Links 2004 with Jeff Sandquist

I had the pleasure of playing a couple of rounds of Links 2004 with Jeff Sandquist last night. He seems like a really great guy and he actually knows what “Screech” is. How could I not like the guy after that?

I also realized that he was the guy that had the really cool mural done for his wife. I remember reading that story a couple of months ago and thinking how incredibly cool that was.

I am really looking forward to getting the golf tourney on the go and meeting some more new people. As someone living in a fairly remote location, I don’t really get to go to many “geek dinners”. Although arguably every meal Shane and I have together could be called that. It’s nice to get any chance to talk tech / geek stuff with some like minded people in a live conversation once in a while…all while playing one of my favorite games to boot.

Anyhow I’m “PunchingBoot” on Live if anyone else wants to go for a round in the meantime.

Carl’s Longhorn Suggestion

This post from Carl Franklin couldn’t be more on the money in my opinion. I have found the domineering window issue to be a major annoyance in the past and present.

While I haven’t published my credit card number to the world yet, I have experienced a few “Phew! That was close” moments jumping between financial reports, proposals, IM conversations and secure forms at the same time. Yah I know the perfect user isn’t supposed to do multiple tasks like that at once but reality often dictates otherwise.

Shane and I ordered

Shane and I ordered an iPod this week. Figured it’s time to put our Nomad Jukebox to pasture and get something a little smaller that had better driver support. Ah heck we did it because they are just plain cooler. We purchased the 20gb since the price point on that one was the sweetest and it came with a few extra accessories.

I purchased the jukebox about 3 years ago I guess. I know I had it when I was still in University because I remember it being great for getting me through some long and boring bus rides. However I always found it a pain to get a good version of the drivers and software without having a tonne of other junk installed on my pc. Plus the adapter for the car stereo is pretty bulky for the long road trips.

So now we need to get an iTrip adapter. The only problem is that I can’t find either one on the Canadian site. I notice they have them on the American site and link to griffintechnology.com so I guess we may as well get it directly from there.

Not as though it really matters where we order it from anyhow since our iPod is coming from China through the US. Yup that’s right China! Not that I really care but it struck me strange when I went to check the tracking number and it said that it was leaving “Shanghai CN”. When we ordered stuff from Apple before it usually came from a warehouse in the States somewhere so I was expected to see TN or CA on the tracking slip.

More Praise for Infopath

I guess I’m not the only one thrilled with the changes in Infopath. All week I have been talking with either people at work or elsewhere that are totally pumped about the new functionality included in the “preview”. As well, I’ve noticed that every morning when I check out my search folder in Outlook that I have configured for Infopath there are usually like 10 new posts of people talking about it.

Peter at Tabula PC seems pretty thrilled with the new Infopath and has included some screenshots of how the ink support works. I was also very pleased when I loaded a form up for the first time on my Tablet and I noticed that I had more options for filling out forms via the Tablet.

As well, the improvements for tying directly to Sharepoint lists and working with secondary datasources are tremendous. Working with data sources and expression boxes before was kinda weak. However now I have been able to turn some kinda OK forms into some pretty sweet pieces of work. All without the help of a developer. Not bad for a business geek.

I can now feel more comfortable recommending solutions to clients that include Infopath, whereas before I had some negative feelings about the depth of some the features. I think now that Infopath is much closer to being the app that it was intended to be.

‘Ninja Gaiden’ (Xbox) Release Date Announced

After much waiting, it looks as if the highly anticipated Ninja Gaiden for Xbox will be shipped by next week.

From Worthplaying.com

Tecmo officially announced today that the ship date for its eagerly anticipated new action title, Ninja Gaiden, for the Xbox will be Tuesday, March 2, 2004. Gaining an incredible amount of buzz since it was first shown on the E3 floor in 2002, the powerhouse title will ship out to retailers across the country in mass quantities, arriving on store shelves throughout the first week of March.

“Tecmo’s focus while developing Ninja Gaiden was to create the best action game ever and with the game only a week away from launch I am proud to say that we have succeeded in this goal,” John Inada, Tecmo’s General Marketing Manager, said. “Ninja Gaiden will set a new standard in the action genre and we guarantee it was well worth the wait.”

Boasting 100% action, Ninja Gaiden will allow the player to unleash their inner ninja with smooth game play, speedy battle sequences, and a variety of advanced acrobatic ninja moves from running and flipping off walls to hanging and swinging on rails. The player will also have a variety of primary and secondary weapons at their disposal that when used in a combination, create advanced weapon attacks such as damaging wall-based assaults and all-powerful ultimate attacks. Xbox? Live Compatibility, a host of challenging levels and visually exquisite environments are just a few more reasons why Ninja Gaiden plans to raise the bar in the action gaming genre.

About Ninja Gaiden

One of Tecmo’s most treasured franchises will be given new life this March when a whole new action-packed Ninja Gaiden hits store shelves?with a vengeance. The player takes on the role of the powerful and mysterious ninja, Ryu Hayabusa, who seeks revenge after his clan is massacred by the Vigoor Empire.

Realistically violent battle sequences and acrobatic ninja moves restore Ninja Gaiden to its rightful place in the action/adventure hall of fame. Tecmo’s revered development team, Team Ninja, has created a unique new Xbox? Live Compatible feature within Ninja Gaiden. The Master Ninja Tournament, a new feature developed specifically for the game, will allow players to participate in a nationwide competition. Here, they will test their honed ninja skills and find out who is the top Ninja Gaiden player in the country. Participants in the tournament will compete in downloadable trial missions only made available through Xbox Live. Top ranked players will win special prizes and also be included in the Ninja Gaiden Hall of Fame. Tecmo will continue to reveal more details regarding the rules and prizes in weeks to come.

Ninja Gaiden is scheduled to launch onto store shelves early March with a suggested retail price of $49.99 and an ESRB rating of Mature. Gamers can pre-order Ninja Gaiden at Tecmo’s website (http://www.tecmoinc.com). For additional information on the game, visit the official Ninja Gaiden website (www.ninjagaidengame.com)

I am really looking forward to checking this game out…along with ALOT of other people.

More on Xbox Next and Hard Drives?

This may be an interesting development in the ongoing discussions on whether or not a hard drive will be included in the next Xbox.

M-Systems Enters Into Agreement with Microsoft to Develop Removable Flash Memory Units

M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. (Nasdaq: FLSH), the developer of the Smart DiskOnKey? platform, has entered into a technology development agreement with Microsoft Corporation. Under the agreement, M-Systems will develop customized memory units for future Xbox? products and services.

“Although Microsoft is not obligated to purchase any memory units under the agreement, we believe that this agreement could represent a significant opportunity for M-Systems,” said Dov Moran, president and CEO of M-Systems.

More information available here on News.com. Is this a confirmation on whether or not Xbox Next will have a hard drive? No of course not, but what it does confirm is that the market is very hungry for details on the next console and M-Systems are definitely turning some heads fast.

Blogs As Conversations

Jim Edelen makes a couple of good points regarding Blogs as Conversations, a concept recently touched on by the Blog King himself. In particular, he brings up an issue that I myself have struggled with in the past. When a person comments on my weblog (although sadly this doesn’t happen very often *Sniff*), I usually like to respond to their comment. I want to have conversations with the people that take the time to reply to something I have said. I want to get to know the people that visit my site. However, I wonder sometimes if I should be emailing them or reply on my weblog.

Often quite frankly I do both.

Why email? Well because I want that person to know that I have replied to what they said and appreciate their comments. I don’t want to be so bold as to assume they will return to my site to see if I have responded. Also it’s my way of opening the door for further communication.

Why post? Well I post so that others can see a response and maybe that might encourage them to join in on the conversation. If not hopefully I might answer a question they may have had.

But the bottom line is, that I like Jim, do not know what the best way to improve blogs as conversations is. I do believe that they are an excellent tool in starting conversations and building relationships because I have been lucky enough to have experienced both first hand. Hopefully as more and more tools are developed and expanded, I am confident that we will find a way to deal with the information overload issue better. For now I guess we will just have to get by with less than perfect methods to facilitate these conversations.