Friday, October 31, 2008

Another XPLANATiON for the Credit Mess

The folks from Xplane take a stab at explaining the mortgage meltdown: (also via Tad)

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Friday, October 24, 2008

MOSS: Are Site Definitions Evil?

Tad pointed me to a post by “SharePoint Joel” aka Joel Oleson in which he rants about the evils of highly customized Site Definitions:

Just SAY NO to Creating Custom Site Definitions

Joel even goes as far as saying that Site Templates (stp files) are a better option than customized Site Definitions. His point is basically, if you need a custom site, use the basic OOTB Site Template and then use Feature Stapling to achieve the necessary customization.

Andrew Connell says pretty much the same thing in his post from February:

You don't need to create site definitions

He is less generally, broad strokes dismissive of Site Definitions – his point is:

“We just need [custom Site Definitions] at times. In those times I go with the minimalist approach... [...] I take a copy of the blank site and strip it way down... no TeamCollab Feature, no WSS branding image... nothing... a truly blank site. I then give it a new name and ID. ...then create associated stapling Features that are used to attach [custom functionality] to the site def.”

Tad and I are both generally in agreement with Andrew’s approach, but a bit wary of the extent to which Joel wants to take things. There is a benefit to having an identifier for our custom site template/definition, and a single instantiation point for an end user – but the bulk of customizations should be done through Features/in code.

[As an aside, I am in favor of doing the very same thing for Lists – use a bare bones schema file (without the 1200 lines of View CAML), then use API code to customize the list as needed.]


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fun with Numbers

from here...


Monday, October 20, 2008

Installing VS 2008 SP1: Installing |/-\|/-\|


zzz….  zzz…

The Visual Studio 2008 SP1 install takes forever, and the vast majority of the time is spent in that tiny little sliver of the progress bar at the right.  The only sense you get that something is actually still running is the sad little ascii-based spinner (|/-\|/-\|).

First time I ran this I thought something had crashed, so I cancelled.  Don’t – it takes almost as long.  So I ran it again, same issue – stuck at the apparent “95%”  for longer than it takes for a cup of coffee to wear off – I was about to throw in the towel a second time when – something happened!  I was asked to shut down Word and then eventually I got this:


Yay for completing.

Boo for lousy installation progress feedback.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Political Speeches Worth Watching

From the Al Smith dinner, October 16, 2008:



Obama’s closing:

As points out:

When McCain is left to his own devices, he does pretty well. He can be funny and authentic. If he loses, he may later come to realize that his biggest mistake was hiring Lee Atwater's ghost dressed up as Steve Schmidt. If he had run a positive campaign, chosen Joe Lieberman as his Veep, and just focused on his experience and maverickness (mavericity?) he might have come across as the real thing and attracted all the independents now rapidly gravitating to Obama. Surely it wasn't his idea to hang his campaign on attacks on Obama's tenuous connection with a "washed up old terrorist," as he put it Wednesday. One of the lessons of this campaign may end up being: Be yourself.

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Friday, October 10, 2008



…and that’s all I have to say about that.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Zemanta – more trouble than it’s worth.

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Image by Zemanta via CrunchBase

I’ve been using Zemanta for some time now to add some image and related content-flair to my posts.  It works… –ok.  But I have also had image placement issues, javascript errors, (I believe) related Windows Live Writer crashes, and annoyingly, on our internal blog, the Zemanta icon is http sourced, while the rest of the blog is under SSL, bringing up the annoying Mixed Content warning.

So, all in all I just don’t get enough value from this tool to deal with the minor headaches.  This is my last Zemanta-augmented post, but I will try to use more images to spruce up what’s otherwise quite dull reading.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

The Economy: Who’s to blame?

{{en}} Plot created from Robert Shiller's data...

Image via Wikipedia

Amen to who lays out a list of some of the causes for the current calamity:

 blames McCain advisers. He blames Obama and Democrats in Congress. Both are wrong.

So who is to blame?  There's plenty of blame to go around, and it doesn't fasten only on one party or even mainly on what Washington did or didn't do. As The Economist magazine noted recently, the problem is one of "layered irresponsibility ... with hard-working homeowners and billionaire villains each playing a role." Here's a partial list of those alleged to be at fault:

  • The Federal Reserve, which slashed interest rates after the dot-com bubble burst, making credit cheap.
  • Home buyers, who took advantage of easy credit to bid up the prices of homes excessively.
  • Congress, which continues to support a mortgage tax deduction that gives consumers a tax incentive to buy more expensive houses.
  • Real estate agents, most of whom work for the sellers rather than the buyers and who earned higher commissions from selling more expensive homes.
  • The Clinton administration, which pushed for less stringent credit and downpayment requirements for working- and middle-class families.
  • Mortgage brokers, who offered less-credit-worthy home buyers subprime, adjustable rate loans with low initial payments, but exploding interest rates.
  • Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who in 2004, near the peak of the housing bubble, encouraged Americans to take out adjustable rate mortgages.
  • Wall Street firms, who paid too little attention to the quality of the risky loans that they bundled into Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), and issued bonds using those securities as collateral.
  • The Bush administration, which failed to provide needed government oversight of the increasingly dicey mortgage-backed securities market.
  • An obscure accounting rule called mark-to-market, which can have the paradoxical result of making assets be worth less on paper than they are in reality during times of panic.
  • Collective delusion, or a belief on the part of all parties that home prices would keep rising forever, no matter how high or how fast they had already gone up.
The U.S. economy is enormously complicated. Screwing it up takes a great deal of cooperation. Claiming that a single piece of legislation was responsible for (or could have averted) is just political grandstanding. We have no advice to offer on how best to solve the financial crisis. But these sorts of partisan caricatures can only make the task more difficult.
–by Joe Miller and Brooks Jackson

 Thank you.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Quote(s) of the Day

Couric anchors her first broadcast of CBS Even...

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Commentary about the other VP Katie Couric interview (you remember, Biden? Tall, gray-haired dude?  Long-time Senator from Delaware?  Champion of credit card companies and the working man? Suffers from occasional foot-in-mouth syndrome? No?)

From Katie Couric's sit-down with Joe Biden:

"’When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, "look, here's what happened."’ – Joe Biden

Quotable Commentary:

"And if you owned an experimental TV set in 1929, you would have seen him. And you would have said to yourself, 'Who is that guy? What happened to President Hoover?'" 
                                           – Jesse Walker,

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