Diary of a Network Geek

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


Adding Style To Your Webpages

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,GUI Center,PERL — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:23 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I am NOT a designer or web programmer.

Sure, I’ve dabbled with Perl enough to be a Level 11 Perl Monk on Perlmonks.org, but I’m not really a programmer.  And I’m sure not a designer, either, even though I can appreciate really good design work.  In fact, my ex-wife used to say that I was from the “big orange button” school of design, because I was more interested in the technology behind the button you pushed on a website than making…
Read More


Busy Weekend – Coolness To Come

Filed under: Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Ooo, shiny...,Personal,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 5:52 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Of course, that could describe almost any week or weekend for me.

So, Saturday, I got up early to run out and get a few parts to upgrade my laptop, braving the near cataclysmic, torrential downpour.  Naturally, I was far from the only geek hard core enough to weather the storm to spend some quality time at MicroCenter.  Though I have to admit, it wasn’t nearly as crowded as I thought it would be, even with the flooding.  I know that Fry’s Home Electronics is more popular with some geeks, but I think MicroCenter’s prices are competitive and I think I get better, less aggressive, more knowledgeable, service there.  Though, in this case, I knew just what I wanted.  My main purpose was to get a bigger internal drive for my laptop, because all the pictures that I take suck up drive space like a drunk soaking up free booze and I was starting to feel the pinch.  But, I also wanted to get a wireless, “laptop” mouse that I can throw in my bag when I hit the road, since my laptop is quickly becoming my creative workstation.  I also grabbed a bunch of magazines that I usually don’t find in my usual haunts.  Mainly Photoshop stuff, but some others that I wouldn’t normally get like Practical Web Design and Giant Robot.  The particular issue of Practical Web Design has an article about time-sensitive, dynamic stylesheets that seemed pretty cool.

In any case, after that, I ran home to start cloning my laptop drive…  In fact, I’ll have a better, detailed post on that later this week.  Once I got the cloning process started, I ran over to some friends’ house with the intention of all of us going to the Friends of the Houston Library book sale.  However, after having my car almost get caught in water far deeper than it seemed, which was made worse by a jackass in a pickup cutting me off and throwing up a wave of water almost over the hood of my car, we thought better of making the attempt.  So, instead, I did a little work on her laptop, getting it on their wireless network and running some antispyware on it.  (Though, it sounds like it already could use another cleaning, so I’ll probably be back.)

After that it was church and dinner.

Sunday, I got up early to get in a good workout.  I’ve been getting into a bad pattern of exercising late, staying up late and dragging all day long without enough sleep.  After watching another friend at dinner who’s burning her candle at both ends, I made up my mind to not let that happen this week.  So, I got my lazy bones out of bed and got breakfast and coffee and got my behind in gear for a good, longer, workout before 10:00AM.

After that I was editing some photos for a project a friend of mine in New York is putting together.  Naturally, I hooked up my new wireless mouse to get better control of my editing tools.  I got a Logitech “laptop” mouse and it works great.  It’s a little smaller than a regular mouse, but not uncomfortably so.  What’s cool about it, though, is that it has a little USB dongle that links the mouse to the computer.  When it’s not in use, it fits on the bottom of the mouse and, when you slide it on and off, it automatically turns the mouse on and off to save battery life.  That may seem like a little detail, but it’s a great feature that helps not waste batteries when you’re on the road.  That can be a big deal sometimes.  In any case, that probably took longer than it should but my graphic editing skills are weak, weak, weak.  So, the practice no doubt did me good.  Also, it was flattering to have her invite me to submit some of my photos for her project.

I also managed to get in a little reading and some photography, too.  Not much, but, still, every bit counts!  Obviously, when I get through with the book I’m reading, I’ll review it.  And, sadly, I still didn’t get any work done on the WordPress themes I want to build or the creative website either.  As busy as I get, I’m not sure how I’ll manage time to work on that as regularly as I’d like.  I am trying to leverage Google Alerts to get some of that work done, but, there’s still a component of it that requires quite a bit of work from me, so…  Well, I’ll get there somehow.  (And, yes, I count the new site as part of the “coolness to come”, along with the step-by-step post on upgrading a laptop hard drive.)


Web Design Sketchbook

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,GUI Center — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Oh, this is cool!

Now, you have got to understand that I am a total office supply junkie. I love interesting pens and notepads and all that junk. I have a bunch of Moleskine notebooks, for instance. And, I’ve been trying to sketch out a new WordPress theme in a sad sort of design notebook I’ve been keeping. Obviously that hasn’t been quite as well as I’d like, but this Web Design Sketchbook may inspire me a bit more.

It’s from a site called HuntingLodge.no, which is in Norway, and there is a store, but it was being upgraded when I wrote this. It maybe working now, though. Basically, it’s just a regular sketchbook, but with printed graphics on it that are like a browser window. So, when you’re sketching the design, whoever you’re sketching it for can sort of see how it would look in a browser window. How cool is that!? I know I’ll end up having to get one of these from them when their store is working again, but, until then, enjoy their “review” of it.


Future Project Research

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — 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 Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I don’t particularly feel like writing today, but, well, it’s time for an update.

Okay, that’s not quite true. I just don’t feel like writing anything that I feel comfortable sharing on the blog. Not that I have anything in particular going on, really, but there’s just no way for me to talk it through, so to speak, in writing and have it come through in a way I’m willing to put on the web for all to see. That may surprise some of my readers, considering what I’ve thrown out in the past, but there it is.

The picture here is one of several stacks of books in my house that make up my “to be read” queue, or, as I think of it, pile.
If you get in close, you’ll see a strange combination of subjects. At the bottom of the stack, there are books on chemistry, space flight, the Yakuza and gun running. All basically purchased for research for a semi-mythical story that will probably never get written. Still, these are all things that interest me anyway, so I figure it’s money well spent.
The next layer up is computer books. Specifically, books related to WordPress and web design or web page creation. These are all meant to help me build a better theme for this blog, and my other blogs. Not to mention potentially making a theme that other people might like to use and possibly even donate a bit of money to use. At least, that’s the idea.
The rest of the books are a mish mash of assorted subjects that have interested me to a greater or lesser degree over the past several months.

So, there’s an update of sorts to keep the Google-gods and blog-spirits happy. Ciao!


Not So Quick Update

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:41 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Scanned and sushi-ed.

So, I survived my PET scan just fine today. Actually, I had a chest x-ray and some blood drawn, too, but those were minor compared to the PET scan. I prefer that, though, to the CAT scan. Something about all that barium really messes up my insides for a couple of days. In fact, when I told my oncologist that, she agreed to stick with the PET scans, unless they showed something to be worried about so that I didn’t have to deal with the indigestion and, um, other attendant problems that came with the CAT.
In any case, I won’t get the results of that for a week.
Afterward, my driver of the moment, J., and I went to a sushi joint. It was a place on Kirby called Azuma. It was pretty good and not too expensive, even if we did get the lunch specials, with a little extra. It had a nice, relaxing atmosphere and the sushi was really top-notch.
And, I’ve been meaning to mention that I had sushi with an old friend from back East a couple of weeks ago, too. He’s a consultant doing work for highly-confidential clients. It’s something he takes pretty seriously, which is a good thing, but, as a result, he couldn’t tell me that he was in town until he was, well, in town. So it was a really nice surprise and I ran down to his hotel to pick him up for dinner. We went to a different sushi place, which is why I thought of it again. That time, it was Shimako‘s on Westheimer. Also a very good place for sushi. He paid, though, so I have no idea about the prices.
I’ve been pretty lucky with my friends over the years. Somehow, I manage to find the most loyal, giving people who weather some of the strangest, most uncomfortable times with me. I’m honestly not sure how that works, but, well, I’m just going to accept it and be grateful.

Speaking of being grateful, I had a lot to be grateful for this weekend.
First of all, I came into a little money unexpectedly.  Not enough to dig me out of debt completely, but enough to pay one, lingering, medical bill that I’ve been ignoring with enough left over to do some charity stuff and pay cash for Christmas.  It was a very, very pleasant surprise, though, I have to admit, I was a little skeptical at first.
In any case, that got me so pumped up that I managed to motivate myself to get something like eight boxes of my ex-wife’s books out of the house.  Even better, I took them to the local Half-Price Books, so I actually got $60 for them.  Not bad, especially for books I really didn’t want in the house any more.  After the first of the year, I’ll have a couple more boxes sorted and ready to get rid of, so I’ll head back.  Now, sadly, I admit, I spent that cash on books for myself.  Still, I figure, books that I like are a good trade for books I don’t.

Now, the funny thing is, one large box of books was, um, rather, ah, “adult”.  So, I warned the nice lady who was going to sort them and make me an offer.  I didn’t want her to accidentally expose any kids to those books and scar them for life.  But, to ease us past the social awkwardness of that moment, I joked that they’d scarred enough lives already.  That got a little laugh and a bit of curiosity on her part.
When she called me back to tell me how much they’d give me, she assured me that I didn’t have anything in there that they hadn’t seen before.  Now, that might have been a bit of an exaggeration, I knew that there probably wasn’t much in there that would shock her.  But, I laughed and shrugged and said, “Well, you know, ex-wife…”
She laughed and smiled and said, “Yeah, I know, ex-husband.”
And she was kind of cute, in a butch way, and had some nice tattoos, so…  Well, let’s just say I’m looking forward to bringing the next batch of books which are somewhat less, ah, exciting than this last batch.

But, I was still so charged up from what I managed in the morning, that I got my laundry done and folded and put away.  And, I managed to get the wireless card working in an old, spare laptop, so it’s going to become a Christmas present for my red-neck nephew.  He’ll be excited, because he can sit in the coffee shop in the little, rural town where he lives and use their free wifi.  Yes, a coffee shop with free wireless in a town of less than 4,000.  Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
And, then I got the rest of my Christmas shopping done.  My siblings and their families will be getting something from Bell’s Farm, as usual.  I like sending Texas fruit to the poor folks up North for a couple of reasons.  First, because fruit is so expensive up there this time of year.  And, also, because I had an uncle in Florida who used to send fruit every year, too, and I liked the idea of carrying on the tradition.  Though, I have to admit, he sent fruit to more people than I do!

Anyway, it was a great weekend and I got tons and tons of stuff done.  I did so much that I already have plans for a similar weekend coming up!  Though, next weekend will be devoted to photography and web design and stuff for the Super Secret Creative Project of Doom.  And, possibly working on a map and some background material for a setting idea I have for fiction.  I hope making it more solid, more real, will help me come up with ideas for stories.  We’ll see.  Oh, and I’ll write another post later in the week about my planned charity with a portion of my unexpected bounty.
Until then, though, keep your holiday spirits bright!

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.