So Close, Yet So Far Away

UPS arrived today with a package from Redmond.  That’s always a good sign.

“What’s inside,” you say?

Is it a beta?

Perhaps a shirt?

A box of squishy stress-balls?

Vista Ultimate?

Nope, nope, nope & another nope!


Nice, and yet again you ask, “What’s inside?”


Wow, that is totally NOT my name. Ha!!

Um, that ain’t me folks!  LOL! 🙂

So, congratulations to Richard Seroter, BizTalk Server MVP for 2008 – wherever you are… 😉

P.S. Actually, I did send Richard and my MVP Lead an email, so we’ll get things straightened out. I just had to share this humorous moment with everyone.

Looking for products to help increase your appetite? Check out this Ice Cream Cookies Weed Strain Review by Fresh Bros.

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Crazy Screenshots – 29 Network Icons in System Tray

Ping me if you’ve seen this one before.

29 network icons in the system tray. Machine is Windows XP, SP2, fully patched, AV & AS up to date, and is only 2 weeks old:


All icons point to the same NIC, and they all work (not screen artifacts).

Only client applications running are:

  • QuickBooks Premier Accountant Edition 2008 Trial Version
  • Outlook 2003 SP3 with BCM 2003 (patches up to date)
  • Lacerte updater & the other icons in the system tray.

Event logs are clean. Wow. That’s all I can say. 🙂

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MVP Profile – Now With Monkeys

Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I got the news of the SBS-MVP award for 2008 (my first).  Yeah, I was shocked too.

It’s been pretty cool so far, with lots, and lots, and LOTS of email to read. They call it ‘The Firehose’. And they’re not kidding.

In fact, here is a video of what it’s like to be a new MVP:

Seriously, I do wonder how folks keep up with this level information flow.

Anyway, tonight I got the credentials to finally upload my MVP profile.  There’s no HTML or fanciness allowed, just plain text. Hopefully the Microsoft folks have a good sense of humor and won’t veto my content.  Also, if you speak Portuguese,  I could use some help with the grammar. KTHX. 🙂

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Video – Seam Carving and Liquid Rescale

Seam carving is one of those new technologies that you have to see to understand.  I’ve heard this called “content-aware image resizing”, “retargeting” “rescaling”, etc., and those names fall flat. 

You really need to see this – it’s just too cool to even try to describe:

Pretty nice, eh? Wanna try it yourself?

Here are 3 examples of what you can easily do with GIMP and the Liquid Rescale plug-in.

EXAMPLE 1 – Reduce Overall 25% – Mythbusters

Before (500×375 pixels)


During (showing the Liquid Rescale plug-in)


After (375×281) –  look at how much white space we lost on the top and sides of the picture. But the aspect ratio remained the same, even though Adam is a little thinner in the after picture:


That doesn’t look significant, but look how much picture we would have lost to conventional cropping using Microsoft Office Picture Manager (the hands would be gone completely):


EXAMPLE 2 – Reduce Width Only by 25% – Seagull in Seattle

Before (2272×1074)


After (1074×1074) -25% width


After v2 (2840×1278) +25% width, -25% height


Note: These pictures were not rescale or cropped – it’s a ‘retarget’.

EXAMPLE 3 – Reduce Height Only by 25% – Susanne & Vlad

Before (1024×768)


After (1024×576) -25% height


Once again, not a crop… yada yada… you get the idea.  It’s lots of fun. Enjoy!

Dr. Codec 🙂

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Sign-up for Vlad’s SMB Newsletter

I surfed over to Vladville tonight to sign up for the new Vladville Newsletter.  Yet, I couldn’t help noticing not 1, not 2, but precisely 5 pictures of Vlad on the same page: 


I actually had to zoom out in Internet Explorer (Control + and – ) to get them all in one screenshot.  I only bring it up because there is no way he would let me get away with something as narcissistic as that! 😉

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Download – Daily Dilbert Web Part for SharePoint

I love SharePoint.  I love Dilbert.  Put them both together and it’s like peanut butter and chocolate.  In fact, I love SharePoint and Dilbert almost as much as I hate monkeys (that’s a lot!)

And as much as I’ve always adored SharePoint (even back in the STS 1.0 days), user adoption was always sluggish.  To this day I’m still floored by how many IT Pros / SBSers and even SBSCs don’t use their own http://companyweb site.  Unlike the ‘Field of Dreams‘, if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. 🙁

Daily Dilbert web part shown on http://companyweb WSS v2 site So for several years I’ve been sneakily using the Daily Dilbert to lure reluctant end users into SharePoint sites.  Many users have absolutely no desire to hit http://companyweb or set it as their IE homepage. But add the Daily Dilbert to your intranet, add in a traffic cam web part, a weather radar, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly and consistently users hit the site.  And once users and small business owners are in the habit of using Companyweb, it opens their eyes and they start thinking about what else they can do with SharePoint.

Customer – “Hey, can we put links to our vendors on this site? What about HR documents? What about… “

You – “Sure, we can do that. Let me show you some of these ‘Fabulous 40’ templates Microsoft has released for SharePoint… “

They start recognizing that it can drive *tremendous* business value. And you can be there to provide those value-added services. Win-win. 🙂

Daily Dilbert web part shown on Windows SharePoint Services WSS v3 siteTHE DOWNLOAD
What you’ve been waiting for, the link to download the Daily Dilbert web part:

  • Daily_Dilbert.dwp (1.66 KB)
    (Right-click and Save As)

    Note: This one web part works with both Windows SharePoint Services WSS v2 and WSS v3 sites.

The SharePoint pros have already snagged the web part and left the building along with Elvis. But if you’re new to SharePoint, you’ve probably already tried to open the web part and didn’t know what to do with it.  So here are the step-by-step instructions to install that Daily Dilbert web part on your own SharePoint site (Note – make sure your SharePoint permissions let you upload web parts):

  1. imageRight-click the Daily_Dilbert.dwp link above, and save it to your desktop
  2. Open http://companyweb
  3. In the top-right corner, click:
    – Modify Shared Page
    – Add Web Parts
    – Import
  4. imageClick the Browse button
  5. Locate the Daily_Dilbert.dwp web part you just downloaded, click OK
  6. Back on the Add Web Parts page, click Upload
  7. You should now see the uploaded web part directly under the ‘Upload’ button you just clicked, like this:


  8. Drag the uploaded web part to the left to the location you would like to see it on your web page, and then let go.
  9. Finally, click the “X” in the top right corner next to “Add Web Parts”. You’re all done!

Major thanks and shout out to Brian Ritchie for developing his mega-cool Dilbert Web Service, and for letting me link to it. Check out Brian’s site at

***Bonus Material ***

Actually, the web part is the easy part. It’s like the peanut butter and chocolate mentioned earlier. This is just a combination of my ghetto image web part and Brian’s rockin Daily Dilbert Web Service that is doing the heavy lifting of calculating the daily URL.  So basically, this is just a) an image web part that b) points to a static URL, that c) contains a picture updated daily by Brian’s web service. 

Alternately (and VERY cool), you can use the code and instructions on Brian’s site to run your own Daily Dilbert web service (sa-weet!)

Here’s the code for the Daily Dilbert web part if you want to see what it looks like inside:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?>
<WebPart xmlns:xsd=”” xmlns:xsi=”” xmlns=”″>
  <Title>Daily Dilbert</Title>
  <Description>Thanks go to Brian Ritchie for kindly providing this web part! Be sure to visit his website at: by clicking on the help button.</Description>
  <Height />
  <Width />
  <PartImageSmall />
  <MissingAssembly />
  <IsIncludedFilter />
  <Assembly>Microsoft.SharePoint, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c</Assembly>
  <ImageLink xmlns=””>
  <VerticalAlignment xmlns=””>Middle </VerticalAlignment>
  <HorizontalAlignment xmlns=””>Center </HorizontalAlignment>
  <BackgroundColor xmlns=””>transparent </BackgroundColor>

***Extra Old Skool Bonus Material***

Back in the day before Brian’s Daily Dilbert web service, I used a similar WSS v2 stock image web part and linked it to a Dot Net Nuke site that hosted the Daily Dilbert.  Straightforward, but effective. 

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, you can’t use a stock image web part in WSS to link directly to the Daily Dilbert website GIF, because the image name changes every day.  For example, today (11/21/2007) the image name is dilbert2002222371121.gif.

Again, much respect to Brian for the web service. Also, props to Scott Adams, the talented creator of Dilbert. If you liked the web part, be sure and leave a comment below. And if you like the Dilbert cartoon, be sure to click the words “Daily Dilbert” at the top of the web part each day – this will take you directly to the website where Scott can get the traffic he rightly deserves for creating such an awesome cartoon. Enjoy!

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Backup Exec Gone Wild

I just had to share this little gem 🙂

File under: Crazy Screen Shots
Program: Symantec Backup Exec  10d
Source: Job Log on backup

Original error (not the funny part):


And here’s the funny part, in the backup log:


No worries though… I’m gonna call Michael J. Fox and ask him to remove the overwrite protection on that B2D volume for me. 😉

How to troubleshoot BE overwrite protection issues...

(That one’s for you Chris.)

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