Archive for the ‘Default’ Category

I’ve been inspired…

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Today I decided to make a public announcement in the hopes that it will help me hold to my resolution.

This morning I woke up and weighed in at 178.4lbs.
My first milestone is May 14th, the weekend before the family beach trip. I want to be 162lbs.
My final milestone is June 14th. My goal weight is 155lbs.

Who inspired me? My sister, Crunchy Mama.
– Check out her site: Crunchy Mama Life

I don’t plan to be an inspiration like she does, without even trying I might add, but I do intend to try and hold myself accountable!

Scrum… It's Yum, Yum, Yum!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

No I’m not talking about Rugby, although I like that too. I’m talking about an Agile Management practice being quickly adopted by companies all over the world. But that’s not really what I’m writing about today. What I want to talk about is the lack of free tools on the web. Go ahead, try to Google for them.

I’ll wait…

Okay, I’m a bit impatient here so let me do it for you.

Click here.

Got it? There’s a ton of results! But have you actually reviewed any of them? I have, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty. Most that are free are really buggy. They lack any kind of community support, and are only free trials. Or, they have a license limit that will drive you insane. Eventually, I gave up trying to find one that would fit our needs at work, and set out to start building my own. Currently, all we need is a way to manage our Backlog without using Excel. Don’t get me wrong, Excel is a great tool, but it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to Scrum management.

But alas, I didn’t want to just build another application even if we had a purpose for it. I wanted to learn something in the process. I keep hearing about ASP.NET MVC – it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s old, it’s new. It can’t seem to make up its mind as to what it is. But I can and I have an opinion. It’s awesome! Pure genius! I think I’m in love. Oh, and I also wanted to try out ADO.NET Entity Framework. That’s another “new to me thing” from Microsoft; and, although it’s buggy it certainly helps you get a project off the ground in record breaking time. So far, I’ve invested less than 16 hours in this tool. I have sprints, user stories, products, tasks, priorities, etc… lots of things. It’s really blowing my mind, how quickly this got up and running.

Keep in mind that this was my first time cracking open two brand new technologies. I’m sure I didn’t do everything perfect, and I’m sure I made mistakes… you’ll probably find a multitude of things wrong.  With that being said, I want to start giving back to the community that has given so much to me over the years and share my project with you! I’ve never done this sort of thing before; so, I’m going to start out small and give you a zip file that you have to setup yourself, on your own servers.

Here are the steps for getting this up and running – as best as I can remember them. As there may be holes in the process, please feel free to post comments and I’ll try and address them if you haven’t figured out a way yourself.

Here are the steps for getting this up and running – as best as I can remember them. As there may be holes in the process, please feel free to post comments and I’ll try and address them if you haven’t figured out a way to handle them yourself.

Download: BackLogger

  1. Make sure you have IIS installed.
    1. Create a new web site (BackLogger)
    2. Open the Properties on the new web site
      1. Click the “Directory Security” tab
        1. Click “Edit” under “Authentication and access control”
        2. “Uncheck” the “Enable anonymous access”
        3. Make sure “Integrated Windows authentication” is checked.
      2. Click the “Home Directory” tab
        1. Point the “Local path” to empty directory we’ll drop the files in here later.
        2. Make sure “Execute permissions” is set to “Scripts only”
        3. Click the “Configuration” button (Ignore this section if you have IIS 7 installed.
          1. Click the “Insert” button
          2. In the “Executable” text box enter without the quotes, “C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\aspnet_isapi.dll”
          3. Make sure to “Uncheck” the “Verify that file exists” option.
      3. Click the “Documents” tab
        1. Make sure “Default.aspx” is configured.
  2. Make sure you have a MS-SQL database installed.
    1. Create a new database, I suggest BackLogger, but it doesn’t matter what you call it.
    2. Make sure you set up a user to use for the application to have access.
      1. I suggest making it simple, but this will also support Integrated Security if you feel so inclined.
  3. Download & Install ASP.NET MVC 2 Preview 2
  4. You may need to download ADO.NET Entity Data Model at this point, but I think VS 2008 already has it.
  5. Download BackLogger
    1. Unzip the file BackLogger.zip file to any directory you can find.
    2. You’ll find a SQL script.  You’ll want to execute this in the database you created earlier.
    3. Now you’ll want to move the files in the BackLogger folder to the IIS directory you set up earlier.
    4. One last step, simply alter the web.config file in two locations to get it connecting to your database and using the authentication method of your choosing.
      1. Look for Line 25 (Ctrl+G) or find the section under <configuration> called <connectionStrings>  You’ll want to alter the line that starts with “<add name=”BackLoggerEntities” …”
        1. Search for <Your Database …> values and replace them accordingly.
      2. Next go to line 65, (Ctrl+G) or find the section with <authentication mode=”Windows”>
        1. If you alter it to something other than “Windows” it may throw errors, if it does let me know I haven’t tested that part and I’ve got kids that want my attention for bedtime!

I hope I didn’t miss anything!  I probably did though!

Good luck!

Bike for MS this September in Newbern, NC

Friday, August 14th, 2009

I recently signed up to participate in the National MS Society’s Bike MS event in September.  l am very excited to be contributing to a great cause and participating in such a challenging event.  The goal of this year’s Bike MS is to raise $1.7 million for MS research, programs, services, and advocacy for the 4,600 people living with MS here in eastern North Carolina.  I would like for you to join me in supporting this great cause by making a contribution toward my fundraising efforts.

Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system.  Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.  The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS.  Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease.  MS affects more than 400,000 people in the US and 2.5 million worldwide.

I believe in the work that the National MS Society is doing to fight this disease and hope that you will join me in supporting them.  Thanks in advance for your generosity and willingness to join the movement to create a world free of MS.

Click here to see my personal page and make a secure, online donation!

P.S.  Here is some additional information if you are interested.

Read more about multiple sclerosis

Early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can make a difference for people with multiple sclerosis. Learn about your options by talking to your health care professional and contacting the National MS Society at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/ or 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867).

Our postal address is:
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
733 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10017

No sir. Pandora I am NOT addicted!

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

I got this little gem in my inbox just a few moments ago.  I can’t say as I’m surprised, but I am disappointed.  I guess I’m going to have to look for a music subscription service again, pay the fee, or find a new free service.  Recommendations?

You Are Approaching Your Free Listening Limit

We wanted to let you know that you are approaching your monthly free listening limit. Pandora gives you 40 hours of free listening per month.
Why is free monthly listening limited?

If you’d like to listen more, you have three options. We hope that one of these works for you:

1. Pay 99 cents. Once you reach Pandora’s free monthly listening limit, the music will stop and you will be presented with an option to pay just 99 cents to continue unlimited listening for the rest of July. This is a one-time fee which requires a credit card, and it does not recur automatically.

2. Pay $36 to upgrade to Pandora One. For unlimited monthly listening as well as other cool features, you can upgrade to Pandora One for $36 per year.
Learn more about Pandora One

3. Pay Nothing. If neither of the above options is right for you, simply come back in August to start listening to your stations again.

The Pandora Team

The post a day idea is out…

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

I’ve decided my life just isn’t exciting enough for a post a day.  Instead I’m going to focus on riding my bike, eating healthier, and spending more time with my wife.  Today I rode 30 miles, 15 out and 15 back, with no stop.  Aside from my chain coming off 4 times.  Hoping to get it worked on tomorrow as I have no clue how to fix it myself.  Luckily though I had all my gears and I ate a good breakfast.

After my ride which finished around 1 I ate a good lunch and went to the pool with the family to soak my tired legs.  Let me tell you they were burning.  It felt really good to move around in the pool taking weight off them but not letting them go stiff by sitting still.

When we got back home I actually spent time in the kitchen doing lots of prep work for our dinner with my wife.  It wasn’t so bad being in there wielding the knife and making her wince.  🙂  The meal wasn’t half bad for a “healthy” meal either.  I certainly could have used less veggies, but it didn’t kill me.  The nice thing about the meal plan I found is that it has a twist for every dinner to turn it into a lunch without a lot of extra prep work.  Cindy and I just finished that.  So tomorrow I get to try another new meal for lunch.  Saves me money, makes me healthier, and makes Cindy smile that I’m spending time with her.  I’ll count it as a win.

Here I come 4th of July 50k ride!  Ready or not!

I missed last night… :(

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

It completely slipped my mind. I’m not sure what caused it to slip my mind. I’m not sure if it was me working, riding my bike up and down some huge hills, or watching Avatar with my son. But whatever it was I’m sorry. Now I just have to forgive myself and try again. Okay I forgive myself.

Today I went riding with my brother-in-law-in-law. My wife’s sister’s husband. Does that make it clear as mud. Anyway, he’s a great guy and has an awesome web site. If you are into robots, and well who isn’t at some level, check him out!  After about 4.5 miles of nothing but horrible hills I just about passed out.  Guess a small cup of yogurt doesn’t sustain you for a 26 mile ride, not to mention losing a whole slew of gears on top of not knowing much about gearing to know you lost them doesn’t help.  I’m not proud of myself, and I intend to try again tomorrow morning, even if I’m alone.  William on the other hand trekked on alone and made all 26 miles.  It’s his longest ride to date.  Over twice his last longest ride.  The guys a machine I tell you!

Anyway, enough about the star.  At about the point I lost it is was when we met a couple of pretty cool guys.  When we were stopped at an insection, and after I fell flat on my side not able to get my cleat out of the pedal, there was a guy who offered me some advice.  But it didn’t stop there.  He got off his bike pulled out a bunch of tools and fixed my gears for me.  If only I had met him 4 miles earlier!!  I might have gone a bit further.  Turns out I was in “almost” the worst possible gear for every single hill.  I mean I shifted gears to what I could find made the ride the easiest out of what I had.  But I was missing gears like nobodies business!  And my front break was rubbing my tire.  The guy was awesome.  Evidently, him and his buddy had been riding long enough that seeing someone like me wasn’t out of the ordinary for them.  I’m happy to find out that there’s still plenty of good people out there willing to lend a hand without expecting a single thing in return.  I’d honestly almost lost hope.  It certainly makes me want to get out there and try again.  So I plan too!  Tomorrow.

It's almost midnight.. so it still counts!

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Well it’s almost midnight if that gives you any indication how busy I was today. But I set a goal and I gotta type fast so I can make sure this counts! After an all day meeting at work today I took my oldest to see Transformers 2. I can honestly say it was a GREAT movie. It was worth every penny and then some. I can tell my kid is growing up now. We get to go see a lot more movies together, and he really gets emotional about things in the movie. I know a few of my friends read this, so I won’t release any spoilers. But trust me when I say you should go see it!

I also wanted to talk about another commitment I made yesterday, probably a commitment that’s going to push me to my limits. But since it’s so late I’m going to save that for tomorrow. You know after I go get some sleep!

P.S. – I have another all day meeting tomorrow too.

A Blog Post A Day

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’ve decided today that I’m going to make a goal and stick to it.  I’ve found lately that I’m having problems finishing anything I start.  With 2 kids, a pregnant wife, and a full time job friends tell me I have an excuse to let a few things slip through the cracks.  But lately I feel like if it’s not work related it destined to slip through the cracks.  The only thing I’m finishing lately are sprints.  So here’s my goal for the world to see, A Blog Post A Day!  I don’t have a clue what I’m going to write about, but I’m going to force myself to find at least one thing every day.

Yes I realize this seems like an easy thing to do for a lot of people.  Hell my married in brother-in-law has a full fledged killer web site on robots, is training for a century bike race, has a pregnant wife, working on his PhD, & still finds time to go to the beach and run circles around our nephews on a knee board!

The last time I challenged myself was to ride my bike once a day and blog about it.  You can check my blog to see how well that worked out.  This time I’m hoping that by challenging myself to a simple blog post a day, when I have nothing to post about, I’ll force myself to ride.  I just hope when I do the ride it’ll be  interesting enough to talk about it when I get back.  Otherwise, chances are I’ll scour the web for something geeky to post about instead.  Something like iPhone 3GS Tethering.

The real beauty of all of this, for my readers is, I’m not good at writing anymore.  When I was in high school I could write all day.  I wanted to be an English professor for a while at least until I realized how much reading I’d be expected to do.  See therein lies the rub.  I’ve never been an exceptional reader, calling myself average is giving me more credit than I’d care to admit.  I can do it, I comprehend what I’m reading, I’m just extremely slow.  If I went that route, what would take most people a couple hours of reading each night would have me up all night.  However on the other hand, I truly love writing, but I’ve forgotten so much now and have gotten so used to IM chatting that creating a full fledged write-up is a bit of a work-out.  Not to mention my grammar has gone to pot and my spelling isn’t much better.

So now I have two questions.  First question, does this count?  I plan on counting it.  Second question, anyone want to takes bets on me making the goal?

What is this world coming too?

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

I don’t know what other question to ask.  I really don’t.  Maybe, WTF?

I was fortunate enough to receive the following email today.  Now I am familiar with Sai People Solutions and I’ve never been a big fan of them.  They never seem to have their so called “stuff” together.  But this takes the cake.

From: Kerry Roads <kroads@saipeople.com>
Date: March 19, 2009 2:42:00 PM EDT
To: chris@altonymous.com
Subject: Regarding the new jobs
Hi , i name is Kerry Roads i am a Team Manager for a Staffing Company ” Saipeople Solutions” i saw ur resume in google and i am responding you please sene me ur contact number to my email adress so the if your lookimg for any new jobs i can helo you. as well GSk is our client,

Are things really getting bad enough to work with someone like this? Worse yet GSK? You are letting these type of people job hunt for you, while you lay off workers that most likely have forgotten more than this person knows? I have contracted for GSK on 3 occassions. Every single time I have considered it a wonderful experience. I haven’t run into anyone I couldn’t get along with and most of the time I enjoyed hanging out with them. I have made some good friends while at GSK that I am still in touch with. However, this… leaves me speechless.

Hype… it's a double edged sword.

Friday, January 30th, 2009

So having the opportunity to take a break from the 9-5r I was able to spend a little time catching up on some of my hobbies. In particular I actually had some time to read the forums for my current gaming addiction, Warhammer Online.

I’ve spoken about Warhammer Online before and I continue to play my Warrior Priest. Albeit I am at max level now and discovering some pretty major drawbacks in an otherwise very powerful and exciting class. To put it simply, gear.

Gear has always been a problem for hybrid classes and Warhammer Online is no different. The mechanic that makes a Warrior Priest is completely undone by gear itemization.  We are a front line healer and as such expect a fair amount of Toughness, Wounds, & Resistances on our gear.   These statistics would help our survivability significantly.  However, what we find instead is Strength, Willpower, & Weapon Skill.  This puts us in a very awkward situation, we need to be on the front line leveraging our Strength items to regenerate our Righteous Fury in order to heal, but we can’t survive up there.  On the flip side we end up with a bit of Willpower which does allow us to throw fairly decent heals but then we are in the back praying more than healing.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking… Why are you going off on this gear tangent about Warrior Priest when the title of your post is, “Hype… it’s a double edged sword?”   Well here’s why. For over a month Mark Jacobs.. the illustrious leader of Mythic has been hyping the upcoming changes to Warhammer Online and others have been spreading rumors of new classes being released! Well all of it was true, Warhammer Online is releasing a “Live Expansion” called “Call To Arms.”   The problem here is the community at large, the one’s that pay a subscription to play the game.  Well they, nay we, wanted to hear how the game was going to be fixed.  How was the above issue, like I rambled on about, and others going to be resolved.  We love that new classes are coming… (Even though they were in beta and expected at release.)  However, the game is in what many would consider dire straights!  Here’s the only remaining post, that hasn’t been completely moderated off the forums.

Needless to say the announcement went over like a brick.  I’d give you a link to the hundres of forum threads created, but they were quickly locked, moderated, edited, what have you.  But I can assure you there were far more outcries of disgust than joy.  Now I’m aware that complainers typically are the squeakiest wheel, but in this case I haven’t heard a wheel that squeaky since the Trials of Atlantis expansion pack.

Mark my advice to you if you are reading.  Take some quotes from the forums, put them in a Powerpoint presentation and take them in to your investors.  Spend less time trying to crowd control the forum masses and make your investors and you penny pinching bosses understand!  It’s far harder to build an MMORPG when the subscriber base is unhappy.  It’s not the days of old anymore, “MMOrs” talk, a lot.  We talk to each other, we talk about games, we blog, we forum post… we talk.  

And investors if you are reading this.  I suggest you head my words, if you learned anything in school.. even grade school, I hope you learned that history is bound to repeat itself.  I see history unfolding again and it’s not the part of history you’ll like.