First big upset - Edmonton lays waste to Detroit 
Its that wacky time of the year again called NHL playoffs, which is something like March Madness (its hard to describe just how low I finished in that pole this year), where NHL teams battle it out for the oldest professional sport trophy in North America (they were still inventing football when Lord Stanley's Cup was all the desire of hockey players everywhere).

So let me go out on a limb and make my prediction for the first big upset of the playoffs. Detroit will lose to Edmonton in 6. The Red Wings are only where there are because they play in what is without a doubt the weakest division in the NHL so they are not as good as most people think they are. The really bad thing about this is Edmonton knows it, and knows they can beat Detroit, so there will not be any respect shown to the Red Wings by the Oilers. The Oilers can skate with the Red Wings, but more important they can out hit them and that will be the downfall of the Red Wings. Stevie Y fans better enjoy this series as I fear it will mark the end of the line for one of hockey's greatest players and all round class acts. Stevie Y isn't the kind of person who gets beat and still has something left in the tank, so you can count on him to put it all on the line as he always does.

If Detroit somehow manages to get past Edmonton don't look for them to get much further as Edmonton will have worked them over pretty good.

Note I'm not an Oiler fan, just a hockey fan.

Go Flames Go!!!

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I will be at realDevelopment_2006 in Calgary on June 13th 
Time again for a Microsoft road show, and you will be able to join me in Calgary on June 13th at realDevelopment_06. In the morning get some inside information and demos from Microsoft on improving the user's web experience using Web 2.0 using AJAX (cool), RSS, Gadgets etc. In the afternoon the topic is security with information and demos on Digital IDs, Hacking and Defending.

For all you unlucky people who don't live in Calgary, you can attend this presentation in Ottawa on May 30th, Toronto on June 1st, Montreal on June 6th and Vancouver on June 8th. Typically these things fill up fast so I'd recommend not waiting to long to register. Lots of opportunities for questions and answers and I promise you will leave at the end of the day having learned something which will make you a better and more secure developer.


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Cleaning up a drive, how to find the big files, duplicates etc 
Have you ever copied a huge file onto your system, but forgot where it was? Or have you ever needed to free up some space on your drive and hence needed to get rid of old or duplicate files? How would you do that? Try this, first open File Explorer (hold down the Windows Key (yes the funny key with the Windows logo on it) and then press the E key and the file explorer will appear). Then select the drive where you want to search or clean up, right mouse button it to bring up the pop-up menu and select ‘Search…’ to bring up the search dialog. On the search dialog select the ‘What size is it?’ option and then choice ‘Specify size in (in KB)’ and enter something like 10000 such that it will then search for all files over 10 GB and then press the Search button. Now this will return a list of all files on that drive (or sub directory depending on where you selected to search) which are bigger then your entered size.




Now this might not give you enough information to determine what you can delete or if a file is the one you are looking for, but fortunately you can get more information if you need it. I always use the ‘Details’ view, but the default setting within the search dialog often isn’t enough, so you can change this by selecting ‘View’ from the menu and then ‘Choose Details…’ where you have all sorts of details shown for the files found.





Happy cleaning….

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Suunto n3i Watch - Worthy and cool at the same time 
After going 40+ years without wearing a watch, the Suunto n3i and MSN Direct adds up to me wearing a watch for the first time in my life and liking it. I've never been one to obey time as I often feel that it is little more then a placebo for humans giving them a feeling of control over something that plows on no matter what they do. Time began long before us and will continue long after we are gone and our concept of measuring it often only serves to help humans cope with the idea of eternity. You can't really save time, stop time, or anything else as all you can do is use the time you are given. I don't care about time as I'm task driven, in that I set daily goals for myself and then spend as much time as needed to achieve those goals, so a watch was always meaningless to me. Now my wife and others no doubt wish I paid a little more attention to time, but that is how I am.

I guess it would be two years ago I received a Suunto n3 watch which was cool as it could be connected to my MSN account and was far more then just a watch as it automatically downloaded information and such that I selected. So I tried it for awhile and while I liked it, the bulk and strap (stiff) resulted in the watch eventually finding its way to the bottom of a drawer to be somewhat forgotten. I then received a Suunto n3i which was thinner and the strap was far more comfortable, so now more often then not I find myself wearing my watch and have been for sometime now.

I find the watch to be useful for tracking my appointments, news and of course sports teams. Now tracking of my beloved Calgary Flames hockey team is more then what you might think. For example I see who they are playing next and when, how they compare in the standings with whom they are playing, and if a game is on, 'live' updates of the score and time remaining in the game and a wrap up of the game afterwards. I must admit that more then once I've been out in a formal social occasion where for whatever reasons of formal etiquette watching sports or otherwise interrupting the so called occasion with sports score would be frowned upon (likely by the female gender), but my watch has allowed me to get my scores in pretty close to real time. In fact my watch tends to draw a crowd of other males who are similarly being deprived of their sports.

The watch offers a number of other advantages such as current weather and forecasts which if you live in Calgary can be rather nice given how fast our weather can change. I also get weather conditions in other cities which is handy when traveling or talking to associates in those cities. I must admit I do like being able to change the watch face as I'm not sure how someone could stand to look at the same watch day after day for years. Another feature that is handy is it can receive MSN Messenger messages, so people can send me a text message via my watch (handy when I forget to take my phone). Another feature I've enjoyed is when I travel the watch adjusts it own time and the time is very accurate and I don't have to adjust it. Funny how many times commercial pilots have asked me for the correct time (makes me wonder if perhaps I should be flying the plane).

So how does the watch receive all of this information? MSN Direct operates radio transmitters such that your information is sent via FM signal to your watch, so you are always current. Appointments and such are sent from Outlook to MSN and then sent to your watch. The coverage is actually really good, for example Calgary and the surrounding area is covered as is Edmonton as well as other major cities in Canada. Coverage in the States seems even better, and one feature I'd like to have in Calgary is traffic updates but that only seems to be available in the States.

You can learn more about my watch here



Note MSN Direct supports a number of different watches from different vendors. You can learn more about MSN Direct here here

Blake


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Time to Panic - Canada's Mens Hockey 
Canada’s Mens Hockey team has been shutout for the last two games and to say that this is unexpected would be an understatement of unparallel proportions. So what is the problem? Has the larger ice totally buffaloed the Canadian team, has the Gretzky non event thing totally sidetracked the Canadian team, or what the heck is happening to cause what undoubtedly looks nothing short of a hockey juggernaut to sputter and fail? Now before I answer this let me make this disclaimer, first I played hockey at a high level (college and above), and second I played goal.

Problem number two, Pat Quinn. Evidence Toronto Maple Leafs what else is needed. If Toronto played in Calgary’s division (the Northwest) they would be in LAST place, four points behind Minnesota. Toronto has some descent players and such so it would leave the coaching suspect. Team Canada has some great talent (thanks Gretzky) but the coach has nothing to offer but lame excuses. Time for Quinn to fall on his sword and someone get Brent Sutter’s phone number and book a ticket for him on the next flight to Turin. We need a coach with a plan ASAP to turn this train wreck around and take control and do something besides offering the obvious stupid excuses. Canada is there to win and everything and everyone else is a lowly second on the priority list. Hockey is more then just a sport in Canada.

Problem number one, Canada’s offense sucks. Funny how forwards command the biggest salaries in the NHL, get all the rule changes to ‘enhance’ their performances (smaller goalie equipment, more penalties for interfering with them, etc) and they still can’t score. Canada hasn’t been blown out as the defense and goaltending have done their job, the only problem is the forwards suck. So why do they suck? First I’d question where their heart is as it seems that these guys are not willing to sacrifice and do what it takes to score or win. Second I must admit I’m questioning some of the choices Gretzky made as playing for Canada in the Olympics isn’t a reward for past reputation in the NHL (how many guys on the Swiss team had played in the NHL, but apparently they still won, so NHL means squat here). Everyone complains about the big ice, two words here Bull Shit, only the forwards are complaining about the big ice like it is too far for those slackers to skate or something. Defensemen have far more right to complain about big ice as it favors the attacking forward as they have more room to exploit their speed with, but perhaps that is the real problem here, LACK of speed in our forwards. So tell me again why Sidney Crobsy isn’t there or other speed merchants with soft hands? Grinder hockey doesn’t work here as the rules don’t favor it, nor the ice size, so forwards who know how to skate and handle a puck flourish here, but the Canadian forwards simply suck (how many Canadians are known in the NHL as being great puck handlers, compared to how many Europeans, Canadians might be bigger, meaner and tougher, but all that means in the Olympics is welcome to the penalty box, so tell me again why we left so many of our puck handlers at home).

If I was coach, I’d have that team under a lock down together (meaning the whole team and only the team, want to be a tourist with your significant other etc then that is after the games are done), with curfew where everyone is in bed no later then 9:30pm, need to get over jet lag, go to bed and fix it, got any other problems, deal with them now and quit whining. Second for every missed shot, scoring opportunity or otherwise slacker effort I’d be billing the forwards $$$ in the form of a donation to other Canadian Olympic athletes who often have nothing but heart thanks to our nonsupport of Olympic athletes in Canada (I have one as a neighbor). Third I'd tell them that the Women's team has shown more balls then they have. Fourth I’d remind them if they don’t win the gold medal they are swimming home and likely to rather hostile Canadian hockey fans who don’t take defeat like this very well. Even Jarome Iginla knows that there had better be gold on your chest or plenty of blood on your face, otherwise you will lose the respect of Canadian fans, not to mention those high priced contracts.

Blake

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