Tuesday, June 27, 2006

AT&T Privacy Policy

As I'm sure everyone's aware, AT&T has updated their privacy policy. User Friendly has a great take on it. Absolutely hilarious.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Not only smokin'...

...but actually on fire! Someone remind me to never, ever, place a notebook computer in my lap.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Summer quarter

Well, it was a nice break, but summer quarter starts this week. Since I'm a non-traditional student with a full-time job, I thought I'd take a few classes over the summer. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't be able to motivate myself to return in the fall.

One good thing about classes over the summer is that they tend to be a bit smaller: everyone else is enjoying their summer vacation. Plus, the quarter is broken up into two "sessions," each session being half the quarter. Some classes run the full quarter, but many run either first or second session. This allows me to get a couple of less-enjoyable classes out of the way pretty quickly, keeping them as painless as possible :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tandy CoCo

Over the coming weekend, I hope to get my computer room, which has increasingly become a storage room, cleaned up and organized. Once it's cleaned up, I'm going to reward myself by taking my Tandy CoCo3 out of the closet and get it running after way too many years in storage.

Of all the vintage 8-bit computers, Tandy's Color Computer line was my favorite. I've owned several, of which I can currently only locate two. One of them is a CoCo2 in unknown state, and the other is a functioning CoCo3. Also in my collection are two grey-case CoCo1's (one functioning, the other not), one CoCo3 which was in the middle of some hardware modifications (err... dead until I can figure out what I did to break it...), and about half a dozen CoCo2's in various states of repair. Unfortunately, that portion of my collection is missing - perhaps victim of overzealous cleaning the last time this room got this disorganized.

When I get everything set up, I'll post some pictures, as I promised Security Monkey I would :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sometimes I pause...

Every now and then, I find myself without anything to say. It's not that I don't enjoy blogging, or don't have time, or anything like that. I can always squeeze a little time in before work, or during lunch, or several other times during the day. But once in awhile, my mind needs to rest. So I press pause and let my thoughts regroup for a day or two. That way when I press play, the creativity flows again and it doesn't feel forced.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Guests wanted

Are you considering starting a blog, but aren't sure? Maybe a guest post on someone else's blog would help you decide?

Do you already have a blog? Want to drive a little extra traffic your way? Maybe a guest post on someone else's blog with a link back to your own blog would help?

Would you like a post featured here for any other reason?

This is the final announcement that I had planned for this week - a little contest.

I am looking for people who would like to submit a guest post for consideration on this blog. This post can be about just about anything, so long as it's fairly family-friendly. By that I mean no excessive profanity. Basically, nothing that will get me banned from any affiliate programs.

The prize for this contest is to have your entry posted to my blog. If you currently have a blog, I will add you to my blogroll as well.

To submit an entry, email me (the link is found at the bottom of my sidebar). Include your name (as you want it to appear on the entry), your blog's URL and title (if you want included in my blogroll), and why you'd like an entry on my site. The subject of your email should be Blog contest:, followed by what you'd like to title the entry should it be chosen.

Some ideas for your entry are to include an introduction to yourself and include a link to your own blog. Be creative with your reason for wanting to be the winning entry. I won't post the reason (well, I might aggregate the most creative ones into an entry of it's own) but it will help decide the overall winner. Pick a subject loved by geeks everywhere. This isn't required, but it might help.

Judging will be based on both your reason and the entry itself. If I get a ton of submissions I might enlist the help of others to weed out the best submissions, but the final decision on the winner is mine. All submissions must be original, because that I ask that you give me 30-day exclusivity if your entry is picked. No contract, just a gentleman's agreement. All submissions should be received by June 28. The winning entry will be posted on or around July 2. If all goes well, I'll make this a monthly event, so any entries after the 28th will be considered for the following month.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Blogging for myself

My second announcement this week is that I've decided to do a little experiment. I've decided to take part in the 'Blogging Goals' group project over at ProBlogger.net. It's also high time that I define my blogging goals for the next 30 days or so. It should be interesting, at the very least.

The main reason I blog is because I really enjoy writing, so my goal over the next 30 days is blog for myself.

For some, especially the professional bloggers out there (I've just recently joined your ranks), this may seem counter-intuitive, but I believe my reasoning is sound. If I enjoy what I am doing, it really shows in my writing. This leads to both higher-quality content and increased posting frequency. This, in turn, leads to return visitors. These visitors may tell their friends, who might check me out. Some of them will also become regular readers, and the cycle continues.

This word-of-mouth drives traffic. Without traffic, no one clicks any ads. Without those clicks, we don't make money.

So, yeah, I'm going to be selfish this month; I am going to blog for myself and I hope it shows. If you do what you love, everything else will follow :)

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Linux Security blog

This is my first announcement I hinted at yesterday: After doing a couple guest posts for the Linux Security blog over on Linux World Net, I've decided to make that arrangement more permanent. Jon has graciously accepted my offer to become the permanent author in addition to my duties as author of Minimum Linux. It should be lots of fun! :)

Look for my next announcement tomorrow :)

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Finals Week!

Yes, it's that time of quarter that everyone loves so well... Finals Week! Longtime readers can probably figure out when the beginning and end of my quarters are because it causes a break in my posting rhythm. Hopefully it won't be too disruptive this time, because I have many things going on right now. I don't want to be premature in announcing anything, so I'll wait until each one is ready. If the first isn't ready by Thursday, it probably never will be. So look for my first announcement by then.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Boing Boing: Hideous company sends Boing Boing a pre-emptive nastygram

Because of the nastygram sent to BoingBoing, I urge everyone to boycott the FIFA World Cup. The good folks at Baker & McKenzie owe BoingBoing an apology, and anything short of such should have a negative impact on both them and their client. Law firms need to realize that they aren't allowed to indiscriminately harass others without repercussions.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Behold the power of geek...

Yesterday, I blogged about fixing my water heater. Today, I'm happy to report that, after a couple of days of trying, turning off the water and electric to the heater as needed, I *finally* managed to wrench the old TPR valve off of the water heater. I put on the new valve, using Teflon tape around the threads, and turned the water on and... Viola! Success!

I attribute my successful repair to being a geek. (well... that, and I couldn't afford a plumber. Have you priced one lately?!) Being a geek, I knew that a little research into the symptoms I was having would turn up the problem. Once I knew the problem, the solution came quickly. Actually putting that solution to use was difficult (15 years of corrosion is hard to knock off the threads, ya know?), but persistence always wins. I now have a perfectly good water heater again. Yes, it's well past it's life expectancy. But I've probably just got several more years out of it by doing this $10 repair. And when it finally does die, it will cost me about $200 for a new heater because I now know how to replace it myself (it turned up during my research) instead of the $600+ it would cost me in parts and labor to have a plumber do it for me.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Water heaters...

When the water heater starts leaking, what's a geek to do? That's right! Learn everything he can about water heaters and fix it himself!

Yes, my water heater broke. I called around, and the cheapest model is about $200.00. They can be much, much, more expensive than that. And the minumum installation fee? About $250.00. Ouch! So I did a bit of research, and discovered that the part that's leaking is called a TPR (Temperature & Pressure Release) valve. They're *supposed* to be checked once or twice a year. I've lived here for 8 years, and never knew to check it once. I also discovered that they can go bad and start leaking after 4 or 5 years. The previous owners probably never knew to check it either, so I'm guessing that the thing is close to 15 years old. It would probably be close to the end of the water heater itself, but I've already had the element and thermostat replaced on it. So long as the tank itself doesn't spring a leak, I should be good for awhile.

The problem I'm having is that I cannot seem to get the old valve off. It's a simple screw-on part, but 15 years is a long time to be stuck in something without ever being unscrewed. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Blogtipping Day

The first of every month is Blogtipping Day. Here are my three victims:

Easton Ellsworth
1 - I love the Blogtipping idea!
2 - Your blog is genuinely enjoyable to read.
3 - You and Liz Strauss are really the same person, aren't you? I've never seen the two of you in the same room together.
Tip - I'm not a huge fan of your color scheme. The blue header and footer seem a bit bold in contrast with the rest of the colors you've selected. That's more of a personal preference thing, and I'm sure as many people will disagree with me as agree.

Liz Strauss
1 - Creating the Link Leak Virus.
2 - The SOB thing is a great idea. Thanks for honoring me with it.
3 - You and Easton Ellsworth are really the same person, aren't you? I've never seen the two of you in the same room together.
Tip - I just realized that you have no advertisements above the fold on your blog. That's not necessarily a bad thing though.

Jason Scott
1 - I really admire your work.
2 - I like your blog's design. I'm a huge fan of black backgrounds, so I'm a bit biased there, but it's a nice, simple, layout.
3 - In the few times I corresponded with you, you've seemed like a genuinely nice guy.
Tip - Even though I haven't seen you in the same room with either of them, I don't think you're the same person as Easton Ellsworth or Liz Strauss.