Covered topics: life in general, personal productivity, life hacks, organization, software development, technology, etc.

Night of Tears, Years of Joy by Samuel Miller

My father's second book, Night of Tears, Years of Joy, has just been released by Xulon Press. You can buy it online through, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Target. Or you can order it directly from Xulon through their website, or by calling 1 (866) 909-BOOK.

The book is a revision and expansion of his original book, Night of Tears, published in 1978. Night of Tears told the story of his life-changing automobile accident in 1969 when he was 18 years old. Samuel wrote about his incredible testimony of God's keeping power during the ordeal and the subsequent recovery.

Now, nearly four decades later, the story still holds great value and inspiration for those facing difficult times. Beyond the original account, the new book includes "the rest of the story"--what has happened in his life since the first book was written, including miraculous manifestations of God's healing and His guiding hand in the orchestration of events.

Buy it on

Command Prompt AutoRun

Automatically run a program when opening a command prompt

From Tim Sneath's blog:

Monday, September 18, 2006 6:27 PM by Josh Einstein
I think I remember there being a way to get all command prompts to run the vsvars batch file so that the command prompt is actually usable. Do you remember what this is? I think it was a registry setting...

  1. re: Windows Vista Secret #1: Open Command Prompt Here

Monday, September 18, 2006 7:22 PM by tims
Josh, you're correct - it's a registry setting.

In HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor, add a new String value named AutoRun. Set the contents to the batch file you'd like to run (e.g. d:\tools\mycustomvsvars.cmd).

The Art of Progress

"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order."


Alfred North Whitehead
(British Mathematician and Philosopher, 1861-1947)


I first saw this quote in the book by Paul Heckel called "The Elements of Friendly Software Design." You can also find it here:

Am I really saving money? It's on sale!

Am I really saving money? It's on sale!

Staples takes old UPS batteries?

According to a friend of mine, Staples will take used batteries from rechargeable devices such as cell phones for recycling, as well as other categories of "e-waste." I was able to confirm with a phone call that they also will take old UPSes. I'm not totally convinced that the person on the phone knew what I was talking about, but I'm taking it at face value.

Update: The "Staples Soul" program will take large computer items for recycling (for a $10 fee per item). Small items like keyboards, mice, and speakers are accepted at no charge.

I also called CyberPower, the manufacturer. They said I could either ship it to them at my own expense or try something like Batteries Plus. Bingo!

A call to Batteries Plus confirmed that they will take them. They will even take the battery component out of the UPS for you!

That's my current plan. We'll see how it goes.

Windows Run As Command

Microsoft recommends that, as a security best practice, interactive logins should done with non-administrative accounts, and tasks or programs that require administrative privileges should be run using the Run as... command.

Running a program as another user interactively

This can be accomplished by right-clicking the icon for a program and choosing Run as.... The following window displays (Windows XP):

Windows XP Run As Dialog

Choose "The following user" radio button and fill in the necessary credentials and click OK.

Running a program as another user interactively on the command line

At the command line, use the runas command:

runas /user:YourDomain\YourUserName normalCommandLine

where YourDomain is the Windows domain to which your account belongs and YourUserName is the name of the account you wish to run as, and normalCommandLine is the set of commands and options that you would normally execute (without concern for user account).

Microsoft Windows Security

Tips and Tricks

Running a command as another user

Microsoft recommends that, as a security best practice, interactive logins should done with non-administrative accounts, and tasks or programs that require administrative priveleges should be run using the Run As... command. Read more

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)


These questions are things I'm still researching.

  • Q: How does a sequence container work?
  • Q: What is special about Business Intelligence Development Studio?
  • Q: How do "file packages" get created/deployed/executed/scheduled?
  • Q: How can packages be configured for environment-specific settings that get evaluated at runtime?
    • A: Configurations files are created through the Package Configuration Wizard in Visual Studio. These files can be used via a command-line parameter for the DTEXEC.EXE command.

My first multi-site Drupal upgrade

Well, you're looking at the latest version of Drupal 5 (5.7 as of this posting). I just completed my first multi-site upgrade of the Drupal codebase. I upgraded three sites simultaneously.

Overall, it went pretty well. I did run across one issue, though. When I reactivated the PEAR Wiki filter module, my wikitext processing was not working. After a lot of digging and trial-and-error debugging, I tried re-saving the settings (without any changes) on the filter's configuration page. As is often the case with Drupal, I had to hunt for the proper page first. The path ended up being something like...

/admin/settings/filters/[filter id # goes here]/configure

Today, for some reason, the tabs that are normally visible on the filter configuration page were "invisible." They were still clickable, but you couldn't see them. If you happened to mouse over them, the links were still there. Weird!

In retrospect, I should have done better backups, specifically my .htaccess and php.ini files from the root of the Drupal installation.

Here's a tip: I used Internet Explorer to save my Modules configuration page for each site as a web archive file. This way, when I reactivated the site, I could see which modules needed re-enabled.

I'm very happy with the overall capabilities, structure, and organization of Drupal. I'd go as far as to say the I'm a big fan, and I have recommended Drupal to others for several projects. I haven't tried Drupal 6 yet (I'm a little nervous about upgrading all of my modules), but I expect good things in the future.

Email posting is finally configured

I've been trying to set up the mailhandler module for Drupal.  I think it's finally working.  Yay!

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