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At least this advice worked for us.

In this housing market, it may help to write a personal letter with the offer. Adds a personal touch to the potential 40+ offers the owner might receive. My wife included a picture too. That might of been a bad idea because the picture included me. But since it also included my wife, so we’ll call that a wash.

If you’re ugly, forego the picture.

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I was thinking about this question after reading an article in a magazine about setting goals. The article had four steps for setting goals, and six steps for meeting them. Included were your usual tips for visualizing your goal, writing it down, and making a plan of action to meet the goal.

The article made a good point to imagine how meeting the goal will make you feel. Will it make you happier? The article then went into a discourse on me… or rather dreamers. Those people who sit around dreaming about meeting goals, but not doing anything about it.

So that got me thinking. I’m very good at thinking about what I would do if I ever won the lottery. But what would I REALLY do? I can’t constantly travel, backpack, mountain bike, party, play soccer for the rest of my life (but I’m sure I could make a good faith effort).

Here are the things that came to mind:

  • Travel big time
  • Go on outdoor adventures and backpacking trips
  • Buy a nice house
  • Buy a really nice car
  • Get in shape via a personal trainer
  • Eat healthy with a cook/dietician
  • Read a lot of books
  • Work on open source projects and write lots of interesting code
  • Learn to produce music on the computer
  • Learn photography
  • Live up to my name through Philanthropy

And the list goes on and on. The point of this excercise is to ask myself, if these are the things that would make me happy, what’s stopping me from doing them right now? The answer is that nothing is stopping me. I don’t need to wait to win the lottery (which will happen I tell you!). In fact, I’m already doing all these things to one degree or another.

Granted, I have a lot less time and resources to accomplish these things. Since I have to pay the bills with a J-O-B (and since I have a nasty habit of needing 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night), I can only devote a small portion of my time to Philanthropy (because you knew that’s what I do in my spare time, didn’t you. Didn’t you?). Thus I have to settle for a less nice house, a less nice car, less time to go to the gym, etc…

Now before you go off thinking “What a freakin’ whiner!”, I’m not writing this as a “woe is me” diatribe. My point is that I am very fortunate to live in a time and place where I can meet all my goals (though not as fully as I may wish) without winning the lottery or selling my firstborn. But in order to do that in a more fulfilling manner, it’s important to reflect on what more specifically are my goals and why would they bring me fulfillment and then make a plan.

So what would YOU do if you won the lottery? Discuss amongst yourselves and comment!

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I’ve seen the future and it is good. Adam Kinney has a demo Rss Aggregator for Longhorn at his site, It’s very barebones right now, but you can just see the potential for how beautiful this will and does look. What struck me was how nice the text of a blog entry looked in the text window. Nice work adam!

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Will they be giving him a gold watch?

ackthpt writes “CNN is reporting that Toho, after 50 years and 28 films, will be retiring Godzilla (Gojira in Japan) after this years film. Toho has thought of …

[Via Slashdot]

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Ok ok, I am in love with reading RSS and that has a lot to do with my geekiness. But I found an article on Slate (decidedly non geeky) that does a better job explaining the benefits of using an RSS Reader. One thing I learned is that there’s an RSS Reader for Mac OS X. Read the article.

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Found this gem on Raymond Chen’s blog.

Okay, I’m about to reveal one of the tricks of Product Support. \ \ Sometimes you’re on the phone with somebody and you suspect that the problem is something as simple as forgetting to plug it in, or that the cable was plugged into the wrong port. This is easy to do with those PS/2 connectors that fit both a keyboard and a mouse plug, or with network cables that can fit both into the upstream and downstream ports on a router. \ \ Here’s the trick: Don’t ask “Are you sure it’s plugged in correctly?” \ \ If you do this, they will get all insulted and say indignantly, “Of course it is! Do I look like an idiot?” without actually checking. \ \ Instead, say “Okay, sometimes the connection gets a little dusty and the connection gets weak. Could you unplug the connector, blow into it to get the dust out, then plug it back in?”\ \ They will then crawl under the desk, find that they forgot to plug it in (or plugged it into the wrong port), blow out the dust, plug it in, and reply, “Um, yeah, that fixed it, thanks.” \ \ (Or if the problem was that it was plugged into the wrong port, then the act of unplugging it and blowing into the connector takes their eyes off the port. Then when they go to plug it in, they will look carefully and get it right the second time because they’re paying attention.)\ \ Customer saves face, you close a support case, everybody wins. \ \ Corollary: Instead of asking “Are you sure it’s turned on?”, ask them to turn it off and back on.

[Via The Old New Thing]

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Tired of annoying “pre-approved” credit card offers? I sure am. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970 as amended in 1996, the four major credit bureaus have the right to sell your information to companies that want to offer you a credit card. Fortunately, the amendment also stipulated that credit bureaus must provide a way for consumers to have their names excluded from pre-approval lists. If you’re a United States citizen sick of getting pre-screened credit card offers, this article will show you how to avoid receiving them.


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A while ago, I posted an entry imagining the next generation of Rss Aggregators and blogging engines that would in effect, create a better social network than Frienster, Tribe, etc…

Looks like efforts were already under way. A commenter pointed me to XFN, aka the XHTML Friends Network which presents a simple way to express relationships through hyperlinks. Very interesting.

After applying XFN tags, you can head over to and have them index your site. Entering a full or partial URL in their search engine will bring up a relationship results page. This page lists sites that link to the specified site and all the sites to which the specified site links. With each link, the search results also dislay the relationship (for example: Acquaintance).

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I received this email from a coworker. It makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

With all the news coverage about sub-zero east coast weather and north Pacific ice storms, it’s easy to forget that Southern California has its share of devastating weather also. Check out the damage caused by a wild west coast storm which recently passed through Los Angeles (photo attached.) It really makes you cherish what you have, and reminds us not to take life for granted!!!

Warning: This photo is graphic and not for the faint of heart. Click Here.

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I wish I had this a while ago. Log Parser allows you to run SQL like queries against your IIS log files. Check it out here.

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I’m working on a project to add beauty back to the blogging experience, even when read by an Rss Aggregator.

For example, in RssBandit, you can select a style for displaying blog entries (via XSLT formatters). Currently, this setting applies to all feeds. In order for this to work well, some creative stripping of the style within an item must occur, otherwise you can get some very ugly (even unreadable) results.

I’ve been working (albeit slowly) on a spec allowing a blog to “suggest” a style (or custom formatter) for a blog entry when read in an aggregator. Based on your aggregator settings, the aggregator would either accept the style from the blog, or it would use your predefined style.

Some nice benefits include the fact that the style the RssFeed suggests could be customized to the user’s aggregator. For example, if the aggregator supports Longhorn, the RssFeed might suggest a formatter that converts the blog entry into XAML. This nicely separates the presentation from the content, and yet gives both the content producer and consumer some control over the presentation.

Some issues I need to think about is whether this should be an extension to RSS or use a new API. Not only that, I need to gather some feedback on whether or not this is even a good idea and worth my time.


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I needed to create a temp table in SQL with a column that contained an incrementing integer, without making that column an identity.

For example, suppose I want to select record from a table of users, but add a column that contains an incrementing counter. The data in the table should look like so:

counter UserID Email
0 3432 BillBrasky@example.COM
1 7913
2 8372

To start, I can run the following query to create the temp table:

SELECT counter = 0, * FROM Users INTO #tmp_Users

This creates a temp table named #tmp_Users where the column “counter” is set to 0 for each row.

In order to update the counter column so that each row has a counter value greater than the previous row, run the following statement.

DECLARE @counter int
SET @counter = 0
UPDATE #tmp_Users
SET @counter = counter = @counter + 1

If you’re looking to master your T-SQL Fu, I recommend this book. It provides a great reference for advanced T-SQL querying techniques. Keep in mind that this book is not for beginners. It gets into some deep analysis of how querying works in SQL 2005

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Bush believes that an amendment is necessary to bring “clarity” to the issue of gay marriage and to preserve the social fabric of our great nation.

Praise Be The Lord! Well Ok Bush, I’m with you. But before we work on that amendment, there’s another Amendment we need to pass first. The Amendment to remove the scourge of Divorce from our country. It is necessary to preserve the social fabric. For it sayeth in the Gospel of Mathew chapter 19 verse 9 (King James Version):

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

For your homework, also look up Deut 22:19, Matt 5:32, 19:9, Mark 10:9-12, Luke 16:18, Rom 7:2, 1 Cor 7:10-11, 7:39.