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Fox strikes again - Toolooz wherefore art thou?
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  • Fox strikes again - Toolooz wherefore art thou?

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Fox news has clearly lost the plot with their map showing the location of Toolooz (aka Toulouse):   553511_10151417227105344_667050343_23390447_230734068_n[1]
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CNN Strikes again
I can forgive people for not knowing where Tripoli is but this one from CNN is almost as bad as WGN-9 not knowing where South Africa is !  
We're Having a Baby!!!!
Ok, so Lisa can’t hide it anymore… We’re having a baby, due on the 12th May. Lisa caught me completely off guard when she told me, we were preparing for a bike ride on Tiger Mountain . It was the last thing I was expecting her to say, so my reaction probably wasn’t perfect. I think she was repaying me for completely catching her off guard with my proposal ! Our soon-to-be-scrapped Cadillac medical plan is supplying us with no end of photos and videos:  
We Bought a House!
Well we’ve finally done it, we’re financially committing to each other! We made an offer on a house, and after a couple of rounds, our offer was accepted! Presuming all the financing goes according to plan, we move in on 2nd Feb!  
CNN Needs a Geography Lesson
First it was WGN-9 who couldn’t correctly locate the World Cup in South Africa , now it’s CNN who can’t get remember were Tripoli is:  
England vs. Great Britain vs. United Kingdom
I often get puzzled looks when I explain the difference between England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Trying to explain over a thousand years of history in a few brief sentences isn’t exactly easy. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well in this case I think it nicely explains a thousand years:  
Mistral Kitchen’s Chef’s Table - Better than French Laundry?
Ben and I have been to a decent number of Michelin starred restaurants and had a plethora of chef’s tasting menus. Which was our favorite? Hands down, The Fat Duck .  Runner up was Gordon Ramsay at Royal Hospital Road, mostly for the amazing service. If you follow Michelin star ratings, the 3-star French Laundry should be right up there.  
My ‘Vail’ Home Server
Vail, or Windows Home Server 2011 is close to being released. With the RC available for testing, I decided to plunge in a give it a try. The big change from Home Server v1 to v2 is the removal of Drive Extender. It was a very useful feature but the lack of it isn’t a deal break for me.  
We’re not in Africa anymore
25 December, Saturday; Not in Africa. I am leaving Africa with mixed emotions. While I loved our time here and have added to my list of more places  in Africa to visit (Mombasa; Kenya; Namibia; Botswana; Mozambique; Congo – is that even possible right now?; others), but I’m also ready to get back to the Western world where I know a flush toilet is around every corner. I can tell we’re not in Africa anymore as the plane starts to descend into Brussels.  
Stuck at Nairobi airport for Christmas Eve
24 December, Friday; Nairobi Airport, Kenya. After our amazing time in the Ngorongoro Crater it was time to start our very long journey home. First, to Arusha and a stop at Good Earth Tours headquarters where we were able to take a shower. I was glad that I didn’t have to board the plane after being in the 4x4 with the top off for hours on dusty roads.  
The Awe-Inspiring Ngorongoro Crater
24 December, Friday; Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. We woke up early to see the sunrise over Ngorongoro Crater. What a great way to start Christmas Eve, though it doesn’t feel like it’s Christmas.  
The Doors of Zanzibar
The doors of Zanzibar are legendary. I couldn’t find exactly what started the trend but it dates back to 1700s. On our whistle-stop shopping trip I grabbed as many photos as could, when not being offered Boa boards for ever-decreasing amounts.  
From Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater
23 December, Thursday; Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. After packing up, we left the lodge for our last game drive in the Serengeti en route to Ngorongoro Crater. Although the wildlife in the Serengeti was amazing, we were definitely ready to leave. We weren’t very pleased with our lodge, the Seronera Wildlife Lodge.  
The Curious Case of the Limping Lioness
23 December, Thursday; Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Today we bid farewell to the life-filled plains of the Serengeti. We awoke before 6am this morning for an early morning game drive.  
Simba Sightings in the Serengeti
22 December, Wednesday; Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Ben explained to me before we left about how close we would be able to get to the animals on our game drives. I didn’t really believe him; I thought he was exaggerating a little bit. He was right, though.  
2,500 Miles of Drive By Shootings
We covered over 2,500 miles by road in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Along the way there was plenty of interesting, and quite often amusing sites to keep me and my camera entertained. What can you carry on your head? Not pictured here is the woman Lisa saw in Rwanda carrying a 3-seater wicker couch on her head!  
Baboon Wake-Up Call
21 December, Tuesday; Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. We set our alarm to wake us up this morning in time to get breakfast and meet our guide at 8:30. Little did we know that we would not actually need an alarm. Apparently, the baboons that live around our hotel feel that it’s their duty to wake up all of the guests each morning.  
My Mythbusters Honeymoon Adventure, or not…
It’s important to leave an Out of Office message when you’re going to be out on vacation\holiday, especially when it’s for 5 weeks. For our Honeymoon I knew that it would require some creativity. So I recruited the help of the OOF Message Services here at Microsoft to pen me a suitable message:  
Safari, Lodge Style
20 December, Monday; Lake Manyara, Tanzania. It was not difficult to leave Zanzibar this morning, for we had already fallen in love with Pemba, not Zanzibar. Plus, we were looking forward to our safari on mainland Tanzania. Ben played dumb with the check in agent and got us out of having to pay for extra weight.  
Exotic Zanzibar
19 December, Sunday; Zanzibar, Tanzania. We sadly said goodbye to Fundu Lagoon and Pemba Island today. When we booked that part of the trip, we were a little hesitant that we might get a bored towards the end of the stay. Quite the contrary, we found.  
Diving in Pemba
Sometime in December; Pemba Island, Tanzania. We knew we wanted to do some diving on our honeymoon, especially as it will include Ben’s 100th dive. We spared our divemaster the pain of doing what is apparently a tradition for dive 100 whereby you dive naked. Ben was surely glad to be informed that the water was cold enough that he’d have to wear a wet suit.  
How’s your lift?
19 December, Saturday; Pemba Island, Tanzania. Fundu Lagoon is very coupley. This is not surprising. Nearly everything I’ve read about the place talks about honeymooners and the place was most definitely filled with honeymooners when we visited.  
Still on Safari?
Sometime in December, no clue what DOTW; Pemba Island, Tanzania. When we booked our time at Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island, we were expecting a break from safari. We knew that the resort was a bit rustic, but we hadn’t given much thought about wildlife that we might encounter on Pemba. In our first 24 hours, we were visited by  
OMLG, What a difference a day makes
13 December, Monday; Fundu Lagoon, Pemba Island, Tanzania. We had twelve hours of travel today and it was worth every second to get here. Picture this – a private boat ride to our resort that currently has ten current guests, three bars, pool, spa, dive shop, open-air restaurant and a seemingly endless stretch of beach looking out onto an azure sea. More importantly – our own private suite to celebrate our honeymoon in style.  
The End of One Adventure
12 December, Sunday; Nairobi, Kenya. Today was both a sad and happy day. On one hand, I am sad to leave this group of people and our overland adventure. On the other hand, I’m excited to be heading to Tanzania.  
Back to Kenya
11 December, Saturday; Eldoret, Kenya. Today we said goodbye to Uganda, a country that really left an impression on me. I hadn’t given it too much thought before the trip, as I was mostly focused on the gorilla trek in Rwanda. The country is fantastically lush, green and beautiful.  
Jet Boating in Jinja
10 December, Friday; Jinja, Uganda. We had a day of leisure today – no planned activities for the group, which is a nice change of pace. Ben and I decide that we’d rather do jet boating with Adrift instead of a full day of rafting. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as we did on the jet boat, even though we were doused with rain.  
A downer day to a delightful evening
9 December, Thursday; Lake Mburo to Jinja, Uganda. Today started as a downer. It’s just really hard to stay positive when it’s cold and raining and none of us has taken a shower in more than 24 hours. Taking down the tent when it’s cold and muddy is worse than normal.  
Wet and Wild
8 December, Wednesday; Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda. It was an early morning departure from our warm, blanket-covered bed at Lake Bunyonyi. I felt a bit down today, realizing that the remainder of the trip is just getting back to Nairobi. After seeing the gorillas, the rest of the trip feels a bit like filler.  
Agashya, the Gorilla, and his Women
7 December, Tuesday; Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda and Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda. Today is G-Day. The reason we’re all on this trip. We’ve spent that last 12 days building up to this day and it did not disappoint.  
Rain, Rain, Go Away
6 December, Monday; Mucenze, Rwanda. We had a much-needed break today with a day of no activities. Our gorilla trekking permits are dated for tomorrow, so we will wait here at the church mission where we are staying. The good news – another day of not having to pitch or take down tents since we are staying in dorms.  
Oops, I just peed on myself
Going to the toilet on this trip is quite an adventure. Most of our campsites have western style flush toilets and a few have pit toilets. However, toilet breaks along the way are typically squat/drop toilets. And they are NOT pretty.  
Into the Mist
05 December, Sunday; Mucenze, Rwanda. We had an early morning departure from beautiful Lake Bunyonyi. All night, we kept hearing the pitter patter of an animal walking out onto our porch, sitting there for quite a while, and then pitter pattering off. We quickly realized it was a dog (or dogs) and they were friendly, so I drifted off to sleep in peace, revelling in the fact that I didn’t have to take the tent down in the morning.  
Nelly the Elephant and a Lake Swim
4 December, Saturday; Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda. We survived the night on Hippo Hill with no incidents. After breakfast, we had a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park. On today’s menu – lots more elephants and some scared warthogs (thus, no photos of the little buggers).  
An Elephant Crossing
3 December, Friday; Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. On our drive back to camp after the boat tour, we were stopped along the way due to a herd of elephants crossing the road. The locals were not very impressed and tried their best to scare them off with stones. The Elephants had other ideas and actually created their own smoke screen with the dirt to hide the baby’s as they crossed.  
Hungry, Hungry Hippos
3 December, Friday; Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. After settling in at our camp on Hippo Hill, we drove through Queen Elizabeth National Park and encountered a large herd of elephants, which are magnificent creatures.   
A Poke in the Butt and the Fake Equator
3 December, Friday; Kibale, Uganda. Lucky for me, today was an easy travel day. I wasn’t feeling well the night before and welcomed an easy day. Driving along the road can sometimes be boring and sometimes quite interesting.  
Chimps
2 December, Thursday; Kigale, Uganda. Today is the chimp trek day! The highlight of the trip for us (and everyone else) is the gorillas. I honestly didn’t put too much thought into the chimp trek, but as we started hearing about it, our excitement grew.  
Upgrades
1 December, Wednesday; Kampala to Kigale, Uganda. Today is a long travel day so we wake up early and break down camp in the cold dampness. I’m all about helping out with the chores, but I have to say that taking down the tent when it’s wet outside is definitely my least favorite. Funny enough, our tour leader asks me why I’m so clean.  
I am Mzungu
30 November, Tuesday; Kampala, Uganda. Breakfast at 6:30 today and tents down beforehand. After 2 days, we’re finally starting to get the hang of it, but welcomed some help this morning breaking down our tent. Surely next time we’ll nail it on our own.  
Gorillas, Chimps and Game Parks
29 November, Monday; Nakuru to Eldoret, Kenya. We woke up on a chilly Monday morning and the Baggage Dilemma was ancient history, nearly erased from our memories. We emerged from our tent after a somewhat sleepless night and greeted our travelling mates for the next 2+ weeks. To our luck, they are a fantastic group.  
The Luggage Dilemma
28 November, Sunday evening; Somewhere between Nairobi and Nakuru, Kenya. To a weary traveller, especially one in a foreign country, seeing other travellers leave with their bags while you wait, wondering if yours will arrive, feels like the most agonizing time ever. When it’s the third flight without your bags arriving, it’s three times as agonizing. After spending the day at a cafe at the Nairobi airport, we made our way to the arrivals hall, having to get official passes this time.  
An Afternoon at the Nairobi airport
28 November, Sunday afternoon; Nairobi airport, Kenya. Just how I wanted to spend a day of our honeymoon – hanging out at the airport in Nairobi. And by hanging out, I don’t mean at the Star Alliance lounge being plied with cocktails and snacks. Our bags didn’t show up on last night’s flight and our safari has officially left without us.  
Air Travel Pet Peeves
27 November, Saturday; SA flight from Johannesburg to Nairobi. Let me preface this by saying that I am guilty of nearly all of these. 1. People who do not queue nicely , specifically at the airport. Really….is it going to be all that different if you are passenger #18 to board vs. #19?  
I am a spoiled traveller and it’s all Ben’s fault
28 November, Sunday evening; Nairobi, Kenya. I feel that I must preface this blog that I wrote before arriving in Kenya and dealing with our baggage situation. I have it good. I have it really good.  
One lump or two?
26 November, Friday afternoon; Cape Town, South Africa. On our Australian trip, we had high tea one afternoon at our hotel and I was hooked, even though I’m not really a tea drinker. There is something so civilized about sitting down and taking a break from the day with tea, finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. We went searching for a hotel that served afternoon tea.  
Travel (un)luck strikes again
27 November, Saturday; Nairobi, Kenya. Many folks know about the bad luck that Ben and I have with travelling. So far the honeymoon has been going well. So far.  
Cider, Coke and Clown Fish
24 November, Wednesday; Cape Town, South Africa. Thinking that we got a great start on the morning (for us…we don’t have kids and like to sleep in!), we arrived at the Robben Island visitor’s center at 9:30am to be told that they were sold out for the next 5 days. Bummer, but I guess that just means we have a built-in excuse to visit Cape Town again! After a leisurely stroll around the waterfront and marina, we stopped to enjoy a cider before heading to the aquarium.  
Lisa eats (and enjoys) sushi
24 November, Wednesday; Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve never been a big fan of sushi. I like sushi restaurants, but I seldom order raw fish. I’ve been extending my tastes, though.  
Our first animals
23 November, Tuesday; Cape Town, South Africa. The main focus of our trip (well, besides spending time together) was seeing animals. Our first full day wasn’t meant to be about animals, but it was a nice sneak peak. First sighting.  
Cape Point 2002 & 2010
It’s not often that you get to compare two photos of yourself 8 years apart. When we visited Cape Point yesterday I was suddenly reminded of a photo Tracey took of me back in 2002. So Lisa kindly did the honours and now we have me in 2002 and me in 2010. Spot the difference?  
And The Adventure Begins
20 November, Saturday; Seatac Airport, Seattle. It’s finally here. After all of the planning, we can finally enjoy our trip. Some of our last-minute planning involved each of us doing multiple rounds of cutting down our packing list.  
The Giants Win the World Series
We live just two blocks from the Giants Stadium. So with just one innings left, Lisa and I headed down to the at&t Stadium to be there when the team won the World Series. The place quickly filled up with a 1,000 odd people. Being San Francisco there was usual the eclectic mix of people, including some hard core, very happy, mostly drunk Giants fans.  
Our Barfing Harry Potter Pumpkin
We had a fun social event at work on Thursday, a pumpkin carving competition. Mary and I were teamed together and had only an hour to get something done because we had to leave early for a meeting. Our pumpkin had a huge scare across it, so we initially thought Harry Potter but lacked any other good ideas. So we ended up with a Harry Potter who had had way too much butter beer.    
USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0, is it really ten times faster?
I finally had a chance to try out our Asus 1018P Netbook’s USB 3.0 capabilities. The thought of moving photos around 10 times faster is very appealing. Especially as my backup strategy for our African Honeymoon is the netbook, with it’s upgraded 500GB Seagate Hybrid hard drive and a Toshiba Canvio 1TB USB 3.0 portable Hard disk . Being able to do everything 10 times faster will make everything less time consuming and presumably it’ll use less battery juice per backup as well.  
Lisa in a Battlestar Galatica Flight Suit
I think Lisa appreciated the reaction I had to Starbuck appearing in the Big Bang Theory last week. Howard Wolowitz was fantasizing about Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galatica in a flight suit. After a couple of minutes playing around on the new Xbox Marketplace , she sent me this teaser!!!!  
Four weeks until our Honeymoon
It’s just under 4 weeks until we leave for our Honeymoon, and 2 weeks until we move out of our loft in San Francisco! We’ve got a lot to do before we go, including trying to watch a game in the World Series (The Giants stadium is 500 yards from our loft). Everything’s booked, and our five week trip is going to be awesome. We leave on the 20th Nov, returning to Seattle on Christmas day. In total we’ll fly 25,023 miles, drive 1,335 in an Intrepid Truck and 265 miles in a 4x4.  
Being British
“Being British is about driving a German car to an Irish Pub for a Belgian Beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way, to sit on Swedish furniture and watch American shows on a Japanese TV.”  
The Gateway to the West
I don’t know what it is about the St Louis Gateway Arch that I find so fascinating. I could spend hours taking photos, yet in two visits I’ve probably only had 30 minutes to play.  
Rafting down the American River
Last month the Hotmail team had an excellent White Water Rafting trip down the American River . Once again I found an alternative use for my underwater camera case and I snapped a couple of hundred photos along the way.  
Our Wedding Photos
We’ve been married for just of two months now! I know realise why professional photographers charge so much for wedding photos. It’s taken me this long to whittle down the 2,000 photos taken to a decent number! Finally we’re able to share the photos from our memorable day in June .  
The French Laundry & Bardessono
When Lisa and I realised we wouldn’t be taking a honeymoon immediately after our wedding, we knew we needed to do something special when we got back to San Francisco. Lisa suggested we try to get a table at the French Laundry , Napa’s 3-Star Michelin Restaurant . Apparently it’s really hard to get a table, but on our second attempt we managed to get a table for lunch. Our next dilemma was were to stay. Yountville is not know for cheap accommodation.  
Twickenham Stadium - Our Wedding Gift from Marriott
Having stayed at a Heathrow hotel once before, I vowed never to do it again. Simply put, they are cattle markets, and way over priced. So when I realised we needed a hotel before our return flight to San Francisco, I knew I needed an alternative, especially as it would be our first night alone as a married couple. A quick search revealed the Twickenham Marriott , about 10 minutes from Heathrow.  
Home Made Lincolnshire Sausages
Having watched the abysmal England game, we decided to make good use of the early morning and make some sausages. Specifically Lincolnshire sausages , which are our favourite, and impossible to buy in San Francisco. Armed with our new KitchenAid Mixer, we set out to try the relatively simple recipe: Ingredients 2.5 kg Pork, half fat half lean (5 lb) 400g Day old bread (15 oz) 50 Gram Salt (2 oz) 10 Gram Pepper (6 oz) 10 Gram Dried sage (6 oz) Directions Cut the pork into small cubes.  
Fat Duck Tuesday
On Saturday we are getting married. A day we’ve been looking forward to since we got engaged 18 months ago in Australia. We thoughts we’d finish off our life as single people in style with the Tasting Menu at the Fat Duck in Bray . The Fat Duck is legendary for having a crazy menu built from the ground up to challenge your senses. It certainly did not disappoint, it lived up to all the hype and was truly fantastic!  
England vs USA World Cup Football game to be cancelled
Apparently the USA team are going back to school to get some geography lessons….  
Obama’s Motorcade Shuts Down San Francisco
I left work early on Tuesday to get home in time for an early evening conference call. As we exited 101, we knew something interesting was going on. There were close to a 100 police motorbikes on a side street near by. If we’d been ten minutes later, we’d have got stuck behind President Obama who had just landed at SFO . Fortunately, we weren’t stuck behind his motorcade and I was able to get some cool photos as he went past.  
My $103.80 Starbucks Order
Today I offered to buy our Dev and Test teams a Starbucks . Little did I know they’d take my suggestion of a “ Iced Single Vente, 7 pump Peppermint, Caramel Sauce Top and Bottom, Light Ice, No whip, Mocha ” seriously! What I ended up with was 28 completely different drinks. It took me 15 minutes to order them and created a twenty person queue behind me. I’ve always wanted to order one of those silly complicated drinks people order, having order 28 today I’ve had my fix.  
Hotmail, The New Busy
Hotmail’s getting a bit of press recently, both TechCrunch and Cnet posted articles today. It’s always nice to see some positive press about something you've been working on for over two years. I also got to see first hand some of the Ads we’ve started to run in Seattle last week. Just as I got back to SeaTac I also heard the radio ad.  
The CalTrain iMuppet
Spotted on Caltrain on Friday…. Looks like you all wasted money on those fancy cases. You could have just put your favourite baseball cap on and slipped it right up there.  
Our Insurance Won’t Cover Volcanic Ash, it’s An Act of God
I’m not really that worried about the volcanic ash that’s currently paralysing the UK’s airspace . Our wedding is in 6 weeks and I’m just presuming the panic will be over with… That fact is though, no matter what insurance we have to cover the flights or the event, we wouldn’t get see a penny. This is what insurance companies call an Act of God or a Force Majeure ! Anyway, I found this image fascinating, I’d love to know what it normally looks like.  
Zuni’s Homemade Roast Chicken
Zuni Café is one of our favorite dining spots in the city. Every time we visit, we unfailingly order the Chicken for Two as soon as we sit down, as it takes an hour’s notice, but totally worth the wait. When Ben’s manager mentioned to him that he’d recently made the Zuni chicken recipe, we immediately decided we were up for the challenge. Part 1 - The Hard Part You have to decide a few days ahead of time.  
Two dives away from my 100th Dive
I guess I should thank Jon Oliver for getting me started. We’d both wanted to start diving but he did the research and we both signed up with Dive Crew in Bracknell to do our PADI Open Water certification. It started in a pool in Bracknell (I really hated diving in a hot pool in a dry suit) and finished with four really boring dives in Horsea Island just outside Portsmouth. I passed my PADI on 22nd September 2002 in some very green murky water:  
Sailing and Diving in the BVI
Last year we went on a week-long sailing trip to Antigua and St. Kitts and had the unfortunate luck of some terrible weather. We were hoping that our sailing trip this year to the British Virgin Islands would have a bit more luck with the weather. Luck was on our side this year and we had a fabulous trip.  
The Bing Photo of the Day – On TV and Twitter!
Well Friday was pretty cool, lots of really nice comments from friends and colleagues. In addition there was lots of internet activity that I thought I’d share. On TV!!! This is the best part. Unbeknownst to me, my photo was used in a TV segment on Friday as well.  
The Bing Photo of the Day!
Today is a very cool day. There are not many perks to working at Microsoft nowadays but the occasional internal competition is cool. Many months ago I submitted my Sea Nettle Jelly photo for the the Bing Photo of the day contest. Well today it’s been put up for the world to see!  
Arnie Visits The Microsoft Campus
Arnie (aka The Govenator ) had a flying visit to the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus today. He was here to launch California’s Elevate America program. I think I grabbed one of the last seats before it started and was able to take a few photos. Amusingly, Just before he entered I heard one of his protection detail say on his mic “He’s not with me, I thought he was with you”….  
Fotofly PhotoViewer is now available on CodePlex
This week I published onto Codeplex my Silverlight PhotoViewer , my third Open Source Project. Using my Fotofly metadata library , this reusable control displays the photo, people regions and a map of the location. You can use it on your own site to light up all that metadata locked in the file. Here’s what the control looks like.  
Tassography v4.0 Goes Live Using ASP.Net MVC
Late last year I set out to completely rewrite the front end of tassography.com based on ASP.Net MVC . Well it’s finally done and now available for everyone’s viewing pleasure. As well as changing the underlying code the most important change I made was a switch to an entirely new SEO -friendly URL schema. Gone are all the ugly, impossible to understand /ViewCollection.aspx?c=20100214 because that’s now /photography/2010-02-14-wandering-around-pier-39 . I’ve also refactored my Silverlight controls into cleaner reusable components. One of the aims I had was to release the photo viewer onto Codeplex to complement my Fotofly metadata library . I’m close to finishing this work and hope to have something to share later this week.  
Fotofly v0.5 now available on Codeplex
I’ve just published v0.5 of Fotofly on Codeplex . This new version includes the first batch of bug fixes as a result of community feedback. Additionally I’ve started the work to expand the code to deal with multiple GPS sources (exif and xmp). This will be the main focus for v0.6 which I hope to finish sometime this week. I also spent a little time creating a logo. It’s simple but I spent ages rattling through fonts to find something I liked!    
Lobster and Foie Gras – OMG!!!
Ben surprised me for my birthday with tickets to see “ Wicked ” followed by dinner at Luce , which he chose based on its recent garnering of 1 Michelin Star. I’d heard great things about the musical, even from guys that hate musicals, and it definitely lived up to expectations.   
Things We Collect
We travel a lot (and long may it continue) and apart from taking thousands of photos, we’ve started to collect a few things. Starbucks Mugs I started collecting Starbucks mugs in Kuala Lumpur and now it’s a little bit addictive. In total I have 38 from over 20 different countries and four continents.    
Getting Started with Fotofly
It’s been about two months since I posted Fotofly on Codeplex and I’ve had plenty of feedback and it’s been download over 100 times! What I haven’t written is a simple introduction on how to use the library. So that’s the aim of this blog. Step 1 – Download the Library First you need to download the DLL (or download the source code and build it yourself): http://fotofly.codeplex.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx Follow this link to download the DLL and save it somewhere you can reference it from your Visual Studio project.  
When and how to use the right BitmapCacheOption setting
I keep stumbling across the consequences of changing which BitmapCacheOption I use. Despite the fact that metadata in a file isn’t really that big in the grand scheme of things, changing which caching option you use can have annoying consequences. The two typical issues I run into are: running of our memory when process lots of files or not having any data to work with. Let’s look at the code:  
How to Get Your 2008 TransRockies Photos
I took over 1000 photos at the 2008 TransRockies but it’s been over a year since the event, so I no longer have them online. If you are interesting in seeing photos of your team please contact me and I’ll upload them to the site for your viewing pleasure and purchase if you like them. Thanks.          
Reading Geotagging in Photos Using Windows Imaging Component
In this blog I’m going to explain how Geotagging metadata can be read and written using Windows Imaging Component. First lets look at all the queries. These are the common ones, there are plenty more but I have not found any immediate need to use them.  
Fotofly v0.1 available for Download on Codeplex
After several years of evolving my photo metadata code I’m finally ready to put it online. Being the nice corporate citizen that I am, I’m using CodePlex and you can find Fotofly here for download. My somewhat lofty description of the project is: “A comprehensive C# library for reading, manipulating and writing metadata stored in jpg photos using WPF and the Windows Imaging Component. Includes support for Windows Live Photo Gallery People Tags, GPS Coordinates and most EXIF, XMP & IPTC properties.” Hopefully I’ll get lots of downloads and feedback to help improve it further.    
Reading and Creating Exif Rationals
Quite why Jeida who created Exif decided to use Rationals is beyond me but they did so you have to work with them if you’re playing with jpg metadata. In this blog post I’ll share my Rational class so you don’t have to go through all the pain I went through in creating it. It’s amusingly short now I look at it here but it took way too long to work it out. The class has two constructors, one for the value you’ve retrieved from BitmapMetadata, the second when you’re creating your own rationals.  
Basic Editing of Photo Metadata Using Windows Imaging Component
In my previous posts I’ve provided examples on using Windows Imaging Component to Read & Write jpg metadata. In this post I’ll explain how to use ContainsQuery , GetQuery , SetQuery and RemoveQuery . As an added bonus I’m going to use the IPTC address fields as my example. Whilst BitmapMetadata does provide some standard properties like Subject and Title, it is far from comprehensive. In order to get at the other data you have to provide the right query.  
Writing Photo Metadata Using Windows Imaging Component
In this blog I’m going to build on my previous posting on Reading Metadata and explain how to write metadata stored in a jpg file using Windows Imaging Component . You can find all my blogs on Windows Imaging Component here . If you want to change any of the metadata, the first thing you have to do is make sure there’s room for your changes. This is done by adding padding to the metadata. If you don’t do this, I guess it’s possible to remove data or change it to the exact same size but you can’t add new data. The general recommendation appears to be around 5k, so I normally use 5120.  
Reading Photo Metadata Using Windows Imaging Component
I still see a lot of questions on the Internet and at work on how to read (& write) metadata in Photos. There are plenty of examples out there but they all appear to have some pitfalls. To be quite honest, the code I’ve been using for a number of years now is mature enough that it solves almost all the problems I’ve seen. This blog is the first in a series that document how to read (this blog), write and manipulate photo metadata.  
San Francisco Fleet Week 2009
Fleet Week comes to San Francisco once a year and this was my third chance to check it out. In fact, I’d been looking forward to it for quite some time because it’s a great chance to take some really cool photos. On Saturday we found a prime location at Aquatic Park with Kevin & Vivien from work. The weather was a little weird -- typical SF!  
Published in My First Book (Follow-Up)
Since the Photography@Microsoft book was released last week it’s made quite impression. I’m not going to release the actual numbers but it exceed the committee’s expectations on day two! I thought I’d share a couple of the ways it’s popping up across the web: Picked up by Ina Fried at Cnet “… the photos are all amazing.” http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10371366-56.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20   and on the front page!  
Dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s v3
Having succeed in getting away from San Fran for Memorial Weekend and 4th July , it was pretty obvious we’d do something for Labor Day Weekend . We made a pretty last minute booking at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood . Despite booking late we also got a great deal at the Marriott in the centre of Hollywood, complete with a Spa which always makes Lisa happy! Having already done the tasting menu (Menu Prestige) at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant's in London and New York , it was natural that we’d do the same again. We’d read a little bit (we’ll Lisa had) about the L.A. restaurant so our expectations had been lowered somewhat. We agreed with the reviews; whilst the food was excellent, there was no comparison between LA and NY or London.  
San Francisco’s Nuclear Missile Battery
On Saturday , after months of trying, we finally visited the SF-88L which is one of the only remaining Nike Missile Batteries in the United States. I say finally because it’s only open the first Saturday of each month and we’d kept finding ourselves double booked for almost a year! SF-88L is one of 280 such sites around the country that housed missiles designed to protect the US from airborne attacks during the cold war. What I didn’t realise was that these are nuclear missiles, five times more powerful than the bomb used at Hiroshima ! The theory was that destroying nuclear missiles inbound to the US would save the country, even if millions would die from the radiation caused by these missiles!  
Published In My First Book!
Earlier this year I had my first photo published in a magazine and now I’ve had one published in a book ! Some clever people in the Photography club at Microsoft decided to create a book and donate the profit to our Giving Campaign . I don’t think they realised how much effort would be required because they received hundreds photos and had to plough through every single one to pick the best. And I was fortunate to be chosen! You can see a preview of the book here .  Look on page 117 to see my Jelly photo taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium :  
Kylie’s Windows 7 Desktop Backgrounds
For those of you who pay any attention to the Windows 7 launch, you’ll have seen two amusing ads from Kylie , Microsoft’s four year old ambassador. Kylie is a little kid who is out to make a slideshows using quotes from all the positive Windows 7 reviews ! It started with Kylie’s Good News a few weeks ago and the latest instalment is Kylie’s Conversations . I thought it would be amusing to grab the images and use them on my laptop. It turns out this was a great idea because people immediately started commenting and asking where I got them from! It really wasn’t complicated to use the Windows 7 Snipping Tool and YouTube but I thought I’d share them on my blog for people’s amusement (and so you proudly use them to). Kylie’s Good News  
My First Hotmail Release
In February I moved over to the Hotmail team and along with owning Mobile Hotmail & Calendar, I’m also the project manager for the entire Hotmail UI team. So it’s exciting to see our first milestone start to get deployed, just as we start coding our second. Here’s a repost of the blog posted on Live Wire made earlier today.  
Fracturing My Rib in Mammoth Lakes
After our first trip to Mammoth we were eager to go again. So we persuaded Andrew (who really didn’t need any persuading to be honest) to make the most of his temporary bachelor time and join us. So we headed out on Friday after work and arrived just in time to grab a pint before heading to bed. We made an early start (well early for me - I think having kids may redefine my definition), grabbed some passes and headed up the mountain.  
Oh Google, where do thou get thy Keywords from?
The traffic to Tassography has definitely increased since I started playing with Search Engine Optimzation (SEO). The Microsoft IIS SEO Toolkit has definitely helped me get my head around the common things to fix. Amusingly the traffic to the site continues to be less to do with my Photos and more to do with this Blog ! According to Google’s Webmaster tools I’m appearing in a wider variety of search results now. Which pretty much matches the traffic I get into the site (from all Search Engines, not just Google).  
Mountain Biking in Mammoth Lakes
After our adventure in Kirkwood we were itching to try some more mountain biking. Lisa found Mammoth Lakes on the internet and we quickly realised why Kirkwood was empty. The longest run in Kirkwood was a couple of miles, but in Mammoth they have runs that are more than 8 miles long! For $39/day you get unlimited access to 70+ miles of dirt single-track, with a descent of 3,000 feet from Mammoth's summit!  
Mountain Biking in Tahoe and Kirkwood
Ever since boarding in Whistler I’ve been enamoured by the idea of going to a ski resort in the summer. Last weekend we finally got our act together and went to Tahoe with our bikes (and all our camping gear). After arriving late on Friday night at Emerald Bay State Park camp site, we set out on Saturday to find a gentle introduction. After visiting a bike shop we headed out to the Tahoe Rim Trail . Not really the gentle introduction we were after but there’s nothing like starting in the deep end! Our only problem, my rear brake leaked and there’s not many places on a mountain to get a top up of hydraulic fluid!  
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay at the London, New York
We spent the last of our free plane tickets on a holiday weekend to New York .  As soon as we’d decided on NYC, Ben was immediately on the phone to get reservations at Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel .  Earlier this year, we had a dining experience (yep – it’s worthy of that cliché phrase) with Mark and Fiona at Ramsay’s restaurant in Chelsea and were excited to compare. Entering the restaurant was interesting. We checked in at Maze , which is another Ramsay restaurant. We were escorted through the noisy, busy restaurant into a more secluded dining room of about 16 or so tables.  
The 5th Most Popular Photo in the Facebook Bing Competition
Bing is getting plenty of press recently, and one of the most popular features is the home page photos. In partnership with Facebook they’ve started a competition off so people can submit their own photos. I immediately submitted my Sea Nettle Jelly photo from last months visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium . In just one day it’s rocked up to number five in the list! And that’s despite the horrendous cropping that’s happened after I submitted the photo:  
One Computer in Two or More Live Mesh Accounts
I’m a huge fan of Windows Live Mesh and it’s completely revolutionised the way I store my files. When my x300 solid state hard disk died it was a life saver. Whilst I do use Windows Home Server to backup my machine. The backup can still be a few days old.  
The Very Useful IIS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Toolkit
I’ve done my best to make my site ‘indexable’ by Search Engines but I’ve never really tried to optimise it. Martin Peck got me thinking about it more when I shared my analysis of my IIS logs last year. Back then my referrer list looked something like this:  
Showing Paul and Jacqui around the Bay
Paul & Jacqui had been planning a trip for a while, so it was great to finally see them in San Fran. We took the opportunity to show them around the Bay. I’m not sure what Paul enjoyed the most, cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge or all the local Star Trek sites. I had no idea the Monterey Bay Aquarium was used in Star Trek IV:  
Ireland vs USA Rugby
After my introduction to rugby during the 2008 World Cup, I’d been waiting for an opportunity to see the game in person. The Ireland team was visiting the US for a friendly competition game against the US in Santa Clara this past weekend, so we schlepped down to the South Bay. Ben immediately commented that it was not a proper rugby game since you’d never get such amazing, sunny, warm weather for a rugby game in England. I preferred the hot sun to the cold rain, though.  
Too lazy to visit the Farmer’s Market?
Saturday morning. We should be getting up early to walk or bike over to the Ferry Building to shop for yummy, fresh produce. Yeah right – we’re single and kidless, so we’re sleeping in. The lazy way of getting produce from local farms – be a yuppie and get organic produce delivered straight to your door.  
Windows Live Web Communications Art Exhibition
It amazes me how creative some of my colleagues are. Last Friday we had an Art Exhibition for everyone working on Windows Live ( Hotmail and Calendar ), down in Silicon Valley. I entered five photos, making a total of 37 pieces entered by the team. Everyone was allowed three votes and the winners announced at the end of the day.  
Why I Love American Express and Zune
I’ll get the bad news part of this blog out the way first. My 18-month-old Zune died. These things happen and generally speaking my electronics last for a long time, so I wasn’t that peeved. American Express Extended Warranty Lisa said I should look at American Express Extended Warranty because it might cover the replacement.  
Excitement on 3rd Street
Living on one of the main roads into the center of San Francisco is always full of excitement. Over the last few years I’ve only had to move 10 feet from the coach to grab some interesting photos. Late last month, our morning was disturbed by Police sirens. That’s not particularly unusual when you live in a city but when you hear them on their loud speakers it worth looking outside.  
Walker's 'Do Us a Flavour' Competition
On our trip to the UK we stumbled across some new flavours of Crisps from Walker’s. I wouldn’t normally care, but a friend recently sent me New York Times article about the British eating Squirrels. To my delight, I found that they had introduced Cajun Squirrel Flavoured Crisps! On further investigation we learnt that there were six new flavours; Builder’s Breakfast, Cajun Squirrel, Chilli & Chocolate, Crispy Hoisin & Duck, Fish & Chips and Onion Bhaji.  
My Grandma’s Recipe for Marmite Egg
I remember when I was young how fun it was to go to my Grandma’s house. She was an excellent cook, and having been bought up in the war years she had learnt to be a frugal cook. One of our favourite inventions was Marmite Egg. It was probably the first thing I learnt to cook, so in her memory I thought I’d share the recipe.  
Cooking the Perfect Roast Beef
Every time I go back to the UK, I always ask my Dad to cook Roast Beef. Ever since my University days, I’ve been able to cook damn good roast chicken, but I always avoided even attempting to do beef. When we visited in March, Lisa got hooked as well, so it was finally time to bite the bullet and learn how to do it. Since we got back we’ve had it three times, and each time it was excellent!  
The New Windows 7 Backgrounds Rock!
In a recent blog posting Steven Sinofsky talked about how the Windows 7 team has really gone to town on personalised content. The Release Candidate has just launched and the new backgrounds are now available for everyone to see. In each country there’s a different pack of photos, the US ones are awesome. Here are my two favourites:  
Tag Clouds Revisited, Refactored and Improved
About a year ago, I added a Tag Cloud to allow you to navigate tags associated with the photos on the site, but I’ve never been happy with the algorithm used. I spent some time Friday working out the problems and updating my code. The Problems 1) Tags were distributed across ten buckets, each bucket containing the same number of tags. But even with 1800 tags the frequency isn’t linear.  
I’m now a Published Photographer!
The TransRockies continues to be really good for my fledgling Photography career, I can finally say I’m published! Breathe magazine in Canada has included two of my photos in an article they wrote about the TransRockies in their February 2008 edition:  
Tassography Usage or never believe stats…
After posting the story about usage of Tassography it got me thinking. So I did some digging into the data and realised it’s rubbish. When I look at the visitor’s data it looks like the usage logs aren’t capturing everything that’s going on:  
First look at Usage of Tassography
I’ve been meaning to look at the log files generated for my site for a while, especially after the TransRockies. I finally got round to it this weekend and there’s good and bad data! Unfortunately I only have log files from July 2008 but it’s clear the TransRockies had quite an impact on the usage of the site. In August-September the traffic doubled and in November it tripled.  
Tassography Gets Personal, thanks to Facebook
Thanks to a little more magic from Facebook I’ve been able to use Facebook Connect to create a personalised view of Tassography for all my friends. The page will show you any pictures I have of you and any photos of your friends based on your Facebook friends list. To get there just click on the Facebook Connect button at the top of each page:  
Now you can Comment on my Photos
Thanks to some magic from Facebook it’s now possible to comment on any photo on Tassography.com and see comments left by others. At the bottom of each photo you’ll now see a very familiar Facebook comment box, simply type in your comment and it’ll show up on the page and on Facebook.  
New Tassography Silverlight Search App
I’m starting to get the hang of Silverlight, so I thought I’d replace my very basic HTML search feature with a Silverlight app. It only took about 3 hours, with most of the effort spent tweaking the UI to make it look right. Which just goes to proves how easy Silverlight is. Now when you visit www.tassography.com/search you’re presented with a pretty straightforward search box:  
Turning the Silverlight on Tassography.com
I’m always up for learning something new and when it comes to development the best way for me is to add a new feature on tassography.com. That’s why the site is packed full of features, half of which I’m sure only I know about! Silverlight has been usable for about 18 months now and it was time I finally played around with it. Over Christmas I pulled together two simple applications that I think are pretty cool.  
Using WIC & C# to read Windows Live Photo Gallery’s People Tags
In my last posting I talked about how Windows Live Photo Gallery (WLPG) stores People tags in XMP. In this post I’m going to extend the Windows Imaging Component code from Robert Wlodarczyk’s Blog to read the data. The code is pretty simple to use, just make sure you have PresentationCore registered in your project and the System.Windows.Media.Imaging namespace.    
Understanding how Windows Live Photo Gallery’s People Tags are Stored
Since writing Tassography.com tags have been an important part of my workflow. For as long as I can remember I have been using Microsoft’s Digital Image Pro 2006. With the release of the new version of Windows Live Photo Gallery (WLPG), I took this Christmas the time to switch over and take advantage of some of the cool new features. The most compelling new feature for me is the new people tagging capabilities.  
Windows Live Calendar is out of Beta
Ok so I’m no longer the PM Lead for Calendar but I really enjoyed by 4 months stint on the team and I’m looking forward to the work I’m going to do with them next Wave. So it’s really cool to see the plan I helped build has finally delivered and Windows Live Calendar is no longer a beta product. Here’s the blog post David (the new lead) did today: ------------------------------ Over the past several months, Windows Live Calendar has been in beta. We’ve been experimenting with features, listening to your feedback, and polishing up the service.  
I’m Number 1 on Live Search, Number 2 on Google
I don’t know much about Search algorithms but I do know that they are getting better all the time and sites don’t normally appear high up in the list unless they are meant to. Google uses a method that works out how many sites link to yours, I don’t know how Live’s works. So I’m pretty impressed that I now appear as the first hit on Live Search and the second hit on Google when you search for my name: Live Search:  
Why and how you should switch your ISP Email to Hotmail!
Ok so I work for Hotmail, and this might sound me I’ve been drinking the company kool-aid but hear me out. If you’re using Gmail or Yahoo! then you can also tune out now, I’ll tackle that conversation for another day! But if you’re using a random ISP and you have your own domain name then read on. When I joined 8 months ago I was using an ISP that gave me POP3, IMAP and Web access to my email, that’s pretty good.  
Copying Jpeg Metadata using C# and Windows Imaging Component
It’s a scenario I keep finding myself in, I have two copies of the same photo but I want all metadata changes from one file in the other. For example, I want update my backup with changes I’ve made to metadata but don’t want to touch the source image, or I have the original and a small version of the same file. I haven’t found any reliable way to do this, so I finally sat down and wrote my own using plenty of excellent data on Robert Wlodarczyk’s Blog and the Windows Imaging Component. First, let’s look at the metadata stored in my two files using WICExplorer :    
A Never Ending Flight from Chicago
So you left Lisa and I sitting comfortably in United’s new Business class seats in Chicago. We thought our day wouldn’t have any more problems, little did we know! We boarded the flight at 3.40 and were actually looking at an early departure. But time kept going by and we both finished our first movie and we still hadn’t moved.  
Birthday Gifts from United Airways
So it's my Birthday and Lisa and I are trying to maximise our vacation\holiday time by getting home on Sunday, in time for work on Monday. Travelling on my Birthday isn't my idea of fun but if it means one more day of diving or snowboarding then I'm happy! The good news was Lisa booked dinner with Daniel & Ellie at Zuni Cafe, one of my favorite restaurants. So we had something to look forward to.  
It’s Goose time
It’s my fourth year of cooking Roast Goose for Christmas, my second in San Francisco. Whole Foods gave me a bit of a shock by letting me know last minute that they couldn’t get one. Thanks to Yelp I found Guerra Quality Meats in the ‘Outer’ Sunset. We were pretty lucky because we got the last one!  
Christmas Tree v2008
Well it’s that time again, we’ve down sized a little from last year, just a 7 foot tree this time:  
A Fire Shrimp
We’ve started restocking the fish tank after a couple of deaths… We’ve added another turbo snail, the last one ended up on his back, which they can’t recover from! We were planning to add another cleaner shrimp, but the shop didn’t have any stock but now we have a cool Fire Shrimp:  
Lisa, Will You Marry Me?
Well we've been back for a few days now and we've finally had a chance to look at the photos and put some online . This is a quick preview of the holiday and more will be up in the next few days. Everyone’s been asking about the proposal, so we wanted to get some photos up now. First, let's set the scene, it's sunset on the 6th night of our liveaboard dive trip on the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea:    
Where Mountain Bike’s were Invented
In 1979 Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly coined the phrase Mountain Bike after riding the Repack race on Pine Mountain. This weekend Darren persuaded Anton and I for what he termed an easy Mountain Bike Ride on Pine Mountain. Except it really wasn’t easy, it was some of the most technical cycling I’ve done, with some long (30 minute) climbs and some really step descents on fist sized rocks. I guess it was inevitable that one of us would have a tumble and I was the luck one!    
Sorry for the Spam….
Every so often, I’m tired and I do something silly! This time I was trying to fix a broken link in a blog when I accidentally uploaded my test config, used on my laptop, onto tassography.com! So you will probably have got 4-5 “This Week” postings, most of them with broken links and no images displayed! I’ll try and not do it again!  
Tassography v3 Goes Live…
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trickling out a couple of changes, which I have now wrapped up into what I’m calling Tassography v3. The site has come pretty popular to the point that I’m getting about 10,000 hits a day on a consistent basis. So hopefully these changes will be some freshness to the site and some new features. New Design I’ve had the same design since I launched Tassography in 2007, so it was time for a refresh.  
When passing all the tests just isn’t enough….
The fish tank has been going well, perhaps we have a little too much Algae (it drives Lisa up the wall) I’m not certain we have a problem. But anyhow, it was time to give our home chemical testing kit a run for its money. After 3 tests at our Aquarium ( Lucky Ocean in Inner Richmond ) which we ‘passed’, here’s the results of our own test:  
Camping in Salt Point State Park
$11 for Wood and Kindling for the Camping Fire  
A Long Labor Day Weekend in Mendocino and Russia River Valley
Lisa and I got away for our long Labour Day weekend. We started with two days in Mendocino in our luxury room with a sauna, a log fire and a hot tub on our own deck. We stayed at the The MacCallum House Inn.    
TransRockies (Stage 6-7 & The End)
Well that’s it, Darren and Jackie have finished and we’re all back to the day jobs. I’ve just uploaded photos for Stages 6 & 7 and a few more highlights for the rest of the week: http://www.dustyfish.com/photography/2008-08-08-darren-and-jackies-transrockies Darren & Jackie finished, just as they started, 21st in the Open Mixed competition, out of 30. I think they are both relieve it is over but I suspect they’ll be looking for a new challenge soon! Whilst waiting for them at the finish line, one of the girls I got to know in the support group had a bit of a surprise!  
TransRockies (Stage 5)
After my flying visit to the Internet cafe, it turned out that our ‘Campsite’ for the night has free Wireless access :) So I’ve uploaded some more photos in Darren & Jackie’s adventure: http://www.dustyfish.com/photography/2008-08-08-darren-and-jackies-transrockies I’ve also started off a separate Album for other teams I’ve taken photos of this week: http://www.dustyfish.com/photography/2008-08-10-the-transrockies-2008 The fast driving was worth it because I finally managed to get Jackie and Darren crossing the finish line:  
TransRockies (Stage 4 & 5)
Once again I find myself at a coffee shop, I think they must be replacing Internet cafes as the place to get online! Darren and Jackie had an excellent Stage 4, they came in 17th in the Open Mixed group with a time of 7 hours 14 minutes. That’s up from 21st place and they are now 126th overall! Another few days like this and they’ll be in the top half, which is really their aim, well at least Darren’s, I think Jackie will just be very pleased to finish and not come in after the cut off times!  
TransRockies (Stage 2 & 3)
I’m back in the same Internet cafe, and I’ve uploaded photos from the end of stage 2 and start\finish of stage 3: http://www.dustyfish.com/photography/2008-08-08-darren-and-jackies-transrockies Darren & Jackie have had a much better day, finally some real biking and they have pulled back 4-5 places and are now 21st out of 27th Mixed teams. And they only have 20 minutes to make up to get into 22nd place…  Stage 3 was a timed event, so no early morning packing for me. I spent the day taking 850 photos of the riders as they did 40km figure of eight course around the forest.  
TransRockies (Stage 2)
Ok, so I know that I’ve just put up day 1, but I’m taking full advantage of a cafe with wireless whilst I can find one! It’s called the Smoking Water Coffee Co, I guess because the hot spring up the road makes all the streams smoke!  
TransRockies Mountain Bike Race
This week I’m in British Columbia, Canada, helping Darren and Jackie do the TransRockies Mountain Bike Race. Whilst they compete in the ~600km race, I’m driving the Ford Explorer (which is full to the roof), taking photos and catering to there every whim (which usually is just an energy drink). It’s the seventh year it’s been running and Darren had this crazy idea to take part. They’re only on day one and I think Darren would agree, it’s been a little bit tougher than they thought! Here’s how the rest of the week will pan out:  
Airline Tax (cont.)
I’m still confused how tax can be 75% of a flight leaving Heathrow, then it got more confusing when Lisa got a quote from US Airways. The tax was less! Well that makes no sense. So I looked at Expedia UK and US and the tax is different based on the country you book from.  
Bmi and the case of the over taxation!
For the last couple of months Lisa and I have been trying to book our holiday (vacation in American). For various reasons our first few ideas fell through. So then we had the idea to visit the UK for a few days and go to Sharm for some diving. The first problem with this is the fact that bmi and in fact all of Star Alliance don’t allow you to book points across multiple carriers online. So you have to phone them up, which for a complex trip can take anything up to an hour to work out with the agent.  
Introducing Sofia and Matias
Well we now have our first fish tank residents Sofia & Matias. Introducing Sofia  
10 Years at Microsoft
It’s the 20th July 2008 and today I have been working at Microsoft for ten years! I thought I’d share one useless fact for each of the years I’ve devoted to Microsoft. 1 million emails - Last year I worked out I had received 100,000 emails that year, an average of one every 37 seconds in a very theoretical working day. Things have changed over the years but I don’t think the volume has really changed that much, so it’s safe to say I’ve probably received\sent 1 millions emails since I joined! 2 hundred and 30 Flights – I’ve flown roughly 230 times for Microsoft, including 42 flights across the Atlantic. This also shows that I’ve been tracking 10 years of my life in Outlook. 3 dollar drop in share price!  
The Windows Live Calendar Refresh gets noticed!
For the last two months, I’ve been the Lead Program Manager for Windows Live Calendar. So far it’s been one of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve done at Microsoft, and it’s nice to see people appreciate the work we do. Here’s two postings today on the web about our latest upgrade: CNet:  
Windows Live Calendar Beta Update
I’m just about to roll off the Calendar team but we’ve just done another update, so I thought I’d share the good blog we just posted: The Windows Live Calendar team has been working hard the last few months on a cool update to the Windows Live Calendar beta. After many more bowls of udon noodles, lots of lattes and many late nights …we’re live! Everyone on our team is fired up about the release and we’re looking forward to your feedback.  
My first Blog...
This feels a bit like writing a Hello World application, but I guess it's where we all start. Welcome to my Blog, which I will be writing to supplement the photos that are already published to this feed. My aim is to share random things that I think people will find interesting, useful or amusing. Hopefully I'll also try and share some of the technology behind www.tassography.com , so I can do some small part to pay back all the bloggers that help me solve numerous hurdles I've overcome.  

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