Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

1/30/2009

eBook Readers

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:10 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

If there aren’t any pages, is it still a book?

Does an eBook’s page turn make a sound if there’s no one there to hear it?
What, I wonder, will it take for these miraculous devices to finally catch on? I’m sure it comes to no surprise to my regular readers, but I love books. I love reading and I love writing and I love the printed word, as I’ve written before. But, my personal library is starting to take up a lot of room. I’m not sure how many books I have, but it’s easily in the low thousands. I live alone, in a fairly good-sized house, without anyone, really to check my acquisition of lovely, lovely books, so, the numbers get away from me. But, I can say this, there are books in every room of my house. Every. Room.
Well, another thing that I’m sure will also not be a big surprise to my loyal readers, is how much I love science-fiction. Digital books, in some form or another, have been a staple of science-fiction for a very, very long time. It’s an idea that I love. I like the idea of a single, small device that’s able to access the entire encyclopedia, several newspapers, my favorite magazines, and whatever couple thousand books I might decide I just can’t live without. In a world, real or imagined, where space is becoming a premium, books that take up virtually no room would be a plus.

That’s why I can’t figure out the lack of market penetration that eBook readers have enjoyed! This article on BusinessWeek talking about the new, as yet mythical, revision of Amazon’s Kindle is what got me thinking about it. And, all the more for the fact that they’re as baffled as I am!
It’s not like the Kindle is the first eBook reader, either. The Sony Reader has been around for some time, in one form or another. And, there are others, too, like the iRex Iliad, to name just one. To me, these all seem pretty close in their execution, but none of them seem to have really caught on. Why?

No, really, I have no answers.  Why do you think?

1/28/2009

Five Firebug Extensions

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,GUI Center,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Do you remember me talking about Firebug for Firefox a year ago?

Okay, I’ll grant you, that was some time back, so let me just refresh your memory.  Firebug is an add-on for Firefox that lets you do web/HTML/CSS design and editing from within the browser.  It’s pretty slick, really, and it’s well worth checking out if you haven’t already.  Well, now WebMonkey, the best damn HTML/web development resource since the HTTP protocol, has a list of the Five Best Firebug Extensions .

So, now, an extension has extensions. Cool.
Hey, I know I wander pretty far afield, but this is still the Diary of a Network Geek!

1/26/2009

Sargasso

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:45 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

The only sea without a shore…”

I feel stuck. And, honestly, even as I write that, it feels ungrateful.
It’s not as if I’m in a bad place or anything, but I feel a little stuck. Unable to move forward and equally unable to move back. I suppose part of it is just the time of year. The new year has just rolled by and I feel like I’m in the same place I was last year. That’s not true, of course, but it feels that way. I mean, I’ve got the same job and I’m still not in a long-term, intimate relationship and I’m still not being more productive, really. But, it’s not a bad place to be stuck, either. I have lots of close friends and I got a raise when a lot of people are losing their jobs. And, when I was married, it really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Still, I feel like life is a little, well, empty. I just haven’t added much to my life this past year. Sure, I’ve been exercising more and feel better than I have in a long time, physically. And, I have been trying to be more creative via photography, but, well, I guess it really bothers me that I’ve been a whole year and don’t see much, if any, progress in my life. I’m just sort of treading water. Stuck.

Maybe I just need a couple of projects to work on. Something to work toward that will stretch me and my technical skills at work. Something that will push my creative skills in my private life. And, I keep trying to not think about relationships, since, well, everyone keeps telling me that when I stop looking that’s when I’ll find one. Not that that has ever made any sense to me, frankly, but, well, the way I’ve been doing it hasn’t worked too well, so, certainly I’ve got nothing to lose by not trying at all! Surely, it couldn’t go any worse!

Well, anyway, the past couple weeks, I’ve just been unmotivated to do anything much or write a lot for the blog and, hopefully, this post explains a little about why.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity."
   --Albert Einstein

1/23/2009

Another Book Picker

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Because I know you all can’t decide which book to read until I write one.

No, seriously, I know my faithful readers would be all over any book I actually slid past an editor to get published, because you’re great people. But, since I spend most of my time toiling away in a hellish server room, that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, until it does, here’s another website to help you pick what book to read.

This one is called Whichbook. And, unlike last week’s book picker, it doesn’t rely on you entering a book which you’ve already read. No, with this site, you can choose moods and content and all that sort of thing on a series of sliders. When you’re done, you’ll have a suggestion of which book to read. Hopefully, it’ll be something new.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities; an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties."
   --Reginald B. Mansell

1/22/2009

Expensive Hobbies and Obsessions

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:48 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I know some of my hobbies and obsessions seem rather more costly than is reasonable.

I’ll bet most of my readers thought it was a little crazy to even contemplate bidding on ephemera and, well, junk from the Battlestar Galactica set. I suppose, in a way, it is. And, I would imagine that more than a few people who are drawn in by the gravity well of time and energy I like to call The Diary of a Network Geek would find my semisecret urge to create my own props for my own, internal, unpublished science-fiction world, well, a bit odd, to say the least. Well, for those of you who doubt, I share with you Weta Collectibles: Original Rayguns. Look at them. Look at them closely. Now, look at the prices. There’s money in those rayguns!

Who’s crazy now?

Recession not Science Fiction

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

So, yeah, I bid on some Battlestar Galactica items this week.

You know that part of being a full-on network geek like me is being into science fiction, right? Well, it is. And some of the best science fiction on television in the past couple years has been Battlestar Galactica. They’re almost done with the series, which, wisely, has a definite story arc and a planned ending. Naturally, they decided to whip up a little frenzy about all this with an auction of genuine, screen-used, props from the show. Only, I think things may not have turned out quite the way they hoped…

Apparently, the recession has hit BSG fans pretty hard. So, I don’t feel quite so bad for getting aced out of a couple super-geeky, background props that I really can’t afford to spend money on in the first place. Besides, in keeping with the only thing resembling a “New Year’s Resolution” I made this year, that I want to produce more than I consume, I should be making stuff like this. In fact, with my latest obsession, photography, I think it might be fun to create “props” for a science-fiction setting of my very own. Between watching all the seasons of Battlestar Galactica out on DVD and watching my Space: Above and Beyond DVDs, well, I’m finding myself inspired to think of some good, old-fashioned science-fiction stories to tell with the camera. Surely, the world could handle a little old school, gritty, space opera complete with photographic illustrations.

Well, we’ll see how that goes as things warm up and my garage gets more usable again. If I were to clean it out and make a little room, I could easily have a photography studio and a prop workshop out there.
It would keep me off the streets at night!

1/20/2009

Gaming the Ticket Cams

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Leave it to crazy kids to beat the system.

No, seriously, high school students have found a way to make those pesky red-light ticket cameras work for them. Or, rather, work against their “enemies”. According to the Montgomery County Sentinel, some enterprising kids have figured out how to print fake license plates that are good enough to fool the cameras. Armed with those, they borrow cars that look like their target’s cars, apply the fake “plate” with their target’s information on it, and speed past the cameras. Bingo! Their target gets hit with the speeding ticket. Do it enough times and, well, it gets to be a problem worthy of the Internet news. (And, yeah, I called them “red-light cameras” instead of “speeding cameras” because that’s how they use them in Texas.)

Clever kids!

Oh, also, after having Thai curry for lunch yesterday, I’m feeling much better. And, I checked on my peanut butter via the toll-free number on the side of the jar. The nice recorded voice assured me that my precious peanut butter was salmonella-free, so I’m all good. Physically, at least.

1/19/2009

Altered Schedule

Filed under: By Bread Alone,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 1:04 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Okay, okay, the pressure of regular posting is weighing on me today!

Right, so you regular readers may have noticed that there was nothing new this morning. There will be later this week, but I just wasn’t feeling well last night and I was tired, and a little crabby, so I just didn’t queue up something for this morning. Honestly? I think I may have gotten tainted peanut butter. I don’t know what salmonella tastes like, but I’ve been queasy since yesterday at lunch when I had some. And, frankly, that strikes me as too much of a coincidence to not be somehow related to the latest public health scare. Oh, well, at least I’ll probably end up losing a few pounds!

So, more and better posting tomorrow, I promise.

1/16/2009

What Should I Read Next?

Filed under: Fun,Personal,Review,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, this is not a plea.

Really, I have a giant stack of books to read, so all I need to do is reach randomly into the stack and pull out something miraculous. No, this is to help you, dear reader, pick out something new to read.
As a computer geek, I love anything that programatically generates something new based on previous information. Markov Chains, for instance, are fascinating to me, even if I barely understand them. So, when I saw this website, What should I read next?, I had to share it with you. To use it, go, enter the last good book you read and its author, then clikc the big button. In a few seconds, the page will refresh with a link to what it thinks you meant, which will hopefully be the book you had in mind. Then, click on that link and you’ll be taken to a list of suggestions for what you should read next.

I’m not sure I entirely trust it, though, since when I used Choke by Chuck Palahnuik, it returned a bunch of Photoshop books. Still, it’s a fun way to get shoved out of your little reading rut! So, go ahead and try it!

1/14/2009

Network Geekery the right gig after all?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Certification,Geek Work,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

It turns out, yes.

So, apparently, being a professional network geek is one of the sexy jobs to train for in 2009, according to an article on MSN Encarta. Which means that, as frustrating as my job can be some days, it’s apparently a good gig to have. Hunh, who knew?


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones."
   --Phillips Brooks

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