Month: July 2007

Balloons Off Broadway

I had a really good time yesterday at Grove City when Jonathan and I went to see Balloons Off Broadway. This is an annual event where hot air balloons are launched, tethered “rides” in a balloon are available, a band plays and then a night glow is performed. 

After a couple of quick geocaches, we settled in to watch the balloons being prepared. Eventually we decided to just start taking photos instead of just waiting from our spot so we had a good 30-40 minutes taking photos as the balloons were prepared and launched. After that we jumped in the car and caught up with the balloon chase vehicles and hoped to get some pictures of the balloons landing. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get close enough but it was great fun joining in the convoy of people following the balloons and getting some photos on the way. Fortunately I had got my 2 way radio with me so we set it to scan and listened to the conversations between the balloonists and the trucks which was very funny. It was a bit disconcerting when one of them said the battery on his radio was about out and he would have to resort to hand signals – I would have been a bit concerned if I was a guest in the balloon and heard the operator say that!  There were also some pretty funny comments about the landing sites chosen and apparently someone’s basement was really awesome.

We then headed back to the launch location for the glow – it wasn’t as spectacular as I hoped but still fun to watch. I managed to get a couple of fairly decent photos – it was the first time I’d even done night shots like this so there was a lot of experimenting. In the meantime, the band The British Invasion were playing and they were pretty good. They play covers of various British bands such as the Beatles and play all over Ohio – well worth seeing them if they play near you.

Pictures of the event are at my Balloons Off Broadway gallery and a few highlights at my Flickr gallery. Finally a video of a balloon being inflated (along with the hissing of the air) and a backing track of “I get by with a little help from my friends” which I thought was quite appropriate uploaded to YouTube (below)

gmail antispam broken?

Why is it that gmail seems to be incapable of blocking the emails that start “Hello! I am bored tonight. I am nice girl that would like to chat with you”. It’s not like its a difficult phrase to detect and not something that is likely to be used in everyday emails. I would have thought that marking 99 (or more) of these as spam would have clued the antispam engine to make sure that these emails don’t get delivered to my mailbox.
Update I checked my spam folder this morning and I actually had about 4 or 5 of these emails in the spam folder (amongst the other 350 spams) so maybe it is working (now). Deleting the 20,000 spams that were in the spam folder previously made it hard to work out which were new spams. It would also be nice if marking an email as spam would tag it slightly different so you could tell which was taggedspam and which was detectedspam.

Blank Firefox Bookmark toolbar (and web developer)

For some reason my Firefox Bookmark toolbar was blank, yet going to bookmarks, Bookmark toolbar folder showed all of the links there so the data wasn’t completely gone. Doug has a solution of restoring the default set which didn’t work for me until I disabled all extensions (using MrTech’s install extension), restarting firefox, right clicking the empty toolbar, selecting customize and then clicking Restore Default Set. That brought back all the links to the Bookmark toolbar. I then enabled all extensions, restarted firefox and everything is almost fixed. I still have an issue with Web Developers Toolbar being blank and if I click Restore Default Set I loose all the links again.

msgina event 1010 errors

Finally managed to solve an issue that has been bugging me for months. A user was logging onto the Terminal server but two of their network drives would not connect as part of the login script. However doing a net use and providing username and password in the prompts would connect (which is how they’ve been connecting for a while). Logging into a local pc worked fine, but logging in via terminal services always had this problem – so it had to be something to do with the roaming terminal service profile.
Eventvwr was showing events Userenv 1030 – Windows cannot query for the list of Group Policy objects, Userenv 1006 – Windows cannot bind to domain (Invalid Credentials), MsGina 1010 Failed to set the user’s home directory,
I tried debugging using KB221833 which gave me 43 pages of logs to read through.
Eventually I logged into the Terminal server as the user, went into control panel, stored passwords and lo and behold – there was someone elses username (and password). Deleted this stored account, logged off and back on again and got all their network drives connected.
control keymgr.dll is a shortcut to this screen that users might be able to use to clear this themselves.

Software Assurance E-Learning?

Has anyone managed to get their Software Assurance E-Learning activated for their organization for more than one person? I was interested to see a side comment from Susan Bradley, an SBS MVP who also can’t get E-Learning working One of my customers gets the message “Access Code is over its user limit. Please contact your training benefits coordinator or HR representative for further assistance” when they try to access the site. They have a 50 user licence, and I only have 1 licence signed up (mine when I set the whole thing up). 3 times Microsoft have told me the problem has been fixed and asked for screenshots when I’ve told them it still isn’t fixed and EXACTLY the same error message appears on screen. The last time I was asked for my passport username and password which was pretty unbelievable. I refused to give them mine, but I did set up a new user who was requesting the training but hadn’t set up a passport account yet as there wasn’t much point as the training site wasn’t working. Anyway, I gave them this userid and password and they told me they had fixed it. If they had bothered to actually test the problem they would have discovered that they hadn’t fixed it.
This SA E-Learning is touted as a free benefit, so far it’s cost a lot in time spent chasing Microsoft and having to tell the users that No, it still doesn’t work yet.
Also you are meant to get an update on the case every other day via email – I’m lucky if I get one a week.

Flickr can read EXIF data

I uploaded a couple of pictures to the Geotagged Ohio flickr group and then got a comment on the photo requesting me to geocode the photo. This was a surprise to me as I’d already encoded the photos with wwmx so was expecting Flickr to have already coded the pictures. It turns out that you have to enable exif data import before you upload photos. Afterwards, any new pictures will automatically get uploaded.
Update See also my post on locr that is a new alternative for geotagging your photos prior to uploading to flickr.

Onenote export to web

A very cool OneNote Powertoy to export a OneNote Notebook to a website looks like a great must-have for publishing data to those unfortunate people who don’t have OneNote. I’ll be installing this on Monday and will try uploading a small notebook to see what the output looks like in IE and firefox.
I’ve used OneNote for several years and now have at least 4 of my colleagues using it on a daily basis as it is just so useful for gathering customer related information into one place. Just showing them the features such as audio notetaking,the offline functions and collaboration doesn’t take long to get them to see the potential and start using the software. The only problem we now have is that it is an extra storage location for customer data – we now have a OneNote Notebook per customer, a directory on a file server containing word files etc and the Lotus Notes Database with information. Sometimes it takes longer to find the data as you now have to remember where you stored it. This could be stored all in OneNote but for people who don’t have OneNote that wouldn’t be very useful and heaven forbid we use anything other than Lotus Notes! Thanks Daniel