I’m WFAD! And I’m not gonna take it anymore! (71-505 WFAD)

November 21st, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Please see the Free Testing Archive for tests like this and more!

Register for Beta Exam 71-505: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development

Registration Begins 11/21/2008

You are invited to take beta exam 71-505: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development. If you pass the beta exam, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you will not need to take the exam in its released form. The results willnot appear on your transcript until several weeks after the final form of the exam is released. The 71-xxx identifier is used for registering for beta versions of MCP exams, when the exam is released in its final form the 70-xxx identifier is used for registration.

71-505: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development counts as credit towards the following certification(s).

· Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Applications

· Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Windows Developer 3.5

· Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Enterprise Application Developer 3.5


Registration begins: November 21, 2008

Beta exam period runs: November 25, 2008– December 15, 2008

Receiving this invitation does not guarantee you a seat in the beta; we recommend that you register immediately. Beta exams have limited availability and are operated under a first-come-first-served basis. Once all beta slots are filled, no additional seats will be offered.

Testing is held at Prometric testing centers worldwide, although this exam may not be available in all countries (see Regional Restrictions). All testing centers will have the capability to offer this exam in its live version.

Regional Restrictions: India, Pakistan, China

Registration Information

Please use the following promotional code when registering for the exam: X356Y
You must register at least 24 hours prior to taking the exam.

To register in North America, please call:

· Prometric: (800) 755-EXAM (800-755-3926)

Outside the U.S./Canada, please contact:

· Prometric: http://www.register.prometric.com/ClientInformation.asp

Test Information and Support

You are invited to take this beta exam at no charge.
You will be given four hours to complete the beta exam. Please plan accordingly.
Find exam preparation information: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-505.aspx

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Posted in .NET, ASP, Baltimization, Certification, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Microsoft | Comments (71)

Lights out, Apparently Toyota isn’t home. (Prius HID lights fault)

November 19th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)


Hello there.  Are you one of the many thousands who have a Prius, or any Toyota vehicle with HID Lights which are supposed to last for 10x longer than standard bulbs, and had it last less than 1Yr’s time?

Then, you’ve come to the right place.

A few high level examples of information:

A typical Halogen headlamp has a service life of ~450-1000 Hrs.

A typical HID headlamp has a service life of ~2000 Hrs.


So, given that math.  I would have to drive my car every day for ~6hrs in order for my bulb to start to fail within a years time.  Sadly, I did not drive it that much.  However it still did enter to a point of failure.  Failure which was considerably unsafe resulting in both of my headlights turning off at a number of points while driving on dark roads, luckily no one was ever hurt.

Oh, did I mention this was my second set of HID bulbs to be replaced?  The first time, replaced “Under warranty” at no cost to me.  The second time, Toyota has advised they will replace “Parts+Tax” however, I will have to pickup the labor.   While that sure is nice of them.  I wish I weren’t the only of thousands experiencing this problem.  This problem blatantly ignored by Toyota who only responds on an AdHoc, Opt-In basis, requiring US the consumer to do something about it – To reach out and contact Toyota on it.

This is very clearly a safety issue.  An issue which forces the consumer to front money and services to pay for something which Toyota knows is wrong and is their mistake.   This safety issue should be addressed as a Parts Recall and replacement, not having us figure out to call Toyota (800) 331-4331 and open a case in order to “try” to get this resolved.   You most likely will be in contact with Heather, as a lot of us have.  

It should also be noted, that if you’re experiencing this issue – Even if you’ve gotten it resolved whether under warranty or out of warranty (As I’ve had it fixed in both cases) you should file a complaint with the Office of Defects, so this is on record and our voices heard.

Hopefully you will be able to get your problem fixed and resolved in a timely and safer fashion, without having to resort to the extortion of paying out of pocket $902.88 (or more) and wait 2-3 weeks for a reimbursement of Parts+Tax, having to shell out the $137.80 (more or less) for labor, while paying for these HID Bulbs which are being quoted at ~$350 a pop, even though you can get an equivalent replacement for $175 for a PAIR.  But I imagine my definition of extortion is completely off base.  It probably has less to do with being sold something with an expectation it will work and actually getting it to work and not get screwed around when it in fact does not work as advertised.

Good luck out there with all your 2006, 2007, 2008 and beyond Priuses and other Toyota vehicles with HID lights which also suffered from this bad apple.   Don’t wait to open a case, and don’t get screwed by your dealership either in or out of warranty about this.   Toyota knows about this, and it is up to you the educated consumer to act on your behalf because they certainly are doing everything in their power to make sure that you have to jump through as many hoops as possible.

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, General, Informational | Comments (106)

Early Gifts for the Holidays! FreE-books and SQL oh mY!

November 17th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Raise your hands up and praise Joanne Lin of the MSLCommunity for bringing us these little gems! (Gem1 and Gem2 ! :)) [Time for some verbatim copying!...kind of!]


Help celebrate our 25th anniversary with a free e-book offer.  The November offers is valid from November 19 to November 26, 2008, so download the e-books soon.  You can also sign up for Microsoft Press Connection newsletter to get monthly update.

For November:



Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Fundamentals by Stanslav Pavlov and Pavel Belevsky:   This book examines the architecture, built-in programming tools, drivers, and build process, and shows how to take advantage of the Windows Embedded CE 6.0 Software Development Kit (SDK).

Download this e-book!




Windows Server 2008 Networking and Network Access Protection (NAP) by Joseph Davies and Tony Northrup with the Microsoft Networking Team:   Get the official resource for deploying, administering, and troubleshooting Windows Server 2008 networking and Network Access Protection (NAP) technologies.


Download this e-book!


Going for a SQL Class? Get a copy of SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition!

Microsoft Learning is teaming up with the SQL Server team to give away free copies of SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition to people who attend select instructor-led classroom training at a Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions (CPLS). Here’s the deal: The Deal!

So, if you’re looking for an early gift for yourself, or your friends.. Get them the Ebook that keeps on giving! :)

Happy Holiday-Season-Time! And spend that good money in this economy of free!

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Ebooks, Informational, Microsoft, SQL, Windows Server | Comments (79)

Kicking with the New Tweet Deck v0.20b and Adobe Air 1.5

November 17th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Anyone who’s been using Tweet Deck has also been using Adobe Air!

Well, there are a number of enhancements introduced in both of them! A MUST upgrade, hands down, no question about it!

Tweet Deck:

There are a number of new details introduced in v0.20b, and you can go here to check them out, but some of the ones I’ve particularly noticed and enjoy!

Response times are amazing! If I post a tweet, it appears immediately instead of getting cached to eventually deliver.  Running at speeds equal to being “On Web”


You notice that little “[+]” over there? That serves two-fold benefits!

First of all, it lets you add people to groups, so you can structure and order things easier inside of Tweet Deck Groups! And second of all, if there is no [+] What you have there is someone who is following you, but you are not following.  This plays out very useful in the Replies column trying to decide if someone you are talking to is someone you are following or not!


Love the new “Remaining API” section, which lets you know how close you are to exceeding your API calls for the hour and effectively being stuck with “Rate limit reached”

You will notice that the little scroll bar at the bottom which let you specify the period of time, with which your tweets will be displayed is gone.  Yes, it is gone, though with these new advancements and speed, it may not be needed anymore!

Be careful though, if you have a preferred URL shortener, it will reset it to the default!


Adobe Air:

Finally! Adobe Air will use your default browser instead of an alternate Browser!

What does this mean for you? It means if you chose FireFox, or Chrome to be your default browser, it will use FF or Chrome, instead of forcing it to IE.   I’ll have to test this on my Mac still to see if it forces open every link clicked as a new Browser entirely, but it should continue to open as new tabs in your existing browser in your preferred browser! Thanks Adobe!

So, go upgrade! You’ll be glad that you upgraded both Adobe Air and Tweet Deck!

And feel free to add me @cxi on Twitter! I wish I could say I’d add you back immediately, but I still have a case open with Twitter support, preventing me from being able to add new people!

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Informational, Technology, Twitter | Comments (64)

Vegans and Protein

November 17th, 2008
by Christopher Kusek (PKGuild)

Hi there, for those of you who do not know, I am vegan.

Furthermore, I am also a geek, and an efficiency geek.   Part of the guidelines of those two prior statements is that I look for the best solutions to problems, and I look for ways in which they can be replicated with ease, with as little effort as possible, and consumable by all the masses.

It is with great pain I feel I have to write this post, but this is not the first time I’ve broached this particular subject, in fact I’ve touched on this subject in my personal and professional life hundreds if not thousands of times.

The particular subject in question is, Vegans, or those “trying” to go vegan (Whatever that means) and their lack of ability to get enough protein.

Let me start by providing you a little insight into my particular situation.

I went from Meat-eater, to Vegan over night.  I did not ease my way in to it over several years.  One day I was eating meat, and the next, I was not any longer – And I haven’t looked back since.    That was ~8 years ago I made that decision and change.   The core tenet which kept me from being vegan for so long? The lack of consumable vegan foods which weren’t all “Smoked”, “Bbq” or “Charcoaled” It would burn my mouth and left a bad taste all around.

The second part of my situation, is that immediately upon becoming a full-time vegan, instead of a full-time omni-vore, I had to stop myself from eating on a daily and regular basis.  Why? Because I was getting too much protein (This is contrary to what you may see a lot of others doing.  Most “vegans” claim they cannot get enough Protein)  This brings me to the very point of this all: What are you doing wrong if you have become vegan and are unable to get enough protein?

Now, don’t get me wrong, and I want to make this very clear.  If you aren’t getting enough protein and you are vegan – You are fundamentally doing something very wrong.

I don’t want to sugar coat this.  But there are a number of tenets of nutrition, with the first one being called

Portion sizing: When you eat food throughout a day, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner.  There are portions of food which you need to account for.  You cannot wake up in the morning, eat 15lbs of pasta and say “I’m done for the day”.  First of all, that isn’t healthy and won’t provide you with the sufficient level of nutrients your body needs for long-term sustainability.

Portion Planning: Just because you are eating appropriate portions of food, doesn’t mean you have your planning down.   Let’s say you’re following “Crazy Persons New Diet Fad” which says, “Eat only beans and lentils and you’ll lose weight!”  While technically it may be true, if your body isn’t sustained to feel satisfied from eating purely lentils and beans all day long (Something I rarely eat), then your body will feel it is being deprived and starved.   When the body enters into starvation, it starts to store everything as fat.  Next thing you know, your ‘waist’ has grown instead of shrunk and now you’re blaming a “vegan diet”.    Any diet which doesn’t involve balance and doesn’t listen to your body, isn’t one worth trying.

Bringing me to the next most important:

Listen to your body: Once you’re off the hormones of beef and all of the additives found inside of most food, you’ll be able to “hear” your body.   You will find yourself having cravings for all different kinds of foods.  That is your body telling you “I need this, I want that”.   My body tends to tell me when I lack certain nutrients so I fulfill its particular requests.   While this can be easily said by the lack of certain nutrients and substances, the same can be said by the abundance of things.   Your body in short order will start to alert you when you’ve taken in too much protein, or fat-soluable minerals.

So you’re saying, “Hey, I’m vegan and I don’t get enough Protein”.

I have to ask, “Then what is it that you’re eating?”.  

Here are some particularly good sources of Protein, which don’t require you to change your diet considerably, or undergo any kind of major ‘changes’ to your life, let alone your budget.

Disclaimer: If you have a gluten allergy, a majority of these will not work for you.  Let me know if you are looking for sources of protein and are allergic to gluten and I can reach out to you separately. :) I particular seek out Gluten specific proteins because I like Gluten :))

Second Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with any of these food companies.  This is actual food that I eat, and I’m tired of hearing vegans “quit” because of the lack of “protein” options.

You’re on the Go? Need a snack and an influx of Protein?

Look to: Tofurky Jurky! (Available in Original and Peppered) – 12 Grams of Protein per 4 pieces.  That’s a “steak” worth of Protein in a single package, yet taking seconds to eat.


Still on the go, and want something sweet?

Clif Bar has all the answers here.

As a convenience vegan, always on the go, I looked for the best in high quality/low cost bars to eat.  After trying them all, I’m drawn towards the “Clif Bar” and the “Luna bar” line.  Though, the Luna Bars I like are only available out of season. :)

A few specific bars from Clif that I eat are:

image image

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And my favorite ones available (seasonally)

image image

So, wait a minute.  You’re telling me a bar, which you can get for $0.99 cents has 10 or more grams of protein in it?

Next thing you’re gonna say I can get a single Vegan bar covered in chocolate with 13 grams of protein!

image image


Hey, wait a minute.  I’m not always on the go, and I want something which isn’t just a bunch of candy bars to eat!   What options do I have to introduce into my regular meals?

Well, this is simply done without pictures! Get yourself some Tofu, some Seitan, or even eat some Pasta!  Pasta itself has loads of protein in it.  If you’re saying “I don’t want to eat carbs” then you’re effectively saying you are willing to throw all caution to the wind and ignore your body and its needs (The brain loves carbs!) But, to cut on carbs.. go with Seitan or Tofu then.

Here’s a simple way to give yourself a large volume of Protein with little effort.




1 Cup of Pasta, a heaping of Pasta sauce to your choosing, and 1 cup of Garbanzo beans smashed.   The beans will mix with the sauce and become a thicker sauce.

All to the tune of an additiona 11.9 grams of protein just from the garbanzo beans alone.




Hey! I thought you said not to eat beans.

No, I didn’t say that.  I said that beans and lentils are not a staple in my diet, I come across them occasionally!  And you can too. :)




One of the best ‘quick access’ protein sources that can be cooked are the new Boca Original Chik’n Nuggets.  There was some controversy around these (I’m sure you’ll find them on a google search) where they went from a vegan recipe, to a non-vegan recipe.  And now we’re back to the vegan recipe.   I particularly advise the bagged variety which offers 14g of protein per every ’4′ nuggets.   They’re soft, easily consumable, great tasting, and $2.69 a bag at my local Woodmans.



This is not the end-all, be-all list.   The options are endless and I’ve only barely touched the surface of how to get protein (Infact, too much protein) fairly easily and readily.


One last thing for the Spelt-inclined or general Pretzel lovers:

Newmans makes a line of Pretzels which are chock full of protein! (And spelt as well) 4/5 grams of protein per serving for around 30 grams per bag.  


image image



Like I said, this is not the definitive list of Protein sources out there for vegans.  There is a lot more than this, and a whole lot which cater specifically to particular allergies or needs, and even some to correspond to what I would refer to the “Crazy diets”

(Re: Crazy Diet is defined as a diet which cares more about what they’re telling you to do on paper, than to actually care for and listen to your body.  These fad diets tend to cause more trauma in the casual person than they do of help in the long-run).   As an efficiency and hard-core geek who will test things and get them down to a scientific level of replication, I would not encourage diets which are not founded in fact or reality.)

Good luck out there, but most importantly – If you’re not getting enough Protein – Tell me what it is that YOU eat, and that can be easily tracked and traced to make sure you’re not only living well, but a balanced and appropriate life.


This post inspired by My So Called Vegan Diet: Week 2

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Posted in Baltimization, Christopher Kusek, Efficiency, Geek, Health, Informational, Vegan | Comments (59)

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