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The Angela cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Plymouth Gin
  • .5 oz Bonal
  • 1 dash homemade orange bitters
  • garnish with a twist

Create Task from Email in Microsoft Outlook for Mac 2011

Now that iOS 5 can sync Tasks from my exchange server to the new “Reminders” app I decided to give it a try and see if I could replace my existing to-do manager. The app is actually pretty slick, offering reminders based on either temporal or location based info.

In addition to manually created tasks, I wanted to be able quickly create a task based on email. In Outlook 2010 this is done by dragging the email to the task icon. Unfortunately that same technique doesn’t work on Outlook for Mac 2011. After poking around I eventually discovered that in the menu bar there is a script menu (it looks like an S shaped piece of paper) that includes the workflow “Create Task from Message”. This did the trick. It creates a task from the selected email and that gets synchronized to the Reminders iOS app. To make it just a little easier I added a keyboard shortcut so I wouldn’t have to click through the menu each time. To do this open System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Select Application Shortcuts in the left window. In the right windows add a new Shortcut. Select Microsoft Outlook as the application (you may have to browse for it). For the Menu Title type the exact text “Create Task from Message” without the quotes. Next pick a keyboard Shortcut. I decided on Command+T. You can verify it is setup correctly by going back to Outlook and clicking on the script menu. You should see the shortcut tip Command+T next to Create Task from Message.

Windows OS Internals for IT Professionals

Today is the last of a week long study of Windows OS Internals for IT Professionals lead by Dan Pearson. The class has been a lot of fun but also very intense. We’ve used at a lot of the Sysinternals tools to research just what goes on behind the scenes of Windows.

As a compliment to the class I’ve also picked up a copy of Windows Internals 5th Ed. and look forward to spending some time reinforcing some of the concepts I’ve learned this week.

[Update: Resolved] Music issues in iOS 5.

After upgrading to iOS 5 I’ve run into a few issues playing some music files. Several albums simply won’t play. When you attempt to play one of the affected songs the album art and text displays but the audio is actually from the next track. Angela is having the exact same issue with the same files on her iPhone, however her iPad appears to be unaffected.


I was able to isolate the issue to songs that had been recorded at higher bit rates. I was using the option “convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC.” There must have been a bug related to this setting and the iOS 5 update that rendered these songs unplayable. The resolution was to simply remove and resync my music with the iPhone.

Radios for SAR

Some of our King County 4×4 SAR members have written some very excellent guidelines about how to pick the perfect SAR radios for your specific scenario. This is great for those who want to spend time considering the options, shopping around, and writing comparison charts. Some members on the other hand just want to buy something that has been proven in the field and move on. Here is what I use.

Icom IC-F5061

The 5061 is a mobile VHF radio with narrow band support, 512 channels, and 50W output. Mine is installed with a remote head kit so that I can mount the radio under the seat and the head unit on the dash. The mic connector is a standard RJ-45 which allowed me to easily run an extension cable to the bottom of my dash and do a clean mic install.

Icom IC-F3061S

The 3061 is a VHF handheld radio with very similar features to the 5061. It offers narrow band support, 512 channels, 5W output, and a Li-Ion battery. The Li-Ion battery is a great option because it allows you to drop the radio in the charger after a mission regardless of how much charge is left. No more running the battery completely down first. I purchased mine used for $225

Icom IC-F4061S

The 4061 is the UHF sister to the 3061. All of the same features apply. Having the 3061 and 4061 in the same family allow me to share batteries, chargers, programming cables, programming software, and mic/headset accessories. This is an excellent radio made even better by the fact that I pair it with the 3061. I purchased a factory repack for $200.

Nutrition info on the go.

If you’re out and about and want to quickly look up the nutrition info of a food then try Wolfram|Alpha. You can get nutrition info on any common ingredients and also commercial products (try Big Mac).

I keep this handy by adding an icon to my iPhone home screen.  You can do this (for any website actually) by visiting then clicking the “+” sign and select Add to Home Screen.

Just search for food and you’ll get all sorts of handy nutritional info.  In the example below I searched for chicken breast.


TUAW reports that the WolframAlpha native iPhone App will drop from $50 to $1.99 this Sunday. The website remains free.

The Missing Link

With Google Maps for Bikes you can clearly see “The Missing Link” in the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Free Credit Report

The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — every twelve months.

To get this free credit report you can go to This is the only authorized website to get your free credit report as provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Don’t be scammed by the MANY websites and TV commercials offering free credit reports.

Annual Credit Report Video

Federal Trade Commission


If you’ve seen ScyFy’s new Battlestar Galactica spinoff Caprica then you’re no doubt familiar with the infinity symbol for the “Soldiers of the One.”

I couldn’t help notice the similarity to the slightly asymmetrical blue-purple infinity logo new to Visual Studio 2010.

Federal Universal Service Fund

I’m about to pay my cell phone bill which is frustrating enough in itself but one thing that really bugs me is that it is never the same from month to month.  I have so many minutes and text messages that I never get close to going over and I have unlimited data so in theory shouldn’t my bill be exactly the same every month?  Well it isn’t.  Tonight I decided to finally look a little closer and here is the culprit…

Arkansas Universal Service: Last month ($0.46). This month ($0.50).
Federal Universal Service: Last month ($1.35). This month ($1.59).

There are also several taxes that went up slightly but I’m assuming they were just calculated as a percentage that included this service fee.

I called AT&T to ask them for more detail about these fees.  After waiting on hold for several minutes I was told to call the Washington state Department of Revenue.  Interesting since my account is still in Arkansas. Since AT&T was no help I turned to the internet.

The Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) is essentially a program created by the FCC to increase the availability of telecom services throughout the nation.  Telecom providers (AT&T) are required to contribute to this fund and may elect to pass that cost on to their customers (they do). What isn’t specified is HOW they are allowed to collect these fees, so I still don’t know why it cost me $0.24 more this month than last month. Arkansas has a similar fee called the Arkansas High Cost Fund (ARHCF) which I assume is the Arkansas Universal Service line item.

So what have I learned?  The federal government considers telephone service to be a “vital link” to our community. If you can’t afford to pay, then perhaps you qualify for one of the programs supported by the FUSF.