Archive | January, 2006

Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanks to Sean, I now have the tastiest recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole. The ingredients and instructions are listed below:

    • 2 lbs of chopped sweet potatoes, boiled
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3 oz. cream cheese
    • 3 tablespoon oleo (I’m not even sure what this is. But I’m guessing it’s important enough to include)
    • 4 tablespoon orange juice
    • 5 tablespoon marshmallow cream
    • 2 tablespoons milk

    The Preparation Methodology:

      • Grease dish
      • Mix all ingredients together
      • Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes in a covered bowl
      • Remove from oven
      • Place more marshmallows on top
      • Place in oven until melted

IE 7 Beta 2 Preview

Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 for preview. A large number of the enhancements are so long overdue that it’s almost pointless to flout the additions as Internet Explorer enhancements. Nevertheless, if you’d like to try the program you can download the preview version from the IE 7 site.

Update:

If you were testing Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1, you may have had trouble logging in to certain Intranet sites powered by Oracle’s portal solution. This problem appears to be fixed with the latest Beta 2 version.

MSN Spaces Update

I haven’t really used my MSN Spaces blog for much other than testing functionality of the product as a blogging platform. However, after today’s huge set of new updates announced on Mike Torres’s blog, I’m glad that I’ve been pushing and recommending MSN Spaces to people who weren’t too keen on running their own blogging software.

According to Mike Torres, author of Share Your Story: Blogging with MSN Spaces,  some of the updates that were rolled out include:

  • Spaces Search.  This is an incredibly cool feature that lets you find interesting spaces based on keyword, a user’s profile information, or by clicking on most popular interests across all of spaces.  You can also run a search from any space just by clicking “Search Spaces” in the header above.  One thing to mention about the search feature is that it will be ramping up for a few days – but you can help make it better!  Learn more about this on The Space Craft.
  • Mobile Search from Mobile Spaces!  Search for spaces from your mobile device.  Mike Smuga will be talking about this more over on his space soon.
  • Your own advertising on your space (as an option) to make money from clicks – powered by Kanoodle!  (This feature is only available in the United States and Canada at this time.)
  • Book lists with Amazon integration.  Automatically insert information from Amazon.com directly into your book list – and again, make money through Amazon Associates when people end up buying the book!  It’s very cool (by the way, our book is called Share Your Story if you want to add it to your book list 🙂
  • Better blog navigation.  This feature is one of those things we needed to do.  You can now “view more entries” at the bottom of the page, and navigate through Previous and Next pages while looking through blog entries.
  • Customized blog entry display.  Choose how you want your blog entries to appear, by date or entry title.  This is a great feature for people who write essays or incredibly insightful posts once a month.  Date isn’t really important in this case, whereas sorting by entry title may make more sense.
  • Integrated Help.  Confused?  Click the Learn link in the header above to figure out what to do next!
  • Enhanced Profile including General, Social, and Contact Info sections.  Each section will have it’s own permissions so any part you would like to limit access to (say your personal contact information), you can do it.  There’s also an updated profile module for the homepage with an actionable photo; anytime you see someone’s picture anywhere you can right-click (or click on the down arrow) to view their contact card, space, profile, and more.
  • Live Contacts Beta!  Brand new feature which you’ll see popping up throughout Windows Live in time.  What is it?  It’s the ability to subscribe to automatic contact updates.  When your friend changes his or her address or phone number (in their Profile mentioned above), your address book will be automatically updated if you are subscribed to updates.  This is crazy cool.  Learn more here.
  • Which reminds me: Spaces now has contact cards like MSN/Windows Live Messenger!  Just right-click on someone’s profile photo (or click on the down arrow) and select “View contact card” to see a preview of their space.
  • Better commenting for blogs and now photos as well!  This feature also has an (optional) clickable profile photo that you can leave behind when leaving a comment.  And there’s a mini text editor so you can format your comments (something I’m really glad we did!) kinda like blog entries.  Note that if you would like to turn off photo comments, you can do this in Settings.
  • Photos are no longer limited to 30MB; you can now upload 500 photos per month without worrying about running out of storage space.
  • MetaWeblog API (OK, this one is from December – but it’s still cool).  Read more here.
  • Better URLs!  Sometimes the little things matter the most.  This is one of those things.  Say goodbye to /members/.  You can now be reached at http://spaces.msn.com/[username].  For example, http://spaces.msn.com/mike now works!  We also have cleaner paths to pages, so if you want to give someone a link to your blog or to your photos, you can send them to http://spaces.msn.com/[username]/blog or /photos.
  • Xbox Live integration.  Themes, recent games module, and gamer card integration!  This feature has been the single biggest reason my gamer score is now clocking in at 500 instead of 0.  If you’re into Xbox Live, these features rock!  Check out my theme and gamer card and you can see why.
  • New themes and categorized theme picker.  We now have well over 100 themes!
  • Do you like email or mobile publishing?  You can now publish from 3 email addresses instead of just one.
  • For those of you with private spaces (you know who you are!) people can now request access to spaces via anonymous email.  I like to think about this as “knocking on the door of someone’s house”.
  • Privacy controls (communication preferences) for who can request access to your space and to your contact information and how.  Check it out in Settings.
  • We doubled the size limit on the HTML PowerToy.

Getting Things Done

I’ve been on and off the Getting Things Done lifestyle as described in David Allen’s book. Whilst, I’m not yet at the point of evangelizing the change, I definitely think that I’ve been able to improve certain elements of how I receive and process information. Recently I came across a message on What’s The Next Action regarding the 6 types of e-mail that people typically receive and how to best process them.

  1. E-mail you’ve read and there’s no action associated with it and you don’t need to keep it for reference. So delete it!
  2. E-mail you’ve read and there’s no action associated with it right now but perhaps on a later date. So incubate it or file it!
  3. E-mail you’ve read and decided there is an action but you are not sure what the action is. So incubate it or defer it!
  4. E-mail you’ve read and decided there is an action and you know what the action is but you haven’t come around to doing it. So put it on a Next Action list in the appropriate context!
  5. E-mail you’ve read and decided there is an action and you actually did the action. But now you are waiting on some sort of reply from someone or they need to track the outcome of that action. So put it on a “Waiting For” list!
  6. Email you haven’t read yet. Those are the only emails that should be in your Inbox!

In general by following some of the above principles I’ve been able to keep my Inbox down to about 10 messages and when I go on vacation or the semester starts it’s becoming much easier to return to the ready state of 0 messages in my Inbox.

Related Links:

6 Types of E-mail

Football

“The first ninety minutes of a  football match are the most  important.”

– Kalusha Bwalya