August 2008 - Posts

Using LinkedIn as an email collection tool

Thanks to Holly Carinci and Jack Weatherell over at The Elans you might find it a little harder to make it only The ZMan's LinkedIn contact list.

I'm not 100% sure how Holly ended up on my contacts list, I dont recall meeting her and she's not in my address book so it may have been one of those 'Hi there I'm in the industry requests' that I used to allow in if they seemed interesting.

But in the last month I've had 6 unsolicited emails about the Elan awards. As I've mentioned before I give out a different email address to each company I work with and so it's pretty obvious that they are using the one they got from Linked In. Today they sent me 3 so I was forced to send them a reply asking to be removed from all of their lists and also removing Holly from my contacts.

I can't find anything on the LinkedIn user agreement that forbids people from using contact information commercially in this way (though as always 90% of that agreement is legal gobbledygook) so I am guessing they don't care.

So I have been and removed several 'friend collectors' from LinkedIn and I'm down to people I have actually met, or spoken to extensively online. I'm also a little worried about the groups now as the owners get to see your contact information - not sure if everyone else does too.

So if you DO know me well enough (i.e. you worked with me, chat to me about XNA/DirectX or other game development related things) then feel free to invite me: Andy Dunn (aka The Zman) on LinkedIn

Oh I'm on Facebook too - but thats for personal friends only. Don't be upset if I ignore your request - I have too many people sending me stupid plants for my garden as it is. Andy Dunn (aka The ZMan) on Facebook.


Hey web pages designers quit moving the focus...

I've noticed a recent trend of web pages that set the focus control to a sensible place but do it after the 3-4 seconds it takes their page to load. This means that if *I* have already moved focus you steal it back from me.

Live login is the prime offender. The page displays, I click in the password field because my email address is already there and half way through my typing the webpage finishes loading, fires the Loaded event and the stupid jscript moves the cursor to the username field and I type most of my password for the world to see. Bad enough at home but worse on my laptop somewhere.

So web designers - The ZMan says enough:

  1. Make your pages fast enough that they load and fire the event quickly. Heck if google can do it I'm sure the rest of you can make things a little more minimalist. I know this means you arguing with those people who don't understand technology and think that a web page is "the same as a magazine" but your job is to make my life easier.
  2. Check to see where focus is. If its NOT where you expect then do nothing - it means the user already did it
  3. Just stop it - we lived for years without this, it won't kill us to press tab.


Outlook or Vista not indexing? Check your power options!

Over the past few weeks (months?) I've noticed my searches in outlook getting worse and worse for accuracy. Oven more odd the searches are always accompanied by the:

"Search results may be incomplete because items are still being indexed. Click here for more details"

When you click you get the indexing status box (also available from Tools/Instant Search/Indexing Status) which always tells me there are 40,000+ messages to index. Quite worrying but not enough for me to do anything. Well today I couldn't find a piece of email which means me getting some money so I felt obliged to fix it.

There's various fixes out there Exchange System Management Tools breaks indexing or Rebuild the index on your computer. None of these worked for me. I even hit "restore defaults" which deletes the index and forces a reboot. I did notice that when I hit rebuild it always said "Complete" right away. Even more annoyingly it would then say "0 items indexed" and to really rub it in "Indexing speed is reduced due to user activity"

Googling for that final phrase found this: Power Options stops indexing. I checked my power settings and it was on balanced. I switched to Power and as soon as I did the index count started going up. I guess at some point in the past I had decided to be a little green and one of those settings convinces the indexing service to do ABSOLUTLY NOTHING. This wouldn't be so bad if there was any other way to search in outlook. At least Windows explorer will drop back into slow mode where it actually looks in the file but outlook just DOES NOTHING BUT SIT ON ITS HANDS while telling you that the search results at STILL incomplete. What a horrible design flaw. At least in the indexing status box put a message that says "Al Gore has decreed that indexing is bad for the dolphins so we stopped doing it".

Anyway now I have 9000 items indexed and a few of them appear to be my outlook emails since that count is now down to 33,000ish. Lets hope I put all the right keywords in here so that others can find it a bit quicker than I did.

(Yes I know that's a lot of email - I'm a VERY popular guy you know)

BEST. MEAT. EVER. (and Blueberries)

J & I popped out to Cle Elum last Friday - we were helping out with a race series called Street Scramble. You never know what the traffic is like so we headed out early and arrived with enough time to eat. Cle Elum isn't a very big town so its always hard to know which restaurants are the ones to eat at. Boy did we luck out.

After driving around we settled on Mama Vallones which serves mainly Italian food but has some steaks and prime rib. I decided to get the 8oz prime rib which was around $20 or so. Seems like a bit of a cheap price so I was not expecting the menu claims to hold up:

Indulge yourself with some of the best prime rib you'll ever taste.  The Midwest Angus beef is aged a minimum of 21 days.  We prepare each rib by expertly trimming excess fat.  We season with our own homemade seasoning salt.  The ribs are then roasted in our special ALTO SHAMM Prime Rib Oven for a controlled period of time then served to you at its best-almost fork tender and very juicy.  

But I was wrong. Damn that was probably the finest prime rib I have ever had. I'm used to picking the fat and chewy bits out (too many Vegas buffets - I know its my own fault).

Now you know The ZMan loves to rant and reserves his praise only for the very best. So if you are ever in Cle Elum and you enjoy eating a nice bit of cow then remember that ZMan's Food Guide gives Mama Vallones 250 stars!!! (out of a maximum 256 - I'm a geek what do you expect)


And while I'm in a praising mood I feel the urge to also point out that Blueberry Hills Farms at Lake Chelan gets a spiffing 200 stars for their blueberry pies (and big points for a funny menu and website). Just the thing you need after doing a Triathlon.





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