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Raging Technoholic - Part 2
Jan
0

Amazon to launch Kindle App Store

Holy crap, this could be a game changer

http://mashable.com/2010/01/21/kindle-app-store/

I love my Kindle, it's a fantastic piece of hardware, so this announcement should be very interesting, considering the success that Apple has enjoyed on the iPhone/iTouch, and to do it so close to the possible iTablet launch... going to make for an interesting year. 🙂

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Dec
0

Want to know what it's like to be adopted?

Catchy title eh? 🙂

I guess it would be hard for you to really feel what it’s like to be adopted, just like it’s probably not possible for me to feel what it’s like to not be adopted, but recently I had someone ask me this question and I was noodling it over, so although I probably can’t convey every nuance of it, I might be able to give you some insight.

My Own Background
First we can start with my background, I was born in 1970 here in San Diego California, for the next few months of my life I was kept with foster parents or in a communal home for children, until they found a home for me.

Continue Reading...

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Dec
0

Why you don't need a new computer

OK, I admit, I probably should have entitled this “Why you probably don’t need a new machine”, but the current title is much more interesting and gets more people to read the blog post.

Also if your a die hard gamer, this is not going to apply to you.  The information may be  beneficial to you, but since your life is mostly defined by the frame rate on your video card, you can just take this as informational.

This article is really directed at those people out there that are running 3-4 year old machine, particularly those who use notebooks, who are not avid gamers but people who are avid internet users, who browse the web, download videos, use Photoshop etc.

These people own machines that are 3-4 years into their life , and their machine has just become slow over time, it just doesn’t seem to have that same speed as when they first bought it.

They might have reinstalled Windows and enjoyed a speedier machine for a few weeks or months, but then sure enough it was back to that old sluggish beast of a machine that they had before, and now they are considering buying a new machine.

I’m here to tell you that you might want to re-think that.

Continue Reading...

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Nov
0

I'm rethinking my job.

I'v been with the same technology company now for 16 years, and over that time I have seen it grow from a medium sized business to a Fortune 500 company that defied the wireless industry status quo, and made people re-think what they thought they knew about wireless communications.

I love the company that I work for, they have done nothing but treat myself and the other employees with the utmost respect and they have been there for me most of my adult life as a positive force.

Throughout this journey I have taken with them I have worn many hats, Novell Systems Administrator, Windows System Administrator, Software Development Manager, and Technologist.  At some point or another I have probably worked with most areas of IT at some level or another, and because of that I think it's given me an understanding of the challenges and issues that we have faced both over the years and today as a large 15,000+ employee company.

Continue Reading...

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Nov
0

Shopping for your geek?


So, being a geek myself I never get stuck trying to come up with ideas to buy other geeks, I just ask myself what is it that I want, and then apply it to others, saves time, and it's almost 100% spot on.

So this year I decided to sit down and give folks who are less knowledgeable in the ways of the geek an insight into what their geek might want under the tree this year.   Obviously each geek is unique (just like everyone else) and have their own take on things, but the list below has some obviously geeky items, as well as a few that might truly impress your favorite propeller head.

COMPUTER GEEKS

First up are the computer geeks, now your geek might fall into several of these areas, but usually computers are a common element in any geek house.


Kingston 128GB SSD Solid State Drive

ssd

Ok, so here's the deal, for years now hard drives in mobile computers have sucked, we all knew it, but there wasn't much we could do about it until now.   By moving to a solid state disk you can take a four year old computer and make it seem like it's a brand new machine.   Great way to breathe some life into an older machine and not shell out $1200 for a entirely new notebook.

Make sure your geeks notebook takes "SATA" drives, and not "IDE" , type the model number into Google and find somewhere where it gives the specifications for that model, SATA=WIN  IDE=FAIL

Approximate Cost: $245

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


G-Technology 1TB External Hard Drive

gtech

Yes you can find cheaper external drives, yes Best Buy has some really cheap ones that look just as good, but here's why I love G-Technology.  They answer the phone... no really, they have real people answer the phone in their technical support dept, and they know what they are talking about.  Your call is not being bounced off a satalite to India where someone is reading from a script and asking you if you also might want to switch phone carriers.

G-Technology also understand that heat kills hard drives and they do a damn good job of using the entire enclosure (the metal around the hard drive) as a big heat sink to pull the heat away from the drive.

This particular model sports USB, 400MB Fire Wire, 800MB Fire Wire, and eSata, which means it will plug into damn near anything.   If they need more space than this, your geek has a porn habit, and you should get them a Drobo.

Approximate Cost: $179

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Drobo

drobo

Behold the kick ass power of the Drobo.

What does the Drobo do you might ask?  The Drobo lets your geek store a crap ton of data in this nifty little box on hard drives and still keep it safe if one of the drives takes a crap.

The magic of the Drobo lets your geek use their existing drives, and even drives that are not the same sized, and all geeks have a ton of old drives laying around, so this lets them put them all in a nice little box and makes them look like one big drive to the computer, all the while ensuring that their precious collection of.... um..... wild life photos are kept safe.

Approximate Cost: $249

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


Logitech Webcam Pro 9000

webcam

Yes, I know web cams have been around forever, why would my geek want a newer one?  Well this new generation of web cams sport HD video and a 16x9 aspect ratio just their their geeky HD TV's.   The logic sports a kick ass Carl Zeiss lens (Carl kicks lens ass) and auto focus.

Of note here, if your geek has a Mac, don't buy this since they have one built in, and Mac people we all weird if their computer parts don't color coordinate.

Approximate Cost: $65

Extra credit, buy two and then you and your geek can video chat... hot.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO


CREATIVE GEEKS

Your geek might be one of those creative types, may into photography, art, drawing etc.  I'v tried to put together a few unique ideas that will make your geek swoon with delight.

Lecia D-Lux 4 Digital Camera - Approx $699


lecia
This camera kicks all kinds of ass.

Yes, I know it's not a Nikon, or a Cannon, it's from some euro sounding company called Lecia, but trust me on this, Lecia has been around forever, and makes some kick ass camera that put out just amazing images.

This one is a 10mp (Trust me if your not doing prints more mega pixels doesn't mean better pictures, it just means you can see nose hairs) and takes video as well.   It's small enough to fit in the pocket, but put out images comparable to a $1,400 DSLR camera.

Approximate Cost: $699

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Wacom Intuos 4 Tablet - Approx $350


intuos1
If you have one of those creative geeks who loves to draw, paint, etc, then the Wacom tablet is for you.

I picked one of these up at Comic-Con two years ago and I love it.It allows you to draw on the surface just like you would with a pen, can detect what angle the pen is at, how much pressure your putting on it etc.  Fully compatible with Photoshop, Illustrator, and other applications that your geek uses.

These new ones even come with "on tablet" controls to change ink, pen type etc.

Approximate Cost: $350

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Final Cut Express 3.5 - Approx $150


finalcute
If your geek is the movie making type, or a up and coming YouTube star, and they want to kick up their game from iMovie, Final Cut Express could be the answer if they are on a Mac.

Final Cut Express is the little brother to Final Cut Pro (which I list later on).  It picks up where iMovie leaves off and opens up some truly professional editing tools for your geek to become famous with.  Note, this only works on a Mac, if they have a PC, have a look at Adobe Premier

Approximate Cost: $299

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



GAMER GEEKS

OK, disclaimer here.  If your geek is a huge gamer there is a good chance they have one or all of these titles, so it's best to make sure if they already own it.  Also often these games come out for various systems such as XBOX, PS3, Wii, etc, so be sure to check which system they have as well.

Dragon Age - Origins

dao My friend Paul came over and was giddy to show me a game trailer for this thing, and I almost went out and bought a XBOX just to play the damn thing.  Really kick ass RPG, amazing graphics and game play and it's got FUCKING DRAGONS in it, how bad ass is that?

Check out the kick ass trailer here.

Remember find out if your geek has a XBOX or PS3 before buying.

Approximate Cost: $65

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Uncharted 2: Among the Thieves

uc2
The second game that Paul wanted to show me was this, Uncharted 2.  Evidently it has some of the best story writing anyone has seen in a game in a long fucking time. It's compelling, interesting, and the game play really kicks the lamas ass as well.  It's been compared to playing inside of a movie.

Check out the even more kick ass trailer here.

This is for PS3 only

Approximate Cost: $50

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Left 4 Dead 2

l4d2 You can't go wrong with zombies, and this game kicks so much ass, it kicks it's own ass! The game can be different every time you play due to the way it was created.  Play with a group or play on your own, this is probably the best zombie video game to date.There are few things more geeky that mixing zombies and video games, so this is a sure fire winner.

Probably has one of the best video game trailers of all time, click here to check it out

Approximate Cost: $50

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO




Sci- Fi Movie Geek

2009 was an amazing year for science fiction movies, and I might even so on record as saying it was one of the best ever.


Moon

moon
The entire movie has just one person in it, Sam Rockwell, and he pulls off an amazing performance as the sole astronaut on a moon base.

Directed by David Bowie's son (yes that David Bowie) it was one of the best Sci-Fi movies I have ever soon, well done, not cheesy, and really original.  Get it on Blue-Ray if your geek has a Blue-Ray player.

Approximate Cost: $50


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



District 9

d9
This was honestly one of the best sci-fi movies that I have ever seen.  It's currently tied for first place with Blade Runner in my book, and really is not only an amazing sci-fi movie, but a scathing look at social issues .

The look and feel of the movie is incredible visceral and has an element of realism that is not often seen in sci-fi movies.   Be sure to get this on Blue-Ray if your geek has it, and I for one am picking up the two disk set.

Approximate Cost: $50


CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Mobility Geek

It's no secret that I recently decided to go 100% mobile with my computer setup.  I realized I was only using my notebook, and have decided to make the move to try and make all of my tech/geek stuff as mobile as possible.  These are a few of the tools that will help keep your geek on the move.

MiFi Mobile Access Point

mifi
This  is amazingly bad ass.  It's a mobile WiFi hotspot that uses the cellular network to reach the internet.  There is one button that turns it on and off.  When you turn it on, suddenly your computer, phone, etc all see a WiFi hotspot that you can use.

Since it just uses your regular WiFi connection there are no crazy drivers that fuck up your machine, and you can share it with up to 4 other people so that you can all be on-line at the same time.   Battery lasts about 3 hours in normal use I have found, and if you're near a plug you can go forever.

Approximate Cost: NA / It's free with a contract

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Amazon Kindle

kindle

ONE OF THE MOST BAD ASS THINGS TO HAVE EVER BEEN MADE FOR GEEKS

No, I'm not kidding.

For someone on the go, or hell just sitting at home this thing is amazing.  It's an ebook reader that is connected wireless to your Amazon account, so you can buy books and such over the air.

Not only are the books cheaper on the Kindle you can get them RIGHT NOW, when you buy a book on the Kindle it's downloaded to your device in about 5 seconds.   No more running into the crappy airport book stores and paying list price for something, you just click, and you have your book in seconds.

Did I also mention that the wireless service is over the cellular network and FREE FOR LIFE?  Yeah pretty bad ass.

The other bad ass thing about these are, when you purchase a book you buy the right to own the book, so if you loose your Kindle, just down load it again for free!   Need to make room because you filled it up with 2,000 books?  Just delete some knowing you can always download them again.

The screen looks like paper, so it doesn't wear your eyes out, and you can control the font size, so if your vision is not up to reading the tiny print of books, hit a button and suddenly the text of the entire book is huge.

The Amish are jealous of this one, and your geeks friends will be too.

Approximate Cost: $250

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Flip Video Camera

flip
Since I'm a video geek, I get a ton of people asking me what's the best camera to get to take home movies and such, which one has he best picture, features etc.

I tell them "The best camera, is the one you have with you"

The problem with big expensive cameras is they are just that, big and expensive, so people don't lug them around all the time, or if they do, they are afraid something will happen to it etc.

The Flip camera takes good video, is brain dead simple, and fits in your pocket.  You can't beat it for the price, and it does 720P video, and you just plug it into your computer.

Ideal for home movies.... if you know what I mean.

Approximate Cost: $129

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Podcasting/On-Line Video Geek

Maybe your geek is trying to become internet famous, maybe they want to host their own news show, either way here are some cheap ways to get them on-line and still put on a quality show for the masses.

Flashmic

flashmic
If your geek is going down the audio podcasting route and maybe wants to take the show on the road, this thing is amazing.  Not cheap, but it's a professional microphone that records to a solid state card.  There are no cables, or wireless options to figure out, you just turn it on and go.

Ideal for man on the street interviews and locations where you need to be able to fit your entire studio into your pocket.

All around fantastic product.

Approximate Cost: $999

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



Kodak Zi8 HD Pocket Video Camera

kodak
Ok, this is a bit more than the flip camera, but not by much.  It can even do 1080P video, but chances are your geek isn't going to need to use that option.

What sets this camera apart from the flip is the fact that it can take external audio, why is that important you might ask?   Because using the mic on the camera sounds like ass.

People are often willing to watch crappy video, but they are not willing to listen to crappy audio, by having an external audio port on this camera you can attach a quality microphone to it, and sound like a pro!

Approximate Cost: $199

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO



AZDEN  Lavaliere Mic

lav
This is an ideal mic to go with the Kodak video camera above.  Small discreet and 10x better audio that what you would get out of the mic on the camera.

These things are delicate so best to start out on the cheaper side and work your way up to the ones that are 100's of dollars, maybe they can use their new found internet fame to buy one of those.

Approximate Cost: $24

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
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Oct
0

Want to attend a free screening of Paranormal Activity, Oct 7th?

Just be sure that you RSVP to the address on the flier, and remember it's first come first serve, so get there early to be sure you get in!


paranormal

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Aug
0

Thoughts on comping tickets to our events

So I always seem to get questions from people asking me about comped tickets to the events that we do. Sometimes these questions are leading, like as in what do I have to do to get a free ticket, other times they are concerned that people are abusing the system by getting in for free, and others are just pain irritated for various reasons.

I'll do my best to explain my thinking, I won't pull any punches, I won't throw any spin on it, I'll just give you how my mind works, and then you can decide for yourself if there is a method to the madness.

The goals of throwing our events is ensure that our guests have a good time, that we don't loose our ass on costs and that we pave the way for future events/projects. 

It sounds simple enough, but often times, people loose sight of what the end goals are and focus to much on the immediate issues that are bothering them, it means putting aside the ego and focusing on the long term plan.

So key factors in the case of a large event like X-Sanguin you have to look at how many people does the venue hold, how many tickets do you think you can sell, and what's your bar minimum. 

Lets say the venue holds 1000, and your bar guarantee is $15,000, assuming that you can sell enough tickets to cover your event costs (if you can't you have no business getting doing an event that sized) but not enough to sell out, now your presented with a decision.

Do you say "I don't see why anyone should get in for free! Everyone pays!" and run the risk of doing fine on ticket sales and not making your bar tab, or do you suck it up and take a long term view of the goals of selling tickets, and not loosing your ass on the bar tab?

It's that last part that can really bug people, humans really can have problems seeing others getting something for free, esp if they don't know them, or even worse, they don't like them, but often times in situations like this it is a necessary step to success. 

So when considering who we are going to comp tickets out to, most of them fall into one of these categories:

Above and Beyond
This person did something for the group that went above and beyond what anyone would normally do to help out. Maybe they donated hours of their time, or helped move equipment on their days off etc. They earned them with their blood sweat and tears.

The Peer
This is someone or a group of people that do similar events, or include you and your group in their projects. Doing big events can be a stressful difficult experience and it's always good to compare notes, etc with your peers.

The Super Connector
These people are social hubs for large groups of friends, that look to them for "What are we doing", by comping out these people you count on a large drag effect of their friends buying tickets to attend the event. 

They might still buy their tickets, but by giving them tickets, you cater to their ego, so that they are more inclined to tell their friends about it, and make sure they know that they got their tickets for free. Their ego becomes your allie in this situation.

Passive Influencer
These people for some reason inspire others to attend the event, not by direct action, or promoting, but by some other means. Often times they people that are considered famous, creative, extremely attractive, etc. 

New Attendee
In the business world this would be called "Customer Acquisition", and often times businesses know that they will have to take it on the chin to get that person as a customer for that first sale, but after that, they will see the value in their product and become a loyal customer. It's a similar case here, I would much rather give a ticket to someone who would never normally buy one, but who would buy one the next year if they had fun at the event. Again, it's taking a long term view of your goals.

Silly Inspiration
Ok, I'll admit it, sometimes you just do it because you want to bring a little fun into the world and be unpredictable. On Twitter I sent out "This was a triumph, I'm making a note here huge success". To which I had about 15 responses asking me what was up, did I win a contest etc, and then I got one response of "Its' hard to overstate my satisfaction".

Yes, it's the end theme song from portal, and someone got it, there is a case of silly inspiration, oh and the guy that figured out that the numbers on the dog tags are earth's jump coordinates for BSG. 🙂

How to fail at getting free tickets
So there you have it, those are the basic categories that people fall into that we give out comped tickets to. Sure there are exceptions, there always are, but now having seen all of that, I'll tell you how NOT to get a free ticket to the event.

Then open scene from the movie the Godfather is really an amazing piece of cinema and a powerful moment in the film that sets the mood for the rest of the movie.

In the scene Marlin Brando is sitting in his office on with a few of his men, and on the other side of the desk is Amerigo Bonasera, a undertaker in the Italian community. 

He starts off by telling Don Corleone (Marlin Brando) how his daughter, a fine girl, with upstanding morals, was led astray to go on a date with a boy who tried to take advantage of her, and when she fought back the boy savaged her face. Amerigo Bonasera is asking for justice for his daughter, justice that the police can't give him, since they only gave the boy 4 months in jail.

The reason he is asking this, is that tradition holds that on the day of his daughters wedding, no Sicilian father can refuse a request.

After thinking a moment, the Godfather looks at Amerigo Bonasera and the conversation goes something like this.... 

DON CORLEONE
Bonasera, we know each other for
years, but this is the first time
you come to me for help. I don't
remember the last time you invited
me to your house for coffee...even
though our wives are friends.

BONASERA
What do you want of me? I'll give
you anything you want, but do what
I ask!

DON CORLEONE
And what is that Bonasera?

BONASERA whispers into the DON's ear.

DON CORLEONE
No. You ask for too much.

BONASERA
I ask for Justice.

DON CORLEONE
The Court gave you justice.

BONASERA
An eye for an eye!

DON CORLEONE
But your daughter is still alive.

BONASERA
Then make them suffer as she
suffers. How much shall I pay you.

Both HAGEN and SONNY react.

DON CORLEONE
You never think to protect yourself
with real friends. You think it's
enough to be an American. All
right, the Police protects you,
there are Courts of Law, so you
don't need a friend like me.
But now you come to me and say Don
Corleone, you must give me justice.
And you don't ask in respect or
friendship. And you don't think to
call me Godfather; instead you come
to my house on the day my daughter
is to be married and you ask me to
do murder...for money.

BONASERA
America has been good to me...

DON CORLEONE
Then take the justice from the
judge, the bitter with the sweet,
Bonasera. But if you come to me
with your friendship, your loyalty,
then your enemies become my enemies,
and then, believe me, they would
fear you...

Slowly, Bonasera bows his head and murmurs.

BONASERA
Be my friend.

DON CORLEONE
Good. From me you'll get Justice.

BONASERA
Godfather.

DON CORLEONE
Some day, and that day may never
come, I would like to call upon you
to do me a service in return.

In other words, now that Amerigo Bonasera in in trouble, he is coming to Don Corleone for help, but never came in true friendship before, but had he, he would not need to be asking for justice, for it would have already been done. Now however, after granting his request, since he did not come in friendship before, he is now indebted to Don Corleone.

That's a very long winded way of saying that when coming to me and asking for a comp ticket, and following it up with "I'll help you promote, etc" your probably irritating me. 

The person is usually trying to trade on our friendship and now that they need something they are offing to help in some small way. Where as if they had been offering to help all along, they would not need to ask, for it would have already been given in friendship.

So there you have it, there are tons of other factors that could come up, but that should give you an idea on how my mind works when it comes to comped tickets.

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May
May
0

My adventure with tea has begun

So I decided to try and ween myself off as much diet soda as I can.

I am not stupid and I don't think I am just going to not drink it anymore, but I decided to try and find an alternative to diet soda. So don't get me wrong, I know I'll break down and have some, but I want to drastically limit my intake, so I have been looking for a good substitute.

Yes, I could just drink water, but let's be honest, that is boring, and the engineer in me would have no fun coming up with new types of water to try and combine, ya know?

So I decided to go down the road of tea, I got the inspiration from watching Kevin Rose on Diggnation. Sounds kinda odd I know, but they are always drinking beer on the show, and often Kevin is raging about the tea that he is currently trying etc. Somehow in my head, beer loving geeks might think alike so I decided to get my feet wet in the leafy goodness of tea and give it a go.

The adventure begins......

So Paul and I went out to Somavar in San Francisco for breakfast one morning and they have tea like a weapons locker has guns. All types, all flavors, and all of the do dads (I have no idea what most of this stuff is called), that you can think of.

I ask for them to recommend a nice breakfast tea to start off with and ordered my food. It was quite tasty, but didn't quite hit the spot, so I decided to go back to the oracle of tea (that's what I was referring to her to in my head), I asked for something stronger, something with a something something to it.

She comes back with something that she described as "very strong and aromatic", Paul described as "fucking disgusting" quickly followed up with "Get that shit away from me Workman", and I thought was fucking divine.

My good friends know that I love a particular scotch more than any other, Lagavulin, it smells like a cross between wood, smoke, dirt, and a peat bog. Yeah yeah yeah, I know, many of you are turning up your noses and looking on in horror. Well this tea she gave me tasted like Lagavulin without the booze in it.

This stuff could peel the paint off my car if you get a direct sniff of the raw tea, obviously I bought a huge can of the stuff right away, thus my journey to the dark side of tea has begun. I am new to all of this, so I have 3-4 other teas that I have not yet cracked open, but plan on doing so soon.

My next quest is to find a good night time tea, since the "Paint Peeler" has some ancient Chinese stuff in it that wires the crap out of me (but not really like what I was used to), so I need some sleepy time stuff.

So have a recommendation, let me know.

The Paint Peeler

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Apr
0

Swine Flu outbreak looks ugly

Whoa, this is starting to not look good, reports are saying that it might already be to late to contain the outbreak to Mexico and other areas and we could be looking at a pandemic outbreak of the Swine Flu.   Mexico is canceled on public events to try and mitigate the spread of the virus.

Makes me glad that many of my co-works and I can telecommute if need be.

http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_24/en/index.html

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