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I was digging through an old forum (OK I admit it, I googled myself!) and found a funny comic. I have always wondered how long I'd last on level 1 tech support - probably not long.

 

Published in Tech Blog
Tuesday, 17 August 2010 18:47

iphone users get laid more

We all know that Android is a cooler geek OS than iphoneOS and let's not even mention Windows CE which is plain crap. However, the question may come up with who's getting the ladies - iphone users or Android users? Maybe a robot doesn't come to mind when women think of romance and love but still. Recently the popular online dating site OKCupid did the thing they're most famous for - analyze data and find patterns. The following picture is a result of that research.

It appears that mindless drones get laid more than businessmen or tech savvy geeks. Who knew?

I also find it interesting that 20% more women using iphones are getting laid then men who use iphones. Who are they waking up next to then I might ask? I'm not saying anything about iphone users but the statistics don't lie - they might be stuck on one cellular network but they appear to be fairly open with other choices in life. ;-)

If the original study interests you (it should) head on over to OKCupid and check it out. http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/dont-be-ugly-by-accident/

 

 

Published in Tech Blog
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 02:39

My take on Linux Distribution choices

 

You might say I have a long distro history so I'll add my 1.7 cents (it was 2 cents before the recession).

 
Loved Mandrake until it got buggy. 
Mandriva came from Mandrake but never recaptured the glory.
  1. Both had very easy to use but powerful administration tools. 
  2. Wonderful menu structure
  3. Looked good
  4. Excellent hardware discovery. It could load the drivers for your blender if you could plug it in.
  5. Package management from the Gods when mortal man was painting on cave walls.
Why I stopped using them
  1. unstable repositories. Software was constantly broken. 
 
CentOS for servers - it's just the most stable feature rich distro for servers (from the commandline). 
 
SuSe for servers if you insist on using a GUI to manage it. Has the best GUI Server admin tools.
 
Ubuntu 8.04 - 10.10
  1. Tons of software packages
  2. Gnome2 became usable for bipedal primates with large frontal lobes.
  3. Install process so easy a baby stuck in a mineshaft could do it. 
  4. Everything just works and when it stops shaking a rubber chicken seems to help. If it doesn't work on Ubuntu it probably doesn't work on anything that runs Linux including orbiting brain lasers and fembots with a penchant for evil.
Why I'm looking for a replacement
  1. Software packages broken.... sounds familiar.
  2. Got tired of looking at desktop color themes best reserved for a 1970s kitchen with accompanying man cave with wall to wall shag carpet.
  3. Moved to the Unity desktop which is targeted at a branch of hominids possessing much smaller brain functionality that have been extinct for roughly 4 million years. Possibly as a result of a poor market study with limited subject availability to question and those who they could dig up didn't have much to say.
  4. Including the word Ubuntu in my online dating profile has not improved love matches. In addition translating the original Swahili meaning to English only leaves me looking a bit creepy.
  5. Ubuntu sounds like something my kids used to say when they were a year old and needed changed. Looks like it too.
 
Distributions I'm interested in but haven't made a decision about
 
Linux Mint DE
  1. Based on Debian so the software packages may actually work
  2. Uses the XFCE desktop so any sane human should feel comfortable with it.
Possible downfalls:
  1. A bit rough
  2. A bit ugly
  3. Linux Mint DE with a port scanner vs. Clint Eastwood with a Bowie knife would be a good fight.
  4. Having the same name as another distribution that has broken packages gives me the shivers.
 
Mageia

  1. So far every single package in the repository works. Ex Mandrake developers who must have learned their lesson.
  2. Doesn't talk to me like I'm a baby   

Possible downfalls:
  1. Only two packages in the repository.
  2. Just when I learned to pronounce Ubuntu this comes along.

 
The nice thing about Linux is you can try them all for zero dollars. I think a good practice though is to have a shared network drive where you put all of your stuff so if you choose to wipe out your machine you don't lose anything. Actually this is a good practice on any OS.
 

 

Published in Tech Blog
Saturday, 28 May 2011 18:55

Pink is the new Red

 

Grocery outlet gives me a lot of material to talk about. This is a product I saw there recently - Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Pink Sauce. If you love Red sauce you have to try this! What's the difference between red sauce and pink sauce you ask? Pink Sauce is a lot like Red Sauce but with more White! There's nothing quite like a good Creamy Pink Sauce that's for sure. Don't be tempted by Green Sauce, Blue Sauce, White Sauce or Yellow Sauce. Only settle for the best - Pink Sauce. Oh and keep it all natural if you've got a moment. I was tempted by All Unnatural Pink Sauce once and boy was I sorry. You owe it to yourself to just keep on looking if it's not 100% All Natural Pink Sauce.

Published in Food Blog
Sunday, 07 February 2010 18:25

Relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights!

A friend and I were googling my name to find the oldest reference still on the Internet. Things seem to disappear after a while and it appears that I've been erased before 1997 but the positive outcome from this exercise was to find a spoof of an old newsletter I contributed to. In that newsletter was a quasi-german warning message which I've remembered but missed. With a tear in my eye I share it with you now. If you speak German, pretend you don't or you may miss the message.

 

 

 
ACHTUNG!
 



 

  Alles Touristen und non-Technischen Look ens Peepers!

Das computenmachine is nicht fur gerfinger poken und mittengrabben. Oderwise ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen, und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Der Machine is diggen by experten only. Ist nicht fur gewerken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseeren keepen das cottenpicken hands in das pockets, so relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights!
 


 

Published in Tech Blog
Monday, 25 January 2010 19:45

Security Theater

Published in Travel Blog
Thursday, 19 August 2010 03:52

Signs of the times

Sometimes if you know a few things about programming you can see mistakes other programmers have made. You could probably even find them in the code if you had it for review. A great example is of an email I got today from someone who supposedly saw me on a website. I'd assume this website was a dating site had the variable not been empty when the email went out.

Hello , I came across your profie in () and I will like us to have a good Relationship and to know much better .my name is Ann, i am single and never marriage.I will wait for your reply . you can contact me at this my email address ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) so that i can send you my picture and more about myself. waiting to hear from you . PLEASE CONTACT ME DIRECTLY WITH THIS EMAIL ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

It looks like I must have been hanging out on the site called () or perhaps I'm supposed to insert something in there depending on my own online dating habits. Or perhaps the programmer isn't parsing his junk properly or maybe they got my name from some data mining source and there wasn't anything in the dating site: field so it came up blank. Interestingly the parenthesis were included in the email.  In the spirit of this post I was going to include a picture of a shirt I once bought that had a very 1950s Hollywood TV looking blond woman with a tear in her eye and the caption said "I can't believe I didn't declare my variables". Funny but the t-shirt is now gone and apparently any trace of the design on the Internet has gone missing as well.

Published in Programming Blog
Wednesday, 18 January 2012 00:36

The History of the Sweet Potato

This is the first in a series of "Histories of things" taken from a very tongue in cheek point of view.

The history of the Sweet Potato:

  1. 750 BC an unknown Peruvian digs up a root and starts gnawing on it. Sweet Potatoes become a big hit spawning massive population growth, a couple of ruthless rulers, a box with a diseased feather and some really unruly metal clad illegal immigrants who have very little respect for local customs of ownership but I'm getting ahead of myself.
  2. A man from Italy wants to go boating but doesn't have the means to purchase one so he turns to begging which proves successful. He immediately gets lost in his new boat and about a month later runs it into a mound of dirt. Hungry he digs up a root and gnaws on it to much delight.
  3. The local Taino people who were of course overjoyed to have been finally discovered told the Italian boater that the root was called batatas. 
  4. Not having heard of a batatas  and having a slight hearing and/or comprehension problem he erroneously called it patata (you know from the rhyme potato, patata). Since the nice couple who loaned him their boat were Spanish this became the Spanish name for batatas. 
  5. Later the English not paying much attention to anything on the stranded side of the English Channel renamed it potato. Keep in mind there wasn't such a thing yet so you have to give them some credit for their originality.
  6. One hundred years later another man (who due to his lack of accomplishments remains unknown) dug up another root in South Columbia (I mean America, don't get me started) drags another tuber back to Europe. It resembled the batatas but generally lacked flavor or any other discernible value so it was given to the Irish and also named potato.
  7. Since people then named things by shape nobody noticed that the tasty batatas and the untasty potatoes were not in fact related nor did it matter - they were similar in shape so too should be similar in name.
  8. One hundred years later some well meaning folks needed to get some shit done and since it was a bit early in the timeline to run by Home Depot for good hard working laborers they asked the Portuguese if they knew of anyone who might want a job where pay wasn't an object. They did and offered to provide the transportation. 
  9. The newly arrived people were famished and upon taking into their sight the aforementioned roots responded with the Wolof word  "nyam" loosely translated as "If you don't give me something to eat I'm going to open up a can of Chris Rock on you".  As a side note the same people used to say nyam back home followed by feverish gnawing on roots as well.  Food is once again named by shape. Do not confuse nyam with Miami which although has a similar amount of dirt and clingy things attached to it differs in shape on the southern end.
  10. Zoom forward another 100 years (thankfully history happens in nice round numbers) to the deep south when orange colored sweet potatoes were introduced. The folks there didn't want to confuse anyone by competing fairly so they decided to rename orange sweet potatoes to  "If you don't give me something to eat I'm going to open a can of Chris Rock on you" but that was voted down in favor of Yam, an Anglicized version of the Wolof word nyam. Miami doesn't factor in here so we'll skip it for now.
  11. Fast forward to another nice round number in history and you have the USDA whom with good intentions tries to rectify the naming situation and passes regulations to force everyone to put the name Sweet Potato on every box of Yams. They failed to define the size of the text thus a new industry was born for super small typesetters. 
Published in Creative Writing


I've been working on an article about the various Sweet Potatoes and the differences and it occurred to me how humorous the situation is. Anyone in food knows that what is called a Yam in most cases is actually a sweet potato. This is fairly common knowledge but digging further it only gets worse and it isn't just sweet potatoes who are violated in the arbitrary naming process of food.  

Rest assured there is a plant called a Yam and it is edible but most American's have probably not even seen one let alone eaten it.  <big word alert> The Yam is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae.  Monocots are one of two major groups of flowering plants (or angiosperms) that are traditionally recognized, the other beingdicotyledons, or dicots. Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon (seed-leaf), in contrast to the two cotyledons typical of dicots. So in short a Yam is a monocot and a Sweet Potato is a dicot - not even botanically related at very base level of flowering plants. So what you see in the grocery store called Yam is actually a Sweet Potato no matter what color it is. There are yellow Sweet Potatoes labeled as such, there are orange Sweet Potatoes labeled as Yams and there are purple Sweet Potatoes labeled however the person wanted who put up the sign. It gets worse.

In addition to a "grocery store Yam" being in fact a Sweet Potato it's not even a potato at all. The potato's scientific name - Solanum tuberosum reflects that it belongs to the Solanaceae family whose other members include tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatillos. That's right, you say potato, I say tomato! Potatoes are related to tomatoes and eggplants. There are over 100 varieties of edible potatoes and the Sweet Potato isn't even related because it belongs to the Convolvulaceae plant family and is known by the scientific name of Ipomoea batatas. What's interesting about all of this is the genus is ipomoea and the species for Sweet Potato is batatas ie. phonetically potato which tells you how far back the confusion goes. Anyone who's seen a Sweet Potato flower may recognize it as another close relative in the same botanical family is the "Morning Glory" flower. <end of big word alert> 

To recap:

  • Yams are Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams are not yams
  • Sweet Potatoes are not potatoes
  • "Sweet" Potatoes have a lower Glycemic Index than potatoes
  • Potatoes are related to eggplants
  • Eggplants do not make eggs (irrelevant)
  • Sweet Potatoes are related to Morning Glory
  • Real Yams do exist and they're not from Miami (you'll understand in a minute)

So Yams aren't yams, they're sweet potatoes which aren't potatoes and aren't sweet? Pretty much. How did this happen?

The history of the Sweet Potato in my own words:

  1. 750 BC an unknown Peruvian digs up a root and starts gnawing on it. Sweet Potatoes become a big hit spawning massive population growth, a couple of ruthless rulers, a box with a diseased feather and some really unruly metal clad illegal immigrants who have very little respect for local customs of ownership but I'm getting ahead of myself.
  2. A man from Italy wants to go boating but doesn't have the means to purchase one so he turns to begging which proves successful. He immediately gets lost in his new boat and about a month later runs it into a mound of dirt. Hungry he digs up a root and gnaws on it to much delight.
  3. The local Taino people who were of course overjoyed to have been finally discovered told the Italian boater that the root was called batatas. 
  4. Not having heard of a batatas  and having a slight hearing and/or comprehension problem he erroneously called it patata (you know from the rhyme potato, patata). Since the nice couple who loaned him their boat were Spanish this became the Spanish name for batatas. 
  5. Later the English not paying much attention to anything on the stranded side of the English Channel renamed it potato. Keep in mind there wasn't such a thing yet so you have to give them some credit for their originality.
  6. One hundred years later another man (who due to his lack of accomplishments remains unknown) dug up another root in South Columbia (I mean America, don't get me started) drags another tuber back to Europe. It resembled the batatas but generally lacked flavor or any other discernible value so it was given to the Irish and named potato.
  7. Since people then named things by shape nobody noticed that the tasty batatas and the untasty potatoes were not in fact related nor did it matter - they were similar in shape so too should be similar in name.
  8. One hundred years later some well meaning folks needed to get some shit done and since it was a bit early in the timeline to run by Home Depot for good hard working laborers they asked the Portuguese if they knew of anyone who might want a job where pay wasn't an object. They did and offered to provide the transportation. 
  9. The newly arrived people were famished and upon taking into their site the aforementioned roots responded with the Wolof word  "nyam" loosely translated as "If you don't give me something to eat I'm going to open up a can of Chris Rock on you".  As a side note the same people used to say nyam back home followed by feverish gnawing on roots as well.  Food is once again named by shape. Do not confuse nyam with Miami which although has a similar amount of dirt and clingy things attached to it differs in shape on the southern end.
  10. Zoom forward another 100 years (thankfully history happens in nice round numbers) to the deep south when orange colored sweet potatoes were introduced. The folks there didn't want to confuse anyone by competing fairly so they decided to rename orange sweet potatoes to  "If you don't give me something to eat I'm going to open a can of Chris Rock on you" but that was voted down in favor of Yam, an Anglicized version of the Wolof word nyam. Miami doesn't factor in here so we'll skip it for now.
  11. Fast forward to another nice round number in history and you have the USDA whom with good intentions tries to rectify the naming situation and passes regulations to force everyone to put the name Sweet Potato on every box of Yams. They failed to define the size of the text thus a new industry was born for super small typesetters. 
That's pretty much it for yams. Now we have Sweet Potatoes who aren't related to Potatoes named Yams which aren't related to Yams and aren't that sweet.
 
 
Published in Food Blog
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:57

What a deal

I was in Grocery Outlet the other day and saw something interesting. On most of their signs they'll have their price and then the price for that item in other stores to let you know how much you save. Common sense would tell you that if Grocery Outlets price was higher then the competition they'd just leave that off the sign since their entire purpose for existing is to sell junk. Apparently that little business strategy didn't make it into the weekly employee meeting as you can see by the photo I took.

I do have one suggestion for Grocery Outlet however... Could you give me a directions the next time some other store has a better deal?

Published in Food Blog
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