Diary of a Network Geek

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

10/23/2007

Wired Test Issue

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events,Ooo, shiny...,Red Herrings,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

The Wired “Test” issue is available for free, on-line.

Wired magazine is one of the best consumer technology magazines out there and every year they do a review of consumer tech gadgets that totally rocks.  I got mine in the mail the other day and have been obsessing over the digital cameras they reviewed.  You can check out this year’s Wired Test Issue on-line if you follow the link.

10/20/2007

Bombshelter Market Up

Filed under: Fun,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

It’s ready to explode!

I bet you thought bombshelters went out with the end of the Cold War, right? Ha! Think again! I know I’ve been talking about the End of the World a lot lately here, but, well, it is kind of fascinating to me. And, back when I was in high school, I was a kind of low-rent, closeted survivalist. I’m not sure why I got all into it, honestly, but, well, there you are.

In any case, I’ve been reading about this stuff lately and when I saw this Boing Boing article on the resurgence in new bombshelters, I had to at least post a link to it.

10/19/2007

DIY MMORPG

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 6:08 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Make your own world.

It sounds appealing, doesn’t it? Well, it’s quite possible you can create the next World of Warcraft or SecondLife yourself, but without all the programming overhead. At least, that’s what the folks over at Metaplace are telling the media. Now, personally, I think it’s a great idea, especially when you combine it with that site I was talking about the other week, Galaxiki. You could make your own science-fiction setting and then let people adventure in it.

Sadly, there’s not much of a 3d client for this yet, and when I checked last the website was being hammered by multiple news sites linking to it. So, while you’re waiting for them to come back up, check out these crazy costumes from the World of Warcraft convention last month.
Also, if you haven’t voted in the current poll, read the post that explains it and vote!

10/18/2007

Magical Thinking

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:47 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

It’s not that much of a Secret.

So, lately, there’s been a big hullaballo about this book, The Secret. (Or, for the lazy, or illiterate, the DVD.) Apparently, many of its devotees swear by it, claiming that it’s changed their life. Well, according to what I’ve read in this review on MSN, I’ll skip it. Why? Simple, I already know the principles espoused in the book and would rather save my money.

The basic principle is this: Like attracts like. Now, all you pagan readers will recognize that as the Law of Attraction. In short, it says that if you think happy thoughts, you’ll attract happy “stuff” in life. Some of you may also recognize that same idea in a different phrase I’ve become acquainted with over the past few years: “Fake it, ’til you make it”. Either way, it amounts to the same thing.
Not that it’s a bad thing, per se, but I don’t need another book to teach me about it. This principle of positive thought has been around for quite some time. And, quite a few authors have written books on it. For instance, there’s the Norman Vincent Peale classic, The Power of Positive Thinking. Now, that is a book I can recommend.

I think the real message is, as one of my heroes, Abe Lincoln, put it, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” And, while it may not be true in all cases, since a certain amount of unhappy things are just a part of life, how upset I get and for how long are entirely in my control. Frankly, I think that’s how I got through my cancer treatment so well. I just made up my mind that I was going to do it, deal with it, survive and move on. So, I did. No real magical thinking required at all.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If you can't be thankful for what you receive, be thankful for what you escape."
   --Unknown

10/17/2007

Guess who?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,NaNoWriMo,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:46 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Well, I can see that my ex-wife has been here…

As you can tell from the poll to the right, someone thinks I shouldn’t write at all. Without checking my logs, I’d put my money on the Queen of the Damned.
I’m glad you still think about me and are concerned for my welfare. No worries, though, if I can survive cancer, I can handle the stress of writing for NaNoWriMo.  Heck, you’ve made up some interesting fiction about me over the years, you darling little nut, maybe you should try NaNoWriMo this year, too!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."
   --Buddha

10/16/2007

Chemistry 202

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:05 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Sometimes, oil and water just don’t mix.

So, after a busy couple of weeks and not hearing from S., the girl from Match.com who contacted after more than six months, I finally got a reply e-mail from her.  At first, I’d thought it was an e-mail problem of some kind that was blocking incoming e-mail from her domain, but I verified that it was working with someone else.  Before I did that, however, I sent her an e-mail that indicated I was having some e-mail issues and I included my phone number.

Naturally, I got a response back telling me that her junk mail controls had grabbed that and she’s only just now seen it.  So, can anyone guess what her response was to my suggesting we get together this week?  Yeah, she’d started seeing someone else a couple of weeks ago and wanted to pursue that.  But, she wanted to stay friends, etcetera.  Of course.  Sure.  What else, right?  Well, rather than reply right away, I waited over night to think about it.  Good thing, too.

So, this morning, I send her a quick note saying, in essence, that it was probably best.  After all, things hadn’t really worked out the first time, so there wasn’t any real reason to expect them to work out now, right?  Right.  Well.  All that means, really, is that I’ll be back on my original plan of looking seriously at dating sometime after Christmas.  I figure finding some one off Match.com is like looking for work.  No one really changes jobs, or partners, until after the holidays anyway.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Everyone deserves to be happy, but not if that happiness is dependent on imprisoning or enslaving another human being."
   --Unintentionally ironic comment left on a blog

Tags: ,

Fantasy or Science-Fiction?

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,NaNoWriMo,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:52 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

What should I write for NaNoWriMo?

So, I’ve got two ideas floating around in my head for NaNoWriMo. Well, two BIG ideas, with many variations on them that could go a lot of different ways. Naturally, the ideas in my head have polarized between two extremes of fantasy and science-fiction.

Under the fantasy ideas, I have two, I suppose. One is an expansion of the idea I first explored in The Chrome Girl over on Fantasist.net. The idea, in short, is that magic is a virus, a disease. Specifically, a sexually transmitted disease. And, naturally, it spreads quickly and has lots of unintentional consequences. I see this starting with an expedition to find something, well, historical. Something from the time of Christ, back when miracles were more common. That “something” turns out to have a blood-borne pathogen on it or in it or whatever and that gets out and infects someone on the team. Sadly, that person would have to be a bit trampy for the rest of the story to work, but, I think you all get the idea anyway.
The other story that’s fantasy-based is a bit more, um, complicated. Imagine, if you will, a war in fantasy land. Anthropomorphic caterpillars with sabres and muskets fighting goblins mounted on racing snails with lightening lances fighting winged monkeys armed with repeating crossbows complete with bioluminescent tracers. I see a landscape of huge mushrooms and magic run wild. I’m not sure what the cause of the war would be, exactally, but I can figure that out. Naturally, the war would be epic and completed by the end of the NaNoWriMo book.

On the science-fiction end of things, I mainly see a survival story. Possibly a world-wide pandemic combined with one or more meteors and an EMP event that knocks out electronics all over the US. Maybe the fast travelling disease just disintigrates people or maybe it makes them zombies. And, to add a bit of motivation and flavor, the main character has a daughter, say, or a son, in another state that he has to go and “rescue”. Though, how that rescue turns out is sort of up for grabs. Naturally, depending on the zombies/no zombies options, we have two very different stories. (And, yes, this was very much driven by The World Without Us, which I recently read.)

So, what do you all think? Which way should I go?
(And, by that I mean, vote in the poll on the sidebar.)

10/15/2007

Writer’s Rites

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

No, that is not a misspelling.

So, recently, there was a big brouhaha over at BoingBoing because Cory Doctorow posted an ultra-short story by Ursula K. LeGuin. She objected, but she did so via a third party that happened to be in Cory’s twitfilter, so he didn’t know she objected. When it was all finally sorted out, Cory offered an apology to Ms. LeGuin, which she accepted. Along the way, however, one of the Grand Old Gentlemen of science-fiction, as well as a brilliant author, Jerry Pournelle got involved. Now, I may not agree with his politics, or many other things, but at one point in my life, I loved his writing. He is also a collaborator with another of my favorite authors, Larry Niven.

In any case, before the aforementioned brouhaha, I had not visited Mr. Pournelle’s website, so, while chasing a couple of links, I had a look around. Well, he mentioned something that he and Mr. Niven apparently learned from a third brilliant science-fiction writer, Steven Barnes, called the Five Tibetean Rites. Sometime in the unknown past, Mr. Barnes found for these Elder Statesmen of science-fiction a series of exercises meant to increase general health and energy. It is rumored that Mr. Niven can manage an amazing twenty-one repititions of these exercises and finds them to be quite invigorating. Naturally, as I am quite interested in imporving my health these days, I was intrigued.  They don’t seem too hard, until you read the suggestions about how many times to repeat the motion.

Well, I guess, like so many things, we’ll just have to see.

10/13/2007

Now, I’m really cooking

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,By Bread Alone,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

So, back when I was dating LK, I really got cooking.

No, not that, you dirty-minded naughty people. Cooking on a stove with food. But, since surviving cancer, I’ve been doing real cooking, from scratch, not the regular, heating up canned sauce and pouring it over cheap pasta that I usually do for myself. A couple of weeks ago, I actually made marinara sauce from scratch, and poured it over cheap pasta. Here’s how:

  • Pour enough olive oil in a sauce pan to cover the bottom with a little bit to spare
  • Add some fresh, crushed garlic (I used about half a full clove)
  • Saute that in the hot oil until garlic is golden brown and smells good
  • Add fresh chopped tomatoes until about two thirds of the sauce pan is full.
  • Spice to taste, but I included more garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme and pepper. (Actually, most people could do without as much pepper as I used, but, still, I liked it.)
  • Simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add spices for color and taste.

Yeah, that’s it. Simple as all get out, isn’t it? And, yes, I fed it to actual human beings besides myself who enjoyed it, so they claimed, and did not die. I made that again, but added mostly cooked Italian sausage to make a meat sauce. Oh… Well, let’s just say my “lose weight” resolution took a little beating.

Then, there was the salad dressing I made with one cup of olive oil, one cup of apple cider vinegar and two table spoons of parsley. And some sugar and some other spices which I would tell you, if I could remember what I used. As salad dressing, it was okay. But, as something to dip bread into while we waited for the pasta to cook? Oh, I don’t think I exagerate when I say it was heavenly. Something about the tang of that apple cider vinegar just really, really went well with the fresh Italian bread.
A similar concoction for cold pasta salad didn’t do quite as well. Still, it wasn’t entirely a failure, so, I might try that again.

A couple of weeks after she broke up with me, I made “Mystery Whitefish” Almondine ala Leftovers. I had two small fillets of an unknown variety in my fridge that had to get used before they go nasty, so I grabbed my copy of Cooking for 1 or 2 and started to improvise. You see, I almost never have the ingredients I need on hand when I start cooking, so, I just come close and muddle through. I often find it surprising what I find when I do that.
This time, I substituited a failed batch of cornbread for bread crumbs and found something new and wonderful. Here’s what I did:

  • Toss your fillets into a bit of milk. Just enough to cover them a bit.
  • In another pan or plate, toss the cornbread crumbs and mix in a bit of pepper and salt. I used Lowry’s seasoned pepper, but whatever works for you.
  • Pop a medium fry pan onto the stove and, when it gets hot enough, melt a bit of butter in it.
  • Flop the fillets from the milk into the seasoned cornbread. Coat both sides well and drop them into the pan.
  • Cook until the fish is flaky and tender then flip the fillets onto a warm plate.
  • Throw some sliced or slivered almonds into the pan and saute until, what else, golden brown. I’d guess about a teaspoon or so per serving.
  • Serve over brown rice

I have to say, this was surprisingly delicious. Granted, there’s no one to verify the delectibility of this particular culinary experiment, but Hilda thought the plate tasted quite nice after I was done.

I tried this with chicken, instead of fish, and cashews, instead of almonds, and, while I have no idea at all what to call it, the result was, well, to put it mildly, heavenly.

10/12/2007

Linux Home Server

Filed under: Fun Work,Geek Work,GUI Center,Linux,MicroSoft,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:58 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

This is old news.

So, lately, there’s been a bit of buzz about Windows Home Server. The press has gone on at length about how this was such a brilliant idea who’s “time has finally come” and patted Microsoft on the back for thinking of it.
Well, this is really old news. As I was going through some old magazines recently, before throwing them out, I saw a short article on the Memora Servio Personal Server. A Linux-based home server that did everything from share files to filter e-mail to act as a firewall for home users. The device was auto-configuring and sat between your home network and your broadband connection and even could be ordered with wireless built in. The magazine was from 2001.

Sadly, the company doesn’t seem to be around any more, though you can see the old Memora About page, thanks to Archive.org. Again, this company was doing this six years ago and, from what I can tell, only seemed to have closed up shop in the past year or two. I wonder how well this product sold? What’s more, I wonder if anyone has the distro around, with the configuration programs on it? I know, I’d love to get my hands on that!

So, some of my readers are geeks, too. Ever heard of this product? Or, maybe, something like it?

(And, if you haven’t looked at my pictures yet, scroll down to untill you see them, then vote on the sidebar!)

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