Saturday, April 08, 2006

Remote access to your PC from the internet...

A buddy of mine (Brett) just blogged a great post on how to setup remote access to your PC on the internet. Don't bother paying money for it - it's already included in XP! See Network Garage Engineers: Cancel your GoToMyPC subscription!

The main problem is how to find your PC on the internet. For users of Network Magic (my buddies company), this is simple you already have dynamic DNS support using the name [yourhostname] Ok, but what about folks who don't run Network Magic? If you're used to installing software and tweaking with things, have no fear, a solution is at hand... If not, checkout recommend Network Magic - you can try it free for 30 days.

Anyway, assuming you're not a Network Magic user then ...

To get started, you'll need two things:

1. Get a free DNS account - I use ZoneEdit. They have great support for dynamic DNS. If you have your own domain registered, ZoneEdit is great. If not, you should look at using a service such as DynDNS (also free).

2. Install a dynamic DNS client - I use DirectUpdate. Although it's not free ($19), it's super easy to use and has a lot of great features not included with other dynamic DNS stacks.

DynDNS has a great setup FAQ which leads you through this step by step. Once you're done, you'll have a publicly accessible DNS name such as You can then use this name with terminal services, web pages, etc.

So, together Brett's setup for remote access to your PC and dynamic DNS, you'll now have a public name to use from wherever you are! Pretty cool... : , ,

Now and then...

Today's it's my 36th birthday. 18 years ago today, like most young Uk males, I proceeded to hit the town with a bunch of mates and get completely and utterly pickled in beer. I think I was at the Bier Keller in Blackburn drinking Grolsh (out of the famous green bottle). Several Grolsh later (ok, it was many), I was passed out on the floor of the local dance club. I think it had the enchanting name of Peppermint Place. I'm sure this was a common experience for most folks my age.

Zip forward 18 years - tonight I'm heading out with my mates to Sushiman in Issaquah for a great dinner. Although they don't serve Grolsh, I'm sure there'll be plenty of sake and sapporo. Now the question is ... will anyone be passed out on a dance floor? :-)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bag Fetish...

Ok, so I admit it - I'm have a bag fetish. I love techie, geek bags which can be used to hold my gadgets. I've been on the quest for a new laptop bag for a while. I'm currently on a "small and light" binge. Over the years, I've gone back and forth between the huge, mondo "desktop replacements" and the chic "little" notebooks. Currently I'm running an IBM Thinkpad X40 which is super thin, light and more importantly can run for a whopping 4+ hours on a single charge. Try that on your monster gaming laptop!

Anyway, I digress - back to bags... I've been looking for a bag which will fit my laptop, some additional goodies and is useful. Oh, it also has to look cool too? Why? Well, I like cool looking stuff. In the past, I've purchased bags from Tom Bihn in Seattle. Tom makes very cool, hard working bags which are awesome. However, I couldn't find something I liked which fit my laptop and stuff without being too large.

Last night I was surfing the web and found out about a custom bag company called WaterField Designs. The company has a great site, and a nice personal touch - it seems that customer service isn't dead (yet). After ordering, I received a nice note from Gary (the owner) letting me know my order had shipped. Reading the forums, he's very prolific and works hard to address peoples concerns and questions. Any problems with his stuff and you can return it no questions asked. I chose the Racer-X bag which is a mid-sized bag large enough to hold my small laptop but large enough to carry all the goodies I'll need around the office and when I fly out of town. It also has a very cool mountain bike grip!

Apparently my bag shipped tonight and will be in my mitts sometime on Tuesday. Can't wait... :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Work Travel...

I just recently returned from a two week recruiting trip to Europe. This past year, I made a special commitment to recruiting for both my team (WinFS) and Microsoft as a whole. In January, I took a trip to Prague, CZ for fulltime candidates. In March, I returned again to Europe to recruit for Microsoft's intern program.

Sounds like a lot of fun traveling to foreign lands, zipping into and out of airport lines, having "plush" biz class flights, etc. Not bad eh? Well, think again - it's actually really hard work. I give huge credit to the recruiters at Microsoft - in particular the international team who work tirelessly throughout the year to fill positions at Microsoft. These amazing guys and girls travels huge amounts of time (Cait, a recruiting friend of mine travels out of the country almost a third of her time).

My last trip was for our international internship program. We left Seattle on a Tuesday afternoon and flew directly (through Amsterdam) to Moscow. Like most folks my age (mid 30's), I grew up during the era of the cold war when Russia was the bastion of "evil commies". It was a very interesting experience visiting Moscow, walking through Red Square and past the Kremlin building. I found the whole experience quite moving - it didn't look large nor scary. It's amazing how something you've never seen before can conjure up such deep feelings.

We interviewed in Moscow for a whole day and then caught the 9pm flight out to Warsaw, Poland. I've been to Warsaw several times (last time recruiting for SQL Server in 2000). I've always found the people super friendly and easy to get along with. As with prior trips, we found our way to the local Irish Pub, where as luck would have it we found it was St Patrick's day. Oh yeah!

From Warsaw we headed for some weekend RNR to Paris where we spent four full days. I've always wanted to see Notre Dame cathedral in Paris so we managed to stop for a few minutes in our airport taxi.

From Paris we flew on into Dublin for another two days of interviews. Also a very cool place - somewhere I'd love to visit again soon.

Overall the trip was quite exhausting but also a lot of fun. Our days started around 8am with interviews that frequently ran to 7pm at night. Lots of talking, lots of repetition but super interesting to meet lots of young people excited by technology. I visited a bunch of places I've never been before (Moscow and Dublin) and met a ton of interesting people.

What about the purpose of the trip? Well, that was great too - we interviewed 75 candidates in two weeks and have made 24 offers. Now, that's a really good result :) : ,