Rebuilding Wonderland

Well it happened.  It shouldn’t have.  We had backups,
That’s what they always say. It shouldn’t have.
Well it happened, and it wasn’t suppose to.


The server crashed and took the WordPress data with it.

We have backups, what’s that you say, there not working.
The angry rises…
How could this happen?  It shouldn’t have.

Time to rebuild, time to move to Azure.
Time to say goodbye to a hosting company that got lazy.
Time to look in the mirror, and face the one who didn’t check.

Well it happened.  It shouldn’t have. But it did.

Gratitude to 
You backed up the site.  You didn’t fail, we did.

Have you verified your backups lately?
Don’t find yourself saying.
Well it happened.  It shouldn’t have.

It’ll take some time to rebuild eight years worth of posts
Take baby steps, we’ll get there.

The Secret to Controlling your Windows 8.1 Phone with “Project My Screen ” app

If you have Windows Phone 8.1 and want to display it’s screen during a presentation try the Project my Screen feature.  You’ve probably heard of this feature, if not Cliff Simpkins has details on how to install and use the feature.

Essentially you install an application on your computer and enable the feature on the phone.  Run the desktop application on the computer. When you connect the phone to the computer via USB you see this prompt on the phone.


If you choose Yes, your phone screen is shown in the desktop app (and can be shown on a conference projector).

Did you know the connection is bidirectional?

I’ve been using this feature for a couple days but I had no idea that the connection went both ways.  I have a touch screen laptop.  I can touch the image projected on my laptop screen and remote control the phone.   Nice!

Shout out to Morten Nielsen for tweeting about this “feature”.

Well, that’s impressive. Animating an Isometric based world

Reflecting on Design #18

I have a soft heart for Isometric designs.  Mike Winkelmann, a graphic designer from Appleton, Wisconsin, animated this amazing Isometric video.  What is especially interesting to me is how he successfully moves the camera around the central focal point and yet never loses the isometric layout of the house in the center of the screen.


subprime from beeple on Vimeo.


If you’ve ever done any isometric work you know how the layout is based on parallel grid, that don’t converge.

MIT PDF describing the basics of Isometric drawing.


Setting up the “Hey Cortana” voice service on Lumia phones

There is good news for the fans of Lumia Windows Phones. After a long wait the Denim update is rolling out from the carriers to the handset. Denim consists of an OS and firmware update for the Lumia devices.

Cortana, the excellent voice-driven personal assistant, gets a few welcome updates in this version, including the ability to activate her by saying “Hey Cortana”.  So when my Lumia Icon was updated today and finished rebooting I tried the “Hey Cortana” phrase a few times with no results.  After some help from Twitter, I discovered that the feature is off by default.  Why?  Because you have to train her to recognize your voice.   I guess that keeps other Windows phone owners (or malicious bystanders) from activating Cortana on your device.


Steps to success

Here are the steps to activate and train the service.

First, open the settings app and then open the Hey Cortana settings.



Then follow the steps shown in the following screenshots.


Cortana listens when you say “Hey Cortana”, even when your phone is asleep or locked.  You can train Cortana so this phrase only works for you.



Find a quiet place. Hold the phone in front of you, in your hand.  Speak clearly in your normal voice.  Say “Hey Cortana” when prompted. Remember to say it the same way every time.









That’s it.  It take about two minutes to configure Cortana and she’s ready to help.