Jane recently bought one of these Power Monkey gadgets. Its a solar-powered charger that you can use to recharge or power various devices.
As well as charging via solar power, you can also recharge via USB or mains power.
It comes with a plethora of connectors to fit most mobile phones, PDAs, iPods and digital cameras.
Not super-cheap (AUD170), but very handy, especially if you need to recharge your phone and you’re away from mains power for some period.
An email appeared in my inbox the other day congratulating me on passing Pro: Designing and Developing ASP.NET Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. The detailed results came in the mail today, indicating I’d scored 747 (700 was the pass mark).
This means I’ve now completed the requirements for Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD): ASP.NET Developer 3.5 certification, effectively upgrading the MCPD I got for .NET 2.0 last year.
What does this mean?
Well not a real lot really. We’ve had a few interesting discussions at work on the value of certifications. To be honest, while it is nice to add them to the resume, I don’t think they would make much difference as to whether I got a job or not – certainly I think experience is much more important in that respect.
So why bother then? A few reasons come to mind..
- They’re free (well they are if you manage to get vouchers or take beta exams as I’ve managed to do for every exam so far)
- You do get a nice feeling when you find out you’ve passed.
- You get nice certificates in the post that impress family and friends.
- It can be a useful gauge of how well you know a particular topic, and highlight weaker areas. Sometimes you might even learn useful new things along the way, or clarify something you weren’t sure about.
Finally, I do seem to get the occasional email asking how I passed my exams (and whether I could tell the person what the questions were).
Apart from a couple of exams where I have studied a bit, for the most part I just rely on my actual real-world experience, and when that fails, try to look at the answers logically and pick the one that looks the most likely. That seems to have worked pretty well for me so far.
And no I won’t tell you what the questions are, so don’t bother asking!
Last Friday I joined over 7,000 other cyclists to again take part in the Challenge Tour, riding the stage 4 route that the Tour Down Under professionals would also complete.
The last few years, I’ve ridden with my Dad, but this year due to recent surgery he was unable to participate. As we’d also been away for a couple of weeks my preparation was not what it could have been, so instead of attempting the full 155km course from Burnside Village to Angaston, I elected to just do the 97km starting from Mt Pleasant.
I again rode as part of the Mud, Sweat and Gears team, which had around 40 members this year. Here’s a group shot, and here’s me heading for the finish line (centre).
I took 4 hours 45 minute to complete the ride (including breaks) which I was quite happy with. It was only forecast to be 28 °C which is much better than last year, and this time I tried to drink a lot more regularly.
There was a sad note to finish on – unfortunately my bike did not travel well on the drive home. Somehow the front forks were bent sideways. Due to its age, I don’t think it’s worth repairing. I had been hoping to get a new bike later this year, but maybe those plans will have to be fast-tracked.
For some unexplained reason, the DVD drive on my home computer disappeared. Not physically – it’s still mounted in the case! But logically. A bit strange, as it was still listed in the BIOS at startup, but Windows XP didn’t show it under the local drives and the following message was in the System Event Log:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: Service Control Manager
Event Category: None
Event ID: 7026
The following boot-start or system-start driver(s) failed to load:
Opening up Device Manager revealed the drive was listed, but had a problem - “Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)”
I don’t know how this happened, but KB Article 314060 describes a resolution that worked for me.
This wasn’t actually the first thing I tried. Thinking that it may be hardware-related, I bought a new Pioneer DVR-216. Being a SATA drive, I then installed this into Dad’s video editing machine (which also meant I could do away with the extra IDE card and just use the motherboard IDE slot) and took his old PATA DVD drive and tried that in my older machine. As it turns out it didn’t make any difference to me, though Dad has probably ended up better off.
Have to give this video a plug :-).
Disclaimer: Yes, I personally know Francesca, Han Solo and the one-and-only Thomas Tilley