From the Editors Desk: Breakout

Gentle Reader;

This is a self serving post. That is to say, a self fulling profissey (Yes, that's really my first attempt at the word prophesy. I wonder why the Firefox spell checker just looked at it, blinked twice then blew its own brains out with a cannon. Did I mention I have trouble with spelling?)

Anyway. The point of this post is just a quick revelation. This is first month since October of 2007 that this blog has had more than 9 posts. I planed for a couple more... but I've been sick for over a week. Anyway more to come in March!

Editor and Chief

Apple Woof

I'm feeling sick. Let me start off by stating that. I find that this statement can sometimes forgive a lot of otherwise unusual action. That being said, I probably would have sent the below email had I not been sick. We have a large recycling barrel in our area, which had the words "Apple Woof" printed on the side of it.

I have always assumed this to be a typo, and Apple Wood was intended. Either way, today it went missing. Unable to stop myself I sent out an email to the department (original spelling error corrected here)

Emergency! Someone has hijacked our Apple Woof Barrel. I'm declaring a mauve, or maybe even a magenta alert. The Apple Woof Barrel has been our helper, colleague and dare I say friend. As it sat near Christine's desk declaring for years, "You Got Junk? I'll take it!" *

Some greedy person has snatched our beloved Apple Woof Barrel for their own. Sure we've all thought about it, but none of us has ever acted on such severe Woof desires! Now serving only one master our Apple Woof Barrel must be missing us. We must not let this crime go unpunished.

Where is our Woof?

Peter Brown

*no boxes, explosives, or chimpanzees

Perhaps needless to say, I received a number of responses. Most of which were along the lines of, "I hope I don't catch whatever it is you've got."

Here's one.

User1: what the heck is the Apple Woof Barrel?
User2: Ask Peter!

To which I responded in email, to User2

You dare malign the sacred Apple Woof barrel with oblivion of it's existence? I shun thee.

Trouble is, User2 never got it... Because I sent it to the wrong person. Some innocent worker in another building who I've never met is going to be quite confused...

How do I get myself into these things?


"Why are there other kinds of meat available?"

Geek Encounters

Yesterday my wife and I found ourselves with a night off, thanks to my mother volunteering to babysit. We arrived downtown a bit early for our movie and decided to pop into the local book store to burn up some time. Patricia headed off into one section by I lingered behind in the sci-fi aisle. All this recent talk about science fiction, sort of got me thinking that I might like to try something new.

I haven't read a sci-fi book in a number of years, I'd moved on to other genres but I was looking over all the books I had read some years back, and wondered if there was anything else worth reading in this section. The thing about sci-fi is this, when you find a good one you invariably had to sort through a pile of garage first. Believe me, I've read enough bad sci-fi books to top off the local landfill. How many times can the world end and humanity be thrown into utter oblivion only to be saved by some lone rouge with a sixth sense and a bumbling sidekick?

The other issue is describing the unknown. Some authors can do it well where others just fail. I once read a Greg Bear novel called Eon where humanity had migrated to an asteroid that they had hollowed out a millennium ago and then, once inside, they opened a portal to parallel universes. With me so far? As they evolved they learned how to preserve their souls, alter their appearances and many other bizarrities. When by some twist of fate this asteroid winds up in our universe, orbiting Earth. This is a hard concept to covey in print. Many a tedious book quickly found itself in the trash before the end of the first few chapters.

So while I was standing in the aisle under the sheer crushing weight of new sci-fi titles stacked neatly on the shelf I saw something. A gentleman, rearranging books in correct chronological order. A fellow geek! I struck up a conversation, and after a bit we were talking about Star Trek. I guess I pegged him right. Most geeks I've met are awkward until you hit on a subject they are familiar with. Networking for me, sci-fi for my new acquaintance. The man knew his stuff.

We had a conversation about The City on the Edge of Forever and I knew we had similar tastes. To be honest, he talked and I nodded. I think I might have said, "Everyone loves time travel stories." To which he expanded on what he thought was a much more engaging story line. (I certainly lost some points there)

Either way I asked him about some sci-fi titles, authors we liked and he ended up recommending a book, which I bought. We will see, if I got lead astray or not. Either way, I had forgotten the draw that is the sci-fi section... and feel as though I have returned home.

20 Signs You're A Star Wars Addict

  • You can spend the day in hours of conversation with nothing except lines from "A New Hope".

  • You've accually tried this.

  • Your life sized Boba Fett cutout will always have a place of honor in your bedroom.

  • Regardless of your wife's protests. All your dinner ware is George Lucas approved Star Wars merchandise.

  • You try to use the force on a daily basis. "Is it flowing through me yet?"

  • Any day, you expect the remote to move while you're sitting on the sofa.

  • You own a lightsaber...and a backup one just in case. You've been thinking about getting a tertiary one. You can never be too safe.

  • Even though you're 31 years old, you still have Star Wars themed birthday parties.

  • Your dogs name is Sebulba.

  • You have a set of Star Wars PJ's and a Han Solo blanket

  • When "The Phantom Menace" came out, you dawned your Star Wars PJ's, took your Han Solo blanket and slept all night in the ticket line.

  • The next day you wept till sundown.

  • Even though you hated them, you still own all the Star Wars prequel films.

  • You KNOW *Han Shot First!*

  • You've defended Hans ridiculous "Kessle run" claim to more than one person. And you accually convinced them!

  • Your jeans have Corellian Bloodstripes sewn onto the legs.

  • You can beep and whistle like R2D2.

  • You own this poster.

  • You wrote this blog post.

  • You need help... Please get some.
  • E-mail Levity

    As a network administrator I find myself sending out lots of e-mails to all staff.

    Network outages, software updates, warning messages and other tedious stuff like that. Generally these are vastly boring messages. There is only one thing worse than receiving boring all staff email that you just delete. Spending 15 minutes typing up boring all staff e-mails that just get deleted. So... I've decided to try something new.

    Sending out funny messages. Surprisingly enough no upper management has rebuked me yet, and the responses to my messages have increased ten fold. So until I hear otherwise, I'll keep it up. I've added a few for your review.

    When the corporate water cooler runs low, we are required to contact a certified water bottle changer for our building. They get very testy if someone other than one of these "bottle changers" preforms this task. I think its absurd but figured, if I can't change it at least I can poke some fun!
    I'm doing my duty and notifying the proper authorities. The water bottle needs changing. We need you "Water bottle changers!" Dawn your spandex pants and save us all! :) I'd change it myself, but I don't want to get arraigned.

    One of my many duties is anti-virus admin. Recently the network underwent a large scale upgrade. Users get nervous when you start making changes.
    We in the IT department have a firm belief that, "The only good computer virus is a dead computer virus." (Sadly we do not currently have a policy on originality for our slogans) In an effort to continue our policy of "taking the fight to the viruses" we are upgrading our anti-virus software.

    You may or may not notice as your yellow anti-virus shield gets a shiny new upgrade, or an additional orange icon in your system tray (down by the clock). If you do, know that it is just the IT department further striving for your computing well being. You don't have to thank us, killing viruses is thanks enough!

    Failed installs. Mostly because of user intervention...
    Congratulations! You've all made the list!
    What list is that?! The out-of-date-antivirus list. That's right, you're all the network deadbeats. Through no fault of your own, you've missed the boat, and you're draggin the rest of us down.

    "Peter, How can I get back in the good graces of the network?" Simple. Please follow this link on the machine listed below. Thanks! Please call me if you have any questions.
    We distribute most Windows updates via a WSUS. Quite clumsy really, but its all we have. 80% updated with an hour of receiving this e-mail.
    All Staff-
    This is just a reminder to Windows XP users. If you see an icon on your screen, like the one in the attached picture, please click on it and complete the Windows XP SP3 update.

    Is it lengthy?- Yes!
    Is it slow?- Sometimes!
    Will it make me reboot my PC?- Yep!
    Do I personally benefit from it?- Not really!
    Is it necessary to ensure my computer is update and works well with newer software?- ABSOLUTELY!
    If you have any question feel free to call the helpdesk or email me directly.

    Peter Brown
    Email to a problem child who just happens to be a manager.
    Chris AKA anti-virus-H4k0rZ-

    This is the third time you've hit my "Symantec Engine Off" report. There is only ever one user on this exclusive list. I have 're-enabled' your A\V twice before, and now I don't seem to have the rights to re-enable the service on your computer.

    Please try to play nice, we all need virus protection, even dope Symantec hackmiesters. Will you please re-enable A/V or I'm going to willingly infect your PC with some nasty trojan.

    -Peter Brown
    The network god

    Let me know what you think, or share some of your own!

    Geeking Out

    It's not a bad setup... I still thinks there's room for improvement though. For one thing we need to re-install with Linux.

    The Return of Sci-Fi

    It's funny, but I wasn't sure I could ever live in a world where Star Trek was off the air. I have come to the realization, that it's okay.

    Star Trek was my sole definition of Sci-Fi through most of my teenage years. I had yet to discover the joys of reading books by Asimov, Bear, Bradbury and the occasional Crichton. By the way, if you have never experienced Asimov's Foundation series, stop everything you are doing this instant and get it. Sometimes a thing is important enough that all else can be put on hold. Okay... where was I? Right.

    For me "Science Fiction" was Star Trek. I loved the troubles they would encounter, the logical troubleshooting and problem solving, and all the great stuff. I mean who doesn't want a phaser, holodeck or realistic android best friend? Am I right!? Of course I am. There was something rewarding knowing that we, as humans, still had an inquisitive nature, ready to scour the galaxy. That technology would be our ally and not some millstone round our necks.

    When Star Trek Voyager went off the air, and "Enterprise" came on, I stopped watching. In my opinion, it was garbage, and certainly not Star Trek. Apparently I wasn't alone. Since the series did what not even the tedious DS9 could do and got canceled. At that point I figured, Sci-Fi was dead. I would instead have to turn to reality re-decorators or chef cook off shows. I was sunk.

    Well Sci-Fi came back with a vengance, and we didn't even need Star Trek. Stargate, The 4400, Firefly, Heroes, Lost, Eureka and Battlestar Galactica the the ones that first come to mind. Sure some of these died a most surprising and unnecessary death. Great shows like Firefly. At least we had them though, even for a short time. They influenced us and reminded us of two truths. 1.) Every show that glimpses the future and encourages us to look at the wold through a different lens is worth our time, even if we disagree. 2.) Geeks watch TV. It's true, the more Sci-Fi in prime time cements the truth that there are more geeks watching TV than ever before. Awesome!

    So here we are, Heroes and Lost control the airwaves and have brought millions of viewers to our side. New shows will be modeling themselves off this new episodic style of Sci-Fi and no one had to dawn a pair of Vulcan ears. (unless they wanted to) What more could you ask for? A Star Trek series with a speck of original thought? Might not happen for a while. Besides, I think that's grounds for a different post.

    Sci-Fi Addict

    Yeah... I'm addicted to Sci-Fi. Here's wishing for another canceled series I can get hooked on. Firefly, The 4400. Eureka? (please don't do it...)

    Geeky Things...

    ...I've Never Done

  • I've never been to LinuxWorld (Not for lack of trying year!)

  • I've never played a traditional, non computer based, RPG. (I'm a little short on geeky friends...okay, a lot short)

  • I've never modded my computer case. (Unless you count the time, I built and ran my computer without a case...)

  • I have no geeky tattoos (I think I'd like a Tux on my shoulder)

  • I've never purchased GeekWare (Though I have lots of free vendor shirts)

  • I've never been to MacWorld (Here's to minor blessings!)

  • I've never been Wardriving (Though I have hijacked a *few* wireless connections. Shhh...)

  • Though I am a huge Star Trek Fan, I do not own a uniform, and would never be seen with Spock ears on.

  • In addition I've never been to a Star Trek Convention (These places look very scary, and I the worst part is, I think I would fit in. I'd rather not find out.)

  • I've never purchased a cellular phone. (This is will be rather jaw dropping to many of you)

  • ...I Have Done

  • Worked in the call center, and used 1D-10-T on numerous customers.(When geeks attack...we're so lame)

  • Fried over $1000 worth of computer hardware during an upgrade (When I was 15 I think... What a nasty smell)

  • Over 24 hours of straight gaming. (For the record, I was still awake when my friend fell asleep at the keyboard).

  • Was a member of several BBS's. (I sometimes miss the modem years)

  • Tried to build a robot. (Boys and their mechanical servants)

  • Wrote a video game (yeah... It sucked.)

  • Interrupted a sales clerk in the computer store, while they were talking to a customer, to correct them. (I hate computer store sales clerks... for the record)

  • Dressed up like Neo. Yes there is proof. (No. I'll never post it)

  • Started numerous blogs (Guilty.)

  • Quoted Sci-Fi unashamedly in public.
    (Clerk -"You're short $1.50"
    Me-"Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?"
    Wife -"groan")