gem God of War was a pretty good game, but the game made popular quick time events, which I absolutely despised. When I saw Ninja Blade at a used media store I was taken back by how little it cost, for what seemed like a fairly enjoyable game, similar to Ninja Gaiden (note: Ninja Gaiden 2 for the Xbox 360 is kicking my butt, but I fully plan on finishing it, have picked up Sigma for the PlayStation 3, and am semi-interested in picking up others in the series).

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Windows Phone 7: Taking and restoring a SQL database

  • April 22, 2012
  • James Skemp
As I develop my first Windows Phone 7 application, My Video Game Tracker, I want to make sure that the many games I've added won't accidentally be lost (as I'm deploying test versions to my physical phone). The below assumes you're using Windows PowerShell, but they should run on the standard command line. Taking screenshots of the application's data When you install the Windows Phone SDK the Isolated Storage Explorer Tool is also installed.

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Review: Yakuza Dead Souls (2012)

  • March 27, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Yakuza Dead Souls (2012), released for the PlayStation 3. Inconsistent targeting is easily overlooked in this gem When I first heard about Yakuza Dead Souls I was a little worried. The best part about the Yakuza series is the story, and I feared that they were jumping on the zombie bandwagon (albeit late). However, I should have reminded myself about the multitude of games I have that has the Sega logo on the box, as there was nothing to fear with this iteration in the Yakuza series.

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Script to simplify Netflix activity pages (in progress)

  • March 18, 2012
  • James Skemp
I love Netflix, but there's no easy way to get a listing of the movies I've rated through the service. To ease with that, I've finally started on a script that will clean the Netflix output, so it's a bit easier to parse. Fire up Chrome, visit either https://www2.netflix.com/RentalActivity?all=true or https://account.netflix.com/WiViewingActivity?all=true, open a console, and use the following two scripts: Script 1: Load jQuery var GM_JQ = document.createElement('script'); GM_JQ.src = 'https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js'; GM_JQ.type = 'text/javascript'; document.

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Review: MindJack (2011)

  • February 29, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of MindJack (2011), released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. MindJack got a lot of grief when it came out, and it hasn’t gotten much better. However, seeing it for under $5 one day, I decided to pick up a copy and see just how bad it really is. MindJack tells the story of a man who’s name I can’t remember (and that I don’t care enough to look up) as he tries to discover what he can, as within the first few minutes of the game he’s treated as something of a traitor.

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Review: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)

  • January 22, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Enslaved, Odyssey to the West (2010), released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A wonderful short story When Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was first being discussed I was keeping my eye on it, as I had picked up Heavenly Sword when I picked up my PlayStation 3 and thorougly enjoyed it. However, after lackluster reviews I opted to wait until I picked it up.

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Review: Programming Entity Framework: Code First (2011)

  • January 5, 2012
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Programming Entity Framework: Code First, written by Julia Lerman and Rowan Miller. While I had heard of Julie Lerman and her book Programming Entity Framework, after the release of code first I was on the fence on just how much I would get out of the existing book. With the release of Programming Entity Framework: Code First I knew I’d learn something, so I picked up an electronic copy (PDF) and started digging in.

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Review: Saints Row: The Third (2011)

  • December 17, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Saints Row: The Third (2011) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Over the top antics delivers just what I needed After the bombardment of commercials online for this game, I had it on my list to pick up after the price dropped into the $20 range. However, since PlayStation 3 users can get a free copy of Saints Row 2 by picking it up before January or February of next year, and the price at retailers had dropped to $40, I decided to pick up a copy early.

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Review: Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition (2010)

  • December 17, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition (2010) for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Amazing value, for a great RPG A while ago a friend lent me his copy of Dragon Age Origins for the Xbox 360. While I enjoyed the game, I had a number of other games that I was playing, and I returned it without finishing it. With the price drops of the Ultimate Edition, I decided to finally pick up a copy, for the PS3, but it sat unused until a short time ago.

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Migration from CollabNet Subversion to VisualSVN Server

  • November 18, 2011
  • James Skemp
Since it doesn't seem CollabNet is really going to keep their non-Edge Subversion application, I've decided to migrate to VisualSVN Server. Roughly, here are the steps I went through to migrate, which also includes a 1.6.x upgrade. VisualSVN migration Installed VisualSVN. Repositories saved to C:\Repositories Setup existing users. Import existing repositories. Should already be upgraded, but upgrade to 1.5, just in case. Upgrade TortoiseSVN. Upgrade working copies to 1.

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Review: The 3rd Birthday (2011) (PSP)

  • October 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The 3rd Birthday for the PlayStation Portable. Fairly incomprehensible story, but wonderful game play Way back in 2005 I found a copy of Parasite Eve. While I tried playing through the game shortly after, it wasn’t until many years later that I actually started and finished the game (twice). I also happened to come upon a copy of Parasite Eve 2, but outside of a very little bit of play (less than an hour), I never really got into the game.

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Nier weapon data in XML (and LINQ sample query)

  • October 16, 2011
  • James Skemp
Going through the game Nier yet again, I wanted an easier way to track what weapon levels I had already upgraded to, and what items I still needed to unlock weapon items. Phase one towards that goal is creating an XML file with weapon upgrade information which is available online: Nier weapon data. An XML schema document for this information is also available: Nier weapon XSD. Sample LINQ query The following query can be run from LINQPAD, and will either display all items with their counts, or a grouped listing of items with the total quantity needed.

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Review: Yakuza 4 (2011) (PlayStation 3)

  • October 1, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Yakuza 4 for the PlayStation 3. A masterpiece I picked up Yakuza 4 without having played any of the previous iterations of the game. After looking at reviews online I thought it might have a pretty good story, and provide a good amount of entertainment. After playing a little under an hour of the game I was quite impressed what I had seen. Used copies of Yakuza 3 were available locally, at a pretty decent price, so I decided to pick up a copy of Yakuza 3 and play that first (since Yakuza 1 and 2 were a little harder to find, and more importantly on the PlayStation 2).

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 6 (Part 1)

  • September 30, 2011
  • James Skemp
This will cover September 26, 2011 to approximately March 25, 2012. See also year 5, part 2. Plan changes After many years, on October 7, 2011, I dropped DVDs from my plan. I'm running low on time to get to DVDs with all the great games being released, and the price jump is a bit more than I'd like at this point. The times 09/27/2011 (T) - MRNOS. 09/28/2011 (W) - Received and watched Castle: Season 3 (2010): Disc 3: Episodes 11 and 12.

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Yakuza 4: Tanimura Hostess Guide

  • September 18, 2011
  • James Skemp
This is a very rough guide for the hostesses for Tanimura for Yakuza 4. This only includes the questions/answers I needed to complete his hostesses. Chihiro (Jewel) Italian Scarf +.25 - never wore Orange Juice +1 Fruit Platter +1 When I was twenty? I wasn't interested in love yet. +1 I see. It's nothing, really. +1 What do you think of a girl who can't drink? It's cute. +1 Something interesting?

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Review: Last Rebellion (2010) (PlayStation 3)

  • August 28, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Last Rebellion for the PlayStation 3. It’s interesting how badly this game is generally rated, yet I didn’t find the approximately 12 hours I put into the game all that horrible. Sure the graphics don’t push the limits of the PlayStation 3, and the game could certainly have been released for the PlayStation 2, but given the current pricing of the game I’d argue it’s worth a purchase.

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Review: Yakuza 3 (2010) (PlayStation 3)

  • August 21, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Yakuza 3, for the PlayStation 3. Around the time Yakuza 4 was being released I began hearing about the game, although after further research I do remember hearing about those who had asked actual Yakuza to play a Yakuza game (the 3rd specifically). Either way, everything I had heard about 4 suggested I would like it, especially when I heard it had a great story.

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Review: Professional ASP.NET MVC 3

  • August 20, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Professional ASP.NET MVC 3, written by Jon Galloway, Phil Haack, Brad Wilson, and K. Scott Allen. Having used ASP.NET MVC since around the time 1.0 was released I was a little interested in what Professional ASP.NET MVC 3 would bring to someone like myself. Would this book provide enough new content to someone like me who’s tried to keep up on the framework? So when I was contacted by someone at Wiley to receive a copy for review I was of course interested.

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Review: Eat Them! (2010) (PlayStation 3)

  • August 6, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Eat Them!, for the PlayStation 3, and released on the PlayStation Network. I just recently picked up a copy of Eat Them!, for the PlayStation 3, as it was on sale for PlayStation Plus members. According to some Eat Them! is a Rampage-like game, where you control a monster that lays waste to an area of a city. Indeed, this an extremely apt description, as playing this game brought to my mind fond memories of putting quarters/tokens into the Rampage machine, and later playing it, and later releases (such as for the Nintendo 64) to mind.

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12 years of posts = a lot of comments

  • July 31, 2011
  • James Skemp
When I moved from my custom system to WordPress to BlogEngine.NET I never did end up copying over all the old comments on my posts. Heck, I don't even think I moved over all my posts. But since I'm sticking with DISQUS I decided to move all my BE.NET comments over to DISQUS, and over the last few hours have been making the necessary changes and performing the necessary cleanup. 

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Review: Bullet Witch (2006) (Xbox 360)

  • July 20, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Bullet Witch, released in 2006 for the Xbox 360. It is what it is, and that’s just fine Years ago I was hooked by the uniqueness of the first few levels of Drakengard, released for the PlayStation 2. When I finally found and picked up a copy I found it had hooked its claws into me even more. So when Drakengard 2 came out I of course picked up a copy.

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Review: jQuery Mobile by Jon Reid

  • July 17, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of jQuery Mobile, written by Jon Reid. A great introduction to jQuery Mobile development While jQuery Mobile has not yet had a final release, a number of alphas, and most recently a beta, have been released. When a new technology or framework is released it’s sometimes difficult to determine when the best time is to start learning about it. Generally I try to stay away until a final version is released, but since this project is tied to jQuery, I can only assume that good things will come from this framework.

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jQuery Mobile version of my video game listing

  • July 9, 2011
  • James Skemp
I picked up an electronic copy of jQuery Mobile by Jon Reid a little while ago and have been slowly making my way through it. I've finally gotten to the point where I wanted to try creating a jQuery Mobile version of my video game listing. View the jQuery Mobile version of my video games listing. In addition to jQuery Mobile, this also uses oXygen XML Editor, for taking the original XML source and transforming it via an XSLT 2.

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My favorite Final Fantasy mini-game

  • July 6, 2011
  • James Skemp
I've had Final Fantasy VIII for many years, but have never finished it. In fact, I've never gotten through the first disc. However, having recently started it up once again, after picking up an electronic copy on the PSN (I still have the original, but this is the only legit way to play it on my PSP), I have to say that Final Fantasy VIII contains my favorite mini-game of the series, and perhaps one of my top favorites of all.

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Internet Explorer 10: Platform Preview 2 now available

  • June 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
Released earlier today, Internet Explorer 10: Platform Preview 2 is now available for download. Just the other day at work I had fired up IE10PP1 to see if a new version was available, so I'll just go ahead and assume Microsoft was zeroing in on my brainwaves with this. I definitely like the direction they've gone with these platform previews, so I hope to see that continue. And that's about all I have to say about that.

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mvc-mini-profiler for users in a particular role

  • June 24, 2011
  • James Skemp
When Jeff Atwood announced the release of the mvc-mini-profiler for ASP.NET MVC Web sites I was intrigued. Just the other day he wrote an article Performance is a Feature and I decided I could hold off no longer. Tonight (for better or worse) I finally got this up and running on one of my sites, and fully intend on adding it to at least one more. To install it I naturally used NuGet, but note that it's called MiniProfiler there.

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On Web sites that feature Facebook Comments

  • June 24, 2011
  • James Skemp
Over the past few months a number of sites have switched over to Facebook-powered comments. For the most part those sites are ones that I've never commented one, nor will comment on. However, I recently discovered that a former co-worker, Rob Lumley, switched his site over to Facebook, and recently wrote an article about it titled Add Facebook Comments to WordPress. Since I don't use Facebook comments, I figured I'd post the response I had written and tried to post anonymously, here instead.

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Review: Dante's Inferno (2010) (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)

  • June 9, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Dante’s Inferno (2010), available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Enjoyable, but quick, with some annoying platforming As I continue playing games that received less than critical acclaim, I found myself playing Dante’s Inferno for the Xbox 360. Dante’s Inferno tells the story of Dante who journeys through Hell to save his beloved Beatrice. As we progress through the story we learn more about Dante himself, and why it is that he doesn’t seem so out of place in this land.

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Log Parser Plus June/July 2011 plans

  • June 2, 2011
  • James Skemp
Somehow, while I wasn't looking, the Log Parser Plus Web site has grown to what I consider a nice size over the last handful of months. As the Log Parser Plus Web site moves towards 2000 visits a month I'll be making a number of changes in an attempt to make it even more useful. Some changes I've already made: Implemented a new design. Added login functionality. Added ELMAH support.

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Review: Darksiders (2009) (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3)

  • May 30, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Darksiders (2009), available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Darksiders, like Nier, the last game I played through and beat, didn’t get all that much respect when it first came out. But Darksiders features more than just God of War meets Zelda gameplay, it tells a story worth seeing through until the end. The following review is based upon a playthrough on the Xbox 360, on the hardest - Apocalyptic - difficulty.

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Review: JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, Sixth Edition, by David Flanagan

  • May 23, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, Sixth Edition, written by David Flanagan. Also available on O’Reilly Media. Provides a deep dive into JavaScript development JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is not just a complete reference of the language, like O’Reilly’s other ‘thick books,’ but also provides a deep dive into JavaScript development. However, if you’re just starting out and will be using one of the various libraries (like jQuery), this book may not (yet) be for you.

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New Log Parser Plus Web site design

  • May 22, 2011
  • James Skemp
My Web site on Microsoft Log Parser gets a fair amount of monthly traffic, but I've never really been happy with the design, which has been in place since I created the site back in September of 2008. While I was fully intending on updating the site last week (as well as doing a slew of other productive things), I finally did so this morning. Design 1 Design 2

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Review: Nier (2010) (Xbox 360 / PlayStation 3)

  • May 21, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Nier (2010), available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Yes, the main character is ugly, but the story is anything but Nier, released in 2010, and developed by Cavia, gained mediocre reviews when it was released. The one thing I remember most about those reviews is the common statement that the main character in Nier was rather ugly. Of course, he (named whatever you name him) is rather ugly.

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Review: JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

  • April 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of JavaScript: The Good Parts, written by Douglas Crockford. Focused discussion on the parts of JavaScript to learn more about At the beginning of last month Scott Hanselman had a Hanselminutes episode titled “JavaScript and jQuery: Moving beyond Alert().” During this episode he spoke with two JavaScript … (experts? gurus?) users, and this book was mentioned as one to read if you wanted to get a better understanding of JavaScript.

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Review: 30-Minute Mandalas Coloring Book

  • April 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of 30-Minute Mandalas Coloring Book: Active Meditation for the Mind and Body OR Easy Meditation through Coloring. I’ll be honest, I might be missing the point of these If, after reading my review’s title, you haven’t already decided to hit the ‘No’ button next to ‘Was this review helpful to you’ and otherwise ignore my review, thank you. I’ll be the first to admit that I might not understand the point of these.

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DD-WRT and my Linksys WRT54GL

  • April 23, 2011
  • James Skemp
I've been sitting on a Linksys (Cisco) WRT54GL for a long while now. A long, long, while. Originally I was going to replace my WRT54G (don't get me wrong, it still works great) and install DD-WRT for the additional features. However, I just never got around to it. Today I finally dusted off the box (I had opened it) and started getting it setup. Interestingly, the deeper I dug into DD-WRT the more confused I became.

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Review: Ys Seven (PSP)

  • April 22, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Ys Seven, for the Sony PlayStation Portable. Ys Seven, the first Ys game I’ve played, was recommended to me a number of times before I finally picked up a copy. Since XSEED had some hand in the game, I was expecting a fairly good game, and found an excellent one. Ys Seven is a sort of action RPG, with combat taking place on the field, and consisting of standard attacks, dodges, skills, and special attacks.

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Review: C# in Depth, Second Edition

  • April 18, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of C# in Depth, Second Edition, written by Jon Skeet. I’ve been working in C# (heavily towards Web usage via ASP.NET) for almost a handful of years now, with the various Wrox books, and online materials, serving me rather well. However, I never really dug ‘deep’ into C#, and knew that there was a great deal of functionality I just wasn’t using. This book, C# in Depth, comes up a lot during discussions of really understanding C#, or the man (legend?

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What I've never understood about Conservatives

  • April 16, 2011
  • James Skemp
I've never understood how conservatives can be anti-government, but also be for government intervention in regards to abortion, prostitution, gay/lesbian marriage/civil unions, video and movie ratings, marijuana, and etcetera. Of course liberals aren't necessarily pushing hard for some of these, but see a benefit to government that doesn't include making the above illegal (and enforcing those laws) and building up the miltary. Maybe it's the fact that some people are for legalizing and then taxing some of those items, and they're anti-new taxes?

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Review: The Master Switch

  • April 4, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Master Switch, by Tim Wu. A long while back I had first read mention of this book on a blog I subscribed to, the author of whom writes about technology. He briefly mentioned the book before going on to some related discussion. And that’s about all I remember. He praised the book, but I can’t recall why. Having now finished the book, I can honestly give it some praise as well, but I fear a repeat of what’s happened in the past.

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How to easily clear the window.applicationCache on select browsers

  • April 2, 2011
  • James Skemp
While I was working on tweaking my video game listing, and creating my offline Web application manager, I kept running into issues with the cache manifest holding onto data much longer than I would have liked. After some research I found that Chrome's interface can easily be found by going to chrome://appcache-internals/. On Safari, on the iPod Touch and iPad, you can stop/close Safari (hold down the home button on the home screen, and close the application) and then start it back up to clear the data.

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HTML5 / LocalStorage Web application manager tool

  • April 2, 2011
  • James Skemp
As previously mentioned I've been spending a good amount of time looking at HTML5/local storage in my free time. For testing purposes, I ended up putting a number of items within my video games offline application, which is fine, but results in some extraneous information on the page. To clean this up, as well as to allow for additional functionality, I've gone ahead and created a Web application manager for my media.

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Well done, Amazon (re: Amazon Cloud)

  • March 29, 2011
  • James Skemp
Well done, Amazon. They've been saying for quite a while that music was heading towards the 'cloud,' and while it seemed for a while that everyone was betting on Apple doing it first, you've trumped them, with what seems like a very consumer-friendly service. 5 GB for everyone? Check. Free upgrade to 20 GB if you buy an Amazon MP3 album? Check. Amazon MP3s purchased and stored to the cloud (seemingly at purchase) don't count against your limit?

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Interesting feature with parsing XML with jQuery on Safari

  • March 27, 2011
  • James Skemp
I've been playing around with HTML5 quite a bit recently, in particular with offline Web applications. My second experiment (my first is on pause) was with making my video games available, so that I can access the listing when I'm out shopping at used game stores. It's still in progress, but you can see my offline listing of video games now. My main intention is to make this available on my iPod Touch, so I was a bit dismayed when I found that the listing didn't display the title of the game.

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 5 (Part 2)

  • March 26, 2011
  • James Skemp
This will cover March 26 2011 to approximately September 25 2011. See also year 5, part 1. The times 03/26/2011 (Sa) - Received and watched Castle: Season 2: Episodes 6 and 7 (2009). 03/27/2011 (Su) - Finished off the second disc of Castle: Season 2, by watching Episodes 8 through 10 (2009). I'll let it get picked up tomorrow. 03/29/2011 (T) - MRNOS. Actually, the second one, which is disc 4, since disc 3 is still unavailable.

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Review: Smashing CSS

  • March 25, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Smashing CSS, written by Eric A. Meyer. Mixed signals lead to a mixed review I think this may technically be the first Eric Meyer book I’ve ever read. I’ve read a number of his articles online, in various forums, but just haven’t gone out of my way to read one of his books. So I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I do know it was more then I believe I got.

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Storing watched movies and Netflix shipping/receiving in XML format

  • March 6, 2011
  • James Skemp
Ever since I started my Netflix subscription in September 2006 I've been keeping track of what movies I receive and when. Unfortunately, as the years have gone by I've found it more and more difficult to easily look through the listings to see when I last watched a movie. Additionally, I've no longer been keeping track of what ratings I give movies, and why. The initial goal was really to track when Netflix shipped and received movies, as well as when I mailed and received.

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On the case of weird image results for 'Dan Conderman'

  • February 28, 2011
  • James Skemp
If you've done an image search for Dan Conderman lately you may have found an interesting search result for your Dan Conderman image search (on Google). I'm not exactly sure why Dan Conderman is showing this image, but since Dan Conderman likes Lady Gaga, and Dan Conderman has been known to ski in the snow ... Are the script kiddies playing a trick on Dan Conderman? Will we see sites 'hacked' with footer links to Dan Conderman's newest image search result?

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Video review: Philips DLP2277 Attachable Battery Pack and Charging Base for iPhone and iPod (White)

  • February 26, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the Philips DLP2277 Attachable Battery Pack and Charging Base for iPhone and iPod. When I ordered this item I was expecting only what the box suggested; a battery pack that could be connected to the iPod, which would charge the phone, and in turn be charged by the base station. Instead what I got was a box full of goodies. First you have the battery itself, which while of a fairly large size, seems to fit perfectly with the odd case I have for my iPod Touch.

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Supporting HTML5 manifest files on IIS 7 using Web.config

  • February 18, 2011
  • James Skemp
Having recently picked up an iPod Touch, to replace my Classic, I've become very interested in HTML5's ability to navigate content offline. In my environment I decided to create a separate directory for my manifest files. I'm also running IIS 7, on Server 2008 R2, so .manifest files are already defined for WPF. So that that isn't an issue, I created a Web.config file in the manifest directory with the below contents.

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Excellent news - the BlogML project is not dead.

  • February 11, 2011
  • James Skemp
While it seemed to be near death, if not dead, at least as far as new releases, the BlogML project is not dead, and has been undergoing a number of needed changes since the end of January. My StackOverflow question "Is the BlogML project dead, and what are some alternatives?" was answered yesterday by the project originator (one of the great things about StackOverflow, and the entire network of sites).

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Video review: PSP Super Travel Case With Pockets

  • January 23, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of the PSP Super Travel Case With Pockects, produced by CTA. When I was looking at purchasing my Sony PSP (3000), I knew I had to get some kind of case to keep it safe. After looking around, I decided upon this travel case, released by CTA. I’ve create a video review of the product, which I’ll let handle the specifics. Overall, 5 stars.

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Review: Parasite Eve

  • January 16, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Parasite Eve, for the Sony PlayStation (1). Almost six years ago, back in 2005, I found and picked up a copy of Parasite Eve. I don’t recall the exact circumstances on why I picked it up, but I’m willing to bet that seeing ‘Squaresoft’ on the jewel case had more than a little to do with it. With The 3rd Birthday’s U.S. launch fast approaching, I put the first Parasite Eve back on my list, having not played it since a short time after I bought it, and even then not having finished the game.

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Review: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

  • January 11, 2011
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, for the Sony PlayStation Portable. Having played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 years ago, I skipped most of the other iterations of the Kingdom Hearts series either because I didn’t have the console (DS) or because the games just didn’t seem to have the same appeal (Chain of Memories). Shortly before picking up my PSP I heard a lot of really great things about this game, with most reviews saying it had a good story, graphics, and an improved combat system, but a quirky camera.

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Favorite new (to me) music of 2010

  • January 1, 2011
  • James Skemp
Continuing with the tradition started last year, I present my favorite albums purchased in 2010. To be on this list I must have purchased the album in 2010. This also doesn't include all albums I purchased. Easy winners What Is Free To a Good Home? and Knives Don't Have Your Back - Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton : Emily Haines was on my 'too hard to tell' list last year, and this year I ended up picking up her four CD digital collection on iTunes.

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Raw: Using OpenSSL to create a certificate authority and update IIS 7.5

  • December 29, 2010
  • James Skemp
A raw dump of information on how to create a certificate authority and etcetera. Step 1: Basic folder and file structure creation Directories: certs, keys, requests Files: database.txt (empty), serial.txt (01, then new line), openssl.cnf (based on OpenSSL file) Step 2: Create key "c:\Program Files (x86)\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\bin\openssl.exe" genrsa -des3 -out keys/_ca.key 2048 Step 3: Create certificate authority certificate "c:\Program Files (x86)\Apache Software Foundation\Apache2.2\bin\openssl.exe" req -config openssl.cnf -new -x509 -days 365 -key keys/_ca.

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The problem with installing SQL Server Express via the Microsoft Web Platform Installer

  • December 26, 2010
  • James Skemp
In the past I've talked up Microsoft's Web Platform Installer. With this tool installed you can easily get an IIS server correctly setup. However, as I work my way through Pete Brown's Silverlight 4 in Action I found myself needing to install AdventureWorks (something I had looked into in the past as well). Unfortunately, Web Platform Installer installs one of the 'lower' versions of SQL Server Express, without the advanced services, which is required for AdventureWorks.

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iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch - digital-only distribution devices that work

  • December 13, 2010
  • James Skemp
Former colleague Rob Lumley posted an article a few months ago about Netflix instant viewing. While responding to another comment I had an epiphany. The PSPgo was Sony's attempt to go all digital for game distribution. And it wasn't much of a success, especially since not all games are available (even recent titles, like the 'new' Kingdom Hearts). However, the iPhone, iPod Touch, and now iPad use completely digital distribution for their games, and they're doing absolutely wonderful.

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Convert online image to base64 with C#

  • December 12, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following code will convert an online image to a base64 string. The code was specifically written for use in LINQPad, hence the use of Dump(). String url = "http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MVXV3QQ6L._SL500_SS150_.jpg"; Uri uri = new Uri(url); WebClient client = new WebClient(); byte[] imageBytes = client.DownloadData(uri); string base64String = Convert.ToBase64String(imageBytes); base64String.Dump(); base64String.Length.Dump(); ("<img src='data:image/jpg;base64," + "' />").Length.Dump(); client.Dispose(); The length dumps are given to get an idea of what size would be added to a file if added inline.

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The Kinect is selling really well; but is that good for gamers?

  • November 29, 2010
  • James Skemp
Techmeme had a couple of interesting titles this evening. "Kinect is Selling 2X as Fast as the iPad" and "Microsoft: Over 2.5M Kinect Sold." Even if I thought I had the space for it (I'd have to move furniture every time I wanted to play it in my current apartment) I still wouldn't pick up the Kinect. Why? First there's the price. At $150 you might as well buy a PSP (which I did) or a Nintendo DSi.

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Review: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

  • November 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a review of the Sony PlayStation Portable game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII was the game that made me want a PlayStation 1. I played Final Fantasy VII briefly after it was initially released at a friend’s house, then my own copies later in college on both the PC and PlayStation 1. So when I ordered a PlayStation Portable (PSP) recently it seemed like a no-brainer to pick up a copy of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII as one of my first games.

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Sudoku observations and programmatic considerations

  • November 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
At the lowest level, any Sudoku puzzle consists of a number of squares. There are rows times columns squares consisting of a single value. There are x number of larger squares consisting of y values, where x is the smallest of rows and columns, and y is the largest of rows and columns. As already mentioned, there are a x number of rows, as well as a y number of columns. Overlap is possible, but the puzzle still consists of these basic parts.

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23+ hours with the PlayStation Portable: Initial thoughts

  • November 15, 2010
  • James Skemp
On the first of the month I purchased a Sony PlayStation Portable, which was delivered to me on the 4th. Since then I've used it, mostly for play, for approximately 24 hours. Approximately 23 hours and 12 minutes of that was with my first game, Crisis Core; Final Fantasy VII, and the rest (which was probably over an hour) was initial setups, as well as the playing of a handful of demos, and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which I had purchased for play on my PS3 a long while ago.

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Game Informer's The 30 Characters Who Defined A Decade is an excellent read

  • November 12, 2010
  • James Skemp
Having just received this month's issue of Game Informer I was pleasantly suprised by the article 'The 30 Characters Who Defined A Decade,' contained on pages 46 to 69. I was particularly surprised to see Elena Fisher on the list, since Nathan Drake was already present, but feel that was an excellent choice. Lost Odyssey doesn't show up as much as I feel it should, so it was great to see Kaim Argonar showing up on the list.

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Getting started with StatSVN (0.7.0) and CollabNet Subversion Server

  • October 31, 2010
  • James Skemp
This past week I was looking at advanced statistical information about a couple Subversion repositories we use at work. While TortoiseSVN has some basic reporting, the downside is that, out of the box, users must have access to the repository to access this information. StatSVN, seemingly the most popular solution, works rather well as an alternative to granting this access. The downside (or upside, depending upon your perspective) is that viewers of the report can see what files changed, and how many lines, but not what the actual changes were (outside of the logged message).

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Oh why can't I find a reason to buy a current gen portable console?

  • October 30, 2010
  • James Skemp
I've spent a great portion of the day researching current gen portable consoles; the Nintendo DS(i) and Sony PSP. MLB for the latter was disappointing (I'm not much of a sports fan, so no surprise), but the Pokemon (I'm ashamed to admit) game was a blast. If any of the stores in Madison actually carried the Metal Gear PSP bundle I would have purchased it, even though I logically have a difficult time justifying it.

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Subversion repository dump: WPF and Silverlight application, with MVVM (revision 25)

  • October 24, 2010
  • James Skemp
As alluded to in a previous post, in regards to an excellent Silverlight/WPF with MVVM tutorial, I've begun looking into the MVVM pattern, as I begin moving towards WPF and Silverlight for applications. Having fully watched the series twice, and begun a third watch working through the example, albeit with the Northwind sample database, I decided to share my labor with others. To that end I present a Subversion repository dump with a fairly step-by-step look at how to go from nothing to a simple application with WPF and Silverlight support.

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Sin City / color in movies

  • October 23, 2010
  • James Skemp
A thread from Facebook that I don't want to lose. To be updated as more responses come in. Initial post Ah, color in movies. Like the bar scene - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbl2LxNZ2eY - in Sin City and near the end of Avalon - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P28-PPzCI3k - and the obvious ones in the Wizard of Oz. Any other good examples? Response from Rob Lumley You seem to be mentioning when a particular color stands out.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml: Parsing categories with LINQ

  • October 20, 2010
  • James Skemp
I recently had the need to determine what types of music I had within my collection of music. Since I created iTunes Playlists to Xml so that I could export out my library on my iPod, it was easy enough to run that and then open LINQPad to run the following query. Obviously, you must export the Genre field in order for the following query to work. // Location to the XML from iTunes Playlists to XML String playlistXml = @“C:\Users\James\Projects\services\WcfRestService\App_Data\playlistXml.

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Excellent Silverlight/WPF MVVM video series

  • October 17, 2010
  • James Skemp
Here’s an excellent video series on Silverlight/WPF (XAML basically) and the MVVM pattern. He does, what I believe to be, an excellent job of covering XAML and MVVM during this series, and includes a bit of unit testing as well. Part one is included below, but another user on YouTube created a Playlist with the eight videos released. Update: Or you can view his blog post, time cockpit at NRWConf.

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Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (Wii) - leveling and initial thoughts

  • October 16, 2010
  • James Skemp
A little over an hour into Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon I have three levels of information, and some preliminary thoughts. Leveling information I'll put this into an XML file at some point, I'm sure, but here are the first three levels. Level - HP - Base Attack - Experience to next level 1 - 100 - 4 - 1000 2 - 120 - 6 - 3000 3 - 140 - 8 - 6775

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On why I purchased another PlayStation 2

  • October 2, 2010
  • James Skemp
This afternoon I picked up a PlayStation 2 slim model from Best Buy. I've already got a fat PS2, from way back in 2004 (after a bit of research, it looks like January, and that I paid about $200 for it), that still works pretty darn good, although the controllers are a bit ... discouraging. My PlayStation 3 is also backwards compatible, so between the two I should be able to play my 52 PlayStation 2 (plus those I purchase in the future, as purchase I will) games for many years into the future.

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 5 (Part 1)

  • September 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
Amazingly, although only in how fast time has gone by, my fifth year of Netflix has begun. This covers shipping with Netflix from September 26 2010 to approximately March 25 2011. See also the second half of year 4. MRNOS = Movie received and next one shipped The times 09/27/2010 (M) - MRNOS. 09/28/2010 (T) - Received and watched Iron Man 2 (2010), which I actually really liked, and am surprised I received so soon after release.

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Extended iTunes Track class for PHP

  • September 26, 2010
  • James Skemp
In a previous article, I had outlined classes in C# and PHP to handle iTunes Playlists to Xml outputs. Having let it sit on the back burner for long enough, I finally went back to the PHP class and finalized the constructor. I also added two functions for sorting. Below I have the current code for the class (a current version of the Track class for PHP will always be available elsewhere) and then an example implementation.

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The benefits of using a file for Log Parser SQL queries

  • September 26, 2010
  • James Skemp
One of the things I always forget about when I'm using Microsoft Log Parser is that you can define your SQL query in a file and run it, instead of putting it in the command line. For example, the following will run whatever SQL is defined in strivinglife.robots.sql. logparser -i:w3c -o:xml file:strivinglife.robots.sql Where this comes in handy is for something like the Log Parser query I defined today, that parses IIS logs for requests to the robots.

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Review: Splat SPLAT-AC-3J Orange Auto Clean Cleaning Putty

  • September 25, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Splat SPLAT-AC-3J Orange Auto Clean Cleaning Putty. The one thing I definitely don’t want in my car is gunk stuck in vents and other tiny holes. The basics of the product is that is catches all the junk on the outer layer of the ‘putty.’ By rolling the product around you can move the outer layer in, giving yourself more surface to work with.

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Northwind Community Edition download

  • September 22, 2010
  • James Skemp
This article is primarily for personal reference. The Northwind sample database setup scripts can be download from the CodePlex project Northwind Community Edition. Sadly, that project is dead, but the original script can be found by going to Source Code, browsing the code, and checking in the Original Northwind Scripts directory. It contains both views and procedures, but there is Microsoft SQL Server Community Projects & Samples page. Sadly, the links on the official Express page no longer work for the sample databases.

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Review: The Grand Design

  • September 16, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of The Grand Design, written by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. Who’s the audience? While interesting, the lack of a defined audience makes this book an extremely difficult read. Having read A Brief History of Time I was looking for something with a similar feel to it. Instead the book starts out geared towards anyone with the desire to really read and understand it, then seems to leave most of that audience towards the wayside - seemingly right around when the science gets a little iffy - and then finishes geared back towards the larger audience.

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Review: Odin Sphere

  • September 12, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Odin Sphere, for the Playstation 2. I really enjoyed the ads for Muramasa: The Demon Blade, since the game looked so very beautiful, and the game looked rather enjoyable. I bought it a few days after it came out and enjoyed it immensely. After some research I found that they had previously done this game, Odin Sphere, and thought it would be worth a play.

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Review: Nady Audio Stereo Headphones (HP-03)

  • September 12, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Nady Audio Stereo Headphones, model HP-03. I received a pair of these headphones in a bundle, and wasn’t really expecting much. After sitting around for a couple of months (okay, more like a handful) I finally opened them up one day and plugged them in. Surprisingly, they work pretty dang good. I’m in no way a sound expert, but I dare say for the average (music) listener these will work perfectly fine.

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iTunes Track class in C# and PHP

  • September 8, 2010
  • James Skemp
I've recently begun reading up on PHP again. As I'm most fond of my iTunes Playlists to Xml application, I thought I'd work with that application's output - XML files with playlist data - as I continued to dig into PHP (instead of stopping now that I know enough to tweak existing code and create new functionality). Here's a basic Track object in C# and PHP. I'll of course be elaborating on these as time goes by (and already have code for the C# implementation).

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Amazon delivery schedules to Madison WI

  • September 8, 2010
  • James Skemp
I've been keeping track of this for a while locally, but since I have a hard time remembering where the file is, as well as to update it every time ... here's the delivery schedule I've experienced with Amazon.com, for the free shipping option (unless otherwise noted). Most recent at the top, and does not include all deliveries. USPS December 6, 2010 03:51:00 PM Madison WI US Delivered December 6, 2010 09:27:00 AM Madison WI US Out for delivery

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Shadow Hearts: Covenant leveling information

  • September 6, 2010
  • James Skemp
As I continue to look through my old files I found leveling information for Shadow Hearts: Covenant, from December 2005 to January (1st) 2006. I've converted it from an ODS file to XML, and am making it available. Shadow Hearts: Covenant leveling guide. Since I have a leveling guide for Shadow Hearts: From the New World (previously written about), it almost makes sense to go back and play the original Shadow Hearts to get information for that game as well.

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Thoughts on the Kinect and Playstation Move

  • September 5, 2010
  • James Skemp
Laying aside the question of whether these are merely in response to the amount of money being made by the Wii, and whether the technology will be as lasting as history suggests 3D televisions will be, I've been thinking about the Kinect and Move recently. Here are my thoughts. How well will they work? This is the biggest question. Ever since they were first shown on television there's been the question of what environments will support the Kinect.

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Importing a custom namespace / custom type into an XSD

  • September 5, 2010
  • James Skemp
I have a custom type that I use in a couple of my documents. Unfortunately, in the past I was adding this to each xsd, as I needed it. However, I've now figured out how to import it into xsd files as needed. Original schema Currently I'm adding the following at the top of each xsd: <xs:schema xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"> <xs:simpleType name="customDateType"> <xs:restriction base="xs:string"> <xs:annotation> <xs:documentation><![CDATA[Allows for a year, a year and a month, or a year, month, and day, to be defined.

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Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams data

  • September 3, 2010
  • James Skemp
From the archives, I've created an XML Schema and XML data file for Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, for the Playstation 2. Currently the data only includes armor leveling information, from level 1 to 100. The data comes from an OpenDocument Spreadsheet (OnimushaDawnofDreams.ods) from way back in May of 2006. My characters and core weapons being completely maxed (not to mention souls), I may decide to replay the game to track this information as well, or just upgrade weapons.

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XML standards - personal suggestions

  • September 3, 2010
  • James Skemp
As I prepare to create another XML data file, I started looking at the standards I use to create XML files, and what the recommendations are. Elements In the past I've used camel case, but on a recent file used Pascal case instead. I think this was more becauase I've started to using Pascal case for public items (variables), and camel case for private items, as that's fairly standard in development.

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Enabling PHP file_put_contents() support on IIS 7.5 on Windows Server 2008 R2

  • September 1, 2010
  • James Skemp
I've already installed the current verison of PHP 5.2 on my Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, but unfortunately wasn't able to get content saved via the file_put_contents function. It seems that you need to add and give IUSR the necessary permissions on the file (or directory) in order for writes to work properly.

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Personal NetBeans IDE 6.9.1 setting tweaks

  • August 29, 2010
  • James Skemp
For my own personal reference, I’ve made the following tweaks to the default install of NetBeans IDE 6.9.1. Tools Options Editor Formatting Language: All Languages / Category: Tabs and Indents Expand Tabs to Spaces: unchecked (from checked) Number of Spaces per Indent: 4 (default) Tab Size: 4 (from 8)

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Windows 7 Home Premium changes for IIS 7.5 access of Users directories

  • August 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
Not feeling much like debugging it too much, I made a couple of modifications to my IIS installation to allow access to files contained within my user directory. Background I turned the Internet Information Services feature on on my Windows 7 Home Premium machine before using the Web Platform Installer to add additional functionality. However, I kept running into a permissions issue, as the sites I setup were located in my Users directory (C:\Users\James).

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Review: AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to Mini-B Cable (6 Feet / 1.8 Meters)

  • August 23, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a review of AmazonBasics USB 2.0 A-Male to Mini-B Cable (6 Feet / 1.8 Meters). I purchased this for an additional (and longer) cable for a Playstation 3 controller. It works perfectly (although I realize now I would have preferred a few feet longer - oh well). The fact that it comes in Amazon’s hassle free packaging is another definite plus, although since the box was rather large, when I received my package in the mail, I thought perhaps it was the Blu-ray movies I’d purchased shaking about.

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Visual Studio 2010 complaints about ELMAH on a 64-bit machine - fixed

  • August 23, 2010
  • James Skemp
My laptop has quickly become my development machine for smaller projects, especially after I purchased a low-end desktop to host the Subversion repositories. I recently added ELMAH support to one of my sites, but since I run 64-bit, and have been using the built-in Cassini for quick development, I started getting a message in Visual Studio 2010 saying "ASP.NET runtime error: Could not load file or assembly 'System.Data.SQLite' or one of its dependencies.

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Review: La Ballade Of Lady & Bird : A Project By Keren Ann Zeidel & Bardi Johannsson

  • August 17, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of La Ballade Of Lady & Bird : A Project By Keren Ann Zeidel & Bardi Johannsson. I believe this is my first review of an album … I have a difficult time seeing how one can review the actual music on an album, since tastes are so personal, so I’ll focus on myself. I’m a pretty huge fan of Keren Ann’s work. I started with the absolutely beautiful Nolita, then the okay La Biographie De Luka Philipse, La Disparition, and then a big shopping spree of Not Going Anywhere, Keren Ann, and Lady & Bird.

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ASP.NET charts example: Odin Sphere: Part 3 - Creating the chart

  • August 15, 2010
  • James Skemp
In part one of this series we covered what we'd be doing, and what data model we'd be using. In part two of this series we used LINQ to XML to query the XML file with the data we want to display. This time we'll be doing the heavy lifting of actually creating the chart and displaying it to the user. For ease, I'll be implementing very basic caching. Preliminary requirement Before you can use the charting functionality you need to have a reference to System.

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ASP.NET charts example: Odin Sphere: Part 2 - Parsing the XML

  • August 14, 2010
  • James Skemp
In part one of this series we covered what we'd be doing, and what model we'd be using for the data. This time we'll parse the XML file that contains the data we need, and populate the objects. Loading the XML file The XML file we'll be loading is located at http://jamesrskemp.com/files/OdinSphere.xml, and to keep it simple, we'll load it in assuming we're on a different server/domain. First we'll need to add the following so we can make use of XDocument.

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ASP.NET charts example: Odin Sphere: Part 1 - Introduction and model

  • August 13, 2010
  • James Skemp
For a while now I've been meaning to work with ASP.NET 4's built-in charting functionality. While I was going to use it alongside my gas tracking, I think I'm instead going to use my Odin Sphere leveling guide, so I don't have to create an XSLT for the output. In this part of the series I'll outline the data model I'll be using, and preliminary setups. Method So that this can easily be deployed anywhere, I'm going to opt not to use the control itself, but rather programmatically create the charts/graphs.

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Odin Sphere: Character data file

  • July 30, 2010
  • James Skemp
Similar to my Resonance of Fate data file and Muramasa demon blade listing, I've begun work on converting a notepad file's data to XML. The data is still raw, but ... I plan on completing it as much as I can. View/download the Odin Sphere data file. As noted in the file, data is licensed under the Creative Commons License Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0.

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Review: The 12 Chinese Animals

  • July 25, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a review of The 12 Chinese Animals, written by Master Zhongxian Wu. Like everyone who’s been to a Chinese restaurant, I’m well aware of the 12 animals. Thanks to Philip K. Dick I’ve got a couple copies of the I Ching around the house, and enjoyed learning about the Asian philosophies during college. This last aspect of me was pleasantly surprised reading through this short work, as the author does a good job of explaining that there are not only animals for the years one is born, but also for the month, day, and hour.

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Night Walk - 7/24/2010

  • July 24, 2010
  • James Skemp
A white light. A yellow. A group of kids, playing a game of basketball, laughing, not keeping score. Lights illuminating plants, a woman straightening her's in a newly purchased house, one she may not have been able to enjoy before. It was Ray Bradbury, I believe, who wrote of a man who walked at night, and before being arrested for doing so, thought of the people sitting inside, their faces illuminated only by the light of a television.

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Tic-Tac-Toe in Visual Basic 6

  • July 24, 2010
  • James Skemp
Back in December of 2003 I created a Tic-Tac-Toe application in Visual Basic 6. Below is the code from MainWin.frm, which should be sufficient to create the application. This code is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license. VERSION 5.00 Begin VB.Form Form1 Caption = "Tic-Tac-Toe" ClientHeight = 3255 ClientLeft = 4410 ClientTop = 3255 ClientWidth = 4080 LinkTopic = "Form1" ScaleHeight = 3255 ScaleWidth = 4080 Begin VB.CommandButton AboutThis Caption = "

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Tic-Tac-Toe using Pascal

  • July 24, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a really old program (November 2003) written in Pacal using Bloodshed Dev-Pascal (which seems to no longer be updated). This is the code in main.pas, which it seems is the only file really necessary. This code is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license. program TicTacToe (input, output); label begingame, picknumber, checkmove, checkforwin, compmove, winner, nobodywon, playagain, illegalmove, compcrash, endgame; var playmove, turn, points : integer; place1, place2, place3, place4, place5, place6, place7, place8, place9 : char; currentplayer, ynagain, lastwinner : char; begin writeln; writeln(‘JRSs Tic-Tac-Toe v1.

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My first Silverlight Web application

  • July 19, 2010
  • James Skemp
The more I do with Microsoft technologies the hard it becomes for me to want to move outside of them. With the .NET Framework and Visual Studio 2010, which is the best development tool I think I've ever used, it's easy to get sucked in. Since I've wanted to experiment with it for a while, and since I needed to do some kind of development after slacking off this weekend, I looked into creating a simple Silverlight application that would use the same Web service I created late last month.

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Setting up a task with SyncToy under a different account?

  • July 17, 2010
  • James Skemp
Every time I setup SyncToy I always, always, forget to setup the folder pairs correctly. SyncToy uses per-user folder pairs, which means that if you'll be running a scheduled task using a different user, you'll want to login as that user, setup the folder pairs in SyncToy, run the sync via SyncToy's interface, and then setup the task. If you don't do this you'll just end up with a 0x1 return code.

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Function to Parse a Microsoft JSON DateTime returned from a WCF service in JavaScript

  • July 4, 2010
  • James Skemp
When a DateTime is converted to JSON in a WCF Web service (WebHttp in this particular case) it's semi-difficult to convert that to something we can use when we return the date to a client via JavaScript. For example: "LastPlayed":"\/Date(1278187099000-0400)\/" After almost an hour of research and goofing around with this, I've come up with the following, which seems to work just fine on Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6, and Chrome 5.

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Referring to JavaScript documentation in Visual Studio via reference

  • July 3, 2010
  • James Skemp
While I don't use Microsoft or Google's CDNs for jQuery, I do have a separate sub-domain where I serve these files from (and will eventually use a CDN, I'm sure). However, this means that in Visual Studio I miss out on the helpful documentation functionality. Based on a comment on 3 reasons why you should let Google host jQuery for you it turns out there's a fairly easy way to get Intellisense; simply include the following in your JavaScript file.

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Review: HP Compaq Presario CQ60-615DX

  • June 29, 2010
  • James Skemp
On February 16 of this year I purchased a HP Compaq Presario CQ60-615DX laptop. Almost 4 and a half months later I regret nothing. At some point during my college career - either my Sophmore or Junior year, which means 2000 or 2001 - I purchased my first laptop, a Dell. I used it for a number of years, but one day it just wouldn't start back up. Ever since then I've purchased HP desktop computers, and while I've helped others purchase laptops, and have thought about buying one, the price for the machine I wanted to build just wasn't in line with what I wanted to pay.

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Windows Server 2008 R2, SQL Server Express 2008 R2, and LINQPad

  • June 26, 2010
  • James Skemp
This weekend I finally installed SQL Server 2008 R2 to my Windows Server 2008 R2 machine. After a bit of back-and-forth about which version to install (since my MSDN subscription allows me to install seemingly every version), I opted to just install SQL Server Express 2008 R2. Being part of the Web Platform Installer, the entire process was extremely easy. Step 1: Start Web Platform Installer. Step 2: Select SQL Server Express 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Management Studio Express from under Database.

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Tutorial: ASP.NET (C#) WCF WebHttp service with jQuery: Part 3 - Pulling JSON with jQuery

  • June 25, 2010
  • James Skemp
See the table of contents for more information. In this series we’ve started with a new loan class, that contains information about a loan, including the total amount due, how much is to be paid per payment, the interest rate, and etcetera. A method is available that will generate information about the number of payments required to pay off the loan. In the second part we created a WCF WebHttp service, or a WCF REST service, to use the class/assembly from that loan object and return XML data for GET requests.

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Tutorial: ASP.NET (C#) WCF WebHttp service with jQuery: Part 2 - WCF WebHttp service

  • June 24, 2010
  • James Skemp
See the table of contents for more information. In the last part we created a Loan object, that we determined we would later use to power our Web service. Ths object has a handful of properties and a method to update a list of payments to bring the loan to $0. This time we’re going to create a Web service to respond to requests from data. Requirements As this seems to be built for .

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Tutorial: ASP.NET (C#) WCF WebHttp service with jQuery: Part 1 - Loan object

  • June 22, 2010
  • James Skemp
See the table of contents for more information. As already noted in the table of contents, the end goal will to have a service that returns enough information to be able to generate an amortization schedule for a loan. I’m not in financial services, and haven’t been very good in math since some point in high school, but this seems to work fairly well. The first thing we’re going to do is generate an assembly that we’ll then use in the WCF WebHttp service.

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Tutorial: ASP.NET (C#) WCF WebHttp service with jQuery: Table of Contents

  • June 21, 2010
  • James Skemp
A while ago (a year and a quarter) I created an amortization schedule generator in ASP.NET, as an attempt to help me determine when I could expect to have a loan paid off, depending upon how much money I threw at it. For better or worse, some of the practices I put in place aren't the best, and either way I've been meaning to tweak the interface so that I could do various comparisons.

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Working with Virtual Hard Disks in Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2

  • June 20, 2010
  • James Skemp
A new feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is the ability to work with Virtual Hard Disks (VHDs) directly within the OS, by booting from them or mounting them as additional drives. While I've had a good deal of experience with using VHDs in virtual environments, being able to work with VHDs directly is fairly new, and leaves some question as to how useful it could potentially be, since I'm happy using VirtualBox to work with virtual machines when I need to do any testing.

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Secunia consumer products - PSI and OSI

  • June 20, 2010
  • James Skemp
I have an old Windows XP machine that I know is out of date, in particular as regards the drivers, and potentially for some old software that I've forgotten I've even installed. Years and years ago it was possible to run a scan, online, on a CNET, or the like, site, which would tell you exactly what applications you had installed that needed to get upgraded, based on DLLs. Dan Conderman recommended Driver Detective, which is a free and pay service, which looks to provide part of that.

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Postulate: Given the present, the future can be known, but the past only guessed

  • June 17, 2010
  • James Skemp
I submit the following as a postulate: Given knowledge of the present state of affairs, we can know the future, but not the past. Of the latter we can only make guesses and assumptions, albeit educated ones, but cannot know with certainity that they were the case. Given that two vehicles are heading towards each other at speed, and neither will be able to stop in time, we can know that they will hit each other and cause a certain amount of damage, knowing the speeds they're going, the integrity of the vehicles, and etcetera.

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RESTful WCF Web services, easily

  • June 15, 2010
  • James Skemp
I know I should know them better so I've been looking into WCF Web services, with a heavy lean towards an implementation based on REST principles. After a good deal of research, where it was highly suggested that while ASP.NET MVC may make sense, WCF is still the way to go for Web services, I stumbled upon WCF WebHttp Services, which uses functionality released in .NET 4. After a painless install via Visual Studio 2010's Extension Manager (more information), and troubleshooting a stupid mistake on my end, I was able to quickly create a Web service that uses an assembly I had created to parse one of my iTunes Playlists to Xml files and return a listing of tracks for a particular artist.

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Vehicle gas DTD .NET objects and XML parsing with LINQ

  • June 10, 2010
  • James Skemp
The code contained below is a rough draft, and will eventually be moved into an assembly, and the code posted. At some point in 2007 I started keeping track of my gas mileage in an XML file, with a custom DTD for validation (and intellisense in oXygen). I present below the code necessary to create an rough object from the XML, and the LINQ to parse it out. C# objects public class Vehicle { public int Id { get; set; } public String Make { get; set; } public String Model { get; set; } public int Year { get; set; } public IEnumerable Fillups { get; set; } }

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Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition - setup for sharing files

  • June 6, 2010
  • James Skemp
When I first started downloading files, almost a decade and a half ago, I would just download everything to one directory, using whatever name the file originally had when I was downloading it. In the last couple of years I've been trying (despite Chrome's default method trying to push be back) to be much better about saving files, by creating a directory with the full name of the application - "Microsoft Web Platform Installer"

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Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition - setup for Web development

  • June 5, 2010
  • James Skemp
This afternoon I setup a machine for the following purposes: to serve as a test bed for Web development to serve as an always-available Subversion repository server to serve as a repository for shared downloads, across all my machines As time goes by the scope of the server may also change. But for now, this will work just fine. Choosing an edition The first step was to install Windows Server 2008 R2.

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Expanded Table of Contents for The World as Will and Representation: Volume I (Dover Edition)

  • May 31, 2010
  • James Skemp
The Dover Edition of The World as Will and Representation: Volume I, translated by E.F.J. Payne, suffers from a sparse table of contents, covering only the starting pages of the four books and the appendix (the index being contained in the second volume). To remedy this, I’ve presented below an expanded table of contents for this work. Expanded Table of Contents for Volume I Translator’s Introduction (v - xi) Preface to the First Edition (xii - xvii) Preface to the Second Edition (xviii - xxvii) Preface to the Third Edition (xxviii) Selected Bibliography (xxix - xxx) Contents, Volume I (xxxi) First Book: The World as Representation.

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Review: Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease

  • May 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a review of Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease, written by Gary Greenberg. I selected this book based on the following lines of a highlighted review: “He offers a measured dose of philosophy in contemplating whether unhappiness should be regarded as a disease or instead as an essential part of being human. Ultimately, his book is a sobering critique of the marketing wizards who have overhyped the dubious benefits of antidepressants and of an American public all too eager for quick fixes to life’s inevitable challenges and disappointments.

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Music Recommendations Please! version 0.5 beta

  • May 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
While not necessarily a step forward from version 0.4.5 of Music Recommendations Please!, version 0.5 is nonetheless a positive step. Consider this an idea-based release. As such, this application is in no way final (but might be more complete after this long weekend). Download Music Recommendations Please! version 0.5, beta. You can see a general idea of where I'd like to end up by reading my music application idea. .NET Framework 4 is required for this application.

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Music application idea

  • May 25, 2010
  • James Skemp
Surprisingly, it was way back in September of last year that I realized Music Recommendations Please!, which I hoped would help me discover new music (and perhaps help others as well). Since then I haven't used it as much as I would have hoped, but that's mostly because I'm not happy with how easy it is to get more than one artist in at a time, and generate helpful 'reports' from data returned for multiple artists.

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Second Web site ported over to ASP.NET MVC 2

  • May 23, 2010
  • James Skemp
After converting one Web site over to ASP.NET MVC 2 yesterday, I ported my second one today. The first Web site was originally just a bunch of static HTML pages, so it was fairly easy to move over. This one, LogParserPlus.com, gets all of its data from a collection of XML files. Using LINQ to XML the files are read and parsed out to the page, using a Repeater control.

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First Web site ported over to ASP.NET MVC 2

  • May 23, 2010
  • James Skemp
On Saturday (when I'm actually writing this, but I can't have 3 posts on one day, after my posting history the last handful of months) I finally ported a Web site over to ASP.NET MVC. The existing Web site was for a client who just needs a simple, static, Web site, with a half dozen areas for content. However, if they were given the ability to directly post content to the site - news, specials, etcetera - I believe they might.

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Flying under the radar, Cassini 4.0 released

  • May 22, 2010
  • James Skemp
Under seemingly new ownership, Cassini 4.0 has been released, via Google Code. Since a download isn't available, a link to a built version is included below. Download Cassini 4.0, based on revision 4. Visit Cassini on Google Code to see the nice new interface and functionality. Of major importance is that it supports .NET Framework 4. Tested on a Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit, machine. Note on building it yourself To save you some time, if you want to build a copy yourself open the project properties and on the Build tab check "

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Dead? The digital download is barely out of its teens

  • May 22, 2010
  • James Skemp
Yesterday Slate posted an article by Farhad Manjoo titled The Digital Download Is Dead: How Google's music-streaming venture will change the gadget and entertainment worlds forever. After first, rightly, attacking Apple's iTunes and iPod (and related) platforms as being slow and unwieldy, especially on the predominate operating system Windows (not even mentioning Linux), and overall behind on the times, Farhad moves us from syncing our music collections out to the cloud.

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Microsoft Web Platform Installer = the easy button

  • May 14, 2010
  • James Skemp
I like working close to the metal. It's enjoyable, even when it's difficult. Heck, overcoming the difficulty is sometimes the only fun thing about a project! But Microsoft's Web Platform Installer makes tasks so much easier to perform. And as much as I hate to admit it, I really like it. For the last handful of hours I've been getting a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine where I want it. This involves installing ASP.

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Netflix on the Wii - my experience

  • May 13, 2010
  • James Skemp
After receiving my instant streaming disc for the Wii a long while back, I finally popped it in my Wii and gave it a try. For this experiment I watched three episodes of 30 Rock: Season 1. I wasn't expecting much for quality, and each episode isn't very long, so I thought I was giving the Wii a very good chance. Overall, I was extremely impressed in the entire experience, and definitely think Nintendo's own video channels can learn a lot.

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Basic .NET (C#) Traceroute library

  • May 9, 2010
  • James Skemp
Spending the day researching all things DNS, I eventually came upon Jim Scott's post on C# Traceroute using .net framework. After a bit of tweaking, I've got something that I like a bit more, because I really want to know what the IP address means. The code for the assembly and console application are included below. Written against .NET Framework 4 (in Visual Studio 2010), but if you change the String.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.6 released

  • May 8, 2010
  • James Skemp
Version 1.6 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.6. Installing and more information If you're new to iTunes Playlists to Xml, I've created a 'product page' for iTunes Playlists to Xml with all the information needed to get started. Upgrading To upgrade from any version of 1.4 or 1.5 you need to replace the following files with those in the above archive:

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Review: IMAK Wrist Cushion with massaging ergoBeads

  • May 2, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a review of the IMAK Wrist Cushion with massaging ergoBeads (also available on Amazon.com in packs of two). A while back, after visiting the doctor and finding that the pain I was experiencing every once in a while in my hands was probably caused by my cutting off the circulation to the underside of my arm, I started looking at options to keep myself from cutting off circulation, as I noticed I was doing.

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Manually updating CollabNet Subversion Server and TortoiseSVN

  • April 27, 2010
  • James Skemp
With CollabNet releasing a new version of Subversion Server (1.6.11), and TortoiseSVN having a release a few days earlier, it's time to do an actual update, instead of a comment like I did last time. Environment I'm currently running CollabNet Subversion Server version 1.6.9.1 on Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit. The install directory is C:\Program Filies (x86)\CollabNet\Subversion Server\, and I'm installing version 1.6.9.11. These instructions should work, with minor changes, for other versions of CollabNet Subversion and Windows.

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Review: Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey

  • April 25, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a book review of Rant: An Oral Biography of Buster Casey, written by Chuck Palahniuk. Rant, like the rest of Chuck Palahniuk’s works of fiction, features sex, facts which may or may not be true, and distinctive characters. However, while told in an interesting way, through the voices of over a dozen characters, Rant seems more of the same-old Chuck Palahniuk, and I fear I may have read the last of his work.

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Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

  • April 17, 2010
  • James Skemp
This is a book review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, written by Steve Hockensmith. First, I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and didn’t realize that this was a prequel to that tale. However, as one who has been known to enjoy a zombie movie, now and again, this short tale was rather delightful. The language only flirts with being period, so there’s no worry of slogging through any of that.

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Dynamically generating a list of videos for OSFLV Player with ASP.NET

  • April 13, 2010
  • James Skemp
I've had this code for a while, but here's some simple code to pull a listing of Flash videos (FLV) from a directory, display them in a drop down, and have a video player dynamically generated based on what's picked. This uses OSFLV Player, version 3 specifically, but can be tweaked for the current (as of this post) version 4.0. Default.aspx <%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeFile="Default.aspx.cs" Inherits="_Default" %> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "

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Resonance of Fate: General data file

  • April 11, 2010
  • James Skemp
Resonance of Fate, available for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (I purchased for the former), has a vast amount of data associated with it, as RPGs usually do. Because I usually do, I started keeping track of levels and etcetera for the game, which is available as an XML data file. The data is currently raw (and as of this post need to finish adding data that I've got on paper and on another computer), without styling, but I've been sitting on the information for far too long.

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Review: Beginning ASP.NET 4 In C# and VB

  • March 28, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following book review is for Imar Spaanjaars’ Beginning ASP.NET 4 in C# and VB. While I’ve already read Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 by Imar Spaanjaars and moved rather far beyond it, when I had the opportunity to recieve his new book on ASP.NET 4 for review, I took it. Would I still feel strongly about recommending his work as the #1 choice for those new (or relatively new) to ASP.

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 4 (Part 2)

  • March 27, 2010
  • James Skemp
The second half of year 4 with Netflix is contained below. This covers shipping from March 26, 2010 to approximately September 25, 2010. See also the first half of year 4. MRNOS = Movie Received and Next One Shipped The times 03/26/2010 (F) - MRNOS. 03/27/2010 (Sa) - Watched 1408 (2007) at my mom's (via Charter On Demand), which was pretty dang good. Received next movie, but since it's noticeably cracked, and I don't want to risk it, putting it right back in the Milwaukee (3079) mailer I received it in.

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JavaScript object dump

  • March 27, 2010
  • James Skemp
I thought I posted this before, but I guess I did not. Here’s one way to dump a JavaScript object for analysis (if you don’t have access to Firebug, or a similar tool). Note it only dumps one level of data, and the code below is specifically for dumping an exception (catch ex), but swap ex in the three spots one spot with whatever object you’d like dumped. var objectInfo = “”; // Change ex to whatever object you want to debug.

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Samurize configurations across my systems

  • March 21, 2010
  • James Skemp
One of the applications that I consistently run across all my machines is Serious Samurize. After first finding it, years and years ago, it's quickly become a requirement for getting work done. While some people may have much prettier, and extensive, configurations, I prefer something that I can let sit on my screen on top of everything (assuming Windows doesn't let other applications bump on top of it every once in a while), giving me only the information I need.

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Installing WordPress 2.9.2 on Windows Server 2003 using Microsoft's Web Platform Installer

  • March 12, 2010
  • James Skemp
I recently had need to install and test WordPress for some possible work. While I was tempted to go the Linux route, shortly after the OS was setup I decided to skip that and stick with Windows. Since Microsoft has released a platform that supposedly makes it easy to install Web-related applications, I decided to give it a try to determine just how simple it was. What follows is an overview of the setup process to install WordPress 2.

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Web Application Development Guidelines

  • February 27, 2010
  • James Skemp
While Web application development is just as complex as other application development, if not more so, it’s fairly difficult to find information on best practices while doing Web development. In order to move towards implementation of Subversion, I needed to write up documentation on how we’d use it. After a couple drafts, which I ended up scrapping almost completely, I came up with the below. In the interest of sharing, I’ve included the full document below, after removing the few instances where I had to specify a non-Subversion application (our help desk application).

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iPod Touch, netbooks, laptops, and desktops

  • February 21, 2010
  • James Skemp
For the last handful of months I've been thinking about accessing the Internet, and otherwise being productive, while on the go. A number of months back I picked up an HP device with Windows Mobile, unfortunately, after a few months the short battery life and inability to run the applications I wanted/needed to be truly productive forced me to sell it and start looking elsewhere ... iPod Touch The iPhone had been out for a while when I started looking at what an iPod Touch could offer.

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Forgotten muscles

  • February 12, 2010
  • James Skemp
The long forgetten muscles and dozens of cuts on my arms and hands as if in a single voice say "Hey buddy." The sound of contempt does not go unnoticed.

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BlogEngine.NET 1.6 released

  • February 10, 2010
  • James Skemp
Promising a real comment moderation system, BE.NET 1.6 was released a few days ago. Having just upgraded from 1.5.0.7, I wasn't without my issues, but overall the memory footprint doesn't seem too horrible (it's increased a bit again, but ...) Actually, the memory footprint isn't a minor issue. I have 805 posts with 688 comments, and get between 9 to 10 thousand visits a month. BlogEngine.NET starts at around 150 MB of RAM and jumps up to 210 MB.

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The gods in their place

  • February 8, 2010
  • James Skemp
The gods in their place no not of my face.

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Using F8 on Sun VirtualBox 3.1.2 when installing Windows XP

  • February 7, 2010
  • James Skemp
For various reasons, I had need to install Windows XP on a new virtual machine earlier today (with Windows 7 64-bit as the host). For whatever reason, when getting to the point of accepting the licensing terms, before installation, I was unable to use the F8 key. After searching about, I found a number of Mac and Ubuntu users with the same issue, but no Windows users. The left control, shift, alt, and even right control (which I knew wasn't going to work, but an Ubuntu user swore by it and I was out of options) buttons did nothing to help.

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Connection String encryption (connectionString element) in ASP.NET

  • February 1, 2010
  • James Skemp
From what I've been able to determine, setting up an ODBC connection in Windows and using that for ASP.NET generally seems to be frowned upon. Instead, ASP.NET uses a Web.config file to store a number of settings, including all the connection strings you'll be using (whether you're using Windows authentication or user names and passwords). For example: <?xml version="1.0"?> <configuration> <appSettings/> <connectionStrings> <add name="TestDatabase001Reader" connectionString="Data Source=192.168.56.102,1433;Initial Catalog=TestingDatabase001;User Id=DataReader;Password=DataReader" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient"/> </connectionStrings> <system.web> .

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Review: Borderlands

  • January 24, 2010
  • James Skemp
The following is a review for Borderlands, available for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. I specifically played the Playstation 3 version, but my review should be applicable to the Xbox 360 version as well. What I was expecting After all the hype and reviews I was expecting a ripe-off, albeit a fairly good one, of Fallout 3. Of course, Diablo II with it’s randomly generated baddies and weapons (and drops in general) was also mentioned.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.5.3 released

  • January 10, 2010
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.5.3 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.5.3. Installing and more information If you’re new to iTunes Playlists to Xml, I’ve created a ‘product page’ for iTunes Playlists to Xml with all the information needed to get started. Upgrading To upgrade from any version of 1.

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Simple Journal 1.0 Released

  • January 3, 2010
  • James Skemp
Version 1.0 of Simple Journal is now available for download. Simple Journal is meant to be exactly that; a very simple way to keep track of a journal. Simple Journal uses XML files to store entries, which are edited in HTML (uses TinyMCE for the WYSIWYG editor) and which allow supplementation and later updates. Download Simple Journal 1.0. To use Simple Journal extract the contents of the zip file to a directory and start _startCassini.

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Cassini 3.5.0.2 - built and ready to go

  • January 3, 2010
  • James Skemp
Cassini is the product of Dimitry Robsman, and allows ASP.NET applications to be run without a full-fledged instance of IIS. While Cassini should not be used in production environments, it's more than enough to run for minor development, or even minor projects. The last official version of Cassini at the time of this writing is 3.5.0.2. Since he's released the source, you can build your own, but what if you just want to download a pre-built version?

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Favorite new (to me) music of 2009

  • January 1, 2010
  • James Skemp
Keeping with the tradition started here, a list for 2010 is also available. Having only listened to the radio a few times over the last year, I have a good idea of just what music I’ve listened to, since my iPod keeps track of everything. With the help of iTunes Playlists to Xml and LINQPad, here’s my favorite new (to me) album purchases of 2009. To be on this list I must have purchased the album in 2009.

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Determine BlogEngine.NET comments that haven't been published - with LINQPad

  • December 31, 2009
  • James Skemp
At the beginning of the month I wrote a post on how to find BlogEngine.NET comments that had not yet been published/approved. Having purchased a copy of LINQPad a short while ago (autocompletion costs, the program with all other functionality does not; give it a try if you develop in .NET - it's very cool), and having got slammed this morning with some spammer who had an hour to kill, I decided to adapt my code for LINQPad.

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XML Schema Definition creation: Journal - Part 3: XSLT sample

  • December 27, 2009
  • James Skemp
Having created an overview of how I wanted to craft a simple journal in XML, I next created an XML Schema Definition for the simple journal to validate against. Having now crafted a Web application to create the XML files I'm able to move onto the prettier aspects of display for the XML files. I've created a sample simple journal that uses an XSLT (XSL Transforms, or extensible stylesheet language transformations) to make the display a little prettier.

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XML Schema Definition creation: Journal - Part 2: XSD file with <oXygen/> XML Editor

  • December 23, 2009
  • James Skemp
In the first part of this series I had outlined a sample layout that I wanted to use for a series of XML files that I would be creating over the course of 2010. This time I'm going to create the actual XML Schema Definition file with <oXygen/> XML Editor, version 11.1. I've been using <oXygen/> since January 2008, and wouldn't trade it for any other XML editor. If you don't have <oXygen/> you can still follow along.

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XML Schema Definition creation: Journal - Part 1: Primary layout

  • December 21, 2009
  • James Skemp
In a previous series, I went over the process of creating a new XML document to store my video games. (Although in that case I used a DTD.) This time I’m going to work on a schema to store quasi-journal entries, which I’m hoping will help with my goal to write every day. What I hope to accomplish Ultimately I want to store a bit of text for any particular day.

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Installing SQL Server Express 2008 on Windows Server 2003

  • December 20, 2009
  • James Skemp
SQL Server Express is an easy way to add Microsoft SQL Server to a Windows-based server. While limited in functionality, SQL Server Express is still a viable solution. In this article I'll be covering a custom install of SQL Server Express 2008 on Windows Server 2003. Server system For this install I was running Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 2 on Sun VirtualBox, with 256 MB of RAM.

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2010 resolutions (with special appearance by 2009)

  • December 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
I don't much believe in New Year's Resolutions, or the like. Instead, I believe that if you want to change something, you should just do so. But, it's nice to have a start date, so here goes. 2009 'resolutions' Not necessarily resolutions, these were things I decided to do or try in 2009. Stopped drinking soda I've flirted with soda for a long time, switching back to Mountain Dew after college, and drinking Dr.

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Video games I'm looking forward to in 2010

  • December 9, 2009
  • James Skemp
In no particular order, here are the video games I'm currently looking forward to playing in 2010. Note that some games may have been released earlier. Consoles that games can be released for are the PS2/PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii (which therefore includes GameCube games). Since I will probably not be getting an Xbox Live Gold subscription this coming January, and am going to go back to playing RPGs on PS systems only, when possible, PS3 versions of multi-console releases will be higher on my list.

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What I'd like to see in 201X in regard to browsers

  • December 9, 2009
  • James Skemp
Situation 1: WebKit Microsoft drops all active development on Internet Explorer 9. Instead, they throw their full support (development team) behind WebKit. Apple, with Safari, and Google, with Chrome, are already behind WebKit. Apple’s implementation on Windows, via Safari for Windows, is shoddy at best, and Google’s Chrome is a completely slimmed down version. By getting Microsoft’s support behind the engine you have an experienced team that has already developed for Windows.

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Determine BlogEngine.NET comments that haven't been published

  • December 6, 2009
  • James Skemp
Unfortunately, BlogEngine.NET doesn't currently have a very good way to determine, at a glance, all of the comments that haven't been approved. While this will certainly be coming in a future release, or as an extension, I figured writing something simple to do this would be a good LINQ to XML test for me. You can download the built executable, or play with the code, which is included below. Download the executable (7-Zip format).

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Did you know? Xbox Live auto-renewals

  • December 4, 2009
  • James Skemp
Did you know you have to go through 4 screens - 3 of which are adverts - to turn off Xbox Live auto-renewals? And it seems like there's only one click (or one purchase) to turn them back on.

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Example batch file to dump Subversion repositories

  • November 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
I have a large collection of repositories, and until now ran a single batch file that had to be updated each time I created a new repository, to add the new directory. To combat that, I did some research and created a new batch file that does all the heavy lifting for me. To save others time, I present it below. SET timeVar=%date:~10,4%%date:~4,2%%date:~7,2% SET repoDumpDir=..\repos_dump FOR /D %%G IN (*) DO svnadmin dump %%G > %repoDumpDir%%%G%timeVar%.

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Review: No Doors, No Windows

  • November 15, 2009
  • James Skemp
Edgeworks Abbey and E-Reads have recently (2009) begun reprinting Harlan Ellison's works (32 titles in total). No Doors, No Windows sounded like a good choice, from the few titles I was missing, so I picked up a copy. This collects 16 stories, and has the introduction from the original release. Most of these stories were new to me, but they're short (the book is just under 200 pages, with the intro) and for the most part just aren't as good as his other works.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.5.1 released

  • November 14, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.5.2.1 is available for download, which fixes an issue with version 1.5.2. Thanks to Pierre for bringing this to my attention. Version 1.5.2 is available for download, which adds the -output argument. Version 1.5.1 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.5.1.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.5 released

  • November 13, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.5 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.5. Installing and more information If you’re new to iTunes Playlists to Xml, I’ve created a ‘product page’ for iTunes Playlists to Xml with all the information needed to get started. Upgrading To upgrade from any version of 1.

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BlogEngine.NET running on Cassini Personal Web Server

  • November 12, 2009
  • James Skemp
While Cassini is a built-in Web server part of Microsoft Visual Studio, it's also available as a stand-alone application, thanks to the work of Dmitry Robsman. The current version can be downloaded from this post regarding version 3.5.0.2 but requires that you first build the solution (the code is available under a MS-PL license). Cassini++ is also available from Codeplex, and has GUI improvements, among other changes (but is based on an older 3.

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Log Parser Plus - version 0.3 released

  • November 7, 2009
  • James Skemp
Version 0.3.1 of Log Parser Plus now features a custom LocalTime variable for IISW3C queries, and outputs the final query (for copying). The scratch pad (the unlabeled text box) will no longer clear when a new query is performed. Currently under development, Log Parser Plus (not be confused with the Web site LogParserPlus.com) is a tool to (hopefully) help work with Microsoft Log Parser. Download Log Parser Plus 0.3 BETA.

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Initial thoughts on Playstation 3 instant streaming

  • November 6, 2009
  • James Skemp
Today I received my instant streaming disc for the Playstation 3 from Netflix. Having now moved around and watched a video, here are my thoughts. Note that I've watched Netflix streaming videos on my PC as well as on my Xbox 360. Thoughts As noted, currently the streaming capabilities require a disc. While this could perhaps be a download (and will be in the future), I don't believe it's too terrible that it requires a disc.

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Log Parser Plus - version 0.2.1 released

  • November 2, 2009
  • James Skemp
This is no longer the current version. View information about the current version of Log Parser Plus. Microsoft Log Parser is a command line-based utility useful to parse IIS logs and more. While a number of applications exist to help use Log Parser, as well as a number of sites containing Log Parser queries, I haven’t been very happy with them. In an attempt to make it even easier to work with Log Parser, I present version 0.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.4.1 released

  • October 30, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.4.1 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.4.1. Installing and more information If you’re new to iTunes Playlists to Xml, I’ve created a ‘product page’ for iTunes Playlists to Xml with all the information needed to get started. Upgrading To upgrade from version 1.

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Two simple ColdFusion calendar outputs

  • October 26, 2009
  • James Skemp
Here's two rough drafts of calendars created via ColdFusion (7, but I believe 6.1 would have the same functionality). Tables-based <cfparam name="URL.CalendarMonth" default="#Month(now())#" type="integer" /> <cfparam name="URL.CalendarYear" default="#Year(now())#" type="integer" /> <cfif URL.CalendarMonth LT 1 OR URL.CalendarMonth GT 12> <cfset URL.CalendarMonth = Month(now()) /> </cfif> <cfset VARIABLES.Calendar.StartDate = CreateDate(URL.CalendarYear, URL.CalendarMonth, 1) /> <table style="width:375px;" summary="Calendar of events for <cfoutput>#DateFormat(VARIABLES.Calendar.StartDate, 'mmmm yyyy')#</cfoutput>."> <thead> <tr> <th colspan="7"><cfoutput>#DateFormat(VARIABLES.Calendar.StartDate, "mmmm yyyy")#</cfoutput></th> </tr> <tr> <th>S</th> <th>M</th> <th>T</th> <th>W</th> <th>Th</th> <th>F</th> <th>S</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <cfloop from="

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Using SQLite as a membership, profile, and role provider in ASP.NET MVC

  • October 25, 2009
  • James Skemp
I'd really like to implement membership providers in my Web applications, but just don't have the user-base that requires SQL Server (Express), nor the memory on my production server. Having looked at SQLite before, I figured it would be exactly what I'd need, without going to the alternative of XML. After some research I found Roger Martin's SQLite Membership, Role, and Profile Providers, and finally decided yesterday to implement these on a dummy MVC site.

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Steps to setting up a Windows Server 2003 Web Server on VirtualBox

  • October 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following goes through the steps needed to setup Windows Server 2003, with Web server capabilities (IIS 6 in this instance), on a Sun VirtualBox virtual machine. Why Windows Server 2003 when Server 2008 is out and available? Because a large number of hosts (mine included) haven't made the switch yet. Requirements Sun VirtualBox. We want this in particular for the great networking functionality, but other apps, like Microsoft Virtual PC, will work fine as well.

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My entertainment setup, October 2009

  • October 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
Overall, I think I'm pretty happy with my entertainment center setup, which is pictured and detailed below. The photo The gear (For items no longer available, I've linked to a similar product.) Essentials Sony Bravia KDL-32M3000 Yamaha HTR-6130 APC Back-UPS XS 1300 A serious UPS solution is required, in my opinion. Since I don't have a PC connected into this (and don't want to) I went with a model featuring a LCD.

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Microsoft Log Parser custom brush for Syntax Highlighter

  • October 18, 2009
  • James Skemp
It still needs a touch of work, but a basic custom brush for Syntax Highlighter is available for download. Download the Microsoft Log Parser custom brush for Syntax Highlighter 2.0.320. Example included below and at LogParserPlus.com: logparser -rtp:-1 "SELECT cs-uri-stem, cs-uri-query, date, sc-status, cs(Referer) INTO 200sReport.txt FROM ex0902*.log WHERE (sc-status >= 200 AND sc-status < 300) ORDER BY sc-status, date, cs-uri-stem, cs-uri-query" Comments and suggestions are welcomed.

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Review: Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0

  • October 18, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0, written by Rob Conery, Scott Hanselman, Phil Haack, and Scott Guthrie. I received a free copy of this book for review purposes from Amazon Vine, but was planning on purchasing the book nonetheless (I just had the good fortune to get a copy before they were all taken). A great introduction to ASP.NET MVC Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0 was my first real look at ASP.

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A Brief Thought on Time Travel

  • October 17, 2009
  • James Skemp
To those who cannot travel outside the normal flow of time, it matters not whether time travel is possible, for they would be unable to determine if the past had changed (assuming it even possible). This thought came to me a moment ago, as I was about to watch the eighth episode of Cosmos.

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Review: Muramasa: The Demon Blade

  • October 17, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is a review of Muramasa: The Demon Blade, for the Nintendo Wii. Let’s get it out of the way; Muramasa: The Demon Blade is the game that finally made my purchase of the Wii worthwhile. Muramasa is in some ways similar to Super Metroid in that you progress around the game by moving from screen to screen, with enemy battles occuring randomly, as you move towards the act’s boss.

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Linda Hamilton - 80s or 90s?

  • October 14, 2009
  • James Skemp
Previously posted on Facebook: 80's Linda Hamilton; sure, she did T2 in the 90s, but I bet if you think Linda Hamilton, you think 80s. Am I wrong? Rob Lumley brings up Terminator 2 as being his reason he'd go with 90s Hamilton. I'd agree with you on the Terminator franchise, but, obviously, not with Hamilton being better in the 90s solely because of T2. Look at IMDb - http://www.

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Muramasa: The Demon Blade - Complete weapon listing

  • October 12, 2009
  • James Skemp
There aren't too many good gamer's games on the Nintendo Wii, so when Muramasa: The Demon Blade started getting advertised, I started getting really excited. Finally, a reason to dust off the Wii and play something other than Virtual Console games. With 108 blades available, Muramasa is also a completionist's dream. With the interest of making it a little easier to determine what weapons are available, I've crafted the following file, listing all the blades with their type, attack, secret arts, and effects, as well as which of the two character's trees it belongs to (those shared blades are noted as such, however some I still need to set).

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Applications I have to install on my core development machine

  • October 9, 2009
  • James Skemp
Here's a listing of applications, as I run into them, that need to be installed on my core development machine. TortoiseSVN iTunes Oxygen Xml Editor Visual Studio CollabNet Subversion FileZilla FTP client Sun VirtualBox Serious Samurize 7-Zip Amazon MP3 Downloader Why bother creating this list? Because at the moment I've just upgraded to Windows 7 and need to reinstall my programs. Above is the order I did it.

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Solved: Upgrading to Windows 7 on an HP a6360t with a second hard drive

  • October 9, 2009
  • James Skemp
I purchased an HP Pavilion a6360t with Windows Vista Home Premium and later upgraded it (due to a conference) for free to Windows Vista Ultimate, and then added a second hard drive. What would happen when I upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium? Could I use the 64-bit version? The answer to these questions is, due to testing, below: Windows 7 Upgrading, doing a custom/clean install on my primary drive required approximately 38 minutes.

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ColdFusion: cfscript to determine if variable exists and output html-escaped

  • October 8, 2009
  • James Skemp
There may be an easier way to do this in ColdFusion, but I finally created a function to determine whether a variable exists and if it does, returns in, all html-escaped. <cfscript> // Checks the passed CF variable to see if it exists, and if it does, outputs a trimmed and html-ready version of the value. function checkForValueOutput(data) { if (IsDefined(data)) { return HtmlEditFormat(Trim(Evaluate(data))); } else { return ""; } } </cfscript> (Obviously, this can rather easily be converted to a function.

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Backing up a computer to an HP Pocket Media Drive

  • October 4, 2009
  • James Skemp
Recently I purchased another HP Pocket Media Drive, with 500 GB of space (instead of the 160 GB drives I had purchased before). Since I'd like to plan out my backup strategy, and need to backup for my upcoming Windows 7 install (which since I have Vista Ultimate, will require a deal of work), I decided to write this post. My computer's setup Currently I have a primary 450 GB hard drive (advertised as 500 GB) and a 700 GB secondary drive that I put in (advertised as 750 GB).

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 4 (Part 1)

  • September 27, 2009
  • James Skemp
Year four with Netflix begins. This covers shipping and receiving from September 26, 2009 to approximately March 25, 2010. See also year 3, part 2, with Netflix. MRNOS = Movie received by Netflix and next one shipped. The times 09/26/2009 (S) - Received next movie. 09/27/2009 (Su) - Watched Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991), which I didn't want to watch when she got her job, but I remembered how it ended.

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iTunes Music to SQLite - version 0.1 beta released

  • September 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
While it was at the same stage as it is now back on the 19th, I'm finally releasing the beta version of iTunes Music to SQLite. This console application finds all Music playlists in iTunes and imports them into a SQLite database (called iTunesMusic.s3db). You can change this by passing the database and source names as parameters. For example: iTunesMusicToSQLite.exe "datum.db" "James Skemp's 80 gig" You can run the executable and it will prompt for a key press before exiting, in case you want to view any messages.

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IIS Logs to SQLite - version 0.1 beta released

  • September 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
Unfortunately, Microsoft Log Parser is unable to convert logs into SQLite. To work around this limitation I've created IIS Logs to SQLite, which will parse IIS logs and import them into the SQLite database and table of your choice. The first beta version of this application is now available. Download IIS Logs to SQLite version 0.1. This application requires the .NET Framework version 3.5 (check your version of .NET Framework).

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Music Recommendations Please! - version 0.4.5 beta released

  • September 13, 2009
  • James Skemp
An updated version of this application was released. Download and find out more about version 0.5. The one problem I have with music is when I try to find new music that I may like. Luckily there’s a number of services that will provide recommendations, but these are typically only based on one artist, or across my entire library (in the case of the iTunes Genius service). To make this a bit easier, I looked at Last.

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Parsing Yahoo! Music's Artist Web Services with C# and LINQ to XML - Search for artists

  • September 12, 2009
  • James Skemp
Similar to my post on parsing Last.fm's artist.getSimilar, I've been working with Yahoo! Music's Web services today. Unfortunately, Yahoo!'s services aren't quite as friendly as those made available by Last.fm. So that I remember, and others don't have to tackle this as well, here's the class I've created. (Download JamesRSkemp.WebServices.YahooMusic.cs.) /* Created by James Skemp - http://jamesrskemp.com/ Version 1.0 More information at http://strivinglife.com/words/post/Parsing-Yahoo!-Musics-Artist-Web-Services-with-C-and-LINQ-to-XML-Search-for-artists.aspx Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License - http://creativecommons.

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On the Saying "I can't wait"

  • September 12, 2009
  • James Skemp
I would be willing to bet that at least 90% of the time when someone uses the phrase "I can't wait" they're lying. What made me realize this is when I read a comment the other day regarding a video game's review. In this comment the individual had basically stated that they couldn't wait for the game. At the time of their comment, however, the game was already in stores and available for purchase.

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Parsing Last.fm Web Services' artist.getSimilar with C# and LINQ to XML

  • September 12, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following covers how to parse the XML response of artist.getSimilar, from Last.fm's Web Services. Setup and assumptions The first step is sign up for a free API account at Last.fm. You'll also need to target .NET Framework 3.5 when you setup your project, so as to access LINQ functionality. When writing the steps listed below, I was working on a Windows Forms Application, but the steps should be the same, or very similar, for other project types.

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Project page for iTunes Playlists to Xml now created

  • September 7, 2009
  • James Skemp
For releases of iTunes Playlists to Xml I've just been creating new posts with details, but that doesn't make all that much sense. So, I've created an actual project/product page for the application. View the project page for iTunes Playlists to Xml. Comments appreciated.

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Finding the list of files Dreamweaver will reopen on startup

  • August 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
As sometimes happens, a network share ended up going down while I was using Dreamweaver. Unfortunately, this can cause fairly major issues with Dreamweaver, if you have files still open, or if you have Dreamweaver closed, but need to open it up. Since I typically have more than one file open in Dreamweaver, and have set my preferences to remember what I've got open, I wanted to know where Dreamweaver stored the files that it was going to re-open.

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Thoughts on objects and their underlying structure

  • August 14, 2009
  • James Skemp
Image for a moment two sheets of paper. On the first we have a design of a Web page. On the second we have the code (all of it) needed to generate that page. If we were to overlap the sheets of paper, so that the design covered the code, let us imagine that the overlapping sheet's background would turn transparent. With this in mind, we could overlap the two sheets of paper equally, with the right side of the design's sheet overlapping the left side of the code's sheet.

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Review: Girl in the Arena

  • August 7, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is a book review of Girl in the Arena, written by Lise Haines. The book read was an uncorrected advance proof, and was selected by myself as part of my Amazon Vine ‘membership.’ This book is scheduled to be released in October 2009. The short version is that I give this book four of five stars. It’s a good book, that I may read again, but it’s not exactly what I was expecting, based upon the suggestion that fans of Fight Club (the novel) would enjoy this.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.4 released

  • July 22, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.4 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.4. What it does While iTunes has an Xml export option, it will export only those tracks from your computer, doesn’t allow you to choose what data to export (unless you play with the view), uses a bulky Xml format, and won’t export from other sources (like iPods).

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New site theme - watercircles

  • July 21, 2009
  • James Skemp
Based on metamorph_watercircles, and converted for use with BlogEngine.NET, watercircles is now in use on my site. The theme has a deal of special inline modifications for my own particular purposes, so it's not generally available for BlogEngine.NET users, but if you're interested ... Comments welcome. (I'm sure I'll find things I missed as the weeks go by, but any findings are appreciated.)

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Know every version of iTunes installed on your machine? I do.

  • July 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
I've installed the following versions of iTunes on my machine: 7.0.2.16 7.1.1.5 7.2.0.35 7.3.1.3 7.5.0.20 7.6.2.9 8.0.2.20 Know how I know that? It seems that all Apple software on Windows (iTunes, QuickTime, and Safari, at least) leaves their traces in the following directory: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Apple Computer\Installer Cache\ 313 MB of space is what I would recover if I deleted all the folders they created. Yikes.

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Abuse from 216.8.168.77

  • July 15, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following email was sent moments ago, to the contacts listed for the two addresses below. Greetings, This morning, from approximately 2:15 to 2:30 am, a number of spam messages were posted to the blog at strivinglife.com/words/ . These comments all originated from the ip 216.8.168.77, for which you are listed as the abuse contact. Because of the way this particular system is setup, and the time between comments, this seems to have been an actual human being posting these comments.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.3 released

  • July 4, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.3 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml 1.3. What it does While iTunes has an Xml export option, it will export only those tracks from your computer, doesn’t allow you to choose what data to export (unless you play with the view), uses a bulky Xml format, and won’t export from other sources (like iPods).

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Installing CollabNet Subversion Server 1.6.3 and TortoiseSVN 1.6.3 on Windows Server 2003

  • July 3, 2009
  • James Skemp
For a business to implement version control, they typically want some kind of support, preferrably that they need to pay for, and that may or may not be used, and that may or may not be helpful. Luckily, CollabNet offers certified binaries of Subversion, available for the low price of the time needed to register. Additionally, they offer support, training, installation, and hosted solutions, in addition to the large Subversion community. Compared to the other solutions out there, including Microsoft's, there's really no question on what your first choice should be.

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Multiple network adapters in VirtualBox, for Windows guests

  • July 2, 2009
  • James Skemp
Having just upgraded to VirtualBox 3.0.0, I was running into an issue with being able to access a Windows Server 2003 guest from my Windows Vista host machine. By default, when creating a Windows Server 2003 guest machine the Network settings are set such that Adapter 1 is PCnet-FAST III, attached to NAT. This allows the virtual machine to get outside, but not in. However, it's possible to add a second adapter, attached to the host-only adapter.

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Muenchian Method grouping in XSLT

  • July 1, 2009
  • James Skemp
I owe a deal of thanks for figuring out the Muenchian Method of grouping in XSLT (1.0) to Jeni's article Grouping Using the Muenchian Method. It took, however, a while for me to get my mind around the method completely, and some experimentation, which I'm sharing below. Specifically I was looking to get a listing of tracks, from my iTunes Playlists to Xml application's output, and group them by album.

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On Self Control

  • June 29, 2009
  • James Skemp
There's a difference between self control and killing something off. Self control is when you hunger for something, but say no. Killing something off is when you no longer hunger for something. The former is a near-constant struggle, depending upon how often the hunger makes itself known, while the latter is, once the desire is killed, relatively easy, except perhaps during moments of rememberence. Trying to remember what it was like to have a hunger/desire of a particular sort, can be, at times, more painful than the desire itself.

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List of TODOs for July 2009

  • June 29, 2009
  • James Skemp
I may get to some of these early, but here's a listing of things that I'd like to get done in July 2009. For the most part, they are technical things. Speed-up my iTunes Playlists to Xml application. The generation of the Xml output takes longer than I would like, and if a DataTable makes sense, it would be worth caching the playlist so clicking on the playlist again doesn't cause another, slow, load.

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System.Text.StringBuilder.Remove() overhead

  • June 28, 2009
  • James Skemp
While working on a new version of my iTunes Playlists to Xml application, I've been playing around with the existing code, for consolidation and speed. While looking at memory usage, I played around with the StringBuilder I'm using to create the Xml output. As part of this I tried using Remove, once I had output the Xml, but experienced a large increase in used memory, after doing this. StringBuilder someSB = new StringBuilder(); someSB.

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Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition on Sun VirtualBox 2.2.4 - Notes

  • June 27, 2009
  • James Skemp
As part of a test environment, I setup Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition, both the core and full installations, using Sun VirtualBox 2.2.4. Here are a couple of notes on the base installs. With the core install, it's not immediately obvious, but you need to select Other User once the system is installed, and enter Administrator for the username, with no password. As soon as you log in, you'll be prompted to add a password.

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Programmatic SQL command timeout using a SqlDataSource (C#)

  • June 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
Granted, in the case where this came up, I should have moved away from a SqlDataSource, but I wrote it using one, and a re-write isn't possible at the moment. So, I had to find a way yesterday to programmatically set the command timeout of a select, using a SqlDataSource (that was programmatically written). After much research, I found that you have to set the timeout on selecting. After opening a dummy document to see if I could determine how it was normally done, I came up with something like the following:

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.2 released

  • June 13, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.2 of iTunes Playlists to Xml is now ready for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml version 1.2. This update should correct issues when the playlists are changed, as well as when the source is ejected. Instead of immediately connecting to iTunes, the application now allows (and requires) that you manually begin that process.

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Programmatic MSSQL data source in ASP.NET (C#) without System.Web

  • June 6, 2009
  • James Skemp
In a similar article I detailed how I was doing programmatic access of Microsoft SQL Server. However, on another project I was creating a class in App_Code. Using my method required the use of a couple additional namespaces from System.Web. That seemed a bit excessive. So I did some digging around and came up with what I believe is a better solution, for use in classes/non-Web code. First, the following must be included in.

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Programmatic MSSQL data source in ASP.NET (C#)

  • June 1, 2009
  • James Skemp
I keep having to search through code to find it, so, since writing about it makes it easier for me to find ... here's how I've been programmatically making calls to Microsoft SQL Server. If I'm doing something wrong, please comment below or send me an email. Some times have been changed to dummy values. SqlDataSource dataSource = new SqlDataSource(); dataSource.ConnectionString = ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings["ConnectionString"].ConnectionString; dataSource.SelectCommand = "stored_proc"; dataSource.SelectCommandType = SqlDataSourceCommandType.StoredProcedure; dataSource.SelectParameters.Add("id", value); dataSource.

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Thoughts on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead: Part 4

  • May 27, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following article will contain spoilers of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. If you wish to read the book without my bias, do so before reading this article. As with the previous parts, it seems that Ayn Rand has written the final part of The Fountainhead with two people as the focus of the part. Howard Roark is associated with this part, but Gail Wynand is obviously the secondary character. Yet, Ellsworth’s speech to Keating, which gives us a glimpse into what Ayn Rand fears, clarifies his character for us.

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Thoughts on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead: Part 3

  • May 25, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following article will contain spoilers of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. If you wish to read the book without my bias, do so before reading this article. Having finished Part 3 of The Fountainhead in less than a day, the whole should be fairly fresh in my memory. Yet, I have a hard time putting a second name to this part, to go along with Gail Wynand’s, and as I did for my thoughts on part 2.

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Thoughts on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead: Part 2

  • May 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
In part 1 of this series I wrote about the first part of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Having now finished part 2, I can write on it. The following will contain spoilers. I highly recommend you do not continue if you wish to read The Fountainhead with fresh eyes. The second part of The Fountainhead is devoted to Ellsworth M. Toohey, as the subtitle suggests. This further introduces a character we had met in part one, but gives us the chance to get to know him further.

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Thoughts on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead: Part 1

  • May 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
I've known of Ayn Rand for quite a number of years. The first time I can remember her being talked about was by a fellow philosophy student, approximately one year ahead of me, who was a rather big fan of her work. At least one professor got into arguments with this student, as she'd bring up Rand's approach. In 2002 and 2003 I read We the Living and Anthem, and enjoyed them well enough.

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On Achievements and Trophies

  • May 16, 2009
  • James Skemp
To a very large extent, I consider myself to be a gamer. Around the time the NES came out, my family picked up an Atari 2600, used. I don't know who sold it to us, but I can remember going with my dad to pick it up at my school's playground (that was the meeting place). At a later point we picked up an NES, via my dad, and then my mom bought us a SNES.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.1 released

  • May 15, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Update: Version 1.1.1 is available for download, which corrects the progress bar bug, noted in the comments below. To upgrade, simply replace your executable with the one in the above zip file. Version 1.1 of iTunes Playlists to Xml has been released. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml version 1.1. This update now appends the saved xml file with the current date and time, for ease.

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Resolutions - 28

  • May 14, 2009
  • James Skemp
I don't really believe in making New Year's resolutions, since it's something people do, knowing that they're going to fail at. In my opinion. So, for my 28th, I'm doing something a little different, in that I'm declaring that I will continue to do what I've been doing, for a couple of key items. No more soda I've been off soda for a couple of months, and before that I was down to just one-ish a day.

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jQuery: Query an Xml document and output data

  • May 3, 2009
  • James Skemp
I back-dated my first piece of jQuery code, but have decided not to with my second. Anyways, I had a hard time finding code, written in jQuery, to pull data from an Xml file and add it to a page. Combining a couple of tutorials online, I created the following (on April 27). This was for a message, so I started out with the Xml file, creating something like this:

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Twitter hashtag - #walkingmusic

  • April 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
In the spirit of Rob Lumley (rmlumley), who created #cubemusic, and after a great walk today, I've created an original hashtag: #walkingmusic. For all those days I go for a walk (which I hope to be every Friday afternoon, at least), I'll be noting afterwards what music I listened to on my walk. It's very similar to #cubemusic, but not as likely to get you in trouble (even though I would assume there would be more than that to it).

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My first, working, piece of jQuery

  • April 23, 2009
  • James Skemp
This is the first piece of jQuery that I wrote, for production use, that works exactly as I'd like it to. Some code has been changed. try { $(document).ready(function(){ $('div#headerLogin') .prepend($(document.createElement('div')) .addClass('headerLoggedIn') .append('Logged in as: <span><cfoutput>#query.displayName#</cfoutput></span> <span><a href="https://words.strivinglife.com/logout/">logout</a></span>') ); $('div.headerLoggedIn') .after('<span>Hello<cfif IsDefined("query.first_name") AND Trim(query.first_name) NEQ "">, <cfoutput>#query.first_name#</cfoutput></cfif></span>'); }); } catch (ex) {} It's for a site that runs ColdFusion, hence the CF tags. Basically it finds the div with an id of headerLogin and adds to that a new div, with a class and some text.

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Passing the time online, reading the news

  • April 22, 2009
  • James Skemp
Often times, like this morning, I've got anywhere between 5 to 60 minutes of time to kill. It doesn't make sense to do anything truly productive, so I end up visiting a number of sites. techmeme.com, dailyrotation.com, news.google.com, etcetera. Then I get desperate and visit weather.gov. However, once I've visited these, I run low on ideas of other sites, like these, that I can visit. Any recommendations on sites that combine news, from a number of different sources, that is also interesting?

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Countries that come to mind ...

  • April 10, 2009
  • James Skemp
When I think of Europe I think of the U.K., France, then Germany. What about Spain though? Moving east, Japan and China, followed by North Korea. I realize that India should be on the list, but it's not one that immediately comes to mind. Africa, as a whole, is not on the list; only bad things come to mind (AIDs and spammers/scammers). Same with Israel; isn't it bad that I think not of religiousness, but rather of constant war?

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Review: America: The Last Best Hope: Volume II

  • April 2, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is a book review of America: The Last Best Hope: Volume II, written by William J. Bennett. Taking a very short break to read some fiction, I moved from the first volume of William J. Bennett's America: The Last Best Hope, to the second volume. After reading the first I was looking forward to the second volume. I was hoping that the minor issues that I began noticing near the end of the first, would not be issues in the second.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 1.0 released

  • March 29, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Version 1.0 of iTunes Playlists to Xml has been released. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml version 1.0. Unlike the previous versions, this includes an installer (setup.exe in the zip file). Comments/suggestions welcome. New program icon will, naturally, be accepted; I know mine isn’t very good, but …

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 3 (Part 2)

  • March 28, 2009
  • James Skemp
Part 1 of year 3 with Netflix is covered elsewhere. Here lies part 2 of year 3 with Netflix, from March 26 2009, to September 26, 2009. Plan changes There have been no changes at this time. The times 03/27/2009 (F) - Movie received by Netflix and next one shipped. (Henceforth, MRNOS.) 03/28/2009 (Sa) - Received and watched Quantum of Solace (2008), which actually means I probably was the second person to have this disc.

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Watchmen (the comic) is ...

  • March 27, 2009
  • James Skemp
... approximately six and a half hours of non-stop reading ... hard to put down ... dense (in a good way)

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Upgrading Subversion 1.5.x to 1.6.0 on Windows Vista - checklist

  • March 23, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is how I went about performing an upgrade of Subversion 1.5.4 to Subversion 1.6.0. For this I'll be continuing to use the current Windows build of Apache 2.2.x, TortoiseSVN, and of course Subversion. At this time, that's Subversion 1.6.0, TortoiseSVN 1.6.0, and Apache 2.2.11. Determine current setup. Opening the Apache Service Monitor will show the version of Apache and Subversion. In my case, that's 2.

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Random - "some walking stuff"

  • March 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
Found in "some walking stuff.txt," dated Sunday, July 20, 2003, 8:18 PM. The old ones walk down the road on their way to eternity They do not stop on the way, they merely make their way On ... on ... on stopping for none - needing no help They brought what they need on their back They need not turn back They do not look behind them, to see that which they have left behind

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Test application in ASP.NET (C#): Amortization schedule

  • March 16, 2009
  • James Skemp
Having used a number of amortization schedule generators this past weekend, I thought I could do better. It's still in-progress, but after (exactly) 2 hours of work, it functions. View the Amortization schedule generator. Developed in ASP.NET C#, with a limited amount of JS. Unlike the site I crashed this weekend, this should tell you if you attempt to pay less per month than you owe in interest.

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Windows applications I use almost every day (March 2009)

  • March 14, 2009
  • James Skemp
Haven't done this in a while, so here we go. In no particular order, here's the Windows applications that I use almost every day. Those used primarily at either work or home are noted as such. WinMerge (work - I use TortoiseMerge at home, when needed) Dreamweaver (work - limited usage these days at home) oXygen Xml Editor (home) iTunes (home) FileZilla (home - if I didn't use Explorer with shares, I'd use this at work as well) TortoiseSVN (home) Visual Studio 2008 (home, since most of my work is still in ColdFusion at work) Microsoft Virtual PC (work) Internet Explorer (7 at work, 7 and 8 at home) Firefox (work) that free SQL Server Management tool (work) Google Talk (home) Notepad WordPad Things I have no choice over at work (Outlook, our timesheets application, Cisco Communication, and Track-It!

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On J. Sheridan LeFanu's Green Tea

  • March 7, 2009
  • James Skemp
This article contains spoilers regarding Green Tea. If you do not wish to know how this story progresses and ends, please stop reading. In J. Sheridan LeFanu's Green Tea (1871) we learn the story of the Rev. Mr. Jennings, through the letters of Dr. Hesselius. As Jennings accounts to him, he became afflicted by a peculiar malady. It happened one day, having began a work "upon the religious metaphysics of the ancients," which was "not good for" "the Christian mind.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.6b released

  • March 5, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. iTunes Playlists to Xml, version 0.6b, is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.6b. This version now handles the bug where playlists could be out of date, by alerting the user. This version also includes functionality to save the Xml file, as well as configure the name the application will use when generating the Xml file.

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Configuration files for Windows Forms Applications

  • March 5, 2009
  • James Skemp
Since I know I'll run across this again ... In my iTunes Playlists to Xml application I wanted to allow users the ability to persist their name across sessions. The supported method seems to be using application configuration files; in my case, something like iTunesApplication.exe.config. However, try as I could, I just couldn't find anything solid on how to create the configuration file. First, I had to add a reference to "System.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.4b released

  • March 2, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Having just released version 0.3b of iTunes Playlists to Xml, I’ve got yet another release. This release includes menus, the ability to select what data you want in the Xml, and a schema for validation. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered one bug (that would have existed before) with playlists getting updated in iTunes, between the refresh in this application, and the time it was clicked on.

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Review: America: The Last Best Hope: Volume I

  • March 1, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is a book review of America: The Last Best Hope: Volume I, written by William J. Bennett. Having read a number of articles, inspired by the historical nature of the last election, I went searching for a good general U.S. history book. I am indeed lucky that I found William J. Bennett's America: The Last Best Hope. The work consists of two separate volumes; the first covers 1492 (the 'age of discovery') to 1914 ('a world at war'), while the second from 1914 (a world at war) to 1989 ('the triumph of freedom').

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.3b released

  • February 27, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Having just released version 0.2b of iTunes Playlists to Xml, I’ve done some updates, bringing it up to version 0.3b. This release fixes all of the known issues, from version 0.2b. There are no known issues with version 0.3b. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.3b. iTunes Playlists to Xml requires .NET Framework 2.

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iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.2b released

  • February 26, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. Previously I discussed an iTunes application that I was working on, in C#. That application has been fixed up a bit, and is now available for download. Download iTunes Playlists to Xml - version 0.2b. To run the application extract the contents of the zip to a directory. Then open iTunesApplication.exe. If iTunes is not running, it will start before this application does.

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Parsing iTunes data with C#

  • February 22, 2009
  • James Skemp
This application has since been updated. Read about the current version of iTunes Playlists to Xml. For better or worse, when I began setting up my iPod I opted to manually organize my iPod. In large part, this was because at the time I had a machine with a pretty small hard drive, and couldn't keep all of my music on it. However, with a new HP, I was able to store all my music on that computer, as well as back it up to a USB drive.

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What The Boss means to me; an open letter to Bruce Springsteen

  • February 18, 2009
  • James Skemp
Mr. Bruce Springsteen, While I can't remember the exact date, or even the year, it was shortly after my parents had divorced, and my father moved out into the country, that I first listened to Born in the U.S.A.; it was one of my father's old tapes. Now, I really wonder that I didn't wear that old tape out. I was pre-teen, and living in northern Wisconsin, and raised Catholic, so not all of the lyrics made sense (not that I really thought about them all that much outside of remembering the exact order, so I could sing the songs by heart), so in that sense, I certainly was lacking an understanding of what they really meant.

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On "Shafty"

  • February 17, 2009
  • James Skemp
the terrible thing about hell is that when you're there you can't even tell as you move through this life you love so you could be there and not even know but you say so what I'm doing just fine the irony is that it's all in your mind and that's why hell is so vicious and cruel but you'll just go on an oblivious fool (Phish/Marshall.

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What I've been up to (Feb '09 edition)

  • February 14, 2009
  • James Skemp
As my last post may have suggested ... I've been playing games. Here's a small taste of the games currently on my plate. Playstation 2 Shadow Hearts: From the New World was close to completion .. before I bought an Xbox 360. Persona 3: Fes still remains to be started, and ditto for Persona 4 ... Yes, I didn't even start Persona 4. Yes, I know how good reviews said it is.

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Dear ... whomever (Halo 3)

  • February 9, 2009
  • James Skemp
Dear whomever, Halo 3 sucks. First, I can only play two missions (missions implying goals) at a time because there's far too much confusion after those two missions. What did I do, and why? Is there any point? Should I just go as fast through the map as I can? (Having done this the last two missions, it seems to work great, assuming I can find my way around, which leads me to .

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Microsoft Log Parser timestamp formats

  • February 6, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following article covers the timestamp format specifiers accepted by Microsoft Log Parser. Date Year y, yy, yyy, yyyy = last 1, 2, 3, or 4 digits, relative to 2000 Month M = no leading zero MM = leading zero MP = leading space MX = no leading zero, or with or without zero when parsing MMM = 3-character abbreviation MMMM = full name of month Day d = no leading zero dd = leading zero dp = leading space dx = no leading zero, or with or without zero when parsing ddd = 3-character abbreviation dddd = full name of day Time Hour h or H = no leading zero hh or HH = leading zero hp or HP = leading space hx or HX = leading zero, or with or without leading zero when parsing Minute m = no leading zero mm = leading zero mp = leading space mx = leading zero, or with or without leading zero when parsing Second s = no leading zero ss = leading zero sp = leading space sx = leading zero, or with or without leading zero when parsing Millisecond l = no leading zero ll = leading zero lp = leading space lx = leading zero, or with or without leading zero when parsing Nanosecond n = no leading zero nn = leading zero np = leading space nx = leading zero, or with or without leading zero when parsing Other tt = AM/PM ?

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The Wii for gamers

  • February 5, 2009
  • James Skemp
"Seriously considering purchasing a Wii (and only playing virtual console games)" - James Skemp In the February 2009 edition of GameInformer, they have an article titled "Hardcore Gamer's Guide to the Wii." In that same issue, on the ratings page, there is one Wii game with an 8.5. The next highest is 8.25, followed by a number of 7.75s. Since GameInformer is a magazine for gamers, I therefore make the claim that the article should have been titled "Gamer's Guide to the Wii" (note the missing word).

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You either did or didn't waste your time playing the video game

  • January 26, 2009
  • James Skemp
You know what grinds my gears? When people say that they wasted time playing a video game. For example, 'I was playing Fallout 3 and it began freezing at this certain point, twenty hours in; since I can't proceed, I've wasted twenty hours of my life.' Hello? What do you get for finishing the game? Not the hours that you spent playing it. Or did you?

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Should Obama have a personal blog?

  • January 24, 2009
  • James Skemp
I work at the State Bar of Wisconsin, the membership of which elects a president every year. (Technically they elect a president-elect, but that's moot.) One of the things my co-workers and I (Rob and Dan) bounced off each other was a blog for the president-elect, for the three years they serve (president-elect, president, and outgoing (?)). With the Obama administration, I wonder if the time of weekly addresses is out, and the time of a more timely blog is in.

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Thoughts on sacrifice and religion

  • January 21, 2009
  • James Skemp
The following is a reply to a co-worker on Facebook regarding a particular topic. Since it's on Facebook, I probably can't link to it, but since I don't want to lose my response … I'm afraid I can't be as eloquent as everyone else; I'm a little mentally drained on nights. That said, Obama called for all American's to be ready to make sacrifices. There is little doubt that greed (part of the great motivator) is what brought this country to the knee it now rests on.

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New attack options for Battleship

  • January 20, 2009
  • James Skemp
To some extent, the game Battleship is fairly out of date. With today's technology, are we really calling attacks on individual areas at a time? For this reason, I put forward the following attack additions. Requirements are for the player using these attacks. Tactical Strike Requires an undamaged submarine. Give up one turn. If, on the next turn, your submarine is still unharmed, attack a 3x3 grid on the opposing player.

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Disabling Messenger auto sign-in on the Xbox 360

  • January 19, 2009
  • James Skemp
Shortly after logging into Xbox Live the Xbox 360 will attempt to log into Windows Messenger, by default. While I tried to find how to disable this, all of the articles I found were irrelevant, since they were written during the 'blades' interface. Here's how I stumbled on it. Press the Xbox button on your controller. Go to the Settings tab. Select Profile.

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Installing Windows 7 beta on Virtual PC 2007

  • January 16, 2009
  • James Skemp
I couldn't find the other articles, so just in case I lose another one, here's an overview of installing Windows 7 beta on a virtual machine. Oddly, I didn't have Virtual PC 2007 SP1, which seems to be a common issue. Installing the Windows 7 Beta with Virtual PC 2007 SP1

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XML-based CD library: Draft layout

  • January 9, 2009
  • James Skemp
Following close on the heels of my XML-based book library draft (and release), below is a draft layout for keeping track of my CDs. Here's what I currently track: Artist CD Name Date bought Place bought Bought price Number of songs Time (which I don't fill in very often) Misc info/notes Following the iTunes standard, each CD has a main artist.

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The Wastelands are big ...

  • January 6, 2009
  • James Skemp
... so save yourself some time and checkout this very handy map of the Fallout 3 world. Of course, the map isn't required, by any means, but it was actually a really big help on getting to 100% understanding of the in-game 'compass.'  The rest of the wiki is also packed with information, even though, unlike a true wiki, members don't seem to be able to edit items.

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XML-based book library: Draft layout

  • January 3, 2009
  • James Skemp
01/03/2009 @ 10:39 CT: The current version of the XML Schema I came up with is available for public use at http://media.jamesrskemp.com/xsd/MyBooks.xsd Currently I have a SQL database (converted from an Access database) of all of the books that I own, as well as when I read them, how much I paid, etcetera. Since I'm moving a good deal of information into XML, I figured I'd attempt to move this into XML as well.

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Why I Don't Care For Ethics: 9 people on a boat

  • January 1, 2009
  • James Skemp
Since college I have disliked ethics. However, I couldn't explain why. On December 10, 2008, at approximately 10:04 PM, I turned on the lamp next to my bed and wrote the following: 9 people on a boat that can only hold 8. What do you do? Even then I knew the answer. Morally, I think the answer is you (me) jump off the boat.

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On my funeral

  • January 1, 2009
  • James Skemp
While in college I heard of the Greeks who, when death was near, would throw a party. All the friends of the dying would come together to drink and merry. The dying would slit their wrists and party along with the others, his life spilling out from him all the while. While I'm sure that in today's world this would never happen, my hope is that when I die those who know me will celebrate, instead of mourn.

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Shadow Hearts: From the New World leveling information

  • December 27, 2008
  • James Skemp
A leveling 'guide' for Shadow Hearts: From the New World is now available; Shadow Hearts: From the New World leveling. Not only should it have been written up and posted a while ago, it gave me a good chance to use XSD (XML Schema Definition). I tried creating one for my tracking my vehicles' gas usage, but failed. Having worked through the issues on this one, I think I now know what I did wrong.

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Playstation Home Beta: First impressions

  • December 26, 2008
  • James Skemp
Eh. I think it looks really good, but I'm not sure a 3d world is what really drives me. That's about all I've got to say at the moment. Definitely looks good, but ... if you don't want to meet people, what's the point? Side-note: Couldn't find the themed environments.

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Necessary iTunes changes

  • December 26, 2008
  • James Skemp
Moving from my XP to my Vista machine, for purchasing and using iTunes, it seems I've got some changes to make. Edit > Preferences... > Store > Buy using a Shopping Cart Edit > Preferences... > Store > Automatically check for available downloads Why the first option is the default, not sure, but ...

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If Firefox recommends ad blocking software ...

  • December 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
The other day I installed YSlow on my home machine. When I did so I noticed that they were recommending the major ad blocking add-on, but I didn't think too much of it. I was reading an article that questioned again (id est, old news) whether Chrome would strain the Google/Mozilla relationship. Since the ad blocking add-on blocks Google ads, I wonder if instead of Chrome, it's these recommended add-ons that are causing the strain.

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What makes a good video game great?

  • December 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
A while ago I was reading a thread asking individuals what games they had last played multiple times. Unfortunately, I actually have a hard time coming up with more than a couple, even though I'm sure I must have played games all the way through when I had more time (id est, in college). The only two I could think of were Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

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Why a philosophy major does Web development

  • December 16, 2008
  • James Skemp
Here's what my answer is: No, I did the standard Philosophy major with a minor in Humanistic Studies. In high school I liked doing Web stuff, even though my stuff was *horrible*, but I didn't want to do that for a career (hard to make a career out of something you love, and still keep that love alive - or so they say). Originally I was going for Psychology, but I was told that wouldn't be a good field for me, and my Biology grades were horrid.

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Persona 4 pre-order goody = wow

  • December 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
Mustn't ... look ... too ... closely ... (already ruined one surprise) Atlus certainly out-did themselves this time, with the Persona 4 pre-order goody. While I was expecting the "Visual Data" bonus to be large enough to fit behind the game's case, like the Persona 3 bonus, this one is actually graphic novel sized. Very nice Atlus, very nice. And, with reviews like this, looks like we can expect a Persona 5 in the near future.

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I own an Xbox 360

  • December 3, 2008
  • James Skemp
So I did it. Back on November 17 2007 I purchased a Playstation 3. I had debated, back and forth, the purchase of that versus the Xbox 360. At the time the Xbox was having quite a few issues, including overheating, power block malfunctions, and the wonderful RROD. However, as time has gone by, the number of complaints has gone down. Some say that the issues are basically resolved, and you just need to find newer systems.

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New BlogEngine.NET Theme: 20081126

  • November 27, 2008
  • James Skemp
I've been working on a new theme for the site, since around 7 this evening ... and it's finally rolled out. This is along the lines of what I was thinking a couple weeks ago, but I actually grabbed some ideas from Microsoft's recent KB changes. This is the first theme I've created that used the widget functionality, and I can honestly say I'm still not that impressed with it. I still have to add some styles for coding that I add in, once I find a good sample (did I really just use blockquote?

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Parse FileZilla Server logs with Log Parser

  • November 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
While FileZilla Server is one of the best FTP servers available, it's logging leaves much to be desired. However, after a couple of hours, I've created a script for Log Parser that will generate a W3C log from FileZilla Server's logs. Save the following to a file, for example, FileZillaServer.sql: SELECT  SUBSTR(Text, 1, SUB(INDEX_OF(Text, ')'), 1)) AS RequestNumber  , TO_TIMESTAMP(   TRIM(    SUBSTR(     Text     , ADD(INDEX_OF(Text, ')'), 1)

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Current, major, browsers

  • November 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
Do users know that they're not using the current version of their browser? While many browsers will check for updated versions (Firefox, for example), some do not. Anywho, I've decided, looking at the numbers, that I would start adding a check on my sites to alert users if there browser is out of date, and tell them where they can get an updated version. Note that I refer to the desktop version of these browsers, and mention only the major browsers.

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Browser environments for testing

  • November 20, 2008
  • James Skemp
In a previous post I mentioned using virtual machines for testing. Here's the three virtual machines that I feel cover the most options for browser testing (on Windows):  Current versions Looking at the top 10 browsers for this site, using data from Google Analytics, we have; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Mozilla, Opera, Playstation 3, Konqueror, SeaMonkey, and Camino. Of those, Internet Explorer and Firefox, obviously, account for the largest amount of traffic, at about 86% of all visits.

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Do you assume I'm a liberal because I wear Grateful Dead shirts?

  • November 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
I ran into a co-worker who suggested that I probably held a certain environmental view, because I was wearing a Grateful Dead shirt. While I knew it to be true, I'd never really thought that my political views too may be out there based upon the band t-shirt that I was wearing. Wearing Grateful Dead? Liberal. Wearing Bruce Springsteen? Liberal. Wearing Fleetwood Mac? Liberal. Billy Joel? That's probably liberal as well.

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How to really compact Virtual PC hard drives

  • November 18, 2008
  • James Skemp
No names mentioned, but I've recently been using a number of virtual machines for testing purposes. One machine has Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox 2 installed, while a second has Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, and the most recent versions of Opera, Safari (for Windows) and Chrome. However, the virtual hard drives were 10 GB each, due to a large number of apps being installed that didn't need to be, for our browser-based testing.

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Wowsa - what happened to Google Analytics? (November 2008 edition)

  • November 11, 2008
  • James Skemp
Google has done it again. Logging in this evening, I immediately noticed the change to Google Analytics. Now you can see, when you first log in, the visits, average time, bounce rate, completed goals, and % change (default visits) for your sites. It's weird in that it shows a number of rows, and not sites (which effectively means half as many sites as I expect, as each of my sites has two rows), but it's very interesting.

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How to get started with Microsoft Log Parser

  • November 7, 2008
  • James Skemp
I've written about Microsoft Log Parser before, and even started a site around it. But, I noticed the other day that I hadn't written on how to get started with this powerful tool. Getting Log Parser The current version of Log Parser is version 2.2, which you can download from Microsoft. Installing Log Parser While it says supported operating systems are "Windows 2000; Windows Server 2003; Windows XP Professional Edition," it appears to run fine on Windows XP Home Edition and Windows Vista (at least Ultimate has been personally confirmed).

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LogParserPlus.com - Updates for 2008.11.04

  • November 5, 2008
  • James Skemp
Log Parser Plus was updated last night, during the election coverage, with the following changes: All functions now have descriptions (pulled almost completely from the included help file). Expressions have been added. Visit LogParserPlus.com for all of this information, and more, as it becomes available. (Next addition will be samples for the functions, and the start of a fleshed-out queries listing.

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President Obama

  • November 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
About 10 minutes ago Fox, CNN, NBC, and ABC showed Obama winning the election. After 2 disappointments ... it's hard to feel absolutely confident until there's 100% reporting, but I'm feeling pretty dang happy. :D

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Review of LittleBigPlanet: BradyGames Signature Series Guide

  • October 25, 2008
  • James Skemp
Rated 5 stars. Rate this review on Amazon. Purchase this guide or game through Amazon. First of all, this is a beautiful guide. Every time I pick up one of the Brady Games guides I'm impressed with the quality of the actual item. Nice smooth pages, great colors, etcetera. About 66% of this guide deals with the story mode. This involves a checklist of items for each level, as well as hints and tips on completing them successfully.

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LittleBigPlanet - First day, first thoughts

  • October 25, 2008
  • James Skemp
Right or wrong, GameStop was in stock and selling pre-orders of LittleBigPlanet today, so I was able to pick up my copy, along with the official guide. Thus far I've gone through four complete areas, and picked up the trophies accordingly. On only the first level did I actually get a 100% (but not the Ace award), and with the later levels, I had to retry a number of times.

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oXygen XML Editor 10 released

  • October 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
Luckily I fired it up this very morning and was alerted to the new upgrade - Gmail decided to mark their automated message as spam. Luckily I was covered under the original maintenance plan, so ... free upgrade, but even if you're not, you may want to give the new features a look. Read more about oXygen XML Editor.

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.NET DataSet dump (C#)

  • October 18, 2008
  • James Skemp
One thing that I really like about ColdFusion is the powerful cfdump. Use the cfdump tag to get the elements, variables, and values of most kinds of ColdFusion objects. Useful for debugging. You can display the contents of simple and complex variables, objects, components, user-defined functions, and other elements.  Of all the tags in ColdFusion, cfoutput is probably the only tag that I use more. Unfortunately, most other languages, JavaScript and .

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Backing up my iTunes library - how I do it

  • October 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
Here's how I backup my iTunes library. My environment I have a HP Pavilion a620n with Windows XP Home, SP3, where I do my iTunes purchasing and copying to my iPod. I have an iPod Classic, 80 GB, that I manually sync from my a620n. I have a HP Pavilion a6360t with Windows Vista Ultimate, SP1. I have a HP Pocket Media Drive, 160 GB.

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See you later LG UX6000 - you've been swell

  • October 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
Good-bye LG UX6000. I've had you since August 2004, and you've been a great little phone. Sturdy and dependable, I didn't go wrong. Hello LG UX565, you're awfully cute. Sleek and simple, and oh so light. You take pictures and video, and have nice big buttons.   (If I would have got my phone today, instead of yesterday, it would have been 4 years and 2 months .

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Subversion 1.5.3 and TortoiseSVN 1.5.4 released

  • October 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
The newest versions of Subversion and TortoiseSVN were released just last week. My install guides for Subversion on Vista (and another with Subversion on Vista with Apache 2.2.x) and TortoiseSVN on Vista are still applicable. If installing Subversion with Apache 2.2.x, make sure you stop Apache before replacing files.

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Specialists guide/listing for Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (Playstation 2 Greatest Hits)

  • October 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
A brief guide/listing of specialists for Disgaea: Hour of Darkness (Playstation 2 Greatest Hits) is now available. While there are other guides available, I didn't find one that I could easily print out and make note of which character had which specialists. Now I've got one. Comments appreciated.

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Netflix charges more for Blu-ray? No more Blu-ray I guess

  • October 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
Granted, it's only a dollar more, but in this economy ... Dear James, As you may know, Blu-ray movies are more expensive than standard definition movies. As a result, we're going to start charging $1 a month (plus applicable taxes), in addition to your monthly membership charge, for unlimited access to Blu-ray movies. The additional charge for unlimited Blu-ray access will be automatically added to your next billing statement on or after November 5th, 2008 and will be referenced in your Membership Terms and Details.

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Connecting to a WRT54G with a HP iPAQ 110

  • October 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
After playing around with settings, I was finally able to access my wireless network with my HP iPAQ 110. Here's what I did. Under Wireless > Wireless Security, set the model to WEP, setting a passphrase and generating keys. Make sure your wireless is enabled. Once the network shows in your iPAQ, set the Authentication to Shared and the Data Encryption to WEP. Select the key index and enter the key equal to the Default Transmit Key from the WRT54G.

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 3 (Part 1)

  • September 26, 2008
  • James Skemp
And so begins year three with Netflix. I covered year one and year two, of what was shipped to me, when, and when I shipped them back, previously. Since last year got a bit long, I'm going to break it up a bit. So, this post covers shipping from September 26, 2008, to about halfway through (I'm not there yet, so ...). Plan changes On 12/10/2008 I moved from the two-unlimited to the one-unlimited plan.

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LogParserPlus.com launched

  • September 26, 2008
  • James Skemp
Since I now have actual content, there can be more visitors to Log Parser Plus, outside of the government. In additon to posting the articles here, I'll be posting a number of articles to Log Parser Plus in an attempt to make Microsoft's Log Parser utility that much easier. The initial focus will be on IIS-related queries, but who knows where it'll end up.

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Why does Google Chrome hate Flash?

  • September 21, 2008
  • James Skemp
For the last couple of days I've tried opening a Flash video within Google Chrome. By doing so, I've effectively killed not just Google Chrome, but also my OS while Chrome attempts to cope. I noticed from the beginning that Chrome's task manager listed the Flash plug-in as a separate 'page,' and thought it might cause issues, but this is pretty sad. I already forced an upgrade once, and and upgrading from 0.

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First Stack Overflow question

  • September 20, 2008
  • James Skemp
I asked my first Stack Overflow question today. The one thing I didn't care for was that I couldn't figure out how to search by multitple tags, even though the site suggests that I can (using a space) ... I also don't care much for the number of subjective questions (but at least there's a tag for it). Now if only I could figure out how to exclude those that are community-building topics, versus those that are not .

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Subversion and TortoiseSVN: Moving a repository

  • September 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
This evening I had to rename a project folder, since I was creating a site with the same name. Since I had the project (application) under Subversion, I also needed to move the repository. Here's what I did: svnadmin create b:\repos\_newName_ svnadmin dump b:\repos\_oldName_ > b:\repos_dump\_oldName_.dump svnadmin load b:\repos\_newName_ < b:\repos_dump\_oldName_.dump At this point I could either checkout the repository, or change where the checked out directory points to.

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I like the Gates/Seinfeld ads

  • September 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
Maybe that makes me out of it, but I like the Microsoft commercials. No, they don't really tell me anything without digging, but they're just fun, and sometimes even funny. Granted, they don't bash anyone like the "I'm a Mac" commercials, but ... Keep doing them, and I'll keep watching 'em.

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Survey says: Top way to spend your unexpected day off

  • September 9, 2008
  • James Skemp
(Tongue firmly between teeth.)  In today's world, what do you think the best way is to spend a day off? Survey says: ... Working at your second job. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle does just a little worse ...

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Internet Explorer Virtual PC images - hidden, but back

  • September 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
When Microsoft released IE 7 they also offered an image / virtual hard drive that could be used to test Internet Explorer 7, without installing it on your machine. Good idea. While they're buried, Microsoft has released a number of other images, which expire in January '09. Internet Explorer Application Compatibility VPC Image Come on Microsoft, release some that don't expire, but that have some other limited functionality.

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Display parts of the Waking Life Transcript on your site

  • September 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
A lot of people like to pull full passages from Waking Life, as it's a very quotable movie. However, the problem with that is that if things change there's a whole lot of sites that are out-of-date. And, sometimes people forget to add attribution ... I've been thinking about ways to make this easier, and believe I've come up with an idea. Looking at the numbers, I'm working from the most popular to the least popular chapters, with the goal of having all available.

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James Skemp's BlogEngine.NET themes

  • August 31, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following is a list of links to posts regarding themes I have worked on for BlogEngine.NET, and that are available for use. (Themes I've worked on for others are not included here.) Listed alphabetically. MWRT-002 Download for BE.NET 1.4.5.0. Swan Dive Download for BE.NET 1.4.5.0. As I'm not a designer, I typically use open source designs, such as those from Open Source Web Design, Open Design Community, Open Web Design (please post a link if you know of more).

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Installing Subversion binaries for Apache 2.2.x

  • August 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
Recently I went ahead and installed Apache 2.2.9 to my Windows Vista Ultimate machine. The purpose of doing that was to move towards a Subversion install running on Apache. In this article, I'll be covering that installation. Getting Subversion Obviously, the first thing to do is to get Subversion. We're looking for the Windows Apache 2.2.x binaries, in particular. At the time of this writing, that's svn-win32-1.5.1.zip. In a previous guide, which you may have followed, I installed the Windows installer with the basic win32 binaries.

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Upgrading to BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5

  • August 16, 2008
  • James Skemp
With the release of BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5 a bit ago ... it was time to give it another go upgrading. Quick notes on my experience: Downloaded and FTP'd the zip. Remoted into my VPS.  Extracted the contents of the zip to another folder. Unchecked read-only on the extracted contents. Backed up my complete BlogEngine directory.

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Brief Notes on Essential C# 3.0: For .NET Framework 3.5 (2nd Edition)

  • August 16, 2008
  • James Skemp
I'll be updating this as I read, but the date/time of the post will remain the same. This will by no means make up for a reading of the book - Essential C# 3.0: For .NET Framework 3.5 (2nd Edition). (Link to my review will be posted once I finish the book.) I work primarily on the Web, so that will be my main focus from reading this book. Some chapters may not be present here, depending upon what I think is note-worthy at the time.

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The only good thing that's happened related to Star Wars in the last 15 years ...

  • August 15, 2008
  • James Skemp
... has been the inclusion of Natalie Portman (side notes here and here) in the 'recent' movies. Enough said.     Lucas, you fool ...

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Install Apache 2.2.9 to Windows Vista (Ultimate)

  • August 15, 2008
  • James Skemp
In this article I'll be covering an installation of Apache 2.2.9 to Windows Vista Ultimate. I'll be installing Apache so that you can run IIS as well (hence, Apache will be on a different port). You may want to do this if you want to run Subversion on Apache (as I do). Installing Apache 2.2 Currently the Apache HTTP Server has both a 2.0 and 2.2 version. For new development, the 2.

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Notes for a future reading of Dostoyevsky's The Possessed.

  • August 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
The below page references refer to the Signet Classic version of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Possessed. suicide/life: 109-112, 421 marriage/children: 119 charity: 323 free will: 637 Great Idea/life: 679-680 Passages may be elaborated upon in future articles.

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Comment re: Go MIT!

  • August 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
I couldn't post this without creating an account, so … This is in regards to this comment. Full post. I agree with montysimmons - the attack on George Washington was uncalled for. However, he makes an interesting point that they've been able to make the technology easy enough for someone from the 18th Century to understand and use. This is in fact better than saying "easy enough for a child to use," which may have been better, since even children use computers these days.

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LittleBigPlanet - New site and available for pre-order

  • August 7, 2008
  • James Skemp
Got a notice of http://littlebigplanet.us.playstation.com/ in my Gmail account a few moments ago. I was unaware that LittleBigPlanet was already available for pre-order. I looked at Amazon, but, quite frankly, I want it rather quickly. BestBuy.com doesn’t have it listed, but Gamestop.com does, so … my first online purchase through that site. Store pick-up selected, of course. What I don’t care for is that there will supposedly be different items available for pre-ordering, depending upon where you do so.

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Thoughts on PixelJunk Eden

  • August 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
This morning Charter fixed whatever issues they were having, so I was able to purchase and download the full version of PixelJunk Eden. I played 30 minutes this morning, and many hours this afternoon/evening. (When I shut down for the last time, my rank was 1013 - I'm sure it's already changed though.)  As the demo suggested, this game is the closest thing to a masterpiece I've seen in a very long time.

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Microsoft purchased Caligari and released trueSpace7.6 for free?!?

  • July 27, 2008
  • James Skemp
I was big into 3d rendering in college, since I had a good deal of free time, and I wanted to do something productive. Anyways, trueSpace, a fairly big name in 3D, is now available for free, thanks to Microsoft. It sounds like this was for Virtual Earth in particular, but Channel 9 (which is where I heard this release notice from) points out, correctly, that it's also very valuable for games (in particular, for Microsoft's XBox and game generation tools).

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James Skemp Photography

  • July 26, 2008
  • James Skemp
I'm sure I'll need to tweak it, but I've technically launched my galleries for my photography 'business' (I use the word lightly at this point). View the galleries online at http://jamesrskemp.com/gallery/ It only took three days, but I'm pretty happy with how things turned out. I'd really like to have the individual photos display a bit better, but ...

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Review: Apache JMeter

  • July 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following is a book review of Apache JMeter, written by Emily H. Halili. First off, my experience with automated software/application testing is extremely limited. For the most part any testing I've done has been manual testing. Recently, however, I was introduced to, and began using, Microsoft's Web Application Stress Tool. Because of this level of experience, Emily Halili's Apache JMeter was the perfect book for me, as it contains an analysis of automated testing (including when best to do it, versus manual testing), in addition to the introduction to Apache JMeter.

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Errata: Apache JMeter

  • July 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following is errata for Apache JMeter, by Emily H. Halili, and has been submitted to Packt Publishing. Read my review.  Page 4, 2nd to last sentence: 'downlad' should be 'download' Page 13, last sentence: "You too can contribute." Page 39, 1st paragraph, last sentence: "as a failed request." Page 42, 1st paragraph, last sentence: "retrieve a particular value" Page 48, last list item: display shows "KB/sec" but the list item is "Kb/sec" Page 48: Is the mean time in ms?

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Why I went to college and what I did when I got out

  • July 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
Since I can't fall asleep, and since experience has taught me that it's best to write when I've got things running through my head ... Why I went to college You go to college once you're done with high school - unless you're going straight into the workforce. At the time I was working at a Culvers, which I enjoyed because of a number of people that I worked with, but I knew that I couldn't make that my profession.

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Netflix suggestion (7/19/2008)

  • July 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
I don't know if this is a suggestion, or if the information is already available. I'd really like to be able to see a complete listing of movies that I've rated. A complete listing of movies I've rated and that are in my queue is buried in the privacy tab, and I can page through movies that I've rated, but there's no way to get all the movies I've rated on one page.

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Importing an existing Web site into Subversion

  • July 13, 2008
  • James Skemp
Last time, I played around with Subversion in order to determine just how Subversion worked. This time I'm actually going to create a repository for a site to store the current version, and work through making a couple of updates. Existing site structure The site that I'll be working with is DoNotDenyMyUnicorn.com. It's a small, stable, site, that has just a few files. It's also relatively clean, with no previous versions floating about.

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Review: HP GL313AA#ABA 2-piece USB Speakers

  • July 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following is a review for HP Multimedia Speakers, specifically HP GL313AA#ABA 2-piece USB Speakers. I don't play PC games any more, and I watch (most) movies on my nice television. So, what I really wanted from these little speakers was to be able to listen to iTunes every once in a while, and watch assorted videos online (YouTube, Video.Google, and even Netflix every once in a while). These speakers are perfect for exactly that.

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Review: Tamrac 3582 Express Case 2

  • July 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
I purchased one of these cases (Tamrac 3582 Express Case 2) for a Casio Exilim (EX-Z1200) that I purchased at the same time. That camera fits this case *perfectly*, so my review may be a bit biased because of that :) In my opinion, this is a great little case. The padding provided is just the right amount that, the one time I dropped my camera, my heart didn't sink.

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Playing around with Subversion with a test repository

  • July 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
I've flirted with source/version/revision control since September 2006 (with Subversion), but have never really dug in to actually do anthing with it. But now, that changes. The following guide was created using Subversion 1.4.6 and TortoiseSVN 1.4.8. However, this should still be applicable. Also, because of the number and size of the images, I've limited the images shown directly in the guide. All links to these images should open in a new window.

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Review: Professional ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB

  • July 11, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following is a book review of Professional ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB, written by Bill Evjen, Scott Hanselman, and Devin Rader. Having read Imar Spaanjaar's Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB (review), I was expecting a number of good things from this book. Imar's book is really great in that he shows you how to build a Web application with ASP.NET 3.5. However, with Professional ASP.

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Wrox feedback - July 11 2008

  • July 11, 2008
  • James Skemp
I never heard from them on my last batch of feedback for the Professional version, and they still aren't posted, but Imar confirmed the one errata I pointed out on his book. Additional errata for Professional ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB: Page 579, last sentence: Welcome.html should be Welcome.htm Page 581, first paragraph: Welcome.html should be Welcome.htm (x2) and Start.html should be Start.htm Page 628: Figure 13-1 is the incorrect image.

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Playstation 3 Firmware 2.41 and running fine

  • July 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
While not yet announced on the official blog, Firmware 2.41 is out this morning for the Playstation 3. No word yet on what happened with 2.40, but, that's to be expected I suppose (and unfortunately). (I didn't get 2.40 when it was out - they seem to release these in the morning, and most days I'm at work in the morning.) Now if only you got something that really mattered when you got a trophy/achievement/what-have-you .

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On the purpose of life (with a bonus on the meaning of life)

  • July 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
It's been a while since I've written a philosophical piece, so please be kind. Two necessary definitions First, we must begin with definitions1 of the key words in our topic. life: 1 a. The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.

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BlogEngine.NET 1.4 - Memory usage spike?

  • July 6, 2008
  • James Skemp
Update, July 9, 2008: This update is a little late, but … Mads was able to determine what the issue was and has provided a fix. I'll be trying another update this week. I recently upgraded to BlogEngine.NET 1.4, from 1.3. While it was, overall, a smooth enough process, while trying to dig into the large memory usage spike, I ran into a number of issues. I've written about BlogEngine.

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Review: Griffin's PowerJolt SE (9767)

  • July 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
Does exactly what you'd expect  I purchased Griffin's PowerJolt SE for use in my 2007 VW Rabbit, with my iPod Classic (80GB). The Rabbit has a power outlet that is somewhat recessed, so I didn't think some of the other car chargers would work as well. The design Griffin uses, however, is absolutely perfect, in that only the small top of the plug hangs above. This means all the power in less space then you'd expect.

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Review: APC Back-UPS ES 750 (BE750G)

  • July 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
Every home should have one  I purchased an APC Back-UPS ES 750 (BE750G) on May 10, 2008. Since I had a blackout on 6⁄27, I figured I could finally write a review. First, this is my first APC, as well as my first battery backup, product. I've owned a number of surge protectors in the past, but since I had purchased a new computer, I wanted to try a backup device.

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How to change your default language in Visual Studio 2008 (the right way)

  • July 2, 2008
  • James Skemp
There's a number of resources online on how to change the default language in Visual Studio. However, none of them are correct. They all state that you should reset your settings to default and then re-setup your settings. Huh? Instead, if you modify the CurrentSettings.vssettings file, you can keep all your other settings, without the pain of having to re-import everything else. First, find your settings file, which appears to default to the My Documents\Visual Studio x\Settings\ directory.

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Wrox feedback - June 29 2008

  • June 29, 2008
  • James Skemp
Read my review of Beginning ASP.NET 3.5: In C# and VB. Some errata for 978-0-470-18757-9, Professional ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB: pg 247, second to last sentence on the page: <h3> should be <h1>. pg 253: Figure 5-13 is incorrect. pg 487: Figure 9-12 is incorrect. pg 527, second to last sentence on the page: Listing 10-13 contains no highlighted text. I was expecting more errata to be listed.

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Feedback to Apple regarding an Apple Store visit (my first)

  • June 26, 2008
  • James Skemp
The no checkout thing is weird. Had someone else (a Mac user) not a) told me about the process and b) told me about the store location, I would c) made the purchase online instead, and not gotten exactly what I think I want (/known about my other options) and d) would have been utterly confused about the checkout process :) But, the two people I spoke with while checking out were extremely friendly, and I was amazed by the quality of the store.

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Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The Complete Official Guide (Piggyback softcover)

  • June 22, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following review is for The Complete Official Guide of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. The short story: If you're new to MG, BUY THIS BOOK. If you want to completely* understand this game, BUY THIS BOOK. If you want to have a book that you can be glad you spent every penny for, BUY THIS BOOK. :D MGS4 is my first experience with the entire Metal Gear 'saga.

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Metal Gear Solid 4 - Completion 1

  • June 20, 2008
  • James Skemp
Naked Normal Total Play Time: 20:31:09 Continues: 7 Alert Phases: 107 Kills: 326 Recovery Items Used: 39 Weapon Types Procured: 52 Flashbacks Watched: 164 Special Items Used: Not Used Title: Hawk Unlocked: Hawk, Rabbit (on purpose), Inch Worm, Lobster, Hyena, Cow, Panther Completion 2 Liquid Easy Total Play Time: 08:06:42 Continues: 0 Alert Phases: 16 Kills: 0 Recovery Items Used: 0 Weapon Types Procured: 63

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Formatting drives in Windows Vista

  • June 18, 2008
  • James Skemp
So Disk Management can't be found using the Vista Start Search. However, you can type in Computer Management, and get to Disk Management from there. From what I was reading online, as long as the BIOS sees the drive, Windows should have popped up a message asking about formatting it. Too bad you have to go through this extra step - it would have been nice to have at least seen a small pop-up regarding this.

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Collection down after opening - resolution

  • June 16, 2008
  • James Skemp
We've been running into an issue, off and on, with ColdFusion MX 7.0.2 having issues with Verity collections. During one of our nightly jobs, two Verity collections are purged, through ColdFusion, and then re-built.  Sometimes this will bring the collection down, resulting in a message like the following. Collection down after opening (10) Using the mdvdk executable, you can get some information about the collection, and even bring it back up.

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Domain name XML

  • June 15, 2008
  • James Skemp
In XML creation: Part 1, I went about creating an XML document, with both a CSS and XSLT, that was used to store my video game information. Yesterday I was going through my domains, and realized that it would be pretty helpful to have an XML document where I could store domain name information, since I've got too many to keep track of in my head. The layout Using lists, this the version 1 that I came up with yesterday:

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AVG 8 setup parameters

  • June 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
AVG is a pretty good piece of anti-virus software. However, as was recently noticed, it's Link Scanner functionality can be, and is, quite the resource hog. When running the installation program, it's possible to pass parameters to disable this functionality. However, there's no complete listing of parameters on the site. In an attempt to make this information easier to find, I include it below.  installation without Web Shield avg_*.exe /REMOVE_FEATURE fea_AVG_HttpScanner

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Metal Gear Solid 4 - 2.5 hours in

  • June 12, 2008
  • James Skemp
Wow. Imagine Black, but with stealth, better graphics, and less damagable property, but definitely better sound and effects. That's Metal Gear Solid 4. Despite the fact that I don't play these types of games very often, I only died three times. (Granted, I'm playing one level above wuss.) However, I'm not very fair in, since I've actually been something of a collector in my travels. I've also yet to get used to the sneaking about (oh, you have to hold the button down to grab them, then slash), so I've basically been stealth walking about, bailing out militia.

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Review: Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB

  • June 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following book review is for Imar Spaanjaars’ Beginning ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB. Update July 11 2008: Review of Professional ASP.NET 3.5 In C# and VB. Update March 28 2010: Review of Beginning ASP.NET 4 in C# and VB.  I’ve picked up copies of Beginning ASP.NET 2.0; Build Your Own ASP.NET 2.0 Web Site Using C# & VB; Beginning ASP.NET 2.0 E-Commerce in C# 2005 From Novice to Professional; and Microsoft ASP.

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Review: Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 Step by Step

  • June 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following book review is for George Shepherd's Microsoft ASP.NET 3.5 Step by Step. Based upon the title, 'Step by Step,' you might think that Shepherd's book will actually cover ASP.NET 3.5 in detail, piece by piece. While it's true that he does this, he does it to very little detail. He also makes numerous assumptions throughout the text, which may have you scratching your head more than you usually would, picking up a new language.

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Installing TortoiseSVN to Windows Vista

  • June 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
In a previous article, I installed Subversion and TortoiseSVN to a Windows XP Home Edition machine. Later, I upgraded the installation. Just recently I covered installing Subversion 1.4.6 to Windows Vista. This time I'll be installing TortoiseSVN on that same machine. The setup The system I'm using is a HP Pavilion a6360t, with 4GB install RAM, 2.20 GHz, with two cores, running Windows Vista Ultimate SP1, 32-bit. Downloading TortoiseSVN Since TortoiseSVN is for Windows, it makes it even easier to find the version to download.

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Installing Subversion to Windows Vista

  • June 7, 2008
  • James Skemp
In a previous article, I installed Subversion and TortoiseSVN to a Windows XP Home Edition machine. Later, I upgraded the installation. This time I'll be installing Subversion on a Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 machine. The setup The system I'm using is a HP Pavilion a6360t, with 4GB install RAM, 2.20 GHz, with two cores, running Windows Vista Ultimate SP1, 32-bit. I'm already running IIS 7, so I won't be installing Apache to run Subversion.

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Testing out the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

  • June 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
Just some dummy content while using the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000. I tried it with both 'extenders' up when typing the below. Hello I would like to welcome you to the second Annual Convention on the ergonomics of keyboards. If you would please turn your attention to the right, you'll notice that we've done away with all the formalities and gone with simple dishes. I hope this is to your liking.

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Cross Sums Helper 2.0 - testing needed

  • June 2, 2008
  • James Skemp
After sleeping on it (albeit poorly), I've resolved the issue that was stopping production on the new version of my Cross Sums Helper application. However, I need some help testing. Download Cross Sums Helper 2.0 - 67 KB (.NET Framework 2.0 or higher is required). UPDATE: Download Cross Sums Helper 2.1 - 65 KB If you don't have .NET Framework (and are on Windows) let me know - I had a hard time finding any real stats on these numbers, even from MS people.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 15: Closing Credits

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[15 Closing Credits] (Kusanagi stares out across the city.) (Fade to black. Credits roll.) Read the previous chapter. Ghost in the Shell - Script For the sake of version control and in the interest of not having multiple versions floating about the Internet, please link to the pages on this site instead of copying the script elsewhere. Using short blurbs of a sentence or two is perfectly fine.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 14: Reincarnation

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[14 Reincarnation] (A room comes into view. We slowly zoom in to a mirror showing a girl sitting in a chair.) (Batou:) You're awake. Status report, please. And maybe an explanation about this body. I was in a hurry. It was all I could get on the black market. Not my taste, really. Section 9 arrived with help right after it happened. They took two cyborg bodies and a slightly beat-up Batou back home.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 13: Unification

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[13 Unification] (We switch to a helicopter making it's journey.) Signal from escort lost. Switch to operation phase two and destroy the target. Sniper group, confirm targets. Target one: Project 2501. Target two: Motoko Kusanagi. Both are class-A cyborg bodies. Use flechette bullets in the hit. Snipers, jack into your device drivers. Begin cardiovascular suppression. Unit 01: jacked in. Unit 02: jacked in. (We switch back to the warehouse.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 12: Kusanagi Battles Tank

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[12 Kusanagi Battles Tank] (We switch to Kusanagi following the car via helicopter.) The flooding's really bad here, even for Old Town in general. Why come here? They wouldn't have run here without a reason. Could have a boat or a chopper waiting, or it's an ambush. Shouldn't we wait for backup? I can't wait. Come in from seaside and put me above that building.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 11: Chasing the Target

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[11 Chasing the Target] (We switch back to Kusanagi in the helicopter. We see also the preparations taking place.) Chief. Ishikawa? Well? I dove the MFA net and found some interesting things for you. Hold on, let me get a secure channel. Okay? First, that guy who was with Nakamura. He's an American. Dr. Willis, head of strategic research at Neutron Corp. Top man in the field of A.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 10: Project 2501

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[10 Project 2501] (In the lab, the body from before is lowered.) I don't need to remind you that it's treason for you to be hiding something from me, no matter how sensitive. For both of us. Whatever the MFA may prefer, this case is in Section 9's jurisdiction. But we wouldn't mind cooperating if there was good reason to. Dr. Willis? Confirmed. It's definitely him.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 9: Doubting Your Own Ghost

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[9 Doubting Your Own Ghost] (A woman is standing on the street, in the rain. She's hit by a truck. The view goes out, like a television turning off.) Sensors: restarted. Auxiliary computer link: check. Visual sensors: online. Cyborg body signal? Output: nominal. (Kusanagi walks in from the right. The view zooms in on her.) Can't you call in if you're going to be late?

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 8: Wandering the City

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[8 Wandering the City] (We get a 'tour' of the city.) (Kusanagi believes she sees herself in a restaurant, while riding on a boat.) ===  Read the previous chapter. Read the next chapter. Ghost in the Shell - Script For the sake of version control and in the interest of not having multiple versions floating about the Internet, please link to the pages on this site instead of copying the script elsewhere.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 7: Hope in Deep Waters

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[7 Hope in Deep Waters] (Kusanagi is diving, until the pack on her back starts lifting her up towards the surface. It is very similar to the opening credits.) A cyborg who goes diving in her spare time. That can't be a good sign. When did you start doing this? Doesn't the ocean scare you? If the floaters stopped working. Then I'd probably die. Or would you dive in after me?

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 6: Simultaneous Reality & Fantasy

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[6 Simultaneous Reality & Fantasy] (We see the garbage man from before, who was making the calls. He looks dazed.) What do you mean, a "virtual experience?" I mean your wife, your daughter, the divorce, the affair, they're all fake memories. Like a dream. Someone was using you to ghost-hack a government official. No… That's impossible! I've been to your apartment. No one's there.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 5: Only a Puppet

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[5 Only a Puppet] (A helicopter lands in a yeard. Police, and Aramaki, are standing outside that yard, in the trees.) We'll rush the place once the guys in the helicopter are inside. Squad B goes around back, the rest of you take the front. Saito, have your men pull the plugs on all their cars. Begin recording. Message from HQ, sir. We've ID'ed the guy the Major collared.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 4: Ghost Hack Humans

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[4 Ghost Hack Humans] (A man is picking up trash, while another is at a phone.) Come on! All right! We're already 40 seconds behind schedule! Gimme five more seconds. Of all the lousy luck… Hey, sorry. My last partner, the one they busted for working without a permit, was a better worker than you! You're actually trying to ghost-hack your own wife just to see what's on her mind?

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 3: The Infamous Mystery Hacker

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[3 The Infamous Mystery Hacker] This is a rare pleasure, Mr. Aramaki. What can the Foreign Ministry do for Section 9? What are these secret talks you've scheduled with the Gavel Republic for tomorrow? The usual. Foreign aid. The new government reopened the request after the revolution. They claim to be more democratic but they'll probably be as bad as the last bunch. Giving them money they don't earn will help nobody.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 2: Opening Credits

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[2 Opening Credits] (We see what appears to be Kusanagi getting 'created' as the opening credits roll.) (Once finished, we see Kusanagi laying down, and opening her eyes, as if waking from a dream. She moves her fingers slightly.) (She gets up, gets dressed, and leaves.) Read the previous chapter. Read the next chapter. Ghost in the Shell - Script For the sake of version control and in the interest of not having multiple versions floating about the Internet, please link to the pages on this site instead of copying the script elsewhere.

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Ghost in the Shell - Scene 1: Thermo Optic Camouflage

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
[1 Thermo Optic Camouflage]  (Text displays onscreen.)  "IN THE NEAR FUTURE - CORPORATE NETWORKS REACH OUT TO THE STARS, ELECTRONS AND LIGHT FLOW THROUGHOUT THE UNIVERSE. THE ADVANCE OF COMPUTERISATION, HOWEVER, HAS NOT YET WIPED OUT NATIONS AND ETHNIC GROUPS." (Opens to a computerized view of airspace, with two objects moving towards a location.)  To all patroling air units. A 208 is in progress in the C-13 district of Newport City.

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Waking Life: Director's Audio Commentary - Script

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
Description: Transcript of the Director's Audio Commentary, of Waking Life, based upon the subtitles from the DVD release. This first version will be a simple rip of the subtitles, however, as able, they will be reviewed, corrected, and supplemented, as necessary. Please see also the Waking Life Script with Revisions.

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Ghost in the Shell - Script

  • June 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
Description: Transcript of the movie Ghost in the Shell (1995) based upon a viewing of the English DVD release, using the English subtitles. I do not speak, nor understand, Japanese, so this is an American-version transcript. The first version will be based almost exclusively on a subtitle rip. As I'm able, I'll review the subtitles and supplement the transcript as possible. See also the Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence script.

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Directories to parameters with IIS 6 and wildcard redirection

  • May 29, 2008
  • James Skemp
Some parameters have been changed to protect the innocent.  This could be old news, and since I'm talking about IIS 6, I know it is. But, I just discovered the other day how to pass parameters to a file using IIS 6, a virtual directory, and a URL that contains directories below the virtual directory. So, at work I had a horrible URL like the following (ignore the invalid space): /filename.

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Dynamic user-controlled layout in a CMS

  • May 25, 2008
  • James Skemp
This article is meant to hold some of the thoughts that I've been having about allowing a user to control the layout of a page, in particular for use within a content management system (CMS). The system would need to be able to support a user creating templates easily, but hopefully without the use of tables. In the CSS Advanced Layout Module, there is a draft specification for Template-based positioning.

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Movie review: Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007)

  • May 25, 2008
  • James Skemp
The release of Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007) came as a bit of surprise to me, since I hadn't heard it was coming out (not that I generally look very hard into these things). Initial reviews seemed mixed - pretty and featuring direct John Woo influence, but no story. When I saw it was available for Netflix instant viewing, I couldn't resist. While it's true that the story is pretty simple, i.

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On New York

  • May 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
This article contains my own opinionated opinion only. Why do most crime dramas take place in New York? Why does New York, along with Hollywood, think that they are the center of the United States? Of all the states and cities, New York is probably the most ego-centric, after all, how many cities share the name of the state that they are in? (Low-blow.) What follows is more questions, than answers, that stem from my thoughts on New York.

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MSN stole your Windows 98 version of IE?

  • May 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
While installing Windows 98 Second Edition on a Virtual PC 2007 virtual machine, I was running into issues with IE being hijacked by the MSN connection wizard. In fact, they've also hijacked the Connect to the Internet shortcut on the Desktop. However, if you run icwconn1.exe from the Run menu, you should be able to connect successfully, instead of having MSN try to find a modem.

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Charter's 'no domain' hijacking

  • May 18, 2008
  • James Skemp
It should be pretty self-explanatory … Obviously, something is up with their contact form's timestamp, or the service's.  Sent: May 19, 2008 8:13:48 AM Subject: Other Internet Inquiries I understand that Charter is trying to help by providing a search page if we type a domain in incorrectly, but the redirection that occurs is out of control. Even though I've opted out via the cookie, I'm still redirected to http://www11.

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What if gas cost $10 a gallon?

  • May 18, 2008
  • James Skemp
Shirley Skeel wrote an interesting article on MSN Money titled "What if gas cost $10 a gallon?" All-in-all, pretty interesting article. I don't know about anyone else, but I've been doing what I can to save money (ignoring the fact that I bought another monitor the other day), including using more energy efficient light bulbs in all of my sockets. But I wish my gas mileage was a bit better .

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Jeff Atwood's post on MVC brings up a great philosophical question ...

  • May 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
I forgot to comment on this the other day, when I first read the post. Jeff Atwood, of Coding Horror, wrote a piece titled "Understanding Model-View-Controller" which brought forth this response from Shmork (I wish he would have posted a site): I have to admit, as someone with more philosophical inclinations, I wonder whether the stated goal of totally separating content from representation is even a good idea. Certainly no graphic designer would sign on to that theory of the world, much less a philosophically inclined graphic designer.

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Keyboard shortcuts for Visual Studio that mimic Dreamweaver

  • May 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
I like Dreamweaver. After Notepad, and various other apps like it, I used FrontPage, was scarred, and was saved by Dreamweaver. However, Dreamweaver can't handle .NET files very well. So when I moved to Windows and started using BlogEngine.NET I naturally started looking at how I could edit the source files. Visual Web Developer 2005 had been released, so ... Skipping forward, I'm starting to work with Visual Studio more and more.

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Subway makes the $5 footlongs a part of their menu - what a surprise

  • May 13, 2008
  • James Skemp
According to commercials yesterday and today, the $5 footlongs at Subway are now a part of the menu. Is anyone really surprised? While the Subway near where I work is usually very busy during lunch, it seems to be especially so now. This is after they raised the prices of their subs not once, but twice. On that note, what's up with The Feast? Seriously.

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Regular Expression tester - ASP.NET

  • May 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
I've posted code in ColdFusion and JavaScript for a regular expression tester. Since I'm looking at ASP.NET development ... here's one built on ASP.NET (3.5, but it should run fine on 2.0), in C#. RegularExpression.aspx <%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true"  CodeFile="RegularExpression.aspx.cs" Inherits="_Default" %> <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head runat="server">     <title>ASP.NET 3.5 Regular Expression tester</title>     <style type="text/css">   form {

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Review: The World as Will and Presentation, Volume One

  • May 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
The following book review is for the Richard E. Aquila translation of Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Presentation, Volume One. A brief history of my previous experiences with Schopenhauer: I first read Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation (the Payne, definitive, translation) many years ago. I've also read a number of Schopenhauer's other works (mostly done by Payne) and have tried to pick up as many other works of his as I can.

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Grisoft AVG 8.0 - Free version released

  • May 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
Ever since I was told about Grisoft AVG, way back when, I've been a heavy user. 8.0 recently came out, but a free version wasn't available. However, I was notified today that a free version of 8.0 is now available. Go get it.   Updated May 4, 2008: Updated the link. They've made it very difficult to get from the Grisoft home page to the free version's download page .

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Errata for The World As Will and Presentation Volume One

  • April 29, 2008
  • James Skemp
Hello,  I noticed a very minor mistake in Volume One of The World As Will and Presentation, translated by Richard E. Aquila. I'm of the tech-industry now, where errata is a necessary evil, so ... I thought I'd point it out, just in case any other fixes need be made in later printings/editions.  On page 396, in the last sentence of the first full paragraph, we have this text: "Someone who is carried off as a captive by brigands, e.

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M.C. Escher comes to the Playstation (demo)

  • April 25, 2008
  • James Skemp
After all the hype, I finally had the chance to actually play a demo of echochrome, the M.C. Escher-ish game that's coming out for the Playstation 3 and PSP. The first Google result, for a YouTube video, gives an excellent presentation of what the game is like. However, at least in the demo, the camera controls seem sluggish. Perhaps the Sixaxis motion control would make this easier - I haven't tried it yet.

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How to quickly hide all of the Windows Vista Ultimate language packs

  • April 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
While there's no way to hide them all at once, you can make it a short chore to hide the Windows Vista Ultimate language packs that you don't use. 1) Right-click, H. 2) Allow admin privileges. 3) Right-click, H. 4) Repeat step 3 for each language pack. It takes less than a minute.

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Suggestion to Netflix

  • April 20, 2008
  • James Skemp
Hello. FYI, I'm using IE 7, and it can be somewhat difficult to update my queue. Specifically, to change the format of the movie I would like to receive. When I attempt to change the format, I will either trigger the move 'action' instead of the drop-down, while other times I can trigger the drop-down, but can't select/change to Blu-ray format. This also happens when I try to click on a title to view more details, or perhaps play instantly.

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Review: Kong Cat ZoomGroom

  • April 20, 2008
  • James Skemp
This is a review for the Kong Cat ZoomGroom, which is a very nice brush. A similar product is available for dogs. I picked up one of these for my cat, who doesn't much care to be held, have her nails cut, etcetera. However, she loves this 'brush.' Not only goes this magically work loose the hair, but it seems to give a good massage, and does a fairly good job of keeping the loose hair on the brush.

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My Visual Studio 2008 Preferences

  • April 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
This is almost purely for my own benefit. Tools > Options (showing all settings) Environment > General  Animate environment tools (unchecked) Environment > Startup At startup: Show empty environment Download content every: (unchecked) Projects and Solutions > Build and Run Before building: Prompt to save all changes Text Editor > All Languages  Display: Line numbers (checked) Text Editor > All Languages > Tabs Indenting: Smart Tab: Tab size: 4 Indent size: 4 Keep tabs Text Editor > C# > New Lines New line options for braces (uncheck all) New line options for keywords (uncheck all) Text Editor > CSS > Format Style: Semi-expanded Text Editor > HTML Format Insert attribute value quotes when typing (unchecked) Miscellaneous Auto ID elements on paste in Source view (unchecked) All other settings are left to default.

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My Dreamweaver 8 Preferences

  • April 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
This is almost purely for my own benefit ... Edit > Preferences Code Format Indent with 1 Tab Code Hints Close tags: Never Invisible Elements Scripts Comments  Line breaks CSS dipslay: none All other settings are defaults.

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Upgrading Vista Home Premium to Vista Ultimate (right now)

  • April 17, 2008
  • James Skemp
About 30 minutes ago I started upgrading from Vista Home Premium to Vista Ultimate, using a NFS copy of Ultimate I received at the Heroes Happen {Here} event in 'Madison' (today). For the most part, everything is backed up, so it should be a painless install, no matter what happens. Five steps; Copying Windows files Gathering files Expanding files Installing features and updates Completing upgrade What's initially scary is the "Your upgrade may take several hours to complete.

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Java is silly

  • April 13, 2008
  • James Skemp
My main computer is, once again, horribly low on free space. Running through my installed programs, I once again see the wonders of installing Java. Multiple versions of 1.4, 5, and 6. Checking my new Vista machine, I have Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment 6 Update 1, but not the Java(TM) 6 Update 5 that my XP Home has. Are these really the same? Yes, yes they are (thanks for sticking with not only one versioning chain, but also one name, Sun).

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An answer to a question about Jing Project

  • April 13, 2008
  • James Skemp
I hadn't heard of Jing Project until I was asked. Here's my response: I've not seen this before, but TechSmith is pretty well known, as far as the Morae/Camtasia (?) products, which basically allow you to record videos on your computer for demo or testing purposes. It sounds like they don't even know what they want to do with Jing, but it sorta sounds like they'd want it to compete against other photo-sharing sites, like Flickr.

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Playstation 3 and the HP Pocket Media Drive

  • March 30, 2008
  • James Skemp
When I purchased my new HP a6360t, I also added in a HP Pocket Media Drive Bay, which allows me to directly connect in a HP Pocket Media Drive. In turn I'm easily able to add 160GB or 250GB of additional drive space, whenever I need it, to store various media (documents, music, photos, videos, etcetera). One thing I was curious about was whether the drive I had, a HP 160GB Pocket Media Drive, could be directly connected to my Playstation 3.

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Over 10,000 digital photos taken

  • March 30, 2008
  • James Skemp
Yesterday afternoon I took digital photo number 10,000. Between the three digital cameras that I've owned (and excluding the one that I borrowed from my sister, which was a gift from her friend Char), I've taken the following. From April 6 2005 to May 9 2007, I took 2924 photos with a Canon 300D (Digital Rebel). From May 18 2007 to March 29 2008, I took 6447 photos with a Canon Digital Rebel XT (350D).

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Are the Adobe Photoshop Express terms too tough to work with?

  • March 27, 2008
  • James Skemp
Recently the much anticipated Photoshop Express was released. However, crawling through the general terms of use there's a rather troublesome paragraph. Using the terms that are effective 3/1/2008, at http://www.photoshop.com/express/terms.html, we have the following at 8.a.: Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, derive revenue or other remuneration from, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed.

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Congrats Apple - you've gotten away with it

  • March 22, 2008
  • James Skemp
Congrats Apple - you've gotten away with it. Media 2.0 has pulled out their banners, and is waving them proudly, all the while talking talking about how Safari 3.1 is now a part of Apple Update on Windows. I'm sure what you're more excited about is that nobody is talking about ... the fact that the size of your updates is as large as the initial installer. That's right, you've gotten away with it.

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Adding .NET functionality to Windows Vista Home Premium Internet Information Services

  • March 22, 2008
  • James Skemp
I had previously covered how to install IIS 7 on Windows Vista Home Premium. This time I'll be briefly covering what you need to enable ASP.NET as well. As before, you'll want to select Control Panel from the Start menu, then click on the Programs link. Next, click on Turn Windows features on or off. Expand Internet Information Services, followed by the World Wide Web Services and Application Development Features.

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How to install Internet Information Services (IIS) 7 on Windows Vista Home Premium

  • March 21, 2008
  • James Skemp
This guide covers Windows Vista Home Premium SP1, and may differ for other versions. I'll also only be covering the basic, default, installation. A guide covering the addition of additional features, like .NET capabilities, may be released as well. While limited, Windows Vista Home Premium allows Internet Information Services (IIS) 7 to be installed with little fuss, using the Control Panel interface. First, select Start > Control Panel.

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Windows Vista SP1 installation: painless

  • March 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
Granted my machine came new with Windows Vista (Home Premium), but that doesn't nullify the fact that Windows Vista SP1 installation was a breeze on my business machine. The listing of enhancements is pretty impressive, and does much to alleviate the disappointments I had regarding certain aspects (such as the fact that SP1 supposedly changes the file copy/move functionality back to Windows XP; one of the things I really liked, once I found out about it, was that Vista doesn't keep working with the file action in the background, once the window is removed.

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Test your machine in previous versions of Internet Explorer (for Windows)

  • March 15, 2008
  • James Skemp
In the past I believe I discussed Browsershots as a great way to see what your site will look like in various browsers. However, I was looking for a quicker way to see a particular page in IE 6. After a bit of searching, I found IE NetRenderer. It only does Internet Explorer, but it does it extremely quick.

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Why do we elect judges?

  • March 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
This is the second Supreme Court judicial campaign that I've been aware of. However, the question is, why do Wisconsin citizens even vote for judges? If judges can't tell us how they would vote, why not just let them be elected by their own kind (whether that be judges or lawyers)?

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Social networks = cults?

  • March 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
Social networks = cults? From Answers.com: n. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. The followers of such a religion or sect. A system or community of religious worship and ritual. The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.

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HP w2207h audio

  • March 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
Tip: If using the HDMI cable to connect your HP w2207h to a computer (such as the HP Pavilion a6360t), you do not need to connect the monitor to the computer's audio card. Duh. If you switch this, you may also need to close out of programs, such as Internet Explorer 7, in order for them to use the correct audio device.

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HP Pavilion a6360t clean-up

  • March 4, 2008
  • James Skemp
With a new HP Pavilion a6360t, a number of things needed to be done to clean the machine up, from it's default factory setup. Uninstall Norton Internet Security (there's an uninstall option through the program's Start menu). After a restart, I still needed to go back and delete the empty directory from the Start menu. Uninstall My HP Games through the Control Panel.

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Tips on using the Microsoft Access Upsizing Wizard

  • February 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
In no particular order, here are some tips if you're using the Microsoft Access Upsizing Wizard to convert your Access database to SQL (SQL Express 2005, in my case). The tips Make sure you've downloaded the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express tools as well. When connecting with the above, make note of the server you're connecting to; you'll need this for later. For example, PAVA620N\SQLEXPRESS (that's computer name \ instance name of SQL Server).

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Using Xml4Ssp 1.3 Rev 1

  • February 24, 2008
  • James Skemp
Xml4Ssp is a Windows XML generator for SlideShowPro. While the program still needs some work, it's pretty usable as it is. Since there's no real documentation, I'll be covering how I ended up using it to generate my latest gallery. Starting folder structure I began with the following folder structure: casio_images  Pearl FullsizeImage Images Thumb The only folder that contained content was the FullsizeImage directory, in which I dumped my JPG originals.

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Can A Good Man Do No Evil? Is Zatoichi A Good Man?

  • February 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
Pre-emptive clarifications First, by a ‘good man’ we specifically mean here one who is truly good. By ‘good’ we mean one who, by their actions, attempts to decrease the amount of evil. By ‘evil’ we mean those actions which are disruptive towards a social, unified, ordered, society. For example, murder, theft and pillaging. This by no means exhausts all potential issues with the below, but if one assumes the common definitions, it should make sense.

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Quick and dirty conversions to FLV (Flash Video)

  • February 23, 2008
  • James Skemp
I purchased a Casio EX-Z1200 a bit ago, which I've been playing around with. Overall, I've been very happy with it, however, it outputs movies to the MOV format. While this seemed great for Apple, it wasn't the best for me. After testing out QuickTime Pro (7. something) and Ulead Movie Wizard 3.2 SE VCD (which came with the camera), I was about to settle for less than I hoped for.

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HP media drives - pocket versus personal

  • February 19, 2008
  • James Skemp
Hewlett-Packard (HP) offers a couple of different media drives for sale. These include the HP Personal Media Drives, and HP Pocket Media Drives. Unfortunately, based solely on their site, there's no clear indication of which drive offers exactly what. In order to determine which is which, I ended up consulting both the HP site, and Amazon.com. I did take a look at BestBuy.com, but it seems they don't sell these drives.

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Movie review: Jeff Dunham: Arguing With Myself (2005)

  • February 17, 2008
  • James Skemp
The first one is great (the cranky old man). The others have their good spots, but I wouldn't feel too bad having to shut it off after he left the stage. If it would have continued at this level through the end, it would truly have been great! See what else I've been watching through Netflix.

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Movie review: The NeverEnding Story (1984)

  • February 17, 2008
  • James Skemp
So maybe you remember watching this when you were little, or think you must have. And maybe you watched the Robot Chicken episode covering this movie. And maybe you're really tired when you decide to watch this movie. You're in for comedy gold. Overall, a pretty good movie, with a good message that won't be lost. But, older and wiser, there's just too many loop-holes, and that Robot Chicken spoof will overpower everything else.

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Determining memory, and more, with Ubuntu

  • February 17, 2008
  • James Skemp
Unfortunately, Crucial's system scanner tool doesn't work on Linux. While unfortunate, it turns out that there's an easy way to determine how much memory you've currently got, and how much you can increase that to, using a simple comand. sudo lshw That's all there is to it. This gives not only an overview of how much you've got, and how much you can have, but also what banks are in use with what, and other system-related 'stuff.

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Cisco Cache Cleaner and IE 7 on Windows XP Home

  • February 17, 2008
  • James Skemp
If you have the pleasure of running Cisco's Cache Cleaner on your home computer, you may run into an issue with your settings being set to something other than you'd prefer. While it may appear that Cache Cleaner clears out your data, it in fact only appears to turn auto-complete off. In Internet Explorer 7, go to Tools > Internet Options > Content > AutoComplete > Settings and turn the settings you want back on.

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Review: Dynex - 6' 3.5mm Stereo Extension Cable - White

  • February 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
I have a 2007 VW Rabbit, which, in the glove compartment, has an auxillary input jack. Since I also have an iPod Classic, I really wanted to be able to listen to my music in my car, using my car's speakers. On January 5, I picked up this cable. It's a cable, so there's not a whole lot that they can mess up. From what I can tell, the quality coming out of my speakers is the same as when I use by earbuds or another set of good headphones.

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Review: DLO Jam Jacket with Cord Management for the 80 GB iPod classic (Black)

  • February 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
On January 5th, I purchased a DLO Jam Jacket with Cord Management for the 80 GB iPod classic. As the title suggests, this product is designed specifically for the 80 GB iPod Classic, and therefore may not work as expected for other iPods. The quick review: Overall, this case offers a good deal of protection, and the cord management feature, if you use the standard iPod buds, is rather helpful.

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When I'm 30 - Part 1: Quick list

  • February 9, 2008
  • James Skemp
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about where I'd like to be when I get older. For as long as I can remember I've been thinking ahead - it's just the way I am. The time frame has spanned from a mere hours from the present, to a number of years. Thirty (30), though, is a pretty special kind of birthday. The fact that it's about 3 years and 3 months away for me, makes it even particularly more so.

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Firebug: Don't enable for every site

  • February 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
After a deal of searching, I've finally discovered why my Firefox browser was crashing so often. So often, in fact, that I have Internet Explorer 7 a chance (and it showed how much of a fight it can now put up). The short story: don't enable Firebug for all sites. Gmail has recently been warning about this, stating that slow-downs are likely. One config setting, javascript.options.strict, when set to true, can also cause issues with Google AdSense.

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Romney: A vote for a democrat president aids a surrender to terror

  • February 7, 2008
  • James Skemp
Special edition over my lunch break ... It seems Mitt Romney, former presidential hopeful, has withdrawn from the race. Guardian Unlimited quotes him as such: "In this time of war I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," he told the Conservative Political Action Committee As with the 2004 race, once again a Republican is stating that a Democrat president would result in the United States surrendering to terror (sadly, it doesn't look like that piece was moved over to the site, but I'll see if I can't dig it up and re-post it tonight).

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Still alive ...

  • February 6, 2008
  • James Skemp
Yes, I'm still alive, I'm just not posting ... Since Friday I've been fighting a cold/flu, and the cold weather hasn't much helped. However, last Saturday morning I was feeling better, and along with lunch, picked up a camera I'll be writing about once this cold is dead. Another camera? I've still got my Canon 350D, but I haven't used it since it's gotten so cold. I decided that if I picked up a point-and-shoot camera I'd probably take more pictures.

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Regular Expression tester - JavaScript

  • January 21, 2008
  • James Skemp
In a previous post, I posted the code I used for a ColdFusion regular expression tester. This time I've got an attempt at a JavaScript version. There's a number of TODOs, but ... <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"  "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> <html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"> <head> <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" /> <title>JavaScript Regular Expression Tester</title> <style type="text/css">  #form_help {   float:right;   font-size:.8em;   width:50%;  }  #form_results {   margin:1em;   width:45%;  }  .highlight {   background-color:#ff9;  }  #form_highlighttext {   border:1px dashed #ccc;   margin-left:1em;   width:45%;  } </style> <script type="

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Making oXygen XML Editor (9.1) portable

  • January 21, 2008
  • James Skemp
The below information is correct for version 9.1. Comments on other versions are appreciated. With flash drives becoming more and relevant, it's always good to find programs that can be run on these powerful drives. <oXygen/> XML Editor is one such program. Making <oXygen/> portable On the official site, there's a post regarding making <oXygen/> portable. However, what does it really involve? Easily enough, it doesn't involve much more than is stated in the post.

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Warhawk: Game Mode: Top 25,000(s) Analysis - 1/18/2008

  • January 18, 2008
  • James Skemp
I'm a statistics kind of guy. I like numbers, since they're logical. I also like trends, and all that. So, here's a look at the current trends for what it takes to get into the top 25k, 50k, 75k, 100k, 150k, 200k, and 300k in the various game modes in Warhawk. Undoubtedly I'll have another post like this next month, around the same time. With over 417,000 players, total, these equate to around the top 6%, 12.

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Warhawk: January 2008 goals

  • January 14, 2008
  • James Skemp
Right before Christmas of 2007, I purchased a copy of Warhawk, for the Playstation 3. I didn't pick it up until the day after Christmas (what a bad idea; I should have just purchased in store, but ...) and have played a mere 16 hours (94 games). With my total points of 1153, I'm only 113315 out of the 410195 players, world wide. Granted, that's not too terribly bad, but I need to make a goal if I'm going to apply myself.

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Regular Expression tester - ColdFusion

  • January 10, 2008
  • James Skemp
I stumbled upon some code I had written back in September, for testing regular expressions. This uses ColdFusion, and is currently 'running' on ColdFusion MX 6.1 and ColdFusion 7.0. It's a pity to not make it available, since it's such an easy template ... <!--- --- --- DESCRIPTION:  Basic way to test a regular expression. CALLED BY: ??? CALLS: ??? ASSUMPTIONS: ??? MODIFICATION HISTORY: DATE USER ACTION 09/24/2007 J.Skemp Created template.

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XML Schema article coming soon

  • January 9, 2008
  • James Skemp
The other day, after a deal of research, I decided to pick up a copy of <oXygen/>, which is "a complete cross platform XML editor providing the tools for XML authoring, XML conversion, XML Schema, DTD, Relax NG and Schematron development, XPath, XSLT, XQuery debugging, SOAP and WSDL testing." This provided to be the key to finally understanding XML Schema, or at least getting a working Schema for an XML file.

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Dragon Quest VIII: Character leveling overview

  • January 8, 2008
  • James Skemp
A guide covering the necessary experience to, and benefits of, leveling the four major characters in Dragon Quest VIII is now available. View the Dragon Quest VIII leveling overview. Comments and corrections appreciated.

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The future really is Blu ...

  • January 5, 2008
  • James Skemp
Catching up on the news, it seems Warner will be switching over to Blu-ray, exclusively, after May 2008. What surprises me is that they're just now saying that this is ending the format wars. The fact that Warner was supporting both, while Fox, Disney, Lion's Gate, MGM, and Sony were only Blu-ray (compared with Paramount and Universal going HD DVD, after Paramount was effectively paid-off) suggested, to me, that the 'war' was already over.

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Why I decided it was time to purchase an iPod

  • January 5, 2008
  • James Skemp
Years ago I said I would never buy one. Yesterday, after lunch with my mom and sister, I stopped into Best Buy and picked up a black, 80GB, iPod classic. Of course, I was hit for various plans I could join - can't blame the guy, I guess - but left with just the iPod and Stranger than Fiction (Blu-ray), since I figured it was worth the $30 to make it my second Blu-ray disc.

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XML creation: Part 8

  • January 1, 2008
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part eight I'll be expanding upon our XSLT to group games based upon the system they belong to, as well as modify our XSLT to use xsl:appy-templates. This time ... I won't be going into a recap of what I've done in all seven of the previous parts.

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XML creation: Part 7

  • December 31, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part seven I'll be expanding upon our XSLT to remove elements that are empty, and change the sort order, for our existing XML file. Last time ... Up until now we've decided what we want to store, and how we want to store it, in an XML file.

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XML creation: Part 6

  • December 30, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part six I'll be using XSLT to modify the display of the XML document's contents so that it looks like the CSS-based output. Last time ... Up until now we've decided what we want to store, and how we want to store it, in an XML file.

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XML creation: Part 5

  • December 29, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part five I'll be using CSS to modify the display of the contents of the XML document. Last time ... Up until now we've decided what we want to store, and how we want to store it, in an XML file.

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Netscape to finally be put out of its misery

  • December 29, 2007
  • James Skemp
Unfortunately, the 'Internet portal' will continue to be around, but the browser is finally being put to rest. That's the news out of AOL, on the official blog yesterday. Personally, I'm really happy to hear this, since Netscape as a browser really isn't going anywhere. Currently, it just displays content using IE or Firefox/Mozilla. Happy news indeed, and not at all unexpected. Hopefully this means that freed talent and time will be invested wisely.

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XML creation: Part 4

  • December 28, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part four, I'll be adding a DTD so our XML document validates. Last time ... Up until now we've decided what we want to store, and how we want to store it, in an XML file.

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XML creation: Part 3

  • December 27, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part three, I'll be adding the actual data that we'll start with. Last time ... In part one, I went over what kind of data would be stored in our XML document.

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XML creation: Part 2

  • December 26, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part two, I'll be creating the layout, that I think will work. Last time ... If you recall, in part one, I went over the idea of what the XML file would store, and what layout I thought it might need.

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XML creation: Part 1

  • December 25, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this guide, I'll be creating an XML file to store the Playstation games I own, and ultimately make the XML file 'pretty' for Web browsers. I've done this in the past, with my vehicle gas XML document. In part one, I'll be going over the idea and a layout that I think will work. The idea The XML file that I want to create should be able to store all of my Playstation games.

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BlogEngine 1.3 upgrade issues

  • December 24, 2007
  • James Skemp
There's been quite the party for the last 30 minutes or so. BlogEngine 1.3 was released a couple of days ago, and I finally upgraded. Unlike what I should have done, I upgraded my live installation first. Yikes. For some reason, all of the permissions on the sub-folders and files was lost. Since web.config couldn't be accessed, the site went down - hard. After a bunch of Google searches, and no solutions, I started pressing buttons.

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Who really wins when ads are added to free content?

  • December 22, 2007
  • James Skemp
Ramblings at this point. I probably won't clean them up, but I might.  Ars technica has a post, Microsoft patent could force downloaders to view commercials, regarding advertising before the playing and/or downloading of online content. Microsoft's patent application, titled Enforcing Advertising Playback For Downloaded Media Content, describes systems that are based both on tokens and DRM which would prohibit playing a media file unless its accompanying advertising is viewed.

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The 'Four P.T. Anderson Films' weekend review

  • December 21, 2007
  • James Skemp
Thanks to Rob Lumley, I'll be watching four different P.T. Anderson films over the extended holiday weekend. Brief comments on the first film watched, below. Hard Eight (1996) Interesting. In more than a couple of places, I was reminded of Jackie Brown. Lots of dialogue, but even more quiet, giving an emphasis to not only what is said, but what is not. It's slow, which may turn some away, but the story of Sydney is interesting all the same .

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Marcus Theatres drops the ball on Sweeny Todd

  • December 21, 2007
  • James Skemp
Well, I missed this when it first came out, and only saw it while trying to find show times for tomorrow ... Milwaukee, Wis., December 13, 2007..... Marcus Theatres Corporation, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), today announced it was not able to reach an agreement with Paramount Pictures on the film cost of the new motion picture, Sweeney Todd, which will be released by Paramount on December 21, 2007.

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Movie review: Stranger than Fiction (2006)

  • December 18, 2007
  • James Skemp
I watched the Blu-ray version of this movie. Other editions may play differently, although since I don't discuss the audio or video components of this film, my review will stand as-is. This is, by far, one of the most wonderful films I've seen in a very long time. While I haven't been much of a Will Ferrell fan in the past, this movie has truly opened my eyes to just how great of an actor he really is.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: I. Transcendental Doctrine of Elements: Second Part. Transcendental Logic: Introduction

  • December 17, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes to the Introduction of the Second Part (the Transcendental Logic) of the Transcendental Doctrine of Elements of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the months of December 2007 and January 2008, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith. The following article covers pages 92 to 101 of this edition.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: I. Transcendental Doctrine of Elements: First Part. Transcendental Aesthetic: General Observations and Conclusion

  • December 16, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes to the General Observations on, and the Conclusion of the, Transcendental Aesthetic, of the First Part (the Transcendental Aesthetic) of the Transcendental Doctrine of Elements of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the months of December 2007 and January 2008, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith.

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2007 VW Rabbit - 10,000 miles

  • December 13, 2007
  • James Skemp
A while ago, I posted a link to an XML file that contained my vehicle's gas information. Since my vehicle recently turned over its 10,000 mile, I figured it was time to post the link again. View my vehicle's gas information.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: I. Transcendental Doctrine of Elements: First Part. Transcendental Aesthetic: Space and Time

  • December 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes on Section I and II, on Space and Time, to the First Part (the Transcendental Aesthetic) of the Transcendental Doctrine of Elements of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the month of December 2007, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: I. Transcendental Doctrine of Elements: First Part. Transcendental Aesthetic: Introduction

  • December 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes on the Introduction to the First Part (the Transcendental Aesthetic) of the Transcendental Doctrine of Elements of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the month of December 2007, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith. The following article covers pages 65 to 67 of this edition.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Introduction

  • December 3, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes on the Introduction of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the month of December 2007, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith. The following article covers pages 41 to 62 of this edition. Having now covered the two Prefaces, we find ourself at Kant's Introduction to the Critique of Pure Reason.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Preface to Second Edition

  • December 2, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes on the Preface of the second edition of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the month of December 2007, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith. The following article covers pages 17 to 37 of this edition. There's quite a difference from the first edition's Preface to the second's.

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Notes on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: Preface to First Edition

  • November 30, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are notes on the Preface of the first edition of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. For the month of December 2007, I'll be reading the Critique and writing notes as I go. For all citations, I am using the edition published by Palgrave Macmillan (ISBN 1-4039-1195-9), and translated by Norman Kemp Smith. The following article covers pages 7 to 15 of this edition. According to Kant, human beings find themselves asking questions which can be neither ignored, nor answered.

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Playstation 3 and the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Boardband Router

  • November 24, 2007
  • James Skemp
While I initially hooked up my Playstation 3 a week ago, when I was posting to the official PS forums today, my second post, I was doing so to recommend a version of the router I'm using. Since both items are pretty popular now, it makes sense to write up a quick guide on them, I suppose. My equipment First off, there's my setup. I've had pretty experiences with Linksys, but poor experiences with Netgear, so Linksys I am.

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10 random reasons why I bought a Playstation 3

  • November 21, 2007
  • James Skemp
Reason #1 Mr. ROFL. Reason #2 I already own a Playstation and Playstation 2. When I can get a machine that will play those games, why wouldn't I keep with it? After all, the Playstation has never failed me. Reason #3 Free online play. With wi-fi support built-in. Reason #4 Heavenly Sword. This was the first real Playstation 3 game I played. With the trailers, I was expecting a Devil May Cry kind of game, but wow.

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Sony Bravia KDL-32M3000 comments: 2 weeks later

  • November 17, 2007
  • James Skemp
In the beginning of this month, I purchased a 32" Sony Bravia. In the two weeks that I've had the television, I've run into a couple of things that I would like the television to offer. In no particular order, they are listed below. Better volume detection Maybe it's because the speakers are better on this tv than my old one, but there's definitely an issue with commercial versus programming volumes.

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Game Informer and the Xbox 360 / Playstation 3 debate

  • November 11, 2007
  • James Skemp
In this world, there's a number of people who get paid for playing video games. I am not one of those people. This is a good reason to trust the people, with a grain of salt, when it comes to said video games. Recently, I've been trying to decide between an Xbox 360 and a Playstation 3, for my next-gen console, since we all know that the Wii isn't next-gen.

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Thoughts on primary and secondary sources

  • November 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
Recently, Gavin Schmitt asked me what my thoughts were on philosophy books about philosophers. Does that ever bother you, by the way? Philosophy books about other philosophers? Either you read it ahead of time and you don't know what the hell the author is talking about, or you read it afterwards and you end up not recalling the exact passages the author is referring to. It's like you need a FIRM grasp on the material to appreciate a book on the philosopher, but if you have that firm grasp you probably don't need to read the book (besides as a refresher).

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W3C extended log format fields and IIS 6.0

  • November 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
In a previous article, I gave an overview of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) extended log format, in relation to Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0. This time, I'd like to cover what each field provides, again in relation to IIS and a Web site, for statistical and debugging purposes. What fields are available Again, we've covered what fields are available in the W3C extended log format in a previous article.

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A brief overview of IIS 6.0 and the W3C extended log format

  • November 3, 2007
  • James Skemp
In Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0, you can choose to use a number of different formats for your access logs. Access logs contain information about what files are requested, whether the request was successful or not. Of all the available formats, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) extended log file format is by far the most flexible format available, as you can select the information that you would like to log.

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My new television, the Sony Bravia

  • November 3, 2007
  • James Skemp
Today I purchased a new television, to replace my tried-and-true Philips 20". After a couple of months of research, and etcetera, I decided to go with a Sony Bravia. Since my previous television was a 20", purchased back during my sophmore or junior year of college, and still using 'tube' technology, I figured it was time to upgrade, especially since I've been watching more movies via Netflix, and am planning on purchasing one of the current next-gen video game systems (P3 or 360).

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Gavin Schmitt: Questions and Answers 1

  • October 31, 2007
  • James Skemp
In January and March of 2005, I asked Gavin Schmitt, of The Framing Business and Gavin War Journal, a number of questions. Those questions, and the respective answers, have been posted below. Since his answers may have changed since early 2005, I'll be adding any additional comments he may have to the answers below. 1) I'm about to read your writings - why should I? In all honesty, you probably shouldn't.

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Perceptions of Immanuel Kant Before a Reading of the Critique of Pure Reason

  • October 30, 2007
  • James Skemp
In 2003, I received a bachelor's in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin: Green Bay. During my four and a half years at Green Bay, I studied a deal of philosophy, without ever really deciding that I'd go for a degree in philosophy; philosophy was actually meant to just satisfy the necessary requirement of picking a degree in my sophmore year. Nonetheless, gradate with philosophy I did. During those years, I studied a number of philosophers, some more than others.

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Review of The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick

  • October 28, 2007
  • James Skemp
I'm a fan of PKD, but this documentary fails in a number of major areas, making it almost useless in its scope. First of all, the animations that are used in place of slides are annoying beyond _, but I suppose if they trimmed those up they'd only have an hour of play time. The music reminded me of Assault on Precinct 13, and while it wasn't too bad, it was utterly diabolical when it was close to drowning out the interviewed individuals while they spoke.

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How I began listening to Bruce Springsteen

  • October 28, 2007
  • James Skemp
Years and years ago I was young. My father had moved out of his parent's house by this time (meaning the time I'm recollecting on), and had possibly lived at at least one other place. Anyways, he ended up living at my Uncle Pat's place. I don't recall the first couple of visits to the place, but I remember the place well enough. Recollections of the place itself will have to wait, though, since that's not what I wanted to speak about.

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Log Parser SQL query syntax (high-level)

  • October 25, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following is a high-level look at Log Parser's (version 2.2) SQL syntax. This does assume that you understand the specifics of each part, but for those that do not, this will be covered in a future tutorial. (This is more for my use.)  Bolded elements are required for any valid query, whereas the other elements are optional. SELECT USING INTO FROM WHERE GROUP BY HAVING ORDER BY Again, details about the specific parts, with real-world examples, will be covered in a future tutorial.

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The Daily Show is now available online

  • October 19, 2007
  • James Skemp
One of the view things I miss about cable is The Daily Show. Thankfully, I can now get my fix, as well as catch up on older shows, online, legally. The archives are available from the Show's Videos area. Among the gems is this one on the recent healthcare veto: Headlines - Kids' Healthcare Veto. The short commercial at the beginning and end are fairly non-obtrusive, save when they cut into the end abruptly.

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Audio formats posted, once again

  • October 15, 2007
  • James Skemp
A while back, I ended up recording a number of my pieces using the free Audacity software. However, the files soon disappeared from the Web. These have been added to the respective posts, and are once again available for download. Use the listen tag to find the articles. At this time, it looks like there are just three, but more will be added.

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BlogEngine.NET Theme - MWRT-002

  • October 13, 2007
  • James Skemp
Updated for BlogEngine.NET 1.3! Not a very original name, but I can see how it was created … Anyways, I’m proud to present another theme for BlogEngine.NET, called MWRT-002. This theme is based upon the template of the same name by MyWebResource, and made available on Open Source Web Design. A zip of the theme can be downloaded from my testing site at JamesRSkemp.net. Download the zip file - for BlogEngine.

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Two things you can learn watching tv adverts

  • October 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
#1 comes to us courtesy of Visa If you use cash, people will hate you. (Yes, I did pull out the emphasis.) #2 comes to us courtesy of Wal-Mart If you save money, the best thing you can do is spend that money on something that costs more than you saved.

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My first job offer email

  • October 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
It's definitely a form email, with some major spacing issue. However, the email itself is pretty concise and to the point. ColdFusion development, in California. I like the first line, "It is time to come out and join the rest of the people escaping the cold." but they clearly don't know me. If anything, I'll move further north :D Thankfully, I'm pretty happy where I am now, although it looks like I'll be pulling in a deal of extra hours this week.

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Determining which IIS 6.0 Application Pool belongs to which application

  • October 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
In IIS 6.0, you can setup Application Pools for each of your sites. My knowledge of the exact benefits of this is somewhat lacking, but what I do understand is that these help applications (Web sites) stay within their own bounds, and prevent them from having a bad effect upon each other. For example, if one application is preforming poorly, as long as it's not a server-wide issue, the other sites on the server will be impacted minimally.

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Template changed again (October 2007)

  • October 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
Once again, I've changed the template for the site. This time I'm using Royal Flowers. The name comes from the purple flowers (taken outside of Madison Wisconsin's capitol building (see the Galleries for more shots) and that purple usually signifies royalty, or richness. I'm not sure that the left-side navigation has been done the best it could be, but ... overall I'm pretty happy with it.

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Log Parser script: Percent of status codes across all hits/requests

  • October 1, 2007
  • James Skemp
Note: This article was written using Log Parser 2.2. Therefore, while it may work for a different version, it may not. The following SQL can be used by Log Parser to generate a chart with the total requests (for a day, month, or year) and what percent each status code is of those requests. An example chart can be found at the end of this article. First, I assume that the below is put in the same directory as the logs you would like to parse.

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Swan Dive updated for BlogEngine.NET 1.2 release

  • September 30, 2007
  • James Skemp
BlogEngine.NET 1.2.0.0 has been released. In 'honor' of this release, I've updated Swan Dive, using the Standard theme as a guide. Any questions or concerns can be directed to me via the comments on the original post. View the original post, and download Swan Dive.

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI - Year 2

  • September 29, 2007
  • James Skemp
I had previously written on how Netflix shipped and received DVDs, for Madison WI. This article continues that one, by discussing Year 2 with Netflix (first year began September 26, 2006). Plan changes On December 2, 2007, I decided to upgrade to the two at-a-time (unlimited) plan. Since my plan begins on the 10th of each month, that means I had to pay an extra $1.26 to upgrade now, instead of for the next month (I figure this way they'll send a movie out tomorrow morning).

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Review of Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think: 2nd Edition (with notes)

  • September 28, 2007
  • James Skemp
As it promises, Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think: 2nd Edition, is a quick, but extremely usable, guide to Web usability and design. The book took me less than a day to read (less than 3 hours total over the days of September 26 and 27, of 2007), but has become, in my mind, a requirement for even beginners (like myself) of Web design. Since everyone who develops for the Web should have some idea of design and usability, this book should really be a mandatory requirement for said work.

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My worst fear has come true

  • September 24, 2007
  • James Skemp
Yes, that's right, my worst fear has come true. Not only did I get a girl pregnant, she also had my baby and is spelling my name wrong. Or, when I signed up for something online, they must have thought that I have a child. Or, Mr. James Skamp had a child. I guess my child is about 12 months old now - I don't know if it's walking yet though - but Huggies seems to think it's using diapers (hence the coupons).

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Paranoia Agent Prophetic Vision Comparisons

  • September 23, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following is a comparison of the English-spoken and English-subtitled Prophetic Vision segments of Paranoia Agent. An analysis of said segments may will be included in this article, or in a future article. Where differences are present, the text is parenthesized, along with either -s or -e; -s means that the text is present in the subtitles, but not the spoken version, while -e means that the language is present in the spoken version, but not in the subtitles.

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Brief notes on marriage and children

  • September 22, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are merely notes that will eventually be expanded upon in a longer article. For most of us, from our earliest days we are taught that one day we will become an adult, get married, and have children. Depending upon where you grow up, what your parents think of higher education, and what their thoughts are regarding said education, going to college may also be a part of the prescribed future.

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How to ensure that performance counters continue after a restart

  • September 19, 2007
  • James Skemp
A few days ago my server was restarted in the early morning hours. I had been logging network and processor usage using Windows built-in performance monitoring, but when the server restarted, the logs did not. A bit of research later, it appears that there is a way to have Windows restart the logging after a system restart. To enable this, it seems you just need to have the log stop after a certain amount of time (for example, after x hours, or x days).

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Using Log Parser to find users accounts used to log into an FTP site

  • September 13, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following Log Parser query can be used on FTP log files in order to determine what user names were used to login, or attempt to login, to an FTP site. logparser "select cs-uri-stem, count(cs-method) from ex*.log where cs-method like '%USER' group by cs-uri-stem order by count(cs-method),cs-uri-stem"  This assumes that you've added Log Parser to your path, and that you're running this from your log file directory.

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Log Parser queries to find 400 and 500 http status codes

  • September 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
Note: This article was written using Log Parser 2.2. Therefore, while it may work for a different version, it may not. In a previous article, I discussed how to use Log Parser to find 404 errors in IIS log files. This time, I've made it a little broader, by giving some queries to find all 400 codes, and all 500 codes, through log files. There may be a better way to find these codes (instead of my IN statement), but a standard LIKE doesn't seem to work.

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Compiling BlogEngine.NET source with Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition

  • September 5, 2007
  • James Skemp
The follow covers how to compile BlogEngine.NET from the most recently available source code. This was originally posted to the Codeplex discussions for BlogEngine.NET, and will eventually get moved into the wiki. (Update Sept 8, 2007: Added to the BlogEngine.NET wiki, but not yet linked from other pages. Also made a minor change to step one.) Compiling source with Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition 1) Download the current source code from the Releases tab or the Source code tab on CodePlex.

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Is it really that simple - redirecting a single file on IIS

  • September 2, 2007
  • James Skemp
For various reasons, I've been working towards migrating from an Apache server to an IIS one for my sites. For Gavin's site, I couldn't get away with it, but I don't have any problem making things more difficult for myself :D However, this means that old URLs may not be working as they should. My experience with IIS is a working knowledge of it, and therefore I know what I need to know, picking up what I can.

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New header image added to the template (9/1/07)

  • September 1, 2007
  • James Skemp
On July 7, of this year, I went to the farmer's market off of the Capitol square, in Madison. I picked up some sunflowers and a bunch of flowers. I ended up taking a number of pictures before the flowers eventually died, and the picture I used for the new header image is one of those taken. The file size for the image is rather large, in my opinion, but with today's speeds, it shouldn't be an issue.

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Brief thoughts on detached hands

  • August 24, 2007
  • James Skemp
Question: Is my detached hand me? Id est, if someone were to cut my hand off and place it on a table, could one say that that hand is me (James Skemp)? I reply: A part of me, yes. But, so too is the rest of my, otherwise whole, body. So, saying "this is x," where 'this' refers to a part of 'x,' no matter what the part, is the same, in some sense, of saying that of any other part.

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Review of David Woodruff Smith's Husserl

  • August 23, 2007
  • James Skemp
In January of 2002, I bought a copy of the two volume set of Logical Investigations for a college course regarding major figures in philosophy, or some such. Later that year I picked up a copy of the Ideas, for another course, the next semester. Unfortunately, Husserl remained something of a mystery to me, despite having attempted to make my way through his primary works. With Husserl, part of Routledge's new series of introductory works on Western philosophers, David Woodruff Smith attempts to give an overview and analysis of what makes Husserl such an 'influential philosopher.

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What I can say about New York (City)

  • August 19, 2007
  • James Skemp
I've never been to New York City, at least, not that I can recall. However, media has, for various reasons, touched upon the city in a number of formats, in a number of ways, for a number of years. Without having ever been to New York City, I can say the following about it. Stay out of New York City. Common wisdom is right, New Yorkers are less human than people in other cities.

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Persona 3 Shuffle trick

  • August 18, 2007
  • James Skemp
I've spent a couple of hours, the last couple of days, playing Persona 3 (Playstation 2). After winning certain battles, you can get a 'shuffle' mode of two or three cards (at least, as far as I've gotten). So, you see what the cards are, they turn over, and then they're shuffled. They are all usually good, but just to different degrees; for example, you might already have what one of the card would give, and you've been getting real crap for what another card would give, .

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Future post/article ideas

  • August 16, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following are some of the ideas I have for articles that I'll need to actually flesh out, or sit down and write. This page will be updated as articles are eventually written (and removed from this page) or as more ideas are added. ColdFusion MX 8 installation (added 8/16/07) 'Marriage and children' (added 8/16/07) The economic, political, and social reasons, and whether they still hold ground today Husserl and intentionality/phenomenology

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Pepsi Ball released in San Francisco; injures 20, kills 1

  • August 13, 2007
  • James Skemp
At approximately 2:30 Sunday afternoon a Pepsi Ball was spotted around 10 Market St in San Francisco. The Ball, which eventually killed Noah Ridge, 27, continued on it's rampage in the area, striking multiple vehicles. By the time the rolling rampage was over, $250,000 in property damages, 20 injured, and a nation lies in shock. At the time of this article, Pepsi Co. refused to return our calls. Our assesement? Pepsi, fitting its marketing, once again show contempt for those outside of its shareholders.

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Where have all the XML validators gone?

  • August 7, 2007
  • James Skemp
It seems the XML Validation service is down/unavailable/what-have-you, and many of the other XML validators just don't seem to work. However, Validome has a pretty good service. You have to make sure you grab the right language, but, other than that ... I've got my XML file - http://jamesrskemp.net/vehicle_gas.xml - validating with a DTD, but my attempts at getting a schema to work failed pretty hard .

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On Love - Thoughts from movies

  • August 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following quotes are from movies. At the moment, it's just the two, but, more shall surely come. Look. The supermodel's a beautiful girl, Will. She can make you dizzy, like you've been drinking Jack all morning. She can make you feel high for the greatest commodity known to man - promise, the promise of a better day, the promise of a greater hope, the promise of a new tomorrow.

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On Love - Thoughts from others - Bruce Springsteen

  • August 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
I've been a fan of Bruce Springsteen since I first listened to the album Born in the USA (on cassette), way back, many, many years ago. Most of the music/songs that I enjoy are because of women, but Bruce Springsteen is one of the few artists that I enjoy because of a man. In this case, my father had the tape, but it was women who gave the music true meaning.

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On Love - Thoughts from others - Harlan Ellison

  • August 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
Harlan Ellison is one of those authors who not only writes interesting things, but is also quite an interesting character himself (like Chuck Palahniuk, and Philip K. Dick). One of Ellison's major themes is love. He's written a good deal about it, and while I'm doing my research on love, I couldn't exclude Ellison. What follows are quotes from Ellison's pieces that reference that thing called love .

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Horrible interaction: The Names Database signup form

  • August 5, 2007
  • James Skemp
Gavin sent me an invitation way back in June to join The Names Database. This morning, having received the final reminder email, I decided to signup. However, it seems that I have to invite 5 people (5 people who have never been told about this service) before I can join. Don't know 5 people?  Sorry. You can try adding fake people, but chances are someone already tried those ([email protected]

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Find 404 errors using Log Parser

  • August 4, 2007
  • James Skemp
Note: This article was written using Log Parser 2.2. Therefore, while it may work for a different version, it may not. The following code will generate a listing of calls that generated a 404 error. logparser "SELECT cs-uri-stem, cs-uri-query, date, sc-status, cs(Referer) INTO 404report.txt FROM ex.log WHERE sc-status = 404 ORDER BY date, cs-uri-stem, cs-uri-query" This assumes that you've currently got a command line open in the folder containing your IIS logs, and that you are logging the above information, as well as that logparser is setup in your PATH line.

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If you're not in Google, you're probably dead

  • July 29, 2007
  • James Skemp
A few weeks ago, I believe, a coworker and I were talking about Google, in particular, how he happens to search for people, he once knew, online. Of course, I don't think I know anyone who hasn't at least done this once (even if that individual they searched for happened to be themselves). The question is, is it true that, if someone can't find a record of you online, that you're dead?

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Microsoft's Log Parser 2.2

  • July 29, 2007
  • James Skemp
Year’s ago, Microsoft released Log Parser 2.2, which is a tool for analyzing IIS log files, event viewer exports, and etcetera. There’s a Professor Windows article from May 2005 which covers Log Parser, to some extent, and the download is available from Microsoft. Unfortunately, it’s all command line, but it seems interesting enough, nonetheless. I would have liked to have used AWStats (and probably still will), but I just didn’t want to bother with the config file today.

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Initial thoughts on The Hospice

  • July 28, 2007
  • James Skemp
I had occasion today to read The Hospice, by Robert Aickman (1914-1980). This story was in the collection Masterpieces of Terror and the Supernatural (selected by Marvin Kaye). Unfortunately, I had to go to Google to try to make sense of the story, since Kaye himself suggests that the meaning is rather obscure. A simple G search turned up a result at some site, which itself is rather odd .

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Still having problems adding a photo to my gravatar account

  • July 27, 2007
  • James Skemp
While I've been able to create an account, and upload an image to that account, I can't seem to be able to associate that image with my Gravatar account. Somewhat troubling, especially since support doesn't seem to want to get back to me ... A couple of days ago I decided to sign up, but if this is what I can expect, I'm glad it's a) free and b) that I've turned it off for my site.

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BlogEngine.NET 1.1 Theme - Swan Dive

  • July 25, 2007
  • James Skemp
Updated for BlogEngine.NET 1.3! Update 8/16/2008: This theme should work fine on BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5 or lower, using the 1.3 link. I’m proud to present a theme for BlogEngine.NET (tested with 1.1) called Swan Dive. This theme is based upon the template of the same name by Homefront Studios, and made available on Open Source Web Design. While this is technically my third theme for BlogEngine.NET, it’s the first for public consumption.

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Gmail and Firefox 2.0.0.5 - issues with JavaScript?

  • July 24, 2007
  • James Skemp
Over the past couple of days I've noticed issues with the Inbox view of Gmail being extremely slow on Firefox (2.0.0.5, the current version). Disabling JavaScript makes the load much faster (naturally), but even switching to Internet Explorer (7) works (with JS on). With Firefox 2.0.0.5 already having a security issue, I wonder if updating was a good decision in this case. Perhaps 2.0.0.5 was released a bit too quickly?

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Mini-review of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society

  • July 21, 2007
  • James Skemp
My GitS: 2nd Gig knowledge is a bit rusty, so Solid State Society is definitely going to be one of those 'need to watch it at least twice' movies. It seems the movie takes place after 2nd Gig, and therefore, outside of the realm of the other two movies. For two years the Major has been working outside of Section 9, which seems a bit off, since I was under the understanding (perhaps just from the movies) that if they quit, they forfeit pretty much everything .

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Helpful Dreamweaver regular expressions for BlogEngine.NET

  • July 21, 2007
  • James Skemp
While looking for posts, in the App_Data/posts directory, I needed a find and replace for the title of the posts.  It's a simple query, and here it is: <title>[\s\S]*</title> Note: This post is probably more for me than anyone else ;) 

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WordPress 2.2.1 Import/Export function problems

  • July 18, 2007
  • James Skemp
I had the 'opportunity' today to import a WordPress blog from one server to another. While WordPress 2.2.x no comes with built-in functionality to export, and then import, an XML file, I've found that it's anything but simple and trustworthy. It seems that there may be a built-in limit to the amount of posts that can be imported. For me, I had to do an initial import (the XML file was approximately 2.

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Image thumbnails - blindingly fast on Ubuntu (vs. Windows)?

  • July 17, 2007
  • James Skemp
I'm at work, just finishing up my lunch period, and I'm really wishing I had access to my Ubuntu machine right now. The reason? I just put in a CD of 200 images - one of my backup CDs - and was hoping to get a quick glance at what images were contained on the CD. However, Windows was crawling through the thumbnail generation. Adobe Bridge isn't much faster (but is what I ended up going with).

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BlogEngine.NET 1.1 released

  • July 16, 2007
  • James Skemp
I'm really excited about this (since it fixes a few bugs that have had an impact on me). Find out more at www.dotnetblogengine.net/ Now that 1.1 has been released, I'm going to be actively looking at theme creation; I've got mine, of course, but I've got some ideas for others as well.

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A spaceship explodes in space, with one of two components to blame - Part 1

  • July 14, 2007
  • James Skemp
A space ship launches, and while in space, it explodes. Let us assume we can see all possible reasons it could have exploded, and we find that there is an equal chance for one of two components to fail, which therefore would have caused the explosion. In either case, the end result would have been the same, down to the smallest particle. In other words, not even a god could discern any difference between the conclusion of the explosion; everything is exactly in the same place in either case.

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BlogEngine.NET Theme - StrivingLife (almost done)

  • July 14, 2007
  • James Skemp
I've almost completed converting the WordPress theme to a BlogEngine.NET theme. The only hard part is when BlogEngine.NET (or ASP.NET) restricts write access to the CSS file. In these cases I have to tweak the CSS file using Firebug. It's a bit of a chore, since BlogEngine.NET compresses the CSS file so much (which is a good thing, in the long term), but since I'm also changing the file locally in Dreamweaver, it's just a matter of copying and pasting (over the Firebug CSS content).

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BlogEngine.NET - now used by StrivingLife

  • July 13, 2007
  • James Skemp
With a new host, comes a unique move. Previously I was using WordPress, since I was hosted on a Linux (shared) server. Fortunately, I've decided to move to a Windows VPS, since the month of June was full of either slow down, or completely down, times. Since I don't want to install PHP and MySQL (which I would want to pay for the external dbs anyway), I've decided to switch my content out of WordPress.

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[Personal] New glasses

  • July 12, 2007
  • James Skemp
After a good number of years, I've finally got new glasses ... I don't know how long I've had my previous frames, but I believe I put two different lenses into them. Part of the reason is I don't care too much about my glasses - I just want glasses that work. So, I went to Lenscrafters and worked with Candace (sp?), and with some assistance from my sister, I picked up two pairs; one pair of regular, and one pair of sunglasses.

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Philosophical thoughts - 7/10/2007

  • July 11, 2007
  • James Skemp
The following thoughts are from approximately 10:20 last night. While I'd like to believe that technology is good, part of me believes the opposite. So close are they, in fact, that I can make no decision one way or another, try as I might. While it's true science can heal us, all too often life itself is placed above the reason for life - the reason to live.

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An interesting monologue overheard - July 8, 2007

  • July 10, 2007
  • James Skemp
This weekend we went down to the Capitol for Madison's farmer's market on the square. While walking towards the square (the streets surrounding the Capitol building) I overheard a glimpse of a man's speech. While I only heard part of, and I have no idea what was going on before or after the conversation, it sounded quite like a monologue. The gist of his speech was that there's a fight to give illegal immigrants legal status in America.

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Quick review: Parasite Dolls (2004)

  • July 6, 2007
  • James Skemp
With over 6 hours left of instant watching time left, all that needs to be used before the 10th of the month, it was time for another movie ... This time it was the 2004 film Parasite Dolls. I knew nothing of the film before I watched it. In this anime adventure, androids with knock-out bodies and personalities have begun to take over every area of society.

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Quick review: Dominion Tank Police (1989)

  • July 5, 2007
  • James Skemp
I watched Dominion Tank Police this evening, from Netflix. It's four acts, each consisting of about 35 to 40 minutes of movie (which includes approximately 1 1/2 minutes of opening and ending credits. What really attracted me to the movie was Masamune Shirow, who created not only this series, but also Appleseed (the newer one is more interesting than the original), Black Magic M-66 (which I haven't yet seen) and Ghost in the Shell (great movies and interesting shows).

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The new Striving Life Network

  • July 2, 2007
  • James Skemp
StrivingLife.com is now open for business. It's very basic at the moment, but ... eh. Now I've just got to start migrating the sites over to the new server ...

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See ya, Ubuntu!

  • June 26, 2007
  • James Skemp

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New gallery added: June 23, 2007

  • June 24, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Ubuntu Quickie: MySQL and PostgreSQL passwords

  • June 23, 2007
  • James Skemp
Another Ubuntu Quickie, this time on the default passwords for MySQL and PostgreSQL. MySQL mysql -u root UPDATE mysql.user SET Password = OLD_PASSWORD(’password’) WHERE User = ‘root’; FLUSH PRIVILEGES; \q PostgreSQL sudo -u postgres psql template1 ALTER USER postgres WITH PASSWORD ‘password’; \q

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Reference: PostgreSQL 8.2 commands on Ubuntu

  • June 23, 2007
  • James Skemp

Below are the PostgreSQL 8.2 commands on Ubuntu.

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Don't let my recent posts confuse you

  • June 18, 2007
  • James Skemp
... I'm not an Ubuntu-only user yet (unlike some people I know).  Granted, I like using it, since I've believed, for some time, that if you want to run Apache, you can't really run it on Windows ... (Granted, I'm having a really difficult time trying to stick to my guns with Apache, versus IIS, but ... well, more on that in the future.) I will probably blow this current box away and re-install Ubuntu, without the Windows partition, and doing a lot more building from source, for example, for Firefox.

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Quickie: Install Apache 2.2.4 on Ubuntu

  • June 15, 2007
  • James Skemp
May not be the best, but ... here's how I installed Apache 2.2.4 on Ubuntu (7.04), based on David Winter's guide Building Apache 2.2 from source for Ubuntu Dapper. All code from a terminal, unless otherwise noted. sudo apt-get install build-essential cd mkdir src cd src I downloaded zlib from http://www.zlib.net/ (zlib source code, version 1.2.3, tar.gz format) into the src folder, and extracted it to the same.

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Safari, now available for Windows

  • June 12, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Eclipse SDK 3.2.2 to Ubuntu 7.04

  • June 12, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Review for Sin: The Movie (1999)

  • June 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
Review for Sin: The Movie (1999); given 2 of 5 stars. These characters were completely new to me (at least, from what I can recall). Needing to burn some ‘Watch Now’ time, I decided to give this a look, and was quite disappointed (even though I wasn’t expecting much). After 15 minutes, I was ready to quit, but I figured it couldn’t get any more confusing and decided to stick with it; I should have stopped.

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New gallery posted

  • May 21, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Upgrading my digital camera

  • May 18, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Birthday greetings

  • May 14, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Picture resolution requirements for prints

  • April 28, 2007
  • James Skemp

What follows is, for more my own information than for anyone else, is a listing of common print sizes, and the approximate resolution a photo must be in order to print well and acceptably.

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The saddest story

  • April 22, 2007
  • James Skemp

Humble reader, what is the saddest story?

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The State of the Web - A Trailer

  • April 22, 2007
  • James Skemp

“It's true that I have some of my best thoughts at night ... or at least, so they then seem.”

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Cho Seung-Hui Against All: On Societies Need to Ostracize the Ill

  • April 20, 2007
  • James Skemp

“These wars, famines, floods and quakes meet well-defined needs. Man wants chaos. In fact, he’s gotta have it. Depression, strife, riots, murder, all this dread. We’re irresistibly drawn to that almost orgiastic state created out of death and destruction. It’s in all of us. We revel in it. Sure, the media tries to put a sad face on these things, painting them up as great human tragedies. But we all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world, no. Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers.” - Waking Life

Unfortunately, I haven’t kept up all that much with the recent (April 17, 2007) shootings in Virginia. However, I’ve seen and heard a disturbing trend, namely the dehumanizing and ostracizing of the shooter, Cho Seung-Hui. Quite frankly, this is disturbing.

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2001?

  • April 15, 2007
  • James Skemp

Unlike most sites that use blogging software, I use mine simply because it's the easiest way to post the content I write (even if upgrading is a pain in the neck). Ditto for Gavin's The Framing Business.

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How GameStop can become exceptional

  • April 7, 2007
  • James Skemp

I was recently asked to complete a survey after a purchase from a local GameStop.  When asked how GameStop could be exceptional, I replied with the following:

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More comments in WordPress 2.1.2

  • March 25, 2007
  • James Skemp

I noticed the other day that after upgrading to WordPress 2.1.2, many of the ads that the AdSense-Deluxe plugin was adding were not getting really getting added.

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Solar-powered desk fans?

  • March 25, 2007
  • James Skemp

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The Biological Imperative : or argument I get into

  • March 24, 2007
  • James Skemp

The following article was written by Robert Wood, and is reprinted here with his permission. As such, Robert Wood retains all copyrights on this piece. Comments to Robert about this article can be left below (no registration required).

Pink mice and Hank

I frequently find myself in an argument that to many appears to be one of splitting hairs. That is the discussion of atheism, that I am atheist, not AN atheist.

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New style applied

  • March 18, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Installing Apache 2.2.4 to a Windows-based computer, locally: Part 1

  • March 17, 2007
  • James Skemp

In February 2006, I wrote an article covering the installation of Apache 1.3.34, which can be found on my site, StrivingLife.net. In August 2006, I covered the installation of Apache 2.0.59. This time, I'll be covering the installation of the current version of Apache 2.2.x, Apache 2.2.4, to a Windows XP machine, for the purpose of local development.

While I'll be covering an installation of Apache 2.2.4 that will work along with Apache 1.3.x and Apache 2.0.x, this guide will work equally well if you're installing Apache 2.2.x by itself.

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Search engine spamming sites: Bloobee.com, swicki, and eurekster?

  • March 14, 2007
  • James Skemp

I've got Google alerting me to a number of search words of relevance to me; my domain names, my name, etcetera. Unfortunately, as has happened before, a site using pieces of my content showed up in Google's results for one of my phrases.

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Updated DST happens - nothing else

  • March 11, 2007
  • James Skemp

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The Wiki

  • March 6, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Two things re: the Today show

  • March 3, 2007
  • James Skemp

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The major failing of Akismet ...

  • February 25, 2007
  • James Skemp

The major failing of the Akismet plug-in is that you can't determine which IPs, if any, are spamming your site the most.

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Online backups?

  • February 23, 2007
  • James Skemp

I was reading an article the other day, which was discussing a companies backup plan. It's suicidal for companies, in this day and age, not to have some kind of backup plan in place (and, most importantly, tested). Yet, for home users, especially those with important documents on their computers, it's almost approaching suicidal.

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The cause of the salmonella outbreaks?

  • February 18, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Schopenhauer's Prefaces to The World as Will and Representation

  • February 11, 2007
  • James Skemp

Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung) went through three editions in Schopenhauer's lifetime, and accordingly there are three prefaces, one for each edition. The first was written in 1818, the second in 1844, and the third in 1859.

Today I'll be looking at the preface of each of the three editions, and providing an analysis of what he has attempted to get across within each.

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Google shortening it's name in AdSense?

  • February 11, 2007
  • James Skemp

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Arthur Schopenhauer's books in Samtliche Werke

  • January 28, 2007
  • James Skemp

In this article, I'll be covering the five books that compose the German Sämtliche Werke, published by Suhrkamp.

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The WordPress calendar is a table

  • January 15, 2007
  • James Skemp

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"Open" is to "close" as "start" is to:

  • January 15, 2007
  • James Skemp

Q. "Open" is to "close" as "start" is to:

(a) "stop"
(b) "end"
(c) "finish"

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Google SketchUp 6 released (?)

  • January 9, 2007
  • James Skemp
I thought Google SketchUp had been released for public consumption before, but ... Google SketchUp 6 is available in both a free, as well as a pay Pro version, and it's quite impressive. Having played with other tools, like Rhino3D, this is significantly easier, but seemingly on-par, at least for rectangular objects. Go to http://sketchup.google.com/ for more information. While you're there, take a look at the number of bonus packs available, all of which are seemingly free.

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Final Fantasy XII - Loot listing

  • January 7, 2007
  • James Skemp
There's a handful of guides out there that list the available loot in Final Fantasy XII (for the Playstation 2). However, none of the ones that I've seen collect the information in a form that's both printer friendly, and in a format that makes checking things off simple. To that effect, I've created a five page PDF that allows you to easily check of the number of loot you've sold, and what you've left to find.

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2007: A Year of Possibilities, Part 1

  • December 31, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Algorithms or human judgement? Give me logic

  • December 23, 2006
  • James Skemp
Earlier today, it was noted in the news that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is working with Amazon on a search engine.  This new engine supposedly will use human judgement to weight results.  Naturally, sources are saying that this engine's competition is Google.  While Web 2.0 has some good things going for it, this is one of the silliest ideas I've heard of in a long time. First, DMOZ anyone?

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Terragen&trade; 2 Technology Preview to be released December 15

  • December 15, 2006
  • James Skemp
Development on Planetside Software's Terragen&trade; has been extremely slow in the last couple of years.  While new versions and news were coming out at a semi-steady pace years ago, visible development dried up. All that changes on December 15 (possibly) with the release of the Terragen 2 Technology Preview.  It's almost 7:30 CST, which means December 16 in a number of parts of the world, and there's no sign of the download yet.

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Review of 'Ajax for Web Application Developers' by Kris Hadlock (2006)

  • December 13, 2006
  • James Skemp
The short stick: New to Ajax? You may want to look elsewhere ... I've been working on the Web for a handful+ of years, but save for a brief stunt back in the late 90s, I haven't had much use for JavaScript (with the exception of a few one/two-liners). As such, I came to this book as a new-comer to Ajax. I also like to learn by way of example, instead of explanation, so code examples are a big plus, if not a requirement.

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WordPress: Fake user registrations

  • December 11, 2006
  • James Skemp
For the past couple days I've noticed a rash of fake user account's being created.  I wonder if this isn't meant to be some new way to possibly exploit WordPress. I've kept the original emails I received from WordPress, and am very tempted to delete the accounts.  However, WordPress only seems to allow the deletion of accounts.  What if I want to 'ban' an account/username/email? I suppose I'll have to go find a plugin, or build one myself.

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Try Netflix free

  • December 6, 2006
  • James Skemp
As stated in another post, Netflix shipping, for Madison WI, I decided to give Netflix a try.  I'm still with them, and I've watched a number of movies, that I may otherwise have had to purchase or rent elsewhere. For a limited time, you too can try Netflix for free.  Go to www.netflix.com and enter the code of Friend63.  This offer expires on June 30, 2006, but I do hope that means June 2007 .

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UW Madison map - Ruby?

  • December 2, 2006
  • James Skemp
There's a very cool interactive map for the University of Wisconsin Madison campus. You can see it at map.wisc.edu. In other news, hopefully I'll have some photos of my new car, a 2007 VW Rabbit that was built just for me.  My previous car was a 1987 VW Golf, which makes my new car 20 years newer.  Not too bad for my second car. With just a little luck (not very much at all), the Rabbit should last 20 years as well.

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Upgrading PHP (4.4.2 to 4.4.4 and 5.1.4 to 5.2.0)

  • November 26, 2006
  • James Skemp

In this article, we'll be upgrading PHP on our local, Windows, Web server. In previous guides we installed PHP 4.4.2 as well as PHP 5.1.4, both on the same machine, with the ability to switch as we like. However, we've yet to cover how to upgrade either installation (and upgrading is definitely a need).

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PHP Forum Software Showdown Part 6: phpBB

  • November 25, 2006
  • James Skemp
It's that time again. This time, we'll be looking at phpBB. “phpBB is a high powered, fully scalable, and highly customizable Open Source bulletin board package. phpBB has a user-friendly interface, simple and straightforward administration panel, and helpful FAQ. Based on the powerful PHP server language and your choice of MySQL, MS-SQL, PostgreSQL or Access/ODBC database servers, phpBB is the ideal free community solution for all web sites.” Lot's of features, so let's get to it.

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PHP Forum Software Showdown Part 5: PunBB

  • November 24, 2006
  • James Skemp

Almost there. This time, we'll be looking at PunBB. First, I did donate to PunBB development some time ago. At the time, I liked PunBB, and received some great support. It's been sometime since that time, so I don't know how things stand.

Anywho, “PunBB is a fast and lightweight PHP-powered discussion board. It is released under the GNU General Public License. Its primary goals are to be faster, smaller and less graphically intensive as compared to other discussion boards. PunBB has fewer features than many other discussion boards, but is generally faster and outputs smaller, semantically correct XHTML-compliant pages.”

In this article, we'll be installing PunBB version 1.2.14, which is the latest version, as of October 15, 2006.

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PHP Forum Software Showdown Part 4: MyBB

  • November 22, 2006
  • James Skemp

This time, we'll be looking at MyBB. “MyBB is a powerful, efficient and free forum package developed in PHP and MySQL. MyBB has been designed with the end users in mind, you and your subscribers. Full control over your discussion system is presented right at the tip of your fingers, from multiple styles and themes to the ultimate customisation of your forums using the template system.”

In this article, we'll be installing MyBB version 1.2.1, which is the latest version, as of September 27, 2006.

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PHP Forum Software Showdown Part 3: Simple Machines

  • November 21, 2006
  • James Skemp

Curiously, in late-September 2006, Simple Machines Forum turned three (it had been three years since 1.0 beta 1). That's curious because the current stable version of Simple Machines is 1.0.9, and there's a 1.1 RC3 out as well (as of late-October 2006).

In this article, we'll be installing Simple Machines version 1.0.9, so we can compare it to the other PHP forums that we've installed, or will be installing.

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PHP Forum Software Showdown Part 2: Vanilla

  • November 20, 2006
  • James Skemp

While the Vanilla forum's are fairly unknown, it's been around for a little over a year. “Vanilla is an open-source, standards-compliant, multi-lingual, fully extensible discussion forum for the web.” The version we'll be installing, 1.0.1, was released in late-August 2006.

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PHP Forum Software Showdown Part 1: bbPress

  • November 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

A relative new-comer, bbPress “is forum software with a twist from the creators of WordPress”. The first public version, 0.72, was released in mid-October 2006, and the version we'll be installing, 0.73, was released a couple of weeks later. Downloading bbPress is fairly easy, since there's only two options – one for the installer in .zip, and one in .tar.gz.

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PHP Forum Software Showdown

  • November 18, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Movie review: Princess Mononoke (1997)

  • November 15, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Three reasons Microsoft Firefox is a hoax

  • November 14, 2006
  • James Skemp
Three reasons Microsoft Firefox is a hoax, in order of when I spotted them. 1) "it's better now ... like seriously ..." 2) Site Ground banner in the bottom left corner. 3) Create a better video, eh? Microsoft doesn't need to reuse the same video they used elsewhere. 4) Free email address?  How 90s/early 00s ... The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/11/14/ms_firefox/ Microsoft(R) Firefox | We've Made it Better

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ColdFusion MX 7 hosting, for free?

  • November 12, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Slight disturbance in StrivingLife.net and FramingBusiness.net

  • November 11, 2006
  • James Skemp
Due to a MySQL server going down, much of the content on StrivingLife.net and The Framing Business was unavailable yesterday and today. What saved me was this little command, since one of my tables was locked (Gavin got off lucky). REPAIR TABLE wp_posts use_frm

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Post election wrap-up

  • November 8, 2006
  • James Skemp
First, is good to see Doyle re-elected.  Related to this, thanks to Gavin for the information he provides on Green. Second, it's unfortunate that Wisconsin has decided to make a constitutional amendment to "provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.

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Make sure you vote next Tuesday

  • November 5, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Review: Outlaw Star: Vol. 1: Disc 1

  • November 4, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Movie review: Gangs of New York (2002)

  • November 1, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Movie review: Yojimbo (1961)

  • October 27, 2006
  • James Skemp

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It's time to grow up - Why IE 7 means we all win

  • October 25, 2006
  • James Skemp
Earlier today I ran across an article titled "IE7 vs. FireFox: Why Microsoft Lost the Battle," which stated at the end that "All in all, IE evolution is not impressive at all. It will still have one advantage though: after installing/reinstalling XP or Vista, IE7 will be the first and only browser used to download Opera, BonEcho or FireFox…" Unfortunately, this article, as well as the numerous other articles that state that Microsoft's IE 7 is 'too little, too late,' are way off base, which is quite the good thing.

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Movie review: The Departed (2006)

  • October 22, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Movie review: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

  • October 20, 2006
  • James Skemp
While it's true I probably should have watched 2001: A Space Odyssey a long time ago, I've just gotten around to watching it.  Unfortunately, perhaps I should have watched it sooner and have been done with it. While visually stunning, I'm having a hard time finding any substance behind the movie that I can really grasp.  All-in-all, I've given 2001: A Space Odyssey a generous three stars, since while I'm sure it was amazing when it first came out, it's, I hate to say it, kind of boring.

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Know thyself - or - On the examined life

  • October 18, 2006
  • James Skemp
In Gavin Schmitt's 2006 essay Should We Examine Life?, Gavin attempts to arrive at some solid decision on the two following questions, "Is there value in examining our lives and the world around us? Is there value in ignoring our selves and our world?", having come to this questions based upon Socrates' claim that "the unexamined life is not worth living". However, while Gavin attempts to answer these questions, and perhaps succeeds, he opens himself up to an even larger question, which will be the topic of this essay.

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Movie review: North by Northwest (1959)

  • October 17, 2006
  • James Skemp
For many years, North by Northwest is a movie that I have wanted to see, if not consciously, then certainly at the back of my mind.  Other than the somewhat sappy ending, North by Northwest was one of the best movies I've seen in a very long time. Directed by Hitchcock, this movie truly put me on the edge of my seat.  The ending was quite a surprise, and the movie has aged extremely well in the over 40 years since it's release.

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WinMerge 2.6 released

  • October 16, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Movie review: Ran (1985)

  • October 12, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Comments on the first 2006 Gubernatorial Debate in Wisconsin (9/15/2006)

  • October 8, 2006
  • James Skemp

I've wanted to watch the debate for some time, so, after the one on Friday, I decided it was time to take a look for some video. I did find a copy of the first one, from WisPolitics.com, so here's my comments on the debate.

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Installing Python on a local Windows-based, Apache, server

  • October 7, 2006
  • James Skemp

In this article, we'll be installing Python on our local server via ActiveState's ActivePython. You can download the current version of ActivePython (2.4.3.12), as well as a select number of previous versions, from http://www.activestate.com/Products/ActivePython/

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Photoshop is fun!

  • October 5, 2006
  • James Skemp
Duh. Unfortunately, much like Google Video, you can get sucked into the program and end up spending hours (2 and a half in my case) goofing around, getting nothing of real value done. Of course, that begs the question of whether experience, as experience, is of any value. Do we, simply by experiencing, benefit? I suppose when it comes to use a technology, like Photoshop, any experience is a good experience.

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'If you surf around, you're bound to run into nothing but junk ...'

  • September 27, 2006
  • James Skemp
So, the Isthmus picked up my post on Netflix.  That's very nice of them (I wonder how it was picked up?).  In the course of looking over the Isthmus' site, I noticed another post title "Dear City of Madison" Ouch. Reading his post first, and his profile second (which included his location), the title of this post came to mind. Years ago, when both my sister and I were living at home, we'd fight, as siblings under one roof and with only one TV, often do.

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Netflix shipping, for Madison WI

  • September 26, 2006
  • James Skemp

Over the next couple of weeks, at least, or over the next couple of months, if I'm happy with Netflix, I'll be posting here information about where I received my Netflix movies from, what kind of turn-around I've received, and etcetera. My hope is that this information will be beneficial to other Madison folks who may be interested in Netflix.

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My first video to Google Video?

  • September 25, 2006
  • James Skemp

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Is it past time for Microsoft to open IIS?

  • September 23, 2006
  • James Skemp
There's a reason PHP and Apache are so popular on the Web. It's the same reason that most beginner's, especially those that have no formal training, start with these technologies. In a word, both technologies are not only open source, but free to use. With the right guide, a user can be up and running with Apache and PHP in a couple of hours. Unfortunately, Microsoft's IIS (Internet Information Services) is something that few home-grown Web users have the honour of using.

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Installing Subversion and TortoiseSVN to a Windows XP, Home Edition, SP2, local machine with Dreamweaver 8

  • September 16, 2006
  • James Skemp
The Subversion aspect has been updated for Windows Vista. So too has the TortoiseSVN installation. The Dreamweaver aspect has not been touched. I also have an article about using Subversion.  When projects become large, or you have the need to keep information on what files you’ve modified, for any coding project, you may look for some kind of version control system. There’s software like Microsoft’s SourceSafe, but that can be costly, and according to some, it’s a clunky solution.

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Firefox 1.5.0.7 released today

  • September 14, 2006
  • James Skemp
Firefox 1.5.0.7 was released today.  Once again, I found out about this by seeing a site mention it, instead of my browser notifying me ... Ah well.  It's recommended that you download, so go do it!  Note that the partial download failed for me.  Firefox actually had to download a 6.1 MB file to update Firefox, instead of the under 600 KB file it initially downloaded.  While I was at it, I checked my Extensions for updates, which I also recommend you do as well.

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Version control systems - any suggestions?

  • September 14, 2006
  • James Skemp
Version control is something that I've been interested in for the past several months (actually, what month is it, September? I guess it's been longer than just a couple of months) but that I haven't been able to dig into as much as I'd like. Subversion keeps coming up as a good piece of software, with the addition of Trac. Since I wrote the guide to installing Apache 2.0.x a bit ago, I have no reason for not getting started with Subversion.

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Dreamweaver 8 as a MXML IDE?

  • September 7, 2006
  • James Skemp
I've spent the last couple of hours trying to get Dreamweaver 8 to begin to function as a MXML IDE. Unfortunately, while I can get every <mx: tag added to the code hints, I'm having a heck of a time getting the actual code hints to function. The small tutorial that Macromedia (and truly it was Macromedia at the time) provided isn't very helpful at all. CodeSnipers.com (link below) has some information on using Dreamweaver 8 a Ruby IDE, but since Ruby appears to be so function based .

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Lynx for Win32

  • September 5, 2006
  • James Skemp

Courtesy of Jim Spath, you can download Lynx 2.8.5rel1 for Windows here.

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Determining 3D Distances and Angles

  • September 4, 2006
  • James Skemp
Near the top of one of the sections in the POV-Ray™ 3.5 manual there is a quote about wishing that past mathematical formulas were remembered, or something to that effect. I too wish I had remembered what I had learned in some of my past math classes, but after a bit of research, I have begun to work on some of the information that I have forgotten. Here is one of those areas.

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This could be a commercial (Schopenhauer)

  • September 1, 2006
  • James Skemp

Arthur Schopenhauer's Sämtliche Werke (5 paperbook collection)

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Installing Apache 2.0.59 to a Windows-based computer, locally: Part 4

  • August 28, 2006
  • James Skemp
In the previous three parts of this guide, we setup Apache 2.0.59 and then created the necessary connections to use ActivePerl, mod_perl, ColdFusion MX 6.1, ColdFusion MX 7.0.2, PHP 4.4.2, PHP 5.1.4, MySQL 4.1.18, and PostgreSQL 8.1.3. This time, we're going to bring everything together by creating a number of batch files to fairly easily switch between various Web server setups. What is a batch file? A batch file is basically a way to run a number of Windows prompts at once.

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Installing Apache 2.0.59 to a Windows-based computer, locally: Part 3

  • August 26, 2006
  • James Skemp
In Part 1 of this Apache 2.0.59 guide, we setup Apache 2.0.59 on a Windows XP SP2 machine. We also setup Perl and mod_perl, attempting to mimic our Apache 1.3.34 install. In Part 2 of this Apache 2.0.59 guide, we setup ColdFusion MX 6.1 and 7.0. This time, we'll be continuing in our quest by adding support for both PHP 4 and PHP 5. In previous guides, we installed PHP 4 and PHP 5, so if you need to install either one, do so with the above directions.

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Installing Apache 2.0.59 to a Windows-based computer, locally: Part 2

  • August 25, 2006
  • James Skemp

In Part 1 of this Apache 2.0.59 guide, we setup Apache 2.0.59 on a Windows XP SP2 machine. We also setup Perl and mod_perl, attempting to mimic our Apache 1.3.34 install. This time, we'll be continuing in our quest by installing ColdFusion MX 6.1 and 7.

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Installing Apache 2.0.59 to a Windows-based computer, locally: Part 1

  • August 22, 2006
  • James Skemp
In a previous article, I described how to install Apache 1.3.34 to an average home computer, running Windows XP. Since then, only Apache 1.3.35 has been released that would allow me to update my guide, even though the current 1.3.x version is 1.3.37. There's also a desire on my part to use Apache 2.0, even though my host has not yet begun using them. For that reason, I'll be walking through a second installation of Apache on a home computer, so that both Apache 1.

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Who you are, versus who you may have been

  • August 20, 2006
  • James Skemp
"'Tis always better to be who you are, then to strive after who you may have been." Which is to say, if you ever have the chance to go back and change certain events in your past (as in, time travel), do not take it. The you that you could now be is not the you that you have become. In fact, the you that you may have become may be worse off than the you that you are, no matter what you may now believe.

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 17: Control System

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[17 Control System]

"'Who can gaze into the mirror without becoming evil? A mirror does not reflect evil, but creates it.'"

"Poetics, now? We're running low on ammo."

"'Thus, a mirror bears a glimpse, but not scrutiny.'"

===

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 16: The Ship

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[16 The Ship]

(Batou busts into the ship from above.)

"I'm in. Forward the vessel data. Download complete. You got my vision in your sites?"

"Recording now. Wouldn't miss my mentor's assault."

"You're a real smart ass."

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 15: Undersea

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[15 Undersea]

(Batou goes under the water. He grabs onto a dolphin.)

"I've made contact with the escort."

"Roger."

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 14: Kim's Mansion. The 4th Encounter

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[14 Kim's Mansion. The 4th Encounter]

(Togusa:) "Are we actually back in physical reality?"

(Batou:) "There is no way to distinguish reminiscence from true memory. Whatever they are, they can only be analyzed after the fact. The passage of time itself can't be stored, so it's tough. And inevitable, now that our e-brains share external memories. Do your wife and daughter, waiting for you at home, really exist? Or are you, in reality, still single, living in some cheap rented room, only dreaming of that family. Don't you want to verify what actually happened back there?"

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 13: Kim's Mansion. Again and Again

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[13 Kim's Mansion. Again and Again]

(We're back outside, and Batou and Togusa turn towards the building, hearing a shot.)

"Here goes!"

(The girl is gone, but there's the number '2501'.)

"Batou!"

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 12: Kim's Mansion. Again

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[12 Kim's Mansion. Again]

(Continued from the previous chapter.)

"Kim chose to become a complete cyborg. That was his reason. He bounced around between Special Forces and Electronics, and got into black market weapons. His reputation turned to shit. Wound up your garden-variety hacker."

"Sounds like quite a story."

"No matter how far a jackass travels, it won't come back a horse."

(Batou pauses.)

"What's wrong? Lets go."

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 11: Kim's Mansion

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[11 Kim's Mansion]

"He used to be a long-range military scout. 'Unfit as a commander, unfit to be commanded, fit only to languish by the wayside.' He bounced around between Special Forces and Electronics, and got into black market weapons. His reputation turned to shit. Wound up your garden-variety hacker."

"Sounds like quite a story."

"Yeah, but no matter how far a jackass travels, it won't come back a horse. His downfall came when his reach exceeded his grasp. Let's go."

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Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence - Scene 19: Togusa's House

  • August 19, 2006
  • James Skemp

[19 Togusa's House]

(Batou's dog comes out, and runs towards Batou. He stoops and picks him up.)