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Top Geek Apps
2011-09-30 19:15:00
Every true geek will no doubt be excited about the prospect of filling up their smartphone with a good range of geeky apps – so here’s just a few of the best… FAIL Maker Understand the hilarity of a real ‘FAIL’ moment when no one around you does? Then this is the app for you. ...
More About: Misc , Geek
Top Four Minecraft Fans We Could Do Without
2011-09-01 12:50:00
We’ve tooted here about Minecraft before, but now Slashdot has discovered it… or maybe become more aware of it. Slashdot examines the question of whether Minecraft could change the gaming industry. While many Slashdotters – disdainful of any game that got popular on some other site first – wave their paws and say ‘bah!’ to ...
More About: Games , Fans
Software Installer Follies We Could Do Without
2011-08-28 12:48:00
On Microsoft Windows, there’s been this set of installation program tropes that have gone on since the Windows 95 days. Yes, grandkids, there was a Windows 95, also known as “Ha ha, we’ll make this obsolete in just three years with Win 98!” Anyway, we’ve all seen so many “install wizards”, we can all count ...
More About: Software
?If I Were President?? Of A Social News Website
2011-08-25 15:47:00
“If I Were President …” Of A Social News Website As has been pointed out in many places, “social news will always suck”. We see Digg, Reddit, Slashdot, and other train wrecks, where the quality always drops to rock bottom and the Lowest Common Denominator rules. But if we create a social news site with a ...
Eight Signs That Your Web Designer Is Full Of Baloney
2011-08-22 12:46:00
Eight Signs That Your Web Designer Is Full Of Baloney I’d have to say that from my point of view from within the industry, some of the world’s biggest, most over-inflated egos belong to web designers. If you get one even half the time that has their head fastened firmly on their shoulders, you’re lucky. ...
A Very Unfunny Reminiscence On LulzSec
2011-07-31 20:13:00
For a little while there, a cyber-mischief group by the handle of “LulzSec” rose like a fungal infection on the world news media and died out like a fungal infection after a hit of Monostat-7. Don’t believe for a minute that they’re disbanding – their website is still up, their Twitter feed is still active, ...
More About: Misc
The Fall of Monkey Boy
2011-07-24 10:07:00
Ah, the legend of Monkey Boy! Steve Ballmer, current sitting CEO of Microsoft, earned this nickname for his famous onstage rants at Microsoft events, such as the infamous “developers, Developers, DEVELOPERS!” chant. Monkey Boy has drawn criticism lately, because his steering of the good ship Microsoft since taking the helm from Bill Gates has met ...
PEBKAC Needs To Make A Comeback
2011-07-14 17:39:00
‘PEBKAC’ is an acronym standing for “Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair” and was once a standard IT code for “We can’t solve the problem on our end”. It’s one of the canonical geek insults. And really, isn’t it getting time to be a little more frank with users again? Like this little story over ...
More About: Make
Hackerspaces Around The World
2011-07-10 16:34:00
A “hackerspace” is an informal gathering place for a club of electronics and computing enthusiasts. A broader definition is “a place to foster a collaborative environment wherein people can explore and create intersections between technology, science, art, and culture.” It’s a common term on places like Make Magazine and Boing-Boing. You’re picturing a basement cave ...
More About: World , Around the world , The World
Embarrassing Moments In My Past Computer Geekhood
2011-07-06 18:57:00
Embarrassing Moments In My Past Computer Geekhood The first – and last – time I brought up programming languages on a date. Writing my first BASIC program that printed my name to the screen over and over again and showing EVERYBODY. My first time in mIRC asking everybody how to be a 1337 Haxor. When ...
Google+ Is A Floor Wax AND A Dessert Topping!
2011-07-02 19:58:00
We can’t blog about anything else today but Google +. It’s the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning. It’s the last thing we think of when we go to bed at night. Google+ slices, dices, and does your taxes. Google+ is the Stain Specialist – it’s Mother-Nature-Approved, and safe on ...
More About: Social Networks , Dessert
Printer Hacks and Tricks
2011-06-29 00:25:00
Printer Whisperer iPhone App Have you seen the little LCD a lot of printers have, the ones that usually display error messages and let you know if your cartridges are empty? Well with this great iPhone app you will be able to display whatever message you want on that little screen! You can choose from ...
More About: Hacks , Tricks , Printer
More Things To Convince People You?re A Hacker
2011-06-01 05:37:00
It’s all about image, ain’t it? You’ll run into this quote a lot on the web: “10 ways to keep your users from confusing you with a normal person: 4. When booting a user’s workstation, shout out all console output 1/2 second before it appears. Do this with your eyes closed and fists clenched.” That’s ...
More About: People , Hacker , Things
Sony Sucks
2011-05-22 10:25:00
Just reading about the newest protest against Sony corporation, whom has stirred anger in the tech community AGAIN, this time for prosecuting a guy who wanted to do what he wanted to with his PS3. Let’s make something perfectly clear: It seems to be an inalienable right throughout the world that once you’ve bought something ...
More About: Misc
4 Tips to Help Computer Geeks Improve their Writing
2011-05-17 09:15:00
A few years ago, I was charged with the task of working as an editor assisting hard sciences researchers with their writing skills. Basically, I was locked in a cold, clinical lab-type office eight hours a day with a bunch of shamelessly nerdy geeks who didn?t know the difference between passive and active voice, who ...
More About: Writing , Geeks , Community , Computer , Tips
6 Tech Innovations That Nobody Wants!
2009-06-07 14:21:00
Neal Stephenson pointed out something that struck a chord with me in “In The Beginning Was The Command Line”. He pointed out that car interfaces weren’t cursed with having to be “intuitive”; instead they made up steering wheels and gear shifts and all sorts of arcade controls. He expresses relief that cars weren’t invented in the computer age, or we’d have to steer with a mouse and change gears by clicking a drop-down menu. The moral of this story: some things can’t be improved upon. We have to realize when we got something right, and then leave it alone. Similarly, there are some things that nobody is ever going to want, and we just have to stop trying to invent them. Because – get ready for some politically-incorrect judgment – they are bad ideas! Touch screen computers On a phone, it makes sense. On anything bigger than a phone, up to a desktop computer, it doesn’t make sense. Hey, prove me wrong. As you read...
More About: Tech , Innovations
Torturing Wolfram Alpha
2009-05-25 22:27:00
The latest buzz in knowledge systems is Wolfram Alpha . Let’s make this clear: it is not a Google-killer and doesn’t claim to be. It is billed as an “answer engine”, instead of a search engine. Search engines give you links to websites that answer your query; answer engines just try to give you an answer, full stop. Just to clear that up. I’ll try here to find the border of its knowledge, just to have a good idea of what it can handle and what it can’t. So, let’s calculate the odds of a “royal flush” in draw poker: All it understood was “royal flush”, and gave me odds for five and seven cards. No note as to whether this is natural deal, or discard and draw. “Which country had the most wars?” Here’s a more typical Wolfram Alpha experience: it’s stumped. No idea what I wanted. Neither of the provided links lead me anywhere near the answer I wanted. This is an example of a major problem wit...
If I Ruled Computers
2009-05-22 16:52:00
Hi, I’m running for the President of Computers ! Vote for me, and I promise to: Remove the ‘forward’ button from every email client. You should never forward email. Ever. In the history of ever. Not even if it will save the world. The world doesn’t want to be saved that way. Also, everybody doesn’t love you when you forward them this funny thing you found. The exception is, of course, sharing the hilarious and pithy wisdom of the premium content to be found on that pinnacle of website perfection which is Remove the CAPSLOCK key from every keyboard. Why do we still have to tell people this? It must be that Caps-Lock, like the One True Ring, has a will of its own that will not be thwarted. It’s always there just to the left of your pinkie, whispering “Use me! Abuse me!” with an evil hiss. Yes, just thinking about it makes me want to HIT IT RIGHT NOW AND RIDE, BABY RIDE, BECAUSE IT’S CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL! You see...
Twitter’s Tweeters and the Twagic Twits They Tweet
2009-05-20 12:00:00
Oh, no! Not again! Yes, again! The tech world is all hot in the pants for some new buzzword! It goes around and around the blog world. They can’t stop talking about it. they fall asleep blogging it. From the people who brought you the AJAX hype machine and the Second Life viral marketing campaign, meet Twitter! Let me make it clear for the one leper colony member who has been locked in a basement for the past two years and thus has not heard the news: What is Twitter? It’s IRC. On mobile. Yeah, that’s it. Oh, OK, let’s back up a little. It’s not IRC. If IRC lost all but one of its servers, had its scripting and commands taken away, was confined to 140 characters, couldn’t share files, and had no moderation, then Twitter would be IRC. The sole innovation is that it runs on mobile devices. One IRC client Perl script ported to the Blackberry and Twitter would be gone faster than the first funk train out of Jivetown. That’s why everybody&rsq...
More About: Tweet
My Favorite Science Screw-ups In The Star Trek Universe
2009-05-17 06:48:00
With the new 2009 Star Trek movie out, science fiction geeks the world over can once again begin their ritual of dissecting, analyzing, and arguing about Star Trek. And, wow, has it really been eleven movies already? How hip! So here’s my favorite “WTF?” moments which I experience whenever I ponder my favorite show about wearing tight uniforms to trespass all over the galaxy: Mr. Spock: Besides the anomalies like how he always has to stand up and peer into a garbage chute, there’s the mere existence of the pointy-eared one himself. He’s a half-human, half-Vulcan. As Clifford A. Pickover, my favorite mad scientist, points out in this article on the unrealistic science in SF, it shouldn’t be possible for an alien from another planet to impregnate a human. Think how difficult it is to get two Earthling species to cross-breed, even two species of ape. While we’re discussing the problems of breeding aliens and humans, I’d better link La...
More About: Science , Universe
Pirates Aren’t Nearly As Cool As They Used To Be
2009-05-05 14:15:00
Why, I can remember when pirates kicked ass. From The Curse Of The Black Pearl to Captain Hook from Peter Pan to The Pirates of Penzance, pirates have been the magnificent bastards of fame and legend, able to hold their own against zombies and ninjas. After all, whenever somebody hacks your website, what do they leave as a calling card? That’s right, the skull-and-crossbones, because the idea of somebody hacking up a PHP XSS exploit while typing with a hook for a hand is scary. What’s the best we can do for pirates these days? Well, we have Somalia, and what is this? This skinny kid who breaks down crying in court when they tell him that they called his mommy? That’s not a bad guy! What kind of villain is this? He looks like he belongs on MySpace with photos of him posing in front of his weekly hotel room while he fans out his money and tries to look gangsta. It’s even turning out that the Somali pirates aren’t even the bad guys. A better question ...
More About: Cool
Top 10 Reasons Not To Permit Duplicate Submissions On A Social News Site
2009-04-30 13:56:00
I see that is up in arms over duplicate submissions again. While the heat will flare up and die down on Reddit, this is a common complaint of all social news sites from Digg to Slashdot. When a repeat submitter is confronted, they’ll often defend themselves with a claim such as, “This gives people who haven’t seen it before a chance to see it now.” Well, sure, but if we want to see the old news going back to the dawn of the Internet, we know where to find it. And since we’re all on social news sites and many of us browse multiple sites in this age of RSS, chances are good that everybody who cared saw it the first time. Meanwhile, there are very good reasons why duplicates hurt a social news site. These are: 1. It annoys the users. That, right there, would be reason enough in a world where common sense was common. Perhaps the starship Enterprise can discover such a world out there someday. 2. It promotes spam. Spammers find out that they c...
More About: News , Social , Site , Reasons
Top Ten Worst Compulsive Acts In Video Games
2009-04-27 08:56:00
You know what obsessive-compulsives do, don’t you? They repeat the same meaningless activity over and over again for no apparent reason. You know what obsessive-compulsives do, don’t you? They repeat the same meaningless activity over and over again for no apparent reason. And video games, both by design and habit, tend to bring out the worst in compulsive repetition. Here’s the ten cases where it seems to be particularly bad: Jumping over the final punk’s head at the end of stage one in Shinobi. Yeah, this guy. The arcade Shinobi was chock full of villains who spawned at a certain point, and if you memorized their triggers, you could make them spawn over and over again. For instance, if you stood at a certain spot at the end of the second to the last stage in mission two, you could shoot an endless parade of ninja cops dropping out of the helicopter. But the really compulsive one is this plucky little guy. To “win”, you have to make the jump ...
More About: Video , Video Games , Games , Video-Games
Oracle and Sun – Finally, Somebody Might Pull Ahead of Bill Gates!
2009-04-25 00:09:00
It’s amazing that Oracle Corporation doesn’t get more buzz in the blogosphere. Everybody knows about Microsoft and a few have heard of Apple and Mac OS, but you’re still hard-pressed to find somebody outside of the IT profession who’s heard of Linux, BSD, or Solaris. Especially in the English-speaking world. But here we have Larry Ellison. Pay attention to this name; he’s the fourth-richest human being on the planet. The Forbes wealth rank for 2009 runs Bill Gates , Warren Buffett, Carlos Slim Helú, and then there’s Lawrence Ellison. There used to be a bunch of other names between them, but they’ve gotten weeded out this year thanks to the global real estate and banking crash. Sorry boys, play-money wealth doesn’t last. Larry Ellison is the CEO of Oracle Corporation, and amongst Oracle’s various holdings pretty much runs the back end of every major business’ server room. And this company releases a Linux distribution ...
More About: Finally
A Return From My Sabbatical Quest For Enlightenment
2009-04-22 20:02:00
I took a break from blogging these past few months, because I sensed that it was time to refresh the well. My good stars were in retrograde, my aura was turning a mildewed green color, my Chi was curdled, my crystals needed salting, my crystal ball was cracked, my runes were all out of alphabetical order and three of them were lost behind the sofa, my biorhythms looked like a roller coaster, and I was all out of mana. So I took off in search of the Meaning Of The Internet. This was no easy journey. I crept about in the dark of night and eavesdropped on counsels of Illuminati. I prayed to the Flying Spaghetti monster. I viewed ‘2 girls 1 cup’ with my eyeballs propped open with toothpicks and my head taped to the chair-back so I couldn’t look away. I unraveled the truth of the Time Cube. I mixed Mentos and Diet Coke in a Klein bottle. I took a binary approach to Zen and became zero with everything. I solved Portal and stole the cake and ate it and came back and con...
More About: Return , Quest , Enlightenment
Ten Exercises to be a Better Geek
2008-09-02 06:20:00
1. View Source It’s right there for free all over the web. Make a habit of it, and pretty soon you’ll train yourself to see the second web – the world of Meta-tags and Javascript libraries and CSS style and comments – some of them quite fun! I’ve known several sites that were easier to read from the source code than they were in the web browser proper. 2. Switch Window Managers Mainly this is for the Linux/BSD crowd. Try a lightweight like Blackbox or Window Maker, if it comes with your distro. Edit a style. By changing your desktop every now and then, it just keeps your mind loose and limber. 3. Try a New Distro From the same reasoning as above. Live CDs are great to shop around, especially the smaller distros that never seem to get any love. You find out about new programs you never would have known about, see new styles and ways of doing things, and you might just get an inspiration for your next project. 4. Bookmark a Cheatsheet For th...
More About: Geek , Exercises
Windows Games on Linux – Abandonware
2008-08-24 17:36:00
I’d like to focus this time on one special site, which goes so well together with Windows game emulation on Linux that it’s frequently mentioned at WineHQ itself: Home of the Underdogs. “Underdogs”, as it’s commonly referred to, is a site devoted to archiving the forgotten video games of history, from the earliest day to titles as recent as last year, which deserve better recognition. You’re almost guaranteed to find something interesting that you’ve never heard of before. There’s games that just didn’t sell well, games that were released by an obscure company with no promotion, games that were produced by a company that went under, and all sorts of odd bits and pieces. Downloading free abandonware makes for some fun Wine tasting. On a random romp where I just grabbed whatever looked interesting and tried it out, I encountered these gems: Sanitarium While I have yet to have the game go to the second stage without crashing,...
More About: Games
An Overview of Wine for Linux
2008-08-09 16:56:00
Wine is not an easy subject in the Linux community. To start with, it’s obviously an emulator. If DOSBox is a DOS emulator and ZSNES is a Super Nintendo emulator, then Wine is a Windows emulator. Except that Wine is an acronym which, you will be corrected, stands for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”. Oh, so it’s a simulator, or virtualator, or masturbator, or whatever-you-call-the-damn-thing. I say it’s an emulator. It creates a virtual Windows environment on a non-Windows operating system, for the purpose of running Windows-specific programs. And once you’ve overcome the first barrier in knowing what it is, you have plenty of hurdles left. Starcraft – Famous for running perfectly on Wine. Bottom line: Wine is a mixed bag, depending on the game or application you’re running. When it works, it is sheer Heaven. When it fails, it will cause some of the most spectacular crashes you have ever witnessed on a Linux desktop. Be prepared for th...
More About: Wine
Why Paranoia About Video Games Is Bunk
2008-08-06 08:00:00
There are two times when I would have expected vilification of video games: (1) When they first hit the mainstream, as did happen when I was growing up in the 1980s, and (2) whenever Jack Thompson is talking. If you’re a permanent citizen of Batty-Bonkersland, sure, hate on video games. It keeps you off the minorities. And when any young teen during the 80’s, twiddling quarters in their juvenile fingers on their way into a video arcade, would have viewed all the negative media press about video games, they would have done so with a jaundiced eye. Yeah, sure, they go through this about every entertainment medium. They used to raise a flap about novels back in the day. They’ll get over it. Yet here it is, the new millenium, and you still see daily panicky headlines about “OMG! TEH DANGERS OF VIDEO GAMES!”, with yet another self-proclaimed expert ragging on how video games are responsible for every imaginable social ill. After all this time, there do...
More About: Video , Video Games , Games , Video-Games , Paranoia
The Home Computer Security Glossary
2008-07-31 23:18:00
We geeks are so comfortable batting around those techie terms, we often get accused of having a blind spot: not explaining what those terms mean. Especially to the common home user, who is definitely not a geek but just wants to surf the web in peace. And yet, conversely, it is the common home user who is most at risk, frequently targeted for attack by the ne’erdowells of the web. So here, a little jargon list about computer security, just for the people who need the jargon-free “elevator pitch”. First, the Big Three categories: Virus – A nasty program whose mission in life is to spread itself and infect as many computers as it can. The difference with a virus is, it uses another program to reproduce. Just like a flu infects cells in the body to make more flu viruses, a computer virus cannot spread on its own. Worm – So what’s a worm? Another nasty program that spreads itself and tried to infect as many… wait a minute, didn’t...
More About: Security , Computer , Home , Glossary , Computer Security
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