Category: Technology


Until I can reliably speak to my computer, I need a good keyboard.  It’s important as I spend a lot of time using it.  So with that in mind I bought a Das Keyboard mechanical keyboard.

It’s loud and clicky and I love it.  The keys are so nice.  It reminds me of a keyboard I had long ago on one of my first computers.  I wore it out and eventually ended up with some “OK” one.

Of course, now the clients will know that I am multi-tasking and doing something interesting while I am listening in on some conference call. But, that’s why the made mute buttons.

It’s important to have good equipment when you are working your livelihood. Definitely worth the $130 I paid for it.

One word: sweet!

 

Had a great weekend going to Sioux Falls and showing the family my sculptures at the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk.  More photos and details on my art blog. I still think it is a cool town.Plus we managed to outrace the storms following us home.  Sweet!

However, I’m dealing with two server crashes this morning.  It’s hardly fair.  It’s definitely kills a day to reinstall software and services.  Ish.

Some good news.  Here’s an interesting article about Richard Leakey and his thoughts on evolution and the evidence for it. As much evidence as there currently is for the theory, I seriously doubt those who believe otherwise will be persuaded.  Some people just aren’t interested in opening their minds to alternate possibilities.

Here’s a quote that also hits at the climate change deniers:

“If you look back, the thing that strikes you, if you’ve got any sensitivity, is that extinction is the most common phenomena,” Leakey says. “Extinction is always driven by environmental change. Environmental change is always driven by climate change. Man accelerated, if not created, planet change phenomena; I think we have to recognize that the future is by no means a very rosy one.”

 Let’s hope we can leave the planet in better shape for our kids and grandkids.

 

I got an email this morning for a conference in Colorado titled, “iMedia’s Agency Summit Tackles SoLoMo”.

I’ve been in the tech sector for a while now and have heard and used my fair share of jargon and tech lingo.  I specifically remember a conversation with a friend a few years ago where we spoke almost entirely in acronyms and jargon.  I realized anyone not familiar with the terms would have thought we were speaking a foreign language.  In a sense we were but ever since then I have tried to remain aware of techies propensity to spout out jargon.

What, you may ask, is SoLoMo?  Any guesses? Not a typo of Slo-M0.

Give up?

Social-Local-Mobile. An intersection of the three.

Where does it stop?  How about SoLoMoCo? Sounds like a drink from Starbucks but is Social-Local-Mobile-Commerce. 

There’s a nice rant to stop the insanity over on TechCrunch.

 

Came across this article from the NY Times about standing up while you work.  It’s a great idea.  I have been standing almost exclusively since I got my Ergotron device. No, its not a machine for global destruction.  Merely a way for me to work standing (or sitting). 

I feel better although by the end of the day my feet sometimes do hurt.  It feels weird to sit down now too. 

Highly recommended to get off your ass and move around while working.  I need to get some voice recognition software too so I can pace around and talk to computer.  All my office mates will think I’m totally crazy after that.

What an amazing man!  He makes incredible movies, dives to the Titanic and now dives to the deepest known spot in the oceans.  Stupendous!  He could sit around with his millions and spend it on stupid crap. But he’d rather push the limits of technology in film making and deep sea exploration. 

Kudos.  Keep it up James Cameron! Get this man into the Explorers Club. We should all aspire to such feats.

Check this story on MSNBC about his expedition.

Burning, itching eyes.  Strained cross-eyed blurred visions. 

Yep. Got all the symptoms of too-long-staring-at-the-effin-screen-eye-fragging-ness.  It sucks.  I’m driving my kid to guitar lessons and freaking have to squint so my eyes don’t cross and give me double vision.  It’s as bad as 4 or 5 beers.

Need a solution. I still have 20/20 vision, but obviously have a lot of eye strain.

I read about Gunnar eyewear in my recent Wired magazine — said they would be a good gift for a gamer.

Who has time for gaming anymore?  Not me, but I mentioned that long days at the screen thing, right?

So, I checked out the site and learned they have the glasses at Best Buy.  Get in car. Drive to Best Buy. Wander in store. Ask sales dude about Gunnars. Yes. Even have a demo pair.

Seriously.  The glare is reduced. A lot.

They remind me of shooting glasses with the yellow-tinted lenses.  So far so good.

Of course, I got the MW3 version.  Got some cred with the boys now.

I know. I’m hot.

Two days and already my eyes feel better.  I’ll do a follow up in a few weeks to see how they are.

So, now I have a stand up display and sweet lenses.  Will the work output improve?

PEDRO: Do you have the money?

MAN IN BLACK: Yes.  Do you have the goods?

PEDRO: Si!  Give me the money.  I give you the goods.

MAN IN BLACK: Here it is (handing over a black briefcase).

Pedro picks up the case and grunts.

PEDRO: What you have in here man?

MAN IN BLACK: Just open it.  I want my goods.

PEDRO:  Ok. Ok. 

Pedro cracks open the case and gasps.

PEDRO: What’s this man?!  I asked for cash.

MAN IN BLACK: What? You don’t like silver?

PEDRO: No good for you. I wanted cash!  This is Bogata and I’m king here!

MAN IN BLACK pulls out a large caliber revolver and fires 3 shots into Pedro.  Pedro slumps over bleeding, the life pouring out of the large holes in his chest and back.

PEDRO: Why man?  why?

MAN IN BLACK:  I take what I want! Ha HA HA HA HA!

CUT!!!

 I recently finished the book 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann.  And an interesting read it was.

We always hear and read about what the Europeans brought to the new world but rarely about the reverse.  Mann posits that the world changed and become a true global market. 

What did the New World get?  Diseases, which decimated the local populations, horses, religion and metal technology.

What about the Old World?  Various crops, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn (maize) and silver.  Lots of silver. 

Mann goes into detail about the exchanges.  I thought one of the most interesting was the potato.  He basically writes that the potato helped spur the growth of the European population.  A farmer can get more nutrients from a potato dug out of the ground than from wheat and other cereal grains.  At one time the average Irish male was subsisting on over 12 pounds of potatoes per day.  Spud love.

The Irish potato famine is an early warning shot of what happens when a mono-culture of crops is created.  One fungus virtually wiped out the entire potato crop in Europe and spawned the Irish migrations.  Today, Ireland has fewer people than it did before the famine.

There are many more interesting tidbits of information and theory, but the other one that caught my attention is the little Ice Age from around 1550 to 1850.  What caused it, one may ask?  many theories abound, but the one Mann throws out there is the decimation of the native American population after the founding of Jamestown and other North American colonies.

Why? 

The native Americans use to burn the forests.  It would reduce the undergrowth creating space for them to plant native crops.  The Europeans showed up with all their diseases for which the natives had no immunity.  Fairly common knowledge.

No longer were the forests being burned so there was an explosion of growth and green.  The trees sucked in massive quantities of CO2.  Lower CO2 means colder weather.  Thus the little Ice Age.

Interesting theory, right?

It’s a really good read. It’s not dry and boring and presents some interesting theories.  make sure you fully read the close association between malaria and African slaves.

Think about it. Is the Columbian Exchange still happening today?

Anyone who has ever purchased a new computer knows that 25% of the battle is the new hardware.  The other 75% (plus) is the software.  And dang it, it takes forever to install.

Especially when you need to install databases, application servers, web servers and other bits of software.  Here’s a partial list of what I needed to install (and download, first, then configure):

  • IIS 7.5 — lots of issues with the installation and making it work with ColdFusion 9
  • ColdFusion 9
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 — initially installed just 2008, not the R2.  Microsoft, why in the world do you still have 2008 available for download? My previous system had R2 but I first installed 2008, so when I tried to re-attach the database I got no love.  So, then had to find and download R2 and upgrade.
  • PHP 5.2
  • MySQL 5
  • MySQL Workbench  — first ended up with the OSS version which didn’t look anything like the Workbench tool I needed.
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • IE9
  • Safari
  • iTunes — then had to transfer everything.  And I’m still working on that
  • filezilla — dumped my old FTP client (WS-FTP)
  • Thunderbird — dumped my old email client (Eudora, which I have used since 1995– very sad)
  • The Adobe Web Premium Suite
  • Microsoft Office 2010

So, just a few bits o’software.  And most needed configuration. Oh, and had to crank out code for clients.  Lots of fun!

I know there are supposed to be tools to help you move to a new computer, but my loadout would never have worked with something like that. Too much configuration.

Maybe next time I get a new system I’ll pay someone to do it.

I finally broke down and bought a new computer. About 4 weeks ago. Finally pulled it out of the box last night.  I thought is was time as the old one is making funny noises ad all my important client work is on it.

Bought an iBuyPower gaming machine (the Phantom) that is liquid cooled.  It has a massive white case (hints of H.R. Giger) and sweet blue led lights. And tons of expansion space.  I could practically rent it out as a room.

I’m hoping it will be fast.  The old one was slowing dowwwwnnnnn. 

Of course, there is all the freaking installing to do.  Ugh! 

 

Craig, have you become a Catholic?  Have you been properly converted from that religion you currently subscribe to (ha, ha, just kidding)?  Have you seen the light?

No. No. Yes.

Check it out.  I bought an Ergotron Sit/Stand thingy-ma-bob.  And I’m digging it.  Sitting on one’s ass for 8 to 10 hours a day isn’t healthy.  There’s a reason we called people in the Air Force with a big ole caboose “Navigator Butt” — park your booty and you get a wide load.

Now I stand up for a while.  Then I sit down for a spell.  Then back on my feet.  I’m rocking my Pandora and practically am dancing while I work — I feel like that penguin from the movie Happy Feet. 

Matter of fact, I’m standing right now as I type this post. Sweet.

If you’re on the computer all day like me, get one. 

Be a standup guy or gal.