Diary of a Network Geek

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

12/12/2012

Another Birthday

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,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 5:09 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

So, today marks another lap around the Sun for me.

Honestly, I don’t hang a lot on birthdays, especially my own.  I mean, for the most part, they’re just another day.  Another marker of many in my life and, frankly, a rather arbitrary one at that.  I’m more impressed with the fact that I’ve paid a third of my mortgage than that I’m turning 44 today.  Of course, the fact that I’ve made it this far is actually sort of an…
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2/10/2012

The Best 404 Pages

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Not all 404 pages are created equal.

Most of us will never see a 404 page.  In fact, if things are going well on your website, 404 pages shouldn’t normally come up.  (For those of you not familiar a 404 page is the error page you get on a website when the page you’re looking for is missing or can’t be found.)  In the old days, 404 pages were pretty much blank, outside of the error message itself.  They were meant for developers to troubleshoot and debug their websites, really.  They were a kind of place-holder page and, at best, an irritant to the average internet browser.
But, as the web grew up and became more sophisticated, so have 404 pages.  On many sites, they’ve become a kind of “Easter egg“, offering a look at the wit and sense of humor of the site designers and programmers.  What was an annoyance has become a fun bit of art!

Clearly, not even all “fun” 404 pages are created equal, so here are the best 404 Pages according to Gizmodo, one of the premiere gadget and technology blogs.  My favorite is the one they feature first, which strikes me as especially funny, considering my frustrations with Match.com lately.  There are some really good ones there, some more fun and some more useful than others, but all worth another look.  And, even though I know these are Gizmodo’s favorites, there are plenty of good ones that haven’t been listed here.  If you have any, please, leave a link in the comments!

And, hey, why not go check out that gallery today?  It is, after all, Friday, and surely you’ve earned some slack time by now!

4/3/2006

April Fool’s Date

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Dog and Pony Shows,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:39 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Surprise!
I’m sure many of you are fully expecting me to say that my alleged date on Saturday was, in fact, a very elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. It was not. It was, in fact, not only quite real, but quite good.
Saturday afternoon, I got a haircut and the $100 detailing done on the car, which took longer than I’d thought it would, so I just barely had time to scoot home, wash up and change before going to church. I opted for a high level of casual in relaxed-fit Gap khakis with a white DKNY, long-sleeved shirt, lightly starched. After some debate and a check with Matt for spiritual guidance on my choice of shoes, I opted for black cowboy boots instead of the Cole Haans. My date is an inch, or so, taller than I am, so I figured the extra height couldn’t hurt. I cleansed my car of all heavy metal and replaced it with Sting, Bonnie Rait and some other mellow favorites. No Sade or Nina Simone, though, per the helpful suggestions or my gentle readers.
So, at church everyone was asking about my plans. In fact, I had a veritable legion of folks who seemed to know what I was up to that night. Matt checked me over to make sure I’d done okay, as did J.’s new girl L. The general consensus of opinion was a thumbs-up. I have no idea what went on during the service because, honestly, I was beside myself with nerves. First date in over ten years makes a guy a little nervous, you know?
So, with Sting’s Brand New Day in the CD player, I raced over to her place as soon as church was over. She lives over by Minute Maid Park, so there was a bit of traffic, due to the Astro’s exhibition game, but it wasn’t too bad. What was bad, however, were the directions that I got via Yahoo!Maps. They were fine right up to that one, illegal, left-turn onto Franklin. Thankfully, I’ve driven all over Chicago during construction season, so circling wide and around to get where I actually wanted to be was not a big stretch for me. Also, I called her to get pointed back in the right direction. I parked in a loading dock at her building, per her instructions, and met her out front as she was walking her dogs. The first thing that caught my attention was how blonde she was. I spotted that two blocks away. The other thing was how tall five-foot eleven was when you got up close. Yeah, she’s an inch taller than I am,when I stand up straight. Still, she was at least as good looking in person as she was in her pictures, so, all was well. (She said more or less the same about me, later, so, don’t think I was the only one worried about that!)
We took her dogs up to her apartment and I got the nickel tour. She runs her business out of her home, so she had an industrial oven, a bunch of baking racks, and assorted high-end cooking gear all over. Naturally, she had an enormous kitchen. She actually lives in a loft in a building that, except for the nice, wide halls, reminded me of places I’d been in Chicago. In fact, that was one of the reasons she like this building, because she used to live in Chicago and it sort of reminded her of there. So, yes, she lived in Chicago for nine years, working in catering, mainly, and she knew the edges of my old stomping grounds. In fact, she said that would be the only part of the country that she’d consider moving to again. Oh, did I mention that she took me by surprise with a kiss when I met her?
Anyway, after that it was off to La Vista, a little Italian place that she knew. It’s quaint and used to have a strictly BYOB policy, and they maintain that even though you can get wine there now. Apparently, it was run by a friend of hers from high school and was more wildly successful than he’d ever imagined it being. Who knew? But, here is where it got interesting. At this restaurant I noticed the difference between this one and everyone I’ve ever gone out with before. We ordered our dinners and I ordered a glass of iced tea. Well, our salads came, but my tea didn’t. I was willing to quietly ignore that, as long as it didn’t end up on the bill, but she caught our waiter and told him to get it for me. Honest to God, no one has ever been that attentive to me before, ever, much less on a first date. I thanked her, of course, then told her that I’d been willing to let it slide. And how thoughtful it was of her to catch that for me. Dinner was, of course, wonderful. Sadly, if we’d had dessert we’d be too late to catch a movie, so we skipped that and were off to the giant Edwards MarqE to catch a late show.
We got tickets to the 10:30PM showing of Ice Age: Meltdown, but we were cutting it close. The lines were too long at the candy stand, so, while she ran into the ladies room, I hit the quarter vending machines to feed her self-confessed sweet tooth. Generic Sweet Tarts and plain M&Ms for a buck’s not a bad deal at the theater, so I carefully filled my hand and waited for her by the door to the ladies room, feeling rather like a pervert. She came out and saw what I had in my hand and started giggling like a little girl. She grabbed my free hand and gobbled a couple of the candies while dragging me into the theater. She hesitantly lets me choose where to sit in the darkened movie house and I quickly point to two seats in the middle of the row in front of the main aisle. When she sighed with relief and called me a man after her own heart, I knew I’d done good. She hates climbing up to the higher reaches of seats as much as I do. Cool. I automatically lifted the middle arm between the two seats, because, well, just because. That, too, met with her instant approval. We dropped into our seats just as the last preview was ending and the main feature was starting. Perfect timing!
I won’t review the movie, but Ice Age Meltdown was hilarious. We laughed the whole way through. Great first date movie.
After that, it was back to her place for some mellow music, more talking and, well, stuff. It was at this point in the evening that I found out she was a published poet and a very accomplished photographer. Her black and white photos of Paris looked like they could have been hung in a gallery. I also got to know her geriatric basset hound and her two miniature Dachshunds. When I finally left, she sent me out into the world laden with her gourmet dog biscuits as a peace offering to my own dog. Also, she figured a bribe might get me back into the house.

She’s braving my house for pizza and a movie Tuesday night before heading out of town for a trade show. Next week, the Saturday before Easter, she’s going to come to Mercy Street with me. Apparently, she wants to meet the man who gave me spiritual advice about my shoes.
In short, I think I’ve got a winner. Now, if I can just get used to being fawned over for a change, and learn to take her compliments without a skeptical side-long glance, everything will work out just fine.

12/10/2005

Marketing Strategy

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Or, what’s with all the polls?
So, I’m skimming through e-mail the other day and in the middle of a note about something totally unrelated, a buddy asks why I’m doing marketing research on my blog.
Hunh? I think. Marketing research? Then, it hits me that he’s talking about my latest poll. He reminded me that, hey, it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want. I don’t have to do market research on what my readers want on my own blog. Oddly, it never even occurred to me that I was doing that. Admittedly, I did feel a shift in my demographic from professional, male geeks toward something more, er, feminine and not quite as geeky, so I guess that triggered my need for feedback and research.
See, not only do I have a degree in Marketing, but I was raised by a life-long salesman and marketer. Dad drummed those things right into me before I even got to college. “Monitor progress toward goals” and “Be sure to ask the right questions” and “Set measurable goals” were all things he tried to teach me. Not just about business, but life. So, market research is part of who I am. It’s what I do. Kind of an odd thing for a geek to know, I suppose. Of course, I know a lot of things that are odd, even for geeks. For instance, when I remember to listen to my own inner voice, I can size people up pretty quickly and accurately. Good trait for a therapist, or a salesman.
But, I don’t think I have the right personality to make a good salesman. I’m not anywhere near outgoing enough to make that my bread-and-butter. I’m far too quiet. Honestly? I think I would have made a good priest. Yes, even with my dubious background, I would have made a decent priest. Not a monk, but priest. Sadly, I was raised Methodist by Baptists, so that option wasn’t really right for me. And, frankly, I never trusted our ministers, so that option is out, too. But remember, before every priest took his vows, he was a regular guy. Even a priest has a past. Oh, and, I can work a room, too. Some of my friends know what my stand-up would be like. They’ve heard me do ten or fifteen minutes just on my ex-wife and, mostly, they were rolling. I get that from Dad, too. He could tell off-color jokes at a funeral and get away with it, not to mention those crucifixion jokes he used to tell at Easter.

But, I digress. So, I can’t help the marketing research. It’s just one of the crazy things that make me who I am, like being double-jointed or knowing about knife-throwing or being obsessed with language and the written word. Just another mostly harmless quirk. As long as I remember not take it too seriously.
Now, about those tattoo stories… Should we start with “How Uncle Jim Got His First Tattoo”? Or is that too much like one of Kipling’s Just So Stories? Or, would my faithful readers be more interested in the finger cutting ritual of the yakuza? You know, there’s a trick to that…

4/21/2003

Palm OS Easter Eggs

Filed under: Fun,Palm — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Who has time to find these things?

Not me, that’s for sure. But, the nice folks over at PalmGear.com have compiled several so called “Easter eggs” found in the Palm OS.
Here’s a couple of my favorites:
Inch Worm on some Palm OS models

Go to Prefs. Make a # using Graffiti. (That is a dot, then a backwards N, kind of like a small h with a BIG hump…) Wait 10 seconds or so, because inchworms take time, you know. There he is! He is made of a bold o and bold underlines and slashes. He will stay there until you move on to another app, and he even survives a power off/on cycle!

See the Taxi!

1. Go to Preferences
2. Choose General
3. Draw a circle, counter-clockwise, above the Calculator button
If you do this correctly you should see an easter egg appear.
4. Exit Preferences and go into any other application.
5. Hold down the page down button and draw a line from the middle of the Graffiti input box to the left of the screen, right between the Applications and Menu buttons.
You should see a taxi run across the screen. To get the taxi to come across the screen again repeat step

Giraffe game

Start the Giraffe game. While you’re playing, tap the Help button. Once you’re in the Help screen, draw the ‘#’ character. This is done by tapping the Graffiti text area once and drawing a backwards N(draw down on the left side, angle up from left to right, and down again on the right side). You should see a dancing palm tree appear. That’s all there is to it!


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