Monday, March 31, 2008

80s live in San Diego

Yesterday I went to an awesome concert at the House of Blues. Playing the venue was:

  • When in Rome
  • Flock of Seaguls
  • Dramarama
  • Gene loves Jezebel
  • Real Life
It was awesome! Here are a couple of videos of music that you would recognize from this group:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Now you can watch The Onion...

I discovered that The Onion, a popular faux newspaper, has videos on Youtube. They are hilarious. You can see the Onion Channel here.

Two awesome Applications that make my life easier

I have two free applications that make my life a lot easier.

The first one is Jing. Jing allows you to capture your screen quickly and share it with someone through a provided url. This is helpful when you are try to explain an error, usability, or quick tutorial.

The other application I just found today and it is called TeamViewer. TeamViewer is a remote desktop client that allows you to remotely control a computer. It is compatible on Mac and Windows and is very fast because of the scaled back graphics of the viewer. It was very easy to download and install. Not good for demos of software but great for troubleshooting computers/software.

Little Italy Urban Bar RIP

There was a cool bar a couple of blocks from where I live in San Diego that had cool sushi, good bands on Friday and Saturday, and an awesome happy hour. As all good things must come to an end so did this. I'll miss you Urban Bar...I had a lot of good times with you. (sniff)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gmail restricts number of POP3 accounts to 5

I am a big fan of Gmail as it is easy to use and makes it easy to setup multiple accounts to manage. I thought Gmail was going to be able to scale with me, but I was wrong. It looks like Gmail limits the number of POP3 accounts to 5. Like most adventurous email junkies, I have a lot of emails as I work on a lot of projects. I want to be able to manage them all withint Gmail. I understand that each account adds Bandwidth to Google's bill and increases the amount of burden on their servers, but a simple not on the Control Panel screen saying that the limit is 5 would be have to click on the Learn More link to see: "Gmail's Mail Fetcher can download messages from up to five other email accounts, centralizing all your email in Gmail."

This makes me start to look at other solutions to integrate with that will be able to Grow with me. Probably a Desktop solution like least it has folders (one of my biggest pet peeves about Gmail). I understand you can run a Grease Monkey Script to hack it but I jump around through a lot of browsers and a portable Thunderbird app can sit on my ThumbDrive comfortably.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Make your wireless router more secure

With wireless routers becoming a common household item it is good to learn how to lock them down to ensure security of your network and avoid leachers of your wireless.

  1. Add a security key to it - The first and most common way to lockdown your wireless is to require a key to access the wireless. This is typically one of the first things that a wireless router takes you through during install.
  2. Restrict access to your router to approved computers - A lot of routers will allow you to do MAC address filtering. What this does is identifies a specific computer as being allowed to access the internet through the router if the computer's MAC address is on the list. A MAC address is a series of number and letters that identifies your computer. You can find your MAC address by going to the command line and typing ipconfig in windows and ifconfig in Linux.
  3. SID broadcasting - Typically wireless routers will broadcast their name so that laptops and other devices that are able to receive a wireless signal can see it in the list of available wireless networks. A lot of routers will allow you to disable this broadcasting, making it harder to find the wireless network.
  4. Lock down your wirless router - You may not be aware of this but if someone does connect to your network they can access your wireless router by going to an ip address with a suffix of 1. Ex: Make sure that you apply a password to your router so if someone does get to your router config screen, they will have to enter another password in order to make any changes to your router.

Make sure you look at the options that are available with the router too. A lot of wireless routers have a web interface available at the access IP listed above. Once you hit this interface, get familiar with the options available and read what the router recommends.

Favorite Easter Commercial

I love this Cadbury is awesome:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter.

This post is a very special one...the reason is that I am listening to the Doogie Howser M.D. theme song as I write it, just like NPH did when he reflected on his computer at the end of every episode. Sometimes, I too feel like a 16 year old medical prodigy.

Please feel free to play this song while you are reading my posts:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My wife got accepted into the Masters Program...

for the School of Social Work at San Diego State University. I am so happy for her and she is very excited too. This is going to be such a great experience for her.

Open Source Email Software

For people that are stuck in Outlook or in another proprietary Legacy email client, I encourage you to take a look at a couple of Open Source Alternatives.

I use Thunderbird, which is created by Mozilla (Makers of FireFox). It is easy to install and has a lot of awesome plugins to add extra functionality and look and feel.

Another alternative is the fairly new Zimbra Desktop Client which has a nice interface and also has cool plugins to add mashups to your email. This too is easy to download and configure.

I encourage you to download them and try them out to get better use our of your email.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The New Wordpress

Wordpress is coming out with a new version of their software soon, Version 2.5. Included in this version is changes to the management dashboard making it easier to manage and also fun features like multiple image upload, tag management, and an overall organized look and navigation. I am a big fan of WordPress, even though I am using Blogger. I use Wordpress for all of my other blogs. It just happened that I found blogger first when I started. I may move over to but then I'd lose my domain that is so easy to remember ;)

I'm looking forward to trying out the new release when I get a chance.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I knew the government was cheap, but...

My wife was summoned for jury duty today. I am all for doing your service and helping the government but get this: for compensation of taking off work, trudging over to the couthouse, and listening to lawyers drone on about some random penial code that was violated, the government is reimbursing $15/day! $15 frikin dollars! And the kicker...payment starts the second day, so the first day is on the house. What a bunch of crap! I'm not looking for her to get wealthy off the government but she can seriously make more money picking up cans on the way to the courthouse and redeeming them then doing her patriotic duty. When they call me up I'm going to drink all of their water, eat as much food as possible, and take the Gavel home as a consolation prize.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Comparing CRM from a Customer Support Side

I've been evaluating different CRM systems with the goal of what is the best for Customer Service Management. Here are my findings:

The main systems that stood out are:
Zoho CRM
Manage Engine by Advent

I use SalesForce at work but have never been a huge fan of it as I figured there had to be something that is more user friendly but still robust. To sum up my findings...I was sorely mistaken. For the price, features and setup that SalesForce has it is a pretty sweet solution. Sugar and Zoho tied for third. Manage Engine seems really cool but I haven't had enough time to evaluate it but it seems very user friendly and has a lot of the basics needed for support.

Here are some of the main features that I judged the systems on:

Ease of ability to add cases
  • Web to Case form creation
  • Ability to create cases on the fly without being locked up because the info not being present(Sugar requires the Account to exist before you can create a case for it but at the same time doesn't give you a link to create the account through the Case submission interface)
  • Email support - Adding Cases by email and making sure that cases are updated automatically so that there is a history of the development of the case
  • Self-Service Portal - Not a huge requirement, but helps in organizing customer info
  • Interfacing the Case information with the rest of the CRM: Accounts, Contacts etc
  • Ability to setup complex workflow - a lot of the systems have this
  • Price point - None are really priced for anyone under 5 users but if you contact them you can usually get a good deal.
I'd like to know if there are any OpenSource software out there, besides Sugar, that is good for case management and welcome anyones comments on this. I looked at OS ticket but it seems like it is still a Release Candidate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FireFox 3 Beta 4 is Available!

It is official, FireFox 3 is another beta closer to release. I've been using FireFox 3 beta 3 for the past 3-4 weeks as it is awesome. There are still quirks but a lot of improvements have been made. Click here to download FireFox 3 beta 4.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Awesome time in Phoenix

This last weekend I went to Phoenix, AZ and had a blast. We went and visited one of Pam's friends from high school. While there we went and saw Semi-Pro, which was funny, we did a round of mini golf(I came out to being last), went to a Padres vs White Sox spring trainging game, and the best part of the trip...I got to finally eat at Sonics. I've been planning to eat at Sonics for about a 2 years...and I have to was Awesome!

Other than that it feels good to be back in San Diego well rested from the vacation.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Widgets aren't what they used to be

I remember back in the day when I was in business school and we always have the hypothesized case studies where ABC company was making widgets. In this case widgets are a fictional object with no characteristics to reduce the variables in the case study. Since then widgets have taken on a new meaning to being a mini app that can be included in websites, social networks, or even on your desktop.

Truly a widget is something that came from nothing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Awesome web programming introduction

There is an awesome intro to web based programming available at Check it out to learn about MySQL, PHP, HTML, Javascript, and more.

Humorous Minnesota Temperature Scale

This was sent to me by my mother in law and it is sooo true:

60 above zero: Floridians turn on the heat. Minnesotans plant gardens.

50 above zero: Californians shiver uncontrollably. People are sunbathing in Duluth.

40 above zero: Import cars won't start. Minnesotans drive with the sunroof open.

32 above zero: Distilled water freezes. The water in Bemidji gets thicker.

20 above zero: New Mexicans don long johns, parkas and wool hats & mittens.
Minnesotans throw on a flannel shirt.

15 above zero: New York landlords finally turn on the heat. People in Minnesota have one last cookout before it gets cold.

Zero: People in Miami all die. Minnesotans close the windows.

10 below zero: Californians fly away to Mexico. Minnesotans dig their winter coats out of storage.

25 below zero: Hollywood disintegrates. Girl Scouts in Minnesota still selling cookies door to door.

40 below zero: Washington, D.C. finally runs out of hot air. People in Minnesota let th eir dogs sleep in doors.

100 below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Minnesotans get upset because the Mini-Van won't start.

460 below zero: ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale).
People in Minnesota can be heard to say, 'Cold 'nuff fer ya?'

500 below zero: Hell freezes over. Minnesota public schools open 2 hours late.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Is It Friday?

There has been a work item on my plate for the past couple of weeks that I haven't gotten around to and that is the Is It Friday Widget. This allows a user to see if it is Friday or not. Well I finally finished this and it can be see here:

On top of this I'll add it to my blog on the side so that you as a user can be reassured if it is or isn't friday and I'll also release it to the Deki Wiki Community as a widget.

I expect this to be one of the more popular extensions for Deki Wiki :)

Finally finished the move

This weekend Pam and I moved to our new place, which incidentally was 3 floors higher than where we were before. We got rid of more stuff, which is always good, and are in the process of getting things in their respective places. I had some computer issues with my home desktop but got them figured out after pushing on some ports. I got a different cell phone as I was getting annoyed with my old phone(PPC 6700) randomly calling people for no apparent reason. I know have a sleek and simple flip phone. Other than that just an ordinary weekend :)