Monday, November 26, 2012

Grumpy Cat

I've been away for a bit so I wanted to check in and leave you with some lulz.

Grumpy Cat shall supply said lulz.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Yep. I'm still alive.

Yes, I'm still alive. I apologize for my extended absence. I recently started a new job and made some other interesting changes in my life. I'm still getting everything sorted and settled. As soon as I do I will be back with you full time.

I hope you all are doing well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Teacher builds computer lab... For free.

I don't normally just link to another blog/article but I couldn't pass this one up. It is a story that needs to be told and spread as much as possible...

Everyone knows that these days technology has become a huge part of education. There are tons of schools using laptops, iPads, digital whiteboards, etc. in the classroom now. Computers are an essential part of getting the younger generations ready to compete in the current and future job market. Without at least a basic set of computer skills there are many jobs that will simply be out of reach to them.

Unfortunately, there are still many schools that simply do not have the budget for a computer lab or other equipment to help their students get a head start on learning to deal with computers. Such was the case at ASCEND, a "small arts K-8 school in Alameda County School District" in California. With no budget for equipment, one teacher took it upon himself to make sure the students at his school had the basic tools they needed to jump-start their education in technology. With the help of donated computers and some Open-Source software (Ubuntu Linux) Robert Litt, a sixth-grade teacher, set up a full computer lab for his student for the grand total of $0.

To read the whole story, check out: "How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free" at

How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free
Donated Computers


How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free
Open Source Operating Systems


How One Teacher Built a Computer Lab for Free
A Free Computer Lab!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Neck/Back Injury, Worker's Compensation, and Other Updates

First of all, I want to apologize to everyone for being absent for so long. I've been meaning to post lately but between work, doctor visits, and family obligations things have been a bit stressful. Why the doctor visits, you ask? Because the human body is stupid. The other day I was at work and had to move around some big rolls of print material to get to the roll that I needed. Over the course of my graphic design/digital printing career I have done this hundreds upon hundreds of times. It is usually a very easy process. The rolls are 54" tall and weigh anywhere from 5 to 80 pounds depending on how much material is left on the roll. You only have to lift them a few inches off the ground to move them so it is usually a pretty simple process. I lifted this particular roll the same way I have lifted countless others. 

Something went wrong this time though. When I lifted it I immediately felt a sharp, stabbing pain in the base of my neck and through my upper back. It didn't really hurt that bad at first, just enough to be noticeable, but I went and sat down for a bit anyway. The pain slowly got worse so the office filled out the incident reports for worker's compensation just in case. I decided to put a visit to the doctor off to see if it would work itself out. Unfortunately, it didn't. So the next day I went to the doctor to get it checked out. They gave me some meds and told me to take it easy for a few days and to come back in a week if it wasn't better. It has been getting increasingly more painful and my range of motion is pretty limited. So I went back to the doctor today and they gave me more meds and are scheduling me an MRI.

While all of this has been going on I've been on restricted duty. No lifting more than 5lbs., etc. So I've pretty much been chained to my desk. It is starting to suck. While my main job is graphic design, I also run the printers and other hardware in the art department. I enjoy that part of the job. It gets me away from my computer for a bit and makes the day seem to go by faster. Now I'm stuck at my desk for a full 8 hours. It is making me twitchy. I'm hoping my neck is just strained or something and will get better soon. I feel like a wuss just sitting around while everyone else is doing the "real work." I even had to ask my boss to come upstairs the other day to load a roll of material onto the printer. He was happy to do it but I still don't like being "that guy."

Other than that things have been going pretty well. Even though I'm still in a financial black hole, I almost have my student loan situation lined out. Once everything is processed I'll be able to go back to school. Sometimes I feel like I'm too old to even bother but it has always been a goal of mine to finish my education. And if I can get it done I'll still have many years left to teach. I know a lot of professors who worked well into their 70's. I'm still a long way off from my goals but as long as I am making progress it keeps me motivated.

I'll try to get back to posting on a regular schedule soon. I got a new phone, and its pretty awesome, so I'm planning on doing a review on it. And of course football season is coming up so there will no doubt be many Fantasy Football posts to come.

I hope you are all doing well. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Being an adult is stupid.

Sorry I have been absent for the past few days, folks. My real job has gotten in the way of my aspirations of blogger stardom. Things should slow down back to normal after today and I can get back to being an internet junkie again.

Until then...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It is so incredibly hot in my office...

So let me tell you a bit about my job. I am, for the lack of a better term, a graphic designer. I refuse to call myself a graphic "artist" like many in my line of work do simply because what I do is not art. I work for a sign company. I'm not so much talking street signs as I am big monstrosities of metal and electronics. You know those big school and church signs with the LED message boards and all that in them? Yeah, I design those. Not exactly where I pictured myself at this point in my life but the bills have to be paid.

So in addition to designing these ginormous (Holy crap! Ginormous is a word? I fully expected spell check to tell me I was stupid. But it didn't. That's pretty awesome.) signs we also do a full line of graphics and printing. You know, car wraps and murals and stuff like that. Our machine prints directly onto vinyl that has an adhesive backing. This material must be kept in a climate-controlled area with a consistent temperature and humidity level or else all sorts of havoc will be played on it.

So, I told you all this to tell you this:

It's fucking hot in my office...

I always leave the A/C set to 78 degrees when I leave the office. When I get here in the morning I turn it down to 72. As hot as it gets here the A/C runs pretty much all day and keeps my office around 76 degrees. This is comfortable to me and is a good temperature range for the vinyl. But apparently someone decided to turn the A/C in my office completely off after I left yesterday.

I hate everyone and everything right now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We have a new domain!

I just wanted to take a moment and let everyone know that you can now visit us by going to You can still access the site through the current address as well.

I also want to thank you all for reading. This blog is growing everyday and has gone well beyond where I ever thought it would be. That just makes me want to put even more effort into making it even better.

I really appreciate you all!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Quad-Core Computer for $130

The other day I was checking out one of my favorite tech blogs, ! ComeAtMeBro-Daily tech news, and came across a post that I just had to share. I don't want to jack the content so I'm just going to post a pic and the link. You should definitely go check it out though. I can easily think of over 9,000 DIY projects I could do with one of these things.

Quad-Core Computer for $130!
Quad-Core Computer for $130!

To check out the article either click on the photos or this link to go straight to the blog.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Optical Advancement: From corrective to cool.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zenni Optical for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Glasses have come a long way in recent years. I began wearing corrective lenses in my late teens but had worn sunglasses for years before that point. I remember my first pair of glasses very well. I absolutely hated them. They looked fine, I suppose, but the thought of having to wear them every single day was not something I was looking forward to. However, with contacts not being an option (long story) I was stuck with them. Over the years I grew to not mind them so much. Once I learned that there were other options available other than just the ones my eye doctor provided I expanded my horizons a bit.

A couple of years ago I came across a website that offered a ton of different styles of glasses at incredibly low prices. By this point I was to the stage of not only using my glasses as a corrective instrument but also as a fashion accessory. I'm not talking about matching glasses to different outfits; I'll leave that to Kanye. But I do have several different pair of glasses that I wear depending on the situation. Since I started shopping at Zenni Optical I can afford to buy several different pair of very stylish glasses for the same price that one pair used to cost me. Not only does this allow me to have a backup pair in case I break my glasses, it also allows me to have prescription sunglasses, separate reading glasses, etc.

While the styling of glasses has certainly improved over the years, so has the technology. I'm sure you've all read about Google Glasses. And since this is first and foremost a geek blog, I would be remiss to not mention them. The media has oversaturated the tech world with information on Google Glasses so I won't go into how they work; I'm sure we're all familiar. But I mention them to demonstrate just how far technology can bring us. From a simple glass lens used to magnify small objects to a pair of glasses that can keep you connected to the world in real-time. And all of this in a relatively short period of time. Technology really is amazing. Check out this Emerging Technology Info Graphic that shows a timeline of the technology that has gone into glasses since they were first invented.

zenni_IG_800.png (800×2152)


Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Geeky Boozehound - Volume 1 - Caipirinha

So I have decided to start a couple of regular posts about two of my favorite things: Booze and Wine. I'm a bit of an alcohol snob. I enjoy good wine and good liquor. I thought it would be cool to share a few of my favorite drink recipes, share what wines I've been drinking lately, and basically do my best to be a bad influence on you all.

For the first installment of The Geeky Boozehound I want to introduce you all to one of my absolute favorite drinks; the Caipirinha. Being a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I have become obsessed with all things Brazilian over the years. A good friend of mine from Brazil introduced me to the Brazilian national cocktail several years ago and I was instantly hooked. The Caipirinha is made with a liquor called cachaça, which is a rum distilled from sugar cane. The name "caipirinha" loosely translates to the Brazilian equivalent to the English word "hillbilly". Ironically, it is considered more of a "classy" cocktail in the States since it has begun to become more and more popular here.

Making a Caipirinha is incredibly easy. If you enjoy Mojitos, you probably already have the required bar-ware needed to make the Caipirinha. Here is how it is done:

For each drink you'll need a lime, 2 teaspoons of fine granulated sugar, and 2 ounces of  cachaça. Simply muddle the lime and sugar in an Old-Fashioned glass, add ice, pour in the cachaça, and stir. That is it. You're now ready to enjoy the national cocktail of Brazil.


Bottoms up, bitches.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Samsung Galaxy SII i777 (AT&T)

Sorry I've been away for a bit folks. Between preparations for the holiday and playing with a new toy I recently picked up, I've been all out of spare time. Speaking of the holiday, I hope everyone had a great one! Now, onward to the geek stuff.

So I had been using an iPhone 3GS since my iPhone 4 crapped out on me a while back. Ok, so I dropped it in the river but let us not talk about that... *twitch*

I had been shopping around for a while trying to decide what to get when I was eligible for an upgrade. I had been bouncing back and forth between the One X and waiting for the Galaxy SIII. I played with a live demo of the One X in a couple of stores and it was pretty bad ass. Then one of the reps recommended I check out the Galaxy SII that they currently had on sale. After messing around with it for a bit I realized that it was, for the most part, all the phone I really needed. It had recently had Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) released for it which was a bonus. It runs a dual-core processor, has plenty of onboard memory and storage, an outstanding camera, etc. So I decided I would give it a shot. I always have 30 days to return it if it sucks, right? So here it is, the Samsung Galaxy SII (i777):

Samsung Galaxy SII
Samsung Galaxy SII

It is just a bit smaller than the One X and the HTC Vivid which was another phone that was in the running to be my next purchase. After a few days of playing with it I really have zero complaints. It is incredibly thin, very light, and the battery life is excellent. Plus if I ever get tired of Ice Cream Sandwich I can always throw CyanogenMod or another custom ROM on there.

If any of you are looking for a new phone, I would highly recommend the Samsung Galaxy SII. It is available on most carriers and since the Galaxy SIII is coming out soon you should be able to find it for a really good price.

Now, can anyone recommend some good Android apps for me? I've been using an iPhone for the past year or so. Haven't had much chance to check out the Android stuff lately.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

High Tech Camping

So if you've really read this blog at all you'll know that I'm big into survival, camping, and the outdoors in general. The other day I was reading a tech article on and noticed an article in the sidebar called Equipment for High Tech Camping. So, considering my love for both the techy and the primitive, I obviously had to check it out. I was expecting the usual solar chargers, GPS units, etc. and those were indeed included. However, there were some really neat, useful products that I hadn't seen before.

The TentLEDs are such a no-brainer that I am really shocked that someone hasn't mass-marketed them before. I know I personally trip over the tie ropes on my tent at least once a trip. When you're stumbling around in the dark half asleep, you're going to eventually catch your foot on one of them if you're not careful. The TentLEDs would definitely make it less likely to happen.

Brunton's Flip-n-Drip Coffee Maker
Brunton's Flip-n-Drip Coffee Maker
I'm a big fan of what we call "Cowboy Coffee". I have a campfire coffee pot and we normally drink boiled coffee when we're camping or hunting. That may change now that I've found this little guy. It just looks so damn convenient. You just pour water it in the lower chamber and throw that in the fire. While it is heating up you put coffee in the middle chamber and screw it all back together. Once the water is hot just put the whole thing together, flip it over and let it drip. Pretty flippin' sweet.

The Cave By Heimplanet
The Cave by Heimplanet

There is no way to describe this other than awesome. Ok, maybe convenient works too. It is a tent that uses "air beams" instead of tent poles. You just unroll the whole thing, hook up a hand pump, and in no time you have your tent aired up and ready to go. I can see where there would be times when it wouldn't be "enough" of a tent. Long trips, high winds, etc. But for your day to day trips, this seems like it would be pretty cool. Easy to pack as well. You just pop the air valves and roll the whole thing up and stuff it in the bag. Pretty damn nifty.

Have you guys come across any cool high tech camping gear lately?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Colds Suck

Sorry I've been away for the past few days. I've been dealing with a killer summer cold. I hardly ever get sick, maybe twice a year, but when I do it always seems to knock me on my ass. When it comes to medicine I tend to take an old school approach. As far back as I can remember my grandmother had a recipe for what she called "the syrup". Any time one of us got sick she would mix it up and make us sip on it all day. It is probably the reason I became a borderline alcoholic at such a young age. I figured I would share the recipe with you all. It is pretty simple. No real measurements, just throw all the following into a coffee mug, heat it up, and drink.

Whiskey (I prefer Makers Mark or Jack Daniels but you can use anything. Rum works in a pinch as well)
Honey (Preferably locally grown)
Lemon (Lots of lemon)

Just mixed all this up, throw it into the microwave for about 45 seconds, and sip away. It really does help. You can also grate up some ginger root and add to it. I do this but most people don't like the taste of raw ginger.

Whiskey, Honey, and Lemon
Whiskey, Honey, and Lemon

Hopefully this will help any of you suffering from a summer cold like I am at the moment.

Bottoms up, bitches!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Verizon offers 300Mbps Quantum Internet service... Srsly?

So Verizon has decided to offer a 300Mbps internet service in select markets. This insanely fast service option is part of their FiOS offering which is a Fiber Optic "To The Home" service. Fiber Optic delivers a much more consistent connection so high speeds can be sustained instead of just getting speed "spikes" up to advertised speeds like some cable and DSL providers offer.

Verizon offers 300Mbps Quantum Internet Service
Verizon offers 300Mbps Quantum Internet Service

Verizon is offering four different speed packages for their FiOS service. Their "slowest" package offers 50Mbps downloading speed and 25Mbps uploading speed ($79.99/Month). It is the second number that excites me. Anyone that has ever played a FPS or any other multi-person online game knows that if your upload speed sucks your gameplay experience is going to suck as well. With the Fiber option you're going to have rock solid consistent upload speeds so there should be absolutely no worries about any in-game lag.

The other three packages that round out the offering are 75Mbps/35Mbps ($89.99/Month), 150Mbps/65Mbps ($99.99/Month), and of course the beast... 300Mbps/65Mbps ($209.99/Month!).

While any geek would drool all over themselves for this sort of connection, is it really worth it? I mean, as an individual user, do you do enough with your internet connection to take full advantage of it? Personally I think I would be fine with the 50/25 package. That would be MORE than enough for what I do on the interwebs.

But, then again, Verizon claims that on the 300/65 package you can download a 5GB HD movie in 2.2 minutes. And let us be completely honest... That's just really fucking cool.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Random Lulz

Just in case any of you are having a bad day, here are some random lulz to make it better.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

So Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is today. Rumors are running rampant about what is going to be unveiled/talked about/hinted at during the keynote speech. The rumors about an iPhone 5 unveil have slowly withered away and left most expecting a more software oriented address. That is where I would put my money.

We may hear a bit about some new MacBook or something of the like but I think the main focus is going to be on iOS and OS X updates. Apple TV will probably get a few mentions. Some folks are expecting to see an actual Apple TV set unveiled today but my best guess is that we'll see a few updates to the Apple TV software and that will be about it.

I could be wrong but I just don't see any big announcements coming from this Conference. I guess we'll find out later this afternoon.

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference
Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brazilian boy comes back to life at funeral, immediately dies again.

This is by no means a tech related topic, but it is too weird not to comment on. Apparently, a 2-year-old boy from Brazil came back to life an hour before his funeral was suppose to take place. According to the articles I've read this morning the boy sat up and asked his father for a drink of water and then just laid back down again; dead. The story is blowing up all over the internet. It does seem completely unbelievable. Even more unbelievable, if it really did happen, is the fact that they still buried him later that day.

Here is one of the articles:

What do you think? Real or hoax?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Backorder Blues - An Update

So I spoke with my sales rep and told him I couldn't wait for the board to get back into stock. We looked at several other equivalent options and I ended up getting a board that was just a bit more expensive, though not quite as awesome as the one I originally ordered, for the same price. My RAM is going to be throttled down a bit but for what this computer is going to be used for it shouldn't really matter. The board is on its way and should be here Friday.

As soon as it gets here I'm dropping it in and getting everything set up. I'm hoping it gets here early enough that I can have it all installed and ready to go by the time I leave for the weekend. Here is a shot of the case awaiting its new board.

I'm not gonna lie, if dude slips up just once, this computer is going to be mine. I have already contemplated re-routing all the monitor, keyboard, and mouse cables between my computer and his. He probably wouldn't even notice the difference since my system is fairly badass as well. And since we share an office and his desk is only like 8 feet from mine, it could easily be done.

I'll keep you updated.

Windows Phone to overtake Iphone's iOS market share by 2016?

Today, Lance Whitney from CNET posted an article highlighting a recent study of market trends in mobile phone sales. The study claims that by 2016, Windows Phone platform could rise above Apple's iOS platform in total mobile sales. It is a long-term projection based upon past trends and the advances Windows has made in the mobile market. It seems that much of the speculation rests upon recent sales of the Nokia Lumia which is running the Windows Phone platform.

Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows Phone
Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows Phone

Personally I think it is way too soon to tell how Windows Phone will hold up long-term. Sure, the Lumia has garnered a decent reception, but in my opinion Android and Apple will be the kings of the mobile market for many years to come.

What say you?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Backorder Blues

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently ordered a computer to replace one here at the office that shat itself. I thought all was well... I got an order confirmation, a shipping notification, and have even been tracking the shipment in anticipation of its arrival.

I get to the office this morning and am greeted by this message (Bold/Italics indicates my edits):
Hi You Poor Bastard,
On checking your order from Friday … I note that the above part shows a back order status because God hates you … I am checking into this and will get back to you with an update or I'll just let you sit there and stare at your monitor helplessly while waiting for an update that will never come … 
Messenger of Satan

So, yeah... Later today I will have a big box of parts with nothing to connect them to. I hope you're all having a better day than I am.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Co-worker's computer crashes, epic frustration ensues.

So I got to work Tuesday looking forward to a short week due to the long holiday weekend. My optimism was short lived though. Shortly after arriving at the office I was informed that one of our design computers had shat itself over the weekend. When I tried to boot it up I was greeted with this:

Reboot and Select proper Boot device
Reboot and Select proper Boot device

Now, first let me explain why I am the one who was informed of this problem. While I am merely the lowly graphic designer here, I spent over 10 years as an IT Manager/Computer Tech/Network Administrator for various companies.

Tech Support
Tech Support

I mistakenly included this information on my resume. So now I get to take care of all of the little computer issues that come up around here.

I get to work around 8am every morning. The guy who the troubled computer belongs to gets here around 7am. So I ask him what happened. He said he had shut down his computer Friday afternoon and when he got there Tuesday morning and tried to boot it up, the Boot device message came up. It was a little something like this:

Right. Ok, so I go through the various troubleshooting steps. Popped into the Bios to see what was up. The drive was being detected. Kinda. It was showing the wrong capacity and the name of the drive was "@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@". Pretty awesome, huh?

I went through a few trial and error routines and was getting the same result each time. So, not wanting to spend more time on it than necessary I just chalked it up to a dead hard drive and decided to order another one. If I was wrong? I've got an extra hard drive. No harm, no foul. So I order a Solid State Drive, a 2.5"-3.5" adapter, and new cables. Yesterday morning it finally came in so I popped in the new drive, got everything connected, tossed in the Windows XP CD, fired it up and got everything installed and it was running like a champ.

So I get to work this morning and am told to go check out the same computer again. I get upstairs and see this:


Ok, so it turns out it wasn't the drive. After more intensive tests I chalked it up to a dying motherboard. Yes, this is the generic tech diagnosis when we have no fucking clue what is wrong. But you know what? Fuck that computer. I hated it anyway. It was too old and too slow. Besides, I have my suspicions that there were more serious and threatening issues here anyway.

Anyway. So today I ordered a new barebones system to put together as a replacement.

It has an Intel i7-2600K processor, 16GB RAM, 120GB SSD hard drive, etc. etc. Compared to what it is replacing it is a fucking beast. When I told dude he was FINALLY getting a new computer, he reacted just as I thought he would.

So, yeah, that has pretty much been my week.