Hash Town

Friday, October 29, 2004

Back in the Blog

I've taken a break for a while...to catch up with work. News as of late - I'm back from downtown Cleveland, the BoSox won, Joe has returned from India, and it's FRIDAY! So, to repeat what I just said...
  • Cleveland sucked...bigtime.
  • The Red Sox rock...bigtime.
  • India is still stealing our jobs...bigtime.
Joe's got some India pictures floating around - I'll post in another couple days.

Other good news on the block - I'm getting a new laptop at work! I pretty much use my work PC for everything, so it's more of a home/work laptop. Also, I do a ton of work-related things at work, so you know, might as well get a nice fat laptop.

Here's the info for those interested:

*** Sorry Mike, but your table broke the blog in firefox! ***

Thursday, October 28, 2004


i dont even have words right now...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

iRobot Wars?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


Cleveland Sucks, Part 1.

I am coming to you live from the downtown Cleveland Marriott at Key Center. The hotel is great - very accomodating; however, the city sucks - our meeting also sucks - BIGTIME.

Twice a year, we load up bunches of crap (paper, printers, laptops, conferencing supplies, etc.) into a large truck and drive downtown. 140+ executives from the insurance industry show up for three days of discussion. Now, I am a geek; however, these insurance men and women are about as exciting as picking lice out of pubic hair. I do admit that they would all feel the same way at a tech-seminar...but hell, at least the tech conferences have cool exhibits.

So,here I am - taking a break (while I have a chance). Maybe I'll be able to crank out a cool ASP .NET application that will revolutionize the way the world views web pages - or perhaps, I'll just take a nap.

Go Sox!


this almost made me cry....


An ohio article, but not from Mike!



Travel Time

My buddy Joe is in India this week, and I'm headed to gloomy downtown Cleveland for the week. In the spirit of travel, I'm going to be posting our accounts of India and Cleveland, Ohio - the armpit of the Midwest.

Below is Joe's first account...

"So I'm here in India. Made it safe thank god. Quite a few times during the trip, I'm like what the f am I doing here. lol. But alas, I'm here and it's going well. My hotel room is pimp, all marble bathroom, complementary bottle of wine, stocked fridge, etc, blah blah blah. This is becoming too much for me.

So the ride from the hotel to work took like 30mins. We were in sooo many traffic jams. I'll try and capture the moment in a few pictures, but I think a movie will really do justice. It's always something else to get around here. I'm soooooooo glad I'm not driving. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. From my hotel room I can still hear a constant sounding of horns. It's like in the country you can hear crickets and such, here it's car horns, omg!!

I've been up for countless hours with only a few hours nap on each flight. It's 1pm here now, and I'm getting ready to have lunch again. I don't know if I had breakfast twice already, or if I had lunch as my last meal. Start the curry, I've had a variety of western dishes up until now. Be prepared to be engulfed in the stench of spice. yay. can't wait. ( no enthusiasm there).

So I'm just going on and on because I'm barely awake and wasting time before lunch. I'll try and send out pics sometime. What's everyone doing back in the states? Keep me apprised. I want to have a link back there still :)

Peace out

P.S. That's some random sh*t, hope you guys can decifer. I'm too tired to edit what I typed." (Joe's latest email on Oct. 18/19th, 2004)

One final thought (courtesy of Dan): "You kicked my dog! I kill you."

Monday, October 18, 2004


Its not over yet baby!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Useless Website of the Day

I've ran across a lot of crap on the internet. Usually, I deem something as "crap" if it is a poorly constructed web page, but I have a new reason to label something crap...pointless use of technology.

I'm a firm believer in technology benefitting humankind; however, this webpage is a pointless use of technology. Albeit funny, but pointless. I'm sure their parents are proud of them - thanks for the $40,000 college degree! I've decided to become an internet chicken.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I've decided: SP2 = Sucky Programming 2

In the spirit of my up-and-coming post, "What's the worst that could happen?" I'm preceeding it with my final conclusion and follow-up to my previous posting on Windows XP SP2.

Guess what?

While rebuilding my laptop, I had the same MSDART.DLL error. What a pisser.

Way to go, Microsoft. I've never seen a fresh install of Windows XP be so f'd up. Wya to go Micrsoft. You're my hero.

I'll see everyone in 3 more hours, once I uninstall SP2, uninstall all my device drivers and finally reinstall SP2.

Way to go Microsoft!

What's the worst that could happen?

Being a self-proclaimed IT guru (and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer in training), much of my work and personal life relies on my laptop. OK, it's not my laptop, it's really work's laptop, but nonetheless, I rely on it for almost everything.

What's about the wirst thing that could happen?

My laptop crashed. It wasn't a bad crash...at first.

About 6 months ago, I decided to instlaled the latest and greatest Symantec AntiVirus: version 9.0. "Cool," I thought, "I'll test it out before I roll it out to others in the company." Well, apparently, it did not like something about my laptop configuration. Perhaps it was the 250+ programs listed in Add/Remove Programs, or the fact that I had 3 versions of Crystal Reports installed (8, 8.5 and 10), Visual Studio .NET 2003, MSDE, IIS, 4 versions of the .NET runtime, multiple homebrew applications for .NET, etc. To say the least, I had a lot of stuff on my PC - all legitimately used.

Something in Symentec's first release of 9.0 started the chain reaction. Things started to go downhill - but they got better when I spent a few hours on the phone with Symantec manually uninstalled Symantec v9.0.

6 months pass and everything is going great - well, except that I couldn't install Symantec AV without total chaos erupting on my system. This past Monday, I walk into the office and hook up my laptop. I get back to work on some Crystal Reports, but I find that my PC will not communicate with any of my ODBC connections. I try deleting them, recreating them, double checking everything, reinstalling MDAC, etc. Everything I can think of. Nothing. I can't use ODBC. Since ODBC is a large part of my development at work, I start to get worried. At least I can still use my SQL Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer, along with ADO, DAO, and ADO .NET data sources. Tuesday morning, I'm still trying to figure out why ODBC (RDO) doesn't work and then it happened - Explorer starts crashing constantly, DAO, ADO, ADO .NET and any database component on my machine malfuncitons. I'm dead in the water.

I begin the ritual of backing up everything I possibly can. This is just a safety precaution because I already have a good backup. Two backups is always a good idea. So, I spend the next 6 hours backing up 30+ GB of data onto a USB 1.0 external harddrive. Oh yeah, and I do have to reboot my laptop every time I copy large files over because Explorer keeps crashing.


I'm almost back to normal now - XP reinstalled, SP2 applied (after 1 failed attempt) - see today's previous entry for details.

So, with my life (and laptop) pieced back together, I'm off to be a busy worker bee.

Last thoughts: I still don't know what hit me - I scanned my drive for viruses before I wiped the drive...I also scanned for spyware. Nothing out of the norm. Maybe it was Matt - he used my laptop for 10 minutes to check email on Saturday. I'm satisfied with blaming it on him :-0)

*SIGH* Posted by Hello

Friday, October 08, 2004

Service Pack 2 or Sucky Programming 2?

Score: 0 for Microsoft

I've had my first official SP2 problem. After a clean format and install of XP on a brand new laptop, I installed SP2 - half way through I got the following error:

Luckily, the newsgroups have been able to help me through this; however, I had to reboot the PC before I could attempt any of this because it had locked up.

Score: -2 for Microsoft
  • -1 for not naming the damn .dll thing the right way on a fresh install
  • -1 for locking up instead of letting me cancel the SP2 install (and the damn looping dialog box)
Well, I really couldn't reboot, because I was stuck in one fo those endless dialog box loops - it tells you something is wrong, when you click the OK box, it just pops up again - never letting you cancel. A Ctrl-Alt-Delete does nothing, and you cannot access the Start Menu. Basically, you're fucked.

So, I do the "hold down the power button" routine and manage to get the system to power off. Although powering your PC off in this manner was a common thing with previous versions of Windows (in fact, it was an everyday thing with Windows 98); however, Windows XP typically does not like this.

So, I power the brand new laptop back on. Windows XP blue screens (as expected). The blue screen eventually goes away and notifies me that SP2 did not successfully complete. No shit. After 5 minutes of sitting there Windows XP miraculously appears on the screen!

Score: -1 for Microsoft
  • +1 for recovering
Hah! I got my Windows XP install back! Yes! I am rejoicing...but not for long. Once Windows XP has completely recovered, another dialog box pops up telling me that Windows XP SP2 failed to install. Please remove it from Add/Remove Programs before I do anything else. It also warns that the system is in an extremely unstable condition.

Score: 0 for Microsoft
  • +1 for telling me very useful information (a.k.a. uninstlal from Add/Remove Programs)
So, I head on over to the Add/Remove programs area and begin to uninstall SP2. Very cool. The Windows XP Service Pack 2 Removal Wizard pops up. There are 5 easy steps:
  1. Updating registry
  2. Running Processes After Uninstall
  3. Performing Cleanup
  4. Starting Service
  5. Something else...can't remember
Things are going good...until I get to step #3. Two innocent looking dialog boxes appear on my screen. The first warns that uninstalling SP2 *may* cause the following programs to stop functioning. Following the warning is a list of EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM installed...all the way down to Paint and Free Cell. The second dialog window warns me of all the hardware devices that *may* stop functioning if I uninstall SP2. Following this dialog box is a list of EVERY SINGLE HARDWARE DEVICE that I have installed...all the way down to my processor and LCD display.

Shit, what should I do? Continue and risk destroying the installation or canceling it and risk remaining in this "unstable" environment of Windows.

Score: -2 for Microsoft
  • -1 for telling me I may destroy all functionality of software on my PC (including my beloved Paint and Freecell)
  • -1 for telling me I may cause all hardware to stop working (including my processor and display)
So, I decide to take the risk...after another 15 miuntes of "uninstallation" and "registry reversal", I'm presented with the following message:

"Service Pack 2 has been successfully removed. You must restart your computer to complete the uninstall. To restart your computer, click Finish."

I hold my breath and click on Finish...wait! I can't move my mouse! What!?!?!? Well, I guess they really mean that hardware will stop working. Luckily, my display and processor seem to have survived...or else my new laptop may have blown up.

Using a quick slight of hand keyboard trick to navigate Windows' GUI interface, I managed to depress the Finish key.

Score: -3 for Microsoft
  • -1 for disabling my mouse - how would my mother figure this out!?!?
Windows does in fact shutdown by itself and reboots. Well, at least reboots into an entirely black screen. After another abnormal boot-up time, I get back to my XP desktop. It appears that all my custom drivers I installed before were now gone - mainly, I'm back to retard vision (640x480).

Something surprising then happens, XP begins to reinstall all of my hardware - apparently my drivers weren't gone - they have just be stored away. After 5 minutes of my laptop doing that damn XP beeping noise (yeah the one it makes when you plug something into the USB port), it tells me that it's finished installing all of my hardware and it needs to reboot again. So, I grab my mouse - and yes, it works, so I'm able to move the mouse over the "Yes, reboot now" key and depress it. Windows reboots.

Score: -2 for Microsoft
  • +1 for reinstalling all my hardware w/o any CDs!
OK, it rebooted great, so I head on over to my Device Manager to double-check. Everything is working great, except for the yellow ! next to Microsoft System Management BIOS Driver. This sounds bad, but despite this, maybe SP2 will fix it?

So, now I'm browsing back to google groups in order to get he stupid dll fix - let's hope it works. I ran the DartFix.bat and it did fix my dll issue by copying the dart dll into dart32. Let's see if SP2 works now.

I surf back out to Windows Update to get my SP2 again. Cool beans for Microsoft - because of the new BITS software, I do not need to download the 100+ MB service pack, instead, I dive right into the reinstall!

Score: -1 for Microsoft
  • +1 for not downloading the HUGE service pack again
In the end, the install went ok and Service Pack 2 did in fact fix the device driver issue with the Microsoft BIOS thingy. Well, looks like I'm back on track!

Ending score for Microsoft is -1. The lesson learned: SP2 is kind of like the Kerry Campaign slogan: more of the same.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Experimental Data Collected.

Ha yeah mike called me out.

I've been playing around with a program called 'Hello' that allows you to have "photo-conversations" with people...basically it is a chat program that lets you easily transfer pictures to one another. Sounds simple, but you also have the ability to see what picture someone else is currently looking at and some other fun stuff. basically it has a nice slick interface and makes it easy for anyone (including your mom) to view photos together, via the INTERNET.

It also comes with a "blogger-bot", in which when I can create posts directly from 'Hello' with (or without) pictures...pretty cool.

......also I [HEART] Bowser

Random Posts

Looks like Matt has been a little post-happy lately. I'm not sure what's going on - it could be due to the raging excitement that he's feeling. After all, he is coming to visit the Midwest for the first time!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

test Posted by Hello

None Posted by Hello

A serious question.

Has anyone found a drinking-game for the vice-presidential debate? I've been searching all morning, and have not found anything! If you have found one, please post it here.


Veep Debate

What total and complete bullshit. Whomever is responsible for the following should be publically humiliated.

My wife recently began her Graduate Degree in Non Profit Management at Case Western Reserve University. CWRU is a great place - nice campus located close to downtown, but not too close, etc. The list goes on and on.

So she receives an email approx. 1 month ago advertising limited seating at today's VP Debate (being held on campus at CWRU). It's a huge event - classes are cancelled, roads blocked, etc. Very exciting. So, for the next month, the campus is hyping the whole debate and how easy it is to register and get a ticket - simply go online and sign-up. You'll receive an email early in the morning on debate day (today) notifying you of your eligibility and whether or not you've won a ticket.

After equal hype from me and the university, we manage to convince Abby that she has to at least register - a chance of a lifetime. So, she registers online.

...two weeks pass...

I get a phone call at work this morning (Tuesday) and it's Abby. She went and checked her CWRU email and found a message that arrived at 9:51 PM last night. Apparently, the rules were changed (at the last minute). You are still eligible for your free ticket if your registered on the web, but now, you must also be present at the Tuesday morning Pancake Breakfast in order to receive your ticket. If you're not there, you don't get a ticket!!!


With a stupid PR move like this, they're telling me that: if you have a job, you probably won't come to the breakfast and get your ticket.

Welcome to the United States; where everything is fair and balanced - wait a minute...isn't that the Fox News slogan?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Weekend Warriors

Classic story for y'all.

Saturday afternoon, me, my roomates and a couple other friends of mine decide to play some football out in the park. Of course, thinking we were tough, we decide to play tackle. 3 on 3, with the 7th man (who has a torn ACL) as the auto-QB. So the game goes fine for awhile, my team gets way ahead (up by 5 TD's), when the first injury occurs. Seems my friend (James) who was the hurt QB decides he also likes to tackle people. So he gets in a 3 man tackle and completely twists his knee...he goes DOWN writhing in pain. But after about 10 minutes, he is back up and ready to play (although later that evening he would be in incredible pain with a nice bag of frozen corn on his knee to keep down the swelling).

So we play a little bit longer. Im on defense this time, and the other team lines up in the I-formation (stupid when you have no line-man). I blitz because i could tell they were doing a hand-0ff (poorly, i might add) and end up trying to tackle the man with the ball, Andy. we collide FACE to FACE, and i go down with a split lip and a bloody nose. Awesome.

After about 5 minutes the blood and snot stop flowing out of my nose, and we get back to playing. 20 minutes later, my roomate Navin is trying to tackle my other roomate Tim, by grabbing the waistband of his sweatpants. But Tim struggled on and the waistband snapped back, and Navin goes down holding his hand in pain.

At the emergency room, they tell him that he broke his pinky and ring finger of his right hand, and to make matters worse, he has to have surgery this friday on the ring finger, to put a metal pin in it.

To make a long story short (though its probably too late for that now!), we are all sore, broken, and tired...from now on we will stick to watching it on TV!


P.S. to mike- this means navin cannot come out this weekend (surgery), so it will just be me and Julie visiting you and your lovely wife.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

just an average Sunday

Just finished watching Sunday Football - Go Browns! Overall, Cleveland had a good game - but they should have lost.

Now that the football games are ending, I'm getting ready to sttle down for the weekend - what a weekend! My niece and nephew spent the night on Saturday. Almost 24 hours of two young children is enough to convince me that kids are not for us right now! Let me tell you - the best form of birth control is to watch little kids for 24 hours. Not fun at all. The scary thing would have been if Abby liked having the kids around. The trick is to pinch one of them every hour or so - just to make shure they get cranky enough.

'bout to eat some enchiladas for dinner - i'm out until tomorrow.

Friday, October 01, 2004


My father in law just purchased an IBM thinkpad - generally good machines. I've been cranted the right of setting it up. I prefer to do clean wipes of the hard drive and rebuild the machine from scratch - problem here is that the damn PC doesn't come with a Windows XP Pro disk!


Stupid IBM - Calling their support does no good what-so-ever. They refuse to ship a Windows XP Pro CD to me. I thought my license entitled me to an unaltered version of XP!


Well I'll be damned

Seems like someone is picking up the torch for this blog! thanks for bringing in some fresh content Mike, as I had almost forgotten about this little project of mine.

That being said, on to more exciting things.

So my take on the Presidential Debates. I think we can all agree on the following items now:

  1. Bush is a poor public speaker (not that I am a good public speaker by any means, but then again im not the one who has to talk to millions if not billions of people on a periodic basis)
  2. Kerry has a plastic smile.
  3. Bush is not the smartest Ivy-league man I've ever seen...
  4. I like muffins.
That is being about as nice about our current president I can be, dear reader, so I hope you give me props for my restraint.