For lack of a better post

January 21, 2006

I think I will switch entirely over to wordpress.com for now. The features they give more than make up for their current shortcomings. This will be the second blog I abandon, the first being xanga. The switch from xanga to blogspot was obvious. Xanga is no fun.

This change is more about organization rather than blogspot shortcomings. Google’s blogger is a real nice tool, I just wish they had incorporated more “Web 2.0” happiness sooner. The categories is what is really doing it for me in wordpress. Plus, it looks like they are actively developing and responding to the requests and needs of their growing user base. I think that most of the small problems I have with wordpress will go away in a short amount of time.

Also, if I get the urge, it wouldn’t be hard to get wordpress running on a machine of my own and hosting my own blog. In which case, you readers will have to change rss feeds once again, which would be the only downside. But right now, someone else can worry about keeping my blog accessible and maintained.

If I get one of those old powermacs from work like I really want (they have 4 that no one will ever use again), then I might indeed switch to self-hosting, but the chances are slim of that occurring. (I raised the question and was told that surplus gets sent to Topeka for auction, although they have been sitting around for a year and still have not been sent in, very frustrating)

In related news, school starts Monday for me, so that will be a scary new challenge. I am taking 3 math classes and 2 comp. science classes, all of which is a bit intimidating, but I think I’ll survive. I really need to get to know some of the other kids in my programming class, as I believe the programs are coded in teams! Scary stuff.

I wanted to add something to my blog, but I couldn’t think of anything clever or interesting, so this is all I had.


Favorites added

January 15, 2006

Check out my new favorites section on the wordpress blog.

It comes with my own kickin’ icons, and a free frogurt (that’s good).

I’ll probably end up switching over to wordpress completely, and then maybe host my own blog, if / when I get the hardware to do it.

For now, check out the wordpress blog, and any comments / critiques are most welcome.

I really like the idea of using recognizable icons whenever possible, so that’s what I did


Rate My Clothes

January 14, 2006

Today we visited the local clothing resale shop, the Arizona Trading Company, for some hip new threads. We also tried the trade-in option for the first time with some clothes that were going to the thrift-store anyways.

It was kind of an odd feeling as we waited for the woman behind the counter to decide what the store would accept and what we would have to lug back home. All the clothing I had brought in I don’t wear anymore because of sizing errors on my part when I purchased them from the thrift store (its easy to get button-downs that are too big and not really realize it when you’re doing it).

But I would wear them if they fit me. I thought most of it was pretty cool stuff. But while she pawed through our sacks, refolding those items unfit for the ATC, it felt as if my entire wardrobe was being judged by the hippest-of-hip townies. I got nervous while she worked.

Not that I try really hard to get only cool clothes, but I have been making more of an effort recently to dress a little like the groovy kids.

That’s why I felt a little let down when I saw the “not-accepted” pile and realized that she chose almost nothing to keep. It felt like a rejection letter from the townies informing me of my non-coolness.

I guess that’s ok, I don’t really want to be a townie anyways.


Symbols.com

January 13, 2006

Sage symbolFor my wife’s birthday, she wanted to redo our spice rack with glass bottles and spices that she might actually use (I guess Bed Bath & Beyond isn’t up on the necessary spices for cool hip twenty-somethings).  I got the idea that it would be cool if each spice was labelled with a recognizable symbol for easy retrieval from the rack without having to squint at the names of each one.

Enter symbols.com . This is an amazing online database of around 2,500 symbols and their origins and meanings.  What is cool is that you can search in a multitude of ways, my favorite being the “graphic index” search in which you describe the structure of the symbol you want and it comes back with a listing of the most probable matches.

I didn’t use the search too much though, just browsing through the symbols was cool enough.  It was hard choosing the right 16 for the spice rack, but I think I did a decent job.

We will find out in a few days when the labels finally come in.  Stupid Office Depot only carries a small circular label — and I needed a medium!

The Symbol above is the one I choose to represent “sage”.  I think it matches up pretty well.  Read about it Here.


VMware: my new co-worker

January 8, 2006

A couple of days ago I got to try the recently-made-free VMware Player on my work computer.  This software allows you to play virtual machines on your system, and with a little hackery from digg, you can create your own VMware systems.

Basically this allows you to run any operating system on top of Windows XP, as if it were on a separate computer.

I used the instructions from the hackery site to get Ubuntu Linux running in around 20 minutes.  They also have a bunch of ready-mades on their website that should work instantly.

You can install a complete operating system, everything from formatting the “drive” to changing the IP address, without affecting the actual system it is running on. I don’t know all the details about how this works, only that the player uses a file that acts like the hard-disk and the rest of the system.

The really cool thing about this software is that it creates virtual network cards for your virtual machines, so it should be possible to create a little virtual network of “computers” that could all communicate with each other and could be used for learning and testing how a network is set up.  I set up an Apache web server on my virtual machine and was able to access it from the real computer it was running on.  Pretty fun.

I’ve read a lot about network systems, but haven’t gotten a chance to really implement anything on a larger scale, but this program might allow me to do just that.

One issue though is that your real machine has to be pretty kickin to handle multiple virtual machines.  I almost crashed my work computer, which is the fastest system I’ve used, with two virtual pc’s, itunes, and our ticket management program open.  But you can control how much RAM each virtual machine you create uses,  which I didn’t really mess around with yet.

If you have a XP (or Linux) machine that is wasting most of its clock cycles just idling, try some of the ready-mades out.  Next work day, I am going to try to get a few virtual machines networked together and then finally start implementing a firewall with ipcop, or perhaps openbsd.

You could also install an unpatched version of XP or 98 as a virtural machine and see how long it takes to get infected with the Mblaster worm.  Or try out that new Sasser worm that was emailed to you out, just to see what it does to your system.  I won’t hurt your real set-up one bit, and clean up is as easy as clicking “delete”.


the WordPress vs Blogger battle

January 2, 2006

So today I discovered the joys of WordPress.
Wordpress is another blogging “engine” that might beat out blogger for my current favorite blog site.  It allows for easy tagging of your posts, something I have been wanting from blogger since day one.

In fact, there are multiple things about the default set up that I enjoy in WordPress.  The search engine feature is very nice, as is the easy adding of links and link categories.

Check out my basic WordPress site here

I might eventually switch to WordPress in the very near future.  There are just a couple things that blogger does better:

  • Ability to email to post new blogs (which is what I’m doing now).
  • Storage of pictures instead of just linking to them
  • spell checker.

If i can figure out work arounds for 2 out of 3 of those issues, I may leave blogger in the dust.
What do you think?  I’m still not ready to commit to a hosted solution, but is WordPress worth it? or will blogger get tags soon?