Diary of a Network Geek

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


Not Bad Milage

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,By Bread Alone,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:34 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

I got this in a regular e-mail newsletter.

A recent study conducted by Harvard University found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year.
Another study by the American Medical Association found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year.
This means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.

This thought brought to you by McGonigel’s Mucky Duck newsletter.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"If someone keeps having things go wrong, try out the assumption that it's because that someone wants them to go wrong."
   --George Scithers

Flowers for Algernon

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:22 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Science-fiction has become science fact yet again.

I know why a lot of writers have stopped trying to write science fiction, at least the good, old, hard science kind of science fiction. We are on such a fast development cycle of science and technology that predicting the future is almost impossible.

Do you remember the classic book, Flowers for Algernon? The book is about a young man who is mentally retarded and, as a result, has a limited life. Then, a scientist makes him the human trial for a drug that corrects his lack and even goes beyond that to make him a genius. Well, it’s quite possible that will be a reality soon, at least for certain kinds of mental retardation. An article over at Scientific American has the details.

So, the future is now and the next time you see a story about advances in medical science, think about this book, and this cure.  What will we cure next?  Honestly, I’m not sure if I hope more that it’s cancer or the common cold.


TypePad Marketing

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun Work,Geek Work,MicroSoft,The Network Geek at Home — 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 Waning Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

The folks at WordPress better wake up and take notice.

So, you probably know by now that I run this blog via WordPress. And, in the past, I’ve recommended the free blogging service provided by WordPress.com. Well, while installing software on a new PC I’d put together at work today, I saw the screen to pictured here. If you click the link and take a closer look at the screen, you’ll see an option to install a three month TypePad account. TypePad, like WordPress.com, has both free and paid accounts. So, this would give someone three months of the paid TypePad service.

I don’t know what this cost the folks at SixApart, who own TypePad, but this is some damn clever marketing, in my opinion. If this is included with every Intel motherboard sold… Well, let’s just say that I think it would get a lot of people trying this service and starting a paid account. It’s like Microsoft giving schools huge rebates and offering student editions for cheap to make sure that their software is what the fresh crop of workers are trained to use. It’s good marketing. At least, it sure seems to have worked well for Microsoft.

WordPress, are you watching this?

Five Questions

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Fun,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 5:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

More specifically, five questions to ask a date.

It’s funny, I suppose, for me to think about these things so much just now, as I’ve really decided it’s easier, better, for me not to date for a while. But, I suppose it’s natural that as soon as I try to force such things from my thoughts, that’s all that bubbles up.

Well, for those of you navigating those treacherous waters of long term relations, perhaps these five questions will provide you waypoints by which you may find your way.
Good luck.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."


High Oil Prices Good for Domestic Economy!

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Career Archive,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:28 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Yes, it’s true the higher cost of sending things overseas makes our economy stronger.

Well, in what I have to admit is a nice turn of events, ABC has an article telling us how the high oil prices are actually generating manufacturing jobs here, at home, in the good, old United States of America. Yea! So, what I’ve been saying for quite some time is finally being recognized by industry at large: it’s cheaper to “outsource” to small towns in Middle America than it is to send the work overseas. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite as true when I was saying it back in 2003, but it sure seems to be now.

You know, it’s not that I mind being right, even when I’m right so far ahead of the curve, but I sure wish people in positions of power would start listening to guys who have been in the trenches. Most of us really do know more than you’d expect about this stuff. Honest.

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Brigands demand your money or your life; women require both."
   --Samuel Butler


More Nerf Machine Gun!

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Fun Work,News and Current Events,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 5:35 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, look, I normally only post one fun/funny thing a week, and usually on Friday, but this was just too good…

So, my regular readers will all know about my obsession with the Nerf Vulcan, a fully automatic belt-fed machine gun, and you new readers may have just been clued in. Now, I still don’t have a release date on this bad-boy yet, but, I do have a link to video.
Yes, thanks to Gizmodo, I bring you a link to the Great NERF Office War video, featuring the Nerf Vulcan EBF-25!

Good times!


Be the perfect girl/boy-friend

Filed under: Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Fun,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 5:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, now, remember, this is silly.

Not to be taken seriously. At least, not very seriously.
Brought to you via MSN, How to be the Perfect Girlfriend and How to be the Perfect Boyfriend.

Please note the information and materials contained in the above links, including text, graphics, links or other items are provided “as is”, “as available”. Diary of a Network Geek does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of this information and materials and expressly disclaims liability for errors or omissions in this information and materials. No warranty of any kind, implied, expressed or statutory including but not limited to the warranties of non-infringement of third party rights, title, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and freedom from computer virus, is given in conjunction with the information and materials.

What’s more, the Network Geek is not responsible for and will not be liable to you or anyone else for any damages to your relationship whatsoever (including direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, exemplary or punitive damages) arising out of or in connection with the use of or inability to use information found in the above links. The Network Geek is not responsible or liable for any loss or damages that result from personal or confidential material sent to the Network Geek, or if the Network Geek sends such information at your request, or any action or decision made by you in reliance on this Web site, or those links, including, but not limited to, their contents, any unauthorized use or reproduction of this Web site, or those links, even if the Network Geek has been advised of the possibility of these damages. In no event will Diary of a Network Geek be liable for any damages to your relationship, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising in connection with this site, those links, or any other linked site or use thereof or inability to use by any party, or in connection with any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, defect, delay in operation or transmission, line or system failure, even if Diary of a Network Geek, or representatives thereof, are advised of the possibility of such damages, losses or expenses.

So, good luck with that.


Too Many Readers

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rat which is in the wee hours or 12:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Too many people read my blog.

Too many people I know, too many people I care about, too many people who care about me.  In the early days of this blog, eight years ago, all I wanted was readers.  Now, all I worry about is who’s reading.  Since I started this blog, we’ve added “Dooced” to our vocabulary.  We live in a world where potential dates Google each other to see what’s on their Facebook or MySpace pages.  And, now, I’m much more careful about what I write.  I’m afraid to rant about the English gits, er, fine gentlemen from the UK, that I work with, in case they happen to be reading.  I don’t say everything that I might otherwise about women I’ve dated, or even my ex-wife.
So, poor me, right?  So many people read my blog that I’m worried about how I’ll come across, who I might offend.  I fret over little things like not getting to far away from who I am, or who I think people perceive me to be, lest I overly disturb their sense of how I fit with them and the world.  Yeah, what a terrible burden I bear.  Ha.

So, I’ve talked about starting another blog, a creative blog, that’s not so closely associated with my professional life, with me.  Something where I can experiment on the screen and go mental and emotional and creative places that I feel too stifled to go here.  The Super Secret Creative Project of Doom.  It keeps me awake at nights, like tonight, and gnaws at me like the Midgard Serpent gnaws at the roots of the Tree of Life.  And, even as I write things like that, I feel the teenage angst that’s been sent off to French boarding school and grown up into upper middle-class ennui, like I should be wearing a black beret and smoking clove cigarettes.
So, where’s the drug that’s supposed to help me?  The clove cigarettes don’t take the edge off any more and the single-malt Scotch doesn’t help me sleep.  So, what’s a guy to do at 1:00 A.M. when my mind is racing, but the track is a tight circle that’s getting ever smaller and muddier?

What’s there to do but blog?

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
You don't have to be a genius to succeed. You just have to be the cleverest monkey in the cage.


Review: No Maps For These Territories

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Movies,Red Herrings,Review — 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 Waxing Gibbous

I watched No Maps For These Territories this weekend.
I’m not a huge fan of documentaries, even though I like shows in the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel.  But, I’ve been really getting into my Netflix subscription lately and, as a result, I’ve been renting DVDs that I might not otherwise get.  So, since William Gibson is one of my favorite authors, I thought a good “stretch” for me to take was getting a documentary on, and starring, William Gibson.  In general, it was okay.  It’s certainly not something I’d be interested in if it were some other author, but, somehow, hearing and seeing Gibson talk about his work and the future and writing in the back of a moving car was an oddly engaging format.  I think, in particular, hearing his voice talking much like he writes was appealing, at least to me.

Of course, it’s not something that would interest anyone who wasn’t a Gibson fan.  It’s not the kind of thing that someone who’s interested in simply science-fiction or writing, for instance, would find all that appealing.  I think, too, that Gibson himself is an acquired taste.  Even people who have enjoyed his writing may not be particularly captivated by this documentary.  The “arty” portion of the film was somewhat, well, annoying, to be honest.  When the film-maker was being subtle, by altering the view outside the car’s windows, it was good.  However, when the effort was more obvious, it was just distracting and irritating.  I don’t know quite what he was going for with some of that video stream-of-consciousness but it failed at being anything but confusing and silly.  A straight interview with Gibson talking to us from the back of the car would have been better, I think.  He is, after all, the draw for this film.

Some of the extras were nice, though.  For instance, some of the things that were cut out and compiled with the DVD were as interesting as anything that were included.  In fact, I think I would have just left them in the main part of the film.  There were also several readings, by Gibson and others, which had no video with them, that were nice, too.  I just closed my eyes and listened to Gibson read his own writing, feeling the pace and timber of his voice.  Really, that may have been the best part of the whole thing.
I could have done without most of the film-maker talking about making the documentary itself, though.  There was only one section worth including and that was really about the interaction between the crew and Gibson as they filmed in the car.  The rest of the segments where the documentarian talking about his “process” are, to me, worthless crap.

In all, it was an interesting departure for me.  Worth a look for the hard-core William Gibson fan, but not really for anyone else.


Review: The Incredible Hulk

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is just before lunchtime or 11:12 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

Yes, I saw The Incredible Hulk Friday night.

But, I swear, I am not a hardcore movie or comic book geek. It was just coincidence that my buddy and I went to see this on opening night. Honest.
In a nutshell, The Incredible Hulk was a good movie. Not as good as Iron Man but way, way better than the last Hulk movie directed by Ang Lee. He may be a great director, but he just doesn’t understand American comic books. This movie, however, was better than average. And, from here on out, the spoilers are rampant, so if that bothers you, stop reading.

The movie starts with Bruce Banner in the slums of Brazil, hiding from both his green alter-ego and General “Thunderbolt” Ross and the U.S. military. He’s shown working with a martial artist learning both self-defense and how to control his emotions in an attempt to rein in the chaotic Hulk. (Incidentally, the martial arts instructor is “played” by Rickson Gracie, a world famous jiu-jitsu fighter and instructor.) Then, during the opening credits, they pay homage to the Incredible Hulk TV show, by showing a different version of the Hulk’s origin which, amazingly enough, blends both the old movie and the new version together quite well. The opening credits also have design documents from Stark Industries, referencing the Iron Man movie and highlighting Marvel’s brilliant strategy of crossing their movies over a bit for some built-in self marketing.
Of course, it doesn’t take long before Banner, played quite well by Edward Norton, runs into problems both with some local toughs and General Ross’ team of commandos. The end result? Here comes the Hulk, naturally. Well, Banner “Hulks out” and ends up several countries away in Guatemala, when he wakes up from his Hulk induced blackout. Naturally, he decides to keep heading North through Mexico to get back into the US where he hopes to retrieve the data from his old experiment that made him the Hulk to aid him in his quest for a cure. Naturally, this brings him back in contact with his old flame, Elizabeth Ross, played by Liv Tyler. Frankly, I don’t care for her as anything but an elf or a video vixen in her daddy’s videos. She is easily the weakest part of this movie. Well, as you might have guessed, old Thunderbolt Ross is there, watching and waiting for Banner. This time, though, he’s got more than just commandos to help him capture the good doctor. He’s got a full array armament, including a pair of sonic cannons that are fairly cool. Oh, and he’s given his pet commando, Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth, a super-soldier serum to make him, well, super.
Of course, Banner Hulks out again, and gets away, but this time he takes Betty Ross with him on the run. They try to find the scientist who’s been helping Banner find a cure, armed with the data for which Banner has risked all this trouble.

Well, I won’t tell you all the secrets in this movie, in case you plan on seeing it, but, I do have a couple more cool things to look out for. First, let me remind you of the Stark Industries reference to last month’s Iron Man movie. Also, there’s a cameo by Robert Downy Jr., aka Tony Stark, during a bar scene that also ties into Iron Man and the upcoming Avenger’s movie.
Naturally, there’s also a cameo by Stan Lee, Hulk creator and comic book legend. He plays a regular guy who drinks some tainted South American soda and, unfortunately, expires from gamma radiation poisoning. But, as always, his cameo is fun and funny.
Also, there are numerous tie-ins to the rest of the Marvel universe, which is very cool. In fact, there are many setups for a second Hulk film as well as the other references to recent and upcoming Marvel films that I’ve already mentioned.
I was disappointed that they edited out the Captain America cameo. Not sure where it was supposed to be, but it seems like a number of things that we were shown in early trailers and previews got trimmed or cut completely. Oh, well, at least it didn’t take anything away from the movie.
Oh, and don’t forget to look for a cameo by Lou Ferrigno, who played the original TV Hulk, as a security guard.

One small criticism, though, is the CG. You’d think it’d be the last thing I’d complain about, right? I mean, I’m total CG fan, sure, and the more realistic it is, the better I like it, but they almost go too far on the Hulk. He’s a little more than “real”, I think. I don’t know how much time they spent on it, but I think they spent a little too much time. Sometimes, less is more and I think this is one of those times. Or, at least, the should have spread the CG budget around a bit and used the effects on something other than the Hulk. I definitely think that the CG in Iron Man was better but, honestly, it’s only a minor thing.

So, in short, to sum up, The Incredible Hulk was good. Not as good as Iron Man, but better than Ang Lee’s version. Well worth seeing, especially if you’re a comic book fan.
Now, go see it!

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