Belle E. Buttons - Great Toys for Great Kids

The Bridge Community Church podcast

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008


    One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

    Who needs birthday presents?!? If you love music and haven't discovered, well...

    Sign up for free, pick CDs you want, pick CDs you're willing to trade, pay $1 for every CD you receive (plus 75 shipping). I've received 88 CDs this way since signing up in August 2006, including classics from Petra, Amy Grant, Smitty, Kim Hill, Fernando Ortega, Pierce Pettis, They Might be Giants, Harry Connick Jr., and many more. Though I primarily use it for filling out missing items from the glory days of ccm, Lala has plenty for modern tastes, too.

    The only downside is you sometimes don't get the rear jewel case liner--but I have a solution for that, too: (226KB, requires Microsoft Publisher).

    Download a poster here (PDF, 146KB), suitable for framing or posting around your community. Spread the word!


    Thursday, December 13, 2007


    Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Launch Party

    Our adoption transition has made it a while since I did anything truly geeky, but I've made up for lost time in the last two weeks.

    First, a recap. After five+ years of gardening our AS400, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, and Microsoft SQL Server systems, in March 2007 I inherited no small thing: developing enhancements for our company's business-to-business ordering web site. The project was originally implemented by a third party in ASP.NET and Visual Basic.NET using Visual Studio 2003. Besides cleaning up some database and HTML problems and posting a few new images and links on the public side, since March I have climbed a massive learning curve to add a search feature to the catalog pages, a purchase order number entry field, and the ability for our customers to submit retail price changes through the browser.

    My executive sponsor decided mid-November that upgrading to the .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 was a key priority, opening the promise of a more attractive user experience with technologies like AJAX. Within minutes of researching the cost, I discovered that the bleeding edge release of Visual Studio 2008 and Framework 3.5 was scheduled for the end of November, literally one week away. While hunting for upgrade information, I also re-discovered the Indianapolis .NET Developers Association user group and found they had scheduled an Install Fest for December 13 where Microsoft would give away a free copy of VS2008 Professional to each registered attendee! Thirteen years in I.T. has made me paranoid, so I'm not the early-adopter type, but who can turn down an $800 Christmas present? I watched the downloads page and grabbed the 90-day trial as soon as it hit, spent a few days converting and testing the solution from Framework 1.1 to 3.5, and can successfully compile and view the site just like before. (Note: Using the upgrade wizard to go directly from 1.1 to 3.5 was a mess; when I went from 1.1 to 2.0 then to 3.5, everything worked as expected.)

    DotNETRocks podcastSince VS2008 is so new, I found zero books -- though as of today Visual Studio 2008 Unleashed is listed on and Stephen Walther's ASP.NET 3.5 Unleashed is imminent. The hunt for online VS2008/3.5-specific resources so far has been futile, though I did find a lot of good videos, tutorials, and books on .NET Framework 2.0. The most accessible resource I've found is Carl Franklin's DotNETRocks podcast; I liked the recent episodes so much that I've started listening from episode one.

    Tonight, I attended the IndyNDA user group meeting, primarily to get the free copy of Visual Studio Pro, but with growing confidence that it is exactly the kind of environment I need to build personal momentum. The parking lot was completely full--as was the hallway and the Stahl Conference Room in the beautiful Gene B. Glick Junior Achievement Center. People really came through to contribute a pile of unopened toys toward Toys for Tots. Microsoft footed the bill for a delicious fully-catered dinner of lasagna, and we were never in want. Folks of all shapes and sizes installed their Visual Studio 2008 while I caught up with two friends. A ton of door prizes were given away: books, software, shirts, mugs, X Boxes, and other goodies. (Having won a $50 CircuitCity gift card at my JD Edwards user group meeting earlier the same day, I was content with the Visual Studio tee I got as a reward for successfully installing VS 2008.) Individuals were also invited up to demonstrate their favorite tip, so we were treated to demos of syndication services, unit testing, code metrics, javascript debugging, the HashSet class plus the CTRL+} and CTRL+B shortcuts, the System.AddIn class, and AJAX debugging. The most hilarious aspect of the night was watching grown men play Guitar Hero in the back room, which I explored because of the vast array of chocolate-chip cookies. It was a fun time, but educational and a perfect ice-breaker for my next visit. I have already decided to start attending the monthly ASP.NET special interest group meetings the first Thursday of each month. I extend the warmest thanks to all the sponsors and volunteers who make events like this possible; it's great to be a part of such a generous support system.

    Visual Studio 2008There are some key features in Visual Studio 2008 that will be a great help in the next phase of our web ordering system:
    So there ya go. If you want to geek out with me, download and install the free Express version of Microsoft Visual Studio, play around with it, and we can talk shop in our spare time. And remember that no matter what you do for work or pleasure, you can probably find a local user group who can help--or who can use your help.


    Thursday, October 19, 2006


    It is Finished

    I dedicate this post to all my dear friends who have nagged me for five years to restart my action research project for AU's Advance program [ad 1][ad 2]. Tonight, after six months of pain, I delivered a 64-page paper and a thirty-minute oral presentation summarizing each of the six stages of research and intervention design. I walked out of the classroom a free man, feeling quite surreal. My transcript will reflect a completed bachelor's degree sometime in December. A serious celebration is in the works; date, time, and location to-be-announced. You're all invited.

    For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, refresh your memory here.

    If time permits, someday I'll post the slides for your entertainment. But first, I have season four of 24 to finish. And lots of phone calls, email, and blogging to catch up on. You have blessed me with your patience and support!

    Friday, July 28, 2006


    I Lived My Dash Watching '24'

    Season Three is in the can. It was a little disappointing: it ended on a good note, so I thought there were more episodes left.


    Sunday, June 18, 2006


    The Gift of Transportation

    Bike rack = travel portalThank you, Larry and Kelly and Sandra! You have propelled me and Ezra into limitless possibilities of riding and exploring.

    Thursday, May 18, 2006


    Dogs for Dummies

    Isn't he sweet?Considering a dog for your household? Here is everything you need to know.

    • Dogs wrestle playfully with children, and the children love it.
    • Dogs will fetch anytime, day or night.
    • Walking the dog is a great excuse to take a break.

    • Dogs bark.
    • Dogs drink out of the toilet, but splash in the water bowl.
    • If you'd rather not go out, too bad: Dogs cannot walk themselves.
    • Dogs poop twice a day -- more if you take them to the park. You have to clean it up.
    • Dogs roll in other dogs' poop if they find it in the yard or at the park.
    • Dogs can learn to hold it for ten hours a day, every weekday, and do this for a whole school year. When you decide to become a stay-at-home Mom, dogs poop and pee everywhere in the house even though you walk them twice more daily than before.
    • Dogs eat their own poop. They leave just enough so you know they did.
    • Dogs eat other dogs' poop.
    • Dogs eat the cat's poop from the litter box.**
    • Dogs like to watch you poop. If you couldn't flush, they would eat it.
    • Dogs vomit. Later, they come back and eat it.
    • Dogs poop all over the house. Oh, I already mentioned that.
    • Dogs prefer pooping on carpeted areas, especially light-colored carpet.
    • Dogs drag garbage out of the kitchen wastecan and eat it. They prefer moldy vegetables, decaying meat, old candy, egg shells, and dirty diapers. Anything, really.
    • Dogs slurp decaying mammals at the park, and then roll in their remains.

      Any questions?

      (*Does not apply to dogs who are actually human, like Kiddie.)
      (**Would be a PRO if it didn't cause gas, diarrhea and hell-itosis.)

    Saturday, April 22, 2006


    Favorite Smells of Spring