Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Utilities

I get asked on a pretty regular basis what kind of software I use to do my job or make my life easier. I decided to go ahead and type up a list of everything I use.

Crimson Editor - A powerful source code editor for Windows. It features syntax highlighting for most major languages, user tools, macros, and spell checker. It also has a fantastic Find and Replace that allows the use of regular expressions. It has a Visual Studio like "project explorer" for managing multiple files within a large or small project.
Cost: Free

SSH Secure Shell - For all my remote file transfer/ssh needs I use an old version of the SSH Secure Shell program. They used to give away a non-commercial version, but they have since stopped doing that. I am using 3.2.9 and it supports all sorts of features such as multiple profiles with various favorite folders for sftp.
Cost: Used to be Free

Ant Renamer - I do a ton of file renaming for Snackbar Games. I like to keep the naming convention the same for all the screenshots. Manually renaming them to ss01.jpg, ss02.jpg, etc gets old real quick. Ant Renamer makes that a 1 second job. Simply drag the files I want to rename onto the program, click enumeration and type out my patter and click Go. It is that easy. It has a massive number of renaming options. It is easily one of the best utilities out there.
Cost: Free

Bulletproof FTP - From time to time I am forced to use an FTP program instead of my SSH app. For these times I use BPFTP. It is the best FTP program I have ever used and the newest version just got a visual overhaul. You can store login/pass info for as many sites as you want to make managing them all easy. You can queue downloads or even schedule them. It will also resume a file transfer if it gets disconnected. This tool isn't free but I have been using it for 5 years now and it has never let me down.
Cost: Free trial. $29.95

Google Desktop - I am a disorganized person normally. Google Desktop and it's many plug-ins have helped me turn that around. I use the Sidebar layout with my local weather, a ToDo list, the Scratch Pad, gdTunes (to control iTunes), System Monitor, Adsense Status (to see how much money I am not making), and a calendar. The searching ability is fantastic and the plug-ins are stellar and widely available. Just make sure you have some extra screen real estate for the Sidebar.
Cost: Free

SoftPerfect Network Scanner - How many times have you forgotten the ip address of a device on your network? If your network is large then odds are good that you have. This network scanner will scan a range of ip addresses to let you know what devices are on your network. It can resolve hostnames and Mac addresses as well as tell you what ports are open and identify shares on the remote machines. Very handy indeed.
Cost: Free

TreeSize - TreeSize is a tool that allows you to view a folder hierarchy view of a local drive in your machine. The nice thing is that it tells you the size of the folder/file next to it. This is very handy for tracking down rogue files that are taking up copious amounts of disc space.
Cost: Free for older version, $20 for Personal and $45 for Professional

WinRaR - WinRaR is a tool similar to WinZip only I find it to be much faster and better overall. It costs about $29, but I love it.
Cost: $29, Free Trial

CDex - I rip all the CDs that I buy onto my computer on Day 1. For this I use Cdex. It is as good as EAC, Exact Audio Copy, and a lot easier to setup.
Cost: Free

DameWare NT Utilities - I manage about 35 computers here at my office and they are spread out across 2 buildings and 2 stories. I don't like to walk 1000 feet just to click a single checkbox. DameWare NT Utils makes it so that I don't have to. This program is actually 2 parts: NT Utils and Mini Remote Control. NT Utils allows you to do basically anything you want to a remote machine you have access to. You can browse the filesystem, make registry changes, start and stop services, etc. It is far too robust to describe here. Mini Remote Control is basically a VNC style app that you can push out remotely so there is no setup involved on the client side. Simply connect and take control of the machine. This is definitely not a free program, but I can't live without it anymore. NT Utilities includes the MRC portion so the cost for MRC is just the standalone version of that program.
Cost: NT Utilities: $289; Mini Remote Control: $89.95

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

An Unholy Hour

We are about to leave for Austin for the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Launch event. I should never see my clock say 5:anything...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Lauren and I ventured out this weekend to catch an early showing of the new Harry Potter. I have to say that the HP movies never cease to impress me. I liked the dark overtones of this one and I think Ralph Fiennes did an amazing job as Voldemort. Movie Thunder has a review online.

An open source update to the popular but heavily underpowered Microsoft Paint program is now available. is apparently a much needed improvement over the bundled version of the software. Ars Technica has a short little review of the program.

300GB Disc?

Although storage space is no longer the premium it once was, physical backups and external media have been slow to catch up. While recordable DVDs may be fine for backing up a single workstation, large servers are still forced to rely on swappable drives and tape backups. But holographic disc technology could be changing all of that in the very near future. Holographic Versatile Discs (HVDs) have been in the works for some time now by various companies, including InPhase Technologies (formerly part of Lucent) and Japan's Optware (which claimed to have made the first recording of a movie on a holographic disc last year). InPhase's HVDs, scheduled for release in 2006, are said to hold 300GB of data, 60 times that of a conventional DVD with only a slight increase in size. That translates to more than a day's worth of HD-quality video. Not to mention the drives themselves can read and write at ten times the speed a normal DVD drive. One of InPhase's partners in HVD research, Maxell, is working towards even more storage on a 1.6TB disc.

I definitely think a 300GB HVD would be awesome. 1.6TB is just insane though....

Source: Slashdot

Browser Security Measures

Browser security is something that all the developers think they can master on their own. What they fail to realize is that a unified set of security guidelines would help the users/consumers of their products. That being said, it is great news that they have agreed to implement a set of security measures across all the major browsers.

I am really looking forward to IE7 despite my rampant love for Firefox. There are occasions I have to use IE and IE6 just doesn't cut it.


Being back at work after having a 4 day weekend is always tough, but here I am. We spent Thanksgiving at my Mom's house this year. In the past we would go to both parent's houses and just eat until we felt like we were going to die. Instead we are going to alternate from here on out. It just makes life easier.

The morning after Thanksgiving the doorbell rang at 8:30am. I have been waiting on an Xbox 360 from Microsoft so I got my hopes up that it had arrived. No luck. Instead it was a box of stuff from Nintendo. We spent the rest of the day playing DDR: Mario Mix and Mario Party 7.

In an unrelated topic, I think that I am going to apply at Rackspace this week. I don't really want to change jobs, but my ability to advance my career is severly capped here and I'd really like to grow my skills. I don't feel like I can do that here. Here is to change.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

BT Creator inks deal with MPAA

Bram Cohen, the guy who invented BitTorrent, just signed a deal with the evil people at the MPAA. I can't say that I blame him. He could get blamed for massive amounts of piracy. This releases his liability as far as they are concerned. Most of us would sell out a bunch of random Internet-ites for a chance to make a lot of cash.

That being said, expect it to be a little more difficult to score movies on BT. Not that any of you trustworthy people would dare steal a movie...

Ethan and Episode III

My son is quite familiar with most of the classic Star Wars characters. He has the entire set of Hasbro Jedi Force action figures. At 19 months he can name Chewbacca, Yoda, Han, Luke, and Vader. Last night we put on Episode III and I gotta say that it was highly enjoyable to watch his reaction to it. He has seen the original Trilogy, but he was much younger. Lauren's family continued to watch it after we went upstairs and Ethan kept running out of the room to watch the movie through the banister railing. It looks like I am raising my son in the ways of the Force.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mugged for your X360?

Apparently after one guy robbed a store at gunpoint another set of thieves beat a kid up after he walked out with his brand new Xbox 360 last night. People can be so dumb.

Source: in-forum

Hey Bud

If one more user walks into my office and starts a sentence with "Hey Bud..." I am going to snap. If your stuff is broken and you need help then ask, but use my name not some term of endearment that you got from Uncle Buck.

Fainting Goats

This is some funny stuff.

Ajax without XMLHttpRequest

I caught this on this morning. If you aren't familiar with the term Ajax, it is the use of Javascript, XML, and a dynamic server side language to update content on a web page without any additional page loads. The downside is the requirement of XMLHttpRequest which is the method by which the additional server calls are done. This article has a concept which emulates Ajax without the XML or the use of XMLHttpRequest. It seems like it could be handy if the Ajax concept is too confusing, but this method might result in less managable code.

Rackmount Server

I am about to have to build/buy a new rackmount server to host Snackbar Games and Movie Thunder. I have noticed they can be as cheap as $150 and as much as $1500. Does anyone have any advice on what I should pay attention to when I pick one out? I have never built a rackmount system.

Spurs vs Kings

The Spurs had an 18 point lead with 11 minutes left in the 4th. How it came to be a 3 point game with 7 on the clock and the Kings with ball is anybody's guess. I love the Spurs to death but sometimes I wonder how they can blow such commanding leads.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Random Chuck Norris Facts

How can anyone not enjoy a little Chuck Norris.

The Air Car

A car that runs on air... Quite an interesting concept if you ask me.

How do you refill the compressed air tanks? How much does it cost?

The car's air tanks will be refilled thanks to the engine working in compressor mode. This will take about six hours. Otherwise the tanks can be refilled with high pressure in three minutes at an air station. The cost of refueling with the generator will be approximately 1.5 Euros.

The duel energy engine, on the other hand, has been conceived as much for the city as the open road and will be available in all MDI vehicles. The engines will work exclusively with compressed air while it is running under 50 km/h in urban areas. But when the car is used outside urban areas at speeds over 50 km/h, the engines will switch to fuel mode. The engine will be able to use gasoline, gas oil, bio diesel, gas, liquidized gas, ecological fuel, alcohol, etc.

Colored Bubbles?

Someone dropped this link on my forums this weekend and I had to share it. It is the story of a toy inventor on the quest to invent colored bubbles. Sure, it sounds easy, but the article is proof that it isn't.

TiVoToGo for iPods and PSPs?

That's right. TiVo is expanding the popular TiVoToGo service to allow archived recordings to be played back on video iPods as well as PSPs. The beta begins today for select subscribers.

SF Gate

Spurs vs Suns

Saturday night was the first rematch of last year's Western Conference NBA Finals between the Spurs and the Suns. Despite a lack of Amare Stoudemiere the Suns came out runnin' and gunnin' for the defending Champs.

It was a really tight game and for a few moments I was worried the Spurs might actually lose. Ultimately the depth of the Spurs bench came in handy.

There were a lot of lineup changes in the league prior to this year and I think most teams got worse. This year will come down to Spurs vs Suns and Heat vs Pistons again.

Cisco buys Scientific Atlanta

On Friday I caught an article on arsTechnica that mentioned that Cisco bought Scientific Atlanta. It is quite a stunning move, but it shows you that Cisco knows what kind of market the living room business is about to become. They mention that Cisco needs to call Tivo right away and try and license or buy the software. I can't express the amount of enjoyment I would get from that. SA's DVR software sucks so bad and getting Tivo software on all those DVRs would be a godsend. I would just like to request the Home Networking features be added. Thanks Cisco.

Friday, November 18, 2005


Gas prices are finally dropping below the $2 mark after spiking to $3. I can't say that it is a bad thing. I just wish they would drop back down to $1.50 or so. I love the fact that everyone is rejoicing for $2/gallon now like it is a bargain or something.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

One of the Worst

Possibly one of the worst things ever is having really good Mexican food, a nice Texas sized burrito to be more specifically, and forgetting your to go container at the table. We had Perico's last night and it was my first time there. Perico's is the yellow restaurant on Bandera just past Prue. The food was pretty darn good, but you guessed it... I left the 2nd half of my burrito there when we left. I was going to have that for lunch. Oh well.

We did see Bob Ballou there. Bob is a local sportscaster. He was having dinner with a girl that looks like the latin girl that does the World Car commercials. We couldn't tell if it was her or not.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Xbox 360 Launch

Next week marks the official launch of the Xbox 360 and since I run a gaming site in my spare time I was hoping to score a 360 from Microsoft. It looks like my wish just might come true. The word I have is that it should arrive sometime between today and Friday. Man I can't wait.

Spurs vs Hawks

Last night the Spurs took on the Hawks who are currently winless this season. The Hawks came out playing like the defending Champs and the Spurs like the yet to win team. Al Harrington dominated the quarter with 22 points as the Spurs trailed 31-18 after 1. For the entire 12 minutes I think my jaw was on the floor as I saw a team that is as deep as it gets just get manhandled by a team of very unpolished players.

Things turned around for the Spurs as Harrington was held to a single point for the remainder of the game. The Hawks also managed to only put up 48 points the rest of the game. The Spurs sailed to a 103-79 victory but if you stopped watching the game during the first you would have expected a blowout in favor of the Hawks.

I know the Spurs have some rough patches, but c'mon guys! We came out on top, but I hope we don't have too many more games like that. Just imagine if the Hawks were actually a good team.

DVD Piracy is the next Drug War?

I was going to write a nice long rant about this article, but I decided that it was ultimately not worth my time. Everyone knows the MPAA is evil and a bunch of rabid morons and I really don't know how many more times I can say that without getting tired of talking about them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Visual Studio 2005 Launch

I attended a local VS 2005 launch at the New Horizons center here in San Antonio today. I have to say that VS2k5 has some huge improvements in the areas of ASP development for the web. Master pages aka templates and the ease of utlizing dynamic data sources such as XML and SQL Server make this release really useful for someone not heavily involved in web development that wants to make a dynamic page. They gave away 3 copies of the software and 2 of them were won by guys at the same company. Talk about rigged.

I am still going to the real MS event in Austin later this month as we are supposed to get VS2k5 and SQL 2k5 software. The event should be a lot better. I got kind of bored watching the VS demos. Live and learn.

Monday, November 14, 2005


My musical tastes are quite unique and really run the full gamut of genres. Recently I was introduced to a new take on the Reggae genre. A friend told me about an artist named MATISYAHU. Matisyahu is a Hasidic Jew that creates some of the most moving and fantastic music that I have ever heard. I suggest everyone check out his album Live at Stubb's.

Man Cures Himself of HIV

I caught a story first thing this morning about a 25 yr old British man that appears to have cured himself of HIV. He tested positive in 2002 and tested negative the following year. If this is true, it could be a huge breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS. So far he has refused to return for further testing. I hope he reconsiders and goes in. This could save so many people and could change HIV from a terminal illness to a managable one.

Source: BBC

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sony halts use of DRM

Sony has apparently caved under public pressure regarding the use of the controversial "root kit" DRM software present on thousands of Sony BMG discs. I can't say that I am surpised. I am glad they came to their senses on the topic.

Source: Slashdot

Detroit Unbeaten

The Pistons are a great team so it is no suprise that they are the only unbeaten team in the NBA right now. The Spurs at 4-1 is also not suprising although I am suprised that Dallas beat them that bad. Probably the most suprising though is that the Clippers are currently 5-1. Despite playing some less than stellar teams, they beat the Sonics and T-Wolves. I am sure everyone will have their eyes on their first game against the Lakers next Friday. Man I love basketball.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Lauren and I got a chance to see the new Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night and I am still not sure what to think. I knew it was going to be hard to out-wonka Gene Wilder and I guess that is the reason for the completely different direction Burton took the story. The movie was entertaining and enjoyable, but it really lacked the magical feel fromt he first one. I think the music of the original did great justice and the lack of singing in this one just made it an average movie. It didn't help that I couldn't stay awake through the whole thing.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

California Suing Sony over DRM Rootkit

Sony recently got themselves into a bit of hot water by implementing a DRM method on man of their CDs that basically installed a rootkit on your computer if you tried to play the CD. The state of California has filed a class action lawsuit against Sony on the basis that the DRM/rootkit violates at least 3 laws. Ouch. New York is expected to do the same thing today.

If you are worried about the potential security risks associated with this rootkit, here are a few lists of the affected CDs:
xtracto from /.

Source: Slashdot

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Welcome Back

Welcome back to my blog if you will. This should mark the 3rd time that I have started over and I hope that Blogger is the solution that I stick with. It gets to be mighty cumbersome installing a new system everytime you get bored with one piece of software.