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Author: Sean

Father. Soldier. Geek.

Windows 7 Release

I went into Best Buy today to pick up a copy of Windows 7, which I had been excited about since I had started using the Release Candidate. My overall plan was to pick up a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium for my wife’s laptop and Windows 7 Professional for my desktop. However, I found out two things today:

  1. Microsoft is now selling a Family Pack of their operating system. This is three licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for only $30 more than the Windows 7 Home Premium Single-User Upgrade. While Apple has done this for years, I applaud Microsoft for this marketing decision.
  2. There is the option of purchasing an “upgrade” from Home Premium to either Professional or Ultimate. This ran about $90 for the Professional upgrade.

Needless to say, I picked up the Family Pack. At some later time, if I decide that I cannot bear with Home Premium any longer, I can pickup the “upgrade” to move to Professional. Honestly, the only thing I really want in Professional is the automatic backups, but I think I can work around this. Time will tell.

SimpleCalendar

After getting Joomla set up, themed and some basic content added, I began looking for a way to display the guild’s upcoming events. My first thought was to connect to a Google Calendar, but my host’s  machine seemed to have issues with the Zend GData plugin and the iframe method was unnaceptable.

I looked at Joomla modules and found SimpleCalendar. It does exactly what I needed it to:

  • Display a block on the side of the main content which contains a number of upcoming events.
  • Allow multiple users to add/edit events.
  • Provide a brief description of the event.

SimpleCalendar is not only easy to install, but easy to configure and use.

A New CMS For The Guild Site

Yesterday, I moved the guild website back from static HTML pages to a content management system. In the past, I had used Drupal almost exclusively. However, I have recently become enamored with Joomla, another open-source CMS. The Joomla module community seems to be a little stronger and they seem to release a more “professional-looking” product.

I’ll keep posting about any tricks I come across or any modules I really enjoy.

Google Apps Coding

I’ve recently started working on some code to integrate my Google Calendar into a webpage in order to show upcoming events. This seems pretty straight-forwards as the Google API is well-documented, but my requirement are such that any existing solution doesn’t work for me.

My requirements are as follows:

  • Only show future events. If its happened already, its not an upcoming event and therefore does not fit into the “Upcoming Events” section.
  • Fit in with the appearance of the rest of the site. The Agenda-style calendar export is almost exactly what I am looking for, except that it’s appearance is not completely customizable and looks a little out-of-place on my site.
  • Display each event in roughly the following format:  DATE – EVENT TITLE – TIME

All of this seems pretty simple to implement, but I have to delve into the API a little further.

More updates and the completed source code will be available as soon as I have them.

Windows 7: An Overview of Experiences

New releases of Windows are never really something I’ve been excited about. Nor have I ever been an early adopter of Microsoft products–I used Windows 2000 Professional until Windows XP Service Pack 2 was available, only recently switched over to Office 2007 from Office 2003, and would have never even touched Vista if it hadn’t been rolled-out on to my machine at work. But Windows 7 is something that I am excited about. Microsoft had the ingenious idea to offer the Beta (and Release Candidate) to the general public. Brilliant!

Chrome Experiment Ends

Well, that was quick. My experiment with Google Chrome has come to an end. It seems that a number of web applications that I use (including my hosting control panel) are not functional in Chrome.

Cellar No. 8

I picked up a bottle of Cellar No. 8’s 2006 Zinfandel a few weeks back, hoping to expand my pallet for wines. As a novice red wine drinker (read: I don’t drink red wines), I was looking for something mellow and a little on the fruity side. That seems to be exactly what I found here. From the moment I pulled the cork, I knew I was going to enjoy this bottle.

Based on the quality and drinkability of this wine, I think I’m going to give this label a look the next time I go to pick up a bottle. You should, too.

Browser Performance Tests

Well, I’ve been avoiding Google’s Chrome browser for some time now. I’m not entirely sure why, as I’ve used Google search since it’s inception, fought for a Gmail invite when they were limited, and use Google Apps for a number of my domains. It’s possible that I’ve just been using Firefox for so long that I was unwilling to admit that there might be something better.

Enter LifeHacker’s browser comparison tests. While not entirely scientific, I’d trust the results. They took Chrome 4.0.203.2, Firefox 3.5 Final, and Opera 10 Final and tested three areas: Boot-up and Page Loading, JavaScript, and Memory Usage. Chrome took everything but Memory Usage, which went to Firefox.

I’ve already mentioned to my wife that Chrome might be a viable solution to her slow page loads on her laptop and it looks like I will be giving it a try here shortly. More on my experiences to follow.

You can read all about the tests here.