Eric Richards Typing!
Saturday, February 28, 2004

Munichand Linux: "Ballmer chuckles over Linux Woes."  Reminds me of when a bunch of us programmers we're pulled together for a presentation including Total Cost of Ownership.  A company or a government agency with Office ends up spending a small amount for the actual software.  A lot of money goes into installing, maintaining, and upgrading that software.  That's why Office is supposed to have a simple upgrade story (no reboot required) and can't go touching system files (to do such would be a worrisome risk that some customers will understandably balk at).  We provide value not only by providing useful features but also by being easier to maintain.

So going for free software doesn't mean you're saving a big bundle of cash.  It's going to cost you more with-respect-to maintenance and most likely with-respect-to lost productivity and effectiveness.  There's zero reason for a business to actually do this unless they can develop a better business by being on Open Source (how many raised hands are there out there for that?).

So it comes down to being political or some other choice beyond economics.  Interesting quote from Ballmer:

"The people who are making political decisions instead of business decisions, we're going to lose some," said Ballmer. "The people who are making business decisions based on where are the applications, what is the value, what is the lowest cost of ownership, we're not losing them.

"For us, anything that becomes a political issue, nobody wins them all on merit."

Eric Richards.



Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I have to say, this upcoming movie is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long, long time: 

Immortel -- A live-action Enki Bilal movie!

The 9MB teaser and 35MB trailer are here, and I think this is already my new favorite movie.



Monday, February 23, 2004

 InfoPath 2003 SP1 Preview released today!  Locations:

· for the main preview.

· for a Visual Studio plug-in to help make managed code business logic authoring easier.

Some of the new features (ones close to my team's hearts bolded):

  • More control choices, including Master/Detail, File Attachment, Recursive Section, and Choice, as well as custom-authored controls..
  • Better schema support, including built-in support for schema changes.
  • Printing improvements, including page breaks, margins and print settings.
  • Improved e-mail deployment of sandboxed solutions and auto-updating of trusted solutions.
  • Better management and categorization of solutions.
  • Tablet PC support improvements.
  • Increased support for rules and roles for declarative business logic.
  • Enhanced XPath expression support, including calculations without writing script.
  • Additional data adaptors for email and SharePoint Products and Technologies lists.
  • Better support for custom migration plug-ins.
  • Enhanced Object Model (OM), including OnSave event, offline state, submit, and digital signatures.
  • Improved support for secondary data sources.
  • Additional support for business logic written in managed code (requires a separate download).
  • Enhanced OM for external automation and windowless mode for application-level calls.
  • Better support for ADO datasets and diffgrams to round-trip data changes.
  • Additional support for complex scripts, such as right-to-left and South Asian languages.
  • Enhanced support for digital signatures, including partial signatures, non-repudiation, co-signing, and counter-signing.
  • Improved stability and performance, including auto-save and data recovery.



Sunday, February 22, 2004

Dude, Where's My Country? I finally sat down Saturday to finish reading this Michael Moore book.  I'm a Moore fan from way back (Roger & Me, TV Nation, all that).

I liked the book a good deal, but I'm surprised at how dated it is already.  The focus of the book is to take a not-so-serious yet serious look at the W. administration and put down what's needed to have a new administration in place after the election of 2004.  Yet you run into dated parts where Moore muses how he thinks Wesley Clark would be a good candidate (in the meantime, Gen. Clark of course tried and pulled out). Some other interesting highlights:

·         The part on page 189 that starts: "Admit that the left has made mistakes." Yep.  I especially like "Mumia probably killed that guy."  And that Nixon has been the most liberal President we've had in 30 years.  Oy.

·         Downplaying Nader's role in electing Bush (just in time to do it all over again).

·         Pushing for Oprah to run for President.

·         Providing more background than I've personally read about Bush & Co's relationship with corporations and the Saudi royal family (I didn't realize privileged Saudi's were able to fly around and out of the US right after 9/11 while the rest of the aviation infrastructure was shut down).

·         Covering an idea I've had of my own of forming the Common Sense party (well, CommonSense so it can be one word at listable on ballots in some parts of this country).

I personally think no one had high domestic expectations for the current administration, and they've given us abundant low-results.


Saturday, February 21, 2004
Redoing RSS feed 
I'm updating my RSS feed to be

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Dr. Cherri M. Pancake's web site is here: (and, too).  Dr. Pancake was my major professor at Auburn and moved out to the Northwest the same time I was joining Intel Supercomputer Systems Division in 1992.  Mark Newsome came out, too, to get his PhD with Dr. Pancake. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Cooper the pet goat has been getting stuck every day.  Stuck everyday with a shot of antibiotics.  Over a week ago, we called in the vet for a farm visit because Cooper (a Nubian goat) just wasn't doing well at all (while Chongo the Toggenberg was running around and showing off).  Anyway, Cooper stopped eating and dropped a lot of weight, resulting in all sorts of bones sticking out of his skin.  So he (and Chongo) got de-wormed and I was given six shots of antibiotics to give Coop, one a day.  Sub dermal.   Meaning that each morning Elisa holds Cooper's collar while I pinch his skin and *poke* him with the needle and press down on the plunger.  The antibiotic must have a molasses base because it's pretty slow, meanwhile you have an antsy-goat none too happy to have a needle under his skin.

He's still skinny, but he has started eating some again (grain and orchard grass hay) and his nose isn't produce the vile gunk it had been.  I hope he pulls through.  This past year has just been too much to go through wrt animals on the farm.


Tuesday, February 10, 2004
What happens when your Subaru's alternator dies? 

What happens when your alternator decides to give up the ghost?

This morning on the way into work I fueled up my 96 Subaru Outback and noticed, clearing some mist on the windows, that my windshield wipers were really slow. No matter what setting I put them on, they were slow (could be a real safety problem out here in the Northwest). So as I drove on I started thinking about how to schedule a trip to get the wipers checked before all of this lovely sunny weather turns to rain again.

About 30 minutes later, zooming down Highway 18, my speedometer and tachometer needles starting bouncing up and down, up and down, and then to zero. It was like a dying gasp. At this point, the ABS light clicked on. Followed by the Check Engine light.

Hmm, I thought, the car still seems to be running just fine… maybe I can keep going and when I turn it off it will be like a reset and all will be well (works for Windows…). Well, I thought the better of this and decided to pull over off of the Maple Valley exit and check the car out. The engine was running rough, and when I restarted it the engine was hesitant to start. Well, better get it to a dealer.

Luckily, I had two things in my favor: (1) Elisa working at home, who looked up nearby Subaru dealers, and (2) a McDonald’s manager that owned a Subaru and really recommended Auburn Subaru Volkswagen. So onto the cell phone I got and arranged a tow. Elisa picked me up and I checked in later to find it was the alternator that was bad (much better than the car’s computer).


Bad News for Beau 

Oh, we got some bad news for Beau last week.  I brought him in for his shots and to have a growth on his rear leg checked out.  The rear leg growth was no big deal, but his front leg had some swelling that was a very big deal: bone cancer.

My great vet took some x-rays to confirm it.  The cancer has not metastasized yet.  If Beau's rear wasn't so weak and giving out on him we would consider amputating the leg before the cancer spread.  Chemo's no good for his weakened state, either.  So the vet prescribed piroxicam, which should help for any pain, perhaps reduce the swelling, and maybe even have some anti-cancer benefit.

Beau did quite a bit of dancing around this weekend so he's dealing well as of today.  Everything is fine upstairs, so to say, it's just that his legs are slowly going out from under him.


Monday, February 02, 2004

Brom's online website, in case you didn't know, is .


Sunday, February 01, 2004

Quantum Physics and Yelm?  There’s a nice full-color ad in the paper as of Friday for a new film coming to the little independent Yelm, WA cinemas.  What caught my attention is that it’s a film about quantum physics.  The website is .  My first reaction: odd, why would a little town like Yelm get such a cool movie about quantum physics?  My second reaction: oooooh, that’s right.  Ramtha.

Ol JZ Knight has taken up home in Yelm.  What the heck does a channeling mystic have to do with quantum physics?  I guess it helps to explain how channeling happens.  I had no idea about the physics-Ramtha connection until I went Christmas shopping in Yelm back in 2002.  I went into a gift store, RIE or something like that, and in the midst of all this wonder Christmas décor and clothes and such, I stumbled into their book section and discovered a book I was currently reading, The Three Roads to Quantum Gravity.  How odd.  Someone in the gift store must have screwed up ordering that.

But then I discovered another quantum book I had, and more physics books.  And then a book I had always wanted but never could find.  It was like a dream come true.  Mesmerized, I wandered over to their full shelves and no doubt became slack-jawed as I saw all the best-of-the-best physics and quantum theory books neatly nestled together, shelf after shelf.

Heaven.  But then my WTF meter went off and I looked around and saw right after the books was the sermon tape section and Linda Evans pictures and Ramtha-this-that-and-the-other-thing.   Ooooooh.  Two plus two.

So I’d like to see this movie one day.  Maybe I’ll wait for it to come out on IFC or such.  Unless I find myself in Yelm, taking in the quantum scenery.


Stuff going on with EricRi. Yeah. Grey-beard geeking it in the Northwest.
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