Anthony Greene

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MSN Spaces – I am outta here.

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I looked on my Msn space today to notice the last note I’ve written was to say that I am "Checking out Facebook".  Well, in the time since I wrote that note I’ve gone from a timid adopter, to a rabid, proselytizing fan.

Facebook is the best thing since Google and Wikipedia.  If Facebook was a movie, it would be Fight Club.  It would be Edward Norton beating the tar out of Jared Leto, putting a bullet in the head of every panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species.  It would breathe smoke.  I digress. The thought of Facebook and Fight Club together is just too much for me to to handle.

There is a lot about Msn Spaces that I’m really going to miss, like the Byzantine security settings which block me and my friends from ever seeing each other’s content, even when we do try to magically line up the right tumblers of Microsoft’s security scheme.  My heart aches at never again seeing the ubiquitous "This Msn space is currently unavailable.  Please try again later".  Most of all, I’ll miss the painfully obvious fact that nobody else is really using this site.  Facebook will just need to find a way to cushion the blow.  I’m sure it will.

I used to think that Msn Spaces’ Windows Live Messenger integration (the shiny little twinkle next do your friend’s name on your contact list whenever they update their space) was a killer application, which may have carried it to some levels of success.  Alas, I can’t help but get the feeling that whomever at Microsoft is funding the Msn Space initiative is just not 100% committed to the product, and nay is not actually even using it themselves.  Msn Spaces has the distinctive feel (much like a Yahoo Portal page of old) of a product which the developers themselves choose not to use.

So, for those few not already in the know, Msn Spaces is officially dead to me.  If you ever want to socially network with me, you’ll just have to sign yourself up on Facebook.  (Unless, you choose to use one of those horribly out-of-date applications, like email, or instant messaging, or God-forbid the telephone — how very last-millenium of you.)

Now I only need a way to painlessly import posts from my two Msn Spaces (anthonygreene.spaces.live.com and demiurgency.spaces.live.com), and then I can do some housecleaning and delete them.  I’m currently importing them by aggregating the two sites through a free aggregator (http://feedblendr.com) and then importing that RSS feed into my Facebook notes.  I would feel much better, though, just having all that information natively on Facebook, so if anyone has any good ideas how do to that, I’d appreciated the tip.

Written by anthonygreene

June 12, 2007 at 12:12 pm

More trouble with the new address

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Something definitely seems to be bogged up pretty badly on Microsoft’s new Windows Live servers.  I’ve been transitioning off agreene73@hotmail.com address to anthony.greene@hotmail.com address.  Not only does there appear to be no way to transfer this site over to my new address, but my anthony.greene@hotmail.com is experiencing all kinds of strange issues.
 
1)  I can’t use Outlook Express with  anthony.greene@hotmail.com, but I can use it with agreene73@hotmail.com.  Isn’t that wonderful.  Supposedly, since my first account was created before an arbitrary date, it’s allowed to use OE.  But with my new email address, I need to pay $29.95 (USD) for the same privilege.  This was not immediately obvious.  It took a lot of digging around on newsgroups to figure this one out.
 
2)  MSN spaces show up on my contact list for agreene73@hotmail.com, but not for anthony.greene@hotmail.com.  This is even stranger.  Oh, the joy just never ends around here.

Written by anthonygreene

July 24, 2006 at 11:54 am

Argh. Seriously. Argh.

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It doesn’t take much to annoy me. This is not a fact that I
actually consider true about myself at all. I generally think of
myself as the very model of patience and tolerance for life’s little
hiccups and pitfalls.

Unfortunately, it seems that people around me, at least
those who have shared an office space with me, would wholeheartedly and
very quickly agree that it actually takes very little to set me off,
and once annoyed, I tend to be (very) vocal, and relish verbally exploring down to the very minutiae
of exactly what’s gotten under my skin. It appears that when it comes to
annoyance, I tend to be very detail-oriented. I must remember to
put that on my resume somewhere.

This may or may not be true. I don’t really want to get into the
merits of this argument, for or against. But while it may be true
that I will pretty quickly get into a rant about something that really
annoys me (I suppose that may be true… I do rant a lot) it takes a
very special and distinct level of annoyance to actually drive me to
this Space to write about it.

My rant today? Microsoft. Damn you. Microsoft.

I know. How very original of me.

Today I registered for a new hotmail address. See how I lost the battle with spam for why I want a new email address. So, just for kicks, I tried getting the very sexy, very professional anthony.greene@hotmail.com,
and holy smokes, would you believe it, it was actually
available!!! Now that’s an email address I can actually feel good about
putting on my resume. I definitely plan on using
anthony.greene@hotmail.com as my primary email address, and slowly
leave behind poor old agreene73@hotmail.com as its original, intended purpose, as a
spam-mail address.

I really like my msn space, even if I don’t write here very
often. And I would hate to lose it and start fresh again. It’s not that
any of my posts are particular gems.  It’s the comments that mean
so much to me.  Wow… my friends actually read this blog!!! 
What a tremendous opportunity for mind control….

I digress.

So I searched online to see if there is any way to change my MS Passport,
from agreene73@hotmail.com to anthony.greene@hotmail.com. I only
came up with one useful link, a blog entry from a Microsoft employee on
the msn Messenger team.

http://carnage4life.spaces.msn.com/blog/cns!616444EE7A34F417!416.entry?_c=BlogPart#permalink

The short version of this story? Your msn Space is associated
with your Passport. If you have a Passport associated
with an email address that is anything except @hotmail.com,
you are free to change it. If your Passport is tied to a hotmail
address, guess what, boys and girls? You are SOL. Sad
truth. Microsoft, in its glorious wisdom, has decided to better
support people with third-party email addresses, than its own loyal
hotmail user-base.

Written by anthonygreene

July 19, 2006 at 4:34 pm

How I lost the battle with spam

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This is not a real a post. It’s more of a tangent from the post that I
really want to write, on how Microsoft has made a science out of
annyoing me
. But I found that post to be getting far too long,
mostly because of this tangent, so I figured I would break this
background story off into it’s own post so it can be safely skipped
over.

I feel like I’ve lost the war against spam. This is hardly anyone’s
fault but my own. For a period of about 3 years I used my
agreene73@hotmail.com primarily as a dummy account that I would give to
unscrupulous online websites that require I register with a valid email
address before I enter into their site. I knew this address would serve
as nothing but a spam magnet, and I was not too worried about it.

Around 2000 or 2001 I transitioned away from ICQ as my IM of choice.
That’s a whole new set of annoyances that drove me away from a program
I used to love. I don’t want to get into that. I was also changing
jobs, and found that having a permanent, personal email address was
more reliable than basing my online-identity on a work-based email,
which can (it appears) change at the drop of a hat. So,
agreene73@hotmail.com got promoted from spam-magnet to primary email
address, as well as (as Microsoft would have it) the very kernel of my
digital soul. Thank you Passport. Thank you very much.

Over the years, I’ve actually been incredibly happy with the use,
flexibility, and options of having my hotmail address be my primary
personal email address. It’s quite a lot to ask of something that is
free. When MSN spaces arrived on the scene, I instantly took a liking
to it. I’ve tried using Blogger.com, and MySpace.com, both of which are
more popular sites on the net for blogging, but for various reasons I
really could never be bothered with using either of those. After
a week or two my interest very quickly died off.

The killer feature that MSN Spaces has, I believe, is their
intergration with MSN Messenger. I must truly be out of touch with the
computing habits of the world at large (kids, damn kids), because I
completely fail to understand why this feature has not spelled the doom
of other blogging sites, or personal sites like MySpace or Friendster.

I really can’t be bothered to
remember all of my friends’ various blogs, web spaces, portals,
etc. And even if I did, I wouldn’t bother to check each one up
every day on the offhand chance that they’ve updated their blog.
I suppose I could subscribe to their blog to receive email
updates…but… nah, even that is too much bother. (Terrible,
aren’t I).

But you can rest assured, guaranteed,
if you are on my contact list, and you update your MSN Space, the
moment I see that twinkly little star next to your name, I will, that
very instant, click on it and read through your blog update, and look
carefully at every single picture you’ve uploaded to your site. I
may not leave many comments behind (though I know I should) but I most
certainly am reading it.

Though this little feature has managed to completely capture me, it has
not seemed to work so well with the rest of the internet’s
user-base. MSN Spaces remains a tiny mouse next to the rabid,
mutant elephant that is MySpace.com. Anyway, I’m not moving over to
MySpace.com anytime soon. I like having updates on my contact list far
too much, even if it means not being one of the cool kids.

Anyway, back to losing my battle with spam and today’s annoyance with
Microsoft. I do get tons of spam with my account
agreene73@hotmail.com. I know this is largely in part to me being on
dozens, nay hundreds of distribution lists thanks to my activity some
seven or eight years ago with this account. And don’t get me wrong.
Hotmail’s built in spam filters are doing a heroic job in stemming the
flow from the tsunami of spam mail that hits it every day. Sadly it
just is not enough.

There is also the fact that I just plain have never liked my
agreene73@hotmail.com address. It just seems… well very cheesy and
very 1998ish. I’ve never really been all that happy with this
email address, and have tried various other email services looking for
the right fit (and hopefully a better login name without arbitrary
numbers and characters). Inevitably, I keep coming back to this
agreene73@hotmail.com,
mostly because it is my msn messenger account, and now because of my
msn space. Congratulations, Microsoft, you really did find a way
to claim a chunk of my digital soul. It’s too bad that particular
chunk is stuck wearing a crappy name tag, and is presently drowning under a mountain of spam mail.


Click here
to go back to the real post that spawned this post.

Written by anthonygreene

July 19, 2006 at 4:32 pm

Church Radius.com is live

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I just want to throw up a quick note to announce that Church Radius is now live and out of beta.
 
Church Radius is the brainchild of my employer, Derek Hatchard, who has been interested in the concept of church management software for years.  Any organization that involves human beings can benefit from some kind of software to keep its operational information in order, and churches, like any organization, have special needs that a generic CMS does a very poor job of addressing.  He’s also pointed out to me that there is a curious void of good software packages for churches currently in the marketplace.
 
I’m really proud to have worked on this site.  Maybe it’s just the nature of the IT industry, but it seems that most projects I have been involved with in the past six years are morally sketchy, and that’s putting it mildly.  Since I stopped teaching and have been developing software full-time, the industries I’ve supported have ranged from dodgy (car and heavy equipment leasing, often through sub-prime financers), to exploitive (online dating), to outright reprehensible (search engine optimization technology).  All of these projects have been very interesting pieces of technology, and tremendously rewarding to work on as a developer, but have left me with some nebulous feelings as to where I actually fit in in the world.  Software development has led me to work for companies and industries I would never consider working for directly as an employee, out of moral grounds or otherwise.  The irony’s not lost on me.
 
In the context of all that, it’s been a real pleasure to work on a web application designed to help ordinary people organize the activities of their church.  As an added feel-good vibe, the pricing model is very modest.  It’s even free for smaller churches!
 
So if you happen to be very active in your church, or know someone who is, you should check out Church Radius.  It’s very new, and there are still a lot of very interesting features still to be implemented, but I have a feeling that it has a very bright future.
 
 
 

Written by anthonygreene

May 3, 2006 at 2:08 pm

One day, I will own a Mac

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Oh, how I have been so torn all these years. 
 
My public stance has always been that Macs are fine pieces of interior decor, but as far as practical computing goes, they amount to little more than very stylish paper-weights.  Let’s face it, the thought of owning a three thousand dollar piece of hardware that couldn’t even play games (outside of the faithful ports from Id Software and Blizzard, which have never been at the top of my gaming-life priority list) was, to put it mildly, a proverbial cold shower to my gaming mojo.
 
The best games are the slightly obscure ones, the ones which don’t become household names.  Thief: the Dark Project,  Planescape: Torment, Jagged Alliance 2, Fallout, Master of Magic.  These are the games that are masterpieces, on so many levels, but do not have the commercial success of more accesible games like Diablo, or Half-Life.  Consequently, these games don’t get ported to Macs.  Consequently, I don’t port to a Mac.
 
Also, I’ve never liked the idea of proprietary ANYTHING in the hardware world.  I will never buy an Hp, or a Compaq.  Pre-built computers leave me which a slick, grimy feeling, like I just robbed a senior citizen, kicked a puppy, and made fun of a blind kid.  I might someday buy a Dell.  Why?  Because they’re about half the price of a home-built system, and one of these years I’m going to get sick of paying a premium just to fan my ego by saying "yeah, that’s right, I BUILD my own computer!"  But overall, I choose run a machine out of generic parts.  To me, that’s just what good computing is all about.
 
And then, of course there is the teeny, weeny, little fact that my entire working career is tied up in Windows application development.  So, it sort of makes sense for me to have a Windows Pc at home.
 
Tie all those factors together (and a healthy dose of cyber-religious prejudice) and the odds never looked too good that I would ever buy a Mac.
 
That said, though, I have always secretly pined for the glorious styles, the subtle curves, the downright… dare I say… SEXY lines of Macintosh hardware.  Apple just does it right, and the only thing that shocks me about that is that they continue to do it right, year after year, generation after hardware generation.  The only thing that has ever managed to outshine the style and elegance of a Mac is the release of a new line of Macs.  There are great names in the PC case world:  Lian-Li, Antec, Thermaltake.  They all do good work, and yet all their products seem like dull, cheap toys next to the simple, esthetic style of a Mac.
 
Which leaves me to be very, very excited by this article I read today:
 
I don’t believe that the days of Windows and Macs coexisting peacefully, holding hands and singing Cumbaya, are upon us just yet.  I’m pretty sure that this Bootcamp software is still reserved for the world of the elite techo geeks among us (maybe five years ago I would have been up to it), but my days of being willing to spend evening after evening toiling with a dual boot system just so I can pull off ‘something cool’ are pretty much at an end.  I think buying a house hammered the last nail in that coffin.
 
However, I foresee the day when I will have a have a Mac sitting on my desk, proudly, as opposed to a custom pc in a silenced Antec Sonata case scrunched underneath my desk.  In days I want to get down to business, I’ll have Windows Xp (I’m sure it will be Vista by then).  On nights when I want to get down and funky, I’ll have OsX.  And housing all this power will be a piece that belongs in the livingroom, for everyone to marvel in its style, and my obvious good tastes.  (That is, if I ever had houseguests.  Well, at least the cats can marvel in its style and my good tastes.  They’re good like that).
 
Imagine, one day, all this style will be mine.
 
 
 

Written by anthonygreene

April 6, 2006 at 10:41 pm

This should be so simple

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I want to thank everyone who actually added a comment onto my previous blog posts, even if they do only come every 3 or 4 months.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect anything I wrote here to ever get read by anyone.  It confirms my suspicions that Msn has really struck gold by integrating a blog site into Msn Messenger.  Now if only I could figure out their angle on how they plan to make money with it.  I suppose I should actually be careful with what I say on this thing :-D.
 
Anyway I’ve been poking around and trying to figure out how to execute a .bat file on a remote machine.  I need to do this so that I don’t need to Terminal Service over to my build server in order to manually start off a build.  I had figured this should be the the simplest thing in the world to do, but nowhere could I find someone who could tell me how to do this.
 
After some snooping around, I came across this page with some freeware server tools that has let me run a .bat file from my desktop.
 
 
It’s pretty simple.  I just downloaded PsExec, and created a new .bat in that directory with the following line:
 
psexec \\buildserver -w c:\dev\sem\build c:\dev\sem\build\run_nant.bat
 
 
I would still think that WinXp has a built in way to do this, but I’ve yet to come across it.  For now, this will do just fine.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Written by anthonygreene

August 22, 2005 at 11:54 am