A Blog by Scott Isaacs

Month: July 2008

I Am Excited About… A Conference Call?

For the first time since — ummm — since ever, I am looking forward to an upcoming conference call.  And I’m really looking forward to it.  I don’t want to say too much, yet, because I want to get some very basic details ironed out first, but I will say that it is about a special project we are working on for the WI .NET Users Group.

I’ve been thinking about this project for a few weeks now, and I’ve actually taken notes.  If you have ever been with me to a meeting, that statement alone should let you know how serious I am about this.  I am a terrible (appalling, horrendous, atrocious, apocalyptic) note taker, so much that I often don’t even take a pen and paper with me because I will get more out of my memory of the meeting than from my notes.  But I have notes for this.  And they make sense!

So, if you work in technology in the Milwaukee area, keep an eye on my blog over the next couple weeks.  If this call goes even half as good as I expect, I will be asking for your help!

Which Is Better?

I can’t decide if I get more pleasure from solving a big problem, or from the process of breaking it into a series of smaller problems and solving each of them.  Does anyone else ever think of stuff like this?  Or is it just me?

Testing PreCode

I’m using this post to test PreCode — a code snippet formatting plugin for Windows Live Writer.  It uses SyntaxHighlighter on the client side and this plugin just sends the needed code to my blog engine.

As a test I thought I’d just add a couple short snippets, using some of the different available options.

//C#, using PREbool b = true;

' VB, using PRE, Starting at line #20Dim i as Int32i = 1i += 3MessageBox.Show(i)

Note that I may update this post several times while trying different options, or I may delete it altogether if I decide I don’t want to bother with the plugin.  (I think if I do delete it, it will be the only post I ever deleted.)

I would appreciate it if you would take a look at this post both in your RSS reader as well as on my website in your browser of choice and let me know what you think, my dear guinea pigs.

Working From Home

As part of my new job, I will be working from home one day per week.  Now that I’ve been there for a couple weeks, my first work from home day will be tomorrow.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be trying to make improvements to my home office, including deciding which room to use.  We built a den/office in the house, but I’m thinking it might not be ideal.  It’s in the main area of the house, and the doors have windows, making it very easy for Charlize to see Daddy and want to come visit.  So the current thought is to setup a small work area in the spare bedroom, which is in the back part of the house.  It has a heavy, solid core door, which is typically closed throughout the day anyway.  So Charlie will probably never know that I am even in there.  For tomorrow, though, I’ll probably be in "my chair" in the living room.  Charlie and Mommy will be over at Grandma’s house for most of the day.

In the past I’ve worked from home a day or two here and there, but never on a scheduled, regular basis.  If any of you work from home, I welcome your suggestions.

Beginner’s Luck

Last night my in-laws came over to visit for a while and we decided to play Yahtzee.  Of course, Charlie was immediately interested in the dice and the cup, so we let her have a turn rolling.  In one turn (three rolls) she had rolled a Yahtzee (five 6s)!  On her next turn she rolled four 5s in a single roll!  She had a number of other high-point rolls throughout the night (in between playing with a jar of ink pens, some blocks and Little People), but I think the best part for her was when we would all cheer when she rolled something good.  And that seemed to happen a lot. 

Beginner’s luck?

Work Soundtrack

This happens to me on a regular basis — probably every other month or so.  I get tired of the music I have on my iPod.  So I’m looking for suggestions.  What music helps you get your job done?  Sometimes I need something nice and mellow to get myself into the right frame of mind, and sometimes I need something I can turn the volume up to drown out the background noise.  Sometimes vocals are good, sometimes they are distracting.  Unfortunately, streaming sites don’t work from the office, so things like Pandora are out.  Looking forward to your suggestions.


I’ve been using the free version of TimeSnapper off and on for some time now, but pretty regularly over the last few weeks since I started my new job.  I’m doing billable work again, and am notoriously bad at getting my time entered.  TimeSnapper helps by taking screenshots at some interval throughout the day and allowing me to play them back like a movie.

I’ve been thinking about getting the Pro version for a couple weeks because there are a few more features that could be helpful.  It’s an inexpensive program at about $40 (USD), but I just hadn’t pulled the trigger and bought it.  Then today on Twitter I saw that it was on sale.  It was actually on sale for $20.  Since I was on the fence at $40, I couldn’t pass it up at $20.

If you are like me and have a hard time keeping track of what you worked on, I highly recommend you check it out.  I still haven’t taken advantage of the Pro features, but even the free functionality is worth $20.

Blog Recategorization

As I mentioned earlier, I was bored tonight.  Rather than visiting MySpace I decided to do a little work on the categories I use in my blog.  I didn’t remove any categories, but I did add a few.  As of right now, all of my posts are tagged as either Personal, Professional or both.  I don’t have any hard fast rules for how I’m going to apply these, but here is the gist of it.  If it’s something my wife, parents, other family or non-techie friends may want to know, it’s Personal.  If it’s something I want to share with coworkers, colleagues, community, or pretty much anyone else, it’s Professional.

So, if by chance you prefer to subscribe to a filtered feed you can use one of the following RSS feeds:

Of course, you can still subscribe to the full feed.

So there you go.  A somewhat-almost-semi-productive use of the last 2 hours.

This Is The Life

I’m sitting in the living room listening to recorded music on our DVR because both tuners are recording right now, so I can’t watch live TV, and of course we have nothing recorded that I want to watch.  So I am playing the recorded chunk of the music station that we record so that we can play it when both tuners are busy and we want to play music as we get our daughter ready for bed.  Yeah, I know.  That’s a long description and it sounds weird, but that’s what I’m doing.

Oh yeah, I also have a petrified scared 15 pound dog in my lap, panting and shaking because someone set of a firecracker outside 45 minutes ago.  I gave her a tranquilizer (she has a prescription — seriously) but it hasn’t done anything.

I’ve read all the blogs I subscribe to.  I’ve checked my e-mail.  I’m caught up on Twitter.  I’ve even read tweets from friends of friends of friends.

I’m sitting here bored, listening to recorded "baby go to sleep" music, with a shaking dog in my lap.

Oh yeah, and it’s 9:45 on a Saturday night.

This is the life.

Maybe I should check out MySpace now.

Office Communicator Hotkey

Anyone know if there is a way to remove the Windows-Q hotkey from Office Communicator?  That is my hotkey of choice for one of my favorite utilities (SlickRun).  With Communicator "stealing" this hotkey, I’ve had to map SlickRun to Windows-W instead, which causes a lot of confusion for me.  I’ve tried to add "cmd" as a contact about a dozen times now…

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