Thursday, February 22, 2007

What's Special About This Number?

What's Special About This Number? : Math trivia! Like: did you know 0 is the additive identity. 1 is the multiplicative identity. 2 is the only even prime. . . . . . . 9998 is the smallest number n for which the concatenation of n, (n+1), ... (n+21) is prime. 9999 is a Kaprekar number.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

:: Perceptive Pixel :: - The future for GIS visualization

:: Perceptive Pixel :: Remember Tom Cruise in Minority Report and the way in which he navigated his data-base. Now there is a company that makes a monitor that allows the user to directly to interact with the monitor. Jeff Han, a researcher with NYU's computer science department is the brains behind this technology. First check out this video: ( Impressed, you can read more about the technology behind this technology at For the GIS world, I think for some uses this setup would make it tons more easier for users to work with their data. For example, for military commanders to quickly look their battelfield, visualizing it in 3D, 2D and from different perspectives, without using cummbersome mice and pucks, this would be the perfect technology. Also this type of a screen would be useful for law enforcement folks who have little familiarity with computer programming and sql statements, could make it easier for them to see and navigate complex relationships between data and entities to find out subtle connections in their data. Finally in a hospital, it could allow nurses and doctors to quickly move between data for different patients as well as quickly pull up research, etc. Lots and lots of good uses for such technology. Jeff Han calls it "Low-cost multi-touch sensing through frustrated total internal reflection" and the paper is available from ACM's portal. And here is a link to Jeff Han's website:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

10 Timeless Lessons From Dalai Lama

10 Timeless Lessons From Dalai Lama A great read: Here is a summary: 10. “Be gentle with the earth.” 9. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.” 8. “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” 7. “Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” 6. “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” 5. “Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.” 4. “Spend some time alone every day.” 3. “When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.” 2. “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” 1. “Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

.NET Tools: Ten Must-Have Tools Every Developer Should Download Now

.NET Tools: Ten Must-Have Tools Every Developer Should Download Now an article from MSDN Magazine, July 2004. The ones that I find most useful: 1. Snippet Compiler ( I have blogged about this tool many times before. It is always running in my taskbar and I use it many times a day to test different coding ideas that I come up with or run across on the internet. Saves a ton of time. 2. .NET Reflector to examine assemblies This one is my second most favorite tool. I use it and iLDasm to figure out code and the way in which Visual Studio converts regular code to IL. I have used it many times to squeeze out extra efficency from my code. One heck of a great tool. 3. FxCop to police your code This is a useful tool for doing code review and making sure that you stick by some coding standards and best practices. 4. NUnit to write unit tests Another useful tool that allows you to automate testing. 5. NAnt to build your solutions Used to automate build tasks. 6. Regulator to build regular expressions

Reviewing Managed Code

Reviewing Managed Code MSDN article on reviewing managed code. "This document will discuss best practices for reviewing managed code. Some practices are universal to reviewing managed and unmanaged code. Others are unique to reviewing managed code." Important links: .NET Design Guidelines Naming Guidelines Guidelines for Casting Types Main tool used: FxCop

Monday, February 12, 2007

5 Reasons Why Enthusiasm is Better than Confidence

Wishful Thinking » Blog Archive » 5 Reasons Why Enthusiasm is Better than Confidence 1. Confidence is about you - enthusiasm is about your subject 2. Confidence is about you (again) - enthusiasm is about others 3. Confidence is impressive - enthusiasm is infectious 4. Confidence is certain - enthusiasm is creative 5. Confidence is serious - enthusiasm is fun but what about confident enthusiasim or enthusiastic confidence... but the above makes sense to me. - Top 10 Ways You Know You’re An Entrepreneur

From - Top 10 Ways You Know You’re An Entrepreneur 1. You’re passionate. 2. You’re always looking for opportunities. 3. You always think to yourself, “I can do that better.” 4. You want to live your work. 5. You’re dreaming miles ahead while focused on what you’re doing right now. 6. You’re an ego-maniac. 7. You’re prepared to say, “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” 8. You’re a strategist. 9. You’re a builder. 10. You want control.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Art of War, by Sun Zu

Here is a link to the book "Art of War" by Sun Zu The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Art of War, by Sun Zu This site breaks out the book into nice little chapters and makes for easy reading: Quotable quotes from the "Art of War"

Converting and rotating video files

Converting your video files SUPER © Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer. Is a GUI to ffmpeg, MEncoder, mplayer, x264, mppenc, ffmpeg2theora & the theora/vorbis RealProducer plugIn. Simply put, it allows you to easily convert your video file from one format to another. download page: Rotating your video files Super also contains MPlayer as well as mencoder. Scott Hanselman has documented how to rotate the video from the command line using the mplayer and mencoder tools. (Useful as it might give you better control over the conversion process and the Super GUI does not have a way to specify rotations.) mplayer>mencoder -vf rotate=1 -o OUTPUT.AVI -oac copy -ovc lavc INPUT.AVI The -vf is for "Video Filter" and you can chain them, like -vf rotate=1,flip,scale=640:480 if you like. The -oac and -ovc are the audio and video outputs. In this case, I "copy" the audio over, and use the "libavcodecs" for the output. You can do mencoder -ovc help to get a list of choices or read the massive docs. At this point, I have a really tall 480x640 video, since it used to be at 640x480. Certainly I can leave it there, or I can expand it to a more regular 4:3 ratio. As it's now 640 tall, it'll need to be 853x640 to be 4:3. mplayer>mencoder -vop expand=853:640 -oac copy ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg OUTPUT.AVI -o BIGOUTPUT.AVI Notice that the portrait is now centered between black bars like a vertical DVD. The aspect ratio is correctish now and we have a vertically oriented video inside a horizontally oriented "container." I probably (and you as well) should use "raw" as your output format as you move through these steps, as we're making copies of copies here and the quality is getting worse and worse. You'll end up with gigabyte-size temp files, for a bit, but your output will be much better. Next I'll just scale the video back to 640x480 for posting on the web. mplayer>mencoder -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg -vop scale=640:480 -oac copy BIGOUTPUT.AVI -o FINAL.AVI It is suggested the final encoding pass be done by FFMPEG, rather than mencoder: mplayer>c:\utils\ffmpeg_mp2.exe" -i finaltest.avi -sameq -acodec pcm_u8 -vcodec mjpeg FFMPEGOUTPUT.AVI (read the complete article at : Another tool that is much more simpiler to use for this purpose is the professional version of the Apple's QuickTime Player. But its not free!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sun Tzu on tactics and strategy

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory… Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” -Sun Tzu

Posting code samples

I always have a problem whenI try and post code snippets to my blog. The coloring is not right, or the tabing and spacing is not right. Fixing it just a pain. When I used SnippetCompiler, then it has a nice option of copying a HTML version of your code to the clipboard. This feature I have used many times and it has saved me countless hours of laborious editing. Now, I found a website does the same thing and it would be useful for code that comes directly from your project or from some other page on the net:'s CodeHTMLer. I just wish it would have the ability to color C++ code, for which I have no solution right now! "CodeHTMLer is a simple program that translates plain text code into a colorized HTML version of the code. Currently there exists language definitions for C#, JScript, VB.Net and XML "

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tor: anonymity online

Tor: anonymity online: "Tor: anonymity online Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features. " **Remember this is still in development stages and might still be insecure. So dont go out paying with your credit card using this app. » What is the DemocraKey » What is the DemocraKey Here is software that allows for more secure browsing, as well as a bunch of other tools that make it easy to move some usefull apps on a USB stick and use them from any location securely. And as any good security or secure app should be, this one is OpenSource too.

Pipes: Rewire the web

Pipes: Rewire the web: "Pipes is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator. Using Pipes, you can create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant." This is something I am going to investigate more this weekend. Seems to be some very cool Web2.0 technology. From another blog: What Is Pipes? Pipes is a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment. The name of the service pays tribute to Unix pipes, which let programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line. Philosophy Behind the Project There is a rapidly-growing body of well-structured data available online in the form of XML feeds. These feeds range from simple lists of blog entries and news stories to more structured, machine-generated data sources like the Yahoo! Maps Traffic RSS feed. Because of the dearth of tools for manipulating these data sources in meaningful ways, their use has so far largely been limited to feed readers. What Can Pipes Do Today? Pipes’ initial set of modules lets you assemble personalized information sources out of existing Web services and data feeds. Pipes outputs standard RSS 2.0, so you can subscribe to and read your pipes in your favorite aggregator. You can also create pipes that accept user input and run them on our servers as a kind of miniature Web application. Here are a few example Pipes to give you an idea of what’s possible: Pasha’s Apartment Search pipe combines Craigslist listings with data from Yahoo! Local to display apartments available for rent near any business. Daniel’s News Aggregator pipe combines feeds from Bloglines, Findory, Google News, Microsoft Live News, Technorati, and Yahoo! News, letting you subscribe to persistent searches on any topic across all of these data sources. One of the most interesting pieces is the Pipes Editor. A rich, drag-and-drop visual builder lets you create or clone and edit pipes. Choose sources like APIs and feeds, apply operators, use string and date formatters, etc. If you have a Yahoo! account you should give this a try.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Top 10 Reasons Why Proposals Fail : Instigator Blog

Top 10 Reasons Why Proposals Fail : Instigator Blog: "Your business is great. You’ve invented something better than sliced bread. You offer such an amazing service at such a great price that people should be knocking your door down. And they might be. But they’re all asking for a proposal. Proposals are a fact of life. We all do them, and we’re all trying to blow our prospects away. But most proposals are bad. Here are 10 reasons why proposals fail"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Application Launchers

Here are two awesome application launchers: Punk Software - RocketDock: "RocketDock is a smoothly animated, alpha blended application launcher. It provides a nice clean interface to drop shortcuts on for easy access and organization. With each item completely customizable there is no end to what you can add and launch from the dock." sTabLauncher: This tool helps finding and launching your favorite programs,web pages, folders, or any type of files in a fast and easyway. Taking up fewer resources as possible, and allowing youto personalize the appearance in many ways, by changingcolors, images, transparency, animations, and many otheroptions to make it blend in with your desktop. Best of all, they both are free. Right now I am leaning towards RocketDock.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Dreaming in Code

Dreaming in Code A book added to my reading list, I heard its good. Here is a jacket blurb. “Dreaming in Code is the first true successor to Tracy Kidder’s Soul of a New Machine, and is written with a combination of technical sophistication and narrative skill not seen in many years. Read it to understand what all these software wizards actually do.”– James Fallows, The Atlantic

Software is hard | Salon Books

Software is hard Salon Books: "Salon's Scott Rosenberg explains why even small-scale programming projects can take years to complete, one programmer is often better than two, and the meaning of 'Rosenberg's Law.'"

Saturday, February 03, 2007

ASPRS/MAPPS 2006 Fall Conference

This picture was taken during the ASPRS/MAPPS speciality conference that took place in San Antonio, Texas in 2006. Thats me in the right corner (looking into the laptop). Read more about this event at:
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Thursday, February 01, 2007



VLS is pleased to announce that Feature Analyst® and LIDAR Analyst® extensions for ArcGIS 9.2 are available for immediate download. VLS’ award winning feature extraction solutions for satellite imagery and airborne LIDAR provide integrated workflows for terrain and feature extraction within the ArcGIS and ERDAS IMAGINE environment. For customers with current maintenance, this update is free of charge.

VLS now has professional training classes for LIDAR Analyst 4.1, in addition to its Feature Analyst classes. The LIDAR Analyst training class is perfect for GIS analysts working on the extraction of 3D terrain, buildings, and vegetation from airborne LIDAR data. This two-day training course provides a solid grounding in the basics of LIDAR data exploitation and advanced techniques for collection of complex buildings, editing of terrain surfaces and workflows with imagery sources.

For more information, contact VLS at or visit

VLS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Overwatch Systems.

Where are environment variables stored in Windows?

Where are environment variables stored in Windows?

User settings



System Settings

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment