Business/Work02 Mar 2011 03:34 pm

I won’t go into the details, but I have a recurring source of data (already in a mysql table), and I need to move the month column from a CHAR(3) format to an integer format (i.e. JAN=1, FEB=2, etc.).

And, because I don’t have much control over the incoming data, it’s unlikely I’ll get to change how it’s coming, so I need to convert the month abbreviation into an integer.  I wrote the following mysql stored function that is working well for me.

Note, I had to make a temporary memory table because MySQL doesn’t use arrays, and I didn’t want to make a bunch of IF-ELSE statements.

`mNum` int(11) NOT NULL,
`mName` char(3) NOT NULL

INSERT INTO `tmpmonth` VALUES (1, 'JAN'),(2, 'FEB'),
(3, 'MAR'),(4, 'APR'),(5, 'MAY'),(6, 'JUN'), (7, 'JUL'),
(8, 'AUG'),(9, 'SEP'),(10, 'OCT'),(11, 'NOV'), (12, 'DEC');

CREATE FUNCTION MonthToNumber (strMonth CHAR(3))
   SELECT mNum INTO m FROM tmpmonth WHERE mName LIKE strMonth;
   RETURN m;

Then, it’s easy to call the function inline with my updates.  For example:

UPDATE  OrigTable SET MonthCol=MonthToNumber(MonthCol);

(Yes, it puts the integer value in the char column, but it’s easy to convert from there.)

Business/Work14 Sep 2010 05:53 pm

I’ve got an IronKey drive that I use on a few machines – some of which crash – causing the flash drive to not be “unmounted” correctly.  When that happens, the next time I plug it in, it complains about the drive needing to be scanned and fixed.

When I would try to scan and fix, it would always reply with “Drive is in use”.  So, I couldn’t scan it.

The solution:

chkdsk H: /f

(where H: is the mounted directory for the files on the drive).

Then it will ask you if you want to unmount the drive.  Hit “Y” and let it finish.  Then unplug the IronKey, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in.  It shouldn’t complain anymore.

Business/Work18 Aug 2010 04:02 pm

I follow a few blogs, including lifehacker and unclutterer, and both have frequent articles about featured workspaces and cool workspaces – basically neat offices.  Since I also work in a neat office, I always find those occasional articles interesting.  I googled around for a dedicated blog for amazing workspaces and couldn’t find one… so I started

I’m going to post links to any and all of the cool offices I find.

Business/Work and Exercise25 Jul 2010 03:21 pm

Believe it or not, my sports team web hosting service is finally in beta! makes creating and updating team websites easy!

This is probably the tenth version I’ve worked on and it actually took less time than all the others.  In all the previous versions, after adding more and more features, the design and user interface got extremely unwieldy. So, for this latest release, I used the same philosophy I used when creating BidNip: simplicity.

That’s right – I cut out most every cool feature. They were neat, but they added nothing (or very little) to the actual helpfulness of the service.  So, I kept with only the things that _I_ would personally use when making a site for one of my kids.  Homepage for news, schedule, and roster.  I also added alerts for when practices or games are cancelled.  I also added a media (photo/video) section – I originally had it cut too, since there are already SOOO many places to post pictures.  To keep it simple, I made TeamSites only let you put URLs for your media – so you don’t have to upload them to the site! Simple!

I also originally went with _only_ HTML 5, but after testing in a few browsers, I let a little HTML 4 styling slip in.  Maybe after IE 7 is phased out…

Audio/Video and Business/Work24 Jul 2009 08:10 am

Over the past year, I’ve spent a LOT of time in waiting rooms.  Doctor offices, dentists, dermatologists, eye-doctors, and even a couple hours every week at the hair-dresser’s.  Of course, none of these appointments were for me – they were/are for my grandparents (and now just “Grandma”).  Since my grandfather first started getting sick last summer, my mother and I have acted as chauffeurs.  Not surprisingly, old people have a lot of appointments.
In fact, I’m writing this entry from the waiting room at my grandmother’s hair dresser’s building. My grandmother has been seeing the same stylist for 24 years – Every friday, rain or shine. She claims that she MUST go, not only to keep up appearances, but also for “morale” and sanity.  So I spend each Friday morning sitting in a waiting room for about 2.5 hours.

I really like my work and I’ll often subconsciously  feel “guilty” and/or “anxious” when I could be working, but I’m not. It’s not a concious thought of “oh man, I need to be working”, it’s that behind-the-scenes, not-quite-right feeling that I should be doing something productive.

I used to bring a pen and notebook and try to update todo lists, organize projects, and jot down thoughts. (Maybe that’s where my fascination with notebooks took it’s foothold… but I digress…) After a while, that got to be “old” and I still had the “unproductive” feeling. I usually had to copy the todo lists and notes to my online storage places (, wiki, etc.), so I felt like I was duplicating my efforts.

Then, at the beginning of the year I borrowed a friends Dell 8″ netbook for some international travel. I knew I wasn’t going to be working much, but still wanted to check email. And I KNEW I didn’t want to lug around a 10 pound 17″ laptop around Scotland just to check email.  The 8″ netbook was okay for reading email, but the keyboard was just too tiny for my hands – I had to hunt-n-peck because the keys were too small.  Not to mention when I tried to do a little programming on the flight home, a lot of the programming characters ({,[,],},|,etc.) were all “function” keys or otherwise oddly placed.

After that, I figured I wouldn’t bother getting a netbook, since I couldn’t use it to program, and that’s one of the things I like to do on planes and hotel-room-down-time. But a few weeks later I was at Costco and saw the new Acer Aspire One 10″ model. I tried the keyborad and it was small, but big enough for touch typing. Plus, a quick search for linux “support” showed that it worked great with ubuntu, right out of the box.

I was originally going to dual-boot the netbook with XP and ubuntu, but after I messed up the disk partitioning during ubuntu install, I hosed XP. Now it’s a linux/ubuntu laptop only – and I’m glad. It’s great. I don’t miss XP at all, and ubuntu’s netbook remix has been rock solid.  The singular complaint/nuisance is that the volume just isn’t there like it was with XP. I’ve installed all kinds of tweaks for adjusting volume, but it just won’t go loud. O-well.

So now, while sitting in waiting rooms, I can work on my netbook. It’s small enough that I don’t have any issues carrying it. And with 3G, the internet is fast enough to be not annoying.  If you travel a lot, or even a little, and don’t want/need to carry a huge laptop around, I highly recommend getting one.

Business/Work08 Feb 2009 11:45 am

I created several years ago, and it’s passing over 20k virtual marriages this month.

It occured to me, as more and more virtual newlyweds sign up, that it would make a great free addition to any of the standard Valetine’s Day presents. So, if you’re thinking a dozen roses or a box of candy might not cut it for your special someone, how about getting married online!

Business/Work and General14 Aug 2008 07:27 pm

Seriously, I’m pretty sure they are morons.  Again they sent my package to “delivered” land, but it’s nowhere in sight.

It’s happened several times in the past few months, with a couple boxes turning up at a neighbors house (with an address NOTHING like mine – it was a couple streets over), but a few times the box is just gone.  I called their customer support and they said they’ll send the driver out to the house he delivered it too. I’m not holding my breath, since last time the driver said it WAS my house – and the next day the neighbor brought my package that had been left at his door… Niiiiice.

My house is not hidden or complicated to find – Fedex has never had an issue finding it – ever.

If you can avoid using UPS, use ANYTHING else… cuz they still suck.

Business/Work24 Jul 2008 09:01 am

I was reading through a good book on Social Web topics and found a great quote from Herbert Simon. It basically started the concept of “Attention Economics” which I thought was fairly interesting. The quote:

“…in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

 My interpretation of what that statement says is that due to information overload a lot of people have the attention span of a steamed carrot. Based on some customers and their support questions, I think that’s pretty accurate. 

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get simple ideas across, and it seems like it’s getting more difficult all the time.  With a previous manager, for every email I had to make sure I wrote the important message in the first sentence (not first paragraph – first sentence – and it usually helped if the first paragraph was the first sentence).  Through empirical testing, I discovered he actually DIDN’T read anything past there – no matter how important the email. 

Part of the reason for this was that nearly every one of his direct AND indirect reports cc’d him on every email (due to a horribly ineffective C.Y.A. theory they seemed to hold to be a fundamental truth).  The other reason was undoubtedly that he was totally on an email high… (see “Emails hurt IQ more than pot“).

MySpace and YouTube have the same effect on people – way too much information and data (most of it completely useless) ruins the ability to filter useful from useless.

So, I’m trying to save my “attention dollars” for useful and productive and limit spending them on crap. To start, I’ve turned my “send/receive” updates down to once an hour (from every 3 minutes!)

More information about the Attention Economy is on Wikipedia.

Business/Work and Family & Friends18 Jan 2007 03:13 pm

What a long, strange trip it’s been…

Since 1997 I’ve worked with a group that has, for the most part, been great. For example, Mitch and I in this picture from a company picnic in 2000 at Essential Communications:


On the back of the phote, Ed Fikani wrote: “Steve, I gave copies to the group. You make us proud… EdF“. That was a while ago (nearly 7 years!) and I have to note that my finger wasn’t really in my nose.

Now that I won’t be doing any work at GE, I’ll miss the guys a lot. Mitch, Ron, Rick, Ed, Colin, and everyone else!  I’m hoping they’ll still invite me to lunch a few times each week.

Business/Work28 Sep 2006 08:28 am

I’m home!  I spent about 5 days in Seattle working on CheatCodes business and the website redesign. It’s all CSS driven, with seperate looks for each platform/console. It’s pretty slick – I’ll post the link to the prototype site when it’s closer to release – we’re just integrating more features now (links to GameRadar news, etc.) and doing final debug. We’re also doing some things on the business side of CheatCodes. I’ll post more details when we decide what we’re doing…

I also got to drive SteveJ’s Ferrari F40 while I was there (Thanks Steve!).  I’m not saying you could do 150 on the freeway without trying, but I bet you can *wink wink*.  I was a little “timid” (as timid as you can be in an F40 I suppose), and didn’t go as fast as the car could.  SteveJ drove back on the way home and he was much faster (hey! It’s his car! :)   ) Maybe I’ll upgrade to one of those instead of a 575M… we’ll see what happens in the next few weeks.

Currently Reading:  Dr. Who – The Resurrection Casket
Currently Listening to: DJ Doboy – Sonic House 1

Business/Work30 Aug 2006 03:37 pm

Okay, so here’s what I was working on in Colorado – it’s still not 100%, but nearly done. It’s online weddings at! Basically, it lets anyone (or anything) get married on the internet. Of course, it’s not real – only married in cyberspace, but I’ve already got people signing up, and I’m not advertising it yet.

I also sent in the final draft of “The 308 Buyer’s and Owner’s Guide” to Hopefully it’s the last edit! This is about the 4th or 5th “final” edit, focusing mainly on the layout. It actually took the longest to do because I was waiting for school to finish.

Business/Work29 Aug 2006 12:02 pm

All through the 90′s the strategy was Growth… growth was king. Now, most investors are going with “value” investing – probably due to the success of Warren Buffet and his value investing. I’ve tried both of those methods in the past, and didn’t do horrible, but I was not good at value investing… I’m leaving my long-term and retirement investments in the mediocre but less risky vehicles, and been speculating with some dedicated “speculation” money.

Most recently I’ve been trying Darvas’ Box Theory- which is like momentum investing with some additional rules.  Basically, a stock will trade within certain upper and lower bounds. If it pops up “convincingly” out of it’s box, then it’s a possible buy.  I also add some additional requirements (P/E vs. Industry P/E, minimum volume, EPS, etc.), and build my stock screen from that.

So far, I’ve done really well. I did some call options, but only on ones I though would do really well. Best to date was DLP (Delta Land & Pine) – it was doing well, and then Monsanto announced they were buying them, so it shot up to 40. My current top picks (which I do have money in at the moment) are: FDRY and SWY.  Foundry poped out of it’s box in early/mid august, while Safeway has been skyrocketing since mid-July.  These are short-term holds (speculation, remember? :) .

Business/Work16 Aug 2006 02:28 pm

LifeHacker had a great font site:  Fonts are in topics, which is nice for browsing.

Business/Work and General23 Feb 2006 09:50 am

If you put this in your browser’s address bar, you can see the source code (much faster than “view->source”):


Once that is in your address bar, you can “drag and drop” the little document picture into your “Links” toolbar at the top of your IE window, and then you’ll always have it available.  Very handy indeed!

And, here’s instructions on how to turn off that annoying Error Reporting to MicroSoft pop-up. 

And finally, I actually got a few “orders” for my great diet eBook at How I lost 50 Pounds .com.  Luckily, I’m nearing completion of the book!

Business/Work16 Jan 2006 07:43 pm

I just thought I’d post some nice web sites that focus on design and templates for web designers. has lots of free to use templates. provides a nice web applet for picking matching colors from the color wheel. Another great color tool is available for making a cool matching color scheme. And Kevin just reminded me of

Next Page »