Diary of a Network Geek

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

10/26/2018

Save Your Work

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Geek Work,The Day Job — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Have you ever lost form data on the web?

I hate when I’m typing into a form on a website and something happens, then all my data goes poof. Seriously. It’s super frustrating for me, because sometimes, when I’m putting in a support request for work, those forms have a LOT of data in them and losing it can really throw a monkey-wrench in my day.
Or, worse yet, when I’m setting up blog posts, I can really get into a writing groove and then my internet connection might blink and, again, poof, all that hard work is gone. Granted, I should be saving the draft as I go along, but, even though I may seem like a tech god to some, I’m really just a regular human who doesn’t always follow best practices. Sad, but true.
In the past, I’ve used a great Chrome plugin called Lazarus to help me recover lost form data, but that plugin has gone away. Now, though, there’s Typio Form Recovery. Sadly, it’s only available for the Chrome browser, so if you use Firefox or something else, you’ll have to find another alternative. It IS free, though, so there is that. Also? If you know of a similar plugin for Firefox, please, leave a comment with information about it!
And, yeah, I know, not exactly “fun”, but, hey, come back next week and see if I can do better!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

9/21/2018

Explore the Universe From Your Desktop

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Fly around the universe, virtually, from your Windows desktop.

Yes, sadly, this is for Windows users only. I try to make these posts as universally appealing as possible, but, sometimes, what I’m offering up is specific to an operating system and just too good to pass up. This is one of those.
Now, of course, I’m a big science-fiction geek and I love the fantasy of zooming through space to other planets and star systems. I suppose it has something to do with growing up watching Star Trek or seeing the original Star Wars (ie. Episode IV) in the theater as a little kid. Whatever the reason, I’ve never gotten past the idea that I’d like to leave Earth and discover the wonders of the universe like the captain of my very own interstellar craft. Sadly, the laws of physics are working against me on realizing that dream. So, until then, I’ll have to just explore the universe with my imagination. Thankfully, according to Lifehacker, there’s a desktop program called SpaceEngine that will help me do just that. If you head over to SpaceEngine.org, you can download the app for free. It’s huge, so it will take some time, but it’s worth it. You may get some warnings from your antivirus when you try to download it, but I found that the fifth “mirror”, which was a Google drive space, seemed to be okay. Once you have it installed, you can soar off to distant stars and planets and let the wonders of our universe wash over you. Frankly, it seems like the perfect escape for a Friday afternoon, especially if you’re reading this blog instead of working.
You’ll want to make sure to read the manual and be patient with the program, though, it is still in beta, after all.
So, check it out and come see what I have for you next week!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

8/3/2018

More Free Alternatives to Photoshop

Filed under: Art,Fun,Linux,Photography — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but things change.

Okay, some things don’t change and one of those is that Adobe Photoshop is still the leader in graphics editing software, especially for photographers. But, it’s also pretty expensive, which means everyone is always looking for a cheaper alternative. Frankly, for years, I was no different. Most of the time, I used GIMP, but there are actually a lot of other packages that are out there now. In fact, the fine folks at the Photo Argus have posted a review of 11 Outstanding (Free)Alternatives to Photoshop, one of which is GIMP. I used GIMP for years, in part because it was the first “big” photo editor that was available on Linux. My thinking was that Linux was the wave of the future, so I might as well learn the software package that ran on it best. Sadly, that dream has never come to fruition,but GIMP is still free, so it’s not all bad. I’m not as familiar with the other ones, but since they’re all free, why not download them and see which you like best?
Personally, I started subscribing to the Adobe Photographer’s Pack, which gives me access to Photoshop and Lightroom for a relatively low monthly fee. Definitely worth it, I think.

By the way, I’m trying something new with my writing workflow. I’ve been writing posts in a software package called Scrivener, queuing them up and archiving them once I’ve scheduled them in my blog software. So far, it’s worked pretty well and it’s helping me get used to writing in Scrivener. Of course, I’ve only done two posts, but my intention is to get into a habit of writing this way so I can extend it to fiction. That was why I bought Scrivener in the first place and has been my goal since I was in the Fourth Grade and transformed the amazingly dull writing exercise “My Adventure At The Circus” into a tale of subterranean mythic adventure. I think it was good preparation for writing pulp fiction, but we’ll just have to see what I manage to produce.
In any case, I’ll keep these weekly posts coming!
See you next week!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

7/6/2018

Industrial Accident Game

Filed under: Art,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Industrial accidents are no joke, but they can be a fun theme for a game.

At least, I recently played a game on the web about an industrial accident that was, in fact fun.
The game was called, not surprisingly, Industrial Accident. The setting is an automated factory, where you play an artificial intelligence worker who experiences a little difficulty. And, it’s best if I don’t say any more, because it might spoil the fun. Seriously, I know it just seems like I’m being a lazy blogger during a holiday week, but knowing no more than what I’ve told you will make the game a bit more fun.
Also, keep in mind that it’s free and a pretty short game, so, even if you have a lot of work due to the short week, you have more than enough time to play.

Enjoy! And, help keep the workplace safe from malfunctioning AI!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!

3/2/2018

Universal Paperclips

Filed under: Art,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 a Full Moon

An existentialist game about artificial intelligence and, yes, paperclips.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine who read my post about the web-based game, Seedship told me about this fascinating and strangely compelling game, Universal Paperclips. If you follow that link, click on the box in the center to start. There’s no on-site help. There’s no explanation. Just a simple web interface that, if anything, suggests you may want to click a button labeled “Make a paperclip”. That’s it. That’s all.
But, if you are bold enough to start clicking, you’ll quickly find yourself drawn into the strangest game I think I’ve ever played. Initially, you’ll invest a few minutes, to get things rolling, but at a certain point, you’ll find that everything seems to roll along by itself with only a little intervention on your part periodically.

I don’t want to give away anything but I did let my simulation run for more than a week while only playing a few minutes a day. Though, it’s hard to tell, because it did get strangely consuming. I assume that if I let the simulation keep running, it would eventually end only with the heat-death of the simulated universe of the game.
And, if you decide to play, and get stuck, there is a Universal Paperclips WIKI, to help you. I admit, near the end of my time playing, I used it to confirm a few things.
If you have some time, and some patience, try this game. You won’t be disappointed!

 

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

6/23/2017

A Different Kind of Ad-Blocker

Filed under: Art,Fun,Marginalia and Notes from the Editor — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

We pretty much all hate ads, right?

Especially on our favorite websites. Yes, I know, those ads help pay for the site, and I even have some, hopefully unintrusive, ads on one of my sites. But, the honest truth is that even I hate ads. In fact, I’ve been thinking about dropping the ads on Diary of a Network Geek completely and just coming up with a product to sell to try and pay for the hosting. It’s not much per month, and I love my websites, so I’d pay it no matter what, but defraying that cost would not hurt my feelings. In any case, all that said, even I hate web advertising. Adblockers have been around for a long time and there are probably thousands of browser plugins and addons to hide or remove those pesky ads. This week, though, I have a new variation on that for you; Intently.
This browser plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Safari doesn’t just remove advertising on websites, it replaces it with pretty pictures and inspirational quotes. You do have to sign up for a free account, but then you can download the plugin and get inspired instead of sold to by your favorite websites. There is a “Pro” version, which costs money, that lets you add more “premium channels” of content, so you could make the ad replacements skew heavier toward fitness or motivational quotes or puppies or whatever you’re into. I, personally, have stayed with the free account and been quite happy with it in the two weeks or so that I’ve been using the plugin.

So, there you go. Short, sweet and to the point. Free ad-blocking with a paid option for better replacements. (By the way, I don’t get any money if you upgrade to the paid version, so don’t do it thinking you’re helping me!)
Next week, maybe I’ll test my audience and share something even geekier than that!
Come back and check it out!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

6/2/2017

Music for Gaming

Filed under: Fun,music — 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

Ambient music with the gamer in mind.

Last week, I brought you a blog which explored the latest, and classic, MP3 music. This week, I’m bringing you a link to more music, but of a different kind.
I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone who reads my blog that I was a table-top role-playing gamer. Yes, that means Dungeons and Dragons, as well as others. Games like Traveller and Top Secret and Star Frontiers, not to mention the more obscure Gamma World and Villains and Vigilantes or Dragon Quest. (Yes, Dragon Quest was a table-top game once that had nothing to do with the more well-known video game.) Back in the day, we generally played these games in someone’s spare room or basement and, if we were lucky, there was a TV with a VHS player where we could run appropriately themed movies in the background for a little “mood music” soundtrack.
Now, though, I’d bet that pretty much everyone has a computer, of some kind, in their favorite game area. And, what with all the digital music available, means a much easier means of playing some appropriate music in the background. Which brings me to the link I have to share with you all today, Tabletop Audio, “ambiances and music for tabletop role playing games”. They pretty much have a background track for every genre and most every situation. Everything from a Wild West Saloon to a haunted House on the Hill to a Busy Space Port to the Colosseum or an Elven Glade. They also would probably make good background noise for genre writers looking to get into the right mood for their work.
And, yes, all free, though they do gently ask for free-will donations.

Come back next week to see if I even bother blogging anything at all!
And have a good weekend.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

4/7/2017

Blog Posts

Filed under: Better Living Through Technology,Fun,Geek Work,On Creativity,Stimulus and Production — 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

My creative blog posting well is dry.

So dry.
Seriously, if you count my original blog, I have been doing this blogging nonsense for almost 17 years. My first blog post went live May 4th, 2000. How crazy is that?  Back then, I hand coded every page, making the HTML myself with Microsoft Notepad.  Then, I installed Moveable Type.  That was followed by a definite upgrade to WordPress during the great licensing debacle of 2004.  So, yes, I’ve been using WordPress since version 1.2  A lot has changed since then, but I can tell you one thing that hasn’t; the terrible struggle to create new and interesting content.
My wife, The Organizing Decorator, and I were talking about this very thing recently.  She just finished moving her site to her own hosting and content management system, so that I wasn’t responsible for her site as well as all of mine, and she told me how she need to stop tweaking and tampering with it.  My response was that it was a lot easier to mess with formatting than it was to actually create content.  And, after 17 years, I’m really feeling tapped out.

So, what’s my response?  To share with you two links about generating content!
First, a post from the very brainy and entrepreneurial Growth Lab titled How to find 20+ blog ideas your audience can’t wait to read.  It’s a process, but it’s a process that will help you generate content tailored to your blog, brand, or business.
The other is How To Think Outside The Box with 200+ writing prompts by CoSchedule.  And, it’s just what it sounds like, a list of prompts with blanks to get you started on a blog post.  They’re pretty generic, but they may not all be applicable to your chosen subject matter.

Well, there you have it.  Two links that are free and useful, if not exactly “fun” for non-bloggers or content producers.
Maybe I’ll have something better for you next week.
Maybe not.  Only time will tell.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

1/27/2017

Photographic Software Tips

Filed under: Art,Fun,Photography — 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 New Moon

The fourth post in this month’s themed series of useful photography information focuses on the big two photographic software programs; Photoshop and Lightroom.

So, while the information is free, the software isn’t.
Personally, I try to get as much right in the camera as I can. Photography is my hobby and I work on computers all day long, so I’m not particularly interested in spending a lot of time on using software to “fix” my pictures. Still, I don’t know where I’d be without the software I do use. Mostly, I work in Lightroom, with the occasional Alien Skin add-on, but I also know that Photoshop is the “gold standard” in the minds of many photographers and creative professionals. So, the first ling I’m sharing this Friday is Are you a Photoshop Master? Even you may not know these ten features! It’s a short video of some helpful, but lesser known, features in Photoshop. It seems like every big program like this has at least one hidden feature almost no one knows about, so it’s always cool to find some, even for software I don’t use a lot of the time.
On the other hand, I do use Lightroom after pretty much every photography session. And, lately, I’ve been very interested in printing my work for easy display around the house. Of course, I’m mostly going to send those to a specialty printing company, but I still want to proof them and, possibly, try them in a spot on the wall before committing to a more expensive print. Or, I may want to do a little more “pre-procesing” before sending my work to the printer. No matter my goal in regards to printing, the Photofocus tutorial on Mastering Lightroom Print Layout Styles will definitely help me save time. Honestly, it’s a feature in Lightroom that I haven’t used, but I hope to use more this year.

So, there you have it. Two tutorials in the most popular photographic software packages to round out the month.
See you next week!

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.

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.