Geeks on Campus

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More Randomness

Posted by jeggent on 3rd August 2014

I have no good reason for this post, so I’m just going to get into it.

DIY done

clipOK, so I’ve basically chickened out on a previously mentioned DIY project, but there is one that I actually completed.  Even though this is an old project, I’ve used this a couple of time recently which is why I’m thinking about it now.  This was done from this post on LifeHacker on building a card mount for your cellphone from office supplies. The picture on the left is the actual one that I built and use.  It fits my LG phones, I’m not sure if it will work with some of the really large phones like the Samsung S series.  A note of caution with this, be careful about clipping it to the vent when the AC is on.  I did that once and got a lot of condensation on the phone.

All the Hoopla

My local library has a subscription to Hoopla Digital which gives me (as a patron) access to their library of movies, TV shows, music, and audio books.  The TV and movie selections are kind of weak but the music and audio books have current and popular releases.  If you have a library card it’s worth checking to see if you have access to Hoopla.

Posted in Library, Random | 1 Comment »

Summer Reading

Posted by jeggent on 1st August 2014

I’m reading a couple of things right now that I’m really impressed with and felt like sharing with you all.  In a previous post I mentioned reading The Inheritance Cycle books.  I have just recently finished the fourth and final book.  I started to burn out a bit at the end there.  That’s a darn lot of pages.  After taking about a two week break I’m back to reading in the evenings.


Fiction Unboxed – The Dream Engine

The fiction book I’m reading, The Dream Engine, is actually the product of a really successful Kickstarter called Fiction Unboxed.  The description from the Kickstarter is:

Watch two bestselling authors write a book LIVE in 30 days (from nothing to print) and change how the world thinks about storytelling.

I’m not a writer, so I didn’t participate in the Kickstarter, but I have started reading the book that was the product of the process.  So far I am very impressed and really enjoying the story.  The book is described as a “thrilling young adult steampunk adventure”.  I’ve enjoyed a number of stories classified as “young adult”; Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Divergent to name a couple.

Eloquent JavaScript

I found out about this online book from this post on LifeHacker.  I’ve been using JavaScript for years, some could say misusing JavaScript for years.  The book gives a really good background for people new to JavaScript or even new to programming.  It is really well written and I’ve already learned something useful in the first couple of chapters.  I learned what the conditional (a.k.a. ternary) operator is (ex. true ? 1 : 2).  I’ve encountered code like that several times in the past without really understanding what it is or how it works.  I was just trying to decide if I should start learning Java and Eclipse or game programming with Unity.  Now I can put off that decision while I read this and learn more about JavaScript.

I hope you are having a good summer.  Keep reading.

Posted in Fun, Random | 1 Comment »

Some Updates

Posted by jeggent on 12th March 2014

Bootstrap Site

I’ve made some good progress on my Bootstrap site.  The site is still very much under development, but you can see several Bootstrap elements (containers, columns, a form, an image rotator, responsive table, and footer) on my American Warming Louver Selection Wizard.  That image rotator was quite a bit of trouble and I did have to make some minor changes to the bootstrap.css file to get the right and left buttons to show.  I would really like to update the DIV with the results using AJAX, but I couldn’t figure it out quickly.  So AJAX will be a 2.0 feature if there is ever a version 2.0.

The Drawdio

Since I was making such good progress with the Bootstrap site I thought it would be OK to get started on the Drawdio weekend project.  To buy all of the items on the list as specified would be around $50.  There are four resistors needed and the parts list has you buying a 100 pack of resistors for over $20.  You can buy three of the four separately for just a couple of dollars.  I still need to find a 270K ohm 1/4 watt resistor.  The parts list also has you buying a 50 pack of capacitors to get the one 560 pF capacitor that is needed.  I’m hoping to find just these two things to keep the total cost around $30.

Another Daily E-mail

I have another e-mail to add to the list of daily emails you actually want to receive.  The BookBub e-mail sends you ebook deals that you may be interested in based on the options you select on sign-up.  I’ve found a couple of good bargains from this email, one of which I’m reading right now (Moth).

I hope you find this information useful.

Posted in Fun, Random, Web | No Comments »

Weekend Project

Posted by jeggent on 21st February 2014

I found this online earlier this week and thought it looked like a cool project that the kids would really get a kick out of.  I was hoping to build one of these Drawdios this weekend, but now I’m not sure if the schedule will allow it.  If I do get around to it I will post a picture and let you know what the total cost was since that information seems to be hard to find.

http://makezine.com/projects/drawdio-musical-pencil/

Posted in Fun, Random | 1 Comment »

Geeky Reading

Posted by jeggent on 7th February 2014

So… what to do when it’s freezing cold outside pretty much all the time?

Well if you’re a Geek like me, one such activity may be reading fantasy novels.  I am currently reading Brisingr, the third book in The Inheritance Cycle. You may not recognize that title, but you’ll probably know the title of the first book Eragon (think dragon rider).  One of the story arcs has taken a turn in tone and style that really reminds me of another series I recently finished.  Last year I finished the six book series (Codex Alera) by Jim Butcher that started with The Furies of Calderon.  I really enjoyed the Romanic (not romantic) setting and the military strategy elements in the Codex Alera and now in Brisingr I am seeing more similar elements.  The one downside to this evolution is that my 9 year old son is also reading The Inheritance Cycle books and parts of Brisingr are quite a bit more violent and gory than the previous books.  He is already halfway through the book, so I don’t think I’ll stop him, but I will likely read the final book in the series (Inheritance) before he starts it.  I really recommend both book series to fans of fantasy novels.


Posted in Fun, Random | 1 Comment »

Geeky fun

Posted by jeggent on 17th September 2013

Need something geeky to do over lunch?  I have a couple of suggestions.

1.  The Freakonomics Radio Podcast

The authors of the great Freakonomics book do a podcast called Freakonomics Radio.  In the podcast they address similar types of topics that the book does.  One recent topic was “Do Baby Girls Cause Divorce?”  They talk about the statistical chance of couples staying together when there first child is a boy vs. girl and how likely they are to have more children depending on the gender of the first.  I enjoy how they ask interesting questions, take obscure positions, and support them with statistics.

2.  Ted Talks

I’ve known of and watched Ted Talks for some time.  When I recently watched and really enjoyed a talk on large prime numbers, I realized that I should add it to this blog.  At the top of the viewing page you can subscribe to a daily or weekly e-mail for updates.

Enjoy!
– John

You may have noticed the theme of this blog has changed.  I really liked the previous one that looked like a desk but there was something wrong with it.  Visitors attempting to leave a comment where getting a Javascript error with the prior template.

Posted in Random | 1 Comment »

Daily Emails

Posted by jeggent on 5th June 2013

If you’ve had the same e-mail address for more than a couple of months than you are probably already receiving a lot of  email.  Some of those emails are useful, but most of them are probably unwanted.  Well, here are four daily emails that I think you should voluntarily sign up for to save some money.

1.  GROUPON

Groupon is one that you probably already know about.  With Groupon you will get a daily e-mail with deals specific to your area.  A typical Groupon deal would be for something like 50% off a round of miniature golf, or dinner and a show.  I like the Groupon emails because they are for discounts on things that I wouldn’t otherwise think to check out.  I’ve saved on things like Laser Tag, paintball, mini-golf, and others.

2.  Best Buy

You are most likely already familiar with Best Buy.  But you may not know about their Deal of the Day.  Best Buy features items that you typically see in their stores and on their website.  It’s not unusual to see CDs for $2.99, DVDs for $4.99, and Xbox games for $8.99.  There are also computes, TVs, and such other items.

3.  Kindle Daily Deals

Kindle Daily Deals features discounts of 50%-80% on Kindle e-books.  I have purchased several good books for my Kindle at $0.99 and $1.99 from these daily deals.  Even if you are not currently looking for something to read, keep an eye on these deals and you may get a good deal on your next e-book.

4.  Woot Daily Digest

The Woot Daily Digest shows what is for sale on all of the Woot sites.  At Woot each site (main, kids, sports, home, etc)  sells one item a day.  The discounts offered make it worth reviewing the digest each day.  The main Woot site often offers electronics or computer equipment.

If you don’t want to sign up for these daily deals as e-mails, I’m pretty sure they are all available on Twitter also.

Posted in Random, Resource | 2 Comments »

The Year 2012

Posted by jeggent on 14th December 2012

So, tomorrow makes 1 year ago that I graduated.  I already mentioned that I’ve been learning PHP this year.  I’m also trying to teach myself how to play guitar, we finished our basement at home, and I’ve done a bunch of reading.

PHP
In my prior post I linked to the phpacademy site which is the primary resource for learning PHP.  My first PHP project is mostly finished.  It has been a good experience.  I’ve not only learned the PHP language, but also the RTF file specification as the application outputs an RTF file.

Source: Wikipedia - Author: Derek K. Miller

Source: Wikipedia - Author: Derek K. Miller

Guitar

Since graduation I decided that I needed a hobby, so I chose to start learning guitar.   My main sources of instruction for this endeavor are Marty Schawtz’s youtube channel and justinguitar.com.  Due to all of the other items on this list, I haven’t had the time to learn and practice that I would like.  I can play a couple of simple songs and chords.  I hope to have much more time for this in 2013.
Basement
One big reason I haven’t done more on the guitar is that I was working on finishing my basement during much of the same time.  This was my first attempt at many of the tasks including laying the carpet on the floor and stairs.  I did a lot of youtube browsing to learn about wiring and electrical outlet and carpeting stairs.

ReadingI started out the year reading the Furies of Calderon which is the first book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.  It is a fantasy series along the lines of the Lord of the Rings.  If you are not into fantasy, this may not be your cup of tea.  I’m currently reading the 5th book in this 6 book series and have really enjoyed it.  A book I think anyone would really like is Wool (pictured at right).  I specifically read Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) on my Kindle.  It is a great story and I look forward to reading the prequels and sequels.  I’ve already recommended this book to several people.  They will thank me later, and so will you!

Trello
Finally I want to put a plug in for Trello.  Trello is the new web application we are using here in the office to manage our tasks and projects.  I really like the visual style of Trello and the drag-and-drop interface.  The video below does a good job of explaining how Trello works.  I don’t know why they don’t have it on their web site anymore.

Happy Holidays!

 

Posted in PHP, Random, Resource | 3 Comments »

Firefox Fix

Posted by jeggent on 23rd January 2012

Today I am using my new Windows 7 PC that ITS brought over Friday. I just wanted to let you all know of an issue that I’ve experienced with the setup as delivered and the solution that I’ve found. Firefox was included which is good as that is my primary web browser. However, the menus were flickering and very difficult to use. I did some web searching and found the solution at this link: http://lifeonubuntu.com/firefox-dropdown-menus-are-flickering-on-2nd-monitor/. Spoiler alert, the answer is to turn off hardware acceleration.  This has completely solved the problem for me and does not appear to be effecting the performance at all.

Posted in Random | 1 Comment »

Geeks = Zombies?

Posted by jeggent on 17th November 2010

Not a Geek

A week ago when I was watching the new show The Walking Dead on AMC I thought they were referring to the zombies as Geeks, and this week’s episode confirmed it.  What’s up with that?  Why call the zombies Geeks while at the same time never calling them zombies?  I have a couple of thoughts.

  • They are just desperate for any name other than Zombie and Walker is a bit boring to use all the time.
  • It seems that Geeks (in the sense that I use the word in this blog) are more interested in Zombies than the average person and they are just trying to reinforce the connection.
  • The writers just don’t like Geeks, creative types vs. logical types.
  • It’s explained in the comic book if I’d just bother to Google it.

I wonder if there is a blog for people that walk for exercise that has an issue with the “Walker” name?  It’s a good TV show, even my non-zombie obsessed wife is watching and enjoying it.  Zombie movies that I’d recommend include 28 Days Later (while not technically zombies they are very similar except that they are really fast which makes them more terrifying), Zombieland (part comedy), Shawn of the Dead (spoof), Night of the Living Dead (the original).  I don’t get to watch a lot of zombie movies so I’m sure I’m missing some big ones.  Feel free to sound off in the comments with your favorite zombie movie or “Geek” theory.

Posted in Random | 1 Comment »