Diary of a Network Geek

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


Own Your Own Mecha

Filed under: Art,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

A “mecha” or “mech” is a high-tech, man-shaped killer robot suit, popular in science-fiction.

In fact, you may be more familiar with them as “robot armor” or “robot tanks” even, depending on your particular flavor of sci-fi.  For those of us who are, or have been, hardcore Japanese animation junkies, however, they will always be mecha.  And, believe you me, many of the faithful fanboys have dreamed of owning a mecha like this and doing battle with giant, alien invaders just like in [amazon_link id=”B0000639E0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Neon Genisis Evangelon[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B005DTGAQQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Robotech[/amazon_link].  The problem is, of course, no one actually makes these giant battle suits.  Until now….

Now, thanks to the ultra-hard-core Japanese otaku group Suidobashi Heavy Industry, you, too can buy your very own mehca!  (For the low price of $1.3 million.)
So, start saving those nickels, dimes and quarters now!  (And start placing bets on how long before these actually find their way into real combat somewhere!!)

Well, okay, it might be out of my price range, but, it’s Friday, right?  Who can hold a sweet, Friday day-dream against me?
(Seriously, though, check that link, the video there is pretty awesome!)



Enough Money?

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Fun,Life Goals,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:18 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with money this month.

No, it’s not because I can’t pay my bills.  Rather, it’s about work.  Now, for the most part, I enjoy my work.  I find it challenging, but not too challenging, and interesting and the pay is pretty good.  Also?  I have a ten-minute commute.  Hard to beat that!  But, the reality is, at heart, I’m a lazy bastard.  If I could skate by without working another day in my life, I totally would do that.  For real.
The problem with that, of course, is paying all those bills.  So, how to do it?  What kind of money do I need to be able to tell the world to, essentially, and pardon my language, “Fuck off”.  (Yes, what I’m talking about is commonly referred to as “Fuck You Money”.)  So, what would that take?  I don’t need to live like a king, but, to not work, I will need to keep getting money somehow, like through investments.  But, the question is, how much will it take and what kind of investment do I have to make to keep it coming steadily enough to pay the bills?

Luckily, a smarter gentleman than I, Nilesh Trivedi, has posted an Excel spreadsheet that will help you calculate just how much you need to start with and how good your investment needs to be so that you never have to answer to another boss again.  Download that, and read his explanation, here: How Much Is Enough? : A Formula for FU Money.  (And, if  you’re like me, you’ll start by saving the money you might have spent on Microsoft Office and open that spreadsheet in LibreOffice instead!)

So, there’s a little something to think about while you wait for the weekend! Enjoy!

Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Being right too soon is socially unacceptable."
   --Robert A. Heinlein


6 Personal Finance Apps

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Fun,Fun Work,Life Goals,Never trust a Network Admin with a screwdriver — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:54 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

Can we ever have enough money?

Or be too thin or too good looking?  Well, I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve struggled at times with money.  It seems to slip through my fingers like water.  The harder I squeeze to hold on to it, the faster it seems to slip away.  But, I know that about myself, so I do what I can to stop the bleeding, so to speak.  For me, the first step is tracking where it all goes.  And, I mean, tracking every last dime.  Nothing is too small or too big to count.  Back in the day, I used to record every 50¢ can of soda I had at lunch and could tell you, to the penny, how much money I had in my pocket at any given moment.
Sadly, that was some time ago and I’ve slipped back into some of my old ways.  But, now, at least, I know how to tackle the problem.  In my case, the tool I use to capture my financial info has been Quicken, though I need the newest version still.  What’s changed since I had this problem last, though, is the miracle of smart phones.  So, I was quite thrilled to see PC Magazine review 6 personal finance apps.  I use an iPhone, so I tend to focus on iPhone apps, like those reviewed in the article, though I’m sure there are plenty of Android apps, too.

I’m not sure I’m ready to trust an app that synchronizes with a website, like Mint.com, for my personal finance needs, but some of the other ones reviewed looked interesting to me.
So, how about you all?  What do you use to keep track of your finances?

(Yeah, I know, not quite as “fun” as my regular Friday links, but I’ve been thinking about a more serious Tuesday post that just features tools of various kinds that I’ve used.  Thoughts on that would be welcome in the comments, too!)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us."
   --Helen Keller


The Final Frontier

Filed under: Art,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:38 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

For those of you who don’t know Star Trek, that’d be “space”.

I’m kind of obsessed with space and space travel, really.  Doubtless, the few regular readers left here have picked up on that.
I guess my obsession is really about getting out and away.  Some days, it seems like the only place to escape is, well, to get off the planet!  And, if the environmentalists are to be believed, I think we’ve done such irreparable damage to this planet that the only way to deal with it is to get off Earth and head somewhere else.  So, yes, space travel and the colonization of other planets seems like a really good idea to me.
Anyway, when I think about space travel, I think about all the science-fiction movies and TV shows that have visuals of all the planets whizzing by at high speed.  I’m sure it won’t look like that to us, but, still, I think it’s an inspiring image.  And, that’s why I liked SpaceEngine, because that’s just the visual they give you.    With their app,  you can zoom to the far reaches of space, showing the celestial bodies with, or without, labels in a theoretical spacecraft you can control.  It’s pretty awesome.

But, hey, it’s Friday, so why not download it yourself?  Or at least go and check out the video on the home page, which gives you the basic idea.


10 SciFi Books “Everyone” Claims To Have Read

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 5:17 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, that may be going a bit far.

I mean, I know a lot of people who aren’t into science-fiction at all, so they may not claim to have read these books or have any interest at all.  But, they are a pretty good hit-list of interesting ideas in science-fiction.  And, I suppose that’s why the folks over at IO9 probably suggested that instead of claiming to have read these books, that you actually read them.  I’m pleased to say that I’ve read several of the books on the list, though not all, and they do make a good suggested reading list for people interested in science-fiction classics.
IO9’s list of 10 Science-Fiction Novels You Pretend to Have Read (and why you should actually read them) are:

  • [amazon_link id=”0060512806″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Crytptonomicon[/amazon_link] – by Neal Stephenson
  • [amazon_link id=”0441013597″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dune[/amazon_link] – by Frank Herbert
  • [amazon_link id=”0140188592″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gravity’s Rainbow[/amazon_link] – by Thomas Pynchon
  • [amazon_link id=”0553382578″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Foundation[/amazon_link] – by Issac Asimov
  • [amazon_link id=”1582344167″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell[/amazon_link] – by Susanna Clarke
  • [amazon_link id=”0452284236″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]1984[/amazon_link] – by George Orwell
  • [amazon_link id=”0486219623″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]First and Last Men and Starmaker[/amazon_link] – by Olaf Stapleton
  • [amazon_link id=”1612420133″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Long Tomorrow[/amazon_link] – by Leigh Brackett
  • [amazon_link id=”0375706682″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dhalgren[/amazon_link] – by Samuel Delany
  • [amazon_link id=”0316066524″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Infinite Jest[/amazon_link] – by David Foster Wallace

I’m pleased to say that I’ve read a significant number of these, namely Cryptonomicon, Dune, Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and 1984.  And, The Infinite Jest is in my To Be Read pile.  I have to admit that I tried reading Foundation, but it just didn’t appeal to me.  I know his work is classic and he was a genius and all, but Asimov’s work always read like a Physics lecture to me.

In any case, there’s a bit more for your Summer reading list to go find and read instead of working on a Friday afternoon.


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