Aside from the work that I have to do for a living, which most would say is considerable, I’ve been buried in too many cool things to do. So to bring you (notice singular, I don’t expect I have a huge following) up to speed here is what I’ve been upto.

First, I’ve installed Office 2007 beta2 and have been trying to use it as my RSS reader. I’m sure with all the eye-candy the new version of Outlook will appeal to many, but I was looking for something that would make my life easier. I originally sought out the beta after hearing it mentioned on an episode of The TabletPC Show podcast. The feature mentioned that sounded so cool was that the new Outlook would not only scan your RSS feeds, but download the actual webpage as an attachment so you could read it offline. I thought if that was possible, I could consider taking public transportation to work. The reason I don’t now is that it takes me 15 minutes to drive to work, but for some reason our public transportation system require 45-75 minutes and two bus changes to accomplish this feet. If I could use that time to read my feeds then I wouldn’t be wasting the time. Anyway after days to wrestling, the beta version of Outlook will indeed download the webpage and save it as an attachment, but there is no way to display that attachment in Outlook. It’s just like Microsoft to go 95% of the way to an awesome solution and leave the last 5% hanging. I guess if I was an entrepreneur I could get rich doing the last 5%, I just don’t have the time.

Within all this, one of my favorite little companies goes and acquires the US portion of a company that owns a graphics program I’ve been dying to try out. DAZ Productions is one of the few purely internet companies that I have ever been a repeat and delighted customer of. I’ve been a Poser user since version 3, back when DAZ was part of Zygote and Poser was made by MetaCreations. Anyway, MetaCreations imploded after Kai Krause (an awesome software architect, best remembered for Kai’s Power Tools) left in 1999 and his legacy of fine graphics packages were scattered to the four corners of the internet. But that is a matter worthy of a much larger post altogether. Since then I have continued to use Poser as it passed from hand to hand and along the way became a loyal and repeat customer of DAZ Productions. I have an Outlook reminder that fires every Monday morning to remind me to go out and download the weekly free model there and in the past I have joined the Platinum Club for a year so I could buy a bunch of models at fantastic discounts. Anyway, the first thing DAZ did after acquiring Eovia was to celebrate by selling Hexagon for $1.99 to all existing Platinum Club members. After downloading the trial version. I reinstated my Platinum Club membership for another year ($99.95) and got my copy of Hexagon. For those used to doing surface modeling ala Wings3D, Hexagon rocks! Then DAZ announced that they were selling Carrara for $99 (after Platinum Club discount), I was in heaven. Now, with Hexagon, Poser and Carrara, I have an arsenal of 3D Modeling tools, not to mention a slew of free models that DAZ gave me for renewing my membership, plus more that I bought with their $35 voucher.

To top that all off, I’m becoming a Second Life addict. I read a blog from my favorite Co-host of my favorite podcast where he said he had bought land in SecondLife. So I have been hanging out at his place, building and scripting. At one point I started working on a skyscraper, but I quickly hit his prim limit and was stopped at the first floor, I don’t yet understand what that is, but I’m learning. Anyway, I left him an orb with a greeting card, but as near as I can figure he hasn’t seen it yet. It’s still there, so he hasn’t deleted it. I don’t want to make it so big that you can see from space or anything so I guess I’ll just have to be patient. Aside from that I’ve been wondering around (you can cover a lot of ground with a teleporter) like a Pack Rat collecting virtual copies of every free model, texture and animation there is and then spending hours organizing and sorting and culling duplicates. I’m sure this behavior is OCAR related but I can’t help it.

So this turned out longer than I thought, but there you go. That’s why I haven’t been blogging recently.

My webhosting company is very good, but for some reason they have this one nickel and dime feature. I can have as many domains as I want pointed to the root directory of my account. However, if I want to point a domain to a subdirectory of my account, they want to charge an additional $15/year. Since I have 4 different domains (soon to be five) pointed to my account and being OCAR (obsessive compulsive anal retentive) I was driven to find another way to do this and save myself the annual $60 tax for being lazy and stupid. So what did I do? I start hacking. Most of my techie friends and I use the term hacking to discribe the process of trying to jury-rig a solution together to work around the limits of a technology.

I had seperately decided to use WordPress on each of my sites to make updating quick and easy. During the installation I read in the online documentation (Real men may not read directions, but real geeks at least scan them) that you could share the same database with multiple installs by merely changing the table prefix in the wp-config.php file. So I was thinking if I could just hack the wp-config.php to change the table prefix based on which domain I came in on, I’d have me 5 websites all running on one hacked installation of WordPress. The first thing I needed to do was learn some PHP. It took me less than a second to google extensive documention on PHP including a few samples that I could cut and paste into an index.php and upload and run on my site. In under an hour I had pieced together the code and had everything up and running. The reason I call this hacking is because before this, I knew nothing about PHP and now I still know almost nothing, but it works. 🙂