photo friday – longview sky


I took this during a rest stop on day one of the 2009 Ride to Conquer Cancer, after pulling into a schoolyard in Longview, Alberta. This is absolutely gorgeous countryside, with rolling foothills building to the Rocky Mountains in the west. The highway is called The Cowboy Trail, because this is serious ranch country. Clint Eastwood shot Unforgiven in the area. Serious ranch country.

I was crazy enough to lug the DSLR with me on the bike, with a heavy 17-35mm L lens, and was really glad that I’d done so. I know several people who are doing the 2011 ride (I opted out this year) and know they’ll have a blast. It’s a hard, painful experience, but totally worth every second.

making windows liveable

I’ve had to move onto a Windows machine at work (Win 7 Enterprise). This is the first time I’ve ever had to use Windows as a primary work computer, having used Macs in various incarnations since 1988 (when System 6 was the Shiny New Thing). It’s been a bit of an… adjustment.

One of the first things that hit me was how fracking BLUE everything is. There’s an easy fix – change the Window Color and Appearance setting to use a more neutral grey, dial down the color intensity, and turn off the stupid transparency.

With that in place, the interface is slightly less jarring. Outlook 2007 (I know. don’t ask.) uses a separate Blue theme. Tools > Options > Mail Format > Editor Options > Color Scheme. Change that to Silver. Slightly better.

The sound level adjustment in the taskbar of Windows has always driven me crazy. There’s an app that emulates the more elegant MacOSX volume change display. Slightly better.

I’ve been using alternativeTo to try to find alternatives to the MacOSX apps I’ve used extensively for years. There are some things that are kind of close, superficially, but just don’t get near the level of polish that some of the best Mac apps have. OmniGraffle Pro? Acorn? BBEdit? Some way to navigate files in Column view? etc… Sigh…

Update: Hmmm… Windows Live Writer looks pretty decent. I wonder what it does to the markup that gets posted – hopefully it doesn’t use the awesome MS Word HTML Mungifier code…

Update 2: cool. Live Writer looks like it writes sane HTML code. I’ll have to play around with it some more…