Archive for March, 2008

 

Just Discovered: Windows Live Writer

Mar 19, 2008 by Steve Belt in Blogging

Last night, on my home PC, Windows Messenger needed to be updated to a newer version.  I relented, and did the install.  Along the way, an option to install Windows Live Writer was pushed in front of me, so I decided what the heck and installed it.

windows-live-writer

After getting it installed, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to compose a new blog post.  I did a test post, and saved it in draft mode.  The post was easily seen online, just the way I had written it, saved as a draft.  That post included a picture, like this one, and the picture was uploaded exactly where it should have been.

Above, you can click on the screen shot to see how Live Writer is a true WYSIWYG editor.  The style of my blog is coming through perfectly to the editor, which the normal editor for my blog doesn’t do nearly as well.

As a further test, I just wrote and published this post about selling a Phoenix home, using Live Writer.

So far, this tool is darned near ideal.  Another huge bonus, is that I now get real time feedback about misspelled words.  I’ll freely admit, I need spelling support.  I can’t find any downsides so far, so I’m going to keep using it until I do.

There is a bit of a drawback, however.  Tagging and SEO tools aren’t able to be managed from Live Writer, as they are admin plug-ins.  So, I’ll always need to save each post as a draft, and then publish from the blog, after doing those final activities.  I much prefer the WYSIWYG editor for composition, and when ready to publish, there’s an option to save the draft and edit online.  That works perfectly for doing any additional plug-in required tasks before publishing.

Launched the new TeamBelt.com last weekend

Mar 18, 2008 by Steve Belt in Blogging, Real Estate

Saturday, I announced the re-launch of the new TeamBelt.com website.  The old website was a static web 1.0 style site, that was really underperforming for me.  I made very few, if any, clients from it, and with the success of RealPhoenixLiving.com, I knew it had to go.

So, I found a website template that I liked, and then I had that template customized for my needs.  And what you see at Scottsdale and Phoenix Homes For Sale is the result. 

I hope you check it out.  If you do, let me know what you think.

24 HR Race Results

Mar 18, 2008 by Steve Belt in Cycling

I’m a month late in getting to this, but what the heck, better late than never.

The 24 hours in the Old Pueblo race went pretty well, all things considering.  Robert and I arrived on Thursday afternoon to secure a camp spot, get one night ride in on the course, and then be able to primarily relax on Friday, before the shotgun start on Saturday at noon.

Thursday evening, however, it started raining/drizzling.  That eventually turned into snow.  It was cold, and I was close to miserable.  Friday, it rained pretty much all day long.  And Friday night, it again snowed.  Waking up to 2″ of snow on the ground in Arizona is a strange thing.

At around 11am, just an hour before the race was to start, it really cleared up, and the sun began to peak through.  It wouldn’t rain again, but the past 36 hours of rain meant the trail was very, very muddy.  I rode the first lap, and really slogged through the mud.  It was a grueling lap, that really took a lot out of me.

Robert went next, and looking at his bike when he got back, you’d swear he was riding some place else.  An extra 90 minutes of drying time on the trail, plus 1000 bikes pushing mud off the trail, and conditions had greatly improved. 

Things went basically according to schedule until team lap #7, when Chris went out for his first night lap.  His light failed him 1 hr into the lap, and the final few miles, which should have taken 30 minutes took a full hour.  Oh well, I thought…that’s racing a 24 hr race.  Then team lap #8 also went poorly, although that rider (Carter) didn’t really explain why.  I rode lap #9 ok, and Robert rode lap #10 pretty well. 

Chris was supposed to ride lap #11 at 5am, but couldn’t get himself out of bed.  He was still dead from the earlier lap.  Carter said he couldn’t go at 5am either, and given I had only 30 minutes of sleep to this point, I decided our best bet was to wait until my alarm clock went off at 7:30am, and re-evaluate the plan at that time.

At 7:30am, I woke up to Carter having completely left the venue.  He had packed up his stuff sometime between 5am and 7am, and was gone.  That was certainly stunning.

Robert and Chris were up, and with 3 of us remaining, and not really that focused on the standings, we decided to pack our stuff into the truck, and just ready ourselves for one final lap at 10:30am, all together as a team.  We’d only get credit for 1 lap, but we’d get to ride together, which would be fun…and fun is really the whole point of doing the race.

Then at 8:30, I see my buddy John getting ready to go out for his first solo lap of the day, after taking a 6 hr nap, and quick changed the plan to go ride a lap with him, and let Robert and Chris ride the final lap the 2 of them.

So we did that, and in the end, we got credit for 12 laps.  I got credit for 4, Robert 3, Chris 3, and Carter 2…although Robert actually rode 4 laps.  Individually, we’d all hoped to ride 4 laps each at around 90 minutes per lap.  Robert and I were very much on that pace, while Chris was a bit slower, but pretty close, aside from the bonking and not riding a lap.  Carter…well, none of us knew him, and he decided to quit.  I’ll probably never see him again.

The conditions were very, very tough, and while Saturday night it didn’t snow again, it did freeze again, and for the most part, I was cold from my arrival on Thursday until 10am on Sunday.  I could never seem to get my core body temperature up to where I was comfortable, no matter how much I was wearing.  The only exception to that was when I was riding.  Riding, I felt pretty good.

We managed to finish 80th of 125 finishing 4-man teams.  Can’t wait to do it again next year.  Hopefully with a 4th team member that we can trust.