Diary of a Network Geek

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

4/1/2014

Get Smart with KeySmart!

Filed under: Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I debated writing an April Fool’s entry for this week, but I decided against it since this feature was so new. Maybe next year.KeySmartAsShippedMyKeySmart

Also, I noticed that I seem to be obsessed with locks and keys this month.  Or maybe every month.  In any case, this week the tool I’m talking about is the KeySmart.  I’m not sure if you’d call it a “key chain” or a “key management system” or what, but, as you can see from the photos, what it’s meant to do is make your keys neater, easier to manage and take up less room in your pocket.  It does all those things admirably well.

This started out as a project on Kickstarter, which I backed.  And, let me tell you, I am so happy that I did!  These things are fantastic!  In the photo on the right, you can see my two “active” KeySmarts.  The blue one is for work, because it matches the blue in our logo and it’s easy for me to remember.  The black one is my personal set of keys.  You’ll notice a couple of differences.  First, on the blue one, I have a single 8G USB drive attached at the key fob holder.  On the black one, you’ll see that I have a couple odd-shaped keys and a tiny, LED flashlight attached with the key fob ring.  That may be the only real down-side I see to the KeySmart, actually.  Those odd, bulky keys just don’t work in the KeySmart itself.  But, they are doing just fine as I have them.  In fact, I’ve happily had them on that ring for several months now and that solution works just great for me, giving me access without adding too much bulk.
That being said, that little drawback is also why I don’t keep my car keys on the KeySmart.  Of course, it’s probably a good thing anyway, since the weight of all those keys would probably mess up my ignition eventually.  Besides, if I valet park somewhere, I’d rather not give them my house key and my car key at the same time.  I’m a little paranoid that way.
KeySmartInUse

There are actually two basic kinds of KeySmart, both of which come in a rainbow of colors.  The “standard” length or the EXT-style, extended length like I have pictured here.  I’m very happy having gotten the extended style because of how the longer keys fit together in it.  Everything folds down all nice and neat, with nothing sticking out to catch or snag.
The basic configuration of either length can comfortably hold four keys, two on each end.  However, you can get post extenders that will let you fit more keys on per side.  The expansion packs also come with small washer and rubber o-rings to take up any slack that you might have from an uneven number of keys.  Personally, I recommend trying to just make it work out right with an even number of keys.  After a bit of fiddling around, that really seemed to work best.  You can see what comes with the smallest expansion pack in the photo at the top on the left.  That little baggie has the posts, washers and o-rings that make it easier to fit additional keys in your KeySmart.  I tried one of the larger expansion packs, but I found that it really got unwieldy in my pocket to have anything more than the smallest expansion pack.  Your mileage may vary on that, but I carry a lot of keys and the small expansion pack did quite well for me.

The posts are small, as you can see, but they still fit most keys.  The website sells blanks that will all work with your KeySmart, but I, and many other Kickstarter backers, found that it was very little trouble to use a rotary tool to expand the opening on the few keys that didn’t fit.  I had a couple keys that I had to do that on, but it only took a couple of minutes to get them all sized right to work.

KeySmart offers a USB drive that fits into their product, available in a range of storage capacities, and it’s okay, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with it.  I ended up having to use several of the rubber washers just to make it fit right and not rattle loose or make the keys around it loose.  What I found worked better for me was getting a LaCie USB Key.  The model I have seems to actually be discontinued, but it fits great.  I suspect that the current model, which is shorter, would do just fine, too.  It just slips in there like any other key would, though it does take up just a little bit more room than a regular key in the KeySmart.

I have to say, again, how pleased I am to have backed this when it was on Kickstarter.  There are other key management solutions, but this one is elegant, simple and rugged.  Also, relatively inexpensive at roughly $17 for the EXT+ versions that I have, not including the USB drives and expansion kits.  Very much a good deal in my book.
And, everyone I show these things to has run out to buy one!  That’s about as good an endorsement as I can give!

12/6/2013

A Month of Photographic Ideas

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 6:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

It’s never too late to get inspired!

I know that I’ve missed almost a full week of December, but, well, I don’t think it’s too late to share a month-long photo challenge.
Daniela Bowker, over at Photocritic.org, shared a 30 Day Photo Challenge she found via Twitter a couple of days ago, and I thought I’d kick off this month’s Friday links by passing it along.  The idea originally comes from the folks behind the Twitter account @Just_Go_Do_It and is a different…
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10/17/2013

Photography 101 by Canon

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Pressgram — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, I’m back.

Blogging, and writing in general, is like having a case of scabies; it’s a persistent itch that just will not go away!
In any case, I’m safely married and my blushing bride is hard at work on her business, so I’m back at the blog and other writing projects.  Right now, I’m working on some personal documentation off-line, in the privacy of my own directory structure, but that may eventually get shared with the larger world.  Until then, though,…
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9/6/2013

Camera Porn

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:19 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

By now, dear readers, you both should know that I’m “into” photography.

Now, I’m not really into collecting cameras, though, I will admit that I have several.  And, I only shoot digital, because, frankly, film is kind of a hassle these days and I just never really had the time, patience or money all at once to learn enough about film to develop my own.  And, let’s face it, if I’m not developing my own photos, it seems like a waste…
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8/9/2013

Simulated Camera

Filed under: Fun,Ooo, shiny... — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

What good is a virtual camera?

Funny you should ask.

So, my regular readers, both of you, know that I love photography.  But, at the same time, you’ll also notice that I haven’t been posting as many photos as I used to post.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but one, and the one I’m going to focus on today, is that I’m rusty.  Rusty in the sense that it’s been so long since I was shooting regularly that I’ve…
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4/12/2013

Light Painting

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:58 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Cool light techniques.

I love doing tricky things in camera.
Look, I work with software all day long at my regular gig, so when I get home, I don’t really want to spend hours and hours working with Photoshop to make a “photograph”.  To me, the whole point is to make photographs with the camera, not with software.  I know, it probably makes me an antique, but, well, there it is.
I’ve done some work with light painting, though, thanks to my tragic…
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3/1/2013

Caring for your DSLR Body

Filed under: Fun Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:58 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Really, it’s about dust and keeping it out of your camera, but, let’s be honest, that really is the biggest issue in keeping your camera clean.

As part of their “photography 101″ series, The Photo Argus recently ran a story titled “Caring for the DSLR Body and Lenses”, but it primarily focused on cleaning the body of the DSLR, including the sensor, and keeping dust out of the body going forward.  And, to be fair, dust in the body, especially on…
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1/1/2013

Day One

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life Goals,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

On this day, in 1660, arguably the most famous diarist in history, Samuel Pepys, made the first entry into his personal diary.

He kept his diary for approximately nine years, detailing everything from his personal life to the news of the day to even what he ate.  Although he clearly kept his diary purely as a personal exercise, he must have suspected that it may eventually prove interesting to future generations based on the care he took to bind it and…
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Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The Constitution of America only guarantees pursuit of happiness; you have to catch up with it yourself."
   --Gill Robb Wilson

10/12/2012

Book, with occasional music

Filed under: Art,Fun,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:55 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Do you hear music when you read?

No, I don’t mean, “Do play music while you read?”, but, rather, do you hear music, like a movie soundtrack while you read a book?  I know for awhile, I was so immersed in movies and the movie experience that I couldn’t help hearing certain kinds of background noise and sound effects when I read certain kinds of books.  But, what if that happened on purpose?  What if you had a way to synchronize an actual soundtrack, complete with mood music and sound effects, with the book you were reading?

Well, if you read books on your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone or Android-based e-reader, you actually can, thanks to Booktrack.  They’ve developed an app that will run on all those platforms which will adapt a soundtrack for your book, complete with sound effects, to how fast you read.  The download is free and I’m not sure if there’s a “training period” where the app learns your regular reading speed, but I sure do like the idea!  I’m sure the selection of books is a little limited right now, but, with any luck, more people will show interest and more books will get added to their list.

So, what the heck, it’s Friday!  Turn your volume down and go check it out!

5/4/2012

RC Dragon

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

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I love dragons.

And, clearly, I’m a “gadget guy”.  I mean, who in IT isn’t obsessed with gadgets, at least to some degree, right?  And, you may not realize it, but, well, I sometimes like to play with fire.  Nothing too huge, but, well, boys will be boys, I guess, right?  And, what boy hasn’t played with a campfire before, eh?
So, taking all that into consideration, you can imagine how cool I thought it was when I saw that someone had built a radio-controlled, fire-breathing dragon.
Yeah, you read that right.  Most of the linked article is in Italian, but the photos are still pretty clear and, honestly, the videos of this thing in flight and breathing fire are what everyone is going to want to see anyway.

So, yeah, it’s Friday, and you clearly have nothing better to do or you wouldn’t be reading my blog anyway, so you might as well go take a look at that link!
Enjoy!

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