Diary of a Network Geek

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

3/25/2011

All The Best LEGOs

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:20 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I’m just a big kid.

No, not at heart.  I’m just a big kid.  Period.
I buy Nerf guns for myself.  *Fully automatic* Nerf guns.  And, yes, sometimes, I buy LEGO sets for myself.
I admire the guys who make super-cool original LEGO spaceships and post them on Flickr, but, for those of us with less skill, there are still some great sets we can get for, um, “dioramas”.  Yeah, yeah, that’s it.  As displays.  Definitely not toys which are certainly not played with while making “zoom zoom” sounds.  Nope.  Not at all….

Right, so, anyway, if you’re into that kind of thing, Gizmodo has some of the best new LEGO sets coming out this year.
And, if you’re just keeping your inner child a prisoner this Friday, go look anyway.  They’ll love you for it!

3/18/2011

Goodnight, Dune.

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:10 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Frank Herbert is one of my favorite authors.

I read his masterpiece, Dune, in Junior High and proceeded to gobble up just about everything he wrote thereafter.  In fact, for several years, I re-read Dune about every other year.  But, I’m not so fanatical about his work that I can’t appreciate a good parody.

Which brings me to the IO9.com supplied Goodnight, Dune.
Yes, it’s an adorable mashup of the science-fiction classic and Goodnight, Moon, the children’s book.

Hey, it’s Friday, go check it out and enjoy.

3/17/2011

Cyber vs. Regular

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Why does adding “cyber” to something make it so different?

So, recently, there was an article on Slashdot about “cyber vigilantes”; “Should Cyber Vigilantes Be Cheered Or Feared?
Um, does being a troublemaker and scofflaw online make it less bad in some way?  I mean, a “cyber” vigilante is still a vigilante.  So, shouldn’t the question really be “Should we punish people who take the law in to their own hands?”  Isn’t that what the question is really saying?  Does it matter that it happened on-line or not?  Seriously?  When someone shuts down part of the financial system, like the ability of Visa to process credit charges, do we care that the people who did it were on-line or in the street?

I don’t care.  As far as I’m concerned, a vigilante is a vigilante.

Look, here’s my point;  There is NO difference between “cyberspace” and “real life”.  There never was.
Why do people still seem to get the idea that we’re different in some key way on-line than we are in person?  Do my values change because I’m sitting at a keyboard?  Does relative anonymity somehow exempt me from my regular standards of behavior and conduct?  No, in short, no, there is no difference.
I have had people say things to me from the safety of an e-mail or forum that they wouldn’t dare say to my face.  I know, because if they had, I’d have a criminal record and most likely be paying their hospital bill still.  Not that I’m a violent guy, on-line or anywhere else, really, but if I’d been within arm’s reach of some of the miscreants who’ve said things to provoke me, well…  Well, let’s just say that your Uncle Jim isn’t easily provoked and that’s best for everyone, okay?
So, riddle me this, dear readers, why do we still persist in the illusion that, somehow, we stop being people because of an intervening computer interface?

And, isn’t it time we stopped that?

3/16/2011

Japanese Tragedy

Filed under: Art,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:03 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Wow, where to even begin…

Readers of my blog may not be aware of what level of Japanophile I really am, but, well, let’s just say I keep track of what’s going on over there better than the average American.  Many of art and movie trends, especially in animation and comics and science-fiction in general, end up being a pretty big influence over here.  Fashion, too, actually, and in ways most of us aren’t even aware of most of the time.
So, with that in mind, when I saw a couple of my contacts over there in Tokyo talking about the earthquake, tsunami and general devastation on Twitter and Facebook this past Friday morning, I was concerned.  As news media started to pick up the stories, detailing just how bad it was, I have to admit, I started to wonder about the damage done to the global economy and what it meant for our entire future.  Think about all the electronics and cars and, well, all kinds of things, that come out of Japan or through Japan and consider what will happen when those things aren’t manufactured for a while during this crisis.  The ripple from that will be felt all over the world for quite some time.

What’s worse, though, is what’s happening with those reactors.
Boing Boing has an article about how regular citizens are tracking the radiation with home-brew Geiger counters, which is cool, but, frankly, a little frightening.  I mean, I was concerned when one of my friends said she was going to spend the night in her office because the trains were out and she had a 20+ mile walk home, but this…  Well, when the government, any government, tells you not to worry about radiation, frankly, I’d worry.  You know it has to be pretty bad when the U.S. Navy moves its fleet because they were concerned about radiation levels 160k out into the ocean.  That just can’t be good.  From the stories, at least one reactor is most likely experiencing a melt down, and probably more than one really is.  They claim it won’t be another Chernobyl, but, somehow, I just don’t believe them.  And, with so many people in such a tight geographical area, I have to wonder what the long-term implications of this will be.  I haven’t heard many clear estimates on how many have already died in this tragedy, but I’m sure it’s going to get worse.
Thank God for the brave workers who stayed, at peril to their own lives, to try to contain the damage as much as possible.  They’re real heroes.

I don’t know how many people are without basic shelter and necessities, but there are a couple ways to help.
First, a company named Shelter Box is sending disaster kits there and needs funding.  They seem legit and their kit is a pretty good selection of things that people would be needing.  Remember, we’re hearing a lot about the reactors, but there are also thousands of people who have been hammered by tsunamis as well.  It’s just like the hurricanes have been here in the States.  They have the same kinds of problems and need the same kind of help.
Another great way to help is to donate to the Red Cross at this link.  They always help and get the maximum amount of your donation directly to the people who need it.  Also, a general donation to them will help the people in Christchurch, New Zealand who were hit with earthquakes recently and the people in Haiti who still need help, too.

And, if you can’t donate, pray for them.
If you don’t pray, then at least send whatever positive energy you can their way.

Finally, for those of you, like me, who live in hurricane country, now is the time to think about putting together a disaster survival kit.  Seriously.  I talk about this almost every year, but, really, we need to do it.  I know I’ve been putting things together for the past several years, just in case, but it never hurts to plan a little more.  Even under the best circumstances, authorities expect us to be able to fend for ourselves for at least 72 hours.
Think about that and ask yourself if you’re prepared.  If not, seriously consider getting prepared before it’s too late.

3/11/2011

A Closet In Outer Space

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Ooo, shiny...,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:42 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

One of the many problems I’ve always had with the majority of science-fiction is space.

No, not outer space, but, rather, the space they use on spaceships and the like.  Something like the U.S.S. Enterprise is fantastic and fun, but, frankly wholly unrealistic in their use of available space on a star ship.  Those high ceilings and vast gardens are wonderful, but, really, they add so much mass to a deep space vessel  that I have to wonder if they’re really a good use of materials, not to mention the fuel to move it all and maintain it.
Even Battlestar Galactica seems to have incredibly high ceilings for a military vessel.  I mean, compare it to, say, an aircraft carrier, or, perhaps more reasonably, a submarine.  Granted, modern submarines have vastly more space available to them than their predecessors from World War II, but, still, space is at a premium.

In our only actual space installation, the International Space Station, space is certainly at a premium.  Granted, it’s not something that we still seem to be spending a lot of money on to improve or expand or even replace or duplicate, but it is the only real off-planet installation we currently have.  As such, it’s all we have to use as a guide for how future space craft or space stations might use their space.  So, if you’re a science-fiction writer, a future or hopeful science-fiction writer, or even just a fan, you owe it to yourself to check out this tour of the ISS.  Trust me on this, it will be an “eye opener” for many people seeing it for the first time.

Also?  I think it’s incredibly cool that people are living in space, even in cramped quarters, even for relatively short periods of time.
We live in the future.

3/4/2011

DIY Digital Picture Frame

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

I’m a cheap bastard.

I love the idea of using spare parts to make something cool and new.  I especially love it if the spare parts make something that I wouldn’t normally be willing to spend money on having, even if it is cool.
Digital picture frames fall into that category for me.

Sure, I’m a photographer and I shoot digital, so a digital picture frame is an obvious bit of techno-lust for me, but, like I mentioned, I’m a cheap bastard.  Too cheap to get a digital picture frame just to show off my own work.  But, when I saw this article on Ikea Hackers about making a DIY digital picture frame from an old laptop and an Ikea frame, well, I had to share it with you all.
I’ve seen similar articles, but this one really looked better than the other ones.  And, I certainly like the finished product better.  Now, all I need to do is find an old, working, laptop!


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