Windows Phone 7 Frustrations

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:10 pm

I recently switched to Windows Phone 7 from Windows Mobile, but I am awash in frustrations over being able to manage my calendar and contacts. My situation is as follows:

  • My phone needs to access my cooperate Outlook email, calendar, and contacts, along with my Gmail, and personal Yahoo accounts.  (set #1 of calendar and contact entries)
  • My employer runs an Exchange Server with which my office computer  (set #2 of calendar and contact entries) connects to via Outlook 2010. However access to the exchange server is not allowed away from the office environment, and I must resort to using IMAP for accessing my corporate email on my home computer.
  • At home I use Outlook to manage my cooperate and Yahoo email accounts (over IMAP and POP3 respectively), along with my calendar and contacts (set #3).


Previously using Windows Mobile,  any changes I made to my calendar or contacts at the office would sync over-the-air with my phone, then they would be synced to my personal Outlook address book and calendar via a USB connection and Windows Mobile Device Center.  If I made a change on my phone, it would update my office computer over-the-air via the exchange server, then would update  my home computer via USB. Finally if I made a change on my home computer, once I synchronized it with my phone, my phone would be update to date, which would then cause my office Outlook to match.

The key here was that Windows Mobile had a single calendar and address book, and that everything synced to that single repository. Now with Windows Phone 7, each account I add to the phone can have a separate contact list, and calendar in addition to email inbox. My goal is to maintain separate inboxes, and maintain a single set of contacts and calendar entries.

One possible solution that I tried for about a week was to use the Outlook Windows Live Hotmail connector to create a repository of contacts and calendar entries. I was able to synchronize my home Outlook contacts and calendar appointments to it, and then at the office I could synchronize my work copy of Outlook to my Hotmail account.  Then I set my phone’s address book and calendar to only display  the Hotmail contacts and calendar. This worked, but with one big drawback. A while back I invested a good deal of time adding contact photos/business logos to each entry in my address book. This way I see their photo in the bottom right corner of an Outlook email. Note that not all of my contacts have a Facebook or other social media profile.  Much to my frustration, this system of synchronizing my calendar and contacts had wiped away all of the contact photos ( I made a backup PST file first!) as Hotmail will only support an image if the contact has a Windows Live Messenger profile.

Now I am left without the ability to properly synchronize my Outlook experience across all three of my primary Microsoft clients. If I cannot solve this very annoying issue,  I may be forced to revert to Windows Mobile, or at least running a Windows Mobile device as a hardware peripheral for synchronizing my data using both the Wi-Fi and USB connections.  This does not seem ideal,  and I am still feeling like “upgrading” to Windows Phone 7 was really a downgrade in key functionality, and the new tagline “put people first” is a taunt as I cannot organize (synchronize) my people (contacts) to be able to put them first.

My next attempt at keeping everything in sync will be using Google via a 3rd party sync tool. If Google is my only option to sync my data, it makes me rethink my loyalty to Windows Phone; maybe I should be open to Android in the future if this is not solved by Microsoft?


What is Wrong with This?

Filed under: Politics — admin @ 2:02 am

Toronto bus

As noted in a Toronto Star here, something is wrong with this picture. In a nutshell let me summarize:

  • Transit passengers catch bus drivers texting while driving (in direct violation of the law)
  • Passengers used a cell phone camera to snap a photo
  • Incriminating photos were sent to the transit authority (and likely copied to the newspaper)
  • transit agency tells passengers to stop taking “gotcha” photos of drivers

 The Toronto Transit Commission says that complaints can be made without a photo and that driver punishments have indeed been exercised without such cell phone photos. However near the end of the article reporters Amy Dempsey and Curtis Rush both note that the transit busses do have closed circuit television cameras, but that due to union contracts images obtained through this channel cannot be used for punishment. Clearly the way to deal with the situation would have been to order the drivers to stop using cell phones and anything less than that is unacceptable and should be for the taxpayers of Toronto that prop up the system with a C$429 million annual operating subsidy. This leads me to speculate that the real issue here might be the union contract and the surrounding language that prohibits usage of the on-board video camera for personnel actions. Again this is speculation, but it would not be without reason to believe the city of Toronto feels that it is on better ground to issue reprimands to texting drivers without having the photographic evidence so as to clearly avoid any issues in renegotiating the next union contract. When a citizen sends in a photo of a violation, it places the transit commission in the troublesome middle ground of having public photographic proof of a public safety violation that to effectively and swiftly handle would risk the city violating a term of their union labor contract, but to not deal with it also would place the city in a public relations nightmare. At the end of the day all parties should agree that texting and other use of a cell phone by a bus or train driver is not appropriate, and should be unequivocally barred from the workplace.


2010 Southwest Conference Football Standings

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:22 pm

Over the course of the 2010 college football season there were 16 games played with the 1976-1991 version of the Southwest Conference.  Since the distribution of the games is not even (Arkansas played only one other former Southwest Conference opponent while Baylor and Texas Tech each played five games) and the resulting team records that ensued provide that one could not honestly award declare a 2010 champion. Here are  the rankings for your enjoyment. Data courtesy of ESPN.

School Conference Record Overall Record
Arkansas 1-0 10-2
Baylor 2-3 7-5
Houston 1-2 5-7
Rice 1-3 4-8
SMU 1-3 7-6
Texas 2-2 5-7
Texas A&M 3-1 9-3
TCU 2-0 12-0
Texas Tech 3-2 7-5


How to Schedule a 16 Team Conference

Filed under: Sports — admin @ 10:06 am

With all the talk about the possibilities of so called 16 team super conferences, along with the possible break up of the Big 12 conference, there has been discussion about how to schedule a 16 team conference. Here is a ESPN take on basketball and a NewsOK take on football.

So what is my solution?

Currently (Big 12) teams play 12 games (plus the possibility of a conference championship game along with a post season bowl game), four of which are non-conference.  To make things work we will have to increase the number of conference games to nine, and reduce the number of non-conference games to three. Before we go too far let’s look at how to align the schools.

Pac-16 West Pac 16 East
Northwest Pod California Pod Intermountain Pod Red River Pod
Oregon California Arizona Oklahoma
Oregon State Stanford Arizona State Oklahoma State
Washington UCLA Colorado Texas
Washington State USC Texas Tech Texas A&M

In this example, using the rumored Big 12 schools joining the current Pac-10 we would create for pods  and then the divisions would be aligned into a pair of divisions.  So then for football scheduling the rubric would be as follows:

  • A school plays all the teams in it’s pod every year (3 games)
  • A school plays plays all the teams in the other divisional pod every year (4 games)
  • A school plays one team from the remaining two pods each year, rotating every year. (2 games)
    • Evey four years a school would have played all the opposite division schools once
  • No school may play five home conference games in back-to-back years.
  • The two divisional winners would meet in a conference championship game

This would preserve all the current Pac-10 rivalries and the Big 12 rivalries (with two exceptions)

  • Oklahoma would need to schedule Nebraska as one it’s three non-conference games to preserve that rivalry
  • Texas A&M would need to schedule Baylor as one of it’s three non-conference games to preserve the Battle of the Brazos rivalry
  • Scheduling these games for Oklahoma and Texas A&M would be no different than USC always using a non-conference game to play Notre Dame.

This scheduling formula would produce a conference championship game in which there would be a 75% chance that the two teams did not otherwise play that season. This creates hype for the game, should attract lots of media attention, and all of that equates to revenue generated.  Playing through a nine game conference schedule, and some schools would also include a 10th game against another BCS school (Oklahoma, USC, and Texas A&M – assuming Baylor maintains BCS affiliation) and would undoubtedly leverage the strength of schedule component of the BCS formula to include a perennial chance to have it’s champion play in the BCS national championship game (bowl). The other schools benefit from playing in more prestigious bowl games. Once again more bowl games, and increasing the prestige of the bowls played in only adds to the revenue generated and then distributed to all the schools.

Shifting gears now to basketball.

Currently schools play about 30 regular season games (not counting conference championship and NCAA tournament games), and sometimes one or two more, of which 16 (Big 12) or 18 (Pac-10) are conference games. So then in the new Pac-16, using the same alignment as previously listed the conference scheduling rubric would be as follows.

  • A school plays each team in their pod twice – a home and home series (6 games)
  • A school plays all the other 12 schools  once – half at home and half away  (12 games)

The scheduling system ensures that during the regular season every pair of schools meets once, and this can also work well for the conference tournament too. For the conference tournament, each of the four pod winners would, by rule, always be seated 1,2,3,4 in order of best conference record and the tournament would then proceed using a standard 16 team bracket, with the reaming twelve teams  seated 5-12 by conference record.

Now onto a possible Big 10 expansion (Big 16) alignment. All the aforementioned rules would still apply.

Big-16 West Big-16 East
Prairie Pod Midwest Pod Central Pod Eastern Pod
Illinois Indiana Purdue Maryland
Missouri Minnesota Michigan Notre Dame
Nebraska Iowa Michigan State Penn State
Northwestern Wisconsin Ohio State Rutgers

Yes, this is slightly circuitous, but it would preserve most existing rivalries, with the following exceptions (for football) which would then be played every fourth year.

  • Indiana – Michigan State (Old Spittoon)
  • Indiana – Purdue (Oaken Bucket)
  • Ohio State – Illinois (Illibuck)
  • Illinois – Purdue (Purdue Cannon)
  • Michigan – Minnesota (Little Brown Jug)
  • Minnesota – Penn State (Victory Bell)

It would also restore the Missouri – Illinois rivalry to national prominence, at the expense of the Missouri – Kansas rivalry (Border War). However the Border War could still be continued as a non-conference game just like the Missouri – Illinois match up has been for years. This also maintains the Missouri – Nebraska rivalry, though Nebraska would need to use a non-conference game to rebuild the Nebraska-Oklahoma rivalry. Notre Dame’s rivalries would remain intact along with those of Rutgers and Maryland as long as Rutgers schedules a non-conference basketball game against  Seton Hall, and Notre Dame schedules non-conference games against USC, Navy, and rotation among Pittsburgh, Boston College, Miami, Army, and Georgia Tech. Notre Dame, having a mostly fixed football schedule,  might not be to their independent minded liking, but it would not be unreasonably difficult

The only real losers from conference realignment would be the non-BCS schools, and I-AA Football Championship Subdivision that often get tapped for the non-conference football games (and often get paid very nicely to play them too). This might widen the gaps between the BCS and non BCS schools (the haves vs. the have nots).

Voila! Scheduling a 16 team conference would not be that difficult at all.

P.S. You’re welcome Pac-16 and Big-16


Kansas City From the 28th Floor

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:16 pm

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a conference downtown Kansas City on the 28th floor of a major hotel, and of course I had my camera handy for a few pictures. Enjoy!

Get the flash player here:

Global Warming Lecture

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 9:02 pm

Recently the University of Kansas welcomed to campus Dr. Michael Meyer to offer a guest lecture on sustainable transportation. The lecture was sponsored by the University of Kansas Transportation Research Institute (TRI).


Sprint Touch Pro2 Unboxing and Review

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:34 pm

This may be the perfect phone (right now) for me. It’s like an iPhone, but can do so much more. Here is my unboxing and four part review:


Review Part 1:

Review Part 2:

Review Part 3:

Review Part 4:


Googlebar for Firefox 3.5

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:37 pm

For those that recently upgraded to Firefox 3.5 and (if your like me) love the Googlebar Firefox extension but noticed that it didn’t work after upgrading to 3.5. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. download the XPI file from here
  2. rename the file extension from .xpi to .zip
  3. Unzip the file and you should two folders and three files that were contained in the archive
  4. Using notepad, open install.rdf and look for the line (about line #4) where it says em:maxVersion=”3.0.*”
  5. change the it to read   em:maxVersion=”4.0.*”
  6. save the install.rdf file
  7. re-zip the files and folders together into a new archive including the altered install.rdf file
  8. rename the .zip file from step 7 to .xpi
  9. Open firefox, and navigate to tools->add-ons
  10. click the install button, navigate to the xpi file you created in step 8 and click the open button
  11. Voila! you have Googlebar in Firefox 3.5


Drug testing in the Public Schools

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:49 pm

This week in the St.Louis papers news has been amuck with the issue of drug testing on public high school students in the Francis Howell School District. At issue is that the testing is mandatory (albeit random) for anyone involved in extra-curriculars, or who chooses to park on campus. If you take the bus and do not participate in sports or clubs then your exempt from the testing. On one hand you have the issue of “big brother” looking over everyone’s shoulder, vs. the reality that illigeal drugs are still illigeal drugs. Call it the Barry Bonds effect, but I think that the day has come to require such testing.


Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:19 pm

This officially marks the beginning of my blog… a project that certainly is overdue. Stay tuned as I continue to develop the site.

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