Thursday, February 26, 2009

Keeping up on the Internet - Part 2 (Social/Professional Networking)

If you're reading this, odds are you're on the internet right now. (Duh! right) :-D

The internet has grown and evolved from the realm of geeks and nerds only, into something that everyone can use and enjoy. What was once accessible only via command line is now just point, click, load/post, and enjoy.

One very positive thing to come from the Internets growth and evolution is the ability to connect (or reconnect) with people over great distances. What was once called just "Social Networking" is now more accurately divided into the two major themes, Social Networking and Professional Networking. The difference between the two is as obvious as their names imply.

Social and Professional Networking has allowed many of us to reconnect with friends and coworkers from ages past (Hi Jan!) as well as more recent acquaintances. Sites like MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Plaxo have enabled us to reform and maintain these connections over great distances and varying personal schedules. Its not always easy to manage work, personal, and family time to accomodate social gatherings and events. Any new parent can attest to this. We all fall off the face of the earth for the first few years of our wee ones lives. The internet and social sites allow for us to maintain connections even in the most hectic schedules.

Below are some of the Social and Professional Networking sites that I utilize and recommend everyone try out.

MySpace - This is typically viewed as your Social Network w/ Training Wheels. You can customize backgrounds and auto playing music. Its quite annoying sometimes but you gotta start somewhere I guess and the kids they do love the themes and music. :-)
Typical age of MySpace users are pre-teens thru High School but its not limited to those age groups. I know many adults with MySpace pages and I have one as well. I just never use it much.

Facebook - Time to lose the training wheels and start getting into regular social networking. Now your biggest annoyance is accepting or ignoring all the Application request you'll get endlessly from your friends. I personally credit Facebook with getting me reconnected to many long lost friends. Some that I haven't seen or talked to in over 20 years. MySpace connected me back to a good number but Facebook opened up the floodgates of reconnection.
Typical age of Facebook users are post-High School thru College and beyond. Again, its not limited to this age group but that is the predominate population.

After High School and College real life kicks in and you are considered a "Professional". A professional what is dependent upon your own choices but its still real life and no more school from that point on.

LinkedIn - Professional Networking, plain and simple. You form "links" to people that you work with or have worked with in the past and are then "linked" to their contacts and their contacts contacts. You join Networks from past or current jobs as well as enter your resume information to then search past jobs for others that you might have lost contact wtih.
This is a great site for the job hunter or person that knows of their companies need for talent. Its not about spamming job request or openings but posting the need or desire and then allowing for introductions from someone that might have a "link" to the person in need or needing the connection.

Plaxo - Another Professional Networking site where you form connections to those you work with or have worked with. Allows for the sending of messages through the site to stay connected or reach someone that you have on Plaxo but don't have their current email or contact information. Professional Networking sites are excellent "middle men" for reaching out to people and being reached out to without having to disclose your personal information openly.

Professional Networking sites are not the place for posting up what you're having for breakfast or how hammered you got last night. They are typically more proper and professional in postings and expectations. Remember, the stuff on a Professional Networking site could land (or cost) you a job so keep it professional and proper for the audience and environment.

Social Networking sites can also land, or more frequently, cost you a job. Be aware of your companies policies regarding postings and expectations. (if they have any that is). Take advantage of all the privacy settings available from each site to protect your postings, pictures, etc... as you see fit. Also be aware of your companies Internet access and use policy. If you're not allowed to be on Facebook or social networking sites during the day then stay off. Just because they don't have the funds to block the sites with a proper proxy solution doesn't mean that they are blessing your use of the Internet. Trust me, we IT Security Geeks see EVERYTHING you do from the Office computer. I have a stack of printouts, miles of logs, and a plethora of memories of the stuff I've observed over the years. Its amazing what some people chat about/do/view from work but that is a subject for another blog entry one day.

There are many more sites than the ones listed above. Feel free to try them all out at some point and pick the one that best suits your needs and activity level.

Happy Surfing

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Keeping up on the Internet - Part 1 (Podcast & Shows)

Some have asked me what I routinely watch/listen to so here is a list of the Podcast I keep up with. All are Free and available via iTunes or from their specific distribution site.

Independant Distribution

TikibarTV - Forbidden Cocktails in a Swank Pad
The Guild - Internet show based on a WoW Guild and its members
Legend of Neil - Neil gets sucked into the Legend of Zelda game
Ask a Ninja - Q&A with the Ninja
EpicFu - Geek Culture and discussions
GeekBrief TV - Geek gadgets, news, and reviews

Revision3 Shows -

- weekly recap of the top stories from
Scam School - Bar Tricks and Scams
Totally Rad Show - Discussion and reviews of Movies, TVShows, Video Games, Comics, etc...
Tekzilla - Hands on reviews of the latest gear, tips and tricks that improve the tech you already own

TWIT Netcast Network - (Leo Laporte)

This WEEK in Tech - Discussion on recent and upcoming tech news with various guest
MacBreak Weekly - Similar to This WEEK in Tech but focusing on Mac news and rumors
SecurityNow - Steve Gibson discusses the hot topics in security today with Leo Laporte
Jumping Monkeys - talk about parenting in the digital age
net@night - What's happening on the 'net right now?
MunchCast - Your weekly trip down junk food lane

There are literally hundreds and thousands of podcast and shows out there. A bunch are just crap but many stand out and become quite popular. Internet broadcasting is picking up full steam and many of the ones listed above are the full time job of the people hosting them. We have now reached the point where anyone can create content and get it out to the masses without the aid of big studios and corporations. All it takes is a cam and internet connection mixed in with a little talent or topic of interest to a fanbase. The Podcast/Shows listed above are just my routine weekly viewing. There are a few others I watch sometimes, they come and go over time or don't update sufficiently to warrant a listing here. I highly recommend all of the above Podcast/Shows to anyone wanting to keep up with current pop/tech/geek news and culture.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stop turning YOUR beliefs into MY Laws!

As pointed out in my 25 Random Things About Me post. I have little to no patience for stupidity. Even less for polices and processes that are devoid of logic.

A few events recently have triggered the "raging mental fist of death" response in my brain.

The first is the Snellville City Council voting to NOT allow Sunday Sales of Alcohol. A time when State Governments are cutting services and work hours is not a time to get on your moral high horse and turn down a solution that will bring in the much needed tax money that Sunday Sales would produce. Its only a matter of time before the State's woes start to trickle down to the local governments more than it already has. I'm sure the surrounding areas that are not so backwards and stuck in the past will enjoy and do well with all the tax money that will be generated by you and your neighbors as you go outside Snellville to dine due to the same restriction you supposedly supported.

Here is a news flash for all you Bible thumpers out there that have assumed the position as moral savior of society. Stocking up on your beer, wine and alcohol on Monday through Saturday so you don't have to support Sunday Sales is idiocy. Drinking it on Sunday makes you a hypocrite. You really need to mind your own house and leave the rest of us alone. Stop turning your outdated beliefs and morals into my Laws. My son knows the difference between "adult drinks" and drinks that are appropriate for him. Seeing "adult drinks" does not make him want one nor does it corrupt his innocense or nature. Maybe your children are so sheltered that such an exposure would shatter their fragile little perception of the world but not mine. There is this place that I like to call "the REAL world" and I'm raising him to be a part of it and not be afraid of it. He will grow up understanding that there are things that some people get to do that others do not, be it due to age restrictions, job descriptions, or training and education. Education is the key to all learning and this includes social education through experience and exposure. Educate your children with the morals you want them to have but don't use Laws and Ordinances that affect everyone else to do so. Especially when large majority of you spend the weekend trying to see just how much Bud you can go through while watching football, nascar, or whatever your viewing poison is. Teach your children to take some responsibility in their own actions, know their own limits, and to respect the rights of others. Stop hiding behind making things you don't like illegal just because you don't like them or your "good book" says its The Debil!! - Helen 'Mama' Boucher (The Waterboy)

Here's a thought! If you don't like it, DON'T DO IT! If a business sells or does something you don't like, DON'T GIVE THEM YOUR BUSINESS! If a TV Show content is not something you want to watch or want your family to see, TURN THE FRAKIN CHANNEL!! There is most likely a remote control in your hands or on the sofa next to your ass. Are you so morally offended and stupid that you would rather sit there and be offended while looking up the phone number of the TV network to call that you can't simply turn the channel?
Is this so frakin hard to understand? If it is truly the "majority" of people in the area that don't like a business or TV Show, guess what, if you ignore a Business or TV Show it WILL go away. Running a business is not free and eventually they'd have to close. Producing TV Shows is not cheap and without viewers they WILL go away. If they don't close or go away, well then I guess you are in what we like to call the MINORITY and need to STFU because others do want the business or TV Show.

Why is it ok for you to go out and have a drink with dinner Monday through Satruday but not on Sunday? If you are so against drinking then why do you patronize businesses that are 'so immoral" for wanting to serve on Sunday? The vote to not allow Sunday Sales is what normal people like to call "cutting off your nose to spite your face". Its a stupid decision based on a groups outdated morals and obsessive need to push those morals onto others.

When the City starts looking to cut services or furlough workers we can look to you, Mr Moral Soul Cop to thank for the situation. Your backwards morals have robbed the City of much needed tax revenue that you could easily have chosen to avoid by not buying alcohol on Sundays but you didn't. You pushed your morals onto us yet again. I'm sure the employees being furloughed or fired will appreciate your moral fortitude while they look for ways to try and feed their families and keep a roof over their head.
I'm sure a lot of them would like to thank you in person, late at night, with a tire iron.

The fact that this measure failed is the 2nd point of blinding rage that screams inside my head.

What sort of City Council is EVEN NUMBERED?!?!?!?! How in the hell is that even remotely smart? All voting organizations should be ODD numbered in members to avoid the stupid stalemate like we had here. Do I really need to go on about how odd numbers can't be divided in the middle when votes are taken? To have an even numbered council is stupidity, plain and simple and this Council has again shown us how backwards and ignorant they can be.

I for one salute the 3 members that voted in favor of generating the much needed tax revenue through Sunday Sales. Those 3 at least showed that they are looking out for the City and its revenue stream rather than outdated morals that people are free to follow on their own every day of the week regardless of Laws and Ordinances.

That is my major beef with Religion. Its never happy unless its pushing its morals onto others against their will.

But that is a rant for another day. :-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mental Blocks and wishing for telepathic links

How come I always come up with really neat Blog topics and entire commentary yet am never able to get to the computer in time or just forget them completely by the time I do get to a computer. I just got a new app for the ol iPhone to help combat this so I'll be posting up some mini blog entries and expand upon them when I get to a full keyboard.

Sometimes I wish I had a wifi link to the internet to just stream the ramblings and thoughts straight to the blog when they occur. Now that would be totally cool.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Apathy and the retail sales drone.

I was recently in a Best Buy seeking to burn up 2 of the gift cards I had received over the holidays. I held these cards waiting for just the right item that had enough desire-ability to make me want to put up with Best Buy in order to purchase it. iLife09 was just such an item. I went into the store local to me but alas, they apparently were not smart enough to have any Apple products outside of iPods. In our adventures this past weekend we happened to be passing by another one so I figured what the hell. We get in and I find the section only to see iLife08 regular and family packs on the shelf. Not only iLife08 but also iWork08. Apple stores typically pull the old software when the new version is announced or just around the corner. To sell someone 08 and then release 09 the next week is just bad business and down right rude. Apple prefers customers to have an exceptional experience and remain satisfied rather than just run you through the stalls like comsumer cattle like most retail establishments prefer.

I grab the iLife08 box and begin the annoying quest to find a blue shirt that will actually stop and talk to you. The first guy was looking dead at me when I started scanning for help. He immediately engaged the guy next to him in conversation to avoid helping me. Just past him I got the eye of another associate but in a white shirt.

Ah, the ol Geek Squad, once an independant company and a name to be respected and revered. Now the butt of every support joke and laughing stock of the industry. Geek Squad people are not trained to troubleshoot or fix problems, they are trained to SELL you stuff. The few times I've been in a Best Buy and happened to be passing one of the Geek Squad chatting to a customer have made me cringe. They play on the customers fears and phobias to scare them into extra$, upgrade$, and of course lets not forget their $ervice$.
Congrats Best Buy for taking a great name and concept and filling it with enough ineptitude to circle the globe 8 times.

Anyway, I digress...

Mr Geek Squad asked me what he could help me with and I asked him if they had any of these that weren't outdated? He laughed and said "we should have it, i mean we do sell it, let me see if we have any locked up" As we were walking I countered with "this version shouldn't even be on the shelf" and he laughed. His response was "some people still want it and we have copies to sell". I told him that was a stupid position to take since its an outdated version and nobody in their right mind would want outdated and obsolete software. He chuckled again and said it wasn't his job to decide what to put on the shelf. We got to the mini-cage and he dug around and found copies of iLife09 buried in the back behind some plain cardboard boxes mixed in with a bunch of MobieMe boxes. I'm surprised they didn't still have .Mac boxes to try and sell to people.
I got my iLife09, used up my gift cards, paid the difference and will hopefully never have to set foot into a Best Buy again.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Elusive Dreams, WTF?

Why is it that I always wake up at 3:30am and after falling back asleep I end up having the most interesting dreams that pull me in and make me dread when the alarm goes off?

I wake up and hit snooze for another 9 minutes of "lets see where this is going" only to find that it never picks back up at the same momentum or takes a WTF? twist off into left field. When I wake up I have no clue what was going on, just that it was damn interesting and I regret waking up and missing the ending. I remember it being quite interesting and something that my mind was enjoying yet the Who, What, When, Where, and Why all escape my conscious thought. I can also remember if it took one of those WTF? twist because I wake up with the WTF? in my mind but not What the WTF? about.

Some people analyze dreams for a living. I wonder what they would say about a dream that you know happened, regret leaving, yet can't remember a damn thing about it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Milkshakes aren't a drink?

After an evening of celebrating and drinking a group of friends became hungry and, despite a reputation for dickhead waiters and bitchy waitresses, decided to hit a local 24hr eating establishment in Athens, GA.
Upon arriving at the establishment the waiter, we'll call him Richard for obvious reasons (not his real name), eventually sauntered over to our table to begin taking our drink order.

Richard: What would you like to drink?
Friend1: Water
Friend2: Sweet Tea
Friend3: Sweet Tea
Friend4: Diet Coke
Friend5: Milkshake
Richard: I'm only taking Drink orders right now
Friend5: Yeah, I'd like a Milkshake
Richard: yeah but I'm only taking drink orders right now
Friend5: and I'd like a Milkshake
Richard: Milkshakes not a drink, I'm only taking drink orders right now
Friend5: thats all I'm ordering
Richard: but thats not a drink, i'm only taking drink orders right now
Friend5: fine I'll wait

Richard then proceeds to take the rest of the "drink" orders and shuffles off to fetch the drinks.

Apparently at this establishment, the "Milkshake" is not a Drink. It's a complex process requiring the maker have a Masters Degree in Dairy Sciences and a PhD in Complex Fluid Dynamics. It would appear that only a select few "Milkshake Masters" are employed at this establishment and they are in high demand and routinely backlogged.

And here I thought it was just some Ice Cream dumped into a glass of Milk and blended together.

Who knew?

Please join the Milkshake Awareness Group to help spread the word.