Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is SharePoint wiki evangelist an oxymoron?

I was nominated to proselytize on wikis at work, with a goal of helping build a departmental wiki. We have SharePoint (tm) and at first I didn't think this was feasible, given the term wiki doesn't return any hits on the internal SharePoint search engine.

After a quick Google, I found instructions for creating a wiki site, and while minimalist to the point of oppression, it seems feasible.

I managed to get in touch with Stewart Mader, of the wikipatterns book and site, and am hoping for professional help.

I shared the 90-9-1 theory with my boss; my "going-in" position is that we can't expect a lot of participation, but measuring usage will be important.

My previous post on the inadequacy of SharePoint's blogging tools got reaction, as well as new contacts for future feedback.

New Year's Resolution - come up with a better name for what I'll be doing than Evangelist or Proselytizer. Suggestions?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Traditional Irish Music

Billy McComiskey and The Hedge Band played at the Creative Alliance tonight.

The crowd was a little slow getting into it, but by the second set there were plenty of tapping feet. It was also a slightly older crowd than the ones I've seen at J. Patrick's in Locust Point.

The possible highlight of the evening was Irish step dancing, starting with a precocious girl who later stated her age as "Six. And A Half." The two teens were just tremendous, and danced several times, including stepping through the aisles of the Creative Alliance performance room.

Billy's stories were as expected, wandering the ages and people of Irish music. The crowd pleaser was his announcement of how well the Old Bay Ceili Band did in the all-Irish contests earlier this year. You might need to be from Baltimore to see the humor.

The band consists of Donna Long on piano and fiddle, Laura Byrne Egan on wooden flute and whistle, Pat Egan on guitar, and Billy McComiskey on button accordion. Everyone sang, though Pat was under the weather, and declared he was doing a Barry White set.

CDs were available, but I think I have all of them already. Here are links if you want to find them on Amazon or elsewhere:

Billy's latest: Outside The Box - Compass Records

Laura Byrne - Tune For The Road (mp3 $) - home page

Patrick Egan - home page

Donna Long - home page

Not the most high definition or fidelity, but here are a few seconds of the event from my camera phone.

Sent from my Windows SmartAleck® phone. And then fixed later on the web.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Tale of Two Pegs

I'm working on a hobby project. I've used a couple of pieces of wood that were out in the shed (or "wood pile") left over from an IKEA bedframe (metric, to boot), as the base. The pegs I've collected over several years, as I would go to the store, think "do I have any pegs?"

I ended up with more than a dozen, each in "2 per" bags. After I ripped them open to fit into the holes I had drilled, I noticed there were 2 styles - both the package front and back were different. There were a few subtle changes.

  • Old style had English and French; new style adds Spanish
  • "FSC - 100% from well-managed forests" - see below
  • Old style says "Established 1949 West Germany"; new style says only "Germany"
  • New style has web link to
  • Slight grammar improvement from "they come in a useful selection of sizes and shapes" to "Available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes"
Here's the FSC logo found on the newer package:

There is:

FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council, and per their web site - "FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests."

Being the data conscious person I am, I looked up the certification number, which I read as "SW COC 1564" or maybe 1584, or maybe even 1594. Alas, no hits. The only thing I found was that Wolfcraft in Germany has "Certificate Code: IMO-COC-25333." It does list a contact, with email and phone number.

I'm just curious if the certification is still valid.

What would Norm do?

The night the parking place stood still

I went to the 10PM Saturday showing of the colorized version of The Day the Earth Stood Still at the Senator Theatre, figuring parking would be easy, the crowd would be eccentric and the midnight moonlight after the end would be eerie.

The tiny photomosaic of 4 shots started as 4 different angles, taken from my cell phone camera, at 9:30 PM, e.g.:

bash-3.2$ jhead 1213082136.jpg
Nonfatal Error : '1213082136.jpg' Illegal value pointer for tag 9286
File name : 1213082136.jpg
File size : 344089 bytes
File date : 2008:12:14 06:38:24
Camera make : SAMSUNG Electronics
Camera model : Anycall SCH-i760
Date/Time : 2008:12:14 02:36:03
Resolution : 1280 x 960
Flash used : No
Focal length : 1.0mm
CCD width : 12996.92mm
Aperture : f/3.2
Focus dist. : 2.86m
ISO equiv. : 200
Exposure bias: 0.86
Exposure : shutter priority (semi-auto)
Comment : File written by Adobe Photoshop 5.0

The camera phone knows it was 2:36 AM GMT, but seems to think I'm in California. Ah well. The photomosaic was done with jpegtopnm, pnmscale and:

$ pnmindex -black -across 2 1213*pnm >1213-index.pnm

I then used XPaint with autocrop to save the JPG above. As a result, 4x350KB JPG shots condensed to a 10KB image.

I had enough room to squeeze into a spot between 2 meters, other than the car that was parked between 3 parking meters, in other words, halfway into 2 spots. I circled the block briefly, through a gas station, in order to get this brightly lit spot.

It must be society that is to blame, for planting parking meters at astronomical distances apart.

Oh, and the movie? Here's my 1AM (2008-12-14T05:24:15+00:00) tweet:

You'll enjoy the colorized The Day the Earth Stood Still more if you realize Keanu Reeves is playing Al Gore, not an alien.

Thanks Netflix, for having the 1951 version on Instant Watch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving hike

We had planned a day-after-Thanksgiving hike, but the Scouts who needed it for advancement didn't show up for the final check / permission slip / rendezvous meeting. So I went with the dog to check out the intended route, given the paper map and even Google Earth might be outdated or misleading.

One possible trail was on Joppa Farm Road from U.S. 40 westward. Once I started walking it, though, I decided it wasn't that great for a group, as the railroad bridge has a one-lane passage with a partly blind curve, and before Route 7 could be reached the road narrowed with no foot path other than ditches on either side.

Joppa Farm road near railroad tracks

Then I went south from the Little Gunpowder Falls to the Big Gunpowder Falls. Even though the U.S. 40 bridge has no parking near the river, I thought I could find a spot to leave the car(s). At Jones Road I found an abandoned motel that would serve in a pinch, though it wasn't a great option. Hiking west from that spot on Jones Road I passed an industrial area that seemed worth avoiding, but then found a large open area that turned out to be a nearly unmarked parking lot for the State Park.

Interesting water bars/trail steps - large wood chunks with routed-out cross hatch patterns, only they're angled down the trail rather than off the trail. I think the path is more stable than it would be without these improvements. They could use a little rework perhaps, to direct runoff to the side of the trail better, and to cover the full width rather than partial, since we tended to walk on the unimproved side.

The view at stream level was spectacular, especially given the fact this is near several highly traveled East Coast corridors.

For later reference, here's a Google map to the trail head parking lot:

View Larger Map

Close up of one of the water bars

Water bar with credits

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shiny thing

Getting into the car the other day, I noticed a shiny thing on the parking lot of the supermarket. I hesitated, as another car was pulling in next to me and I wasn't sure how they'd feel with me lingering around with my door open, crouched next to their car.

But I managed to get in the car, slide my cell phone out and take a picture while acting nonchalant. I took several, in fact, and none turned out very well. This one is the best of the lot:

I cropped it vigorously, so it ended up as a 14KB JPEG. So far, since February 2008, I've uploaded around 200 pictures, and am still under 10MB and less than 1% of my 1GB of space on picassa. Crop, crop, crop, compress, compress, compress

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Door knob

It was broken, sort of. The middle hallway doors just sort of hung there.

I took off the old one (photo 1), replaced it with a new one (photo 2). But the 2 doors didn't meet correctly, which was part of the original problem. Getting them to fit would require lowering the strike plate. Photo 4 shows where I started. Movie clip 1 shows me drilling out the new mortise an inch lower than the old one.

Photo 5 shows chiseling I needed to do to recess the strike plate. The old one was simply screwed onto the door frame (with round head screws no less), and looked bad. Photo 6 is a demo of chiseling, but not an action photo (use 2 hands for sharp blades). The next to last photo shows the plate target while the last photo shows the screw being started. The old screws were probably 1/2 inches long and the new ones over an inch.

The final video is the door closing with a satisfying clunk.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You've got to give it away

Last year, I followed the story of One Laptop Per Child and the attempts to build and distribute a $100 computer for the world. There were start-up, distribution and political challenges, not to mention some personality conflicts, from what I could tell. While I thought about donating money to the cause recently (not sure what reminded me of this worthy endeavor) but just didn't quite get around to it. Then, I saw a message on twitter that the "Give One, Get One" program was starting up in 2008:

@ScottMonty: One Laptop Per Child is now on Twitter: @OneLaptop. You should follow this very worthwhile education project. 10 days ago

I started following that account, as Scott Monty suggested:

@jspath55: now following @OneLaptop 10 days ago

Shortly after, I rephrased why I was following:

@jspath55: RT @OneLaptop T-Minus 6 Days until launch ...Spread the word!! 10 days ago

Mark Finnern replied/retweeted, but with an editorial comment:

@finnern: RT: @jspath55: RT @OneLaptop T-Minus 6 Days ... -- Read Richard Stallman first Ability to tinker is essential to change 10 days ago

I looked at what Mark referred to, and found what I consider a tired argument about which computer operating system is purest to qualify for charitable giving. For one thing, if I'm making a donation, I don't need to please anyone but the recipient. For another thing, Mark was incorrect by inferring that these computers include Microsoft Windows; they don't. Hopefully some of the nearly 500 people that follow Mark read my reply:

@finnern "Only Linux-based XO laptops will be available through Amazon, said ... vp/sftware eng/at OLPC. A Windows version will not be sold" 9:46 AM Nov 12th

@finnern See re the "read Stallman first" comment. Read it, then make up your own mind. 9:48 AM Nov 12th

That last link leads to

I ordered 2 from Amazon on 20-Nov-2008. The gift system goes wherever the one laptop per child program decides. The system that goes to me I'm planning to give away to a local charity. Another online friend suggested I keep the laptop that will be sent to me. Maybe if I do this again later.

As I was cleaning out my bill pile, I found a letter from the House of Ruth. It suddenly dawned on me that was the place to drop off the other machine. As I looked at their web site to make sure this was workable, I saw this link:

I'm used to seeing public service announcements for online safety directed at kids, protecting them from abusers, and at adults, protecting them from financial predators. This was a different, and likewise scary scenario, where women need to protect their internet browsing to sites like the House of Ruth, bus tickets, shelters or housing ads might be clues to an abuser.

Besides the donation I plan to make as soon as the shipment arrives, there's this wish list of necessities:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I just want to embed a KML file in a URL

I built several variations of:

View Larger Map

The zoom kept acting funny, I had bad syntax. So I'm giving up for now.

At least I was able to retrieve the archived KML files I had on the now-departed Baltimore County Public Library internet host. I have no idea how to find the places I sent out as:

Because that doesn't work any more.

But this does:

Embedding it in a web page is a little harder...

View Larger Map

Friday, November 14, 2008

To project euphoria, or how to make euphoria a project

Last night (13-Nov) I went to a screening of the film Euphoria at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore City. I heard about this via my son's Facebook page, and spread the word to a few friends and co-workers. The crowd didn't fill the theater (it's a big place), but it was a respectable size for a weeknight, non-Hollywood, sort-of-art film.

Dinner plans were amended due to my son's roommate having a 5PM class; with the film start set for 7:30 it was a quick dash down York Road and a bite to eat at Ryan's Daughter Irish Pub and Restaurant. A recommendation for Saigon Remembered didn't pan out.

Before the film started, Senator owner Tom Kiefaber introduced the film, gave background on the state of the building and other film news, and said they were using a digital projector, not needing a distributor to work directly with the film producers.

Tonight (14-Nov) and Saturday, the same high definition video projector will be used to screen a film on the Kelly Bell Band. Kelly Bell is well known around Baltimore, and around music circles, but his appearance in the Euphoria film is not to be missed.

I won't try to describe the film, as this isn't a review, other than to say, "you must see this." I bought a DVD copy after the screening, so give me a call and we'll watch it together.

There was Q&A at the end of the screening, and I was extremely proud that the filmmaker (Lee Boot), prompted by his partner (Stacy Arnold) recognized my son for his film work on the Field Trip project, between high school and college. (See: The King)

A screening on 15-Nov-2008 (Saturday); see:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hayride fall fun and campfire

It's almost too warm for a campfire tonight as it went over 70 degrees today but that isn't stopping us. Adults and over a dozen members of Pack 350 gathered for a post-Halloween hay ride.

With us is a St. Bernard, called Hildie. Not sure what animals are in the woods. I expect we'll get a report when the kids return from their first lap.

These kind of events are great for socializing - maybe even some event planning.

It's quiet now that the haywagon is gone. Adults get to eat first for a change.

Second run of the hay wagon returns:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween at the movies

Last week, I went to the Bengies, even though I wasn't too keen on the first 2 movies, and had seen the third movie and didn't need to see it again. But what the heck.

The week, the same first 2 movies are running, and the third movie is new. It's not on my short list, but again, it's a blast to see the big screen, particularly cartoons, trailers, and Three Stooges shorts.

So I'm going tonight, at the reduced admission entry time of 10:30, assuming my energy levels permit me to drive there. I wonder how many people will be dressed up? Looks like a beautiful starry night in store.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A month of a new (but old) dog

We've had our new greyhound for nearly a month, although he was four years old already. It's been an adjustment for all of us. Our previous 2 greys never learned or liked to climb stairs, though they could head down after a bath. This one (Cadillac) bounded up the stairs nearly on the first day, and has no trouble going up or down. He chowed down on the cat food, forcing us to feed the cats in isolation.

The cats aren't quite sure what to make of him. At first they were freaked out, but now they ignore him unless he tries to play with them. He doesn't understand they are not interested and barks at them. Hopefully he won't irritate any of them, as they have both claws and teeth. And vice versa, as I've seen him carry pillows and stuffed animals in his jaws, none too gently.

Pictures are online:

This is one of my faves:

He also figured out it was safe to climb onto the LazyBoy rocker:

I'm starting to teach him a few commands. One that greyhounds don't typically handle well is "sit" as it isn't part of their training regimen for racing. He's very strong, so pushing his back down has been a workout for me.

From spath pets

Oh, and he has a twitter identity - cadillac_dog, earning him 15 followers already (counting me).


Sunday, October 19, 2008

On the train from Dortmund to Frankfurt

Caterer up all night, going home, sits down and starts talking to me. Alcohol on his breath, but coherent even though English is not his native language. He's got a father from Iran (thought he said Paris, but he meant Persia), mother from Italy, born in Germany.

"Mein lieber Scholli!"

I got him to say Hi to Kathy (he kept asking about my "housewife") and, upon viewing, he said his hair looked bad.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Breakfast in Dortmund Germany (and lunch, and dinner)

After a personal weekend visiting southwest Germany and then a packed 4 days in Berlin, not to mention the SAP TechEd Cluetrain, I spent a few hours yesterday on the ICE (intercity express train) to Dortmund.

I just learned the train station here is one of the busiest in Germany and I believe it. It seemed more crowded and faster paced than any of the other (5?) stations I've been through.

There was also a lively crowd outside, such as food vendors, flower carts, and more than a few teen-aged citizens in black punk uniforms.

After a tasty dinner last night I was able to get online, joining Craig Cmehil and a few others for a time-lapsed Friday morning report (got the heads up on twitter). Even learned that Gregor had passed through Dormund Friday, as had Craig.

I walked the 'ring' streets going anti-clockwise from Konigswall to Hoher Wall to Hiltropwall to Sudwall to Ostwall, then Schwanenwall and finally on Burgwall to the hotel. Today I plan to explore the ring center with museums and churches and end up outside it in Kreuzviertel.

American hotels take note - this is just part of a Continental breakfast!

(update - lunch and dinner photos)

A turkey kabob omelet:

Salad with fried potatoes and fried eggs, with house red.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Water use in SAP TechEd

Someone mentioned there weren't giveaway reusable water bottles in Berlin, as there were for SAP TechEd 2008 in Las Vegas, and Tom Raftery noted the use of imported French bottled water to brew coffee in Berlin. Not to mention the vow to not print daily hand-outs that seemed to have been bypassed somewhere in the management chain.

There were conflicting water sources.

"Every Picture Tells A Story Don't It?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Steve Winwood's Keyboards

Here's me standing in front of the stage at SAP TechEd 08 before Steve Winwood and his band went onstage.

Thanks to the anonymous photographer who shot me.

Two more days in Berlin...

Link to Gregor's photo of me trying to whistle.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Drinking water at SAP TechEd EMEA 08

Unlike the SAP TechEd 08 Las Vegas and the ASUG Operations Optimization conference in Nashville where individual water bottles were not given away for free, the TechEd 08
Berlin conference has soda and water coolers. Needless to say, I'm not drinking their water - I filled up my water bottle at the hotel.

The good side of this story is the availability of recycling containers, particularly one as evident as this one.

(Part 2)

Here's a shot in my hotel room, with the 7 Euro water bottle (it's a glass container), and my cheapo plastic reusable one.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In Germany, on the road to Berlin, day 2

Went to Freiburg Germany today.

Started in Baden-Baden, where I could have rented a bike. I think

Stopped a "Peace" table after getting off the train and walking around a bit. "NEIN Zum Krieg" says the sticker from

Hiked up a hill. Took this on the way back:

Lunch - some kind of broccoli thing and a coffee to go.

[okay, found this one partly written then abandoned, so turning it loose as is and moving on]

In Germany, on the road to Berlin, day 1

Arrived early, train to Bühl was 20 minutes late. Had a little sleep on the plane. The train ride was nice, but windows were dirty and I was looking into the dawn so no sharp images of Germany country-side other than sharp contrasts between city and farmland. Very creative graffiti as you would see on East Coast rail corridors. I guess Berlin would be more intense.

Saw this young lady on my several hour walk through the town of Bühl. Despite the crack in her head she seems to be enjoying the weather(ing). With a plate of cookies.

This statue is near the town center park (Stadigarten). Babelfish suggests "the homeland our victims" for "der heimat unser opfer." But a better translation might be "only the good die young."

Doesn't work(?):

The town had a jazz festival on my trip weekend, so I made an effort to find a little music. The show last night was held in a old school building converted to apartments. The band played some Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles type jazz. It was quite like being home, but for the crowd speaking German. I hung out in the alley, as the admission was 24 Euros, and I was too tired to spend several hours, much as I might have liked.

On the way back to where I'm staying I spotted a battery carcass in the space between the gutter and the cobblestone street. I didn't have my camera for an in situ photo, so here's one after retrieval.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Packed up for the road and rails

Here's the final result of my planning and packing. The checked expedition pack weighed 28 pounds at the airine counter. But, I didn't think about weighing my day pack, which is probably half that.

Everything fit into 1 unit, including 2 empty water bottles. We shall see how heavy it gets after the conference check-in is over. I know I don't need another daypack but expect those will be given out.

Sent from my Windows Mobile® phone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A different kind of router

This shows my current hardware project, making signs as thank you notes for participants in one of our Scouts' Eagle project.

Not the Cisco kind of router, this one is made at Black & Decker, where I work.

I don't know what the inscription is supposed to say as my email account is down.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New clue train on track 5

SAP's blogs only allow 500x700 maximum size, so even though this image is but a mere 14KB, I can't use it on their site. It only allowed up to only 400x600 earlier this year, I think.

Get it, Clue Train?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Printer CPR

Our printer has been on the waiting list for service or the junk yard for several months. It broke before June when our son got home from, and then went back to college in September, taking his working printer with him. We've had the Canon Pixma ip4200 only a year or so, after having an earlier inkjet Canon printer before that. Decent print quality, decent speed, just the usual gripes about ink costing too much and not lasting long enough.

The ip4200 has the ability to print double-sided without the traditional take-out-and-flip-over style. Not intended for huge volumes, which Kathy seems to generate at times.

The problem was "Error code 6A00" which pops up with 2 choices - turn off/on, or send out for service. The first choice didn't work, and the latter was unpalatable.

Searching the internet showed 2 threads: - "Canon PIXMA MP800 Error 6A00"

and - "canon Pixma ip4000 error - 6A00"

And a photo series:

Both go back 2 years, with plenty of wailing, gnashing of teeth and occasional victory W00Ts.

Our model is the iP4200, but the internal print head and ink handling seem identical to the other stories.

Photo 1 is the location of 2 the 4 tabs I eventually found to remove the top cover. Some folks have managed to repair theirs without doing this (but not me).

After taking it off and putting it back on a few times, I was getting better at it. First, push in the tabs along the back side, prying up that edge of the case. Then, push in each side, pulling upwards on the opening crack shown. I never found an easy way to remove the front edge, so I have no useful advice there.

One poster said to remove the small front corner covers first. I think that's the right way to go, as you will see below.

The next photo shows the inside of the printer. The printhead/ink trolley has been pushed to the far left side. The problem area is on the opposite side from that trolley -- follow down the black ribbed area to 2 small gray rectangles. They are the pads/sponges/wipes that, if not functional, seem to cause the 6A00 error codes. Anything else in the path of that trolley will also cause a fault, from what I've read.

I know that our printer seemed to take longer and longer to start over the weeks and months prior to the startup fault, but there is no helpful early warning diagnostic (like an oil change light).

You probably can't see it very well, but I caused a problem in the right front panel getting the thing off, probably on the first try. Be cautious with that module, as the ribbon cable looks like cellophane tape, and the 2 protruding micro-switches are similarly on the thin side.

The next photo shows the "wiper blade" being depressed. I was getting a mite frustrated at that point, myself, but I pressed on (so to speak). Directly below the ball-point pen, on a slight angle to the left, is a black line. That's ink on the wiper blade. I thought the white dot at the end of that black line was a small piece of paper stuck inside, but that is the actual color of the blade.

I took paper towels moistened with window cleaner (advice from the above lists) and blotted all the ink off the wiper. I also re-positioned the left pad (the pads are between the pen and the spring).

After more re-tries than I'd like to admit, the yellow blinking light with the 6A00 code pop-up window finally went away! Wahoo! ... Almost.

After trying to get a sample page to print, I got a new error pop-up window that said, "Open the paper tray door." Uh-oh. It was open. This led me to realize I had either not reassembled the printer correctly, or more likely, I broke a tab and/or switch disassembling it.

The next photo shows the control panel, with 2 switches circled. The left switch is broken; the right one is whole. I never did find where that tiny piece of plastic toggle went, but its absence was signaling that the barn door was closed.

Here's my fix. After thinking that the switch could be replaced, I realized it's pretty easy to see if the door is open or not, and open it before printing. So I grabbed a piece of wire (left over from my grandfather's days with Western Electric, probably circa 1960), and shorted the switch.

Success, at least for a test print.

The volume test will be Kathy's next writing assignment.

Maybe I can order a micro-switch in the meantime.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Door fixer

The folks at Hodges Tru-Value Hardware on Middle River Road are always helpful, (literally) bailing me out of a variety of home-owner situations. The most recent was today, when I needed to replace our storm door handle. I've needed to replace it for a while, but a new dog in the house finally motivated me.

I picked up what I thought would fit, but they gave me 2 other door handles, one brass, and one plain black, that would drop into the holes. The old handle just kind of fell apart, with the tongue dropping on the ground one day.

I dragged out a few



The top left shot shows the temporary handle - a short piece of rope.
The other top row shots are the basic tools. I almost got away with just a screwdriver, but the new shaft was larger than the old one, so I drilled out the hole.
The aluminum in door left a few rough edges, so I filed them down.
The middle left picture shows the larger hole, although the metal shards are not visible.
Middle picture is the new handle, not quite tightened down.

Middle right picture shows the new handle in place, though the odd curvature to the door is an artifact of the inadequate cell phone camera lens.

The bottom shot is a bit farther back, so the foreshortening is gone.


SharePoint? - give me a break!

What is going on here?

At work we are moving to SharePoint, rather than innumerable other possible enterprise portal and collaboration/knowledge management tools. So I'm trying to learn by doing. Not reading the manual or listening to someone who's been using it for a few weeks linger than I. After all, my software motto is "it should just work."

Here's what the bog editor screen looks like. The HTML link editor is nearly as bad, not allowing you to write plain HTML. Gee, even FrontPage let you pick your own editor (ahem, Emacs on NT).

Size of the above image screen shot of my desktop is 1024x718. Big screen, tiny workspace where I can actually get things done.

Here's the screen shot with the actual working space cropped. This image is an astoundingly tiny 393x220 pixels. I think my phone screen is bigger than that. Who does quality control or user experience on this stuff?

If there's a zoom button, I haven't found it yet. This is like writing wearing handcuffs. I will keep looking for a way to just drop plain text from my Emacs sessions into the repository with the least amount of clicking, zooming, and dragging. Yeeesh, what a drag.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Clipboard to PNG

So, I lost my cool shortcut to take screen shots with ease on Windows, turning them into both clear and tiny images. In PNG format of course. How did I lose it? Hard disk crash. And the backup I thought I had on my home PC was on the previous hard drive, which is still OK, but in a pile somewhere, and not worth looking for. Cue the backup DVD search.

Bingo, found it on the first one - labeled "\cygwin \download \home \sfu \tmp" from 29-Dec-2007, just before the home hard drive renovation.

There it was, under /usr/local/bin, below D:\CYGWIN. And /usr/local/etc had

-rwx------+ 1 jspath ???????? 659 Aug 21 2003 colormap.ppm

Which is a Portable Pixmap file containing the magic pixels known somehere long ago as the set optimized for Netscape.

$ file /usr/local/etc/colormap.ppm
/usr/local/etc/colormap.ppm: Netpbm PPM "rawbits" image data

Anyway, that fits into the cliptopng script I wrote to go from "[prt sc]" to writing a PNG file in one swoop. Beats launching Word or MSPaint and trying to shrink the image file.

= = = =
$ cat /usr/local/bin/cliptopng

# cliptopng - write a PNG file from the Windows clipboard.


/cygdrive/c/bin/winclip/winclip -p | \
/usr/local/bin/netpbm/ppmquant.exe -mapfile /usr/local/etc/colormap.ppm |\
/usr/local/bin/netpbm/ppmtogif.exe >${ofile}.gif
/usr/local/bin/gif2png.exe -O -i -p ${ofile}.gif
rm ${ofile}.gif

= = = =

There's probably a better way to do this, but it works for me.

The first step requires winclip.exe. Fortunately I had that restored under c:\bin.

The other files are from the NetPBM library, which you can get for Windows via

The gif2png.exe may be another non-NetPBM utility, necessary because I couldn't find a direct PNG writer. It may exist now, but this runs in a second or so and I'm unmotivated to change it.

Here's the Winclip license feedback:

= = = =
$ c:/bin/winclip/winclip -?
c:\bin\winclip\winclip.exe: unknown option -?
winclip - copy/Paste the Windows Clipboard. $Revision: 1.13 $
(C) Copyright 1994-2002 Diomidis D. Spinelllis. All rights reserved.

Permission to use, copy, and distribute this software and its
documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted,
provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that
both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in
supporting documentation.


usage: winclip [-w|u] -c|-p [filename]

= = = =

To restore, I just dragged the whole local directory from DVD backup to hard drive. A lot easier than clicking on SETUP.EXE, etc.

$ cliptopng stuff
ppmquant: rescaling input image to match colormap maxval
ppmquant: 216 colors found in colormap
ppmquant: mapping image to new colors...
ppmtogif: computing colormap...
ppmtogif: 148 colors found
ppmtogif: maxval is not 255 - automatically rescaling colors
7/7 99%
jspath@jspath-xplt ~

$ file stuff.png
stuff.png: PNG image data, 1024 x 738, 8-bit colormap, interlaced

$ ls -l stuff.png
-rwx------+ 1 jspath mkgroup-l-d 64789 Sep 30 15:50 stuff.png

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An environmental train of thought

OK, let's start with 4 hilarious Dilbert cartoons this week, where Scott Adams introduces the infamous "Director of Green." Perfect segue into my topic.

I'm doing a session at SAP TechEd Community Day in Berlin called "What's your supply chain environmental impact?" See the SDN BPX wiki page for context and conceptual continuity.

Here is where I plan to coordinate my thoughts, rather than the usual slides:

I started looking online for local water quality data.

DPW August 2008 Newsletter.pdf

043008 2007 Water Report.pdf

Then I started thinking about an example company for a supply chain with environmental impact, and decided to research one where I one a single share of stock, Federal Mogul Corporation (that's my disclosure statement). It's come back from bankruptcy caused by lawsuits over asbestos in brake linings.

I googled the company name, with "water quality" and found a few interesting hits, such as:

  • The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the lead agency .... Federal-Mogul constructed potable water lines to deliver city drinking water
  • Federal-Mogul Corporation Company Details from the Paper Industry A fire at a Federal-Mogul Corp. distribution center idled employees Friday and dropped water pressure in DeKalb County, prompting school closings that gave
  • Federal-Mogul - Investors - Press Release "Our goal was to utilize a water-based adhesive yet maintain the high quality levels our customers have come to expect from Federal-Mogul," said Mark Bauer, ...
  • Federal-Mogul Deva GmbH RENEWABLE ENERGY 2002 - Federal-Mogul Deva GmbH. ... construction · fans · foundry machinery · waste water cleaning plants · water · steam and gas turbines ...
The last entry stuck out, as it included "GmbH," a German corporate abbreviation, and the term "waste water cleaning plants." Looking further, I found links to this corporate subsidiary:

I thought this might be a good case study; the corporate site described the business as:

Federal-Mogul Deva GmbH is a part of the Federal-Mogul Corporation. Federal Mogul Deva GmbH is a global manufacturer of world class self-lubricating, maintenance-free bearings in the Renewable Energy- and Industrial market. Available is a wide range of materials, our bearings has been specially developed for use in a variety of applications.

I decided to try to find the manufacturing site location, and see if I could find online data for water inputs and outputs.

This was an interesting white paper on the company's manufacturing prowess:

And the site included this address:

Schulstraße 20
D-35260 Stadtallendorf

I then used to zoom around the area. Here's an example of what I found:


View Larger Map

During one pass, I viewed the terrain and determined that wastewater discharges were likely to flow to the Rhine River. Natives of the area would probably know this already, but I'm also getting up to speed on German geography.

I noticed a large number of industrial buildings in the vicinity of the above address. It's easy to see the discolored roofs of many buildings, and without too much difficulty I spotted what looks like wastewater treatment tanks.

I suspected that the entire area was not just one company, so I looked at:

This wiki page lists salient facts about the town, including "... The 6 square kilometre [sic] premises where the wartime arms works were built were said to be one of Germany's biggest contaminated former industrial sites, in parts with high concentrations of chemical contaminants on residential properties. Since 1991, the premises have undergone a far-reaching cleanup; in March 2006, the job was officially declared done. ..." as well as facts related to World War 2.

The firm that I guessed was related to the "brownfields" was:

... Fritz Winter GmbH & Co. KG (engine foundry) ...

The town itself has a web site (who doesn't?)

And a few links therein:|231.2381.1&ModID=9&FID=231.678.1|231.2014.1&FID=231.2014.1

The Fritz Winter foundry also has a site, and is located here:

Fritz Winter GmbH & Co KG
Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 15
35260 Stadtallendorf

View Larger Map

Their environmental statements are forthright, such as:

(babelfish informs me umwelt is environment in German, verified by

"The Environmental Policy of company Fritz Winter Eisengießerei GmbH & Co. KG is based on the above described Policy Statement and is resumed in the following operation principles. It is fixed by the General Management and disclosed to all the employees."
"The strict compliance with all relevant environmental prescriptions is a main target of our environmental policy. Provisions are made which guarantee that the contracting parties working within our factory premises apply the same environmental principles as we do."

Ah, very good candidate for an example of supply chain environmental impact. They kindly list an email address of oi at, which I decipher to be "Office and Information Systems." I will drop them a couple questions.

But in the meantime, the EU has environmental reports, which google quickly revealed:

EEA - EPER Facility details
Emission to water(direct), Direct release, M/C/E, Indirect discharges (transfer to an off-site ... Parent company: Fritz Winter Eisengießerei GmbH & Co. KG ...

Fritz Winter Eisengießerei GmbH & Co. KG

Eisengießerei F.Winter GmbH & Co KG - LC 1

The EU site has a Geo-Information system, but it is too slow on my home link for much work:

The report shows water and air emissions. In my next installment, I will drill (so to speak) into the water quality values, such as nickel, zinc and cyanides.

Bengies TTTriple Feature Weekend - I survived another

From Bengies

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jspath55: @jonerp :-) I still have 4 passes to the #bengies to enjoy before the drive-ins 2008 season closes. will miss 2X due to Berlin. H'ween last?
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jonerp: Enjoying @jspath55's live tweets about Charles Bronson and other drive in movie happenings as much, if not more, than post debate analysis.
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jspath55: @eventtrack stop*bengies
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jspath55: Death Race - happy ending?!?
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jspath55: death race stage three
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jspath55: Charles Bronson Death Wish - classic trailer.
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jspath55: Eagle Eye had a slam bang finish. Speilburg exec produced so no surprise. Staying for Death Race, I hope for most of this 3rd #bengies show.
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jspath55: raining like crazy during the last reel of Eagle Eye.
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jspath55: inspector willoughby toon 1963?
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jspath55: next show:Eagle Eye. re: Mamma Mia - Pierce Bronson sings, sort of. It's raining now, so intermission clips will be wet and fuzzy. on w/sho
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jspath55: meryl streep? movie redeemed...
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jspath55: first show - Mamma Mia. a musical. why am I here again?
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jspath55: preying mantis flew onto my windshield while the star spangled banner was playing. symbolism too weird to fathom.
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jspath55: Johnny Depp as Tonto in a Lone Ranger movie - truth or rumor? (just overheard in the #bengies lot)
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jspath55: So far, about 15 cars at the drive-in. rain threatens, but 3 full length, full width features beckon. D will keep the #bengies open thru oct
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Saturday, September 20, 2008


Butch talked us into visiting Cade's Cove, and then the US park ranger talked us into a "short" hike to see an Appalachian Mountain cabin. In the middle of the trail was a black bear cub. Its' sibling was off the trail, and their mother was on the other side of the trail.

After a few photos/movies, and consultations with other hikers, we decided to keep going. We didn't see them afterwards, except possibly later on the side of the road.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

ASUG Operations Optimization Day 3 (and 2), and then some

Day 2 highlights, since I only posted the podcast, and nothing else:

I didn't get excited by the keynote. Check some of my contemporaneous tweets if you want to know what I thought then. I heard a few others say they liked it, so I've either heard I before or read it before done better, or I was overly critical.

Krishna Kumar's topic was titled green and energy savings, but there wasn't much on that. He's been to our offices (I recalled) and is very sharp, plus the presentation was well done and well thought, not to mention thought provoking. It's just that the connection to energy conservation for supply chains was a stretch from Google maps mash-ups, not well documented.

The Valero presentation on near real time dashboards was fascinating, not just for the technical know-how, but also for the project management and scope creep views. I later stopped at the SAP pod on MII and found a different opinion on publishing manufacturing data. I'll stick with the users on the pointy end of the stick over the developers, thanks.

At lunch I heard the most attended session for an SAP speaker was on RFID basics, so we're going to repeat that as a webcast. I also recorded a podcast, which is on the ASUG site.

After lunch I sat through the APO 7 new stuff session by Tod Stenger.

Then Jim and I presented, as pictured above. It went okay, got a few good questions and collected many business cards.

Tuesday evening was a second networking event, and then comedy from Second City. Perhaps a YouTube clip when I can upload.

Wednesday I did an early session with SAP usability developers. I'll probably write about that on SDN later. It went well, but we ran out of time.

Another good session was on SCM demand planning tips + tricks. I'm not a planner but it still helped me.

Lunchtime was the panel on SAP "Enterprise Support"" I went in with low expectations, and even they weren't met. My comment about slow (and incorrect) problem handling was deflected to a completely irrelevant claim that "Solution Manager" will speed up message solving. Since the help desk people gave us wrong advice, despite my spoon feeding the answer, I was disgusted with the answer, walking out shortly afterwards. It's a price hike, period. I have yet to see the value.

Thursday we're in east Tennessee, and got too see Butch McNally, formerly of BITI, now with Portals. Always a treat to chat with Butch. He's going to France, courtesy of WIS. ASUG, take note.