Category: Administrivia

I’ll see you in The Year We Make Contact

It’s weird, but it feels like I’ve been waiting all my life for this year, immortalized in the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

2009 was an incredible year. I discovered Songsmith.  I watched Barack Obama’s inauguration with a thousand excited friends in downtown Seattle. My awesome Mom turned 60! I invented a new word. The Dallas Stars beat the LA Kings at least once. I totally embarrassed myself with some old college poetry. I went to e3! I got an iPhone. I gave a speech at PAX! I was officially in the credits for my first video game, Halo 3: ODST. I bought a cow! And lastly, I put on an auction item for the Child’s Play dinner this year and raised $2,000!

I feel incredibly lucky to get to do what I do, and incredibly thankful for all the readers of my blog and followers on Twitter.

I hope you have an amazing New Year. Stay safe, and we’ll see you in The Year We Make Contact., now with Facebook and Twitter Integration

I’m on a bit of a hacking high for a moment so bear with me.

For, well ever since I moved to Seattle more or less, my site has been based off of Windows SharePoint Services using its blog template. On the plus side, it’s extremely easy to set up a database centered blog with dynamic pages and such and things.  The downside is that to customize it you have to do all manner of BATSHITINSANE stuff. Recent versions have made things easier and easier and I only expect that to continue with SharePoint 2010.

I’ve never been terribly pleased with the comment ability on the blog.  I could have set it up like a lot of blogs, requiring a unique registration, but that would force people to remember yet another password and have yet another silo’d account just to post here.  So I allowed anonymous comments on the blog, which has basically been more or less ok.  However between pranksters, Internet drama inciters, and most recently, comment spammers, I finally cast about for a real solution.

Enter Disqus.

While it doesn’t directly support SharePoint, Disqus is a drop-in comment technology that allows social media integration with a variety of blog solutions, and wow did that just sound like some moronic web 2.0 buzzword speak.

By dropping in some webparts and haxx0ring the gibson, I was able to fully integrate Disqus’s universal blog code into SharePoint’s blog template.

So, this means several things.

First off, all the old comments have been removed and archived.  The two comment systems are incompatible.  So basically it will now look like no one has ever commented on my blog.  That’s not censorship or anything, just a necessary evil to move to the new system.

To now post a comment on the blog, you must have one of the following:

A Disqus account
An OpenID
A Twitter account
A Facebook account

If you don’t have these, the comment system will help you now create one.

There will no longer be any blanket anonymous posts on the blog. 

Sure, you can create a new Twitter or Disqus account for being a troublemaker, but I can throttle a lot of that stuff and even ban words or users without having to close the system down or move to moderation only. This solution is so much better than captcha’s or any of that stuff, and you don’t have to remember some unique username or credentials just for my site.

For you privacy people, using Facebook or Twitter means that you must allow Facebook or Twitter to accept connections from Disqus (NOT, I will have no way of viewing or messing with any credentials, another attractive part of being able to integrate the sites like this).  Also be warned that using those accounts to post here on will mean that your “username” displayed will be your Facebook name (usually your real name)or Twitter username.

As a bonus, with Twitter and Facebook you will be able to cross post a comment to those sites if you so choose, although that is off by default.

I had to do a lot of kludgy xml editing using trial and error to get it all to work so my next post will be a tutorial on how to integrate Disqus into a Sharepoint blog for the Disqus folks to reference. There’s still some things to do, I’m not sure I like the themes and color schemes of the Disqus stuff so I will be tailoring that more to the site’s theme. But overall I am really pleased.

Anyways, this is all a longwinded way of saying, give the new comment system a spin!

It was 10 years ago today.

I was incredibly lucky and fortunate enough to be able to afford my own 128k ISDN line in 1998. Rochto and I had just moved into a new apartment in Las Colinas, where the Microsoft Dallas satellite campus is located. Our place was at the corner of Macarthur blvd and LBJ freeway, aka 635. It was the first apartment I ever rented that had its own garage.

I’d been thinking about setting up a website for a while. So I went to Network Solutions and reserved, on 9.28.98,

I quickly set about creating an NT 4.0 server box with IIS to host the site. It was a Pentium 133 with 128 megs of RAM (I splurged). And Microsoft had just bought Frontpage so of course that is what I immediately used as my website software.

I was so excited the day I registered the domain. I wrestled with the ISDN equipment. I wrestled with the drivers to dual bind the two 64k channels into one 128k upload and download channel. I configured DNS by hand with BIND. I mapped static IP’s to my hardware. All that work, all the learning, and now I was ready to author my own HTML and launch my personal site!

And here, here from my own personal archives, is the first version of with the first post, launched on 9.30.98.

Still do, to this day

I ended up redoing everything by hand in notepad.

We’ve come a long way. Thanks everyone who reads the site and comments, you guys are awesome and I am totally not worthy of the honor of you visiting here.

Oh you beautiful wonderful people.

So I began to notice over the past few months my Internet connection slowing down or not providing the full throughput. It was occasional and I didn’t really think much of it other than become slightly annoyed during a Halo game. It’s gotten worse over the past 2 months and I finally set about trying to figure it out.

Turns out web traffic is up something like 400% in the past 12 months. And since the site is hosted from a little machine on my desk here at home, ’twas impacting teh haloz.

So on the one hand, wow I’m super humbled you guys are checking out what I have to say. On the other hand it’s taking up my line. And on the gripping hand the hardware for is old and decrepit and needs to be updated.

So! Sometime in the next 24 hours will be moved to a new circuit and IP range. This will be the first IP change for me since 2002! Let’s hope Netsol moves faster than it used to.

This means that the site will be intermittently available as I move into the new IP space and DNS catches up.

This month celebrates the 10th anniversary of my registering, so no better time than to give it a refresh.

Dunno that I will go so far as to do a redesign but you never know!

Oh, and thanks for reading. :>


IMG_0701 is the personal website of Stephen Toulouse. 

Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse has spent over two decades in the technology industry, including 18 years with the Microsoft Corporation. While there he served as consumer and corporate technical support expert for Windows Operating Systems, technical writer, trainer, crisis communications public relations expert, and spent the last third of his career with the company in the Xbox division. While known jokingly as the “Head Banhammer” for the Xbox LIVE service, Stepto’s responsibilities as Director of Policy and Enforcement encompassed many disciplines. From developing and implementing policy on the service, to working with partners like development houses and law enforcement, to feature design and reviews for titles, services, and consoles, Toulouse’s role was integral and broad ranging from design to product management to policy. He was also responsible for public communication regarding enforcement and safety to press and customers, and became a popular fixture at community events such as the Penny Arcade Expo and as a co-host on the weekly Xbox Major Nelson Radio podcast.

Stephen has also served as Director of Product Management for GAEMS Inc, a maker of consumer electronics. Stephen’s role there was to guide the design and manufacture of a consumer electronics device for gaming consoles, working across a variety of teams (including art design, product design, and quality assurance) and manufacturer contacts (including sourcing, manufacture line, development of Bill of Materials, etc.) in China. Stephen successfully shipped on time with quality to meet a major license partner’s launch date (in this case, Microsoft’s Halo franchise). Stepto also worked in a contract role at HBO involving consulting on marketing and communications as well as director level project management.

Recently Stepto worked as Director of Hacker Success with representing the feedback and needs of security researchers to vendors and internal product teams at a strategic level. He also recently worked for Leviathan Security as a Senior Security Advisor. Currently he works at Electronic Arts as a Senior Security Advisor under a consulting role.

Stephen has written for for over a decade and is well established in social media circles for his use of tools like Twitter and Facebook to interact with his fans and customers. He’s published a book, A Microsoft Life and a spoken word comedy album, A Geekster’s Paradise in addition to several short stories. He is a frequent performer at the popular geek vaudeville show “w00tstock” alongside Wil Wheaton, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. He also performs locally at Seattle venues and video game industry events such as the Penny Arcade Expo Prime and East.

Raised in Texas for 30 years (Dallas, Austin, and San Marcos) Stepto now lives on the Olympic Peninsula in a farm house near a small town called Kingston with his Golden Retriever Basil Hayden and a Miniature Australian Shepherd named Lucien Idaho.

If you’re looking for his resume you can find it here.