Idle TV

TV worth watching: House

This is why House is the best medical show on TV… period:

There are few shows I must watch, four total, in fact.  House (aka House, M.D.) is at the top of the short list.

Here’s the quickie background: Greg House is a cross between Dr. Hawkeye Pierce, Sherlock Holmes and that grumpy old man next door who’s always yelling at the neighborhood kids.  He loves to solve the tough, mystery illnesses but hates dealing with patients (or just about anyone else it seems).  A bitter, semi-reclusive character, House doesn’t care who he pisses off and, as a result, speaks his mind without hesitation or societal filter.  House’s unedited sarcasm makes watching the show wonderfully cathartic.

A typical episode revolves around a single patient’s mystery illness, broken up with other sub-plots and, one of my favorite parts: House doing his requisite clinic duty.  So, what’s the big deal?  Fantastic writing, a stellar cast and characters with real depth.  Plus, the hospital where they work is not on the brink of some world-destroying calamity each week like E.R. (someone please cancel that show).

The first season is out on DVD, start there… it has no commercials.

Books Idle Life

See… spot… run…

Does anyone else find it amusing that I have been reading “Faster” for several months now?

Idle Life Microsoft Tech

Thoughts on being a closet MS employee

I was always at odds with myself when I was working in the Mac group at Microsoft.  The team is a great, smart bunch of people who really love the Mac platform and really want to do right by the Mac and turn out cool software.  I knew we were doing good work but there is so much zealotry in the Mac community that it took me a long time to refer to Microsoft as “we”.  If you check out comments on Omar’s blog you can see first-hand some of the quasi-religious fervor that can follow any post which is construed as anti-Apple.

Well, it’s taken me a long time but I can finally say I’m proud to be a Microsoft employee.  Having worked at Microsoft for almost nine years now I’ve come to realize the public’s view of Microsoft as a big, evil company who’s sole purpose is to crush all opposition is both not the view of the majority of the public and also just not true.  The people with whom I’ve worked are, with few exceptions, driven to excel and truly passionate about producing great software for their customers.  We are a competitive lot, but while having another company (e.g. Google or Yahoo!) producing cool e-mail software may drive me to want to out-do them I no more want to destroy Yahoo! than I would want to injure an opponent when playing soccer (besides, if Yahoo was destroyed, I’d feel really bad for Hans, Rob and Randy… they’re great people).

Seeing as it’s past 2AM and I’m on the road, having trouble sleeping without my lovely wife around… I was thinking… Being a white, American male growing up in the ‘burbs (raised Christian to boot), working on Macintosh software at MS provided me with what is probably the closest experience I’ll ever have to true racism.  And I’m know it’s nothing compared to what blacks, gays, Muslims, handicapped etc. people may face. 

So, I suppose it’s no great triumph of human will against insurmountable odds… baby steps.

Idle News


Last night Kraft food announced they were raising prices on some of their products including Oreo cookies, Oscar Mayer lunch meats and even prices at California Pizza Kitchen.  They said the price hike is to help offset the rising cost of petroleum.

For Pete’s sake… just put less petroleum in Oreos, I’ve never been fond of the crude oil favor to begin with.

On a related note, Kraft continues to be tight-lipped about the color of Oreos:

Q: What color are Oreo’s, black or brown?

A: We do not have a color assigned to the cookie portion of an OREO. Some people think the OREO is a shade of brown, while others view the color closer to black.

Software Useful

Keeping multiple PCs in sync

I have a work laptop, a work desktop and a personal computer at home.  Moving between each of these machines could be frustrating if it weren’t for a couple nifty tools.  The two big areas for me are my IE favorites and my OneNote folders.  While I have been happily using Favorites Sync for a while now I have only recently settled on a solution to keep my documents folders in sync. 

MS offers folder redirection to their employees that keeps your entire My Documents folder up on a server.  When you’re off the corporate network XP automatically makes the folder available in a cached mode.  It’s pretty slick.  But… the folder size is limited and, for employees in California, very slow.

Back in April Microsoft purchased Groove Networks.  The Groove product is very cool, creating what amounts to a peer to peer Share Point server.   Groove will sync folders and files across multiple computers and allows you to control access so you can easily work with multiple people on a projects covering a whole mess of files.  Groove is really cool, and since MS bought it, employees can use it for free.  But… it takes a while for a computer running Groove to boot up (not a ton of time, but I’m impatient).  Groove also has chat, project and people management functionality.  It’s a great product but overkill for simply sharing files.

That brings me to FolderShare.  FolderShare is much more light-weight than Groove, focusing only folder sharing.  Groove is great for a multi-person office environment and FolderShare is perfect for individuals.  FolderShare offers both free and for-pay versions of their service.  The free version of the service limits the number of files and sub-folders which can be shared as well as the speed of the file sync.  I’ve been able to stick to just using the free service by keeping a sub-folder in my documents folder where I put the items I want to share (typically my current work) and moving them out when I’m done.

This morning we announced that we purchased FolderShare…  I’m hoping I can get the upgraded service now for free.  Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m cheap. 🙂