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Collected web clippings, ramblings, and scribblings from me to you.

Monday: June 22, 2009

A writeup on how to potentially hack your way to a good night's sleep.A writeup on how to potentially hack your way to a good night's sleep.

If there's one thing that many techies have in common, it's some form of insomnia. Whether it's because you can't fall asleep easily, you wake up too early, or you keep waking up throughout the night, not getting a good night's sleep can seriously affect your health and productivity.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 7:33 AM | Tags (4) | sleep | hack | ars | health |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 34 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Seven simple yet unexpected ways in which to save water.Seven simple yet unexpected ways in which to save water.

Good to know.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 7:23 AM | Tags (3) | water | conservation | environment |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 34 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Friday: June 19, 2009

Yes, everyone but you is being rude with their mobile device of choice.Yes, everyone but you is being rude with their mobile device of choice.

Human self-awareness being an inconstant phenomenon, a remarkable number of adults claimed they never, ever do such terrible things. Just 28% admit to discussing private matters in public, while only 38% say they've texted or typing in the company of others.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 6:52 PM | Tags (4) | habits | mobile | rude | study |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 12 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Ditch your gas guzzler for a more efficient one and you may get $4,500 towards a new one.Ditch your gas guzzler for a more efficient one and you may get $4,500 towards a new one.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the 'cash for clunkers' program, which was approved by the Senate on Thursday. For owners of low-mileage models such as the 1994 Ford Bronco, 1998 Nissan Pathfinder or the 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, the plan could give them a reason to visit their local car dealer during an economic downturn.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 12:21 PM | Tags (6) | cars | efficient | clunkers | electric | hybrid | environment |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 4 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Looking for a job in Montana? You'll have to fork over your online usernames.

This actually goes well beyond a startling invasion of privacy in a state that has a reputation for a strong independent streak; it provides a serious risk of running afoul of employment law. Employers are typically prohibited from digging into an applicant's ethnic or religious background. An Internet search already runs the risk of picking up photos or text that can reveal these sorts of details; opening a person's social networking accounts would seem to make the discovery of these details almost inevitable.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 8:58 AM | Tags (3) | privacy | security | employment |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 11 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Tuesday: June 16, 2009

Daily Grind: Slightly accomplished

Name: Vin (aka glm fanboy)
How Vin feels today: Slightly accomplished @ 9:04:00 AM
What Vin really wants today: To mark that this is the first official new daily grind post of GeekLikeMe 4.0. Also state that aforementioned daily grind is now once again a weekday thing - hooray. Oh, and also to continue fixing various bugs with recently launched new version of this site.

Music Stuck in Head: Glory Days / Bruce Springsteen
Mostly because I'm curious to hear how it sounds with Phish as the backup band.

Stuff to do today:

  • Figure out a way to get more sleep
  • Update 'potentially related posts' feature on content pages, group posts together by date rather than list them out
  • Modify XML feeds
  • Figure out if pinging blog services really makes any difference at all
  • Build an auto-pinger just for good measure
  • Move on to less nerdy topics...
  • Pre-order the new Monkey Island games from Telltale at some point before July 6th
  • Yes, Monkey Island: click here for more info
  • Also get credit card ready to purchase Sam & Max for XBLA
  • I heart Telltale Games

Posted to Daily Grind filed in Life @ 10:04 AM | Tags (5) | bugs | dailygrind | phish | programming | redesign |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 1 Click | Posted by Vin


Twelve simple ways to impress your boss (and possibly everyone else).Twelve simple ways to impress your boss (and possibly everyone else).

And by simple they mean just follow these twelve steps that may actually be a little bit complicated. Such is life.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 7:29 AM | Tags (3) | impress | boss | everyone |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 26 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Tuesday: May 5, 2009

About 3.5 million Americans still unprepared for DTV switch.About 3.5 million Americans still unprepared for DTV switch.

This sounds like it will go over well.

Posted to Weekdaily filed in Life @ 8:43 AM | Tags (3) | television | dtv | switch |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 310 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Tuesday: October 9, 2007

McDonald's customers are a dedicated people.

'I'm sorry sir, we're not selling four piece packs of Chicken McNuggets at this location anymore.'

The man then became irate, demanding why this particular Manhattan McDonald's location did not sell his particularly favorite item. He was so mad that he began cursing out the woman behind the counter who had a distinct 'what the fuck' look in her eyes.

'But it's still up on your menu up there,' he pointed to the large legible line where the four piece item he wanted was clearly labeled. 'I want four piece McNuggets!'

'I understand, but as of today we're not selling them anymore.' replied the cashier.

More obscenities flew, people started to stare. 'This is bullshit, I want my four piece. Why can I not have my four piece. I see you making them right there. Just give me a box of four and charge them to me.' Followed by obscenity, obscenity, something I couldn't quite make out and another obscenity.

Right then the cashier decided to alert the irate customer of an astonishing fact.

'We still have the six piece McNuggets sir.'
'Are they fried the same way? Do they taste the same?' the man questioned.
'Yes sir, there's just two more nuggets than the four piece.'

'Alright then, I take one of them.' he replied calmly.

I love people.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 2:32 PM | Tags (3) | mcdonalds | food | people |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Thursday: August 30, 2007

Five demotivational tactics to keep your blog stagnant.

Are you a blogger? Do you have something to say? Below is a handy list that will outline how to keep your blog boring, uninteresting, and certainly not entertaining. Refer to it before hitting the submit button for new posts.

  1. Voice

    When writing a blog post keep in mind that nobody cares what you have to say. You are not important. Stop crying.

  2. Originality

    While you may think your post is fresh and original, chances are that someone has already posted the same blog post about that particular topic you wanted to write about. Give up.

  3. Writing skills

    Your blog writing is probably not as good as that other blogger, and less funny too. The truth hurts.

  4. Design

    Get a generic blog template that looks like everyone else (plus one for polka dots). This way people who happen to visit someone else's site will mistake it for yours.

  5. Circulation

    Don't update your blog, ever. And certainly don't keep an RSS feed of your scribblings either. You don't need the traffic, but you probably aren't getting traffic anyway.

Note: writing a blog post about demotivational methods is a healthy way to keep your blog fresh and exciting.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 10:37 AM | Tags (4) | demotivation | blog | tactics | boring |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Monday: August 6, 2007

Vegas Photo Spread

Below are some quick snaps I managed to take on our recent trip out to Las Vegas. I really don't consider myself much of a photographer but I was happy with how most of the photos below came out. Most of these will probably end up in the photoblog at one point or another.


Outside Paris perspective.


Indoor sky.


Outside LOVE theater at The Mirage. Reminded me of The Matrix.


Entrance into LOVE theater at The Mirage. Trippy.


Bellagio Conservatory.


Macro attempt at Bellagio Conservatory.


Shape patterns and colors at Bellagio Conservatory.


The glass ceiling.


The Strip.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 1:03 PM | Tags (2) | photography | vegas |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Monday: July 9, 2007

How to hack Sesame Street's website for fullscreen Elmo.

Here is a handy trick for my fellow geek parents who read this site regularly. Granted, I haven't posted to this section in quite a while (last post was 3 months ago), but I'll be getting back into the groove shortly.

Anyway, back to what this article is about: the Sesame Street web site (http://www.sesameworkshop.org). Let me start off by admitting that my kid is an Elmo addict. Everything Elmo, all the time. She loves that furry red bastard. Needless to say, the Elmo-based games on the Sesame Street website come as a great resource for keeping an active (or cranky in some cases) baby happy and able to learn at the same time. And ya know, it's Elmo, so it's kind of safe - even though he's a freakin' monster.

The problem: All of the games on this website are stuck in a very small 600 x 300 framed window within the Sesame Street template. If you have a fairly large newer monitor you will find this awkward to look at. Especially when viewed on a monitor capable of resolutions of 1280 x 1024 or greater (see screenshot to the left for example of what I mean - look at all that unused space). In some cases I have to squint to see what's going in the game, and in most cases my kid really couldn't get the big picture period.

The solution: Find the source path of the game's flash files to run it in glorious fullscreen. This is one of the rare cases that I am happy to see Adobe Flash deployed on a major website like this. It applies itself really well to the nature of the problem. Since everything is vector based, the desired game/application/plaything will look beautiful even when blown up to full screen - no real important details are lost. You can ignore the rest of the site and just play in peace with Elmo and the rest of the gang.

How to do this: To play various games on the Sesame Street website at fullscreen you will need to use the following URL template to access the flash files directly: http://www.sesameworkshop.org/ uploaded-images/ 9495524/ additional/ main_game-6.swf (this is an example). You can obtain this path by looking into the source code of the website. In Firefox you can do this simply by pressing CTRL + U on your keyboard. In Internet Explorer you have click in the View menu at the top of the program and jump down to Source. After that, you will be presented with a whole bunch of code. You will want to scroll down until you see the JavaScript portion of the source code (you'll see it labeled). Usually the game file is named with a prefix like 'main_' (see screenshot to the right). You can do a quick find for 'main_' using CTRL + F to get there quicker. In this case the following path can be obtained: /uploaded-images/ 9495524/additional/ main_game-6\. Simply plug this into your URL template, add '.swf' where the forward-slash is and behold the almighty power of Elmo at full width of screen. Entertained baby = happy baby and happy baby = happy parents. See? Everybody is happy.

Here are a couple more example links to get you started. Again, this method works for pretty much all of the games on the website - not just Elmo (so if your kid is a Bert and Ernie fan you can go nuts too - eh eh eh eh eh eh).

Happy geek parenting to all.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 11:53 PM | Tags (3) | sesamestreet | elmo | hack |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 11 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Monday: December 4, 2006

The eight types of annoying morning commuters.

geeklikeme goes commuting

As a Westchester resident working in Manhattan, I often opt to take mass transit to get into the city (parking can be an expensive venture anyway). Over the years I have mentally formed a list with the types of people that generally annoy me during said morning commute. But before reading further, I urge you to use your imagination and visualize yourself sitting next to these types of people in an enclosed space for an undisclosed amount of time on a daily basis.

  • The Untouchable

    To kick off this list I will begin with the category of commuter that I myself fit into - I like to call them (and myself) the 'untouchables'. And no, I am not referring to the Sean Connery and Kevin Costner type of untouchable. This is a group of people who literally does not want to be touched in any way shape or form. This type of commuter does not want to have any part of another individual whilst riding the train. They (or we, I should properly say as I do consider myself part of the group) just want to be left alone and as previously stated, untouched. They will sometimes sit in dark places of the train in an effort to have other commuters avoid sitting next to them. In the event that another passenger decides to sit next to this type of person, they will cower as close to whatever opposite side they can find for aversion. Again, I can sympathize with this group or else I wouldn't have written this article on a train... by myself.

  • The Discourteous Seat Requester

    This classification of is directed to the type of morning train rider who will strive to sit in the seat next to you (much to the dismay of 'the untouchable'). This act will most of the time cause you to have to get up to make way for said rider to sit in the window seat (or aisle sit depending on your preference). Now this is not the core of the problem - people should be able to sit wherever they please, and furthermore I am more than happy to oblige a seat if none are available. However, if you want to sit next to me but don't want to bother asking for the seat then I have a reason to have some discourse with you. Simply staring at me to a point that it is both uncomfortable for you and I will not get you the desired seating space next to me nor will it make me move. Grunting doesn't work either. Be a human and say 'excuse me' (your mommy would be proud).

  • The Spacetaker

    The Spacetaker is primarily and definitively the type of individual who has to have all of their personal belongings strewn across your seat and their seat for no apparent reason. These items may include but are not limited to jackets, purses, laptop bags, newspapers and so on. These items will make their way into your personal seating space and the owner who happens to be sitting RIGHT NEXT TO YOU will not even bat an eye (or say 'excuse me'). This is why we have overhead racks. Put your stuff up there before I kill you.

  • The Newspaper Man (Spacetaker Part II)

    This designation of commuter was originally set to go along with the previous type, but after some careful thinking I decided they would best be split into two different classes. The Newspaper Man's sole job is to read the New York Times (or any other major periodical for that matter) full spread. By doing so, they basically take up a third of your personal space simply so they can read two pages of their morning news at once. This is annoying and it needs to stop. I don't care how important the morning paper is to you. Fold your newspaper over one way and leave what little shred of personal space I have alone. You can take more of the information in if you focus on one page at a time anyway, genius.

  • The Smelly Food Eater

    In the world of business sometimes there just isn't room for breakfast. I can totally understand that being a morning commuter myself. Sometimes there really is no time to grab a quick bite in the morning. There is however, a type of commuter who can somehow find the time for food and will proceed to dine on their breakfast for the entire duration of the train ride. Now I'm not referring to the NutriGrain Bar or even the buttered bagel guy. I'm talking about the person who sits right next to you and proceeds to unwrap a greasy, runny, overly smelly egg sandwich and eat it gingerly at their own pace. To top it off, there are no windows to open to allow for proper ventilation so the smell recycles itself throughout the train. And this is the type of smell that if not mentally or physically prepared for, will make you sick. I would like to say thanks to this type of commuter for their continued contribution to an unhealthy air supply. By the way, you have a piece of scrambled egg with ketchup plastered to your chin and you look like a total idiot.

  • The Sniffler

    Another giant annoyance of mine while riding the train in the morning is a classification of a passenger that I like to call 'The Sniffler'. This is the type of person who either doesn't know what tissues are for or how to use them in any way shape or form. The end result is a lovely, loud, disgusting snorting sound that every single passenger can hear distinctly for the duration of the commute. Other passengers will frequently toss dirty looks at The Sniffler, but those looks will simply be ignored and the snorts, sniffles and wheezes will continue to pour out of their nostrils. The only way to end the reign of terror brought on by this commuter is to exit the train. Do us all a favor and buy a box of tissues (and learn how to use them), Captain Snorts-a-lot.

  • The Jibber-jabber

    Since one can usually get pretty decent cell phone reception on a commuter train, some enterprising passengers will take advantage of this to the maximum. Now having a quick cell phone conversation is one thing but speaking so loudly that the entire train can hear you is another. And yet again, tossing a disapproving look to the person carries no effect either. They just continue to go along thinking that we all care what's going on in their personal bubble. Look, I really don't want or need to know that your doctor thinks you should have your third nipple removed. I'm sure the rest of us didn't need to know either. Turn down the volume or hang up your phone. This also applies to passengers who insist on having abnormally loud conversations regarding karaoke bars and daytime television talk shows as well.

  • The Loud Music Listener

    I am a card carrying iPod user on my daily morning commutes. I can't imagine riding into the city on a daily basis without this device. Turns out that I am not the only one who relies on music to get them through the morning commute. This of course is in regards to people who have to play their iPods (or whatever other personal music device you can think of) with volume so loud that it must cause their ears to bleed (or at least I hope it does). Music that pours through their headphones so loudly that other people wearing headphones listening to their own music (like me) can hear. You are going to go deaf, really, they've done studies on this - pick up a trade magazine next time and read this for yourself. Give your ears some rest, they will need it. I also hate to mention it but the entire train now knows that you listen to Flock of Seagulls - repeatedly.

So that about sums it up. Was there a type of commuter that was left off this list? Share your own thoughts by writing a comment on this post. Other general commuting horror stories are welcome as well.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 7:19 AM | Tags (4) | commuters | annoying | rude | life |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Wednesday: September 6, 2006

The seven deadly sins of corporate email.

Many of us work in a corporate environment. My job falters between information technology and marketing (such is the fate of the web developer these days). As such, I am often bombarded with the annoying email habits of people who lack the basic understanding of...well, email.

  1. People who set an away email message for every single meaningless event.

    I do not need to know that you are out to lunch at from 12:15 to 1:15. Most people know that it is lunch time and chances are you're not around. Do not bother me with your personal digital answering machine. Really, it's not necessary. I also don't need to know that from 3:30 - 4:00 pm you will be getting your teeth cleaned. This does not influence my day to day operations one bit. Stop it; you're making Outlook cry.

  2. People who can't remember to turn their away message off when they are, in fact, no longer away.

    So you're back from vacation, yay. I'm quite happy for you. Now turn off your away message that keeps responding to me in stereo with your normal emails. I don't need dual responses every time I reply to one of your emails reminding me that you were gone fishing last week. How was the dentist by the way?

  3. People who write the entire message of an email in the subject line.

    You'd think telling the difference between two distinct areas when composing an email would be an easy thing. I can't tell you how much fun it is deciphering an email when it is sprawled across the subject line (see 'before and after' below).

  4. Read receipts.

    This habit makes me want to throw a chair out of a window. It is the act of people who feel they have to attach a read receipt to EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF EMAIL they send out - no matter how trivial the subject matter. I guess it makes people feel important. Therefore, I take great pleasure in hitting the cancel button to your paranoid sense of self confirmation. Even more annoying: people who send read receipts on emails regarding whether or not the last email they sent (which had a read receipt too) was actually read. Pure genius!

  5. People who love to respond to emails marked distinctly as DO NOT REPLY.

    When the subject line AND the first line of the body of the email read in big, bold letters DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL why do you still hit Reply? Let's try this together: D-O N-O-T R-E-P-L-Y.

  6. Incredibly overloaded signatures.

    It's not enough that I have to see the scribbled signature of the person who sent me the email, but they also insist on changing the entire style of the email. So when I reply to you, I am stuck with your ugly, yet 'calming' wallpaper. Please fire yourself out of a cannon.

  7. Pasting entire web pages into the body of an email.

    Another act that greatly affects my day to day mood: receiving an email that has an entire (or partial) web page pasted into the body of the message. Outlook is not meant to show web pages (this is why we have web browsers), and by doing so, you are now disrupting the natural order of the Universe. By replying to you (and if I'm too lazy to clean out said pasted web page), we start tracking in piles of HTML code throughout our conversation like mud. Clean your feet and just email me the link to the article, dummy.

And there you have it. Now print this list out and pin it up by the company water cooler. The email-challenged will thank you... hopefully.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 0:51 AM | Tags (3) | corporate | work | email |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin


Friday: July 7, 2006

GeekLikeDad!

I recently became a proud parent to a beautiful baby girl. I got to thinking about some of the pros and cons she may have while growing up with her overly geeky dad. This list probably (and obviously) does not pertain to all geeks, it's primarily speaking from my experience and current available skill sets.

On with the list:

  1. Advantage:  Multilingual skills. HTML, CSS, ASP. Sure these are programming languages, but it's a start.
    Disadvantage:  Actual foreign language skills are probably far more important. I'll leave that to my bilingual wife.

  2. Advantage:  A vast library of useless movie quotes/facts ranging from Monty Python to Count of Monte Cristo. This makes for some decent comedic timing which Dad hopes to pass on.
    Disadvantage:  Sometimes Dad isn't nearly as funny as he thinks he is... at all.

  3. Advantage:  Her Mom has a very good fashion sense.
    Disadvantage:  Her Dad, not so much.

  4. Advantage:  She will probably have every cool techie toy that comes on the market.
    Disadvantage:  Dad will have to play with it first.

  5. Advantage:  She already has a large library of modern and retro video games.
    Disadvantage:  Possible pasty white skin from lack of sunlight, just like Daddy.

  6. Advantage:  I can't cook. If you tried my cooking you would understand why this is an advantage.
    Disadvantage:  Same reason.

  7. Advantage:  I can teach her how to play up to 3 musical instruments of her choice: drums, guitar, kazoo.
    Disadvantage:  I have no athletic skills whatsoever. Seriously, none. Once again, my wife will be in charge of that skill, too.

  8. Advantage:  Dad is an avid Phish fan.
    Disadvantage:  Dad is an avid Phish fan.

  9. Advantage:  Dad doesn't do drugs of any kind despite attending many, many, many Phish shows.
    Disadvantage:  Since Dad didn't do any drugs, he has no wacky stories to tell.

  10. Advantage:  Three words - Internet Parental Control.
    Disadvantage:  Since this site is primarily PG, one day she will find out that her Dad once ran a website called GeekLikeMe.

Posted to Verbose filed in Life @ 1:45 PM | Tags (3) | paretings | dad | geeklikeme |  | Discuss (0) |  | facebook | twitter | 0 Clicks | Posted by Vin


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