Celtics – A big thank you Ray Allen

I watched the Celtics consistently throughout the playoffs and was so excited when they won it all. After the big final game, I spent some time pondering the team and to me, the key person who enabled this  was Ray Allen. Huh, you might be asking, what about Pierce or KG? Well, clearly they were instrumental as well, but keep in mind, Ray Allen was the key to enabling success this year. Let me explain why.
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RSS Reader

I have recently been tasked with following a number of blogs more closely for work.  As part of the process, I went out and reviewed the options for RSS readers for Windows.  The package that I came across and have started using is called FeedDemon.  This is a very full featured free application.  One of the coolest features is the ability to specify keywords in a watch list.  FeedDemon will search all posts that come through for those keywords and post them.  This is particularly useful if you have specific content that you want to track.  In my case, I included numerous keywords related to topics that I wanted to focus on.  The entire process was seamless.

The other thing that FeedDemon does is synchronize witht he Newsgator site to allow you to read your feeds on the web.  Thus you get the best of both worlds, a powerful client side app and a web app for when you don’t have access to your computer.  I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested. 

Firefox 3 and Plugins

I have recently taken the plunge and updated to Firefox v3. This is the latest and greatest release of Firefox and a dramatic improvement over previous versions. After using it for a few weeks, I have to say that I enjoy it, but notice all that much of a difference. Not sure if this sacrilege, but I really liked Firefox v2 and this just seems to be more of the same which is not a bad thing.

As part of the installing the new Firefox, I also reviewed all of the plugins available and decided to implement many more. My current favorites include:

Plugin Description
Adblock An excellent tool which removes ads from websites.  It is simple and transparent.
Chatzilla A lightweight IRC client.  Why is this needed?  You never know when you need it and it is just nice to have it.
Cooliris This provides quick page previews.  It is helpful, but not one that I cannot live without.
Download Status Bar This is a great plugin that simplifies how Firefox handles downloads.  It puts the download in the footer bar instead of spawning a new window.
Firefox Showcase This is a tool that allows you to view thumbnail images of all open tabs.  Cool, but not a neccessity in my mind.
Fisheye Tabs This add-on makes tabs dynamically expand when you mouse over.  It is very helpful when you have many tabs open and allows you to avoid scrolling.  Highly recommended.
FXIF A simple tool for viewing EXIF data on any picture.  Simple and reasonably useful.
IE Tab This is by far the coolest and most useful plugin.  I effectively integrates Firefox and IE browsers and allows you to open a page inside Firefoxwith IE.  This is particularly useful for those sites that require IE or don’t work well with Firefox.  It is highly recommended.
Image Zoom This  allows you to easil zoom in and out of large images.
Scribefire This add-on is new to my collection and I am testin it out.  It allows you to post to blogs remotely via  the plugin.  You literally open the plugin and start tying away.  It works quite well and I plan on keeping it.

 I definitely recommend that you check these out.  The most compelling ones are IE Tab and Download Status Bar.

Blog Software

I was just pondering blogging and was thinking about the history of this blog. The very first post on the blog was 8/2/02 and it is amazing that it has been continually operational for almost 6 years. There have been ups and downs of frequency of posts, but I am back now.

Another note of interest is that over the years, I have used 3 different blog engines. This site is a bit different since I am running this software on my own server and so I looked at packages that I could install and run on my server. This is a bit different from most purely web-based services that people may be using. Here is a summary:
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iPhone with a keyboard?

Here is an interesting article the The Register where they suggest that Apple is working on an iPhone with a QWERTY keyboard. The say that they have inside sources that Apple actually has a working prototype which they have been showing to carriers. I have no way to agree or dispute this, but find it interesting nonetheless. In short, they argue that QWERTY is requirement for mass penetration of businesses and Apple realizes that they need it if they ever want to gain a large foothold in the enterprise.

The above point is interesting. In my informal experience, I find that people get used to one method or another. I am a QWERTY guy and would not consider the iPhone for that reason although I have heard that you quickly get used to it. I like the tactile feel of buttons which is holding me back. That said, I would be interested in playing with the iPhone for a while and seeing if I really do like it.