Diary of a Network Geek

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


Writing Science Fiction for the Government

Filed under: Art,Fiction,Fun,News and Current Events,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Yeah, it’s kind of a mind-bender, isn’t it?

So, the few regular readers who are left at this sad, old, mostly-neglected blog know that I’m a big fan of science-fiction.  And, when I have time, I read a lot.  Granted, since college I think I read more non-fiction than fiction, but, still, I manage to hammer away at it and more than exceed the national average of three to four books per year.  Also, I tend to think of myself as a bit of an amateur futurist.  By that I mean that I like to look at news stories and speculate on just where that particular trend is headed and what it will mean for us in the future.  As it turns out, the U.S. government has similar leanings.
Now, I’ve heard stories about how they gathered together some great sci-fi authors of the moment to brain storm some alien invasion defense ideas, but, frankly, that’s old hat and, well, kind of boring to me.  I mean, I think the alien invasion thing is kind of played out now, don’t you?  What’s far more interesting to me is a recent story from Wired about science-fiction book pitches to assorted U.S. Government agencies.  Apparently, the government can be more forward thinking than you might imagine from more recent news and a number of agencies have solicited book pitches from science-fiction authors based on the agencies’ area of specialty.  Yes, basically what I’m saying is they were looking for propaganda pieces cleverly disguised as sci-fi novels.
And, shockingly, some of them actually sounded like they might be good.  Imagine, your tax dollars finally put to good use; writing compelling, new science-fiction!

In any case, it’s Friday and you’re bored, so why not go check it out?  You might be surprised by who pitched what to the government!


Five Hundred Free Movies

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:07 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Yes, you read that right.

Clearly, I’m an internet junkie.  Those few brave readers who know a little bit more about me, know that I’m also a movie junkie.  I really, really love movies.  Not just the new ones, either, but the classics, too!  I love movies that, frankly, people would not necessarily associate with me.  I mean, I like everything from Westerns to Noir to Comedies to, yes, classic science-fiction.  Pretty much, if there’s a genre of movie, I’ll watch it, though I have to admit, I’m not a huge horror fan.
But, in this age of austerity where everyone is cutting back, and cutting the cord to the cable companies, how can you get your  movie “fix”?  Easy, check out the Open Culture list of 500 Free Movies Online.  Yes, you’ll have to stream these, but other than having an internet connection, they’re all free for your viewing pleasure.

So, hey, it’s Friday, right?  Go pirate yourself some wifi from the neighbors and stream a free movie!  You’ve earned it this week!


Mother of Invention

Filed under: Fiction,Fun,Ooo, shiny... — 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 Waning Crescent

No, not a real mother.

Maybe, not even a real invention, either!
I think science-fiction has changed a lot.  I don’t mean that it’s different today than it was when I was a kid, though, I think that’s true, too.  No, what I mean is that the intrepid science-fiction authors who have entertained us for so many years have actually changed things with their stories.  One way I think they’ve changed things is via invention.  They’re constantly coming up with crazy, new, almost magical inventions for their stories.  Devices that do things we’d like to be able to do or at least do faster or easier.  Some of these are pretty Earth-shattering, like a personal communication device you can fit in your pocket, and are so incredible that they actually inspire someone to invent them, like the cell phone.  (Okay, yeah, there may not be a direct link between science-fiction and cell phones, but, you have to admit, it existed in sci-fi before we had it in our hand!)
Well, a little site called Technovelgy has put together a timeline of science-fiction inventions.

It’s fun and I think if you look at some of these things, you’ll recognize their modern equivalent.  But, maybe most interesting of all is the stuff that’s been talked about in science-fiction that doesn’t exist… Yet.  So, here’s your chance, you freshly graduated engineers and hopeful inventors, pick something from the list and make it come true!
But, for the rest of us, check out the list and day dream your Friday away.


Get your ass to Mars!

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I love me some science-fiction!

Tonight, Ridley Scott’s return to the [amazon_link id=”B001AQO3QA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Alien[/amazon_link] universe premiers tonight and I’m quite excited to see it.  In part, I’m excited because it starts on Earth and then follows the first team to the movie’s namesake planet; [amazon_link id=”B005LAIHY0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Prometheus[/amazon_link].  I hope it will show more of Ridley Scott’s vision of the future Earth and how we got to be the space-faring race we become in the later movies.  I’m looking forward to that because I think we’ve lost the drive to do that kind of exploration and I hope this movie will spark someone’s imagination and help get us off this sad, busted planet we’ve got now.
But, of course, that’s not quite what this post is about.

The quote which makes the title of this post comes from another science-fiction movie, which is being remade; [amazon_link id=”B000HIVOIM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Total Recall[/amazon_link].  That movie, of course, has a significant portion of the action on our closer alien cousin; Mars.  And, frankly, I have more hope of us reaching Mars than leaving our solar system in my life time.  Part of that hope is due to projects like Mars One, who hopes to have people on Mars by 2023.
Granted, it is an ambitious project, but one that is possible.  How?  For one thing, they plan on the trip being one-way.  First there will be a series of unmanned missions that will bring habitat modules to the surface of Mars.  Then, again hopefully in 2023, a team of four colonists will travel to Mars and begin to live there.  Then, every two years another group of colonists will head to Mars, all also on a one-way trip.
And, how will they finance all this?  Simple.  With reality television.  Think of it as an interplanetary “Big Brother” or “Real World“.

Will it work?  Who knows?  But the Mars One video at IO9.com is pretty convincing.  And, hey, it’s Friday, so why not check it out?  (And, enjoy the movie tonight, too!)


Resume Generator

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:50 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Sadly, not mine.

So, regular readers know how much I love coding up little random generators, right?  Well, this is the same thing, only it’s not random and I didn’t make it.
I’ve changed jobs a lot.  I mean, it’s unusual that I stay at the same gig more than three years.  So, I’ve made a lot of resumes, sometimes even customizing them to the particular job I may be applying to at any given moment.  Well, now, you don’t have to do that kind of work yourself.  Now, you can use Resunate, the Smart Online Resume Builder!
You just load up your current resume, then add in the job you want to apply for and let this website tell you where your resume matches, or doesn’t match, the job description.  Then, as if that weren’t enough, they actually let you create a new resume based on the changes, automagically!

Wow, I can’t tell you how much I wished I’d had that when I was job hopping so much in the nineties and early noughts.  This would have saved me so much hassle!  Well, in any case, you have it now.  And, what the heck, it’s Friday and you’ll be dreaming of another job today anyway, so you might as well go use it to update your resume!
Have a great weekend, y’all!

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