When Geeks Vacation 
Earlier this year I went for a vacation in the Dominican Republic and while I had a great time, I thought perhaps I should share my experiences so other geeks could benefit. One way to tell if youíre a true geek is if it takes longer for you to pack your laptop bag then your suitcases. I mean come on, its just t-shirts, shorts and whatever else, but my laptop and other computing accessories are my life.

So perhaps we should talk about a couple of things you might want to consider packing in your suitcase for that topical holiday. Now of course everyone knows when traveling to some of these vacation paradises, by default you bring lots of digestive system medications such as Imodium, etc, but one thing that some geeks or men in general forget about when traveling to hot humid environment is Tinea Cruris, more commonly known as Ďcrotch rotí, so tossing a tube of something containing an anti-fugal such as Tinactin, Lotrimin or Micatin can save you a painful bull legged trip to the drug store (if you can find one) during your vacation.

Next I know that many of us donít get out often so being somewhere like a beach where shirts are somewhat optional, one should consider oneís fur factor. The silverback gorilla seen in the photo below should have perhaps considered taking the hair trimmer to his body and reduced the fur factor, no sense sitting in the sun if the sun canít penetrate the fur. Now fur is great where it is cold like Canada, but this is the tropics and you donít often see someone running around here with a fur coat, so take the hint.

That said, sun screen, use it and lots of it. The glow from your monitor, no matter how close you sit to it, isnít going to prepare you for the glorious topical sun. So just accept the fact that sunscreen is your friend. A hat is no doubt a good idea as well, as typically you have invested a lot of time, effort and money into your head, it would be a same to bake it into a vegetable.

Now before we get into the geeky stuff about my vacation, let me pass on a tip which was a lot of fun. I like to snorkel but I donít have the best eyesight from all the years of staring at a monitor so fish need to be close for me to really enjoy their colors and such. The secret we found to attracting fish was bananas. Iím not sure what it is as Iím thinking traditionally most of these fish donít know how to climb a tree and get a banana but take a banana out snorkeling and every fish in the water is now your best friend and you will get a great view of them as they gorge themselves on banana bits.

Now I really liked our resort but there were a couple of things that as a geek made me worry or otherwise think twice. First there wasnít any internet connectivity in our room. Now in the lobby you could Ďrentí a computer and you could buy time on a wireless access point, but Iíd felt really nervous about bringing my laptop out in the lobby as there wasnít much security in my room. In the room we had a steel box and a key, which was great for small items and my JasJar, it was way to small for my laptop. So what to do with my laptop? Toss in the fact that we were on the ground level and the lock pins didnít work on the patio doors (likely the doors were not the same ones when the pin holes where drilled into the frame) which meant in effect we didnít have a lock on them, and I was sweating bullets for my laptop. Iíd really appreciate it if anyone could recommend a Ďtravelí patio door lock that I could use in the future. Fortunately I had a Kensington lock cable with me which was apparently good enough chained to the bed frame and hidden under the bed as I still have my laptop.

I purchased some wireless access time and used my JasJar in the lobby to download my mail and such and it worked great but I would recommend setting up your PDA for mail before you leave on vacation. So all in all it was a great vacation, the weather was great the ocean unbelievable and Iíd happily go back.

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Start of MVP Summit Blog 
Before I start one of the things that I hate about blogging is its a lot of work. I had this written, went to upload an image and lost what I had written, thin client interfaces suck.

OK with that off my chest, look out Seattle I'm in town again attending the Microsoft MVP 2007 Summit. In case you don't know what a MPV is visit Microsoft MVP). Lots of fun, work, and meeting people rolled up into 4 days, and after which you feel exhausted.

OK so it is overcast and raining in Seattle, surprise surprise. The flight in was rough only during the take off and especially the landing as there was lots of turbulence. Otherwise I'm lucky have no problem sleeping when I fly, so it worked out to a nice hour long nap for me. The flight crew I'm sure wanted to kill me as they have had a very long day, as they started in Dallas this morning, flew to Seattle, then flew to Calgary and then back to Seattle so they are beat but were still very pleasant. I've never had a back experience flying with Alaska Airlines or Horizon.

One thing that struck me as funny was at Boeing field there was a F-18 parked beside a Cessna. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that but I forgot my camera and only have my phone camera and we all know those suck.

Much more to follow over the next 5 days.


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Wow that was FAST!!!! 
Wow I have to mention that CACE Technologies has got to have the fastest shipping on the planet. I ordered an AirPcap on Feb 15th, and on Feb 20th UPS delivered it to me. Now considering that that CACE Technologies is located in the US and I'm in Canada, I'd have to say that is the fastest than any package has reached me from the US, congrads CACE and UPS.

I'll blog about the AirPcap more later but thus far I can say its a cool tool!!

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Closed vs Stealthed Ports 
One of the things that I love about computers is you can always try things and see what happens. This ability to experiment can be rather handy as a BS filter and so I thought I would try a little experiment for the closed vs stealthed port debate which can be found here Place your bets - Closed vs Stealthed.

The results are simply that closed ports are not of interest to hackers or worms, as they can't break into either. While I always recommend the use of a firewall which typically results in stealthed ports, closed ports as just as secure with the exception that they could be used in a DOS attack on someone else (read the thread as I don't believe that reflection attacks are very common anymore give the huge bot armies which are available).


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Get ready for Vista and Office 2007 - December 12th Calgary 
I am planning to be at the The 2007 Microsoft Launch Event in Calgary on December 12, 2006. If Vista isn't on your radar screen it should be, so start learning about it now.


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