Diary of a Network Geek

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

8/30/2019

Life Calculations

Filed under: Fun,Truth and Consequences — 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 a New Moon

Just what is the cost of wasting time on Facebook?

One of the things that really impressed me in my college Economics classes was the idea of “opportunity cost”. Now, thanks to my ruthlessly practical upbringing and my father’s background in business and economics, I knew full well what “opportunity costs” were well before I got to college. I don’t think he ever called it that, but I grasped the concept early on. In fact, as I reflect at the theoretical half-way point of my life, preparing for my official mid-life crisis, it occurs to me that the greatest losses in my life are not financial or material, but lost opportunities and lost time. Really, for me at least, those two things are intimately linked. Every lost opportunity was lost due to me wasting time in some way. Of course, that’s a pretty ephemeral thing to try and quantify. It’s a little like trying to prove a negative event, which, if you haven’t attempted to do, trust me, is quite a challenge.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to find Everyday Life Calculators on the OMNI Calculator website. Here, finally, I could measure things like the cost of social media in real, measurable terms of money not earned and books not read, among other things, when I was wasting time on the social media du jour. (Which for me, lately has been Instagram, and Pinterest. Don’t judge! You’re wasting time reading my blog!)
So, now, before you spend all weekend getting jealous of the curated lives you see on Instagram or Facebook, calculate how many books you can read instead. Or how many calories you can burn at the gym. Or how much practice time you can get in on the ukulele. Yikes!
See you next week, when I’ll hopefully have something more motivating and less shaming for you to play with.
Enjoy your weekend!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

12/16/2016

Social Fixer

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Fix your social media.

I know my post for the past couple of weeks have been pretty random, but, hey, it’s the end of the year and I’ve been cleaning out old links.
I’ve noticed since I’ve been mostly off of Facebook this year, I’ve been more relaxed.  My stress about the election, I think, has been considerably less than most of the people I know.  This can’t be a coincidence.  In fact, I’m sure they’re related.  Facebook, for the most part, adds nothing to my life.  There’s always been too much there for me to keep up with anyway, not to mention all the rage-inducing exchanges I’ve had with people who seem incapable of listening to reason or forming a cogent argument about anything.
Still, I understand the addiction.  It’s hard to turn away from that flow of apparent social interaction once you get hooked.  And, of course, there are legitimate reasons to connect there, like the movie groups my wife belongs to on Facebook.  So, how do you avoid all the cruft that makes you crazy?  Well, if you’re a Firefox (or Chrome) user, there’s a fix for that: Social Fixer.

Social Fixer is a free Greasemonkey script that let’s you hide sponsored posts, advertising, political posts, pages you don’t want to see and more.  Yes, you have to install the Greasemonky add-on first, but other than that, it’s pretty straight forward.  And, it’s the personal project of a regular guy who had the same frustrations as you and I, so you don’t have to worry about more corporate sponsors and greed ruining the fun.  And, if you’d like, you can make donations, but it’s not a requirement to use the tool.

So make your social media great again and clean up your Facebook with Social Fixer!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

3/27/2015

Independent SciFi Movies

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I have two for you this week.

Yes, that’s right, two independent sci-fi movies. One is a short that you can watch in it’s entirety on your coffee break. The other is really just a trailer for the longer movie. Both come to us via IO9.com

First, I’ll give you the shorter of the two, but with the greater potential.  The movie is called “Dust” and it’s about a very unpleasant evolutionary explosion and the ramifications of that in a science-fictional future. …
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2/27/2015

Trivial Pursuits

Filed under: Fun,Photography,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, trivia about one of my many pursuits, anyway.

It’s been another one of those weeks, so I’m throwing something together at the last minute.  But, at least this is a fun one.  It was recycled recently on Facebook, but the original post is from last year about this time.
I love trivia almost as much as I love photography, so trivia about photography is definitely a little extra special for me.  So, how would you like to be able to surprise…
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7/20/2012

More Free eBooks!

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 5:11 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Well, at least if you’re a Kindle user.

Recently, I acquired an older Kindle from a friend who had upgraded and was in the process of shedding “extra baggage” before moving.  I’ve passed it on to the woman I’ve been seeing for the past several months.  (If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you already know this and her name.  And, if you’re not, you don’t need to know her name!)  She loves her “new-to-her” Kindle, of course, and has transferred her books from her PC Kindle app to her new device.  But, we’re both pretty cheap, so when I saw OneHundredFreeBooks.com I got excited for her.  This site, which is updated regularly, as in multiple times a day, shows you Kindle books offered on the Amazon.com US site for free.  Yes, free!
But, of course, prices change, so these books may not stay free.  The only thing the site owner promises is that they were free when he put them up for you.

So, what a great way to add to your Summer reading; free books!
And, you know, since it’s Friday, you know you aren’t really doing anything important, so you might as well go take a look at the books they have listed!

3/30/2012

Social Media Monster

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:02 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I love me some infographics!

No, seriously, infographics are fun.
Now, I’m not a guy who has to track and record and quantify every aspect of his life.  I know people like that, but I’m not really one of them.  On the other hand, I am one of those guys who likes to look at log files and statistics and trends.  It’s kind of a contradiction, I’ll admit, but, well, there it is.    And, I’ll tell you what else, I’m very aware of all the information, all the data points, that I leave behind as a consequence of being on the internet, especially on social media sites, like Facebook.  So, have you ever wondered, like I have, what that data, that information, looks like?
Well, wonder no more!  Now, you, too, can get your very own Facebook Monster infographic!
All you have to do is go to the site, sign into Facebook via their application, and let the app go to work.  The result will be a personalized, fun, funny, monster-based, Facebook-driven infographic of your very own.  I’d share mine, but, well, I’ll be honest, my social media data-footprint kind of sucks for this particular application.  I’m just too low-profile, frankly, to generate a good example data set.

But, hey, this is about you and your data, not me and mine.  So, it’s Friday and you’re slacking anyway, you might as well hit the link and see how your social data looks.  And, y’all have a great weekend!

3/9/2012

Social Media Papers

Filed under: Art,Deep Thoughts,Fun,News and Current Events — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Soon, you’ll need a passport to enter Facebook.

No, not really.  Well, probably not, but I’m sure Zuckerberg wouldn’t mind issuing passports and currency!
Regardless, in this case, I’m talking about an art project with a social consciousness that I read about on Gizmodo; Facebook ID Cards.
Those of you who know me, know how obsessed I can become over realistic, but fake, marginalia, like stamps, currency, government documents, and, of course, identification cards just like these.  Things like passports and driver’s licenses are the ephemera of our lives that we often use to define who we are and identify us to strangers, especially those in authority.  We tend to take them for granted, but someone designed them and they serve some purpose, whether it’s to tell a police officer that we are certified to drive or Facebook’s security goons that we’re allowed to access our friendlist.
So, no, it hasn’t happened, yet, but I suspect it will one day.

And, did you notice that they astutely included a QR Code in their design?  Remember that article I linked to earlier in the week?  Might want to read that again…

10/12/2011

Talker’s Block

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:29 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So, you may notice a bit more output here.

Frankly, some of it may be of questionable quality.  That’s as planned, to be honest.
See, I’ve suffered from a kind of writer’s block.  Not only here, in what I think of as my public, non-fiction world, but in my creative world, too.  The photography has helped that, but, not in the way or quite as much as I had hoped.  But, recently, several things that I’ve been reading and paying attention to all sort of came together to send me a message:

JUST WRITE!

I tend to worship the written word, mainly because I love it so much.  But, as a result, I have all kinds of really terrible ideas about how those words get written, or at least, how I should write them.  The net effect, of course, is that nothing gets written, as long-time readers here have no doubt noticed.
Then, I read “Talker’s Block” on Seth Godin’s blog.
The idea, in brief, is that no one really gets up in the morning worrying so much about what they’re going to say that they voluntarily remove themselves from all conversation until they can think of the “right” thing to say.  (I suppose the case might be made that people who are autistic do that, but I don’t think they actually worry about it.  It’s just something they do.)  No, his argument was that we get up in the morning and go about our business and talk, mostly without considering it much, because that’s what we do all the time.

Now, apply that to writing and the answer to getting over writer’s block is to write.  All the time.  Even poorly.  Just write and keep writing.
So, that’s what I’m doing.  And, I hope the end result will be that you see more output here.
Don’t worry, though, I won’t send all my posts through Twitter and Facebook and all that.  Some will come through, just not all.  And, I suspect that, for a while, they’ll keep coming through, for search engine placement purposes and marketing and the like.  But, they’ll taper off eventually.

Thanks for your attention.
You can go back to whatever internet gewgaw was wasting your time before me.


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.

7/15/2011

Stolen Camera Finder

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings,The Dark Side — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:12 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Regular readers may be familiar with my photography obsession.

A number of years ago, I spent some money I’d hoarded on an entry-level Canon DSLR, instead of some medical bills.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I worry that I should have spent the money on the medical bills, but, my shots are getting better.  I take great comfort in the idea that it’s the photographer, not the camera, that takes the photo.  Mostly because the majority of my gear is, well, let’s just say, not “top flight” and leave it at that.  But, still, if my camera were stolen, I’d be quite devastated and I’d want to find it again.  Well, that’s where the Stolen Camera Finder comes in.

First, you should know that this is NOT something you install on your camera.  Nor is it some kind of insurance.  Rather, it’s a webpage.  And, it’s free.
Here’s how it works: You get a photograph which you which you took with missing camera.  You take that photo to the website I linked to above and drop it on the target, per the instructions.  Then, the website does a search, based on the metadata from you photo, which includes the serial number of your camera, to find all the photos it can which match the starting photo.  If, or when, it finds photos posted by someone else that have the same serial number embedded in them as your source photo, it shows you the sites.  You can then go track down the person who used your stolen camera to make some of those terrible Facebook photos, or, I guess now, Google+ photos.

How you handle it after that is up to you.
All that matters is that Stolen Camera Finder helps you find your camera.

Okay, maybe not the “funnest” Friday Fun link I’ve ever posted, but, still, helpful if you’ve had a camera get stolen!

1/25/2011

Dealing With Death

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:14 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

No, not the idea, but the actual event.

Two stories ran recently about dealing with the parts of us left behind after death.
First a story about a “better” coffin that screws into the ground.  Okay, I’ll grant you, this is less serious than morbidly amusing to me.  Still, I do like the idea of having a low-cost disposal method for what I’ll leave behind once I “shuffle off this mortal coil”.  That it screws into the ground, just tickled me.
And, for anyone keeping track, I’d just as soon be cremated and scattered to the Four Winds where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan just outside the Loop.  Seriously.

The second two were a little more serious.  Two stories about social media applications dealing with the accounts of the dead and, more recently, one from the New York Times Magazine, online, of course.
Back before everyone was on the web all the time, I used to have an envelope that was labeled “Open upon my death or disappearance”.  Seriously!  I used to keep it tucked under my keyboard.  I had one at work, too, for those folks, though that was in a safe.  In each envelope was a series of usernames and passwords for people to use to get access to my accounts should I go missing, or should something happen to me that left me incapacitated or dead.  I’m honestly not sure if anyone knew about the one under my keyboard, but I figured it would have turned up when someone cleaned up after me.  So, basically, I was giving someone who survived me access to my e-mail and other, similar accounts.
I got rid of that sometime shortly before the divorce, for some obvious reasons.

Now, though, there are so many accounts and websites and blogs and such that I’m not sure I could easily list them all.  And, frankly, who would bother to pay for my website?  Who would care enough to maintain an archive of this blog, for instance?  I don’t have a huge readership, though you are a pretty loyal lot, so I don’t expect anyone to really want to preserve what I have here.
How many of you have though about what will happen to your blogs and websites and so on when you die?  What about if you were to die suddenly from, oh, say, cancer?  What then?  If I went missing for a month, would anyone notice here?
Well, for WordPress blogs, there’s a plugin called Next Of Kin that might help, a little.  You can set it to post some message to your blog if you fail to login to your blog for a set amount of time.  And, just to be sure, it will send you a reminder or warning e-mail to check and make sure that you haven’t just forgotten to visit your blog.  It’s far from enough to take care of all of your digital needs after death, but it is a pretty good start!

So, what have you all got setup in case of your untimely death?  Does anyone know your passwords?  Have you given anyone instructions on what to post to Facebook or Twitter after you’ve gone?


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes."
   --Abigail Van Buren

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