December 31, 2004

"Phantom Of The Opera" Mini-Review

I just got back from seeing "Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom Of The Opera'" at the theater, and I must say that if you are a fan of the play or of the soundtrack, this is a must-see.

If I had to call out some deficiencies, I'd have to point out that the Phantom's singing voice is not as powerful as Crawford's, and that Christine's singing occasionally hits her notes a bit too high, although both of the complaints could be because of the sound system in the theater we were watching the movie in.

It's worth a full-price admission. I lucked out, though. When I was packing, I found some theater gift certificates that I received after shipping Links LS 2000.

Less Than PC

Many people who know me know that I'm...well...less than politically correct. I say what I mean, people's feelings be damned. It's cost me some opportunities in life, but I'd rather be real and be in a lower station than a fake in a higher station.

Anyway, I read a lot of online comic strips, about 130 to be exact. I was reading Chopping Block by Lee Adam Herold this morning (warning: comic not for children or impressionable adults), and caught his rant at the bottom of the comic. It rang true, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Can I just say that political correctness makes me want to vomit my guts right out into my lap?

As such, I'd like to say, "Merry Christmas", even though I'm a couple days late in posting it here. Not "Happy Holidays", not "Season's Greetings", not "Lovely Bright Wintertide". MERRY CHRISTMAS. What's that? You're not Christian? You don't celebrate Christmas? Well that just simply isn't the point. I am Christian, I do celebrate Christmas, and by wishing "Merry Christmas" to you, I'm not proselytizing, I'm not trying to force my beliefs on you, I'm not trying to belittle you or offend you or make you feel left out. I'm extending well wishes and a greeting based on my own beliefs to you, because--- brace yourself now---I actually CARE that you're doing well.

For the majority of the world, peoples' beliefs make up the very core of their beings. Faith, moral code, belief system, whatever you want to call it, it guides us and defines how we behave and, essentially, WHO WE ARE. By each sharing a little bit of that fundamental part of ourselves with another through a simple greeting or blessing or belief-based quotation, we honor that person. We're saying, "This is important to me, and through it, I want to wish you well."

But if the ACLU tells you that I'm trying to force my beliefs down your throat and you should be offended to a ghastly degree, then by all means take offense. Let's not share anything with each other, but instead keep our mouths shut and pretend that everyone is exactly the same, so that no one ever feels uncomfortable. Don't be yourself. Don't talk about what you believe. Don't wish anyone well and don't make any sudden movements.

And don't sneeze, because if you do I'm going to say, "God bless you." I'm insensitive to diversity.

I'm not Christian, but I believe everything he says here to be true. So in the spirit of the Holidays, I wish everyone the best. I also wish everyone would read the Chopping Block archives, even though the subject matter might offend a few people.

December 30, 2004


I used to think that nothing would piss me off more than spam. I was wrong.

Lately, I've been being inundated with "referral spam." Since Blogger is pretty good about keeping the comment spammers off, I've been okay with that, but I've been getting hammered with ads in my referral logs. Since I don't have TrackBacks, I have the brain image on every page of my site and I track my referrals through that image.

I'm not going to type out the exact URL's that I get redirected to when I follow these referrals (remove the [ ]'s if you want them), but web[ ]dev[ ] is one (refers as aizzo[dot]com/blog_posts). i[ ]start[ ] is another spammer that tries to send me to a dating service site.[ ]it[ ] tries to look like a search engine (www[dot]makeindex[dot]com).

So, to those who would do the referral spam thing, let me make one thing perfectly clear. The people who read their referral logs are generally technically savvy. Tricking them into going to another site is not going to make them buy from you. Instead, it's just going to piss them off.

XP Home On A Domain

Susan Bradley, the Microsoft MVP for Small Business Server, has been on a bit of a rampage this month about OEM's selling businesses machines with "Windows XP Home Edition" intalled on them. Later, when they try to join their "XP Home" boxen to a domain, they find they can't. Since I get asked this on a regular basis as well, I'm linking to it so that Google will bump up the PageRank.

"Windows XP Home Edition" CANNOT JOIN A DOMAIN!

And remember, even if you do join an XP MCE 2005 box to a domain, there are several things you can no longer do with it, such as use Media Center Extenders.

December 28, 2004

Linux Follies

I know that LinuxWorld isn't exactly looked on fondly by the F/OSS community, but when I saw this, I just had to screencap it and laugh out loud. (Click picture to open full-size: shrunk 50% for the blog.)

Pro-Microsoft Banner and ActiveX warning on LinuxWorld website

LinuxWorld is supposedly a Linux-activist site, and as such would be expected to be using Linux-centric technologies. So, at the top of the page, we have an ad from Microsoft about how "Mainframe Linux was found to be 10x more expensive than Windows Server 2003." In addition, the page tries to load an ActiveX control, which is a Microsoft Windows (or Linux with certain Crossover plugins) technology.

Sometimes, stuff like this is just too funny.

Blogger Bug Kills Posts?

Well, I just barely noticed this, but all of my blog posts from May 1 through August 9 have mysteriously vanished from Blogger.

Needless to say, this is slightly upsetting. I haven't been archiving these posts, but perhaps I should. After all, it seems like Google may not be keeping them around...

Katamari Damacy

I picked up "Katamari Damacy" for the PlayStation 2 during my lunch break yesterday using my Christmas bonus gift certificate from the city.

Essentially, the purpose of the game is to roll a ball over items of increasing size until your average diameter is over a certain size. The larger you get, the larger the items are that you can pick up. Eventually, you can start picking up animals, people and buildings.

I meant to play it for about an hour. I nearly stopped after ten minutes because of the music in the tutorial room. However, once the tutorial room was finished, I kept playing...and playing...and playing...and playing...and playing...

I finally finished after about five hours. Actually, I guess I should say that I forced myself to stop. My goal was to make my ball twenty meters in diameter. When I was done, my ball was forty-two meters in diameter. I was rolling up boats, houses, construction equipment, elephants, swordfish, smokestacks, you name it.

"Katamari Damacy" is rated E for Everyone, but just a small warning to parents: once you see this game in action, you will believe that drugs were involved in the creation of the game.

Location Nation, What's Your Station?

Until you start updating your physical location in web profiles, you never realize exactly how many places store your location.

That's probably the weirdest part of cyberspace for me. While I maintain several points of cyberpresence (my blog and my domain are good examples), I still feel a strong bond to my physical locale. While my online actions define in large part who I am, I still need that reassurance as to where I am.

It's essentially the five W's from journalism: who, what, where, when and why.

So, let's try starting a bit of a meme here. (Maybe if I'm lucky, this will be my final link from Scoble...given that I doubt that a video game test lead will be of much interest to the vast majority of his readers.)

Who are you?: My name is Michael Russell.
What are you?: I am currently a programmer for Layton City Corporation, but starting January 3, I'll be the Lead Tester for Ritual Entertainment.
Where are you?: Sitting in the basement of the City Main Offices in Layton, Utah.
When are you?: I'm in my 30th year of life, 10th year of marriage, and 4th year of home ownership.
Why are you?: I exist to find problems and the solutions to those problems.

So, what are your answers to the 5 W's?

December 27, 2004

New Year's Resolutions

My New Year's resolutions: 1280x1024, 1600x1200 and 2048x1536.

Kidding, just kidding. While I do have three New Year's resolutions, those are not it.

First: I resolve to maintain and improve my programming abilities. Over the last fifteen months, I've proven that I can design and code on a deadline and with a high quality bar. Over the next year, I intend to work on filling in the gaps in my programming knowledge as well as improve my time estimation skills.

Second: I resolve to maintain my ethical standards. During my last year at Microsoft, I let my standards slip a bit because I was so burned out I just didn't care anymore. I can't let that happen to me again...ever. When it happens, it not only affects me, but it affects my projects and everyone around me.

Finally: I resolve to be more outgoing. I'm a bit of a recluse by nature, but I'm moving to a new state where I know nobody. By being more outgoing, I can start to weave a new safety net of friends that I can fall back on for moral support.

T-3.5 Days And Counting

Well, here's my schedule for this week.

Monday. Update the links page on my site. Finish up my final work project by creating a reporting system for my custom-built inventory responsibility system. Tonight, I get the remainder of my DVD's back and return the only game I've borrowed in recent history.

Tuesday. My department is holding a farewell lunch at Red Robin.

Wednesday. I clean off my desk. Anyone who knows me will know that this is at least an 8-hour job.

Thursday. It's a half-day at work, and also my final day at work. I'll probably spend the entire morning bringing home all of my books. Someone will be coming over in the afternoon to talk to us about

Friday. I pack up the remaining electronics and whatnot and ensure that everything I'm taking with me will fit into the two totes I'm checking for luggage. (The totes are see-through and have multiple locations to add zip-tie locks to secure them.)

Saturday. Last full day with the wife, so I'm going to try to spend as much time together with her as possible. I'll also prepare all of my bills that have to be mailed in my absense next week.

Sunday. My flight leaves Salt Lake International Airport at 4:52pm. I'll be in Texas shortly after 8:00pm local time. (Assuming all goes well, anyway) I'll be staying at the AmeriSuites on North Lamar Street in Dallas, less than half a block from my new tribal center.

Due to the move and whatnot, I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to post until at least January 4. Just warning everyone ahead of time. Also, I'm going to be under an NDA, so unless the project I'm working on becomes public, my lips (and for this site, my fingertips) are going to be sealed.

December 24, 2004

Grumpy Gamer's "12 Days Of Christmas"

Ron Gilbert has been posting his version of the "12 Days Of Christmas" from a game developer's point of view.

When I read this, two things went through my head:

1) This is very true, and I can't believe I'm getting back into the gaming industry; and
2) I've never had a Christmas crunch.

What's even scarier is that #2 went through my head before #1 did.

December 23, 2004

Three Things

The current blog meme hits here...

Three names you go by:

Three screennames you have:

Three things you like about yourself:
I succeed at anything I set my mind to.
I have a vast wealth of useless knowledge.
I am extremely patient.

Three things you hate/dislike about yourself:
When I feel that I have been wronged, I get extremely vengeful.
I can be excessively stubborn at times.
I keep my emotions bottled up inside.

Three parts of your heritage:

Three things that scare you:
Climbing up/down ladders

Three of your everyday essentials:
Coca-Cola Classic
Complex Carbohydrates
Teasing My Wife

Three things you are wearing right now:
Casio Analog/Digital Watch
Wedding Ring (on chain around my neck)
Coca-Cola Polar Bear T-Shirt

Three of your favorite bands/artists (at the moment):
Depeche Mode
The Corrs

Three of your favorite songs at present:
Runaway (Acoustic) - The Corrs
Deep Sexy Space - Lords of Acid
Miracle - Vertical Horizon

Three new things you want to try in the next 12 months:
Riding in a speedboat
A Texas winter
A four-day work week

Three things you want in a relationship (love is a given):
A sense of humor
Some time alone
A sense of adventure

Two truths and a lie:
I have simultaneously impressed and disappointed several of my previous managers, and with the exception of my last year at Microsoft, the "impressed" part always won out.
I have brown hair, blonde eyebrows and a red mustache/beard.
I have the same number of toes and toenails.

Three physical things about the opposite sex (or same) that appeal to you:
I have a feeling I better not answer this one...

Three things you just can’t do:
Grow a full beard
Cross my eyes
Forgive myself

Three of your favorite hobbies:
Painting miniatures
Collecting DVD's

Three things you want to do really badly right now:
Go to the restroom
Finish my Christmas shopping
Sleep for sixteen hours

Three careers you’re considering:
Program Manager

Three places you want to go on vacation:
Great Britian

Three kids names:
Unable to have children, so I'm not answering this one.

Three things you want to do before you die:
Go on a tour of Europe.
Get my college degree.
Be as known to gamers (hopefully for good things) as the Levelord is.

December 22, 2004

Insane Clown Pricing

I went to Expedia last week to try to price my tickets for my one-way flight to Dallas, Texas on January 2. The best price I could find was $358, but I couldn't pay until today.

I went back to Expedia today and paid $855.09 for my ticket...nearly a $500 price premium due to my date of payment. On the upside, I shaved $30 off the price of my hotel stay that night. [blech]

I'm just hoping I can get reimbursed for my airfare on day one...

December 21, 2004

Last Stats Post

Since my new job won't have me doing web statistics analysis, here is my final post regarding the web stats for a site that the general public visits. Given that these seem to be among my most popular posts, I'm just going to let the numbers speak for themselves.

Operating SystemsHitsPercent
Windows14928495 %
Unknown51973.3 %
Macintosh21761.3 %
Linux3020.1 %
FreeBSD480 %
NetBSD110 %
WebTV10 %
Unknown Unix system10 %

MS Internet ExplorerNo14432891.9 %
FireFoxNo42482.7 %
MozillaNo37682.3 %
Unknown?17581.1 %
NetscapeNo16311 %
SafariNo7880.5 %
OperaNo3320.2 %
KonquerorNo710 %
WgetYes680 %
Firebird (Old FireFox)No210 %
Others 70 %

Microsoft Grammar Checker

It looks like someone didn't listen to Clippy's grammar suggestions.... [found on this update page]

This download is available running genuine Microsoft Windows.

Evidently, according to Microsoft grammar, this blog post is available running web browser.

The Results

One response only via chat, so I'll go with that. The historical blogs stay. However, if I make mistakes in what I say, or if someone wants to add their own viewpoint, not only do I welcome the comments, I encourage them.

(Slight grammar update: Since I'm making fun of Microsoft's grammar in a recent post, I figured I should correct my own mistakes.)

December 16, 2004

A Requiem For Access

Well, it's official now: Take Two Interactive purchased Indie Game Studio (formerly Access Software).

I'm not sure exactly what Take Two got out of this besides the studio. According to Microsoft's trademarks page, Microsoft still owns the "Amped" trademark, the "Links" and "Links Extreme" trademarks and the "Tex Murphy" trademark.

However, the development, art and test staff may be enough. The team had been working on Xbox Next technology prior to their purchase, and given how hard the team has been able to push the standard Xbox hardware, there's a good chance that they'll find a way to bring Xbox Next to its knees.

Oh, and one tip for Take Two: this studio is located in Utah, so you should only plan on six workdays in a week, not seven like in some other game development companies.

Update: Here is a link to their official statement.


I've been having a bit of a conversation in the comments for my Serendipity post with an anonymous former member of my old group in Salt Lake. It's gotten me thinking quite a bit about how we place mental filters on our memories. It also shows me the benefits of blogging in real-time as opposed to the historical blogs I have been doing.

It is impossible to ever clearly remember the past. Our perceptions will always be clouded by our experiences leading up to any event, as well as our experiences that occur as a result of the event.

For me, I look back at my time at Microsoft and see a great place where I learned a lot of hard lessons. I chose to leave to prove myself, which I feel I have done. Others see it as a division in the ass-end of space where our existance was tolerated until we became too unprofitable to keep around, and that my leaving when I did was merely my last-ditch effort to avoid having the scarlet "L" for layoff branded on my employment record for eternity.

To be honest, there may be a lot of truth in both points of view. However, my current set of filters choose to focus primarily on the positive aspects of being at Microsoft.

That pretty much sums up my personality. I try my best to remember and focus on the best parts of my past. I do that for one reason and one reason only: while I try to remember all of my successes, I do remember all of my failures.

I'll be going through my regular everyday activities, and these failures will come out of left field and slam me with the full effect of their results. My period of military service: wham. My actions as a senior in high school: wham. The friendships I destroyed because of who I was at the time: wham. My actions that caused D.W.'s choice: wham. I remember all of them, and my memories of them stay just as vibrant today as when they first occurred.

All that brings me to the benefits of blogging in real-time as opposed to a delayed blog. It's essentially the same as writing a journal. You place your feelings and experience into the ether or onto paper, and while the experience stays with you, the feelings fade. It gives you an opportunity to look at the past and see exactly what you were thinking when you ran for student body president, or when you were run over by a co-worker, or when you broke someone's heart.

In short, it gives us the opportunity to learn more from our past by letting us use our current perceptions as well as a snapshot of our perceptions in the past in an effort to come closer to finding the truth. The longer we wait to log these perceptions, the more filters that get in the way, until we get to the historical blogging quandry I find myself in today.

A massive chunk of my readership (I've got about 100 regular readers according to my stats, but only about four people who actively comment) are either friends in the industry or friends from MGS. Because you are the people who are most affected by this, I'll leave it up to you.

Do I:

a) Continue to do the historical blog entries publicly as well as current entries; or,

b) Do current entries only, and do the historical entries in my private blog (no, I'm not giving the URL)?

Vote by comment or E-mail. I'll post the results on Monday, December 20.

"Haven't We Done This Already?"

I just got back from my "farewell lunch" with my old Microsoft Game Studios teammates.

I think the most telling comment about the whole thing was, "Haven't we done this already?," referring to sending me off into the nether.

We had a similar lunch when I left Microsoft.

So, to Drogo, Jinx, Wedgemaster, Remoh, Goose, Burge (you had so many aliases, I have no idea what to call you) and Ron's Wife, thanks for seeing me off.

[T-7 Work Days Left]

December 14, 2004


I forgot to mention this occurance, so I figured I better get it out of the way now before I forget.

At 12:40pm Mountain on December 2, I faxed off my acceptance letter to Ritual Entertainment. Three hours later, I received an E-mail from Microsoft Recruiting wondering if I would be interested in interviewing for a position as an SDE/T for the ASP.NET team.

Now, here I had a bit of a quandry. Even though I was anxious to return to game development, I loved my time at Microsoft. To be dead honest, if it wasn't for the actions of two individuals at Microsoft, I never would have left. So I had a choice: do I go back to the industry that I love, work with industry legends and respect the agreement I made; or do I go back on my word and throw the opportunity away for a change to work on a technology that I admire greatly and for a company that I admire greatly?

I guess it says something about me that my decision took me less than five seconds. I made a promise, and I intended to keep it. I wrote an E-mail back to the recruiter telling her that she was three hours late.

While I'm glad that Microsoft was still interested in me after I left, and I may try to return to Microsoft sometime in the future, I think that what is best for me now is to stay out in the world and gain more real-world (as opposed to the strange reality vacuum inside most Microsoft studios) experience so if I do return to Microsoft, I do so as an ambassador of reality as opposed to a technogeek with a passion.

Testing Top Ten

Since I'm going to be returning to my roots as a tester after fifteen months as a developer for my home town, I've been trying to...well...revive my testing skills.

While the best developers and testers have similar mindsets, there is one core tenet which differs between testers and developers. A developer asks, "How can I make this work?" A tester asks, "How can I make this break?"

My manager here at the city has even pulled me aside on several occasions and complemented me on the quality of my work, although he did it in a bit of a backhanded way. He said that I'll often hold a product back until it meets my quality bar, even though it's fully functional. Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that. While I built auto-update functionality into every product that I've released here at the city, I think that the perfect measure of our quality is how often we have to use it for bug fixes rather than new feature releases.

So, now that I've lived some time in both sets of shoes, it's time for a top ten list.

Top 10 Things That A Tester Needs

10. "How to Break Software: A Practical Guide to Testing" by Dr. James A. Whittaker. If you are a tester and you have not read this book, you have a choice. You can either a) go out, buy the book, read it and improve ten-fold, or b) wallow in your own mediocracy.

9. An extremely durable stress ball. Testers are the bearers of bad news more often than not, and as such receive massive amounts of abuse from other team members. A stress ball gives you a means of relieving your stress without killing someone.

8. A large pad of paper and at least three pens. Never give a tester a pencil. A tester should write his or her first impressions of anything. A tester should make notes of all steps that he or she takes. If a tester second-guesses himself, there should be a permanent record of that second-guessing. Whenever a tester erases something, a tester eliminates the potential to go back to an earlier assumption.

7. "Debugging Applications for Microsoft .NET and Microsoft Windows" by John Robbins. The more information that a tester can give his or her developer, the better. This book is by far the best guide to debugging Windows programs I have ever found and includes not only tips on managed debugging but massive sections devoted to debugging native Windows applications.

6. A wall or desk calendar with plenty of space to write notes about upcoming deadlines. Yes, you may have everything in Microsoft Project, but I don't care. Having the calendar also gives a written history of the project so a tester can have more information available to properly attempt to forecast things such as the zero-bug bounce.

5. A stopwatch with a large, readable display. Unless I need to time something that is going to take less than a second, I'd rather rely on a stopwatch than your timing code. Why? The stopwatch won't inject additional code and page faults into your application.

4. A constructive hobby. The testers that I have found have the most longevity are ones who have had hobbies where they make something. Programming, woodworking, miniature painting...anything where you are not actively destroying something. A tester without a constructive hobby is a tester who either burns out in six months or a closet sadomasochist.

3. At least two computers. One computer should contain the tester's mail client, bug tracking software, music, IM, Office, Visual Studio for remote debugging, etc. The rest should be a test-only machine that can be wiped and re-imaged at a moment's notice. (Two monitors are also nice, but if you get a KVM, try to turn off the ability to switch machines via keyboard commands. I've had several manual tests ruined by the keyboard shortcuts included in major KVM's.)

2. A VCR that can record the video-out of the test rig. Having a VCR that records your actions has three benefits. First, you can go back and verify that you didn't do anything you didn't write down in your notes. Second, you have definitive proof that the bug occurred, even if you can't get it to repro. Finally, when you go talk to your developer and hear, "It works on my box," you'll have something hard to throw at him.

1. A dog-eared copy of "Soldier of Fortune" magazine sitting on the corner of your desk. Nothing makes a developer think twice about resolving one of your bugs "Not Repro" than the nagging thought in the back of his or her mind that a tester will remove a panel from the ceiling above them, slowly lower themselves down and drive an eight-inch hunting knife into their lower skull...or so I've heard.

December 8, 2004

Scoble's Reach

Evidently, the Wasatch Front repels Scoble's link blog.

I'd been advertising the Davis/Weber .NET Users Group meeting for the better part of three weeks now. I even managed to sneak it onto Scoble's link blog a few times by judicious use of the almightly blog hog's name.

We had 10 people tonight, including the presenter. Of those, two were invited guests of the speaker. The remainder found out about it from a last minute E-mail from the head of the Utah .NET Users Group.

Nobody saw the fliers I put up at Weber. Nobody saw any of my forum posts. Nobody saw Scoble's link...not even the MS guy who was there!

So, Scoble, knock yourself down a peg, because there is at least one place that is immune to your RSS tendrils: Davis County in Utah.

Place your bets...

Tonight is the inaugural meeting of the Davis/Weber .NET Users Group. I'm pretty happy that this is happening for the most part.

I started working towards this back in September, back when it seemed like I was going to remain at the city for at least another 18-24 months. Even though I knew the people involved personally and professionally, it was rather slow going.

We finally got the OK in mid-November for the group, but the promised PR was nowhere to be seen. So, I started doing PR myself. I put up fliers at Weber State University. I posted to local message boards. Using Scoble's PubSub thingie, I even managed to get it onto Scoble's link blog. (Hey, if you've got a tool I can exploit, I'll find a way to exploit it!) Finally, an E-mail went out last night.

Anyway, we've got a great speaker and an excellent location, but minimal PR and all of the E-mails I've been receiving today have been, "Great to finally have a Davis users group. Won't be there tonight, though."

So it is time to place your bets. How many people do you think will show up tonight? The room's capacity is ~75, and I've got seating set up for ~20.

Do you think that we'll have:

a) 0-10;
b) 11-20;
c) 21-40;
d) 41-60;
e) 61-75;
f) more than 75?

Results will be posted tonight after the meeting.

December 6, 2004

My Least Favorite VS.NET/ASP.NET Feature

Since this is a combination of the IDE and ASP.NET, I'm including them both in my header.

I really like ASP.NET user controls. They are an extremely flexible way to add stock functionality and appearance to a website. We use them quite extensively on the city's website.

So what's wrong? Simple. You can't talk to a user control that you drag/drop onto the form unless you go into the code-behind and manually add a reference to the control.

To see this in action, create a UserControl. Add a label to the user control. Add a Public property to the UserControl that would change the text in the label.

Create a new web form. Drag the UserControl that you have created to the web form.

Now, in the Page_Load event, try to set the property. You'll notice that you don't get any Intellisense because the IDE doesn't know about it, and if you try to compile, you'll get an error because the UserControl only exists on the page, not in the class.

I've got one page that has 19 seperate UserControls with a lot of logic in the controls that I need to be able to speak to. It's a pain in the ass to have to go into my code behind and type "Public Blah As BlahControl" over and over and over and over...

Why isn't there an automated add-in to VS.NET that would maintain those automatically for you?

December 4, 2004

Bobbin is back

"The New Adventures of Bobbin" is a comic strip I've been following for quite some time now. It recently went on a bit of a forced hiatus as a result of some issues with a hosting company.

Well, the comic is back now, so if you've been getting "Server Not Found" errors in the past, check it out now.

December 3, 2004

Scoble's Link Blog

Good news: Scoble's Link Blog has a new, sleeker look.

Bad news: Only his link blog headlines respect changes in browser font size. The rest of the text is fixed size.

Still, it's a nice start towards a nicer link blog. Good color choices.

Update: 4:49pm Mountain: Evidently, I caught a test post of the new look. It's back to the old way now.

December 2, 2004

The Hardest Meeting Of All

I just finished meeting with my manager at Layton City to give him my 30 days notice. It was literally the hardest meeting I've ever had.

I've been working now for about 13 years, and during that time, I've quit several jobs that I disliked. Even when I left Microsoft, I was having severe problems with the local unit due to a man who wanted to exert as much force on his employees as his waistband exerted on satellites.

But this is the first time ever that I have left a job that I liked. I'm not leaving because I hate the job...quite the contrary. I'm leaving because this opportunity is one of those once-in-a-lifetime deals, and if I don't grab this opportunity, I'm going to find myself regretting it for the rest of my life.

I hope I'm making the right decision. On the upside, I guess I've got a severe piece of .NET-related news to share at the inaugural meeting of the Davis/Weber .NET User Group on Wednesday.

I am now a tribe member...

Less than 30 minutes ago, I faxed off and received confirmation of receipt of my acceptance letter.

Starting January 3, 2005, I will be working for Ritual Entertainment in Dallas, Texas.

Right now, I'm so nervous that I feel sick to my stomach, but then again, nothing worth doing is ever easy.

December 1, 2004

Offer Made...Do I Accept?

I received my offer letter tonight. It's not a "knock-out-of-the-park" offer, but it's acceptable.

I need to decide by tomorrow morning. Whether I accept or decline, I'll post everything here.

Miscellaneous Stuff

I got my free credit reports last night at Fortunately, I didn't have any problems with it. I also didn't see any identity fraud at all.

However, not only were there some fairly severe usability issues with the site, but there were some fairly massive efforts to upsell consumers to pay services. Also, one of the credit reports would not print properly with standard printer settings.

I've got the section up on my domain for the Video Game UI Hall of Shame/Hall of Fame. My hope is to have the first entries up this weekend.

Also, I've succeeded on one of my two goals. Entering "Michael Russell" into Google brings up my blog as result number five. Now I get to work on having my domain come up in the top ten results.