Welcome To The Family Ava!

On Saturday, my cousin Erika and her husband Mark welcomed Ava Grace into our family. She weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces. Mom and baby are doing fine.

I’m looking forward to seeing some pictures soon.

Happy Birthday Debug!

Today is the day that I have opted to celebrate Debug’s birthday. I’m not sure when she was actually born, but this should be close enough.

IMGP1309

Giving Debug more room to roam around was actually a factor in my decision to buy a house. The two-bedroom apartment that I was tiny compared to the place that I had in Etobicoke. Now there are plenty of window sills that she can sit by and watch the world.

I sometimes wonder about getting another cat. Debug has been queen of the house for so long that I doubt she would take kindly to the intrusion. We shall see.

Bicycling Around The World – Part 5

It has been a little over four months since I posted an updated map of how far I have cycled since April. The biggest reason is that I rebuilt my machine that had Streets & Trips 2010 installed on it. However, I remedied that yesterday and plotted my latest distance of about 1440 miles.

image001Wow! I am almost in Seattle, already in Panama and into Quebec from my house in Irving. When centered on my apartment in Etobicoke, I am nearly in Mexico and just outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

I am using Excel to keep track of this progress. It fascinates me how linear the chart is. So all this bike riding doesn’t vary much from week to week…it covers me going to and from work, the gym and grocery shopping.

I’ll probably take the bike into the shop for a complete overhaul in January. It could probably use the tune-up.

Michael Moore Posts Bail For Julian Assange…Sort Of

I liked what Michael Moore had to write in a Huffington Post article yesterday. Although it was typical Moore fair of not-quiiiiiite digging far enough and lacing it heavily with personal opinion. He claims to have posted bail for Julian Assange and makes it seem like he did it all himself. Read carefully and you’ll see that he had help and further, only half of the bail has been raised.

All of that aside, I do agree with Moore. This world needs something like WikiLeaks. Politicians and corporations often do act against the public and they rely on the public’s laziness and apathy (plus the control of most of the media) to get away with this behaviour. I would like to see these circumstance changed.

Heroes

Alright, I am several seasons late to this show. But the first season of Heroes came to the top of my Netflix queue and I am sorry that I missed out on this when it was first aired.

Without any particular evidence, I had immediately written-off Heroes as being formulaic. Hollywood had already thrown a lot of superhero stuff our way – although I liked the X-Men movies, I didn’t want to see the idea re-hashed on a smaller screen.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how the plot for Heroes has twisted thus far. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of the episodes.

Texas judge puts state’s death penalty on trial

Wow!

Is Texas actually becoming civilized? A Texan judge in Houston is challenging the legality of the state’s barbaric death penalty. This will be something to watch over the coming days.

There are certainly some people who should never be permitted back into society. However, the risk of executing an innocent person can never be reduced to zero percent. That makes it a chance not worth taking.

With any luck, Texas might become a state enjoyable to live in…

Props To WikiLeaks

I am amused at the tempest in a teacup that the newest WikiLeaks release has created. I saw that Vladimir Putin shrugged it off. Jon Stewart on The Daily Show shrugged it off. But Sarah Palin (genius in foreign policy that she is) and even Prime Minister Harper’s aide think that Julian Assange should be hunted down and killed.

Unreal!

It is a very long-shot that any of this material could actually lead to war (as Tom Flanagan claimed). At least such a war would have a reason behind it – unlike the War On Terror.

Yet Another Reason To Hate Facebook

The stories continue to build-up. First they sued over someone using the suffix "book" for their own website. Then they patent  the term "Face." Now it is revealed that Facebook can track you (whether you are a member or not) with the "Like This" link button that many sites use.

I tried to completely shutoff the use of cookies on my system, but too many websites became unusable. I am seeking other options to try to rid myself of third parties watching my every online move.

The line between privacy and usefulness continues to blur.

Seven Years…

Yesterday marked my seventh anniversary working with Microsoft’s SQL Server Customer Support.

I was hired with a group of nine others as vendors in the Mississauga, Ontario office. That site is now shutdown and I am the only one who is still doing support – the others have become DBAs around Southern Ontario. We had an awesome manager who inspired and encouraged us all regardless of how tough it got.

I still miss that team. We rocked and SQL CSS has never been the same without them.

Texas has been my new home for nearly four years now. The writing was on the wall that the Canadian team would be phased out, so I set the gears in motion to become a full-time Microsoft employee.

Wow! What a rollercoaster ride this has been.

A Dearth Of Posting

There is no hiding that I have not posted here in quite some time. I regret that and thus pushed myself to compose this new post. My mind has been in a weird space these past few months.

There has been both good things to post about but some unsettling stuff too. The dizzying heights and gut-wrenching drops on the Rollercoaster Of Life put me in sort of zero sum emotional state. I feel ambivalence about nearly everything. A good friend of mine even described me as "depressed." I had never thought that before and it became just one more layer on everything else.

The good things were really good.

My workouts with Patrick continue to be excellent. I managed a leg press of 1010 pounds (no pictures unfortunately) that completely crushed previous personal records. Patrick kept adding plates after each set but my legs didn’t give out. It was an amazing feeling and I’m looking forward to besting it.

I visited two very dear friends in North Dakota (and keep wishing I can rescue them from that wretched place). Another friend became a dad again and yet another is due to become a mom for the first time.

Annual review passed by at Microsoft with me keeping my job. I have a few interesting internal projects on the go that I hope will help my colleagues.

I won’t post about the negative stuff since I don’t want to dwell on it. I’ll find ways to deal with them.

It Happened Faster Than I Imagined…

810 pound leg press 01

Back at the end of April, I wrote about leg pressing 590 pounds. At the time, it seemed like I had achieved something impossible. At the beginning of this month, I completely crushed my previous personal best of 650 pounds.

900 pounds! I managed two sets of 12 reps at that weight.

An astute observer will notice that this picture is only 810 pounds. That is true, this photo is from an earlier set. We added one more plate on either side after this was taken.

My sights are now firmly set on getting at least 1000 pounds pressed before the end of October.

Adobe Support: Closing The Loop

I have been contacted directly by Adobe’s senior support team. Apparently, this blog played a factor in that. I do wish that a public rant here was not necessary.

The good news is that a local reproduction has been confirmed. A tight repro of the problem is crucial to assisting developers with a fix. Now that a bug has been filed, I’ll be continuing to provide Adobe with information if necessary.

We may use the XPerf tools to profile the Dreamweaver process. I am thrilled that progress is being made now and it is great knowing that a great product will be made even better.

A Workaround For Dreamweaver CS5 Performance

I have been quite vocal at work about my problem with Dreamweaver CS5.

I haven’t used Microsoft’s own Expression Studio product – it would be interesting to do a comparison though. As I told my colleagues, I have been using Dreamweaver since it was owned by Macromedia. Back then, Microsoft’s web site editor was Frontpage and that was a piece of garbage that should never have seen the light of day.

My friend Bill has some experience with Adobe products too since his wife is a desktop publisher. It was his suggestion that I try using a 10×10 pixel PNG rather than a 1×1. Interesting idea…

perfmon_DWCS5_workaround Lo and behold, it worked quite nicely! Although the kernel mode time still spiked, it returned back to user mode much more quickly and let me type directly into the Design Mode window – which is the expected behaviour. I started experimenting with different dimensions for the PNG file (always using Fireworks CS5 to resize as desired).

As you can see in the Performance Monitor trace, the kernel mode time for the Dreamweaver process still spikes while I am typing in the Design Mode window. However, it quickly drops back and the typing remains responsive. This was captured while using a PNG image 890 pixels wide (the full width of my page content <div> tag) and 10 pixels high.

The trade-off is that the PNG file is a larger file size; but with today’s internet access rates, this should be hardly noticeable.

Filename Image Format File Size
bgt_1x1 PNG 1 kb
bgt_5x5 PNG 46 kb
bgt_10x10 PNG 46 kb
bgt_890x1 PNG 48 kb
bgt_890x10 PNG 48 kb
new2 JPG 13 kb
If any reader uses Dreamweaver and experiences this issue, I hope this post helps you out. I am also curious to hear from people who have used Adobe’s free technical support; how were you treated?

Dealing With Adobe Technical Support

I suspect that most users would prefer to avoid calling technical support. Regardless of the company in question; this is simply not a fun way to spend your time. Adobe support is certainly no different.

The case was free; the aged adage "you get what you pay for"  couldn’t be more glaringly obvious here.

The first gentleman that I spoke with clairvoyantly diagnosed my problem as corrupt files and insisted that there was no bug in Dreamweaver.  As if intentionally trying to piss me off further, the support case was closed and marked "resolved." Bullshit.

But I decided to tighten up my own troubleshooting. I created a brand-new web site in Dreamweaver CS5 and used Fireworks CS5 to create a new single-pixel PNG with transparency enabled. Of course, as with the files from this blog site, Dreamweaver’s Design Mode rendering chewed up kernel mode time. The moment that the PNG background was removed, kernel mode time barely showed up in my Performance Monitor traces.

Adobe_ticket I called back and created a new free support ticket. This time, the support engineer spent a couple of hours on the phone with me. I let him record my desktop so that everything we did would be documented. We reproduced the kernel mode time spikes at least a dozen times. We created a new background graphic in JPG format – this does not support transparency and thus does not give me the visual effect I wanted – it also did not spike kernel mode time. The engineer then asked for research time; which I gladly granted.

Progress! An illusion that I was quickly disabused of when he called me back. "I cannot reproduce the problem here. Please upload your files so I can escalate this issue."

After the upload, the case went dead for nearly two weeks. Then I was called back by a new engineer. Clearly, the case had not yet been escalated because this time I was told that JPG and GIF are the standard image types that all web developers use.

This really angered me. Adobe Fireworks uses the PNG format natively! After arguing this point, she agreed to keep working on this issue. We recorded another movie of my desktop reproducing the problem repeatedly. We even downloaded the trial software for Dreamweaver CS5 just to test a different set of program files. What a waste of my time!

I generated a user mode dump of the Dreamweaver process from the Task Manager (a nice feature in Windows 7) and uploaded that to Adobe.

It has been 7 days since I last asked for an update (the Adobe support page promises follow-up in 24 hours).

Adobe technical support sucks!