Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Goodbye Blogger, Hello WordPress

September 30, 2006

I’m a pretty huge Google guy, I love them, and that’s why I originally went to Blogger whenI wanted to start my blog. It was pretty good for a while, but I really wanted tags with my posts. I didn’t mind at first, because I was just writing about my game, but then I started writing more and more about other junk, that I wanted to be able to separate my posts. So yeah, I pretty much moved to WordPress just for tags, but I love the interface too. Yay.


Audio Books and Podcasts

September 12, 2006

Over the past few months at work, well, basically the whole time I’ve worked my current job, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts and audio books. I started out listening to music, that’s great and all, but I like to sing along with my music. Basically impossible at my current cubicle… So I started transitioning to more podcasts and then mostly audio books. Now I’m sure if you’re reading a blog you are well aware of the popularity of podcasts so I won’t go into that, but audio books are awesome for catching up on a bunch of books that I would never have time to read.

My first podiobook (a novel written and released in podcast fashion) was 7th Son Book One, this was a really amazing book written by J.C. Hutchins and I recommend listening to it if you’re into science-fiction or cloning or nature versus nuture or really anything because it’s a great read/listen. Book Two is supposedly being released (incrementally) in a few weeks so I’m pretty excited. However, I listened to the last book after all the chapters were released so I’m sorta used to the whole download-it-all-and-listen-to-it-immediately deal.

I then downloaded Ancestor by Scott Sigler, this was a pretty good book but I think the author was playing to the gore crowd a lot and didn’t focus enough on the amazing story he had built up. Still, well worth my time.

Then I started on audio books. Now, these are quite expensive but thanks to the internet, well, they’re not. I started out with Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. I was a pretty big fan of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons so I was excited to explore his earlier work. This novel was about cryptography and really kept my interest, though some of the parts were a little contrived (typical Dan Brown) and most of the parts were very wordy (also typical Dan Brown).

Then I listened to Deception Point, Dan Brown’s first novel. This book I could not stand. I literally cringed when I realized how much I didn’t like the story or characters and saw how many chapters remained to be listened to. This novel was incredibly wordy. All the characters were incredibly argumentative with each other. When one character would say, “I understand it all! It has to do with the micro-organisms in the sea water!” Another character would interject and argue for what seemed like five minutes an argument they had already made about 10 minutes before about how “micro-organisms in this water was an absolute impossibility” and then 15 minutes later someone would finally do a water sample and show that there were micro-organisms… well, you get the point. I would not recommend Deception Point to Da Vinci Code fans.

After finishing that drudgery, I listened to Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. This book was awesome. It’s so hard to explain and I couldn’t if I tried so just read its wikipedia entry if you’re interested. I highly recommend reading it.

Next, I listened to The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve already read the book twice and seem the great movie many times, but I heard the narrator was great so I gave it a stab. The narrator is excellent, performing all the different voices and singing all the songs and poems. I believe Peter Jackson may have even brought in actors that sounded like the narrator’s interpretation of the voices for the movie, because I could really hear Gimli or Gandalf in the book, almost like the actors were performing it. However, after seeing the movie so much, the book seems so wordy at parts, and even 10 years after originally reading it, I still don’t understand the Barrow Downs chapter.

Finally, I just finished 1984, by George Orwell today. This was a pretty good book, often heralded as the ultimate dystopian society novel, I was a little disappointed. I compare it closely to A Scanner Darkly because in both novels, you are often inside the main character’s head, listening to their stream of consciousness, which is particularly unique. However, some parts are so incredibly dull, like when Winston is reading the Goldstein book aloud, it just goes on and on and basically just repeats what the rest of the book has already covered (even Winston notes this, saying he has learned nothing new from chapter one and three). Alas, now I can say I read it (well, atleast listened to it).

Next up… either Dune or The Two Towers.

And what is up with Blogger’s horrible spell checker? It doesn’t know the word blog (not to mention podcast)?

Folding@Home 100 WUs and counting…

September 9, 2006

I have successfully folded 100 WUs for the Stanford Folding@Home project! For those not in the know, Folding@Home (f@h) is a program you run on your computer that uses your unused CPU cycles to fold proteins. It runs totally behind the scenes and doesn’t interfere with your normal computer use at all. It is similar to SETI@Home, but infinitely more practical. Instead of looking for extraterrestrial life, I’m helping to find a cure for cancer and other diseases.

I started folding mid-June when I started my new job. My work computer is a dual-core Pentium D, so I can run two different instances of the folding application at once (each one folds on its own CPU). I only fold at work for a few reasons: 1. My home computer (Athlon 1800+) is a little old and has some serious problems staying cool. 2. It costs electricity to run these processors at 100% all the time and I don’t feel like running up my electricity bill any more than what it is now. So hopefully my employer doesn’t mind…

I would highly recommend participating in the folding project if you’re interested. There’s a great community behind it all as you can join a team and do your thing together.

Here’s a picture of my 100 WU certificate!

CSS, Google Search History, and my video game collection

September 7, 2006

Well, I want to do something with my boring looking blog, spice it up a bit. So I may work on the styles a bit, but I’m just too lazy to try too hard. I’m also not very apt with colors and things, I’m more of a text guy. I’m very mathematical and like to keep track of things… like how I’ve made 5672 Google searches over the last year (I don’t keep track of that personally, don’t think I’m that much of a freak) or that I keep track of every video game I own (230 right now).

Okay… time to brainstorm colors.