Fantasy Hockey 2006

This October marks the fifth season (I believe) of my participation in a fantasy hockey league.

Ever since the return of hockey to Minnesota in 2000, I have become more of a hockey fan.  Growing up, I remember periodically watching the Minnesota North Stars, but that was nothing compared to what I remember since 2000.

So, a group of co-workers and friends have taken part in this fantasy hockey league for a number of years now.  While most of us no longer work with each other, we still come together during the fall and winter to participate in the league.

Now I know that we are only two games into the season, but I have to point out that the Goalieknockers (my team, of course), are in first place.  I know it may not last for long, but after last year’s horribly unthinkable outing, I expected more from myself this year.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  But for now, I have this to show for my efforts.

It Finally Happened…

After a mere six years of dating, Terry and I were married on September 23.  This post is a bit late, but I wanted to be able to include at least one photo from the day.

I have to say that the day was pretty exciting, and to have all of our family and friends there to share it with us was a thrill.  There were lots of people that attended including old family and friends who we hadn’t seen for several years.  It is truly amazing how many people you have in your life that would want to share the moment with you.

I have a great group of co-workers and friends (past and present), who all turned out and joined us for the dinner and dancing.  I’m sure the next morning brought many sore feet and backs. 

WLW Plugin: Book Info Lookup

I have created my second plugin for Windows Live Writer which is a tool that will do information lookups via the Amazon.com web service.  This is particularly useful if you want to post about a book you are writing.  The “insert” includes the ability to add the title, author, book image, and a link to the book itself on Amazon if you want to read more about it or simply buy it.

It looks like this:

Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers
by Robert Scoble, Shel Israel

Read more about this title…

 

You can simply search for a title or author and you are presented with the results from which you can select the one you are looking for.

If you are interested in this plugin, check out the Windows Live Writer Plugin Project over at CodePlex and find other plugins as well.

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch…

I was traveling on business this week.  I was in St. Louis for meetings and on my flight there I was able to read “No One Cares What You Had For Lunch: 100 Ideas For Your Blog” by Margaret Mason.

This book has some great ideas for posts for your blog and they are conveniently broken down by how much time you have available to post. Whether it be 15 minutes or a couple of hours, there are ideas for any kind of material across the spectrum.

It was a quick read as I was able to finish it on a 1 hour 45 minute flight.  Margaret has a sense of humor that will make you chuckle when you read of some of her examples.

 

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog
by Margaret Mason

Read more about this title…

My first attempt at developing a Windows Live Writer plugin

For the past few days I have been working with the Windows Live Writer SDK and trying to come up with a new plugin more-so to learn how the

SDK works and to see what it is capable of.

I found a CodePlex group that specializes in WLL plugin design, so I joined.  I noticed there were several plugins that allows you to insert a tagline in a blog post that would indicate what music you are currently listening to.  This is great if you use Windows Media Player or Winamp, but I use a subscription service called Rhapsody.

Rhapsody has a web services offering that lets you view your listening history with a variety of information.  Since I almost always have Rhapsody running when I am working on the computer, I thought a plugin that would post the last song I listened to would fit that nitch.

Although simple, it accomplishes what people are looking for and caters to other Rhapsody listeners.

Again, it is simple, but here is what it puts at the bottom of a post:

I’m Listening to “The Riddle” by Five for Fighting on Rhapsody.

The text is fully customizable so you can include your own text and any combination of song time, artist, album and additional details coming in upcoming versions.

Now the other cool part of this is that it contains a link so you can play the song on the Rhapsody website.  If you’re not a member you get something like 25 free song plays per month.  Check it out!

Windows Live Writer – my new favorite blog editor

My brother wrote about the release of Windows Live Writer in a recent entry.  I have been testing this application for some time and have found it to work great with most blog server implementations.

dasBlog support seems to be limited, although this is mostly because of dasBlog itself.  I made the switch last month to using my own installation of WordPress which means that I had to also install PHP and MySQL on my Windows Server.  So far, so good; the installation took me less than 15 minutes and worked on the first attempt.

Windows Live Writer has support for a number of different implementations including the new release of Windows Live Spaces, which is the new MSN Spaces.

Windows Live Writer is in the beta stage, but is very stable and has a full SDK available so you can write your add-ins.  Check out my brother’s post on WLW … He has some good explanations and screenshots to go along with it.

Windows Live Spaces Launches

On August 1, Windows Live Spaces was launched.  This is the rebirth of the original MSN Spaces which provided users the ability to blog, or otherwise journal on just about anything. 

The interface was pretty simple in the first version allowing users to add new entries on the fly from their web browser.

In the newest release of Spaces, users have access to additional objects including “Gadgets”.  Spaces can take advantage of the Microsoft Gadget Framework which allows you to drag and drop code modules that perform a certain function like telling people what the weather is in my area, or maybe books that I have ready recently (by querying a web service from Amazon) and allowing them to read a synopsis of the book, and even purchasing it, or perhaps your XBOX gamertag.

Mike Torres, a Program Manager for Windows Live Spaces also co-wrote a book that has been released. “Share Your Story: Blogging with MSN Spaces” was published in March and includes tips and tricks on how to get started blogging with this platform.