How to get IE to stop going home on first install

This is a note for me so that I don’t have to search too hard next time. When I build VMs I usually like to be completely disconnected and never connect to the internet. But then things like IE7 force me to connect at least once so that it can go to http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=74005 at least one time. I hate that. To solve the problem add two DWORD values to the registry under HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerMain: RunOnceHasShown and RunOnceComplete. The values should be set to 1. Ahhh

Getting my priorities straight

I am down to the last two weeks before I can move in to my new place. When I first move in, I will have minimal furniture. By that I mean really minimal. In fact I can count all bits of furniture on one hand….one ugly hand. I have some IKEA Billy shelves, and IKEA Ivar shelves that are actually my current computer desk, and an IKEA mattress I lie on the floor when visitors come. That’s it!!! Which means I have a hell of a lot of stuff I need to buy.

To help me figure out what gets the priority, I have been using some of the cool features of Excel 2007. Actually, the features could have been there before, but I just noticed them now. First, I listed the item, a rough cost, a location and a priority. I set Conditional Formatting for the Priority to show ratings. Then I set Conditional Formatting for Cost to show Green to Red for value of the item. Then I sorted by Priority then Cost. As you can see, the XBox and LCD TV come way before a real bed. Over on the right, I have sums of items based on priority. Using the function SUMIF, I can sum up all priority 4 items easily: =SUMIF(C2:C26,”=4″,B2:B26). I thought that was pretty cool.

Prices on most things are fairly low because at first lots of things are expected to come from Ikea. Some of that is because I want to get the basics, and then there are some things that IKEA does better than anyone else. An example is a good desk. My last desk was an Ikea Effectiv. The thing cost me 900 USD and was rock solid. It held 2 19″ Viewsonic CRTs, plus me standing on them and they wouldn’t budge. I sold it for 500 just before I left San Francisco so it retained value well too.

How I did on my vacation checklist

Its over!!! My month long vacation ends tomorrow when I have to wake up before 10 for the first time. 30 days ago, I created a list of things I was going to do. Time to go through that list and see what I actually did. I think it worked out even better than I planned and I’ll tell you why afterwards:

  • Tweak this site – come up with a blog design that I really like and that isn’t broken in some spots. Make it easier to update and friendlier to you – Well, I tweaked it a bit, but not a whole lot. I had some fun with it.
  • Read some books I have bought in the last few months (and put them into action)
  • Organize my life –
    • Get rid of some of this extra crap in my apartment – I bought some more crap instead
    • Get rid of the extra feeds I don’t really read in Google Reader – They are all too important
    • Get rid of the extra crap on all my PCs, etc. – Nope, didn’t do that either
  • Every time I have seen something interesting on the net, I added them to my del.icio.us account. Now I can actually look at them. – OK, good in theory, but didn’t quite get around to it
  • Prepare for my new apartment – Be a bit more involved in the renovations as they come closer to completion. – It was certainly easier to do when work didn’t get in the way, but I wasn’t any more involved than before
  • Write up some reviews of amazing software I use everyday and that I can’t live without
    • DashNo, but I still love it
    • ClearContextA review would have given me a free license, but I just paid up instead to upgrade
    • SpinVoxDid that one
    • Trog BarNo, but its really cool…did that count?
  • Learn about new and interesting technologies that I haven’t had a chance to really focus on yet (I could probably spend a month alone on each of these):
    • Sharepoint 2007 – I am still riding on the memory of my time as a Sharepoint PM at Microsoft…didn’t touch it this month
    • Facebook and Facebook development – Nope, but I played plenty of Scrabulous on Facebook
    • Windows Vista Sidebar development – Nothing here
    • Firefox and Thunderbird addon development – I briefly looked into Chrome dev
    • The new stuff in Visual Studio 2008 – Never even launched VS
    • LINQ – I can now spell it correctly
    • Windows Presentation Foundation – No
    • Windows Communication Foundation – Nada 
    • Windows Workflow Foundation – Zilch
    • Silverlight – I tweaked a Silverlight slideshow
    • YUI – I scrapped it from my site
    • Everything else in .NET 3.5 – Closer to nothing else in 3.5
    • System Center – Still need to download it from MSDN
  • Actually start to use Powershell more often so that I don’t have to relearn it every time. –Never touched Powershell
  • Maybe see a little bit of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. There is so little I have seen of this place. This guide might help. – Didn’t see anything new
  • Sleep – I plan to sleep a lot. I haven’t been getting much of that for a while. – I did exceptionally well on this one.

So there is my list. As you can see I did far better than I had ever expected. I managed to stay away from semi-work-related stuff for an entire month. It was magical. And I did a lot of work in managing my photos and using Lightroom and Photoshop to prepare for a wall of photos in my new place. My Lightroom catalog went from 4000 images to well over 11000 photos. Very few were new, I just had them scattered across 4 different PCs. It was especially amazing to find some photos I thought I lost from Nepal, Costa Rica, Moscow, and more.

I wholeheartedly recommend taking a month off at the end of the year to relax. Don’t go anywhere, just sit and rest. What? You only get 2 weeks vacation? OK, sell everything, move to Europe, get a job, and then take that month off. Even better, take the full 6 or 7 weeks everyone gets over here. I will someday be able to change my ways to do that too…