Rock Band on Hard is, well, hard!

Now that I have finished the Guitar tour on Medium I have started playing on hard from time to time.  I have only played a few songs on hard but I have played about a dozen on Hard Bass when playing the band world tour with my son.  Last night we got invited to Moscow for the Hall of Fame gig but with an 8 song set, we decided to wait until this weekend to play it.

So we played some other stuff and I alternated between Medium Bass and Hard Bass depending on the song.  We played a two song random set and I gambled and went with Hard and my son says “watch out, it will be Green Grass and High Tides” and sure enough, it was!  Off we went and I was doing okay until about 60% of the way in when the tempo really kicks up and the note strings are simply beyond my capability.  I ended up failing out which caused us to die since my son didn’t have any overdrive to save me.  After that I went back to Medium and we played a couple more songs which I hit 100% on which is pretty unual for me, even on medium.  I almost always make a mistake somewhere.

I have requested a replacement Rock Band guitar from EA, hopefully that will come this week.  The one we have now really makes my forearm hurt when I play it because you have to press the strum button so hard for it to register.

Added CSV Export

This morning I committed a bunch of changes which allow the roster to be exported in CSV format.  The CSV format can be opened in Excel or other tools which can deal with comma separated data.  We’re using the data to order t-shirts and verify that all of the families of the swimmers on the roster have been billed correctly.  Now that the CSV export is working correctly, I will go back and modify the SDIF export so it sends a file download to the browser as opposed to having to copy and paste it like it currently is.

Nope, my golf game is about the same …

I played at Pine Needles this morning on our way home from Charlotte and the Wachovia Championship.  Pine Needles is a Donald Ross course that is known for hosting the US Women’s Open 3 times since 1996.

I started out ok, with a par, but as in the past, my short game just kills me.  Once I lose my confidence in my chipping I get really tentative and it just goes downhill from there.  I was decent off the tee but horrible around the green.  Had 3 quadruple bogeys on the front 9 for a 53.  I was either good (two pars, three bogies) or awful (3 quads, 1 triple).  The back 9 was similar – I started with 4 bogies then had a couplle of bad holes and had several doubles, and a triple.  51 on the back 9 for a total of 104.  Bleh.  So many shots left out there, particularly on and around the green.

Hopefully I will get out an hit a few balls late tomorrow – I will continue to work on my short game as it is just killing me.

Great time at the Wachovia Championship

Went to the Wachovia Championship down in Charlotte for the day yesterday with a group from work.  Beautiful course, beautiful day – lots of fun.  We spent most of the day around the 17th green which is a tough par 3 over water.  My only other experience at professional gold tournaments has been the two US Open tournaments at Pinehust, the PGA in Atlanta, the PGA at Medinah, and the Women’s Open last year at Pine Needles.  Compared to the Open or the PGA, the crowd was almost tiny.  You could pretty much walk up to any green and watch.  Of course, not having Tiger in the field probably had something to do with it.  I’d love to go again.

Two Weeks of Swim Team Registration

It has been about two weeks which our swim team, the MacDolphins, has been using wp-SwimTeam in conjunction with WordPress for swim team registration.  This has been a pretty good testing experience and for the most part, has goine pretty smoothly. 

However, some things which seem obvious to me apparently aren’t so obvious so I will need to rethink those.  For example – when adding a swimmer, the swimmer should be registered for the current season by default as part of the registration process as opposed to making it a separate step.  I also need to add some birth date checking as we had a number of swimmers registered with the current date (the default) which means they were born on the day they were registered.

I also ran into a problem where anyone using Apple’s Safari web browser (either on a Mac or a PC) wasn’t able to do much because the Javascript behavior of any of the buttons on the GUIDataList objects (a nice spreadhseet like widget used extensively to present information to the users) was different than Internet Explorer or Firefox.  It was very odd and took a while to chase down but it is fixed so now Mac users are happy too!

The next thing I am working on is Swimmer numbers for swim meets.  In our area, each swimmer is labeled (usually on their arm or leg with a Sharpie) with their swimmer number.  Some teams number their swimmers sequentially, other clubs, like ours, give each age group a prefix and number the swimmers within the age group.  E.g. the 7-8 girls are numbered 801 – 8xx and the 7-8 boys are numbered 701-7xx.  We will need this capability in the next 2-3 weeks so it is bubbling up the list.  I also need to generate some reports so that is a priority as well.

WordPress updated

I went ahead and upgraded WordPress to 2.5.1 even though I don’t like the new Dashboard.  It turns out I wanted to use the Email Users plugin with the MacDolphins site and since Email Users needed 2.5, I had to upgrade the MacDolphins site in order to use it.  Since the Swim Team plugin exposes the Dashboard pretty extensively to the end user, I decided to see if I could modify the Dashboard so it was more to my liking.

The result of that work is Retro-Dashboard, a WordPress Admin Theme plugin which I released yesterday.  It isn’t anything super fancy but it is waaaaaaay better than the default Dashboard (bleh, who thought that was a good idea).

Golf game progressing?

With the days getting longer I have had a chance to get out and hit a few balls lately.  The cul-de-sac I live on is bordered by three holes so I am fortunate that I can play two or three holes by walking across the street, through the neighbor’s yard and on to the #6 tee.  It may not be a full round but I’d much prefer to hit balls on 2-3 holes than at a driving range.  There usually isn’t anyone on the course late in the day either so it isn’t like I am cutting in on anyone either.

Saturday evening I actually had enough time to get in more than 2-3 holes so I went down and teed off #1 hoping to get in as many as I could.  I was by myself so I played two balls (I called them A & B) and started out well, bogie with my A ball and par with my B ball.  I got off the tee well with both which was encouraging.

I had played two weeks ago with some co-workers and about halfway through the round reailized that I had lapsed into a weak grip again which was causing me to slice.  I really have to concentrate on gripping the club with a strong grip or that slice comes back.  Once I corrected that problem, I finished that round pretty well.

Back to my Saturday night 9 hole round – I continued to play well on #2 and #3 (I always have problems with #3).  By the time I got to #5 I was +3 with my A ball and 0 with my B ball.  Yikes! Of course that had to come to and end and #5, a long up hill par 5 which isn’t that hard, got me.  So-so drives followed by awful fairway shots left me in the woods with both my A and B balls.  After some more hacking I finished with and 7 and an 8.  Bleh.  Played ok on #6, hit an awesome second shot on #7 but missed the birdie put, and had a par with one ball on #8.

By the time I got to #9 it was pretty dark and a storm was rolling in but I was determined to finish.  One good and one so-so tee shot, followed by one awful and one so-so fairway shot left me with a couple tough shots.  I hit an awesome 5 iron which I couldn’t see but it ended up 3 feet from the flag with my B ball but my A ball was up in the pine straw.  Hitting out of pine straw is tricky and I have learned the hard way that my 54 degree wedge is not the club to use.  So I chipped it with my gap wedge and got it to within 15 feet and two putted it for a 7.

This was the first time I really concentrated on playing two separate balls.  A lot of times I will tee off one ball and only hit a second if my first one wasn’t very good or I will drop a second one from the fairway or up near the green.  I ended up eith a 47 for my A ball and a 43 for my B ball.  I was happy because I was keeping the ball in the fairway for the most part and hit my irons well.  In a couple cases, hitting them farther than I normally do.

I am headed to Charlotte to see the Wachovia on Thursday and may play at Pine Needles on Friday.  I went to Pine Needles for the Women’s Open last year, it is a nice course and should be a challenge.  Hopefully I will keep the ball in the fairway!

Retro-Dashboard Admin Theme

Yesterday I received an e-mail letting me know that my WordPress plugin request for Retro-Dashboard h ad been approved so last night I checked all of the code and supporting files into Subversion.  Is it perfect?  Nope.  Does it clean up stuff in the 2.5 Dashboard which I dislike?  Yes.  I imagine I will continue to tweak it and use it as a Admin Theme learning platform.  Maybe I’ll do a Rock Band theme … Hmmm.

You can find Retro-Dashboard on at:

WordPress 2.5 Admin Theme Plugin?

Like many people, I am not a big fan of the new admin theme with WP 2.5.  While somethings (like categories being below the post) I find cumbersome, I can deal with those, it is the visual layout and color scheme which I don’t like.

I am not a fan of web sites that fill the entire browser window all the way up to the edge.  I like a little bit of a border – something which says “I spent some time making this look crisp and finished”.  Letting sites fill all the way to the edge always seemed lazy to me.  And I really don’t like the mish-mash of colors either.

So after poking around for a new admin theme and not finding anything, I decided to see if I could do some simple CSS tweaks to clean up the Dashboard more to my liking.  I now have something running which I am reasonably happy with and have requested a project on  Hopefully if I am accepted, I will have it available to others, should anyone else want it, later today or tonight.

Update:  As of 6:00 AM on Friday I still haven’t heard anything back from   I thought this was supposed to happen quickly and was one of the selling points for

It's a small world sometimes

Yesterday I drove down to the beach to do some maintenance on our beach house before the renters start rolling in a couple weeks. It is an easy drive, about 2 1/2 hours, sometimes a little less. I am listening to the TWIT podcast, and Leo starts chatting about his trip to Tasmania and then into a dialog about National Geographic and former Geographic photographer Bruce Dale.

It grabs my attention because – hey, I know Bruce Dale!  He is my sister-in-law’s father-in-law and since my sister-law and her husband live 1/4 mile away, we see them all the time.  As such, I have met Bruce on numerous occasions.  He is a very interesting guy and very much into technology as Leo noted in the podcast.  Always has a camera with him and takes the most phenominal pictures of the most mundane stuff.