ColdFusion Muse

Multi-Monitor Tip

Mark Kruger February 16, 2010 6:16 PM Humor and Life Comments (7)

For those of you using more than one monitor and using windows 7, I just accidentally discovered something that is pretty cool. Select a window on one of your screens. Hold down the windows key and the shift key and then use the right or left arrow keys to move it between your various monitors. That's something I do all day long - move various windows between my three monitors to make space for one thing or another. I suppose it's not new to some of you out there - but I thought it was nifty :)

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Blizzard Day 2

Mark Kruger December 9, 2009 3:10 PM Humor and Life Comments (1)

Well only the brave soul (other than me) made it to the office today. That would be hardy stalwart and compadre Guy Rish. Everyone else is working from home. The final tally looks like 12 to 14 inches and the drive in was pretty daunting. Here are some photos of the final damage.

Here's what it looked like at the office driveway.

Near my local Starbucks

The parking lot.

My back and arms are killing me from shoveling (and I even had my 2 teenage sons to help - yikes I'm getting old).

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Blizzard Day in Omaha

Mark Kruger December 8, 2009 1:39 PM Humor and Life Comments (5)

Every time someone hears I'm from Nebraska they ask about the cold and snow - followed by corn, cows, "do you have a Gap" and "how long before you get electricity and indoor plumbing". As I've documented here and elsewhere Omaha is a high tech thriving economy. Although I live within a few hundred feet of a corn field, I also live within a few miles of excellent shopping, theatre, music and the arts. Still, it actually does get cold and snowy in Nebraska. We are in the middle of a blizzard today.

9:00 a.m.

Here's what it looked like outside my office door at 9:00 this morning.

11:00 a.m.

And here's the progress after about 2 hours.

I'll post another update when it gets deeper. :)

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Pass the Smoked Salmon: Muse Meets Mayor

Mark Kruger September 25, 2009 1:20 PM Humor and Life Comments (4)

Last night my wife and I attended an early evening bash thrown by the local chamber of commerce. These shindigs are usually pretty good with door prizes and drinks and fancy-pants hors d'oeuvres. I was milling about feeling uncomfortable as I often do in a "non technology" crowd. I'm a talker by nature but in these crowds the conversation usually goes something like this:

  • Bob (who owns a car dealership): So what does your company do?
  • Muse: We are a web application development company specializing in complex applications.
  • Bob: Oh I see... you design web sites.
  • Muse: Well yes, but that's really a small part of what we do. We are really more on programming and problem solving side of the equation.
  • Bob (glibly moving on): Hey, you work with computers let me ask you something.
  • Muse (heart sinking): Ok
  • Bob: When I try to print sometimes I get this error. Why is that?
  • Muse (wishing a fight would break out and distract Bob): Well... (small sigh) ... I'm not sure. What does the error say?
  • Bob: I don't know I click OK and it goes away. But when I try to print again it comes back.
  • Muse: And what does it say the second time?
  • Bob (Unaware of the Pavlovian Cycle he is in): I don't know I click OK and it goes away. What do you think it means?
  • Muse: I'm afraid I have bad news. It might be time for a new printer.
  • Bob: Rats... I knew it.
  • Muse: Bob, let me ask you something... you work with cars right? I have this little chirping sound coming from the trunk of my 78 Nova every time I turn left on a Tuesday.... What do you think that means?
And on it goes. It's amazing how regular folks always boil down any technology job to "Oh... you work with computers" - by which they mean you tinker with hardware all day long. They automatically equate your skills to that of the local Best Buy Geek Squad. Not that there's anything wrong with being on the geek squad... some of my best freinds are hardware people.

Anyway, yesterday I was sort of not in a mood to mingle. Ann and I were in a line for some little mini roast beef sandwiches (thank you Brandeis catering) and we were chatting to ourselves waiting for the door prize drawings. A man who was working the room came up to me and said, "How are you this evening?" I turned and said fine and shook his hand and said "I'm Mark Kruger". He shook my hand with a practiced grip and said, "Nice to meet you I'm Jim Suttle". I nodded and made a comment about the food and then turned away.

Something was tickling the back of my mind... nagging at me like bad mayonnaise in the back of the fridge. Finally I got it (Ann's poking me helped a little too). Jim Suttle is Omaha's new mayor. I turned back and said "I'm sorry I guess I didn't put two and two together. It's really nice to meet you Mr. Mayor." He laughed and I laughed and Ann laughed and the waiter (a charming fellow with half an ounce of gold in his mouth) laughed. I could think of little else to say other than "You are shorter in person than on TV" - which I thankfully kept to myself. Anyway, it was an awkward moment for me and funny for everyone else. Sometimes I wonder about the Muse... I have no lack of confidence yet I seem so inattentive at times. I wish I had brought my good friend Tom Long with me. He's got a sales radar like an Ageis cruiser. I bet he could have held the mayor's attention for 5 minutes or more. Anyway, now that the mayor and I are on speaking terms I'll have to invite him to one of my candelight suppers.

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Relief for Big City Residents

Mark Kruger September 17, 2009 4:19 PM Humor and Life Comments (1)

I like to say Omaha is a great place to live but you wouldn't want to visit there. Unless you are a College World Series fan or a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder there is little reason to choose Omaha as a destination for a vacation (or... let's be honest... even a weekend). Someday it might be known as the home of the Muse but for now it remains a hidden gem on the prairie. Folks around here are mighty friendly (if I could channel Buddy Epson for a moment). In contrast folks in truly recognizable "big" cities (NY, LA, Chicago et al) have a reputation for... well, let's just say impatience. I go most days in Omaha without ever hearing a horn honk, but it's hard to go a few minutes without hearing a horn in NY or Boston. I used to think this impatient, slightly rude state of mind was simply cultural, but my recent trip to the big city changed my mind.

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Best Buy in 1965 (Bring Your Firstborn)

Mark Kruger September 16, 2009 2:26 PM Humor and Life Comments (0)

I stumbled across this typewritten letter on the documents page of famed computer scientist Edsger W. Dijkstra. The letter, written in 1965 is a basic request for a quote for a "general purpose digital computer" for the Technological University at Eindhoven (in the Netherlands). What is notable is the specifications and price:

  • Number System - binary, not decimal. Hmmmm... Remember when base 10 systems were around? I don't.
  • Memory - (quoting here) "A random access memory with a capacity of say, one or two million bits". Two million bits would be 250,000 bytes and according to this handy calculator that puts RAM somewhere in the 256k range (on the high end). Someone shout out if I got the math wrong.
  • Backing Store - Discs or Drums. (quoting again) "We think that a capacity of 20 million bits would be sufficient." That sounds like about 2.5 megabytes - or .002 percent of a 1 GB USB key (do they make those any more?).
  • Input Mechanism - paper tape reader.
Other comments of note:
  • "We are not very attracted to punched cards." - I don't know of anyone who is, but there are crazy people out there on the Internet these days.
  • "If you have noisy line printers and silent line printers we should prefer the silent ones."
  • (regarding speed) "If a full length multiplication takes 10 mmsec it is fine; if it takes 25 mmsec we think it would be fine also. ...the difference hardly matters when in practice the machine spends eighty percent of its time winding and rewinding tapes!"

The Price

In 1965, what is the expected price of a machine as quoted above with less power than the music player in those annoying musical Hallmark cards? Dr. Dijkstra indicates to his prospective vendors:

"A million dollars is the upper limit. One or two years after the delivery we might be able to spend a quarter of a million to extend the installation if desired"

Isn't it amazing how far we have come? Here's a shout out to Dijkstra and all the other largely unheralded pioneers who slogged in the trenches so we can have I-phones, Macs, Netbooks and PCs today. Thanks guys! (We'll talk to you later about those musical cards - talk about the law of unexpected consequences...).

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My Little Girl is All Grown Up... and Saving China

Mark Kruger August 24, 2009 2:58 PM Humor and Life Comments (3)

I apologize to regular Muse readers for taking a short sentimental journey. You might want a tissue. Oh... if you don't understand the title I added a note at the end of this post.

Life is change and change is hard. My daughter Jasmine moved into Creighton University on Saturday. Creighton is right here in Omaha - 15 minutes from my house. Yet even though we picked her up and took her to church with us yesterday I still feel a yawning hole in my heart. It is unlike summer camp or band trips or even the time she went to Nicaragua. Nothing will every really be the same for my wife and I from this moment on. We are officially embarking on our empty nest (one down, two to go).

As for Jasmine, she is the epitome of what a daughter should be. She is smart - I mean really scary smart as in the Nobel Prize committee should be checking up on her. She is sharp and witty too. She is nerdy just like her father and brothers. She is a caring and positive young woman with a natural energy and warmth so like her mother. In 18 years she has never given me cause to fear her judgment. She never used the air bags on the car. She never earned less than an A. She never broke curfew. She has never been sent to the principal's office. She has chosen her friends wisely. She has never failed to live up to and exceed our expectations. This is not the hyperbole of a doting father. It is the truth with my hand up. If she could learn to clean out her car and straighten her room I'd say she was perfect.

Jasmine fishing So here's to you Jasmine. I hope your college experience is everything you want it to be and more. I hope you find a passion for something that energizes you for the rest of your life. I hope your mind expands and opens to new and dizzying heights. I hope you find friends and companions who love and accept you and encourage you like you encourage others. Most of all I hope and pray that you will continue to grow in grace and wisdom as you embark on this new season of life. Meanwhile, hang in there and remember, the kettle is always on for you at home. I'm up for baking you a pie and the boys are always ready to bake cookies :). See you on Sunday.

FYI for Muse readers: The title is a line by Mushu, the little dragon played by Eddie Murphy in the Disney movie "Mulan". It is one line of many from various movies that are repeated around the Kruger household - to the chagrin of Mrs. Kruger I might add. Now back to our regularly scheduled technical programming.

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Afghans and the Spirit of 1776

Mark Kruger August 20, 2009 11:08 AM Humor and Life Comments (2)

In this arresting photo, Afghan poll workers shuttle portable voting stations, ballets and ballet boxes into remote northern villages in Afghanistan using donkeys to hike over washed out roads and rickety bridges. Over 800 donkeys are being employed to get ballets in and out of some of the most rugged terrain on the planet. Today all over the country Afghans are risking life and limb to take pencil in hand and voice their choice for president. Threats from militants are non-stop and some Afghans will undoubtedly be injured and even die trying to do this simple civic duty.

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