A Blog by Scott Isaacs

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I’m Making a Difference…

I don’t IM much these days due to work load, but I still do every now and then.  When I do I primarily use Windows Live Messenger (aka MSN).

Well, I just saw this program today and figured, why not.  Just by adding a few characters to my personal message, Microsoft will donate some amount to the charity of my choice (from a list of charities).  I’m sure it’s not a ton of money being donated per IM conversation, but since it doesn’t take any more effort on my part, I might as well have my IMs make a difference.  It would be nice to see how much is being donated to each cause.  I wonder if that is something Microsoft would be willing to share?

So, anyway, if you’re a WLM/MSN user, why not take 60 seconds that could end up donating at least a few bucks to some worthy cause?

Mouse Wheel in VB6

Now that VB8 has been out for a few months, and I’m using it as much as I use VB6 (mostly on VB7), I’ve finally found an answer to a problem that has bugged me forever.  OK, well, not forever, but for a long time.

Has anyone ever noticed that the scroll wheel on your mouse doesn’t work correctly in VB6?  A coworker sent me a link today that tells you how to fix that.

So, in case I’m not the only person to not know that such a fix exists (because I never bothered to search), here you go!  Enjoy!

What a great way to end a Friday…  😉

An Introduction to F#

The next WI .NET Users Group meeting is on February 21st.  I’m looking forward to the next meeting where our very own optionsScalper (OS) will be presenting “An Introduction to F#” (register here). 

Why am I so interested?  Is it because OS is such a hottie?  While one could make that case, I’d have to say, “No”.  It’s because F# has been described to me as the “math language” of .NET, and you may not know it, but I have a B.S. in Applied Mathematics.    It’s been a while since I’ve had to do any serious “math-like” development, and even longer since I’ve done anything remotely academic, but talking to OS about this has definitely piqued my interest.

If you have any interest in math, finance, a “scripted/functional/imperative/object-oriented programming language”, or just cool, new stuff in general, then you owe it to yourself to attend. Get the details and register here.

Cropper and TinyPic

By now you may have heard about Cropper by Brian Scott (I’ve even mentioned it before).  It’s a nifty screen capture utility that I originally found linked from Scott Hanselman’s Ultimate Tools list.  I’ve used it a few times, and it’s pretty cool.  You can optionally choose to create thumbnails of each screen capture.

Well, Patrick Altman is a self-proclaimed Cropper fan, and he has written a nice little plugin for it.  His plugin will take a standard Cropper screen capture in PNG format and upload it to TinyPic.  Then it places the URL of the image into the clipboard for easy pasting into blogs, etc.  You should try it!  (Note:  This image was added using this method.)

One important thing to note, though: Patrick’s plugin is compiled against a previous Cropper BETA.  I had to use Reflector to disassemble it and recompile it.  I didn’t have to change anything — just a recompile.  If you don’t want to go through that hassle (or don’t know how), send me a quick note and I’ll forward you my recompiled version.  I don’t want to post it here because it’s not my code to post, but until Patrick has a chance to update it, or tell me to stop, I’ll share.

I do also have a couple suggestions for Patrick (which I sent him via e-mail earlier today):

  1. Right now, if Cropper is configured to create a thumbnail image, that image does not get uploaded to TinyPic.  That would be a nice feature.
  2. Because I really love my clipboard, I have found that I might use the Cropper -> TinyPic option, and then copy some other text before I paste the TinyPic URL someplace meaningful.  So I have suggested that he consider some type of log file.

But don’t let those two things keep you from trying this out.  I know I’ll be using it for a while.

Update: Patrick Altman has e-mailed me and said that he doesn’t use this plugin anymore, and that he has no plans to update it.  He said that I should feel free to update my decompiled version and redistribute it.  Well, I don’t exactly have a lot of spare time right now myself (more on this later…), but now I feel comfortable posting my updated DLL.  So here it is.  It works with Cropper 1.6.  If anyone wants to make updates to it, knock yourself out — just let me know if you come up with something useful.  🙂

Ditching Google AdSense

So the Google AdSense thing wasn’t working for me, and I’m not referring to the fact that I only made 60 cents.  OK, so maybe it has a little to do with that, but the real reason is that the ads were totally out of context.  99% of the ads that were displayed were about “blog”.  The other 1% was about tsunami relief.

Both, I’m sure, are fine topics, but are not relevant to my content like they “were supposed to be”.  I e-mailed Google about this a few times to find out what could be done.  My third e-mail got no response at all.  The two responses before that were (paraphrased):

  • I need to wait for indexing by the AdSense crawler.
  • I need to use full sentences and paragraphs about specific topics.

OK, the first one I could understand.  I didn’t realize at first that AdSense uses a different index than the regular Google index. 

The second suggestion, though, was a little frustrating, for a couple reasons.  First, I know I’m not a hardcore tech writer, where all I write about is code, but the majority of my posts were, in some way, about technology and development.  Second, I’m not writing term papers or essays, and in most cases, long paragraphs don’t “make sense”.  Also, as far as I can tell, I nearly always use compelte sentences.

In addition to describing my above reasoning, in each of my three e-mails, I asked (or suggested) if there was a way to “tag” my content.  For example, I could surround my content with something like this:

<div rel=”adsensecontent”>…</div>

Well, my third e-mail has been unanswered for 10 days now, so today I decided to ditch Google AdSense.  It’s not that I expect them to change their technology based on my suggestion, but I suggested/asked about something like that in each of the three e-mails, and that part was ignored each time.  It wasn’t working for me, maybe it will for you.  I’m not the only one, though.  Julie Lerman blogged about a similar issue.

Anyway, in place of AdSense, I’ve decided to post jobs from karmaONE, a service for referring people to open positions.  You can read all about it here on their site.  The service is currently in BETA, and, as you can see, most of the jobs are currently located in the San Francisco area.  If you are a recruiter in the Wisconsin area, check out karmaONE — you can help to make this list more relevant.  I might end up getting some money, but you’ll end up with a good candidate.

In the end, though, as much as I’d like extra money for doing pratcially nothing, I decided that I’d rather my “practically nothing” at least possibly help someone find a job.

For those that care, I’m actually using OpenGUI’s Feed2JS service to display these links.  What can I say — I’m too lazy to write my own RSS display module for CommunityServer.

Casey’s /CameraFlow App

Have you seen the new app that casey (or “the lower cased one”, as OS likes to call him) wrote?  Remember the old wooden labyrinth game?  The one where you had to twist the knobs to tilt the deck so the little silver ball would roll through the maze without falling in the holes?

He wrote that for the TabletPC (in C# with managed Direct3D).  But it’s not just a game controlled by mouse or keyboard (although you can use the mouse).  The meat of the story is that the “board” is controlled by camera tracking, so if you have a camera connected to your Tablet, you can play the game by actually, physically tilting your Tablet.  Just like the real game…

I saw the app while it was in development, but haven’t seen the finished product yet.  Maybe sometime this week?  Or this weekend?

I think it’s pretty cool — he even got Scobleized.  If I had a TabletPC and a camera, I’d probably be playing it all the time.  I haven’t seen my “real” labyrinth game in several years, so I’ve had withdrawls, you know.

Maybe for version 2.0 he’ll add the ability to control it with some sort of knobs?

casey also presented on Tablet and speech technologies at our June WI .NET Users Group meeting.  He’s posted slides and code for those who are interested.  The code for the Labyrinth game will be available soon.


The other day I started using SlickRun.  It was in Scott Hanselman’s Ultimate Tools List.  I’d seen it a while back, but finally downloaded and installed it the other day.  Here’s a screenshot:

In short, I like it a lot when I remember to use it (which is spotty, but getting more frequent).  I have it set to show on Win-Q (the default) at the location of my mouse cursor (not default).  You can run commands there as if it was the command window or Start->Run, but you can also create “MagicWords” to be shortcuts to other programs (with or without parameters).  For example, if I type Win-Q then “mor” (for morning), my e-mail, my RSS reader, and iTunes all open.

The best thing about it: it’s free!  🙂  Long live the keyboard!

Trying Google AdSense

If you’re viewing this page in your browser (as opposed to an aggregator) you will now see Google AdSense link units in the navigation.  I thought I’d try these out for a while.  As you can see, they’re smaller than the regular Google ads that you might have seen on other sites.  I imagine that they will pay out less than the other ads as well, but I’m not really expecting to make tons of money on this anyway.

That said, please feel free to click on any of them.  I’d rather get something than nothing.  😉

Update: At the moment, I’m also trying out the regular AdSense format as well, so you will see both for now.

That’s My Name — Don’t Wear It Out

So Gerry posted about Sean’s posts about commercials, etc.  Lot’s of interesting stuff there — you should read it (after you’re done reading my post, of course).

For me, the real interesting part was near the end where he’s talking about Cropper, which is a simple tool to help you take screen shots.  (A very cool, simple tool I might add.)  Gerry’s last line was:

The name at the top of the Cropper site is Brian Scott… Is this funny to anyone else in the industry???

As it turns out, the author of Cropper responded to a question of Gerry’s, and was also wondering what was so funny about his name.  Gerry meant no offense to Brian Scott.  That comment directed at me.  For those that don’t know, my real name is Bryan Scott Isaacs.

I spoke with Gerry for about 5 minutes this morning and he mentioned this and we started thinking of all of the people in the industry that we either knew or knew of that were named Bryan/Brian, Scott or Isaacs.  Gerry challenged me to come up with a list of all that I could think of, so here goes, with their number of Bryan/Brian Scott Isaacs (BSI) points.

NameAboutBSI points
Brian ScottCropper developer.2
Brian TinklerOur fearless leader at the WI .NET Users Group.1
Scott Hanselman

Funny-man.  Geek.  .NET Architect.  Famous for his “Ultimate Developer and Power Tools” list.

Scott GuthrieHis nickname is ScottGu, but should be ScottGuru.  He is in charge of ASP.NET and IIS7 at Microsoft.1
Brian NantzLocal (MKE) Indigo and .NET expert.  Working on an Indigo book with Scott Seely, so 0.5 bonus points for that.1.5
Scott SeelyMicrosoft’s Indigo Team.  Working on an Indigo book with Brian Nantz, so 0.5 bonus points for that.1.5
Cory Isakson.NET blogger.  Although his name is close, it isn’t an exact match, so he only gets 0.75 points.  🙂  Hey, they’re my points.  I can do whatever I want with them!


Scott Mitchell4 Guys from Rolla founder/editor, author, blogger.1
Scott GallowayUK .NET blogger.1
Scott WatermasyskAKA, Scott Water.  Creator of .Text blogging system.  Now works for Telligent, working on Community Server (the software I use for my blog).1
Scott McCullochDotNetNuke Core Team and module developer.1
“The Other” Scott Isaacs

An author that works for MSN.  I’ve posted about him before.  I don’t know him personally, but we’ve traded e-mails and he mentioned me in his blog once.

Bryan Scott Isaacs

Yours truly…


I know there are undoubtedly hundreds, or even thousands, more geeks named Bryan, Scott or Isaacs (or some variation/combination).  We have at least 6 or 8 Scotts in our WI .NET Users Group alone.  If I’ve missed you, don’t take it personally.  It’s not like I’m the “Keeper of the Scotts” or anything.  I just thought it’d be interesting to list as many as I could come up with in a few minutes.

MSN’s Scott Isaacs and the Secret TechEd

Wow.  So a lot of stuff has happened since last night.

For starters, when I was checking my blogs this morning, I saw that Scott Isaacs from Microsoft (a different Scott Isaacs) has mentioned me in his blog.  I’m honored.  (I wonder what the odds of him being at Tech·Ed are?)  Apparently he does some of the same geeky things that I do: Googling yourself.  I would say “MSNing yourself” but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.  It’s funny that, while he outranks me in the Google results, I rank higher than him in the MSN results — and he works for MSN!  🙂

Anyway, thanks, Scott.  I appreciate the link!

So, back to Tech·Ed…

I was told that Gerry and I needed to find the “developer party” and make sure we went to it.  Ummm, OK.  We had a couple leads of who to ask, but no one seemed to know what we were talking about.  I ran into Jason Beres yesterday and was asking him about it and other things.  He didn’t have any idea either (so he said).  So, we had pretty much given up on that.

Later in the day, someone mentioned to us that there was some midwest region “something or other” happening that night and we should go.  We just needed to find the organizer to let him know.  Well, we couldn’t really find him either.  As it turns out, though, we happened to bump into him right before the bus left to take the group over there, and he told us to come along.

We ended up going to some Nascar thing at Universal City Walk.  They had a buffet, drinks and all of the arcade games were open and unlimited.  It was pretty sweet.

So anyway, as we’re in the bus on the way over there, I happened to notice that Rob Howard was on the bus.  So was James Avery.  As it turns out the event was actually a Central region event, not just the Midwest.

I thought that was pretty cool.  When we got to the Nascar place, we grabbed some food and ended up sitting at the same table as Rob Howard.  I know he’s just a person, but I thought it was nice to be able to hang out with him and the others.  I didn’t know until last night that Rob drives a Porsche and it costs him a few hundred bucks everytime he wants to change the oil.  Poor guy.

Well, after the food I started walking around and meeting some of the other people and I started to notice some of the other people that were there.  I saw Betsy Akoi, Angela Baxley (who works with Scott Guthrie at MS), Doug Seven (of dotnetjunkies), Jeff Julian, and others.  By this time I was realizing that this wasn’t just a midwest, or even a central region party.  This was a little bigger than that.

I also saw Jason Beres there.

Actually he saw me first.  He came up to me and, with a big smile on his face, said, “I see you made it.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t realize I was making it until I got here.”

Then he smiled again and said, “Oh, yeah, you made it.”

I wasn’t sure to be pissed that he didn’t just tell me when I asked him earlier, or if I should feel honored that I ended up there in the first place.

I decided to go with the honored feeling.

So after lots of food, soda, water, video games, talking with Betsy Akoi about GDN Workspaces, talking with Angela Baxley about Visual Web Developer and about the low number of females in technology, Rob Howard about his Porsche and the time the fire alarms went off at his apartment (he ran out of the building with a computers under each arm — a true geek), and a host of other user group leaders, we finally caught the last bus back.  We ended up getting to bed about 1 or 1:30.

But it was definitely worth it.

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