Need my Rock Band fix!

One of my co-workers took our Xbox home for the weekend for a Rock Band party and hasn’t brought it back yet! I’m itching to play. I haven’t played much at home either because I have busy and when I do have a chance, someone else (usually my son and his friends) are already playing something, usually Halo.

At home I bought the Boston pack and they’re all pretty good songs – I imagine if you are a Boston fan, I’m not a big fan, all of their songs sound really similar, you’d really like it.  By the time I bought it I was just about done with the Guitar tour on Medium so I ended up playing them one after another.  I don’t recommend that, you need to break them up so you get some variety.

I have attempted to play a 3-4 songs on Hard and managed to get through a couple of them.  Sliding my hand from the G-R-Y-B to R-Y-B-O buttons is proving to be a challenge.  I get so confused!  I may try the drums again although I want a set of the Rock Band drum silencers which will be available next month.  The drums are really loud.  I also read somewhere you can do a Bass solo tour but I couldn’t find it.  I need to look for that too.

My nw8240 is driving me nuts

My HP nw8240 is really getting on my nerves.  It has had some odd issues for a while but this one is driving me nuts.  Every once in a while, my n8240 will act as if the delete key is permanently held down.  This means that what ever happens to be open, trys to delete things.  This is particularly annoying when I have my Outlook Inbox open!  Nothing like having 200-300 e-mail messages deleted in about 3 seconds.  This happened a while back and then went away but came back with a vengence this week on several occassions.  I ordered a new keyboard which should be here on Monday.  I hope it fixes the problem.

WordPress 2.5 Dashboard Interface

The 2.5 WordPress release has been out for a few weeks but, I haven’t paid too much attention to it as I was focusing on getting the plugin sufficiently complete to support our Swim Team registation last weekend.

Today I uploaded 2.5 into my development area.  Yuch.  I really don’t like the color schemes at all nor do I like the “all the way to the edge of the browser” design.  I am not sure what to do now – the new interface really clashes with the work I have done on the plugin.  I guess it was inevitable but I don’t really feel like dealing wiht it right now.

If I can make some simple CSS changes, that may be ok, otherwise I’ll probably stick with 2.3.3 until after this season is over.

Swim Team Registration – baptism by fire!

Last Sunday we had our Swim Team open house and registration.  It was the first serious test of the work I have done by someone other than myself.  At work we have 8 laptops in a rolling case we use for workshops and training so I brought them home and set them up for people to use – I would have 8 people registering simultaneously.  Because most people wouldn’t have access to their e-mail, I had them visit me first where I assigned them a username and password.  They then logged in and registered themselves and their swimmers.  Everything went pretty well for the most part.  Except for one minor glitch.

I had a very late request (like an hour before registration) to capture one more field so I adjusted the data model, changed the form and tested everything.  Since the data model changed I needed to deactivate and re-activate the plugin for the tables to update.  Worked great in my development area but I forgot to deactivate and re-activate on the live server.  Oops.  People were getting database errors when they tried to update their contact information.  Great.

Fortunate, the important part, the actual swimmer registration was unaffected so I had people skip their address and only worry about their swimmers.  This worked fine and we registered almost 100 swimmers in about two hours.  I knew if I had 5 quiet minutes to look at it, I would know what was wrong.  Sure enough, once open house ended andI could look at it, I immediately saw what the problem was.  Duh.

Now I need to ping every registered parent to update their contact information.

Got past Vasoline and then some

About two days after I posted about my inability to get past Vasoline in RockBand, I finally made it through.  I was having trouble with the hammer ons which appear throughout the song.  I didn’t do that great but at least I made it through and moved on.

This evening was the first chance I really had to play again so I went back to work on the medium tour.  After knocking out a couple songs, I ran into another stumper – Metallica’s Enter Sandman.  I have been frustrated with the Rock Band guitar and I think we need a replacement.  You really have to press the strum bar hard to get it to register which can be very tiring when playing sequences of rapid notes.  After failing 3-4 times, I decided to try the Guitar Hero II Explorer guitar.  It really is much easier to play and I made it through Enter Sandman without any problems.  Yep, we need to get a new Rock Band guitar.

After finishing Enter Sandman, I also completed “Highway Star”, “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, “Train Kept a Rollin'” and “Green Grass and High Tides” without any problems which completes the Medium solo tour on guitar.  All I have left to play are some of the songs on the bonus tour as well as some of the songs we have downloaded.


I was listening to the TWIT podcast the other day and they mentioned something called Cradlepoint.  Apparently Cradlepoint is a new gadget which will allow you to turn your cellular broadand device into a WiFi access point which a bunch of people can share.  This is a very interesting concept.  I have an AT&T Laptop Connect Card for work and it is really handy, I use it all of the time.  At least, I used to.  I have a problem now when I insert the card into my PC slot, my computer blue screens.

I am now using a Sony-Ericsson Z750i which was given to me by one of my contacts at SEMC before I went to Japan (the Z750i is a GSM phone which supports the 200 MHz band which is available in Japan) to connect to the Internet.  I took the SIMM card out of my PC card and put it in the phone- everything works as it should.  Need to do a little more testing with it for I claim victory nit so far, so good.

I can see using something like Cradlepoint when we arte somewhere WiFi isn’t available but it seems like a “nice to have” versus a “must have”.

Swimmer data model enhanced

Last night I enhanced the swimmer data model so additional information can be captured.  The swimmer record now support five (5) optional fields which are under the control of the site admin.  This is similar functionality to what the user profile provides.  Both the User profile and Swimmer profile optional fields hve been enhanced to support required, optional, and yes-no fields.

I also made a bunch of other minor tweaks to various things as I get ready for Swim Team registration on the 13th.  Our team registration will be the smoke test of the system.

Kudos to WinSwim

Yesterday I completed the first pass of exporting a LSC Registration Pyramid SDIF file.  Since I only have the demo versions of the Hy-Tek tools (Team Manager and Meet Manager), I sent the SDIF file to the support contact I have been working with at Hy-Tek.  Meet Manager can’t read the file which makes sense because it contains roster information, not meet entries.  Team Manager can’t read it either because it doesn’t import SDIF.  Great.  It turns out Hy-Tek really only supports a subset of SDIF.  Now what do I do?

When I first started looking into this problem, I found a couple other similar applications which manage swim team rosters and meets.  One was from EasyWare, the other from WinSwim.  I tried to import the data into WinSwim and didn’t have much luck.  I then sent the file to their support e-mail address and hoped I had simply made a mistake in my SDIF file.  I got a nice reply stating that WinSwim didn’t support the LSC Registation Pyramid and suggested I structure my file a little differently OR use their ASCII import method.

The ASCII import method didn’t look too difficult but instead of tackling it last night, I played Rock Band with my son.  I am really glad I played Rock Band instead of working ont he plugin!  This morning I woke up to an e-mail asking me to download and try a new version of WinSwim which support the LSC registration pyramid.  Yeah!  I installed it and imported my sample data without any issues.  How cool is that?  Unless I run into a problem, I expect our  team will make an investment in WinSwim instead of Hy-Tek.

It shouldn’t be this hard …

Today I finished the first pass on generating an SDIF file for the roster.  I sent it to Hy-Tek and it doesn’t import.  Great.  Apparently they don’t seem to support all of the SDIF specification, just some of it.  No mention of that anywhere on their web site.

On the plus side, I found a better version of the SDIF specification on the WinSwim web site.  If I can get WinSwim to digest the SDIF file I generated, I may push our team to use it.