Tagged: computers

SpaceBrew Releases an Android App

Just sayin. So the story goes something like this. I play a lot of poker. I don’t host many tournaments. My buddies and I are more into the cash games, or ‘ring’ games, as they’re called. The big difference is that in a ring game, the blinds don’t increase, and it’s just a relaxing, easy-going game between friends, where any many can stand up at any time he’s ready, and cash in his chips for cash value. In a tournament, it’s kill or be killed, and usually only the top three seats are paid out. You might leave with nothing. The point of all this will be discussed in the next paragraph, so please consider this sentence the closing of the first.

So if you go look on the Android market, the Google Play Store, wherever the hell you buy your Android apps, you’ll find a metric butt ton of tournament manager apps. Seriously. Like a million. But they’re all for tournaments. And thus they mainly focus on your blind schedule, and timers that let you know when they’ve gone out. But you’ll not find a single app for cash games. Well, you’ll find one. But it’s so shitty that it shouldn’t even be mentioned. Literally, it sucks like a brand new Dyson 220v industrial elephant vac. For instance, you can add money to people’s accounts in increments of 5 25 or 50. But not 1. Or fifty cents. Because we all play small chip’s a finn, right?

:rolleyes:

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An Open Letter to Adobe

Dear Adobe – and mainly you, Acrobat Reader. Listen here, bub. Your delusions of grandeur have escalated to a whole new level. Well, I guess they did a long time ago. They’ve been at this level for quite some time. But it’s not funny anymore. It used to be kind of cute how you’d show up at the party with the bigger boys acting like you’re one of them. Like you’re the really cool cop who brought the donuts to the Saturday Morning Citation Plus Club meeting. We all used to kind of watch you as you entered and we’d smile and say, “Isn’t that cute?” and “Yeah. Thinks he’s a big boy.”

You are like the high school kid who shows up to a frat party with your older sister and tries to hang with the college kids. The kid who must be reminded that he’s still just a high-schooler, and he shouldn’t try to act so cool while he’s at the party. You can’t drink as much as the big kids, you don’t know the secret handshake, and – no matter what you say – no. You have not been laid near as much as the college kids.

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SpaceBrew Review: Bangs & Whimpers

This book, Bangs & Whimpers: Stories About the End of the World is a collection of short stories by different authors. Most of these stories were written some fifty to sixty years ago. It includes passages from all the greats – from Arthur C. Clarke to Robert Heinlein, Neil Gaiman to Isaac Asimov. I’ve owned it for many years now, but have somehow never gotten around to reading it, until now.

I started it several nights ago, longing for the feel of a paper book in my hands after nearly a year of nothing but audio and electronic books. I just finished it. And let me tell you: if you are in the mood to be depressed, pick up a copy of this volume and give a go. Dear Lord.

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Here be Space: Collector of Collections

I’ve been home since Saturday. But I’m still getting used to it. Like I said before, it feels like I’ve been in a different airport (and hotel) every week. And indeed, I pretty much have. It’s nice to get home and know you’ll be staying there for at least a little while. Our next trip isn’t scheduled until August, so I have at least a month here before I have to use a suitcase again. Gah, I’m so tired of putting stuff into suitcases.

But you know what I’ve found about being back in the house? Well, besides the fact that when you’ve been gone for a week you get to see what your house actually smells like. I’ve found that it’s too big. You know, 7500 square feet can just get overwhelming for a guy like me. No, seriously it’s only about 2500 square feet, but when you’re home alone, it feels like a whole helluva bunch of wasted space. Of course, when you’ve been living out of a suitcase in a hotel room every other week, you start realizing that you’re doing just fine without all your big luscious space. And furthermore, all your stuff.

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The Weekend in San Antonio

My red-haired wife and I spent the last weekend in San Antonio (or as my daughter says, “Sanny Tonio”) at the ISTE conference. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a conference for the International Society for Technology in Education. And as you all know, my red-haired wife and I both work for an EdTech company. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know what the ISTE was. Neither did I, until I found myself working it.

Since I started working in Design, I’ve found myself in a lot of situations like this. Travel situations, that is. Design has already sent me to New York and Minnesota. And there’s a lot more to come. My boss and I were running the Lounge section of our booth, where we were demoing our new dashboard we’ve been designing. There were several other sections of our booth where other products were being shown, and my red-haired wife was working the welcome desk, as seen in the picture below. So let me tell you about this conference center.

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Bad Design Diary: Laptop Latch

My work laptop has a button latch on the front of it. You must press in the button to open the screen. Now this is a really wide notebook, having the ten-key pad on the right side and all that, so it’s like sixteen inches wide. The problem with the button is that it’s pretty wide itself, being about and inch and a half. And the problem with that is that you must press in the whole button. Not just the left side, say, because then it will only pop the left release and the right side of the screen will still be locked.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. It takes two hands to open the screen. No, not one on the latch and one on the screen. I mean two on the screen, while a mysterious third hand presses in the button. Now it can be done with two hands total if you press it just right and lift right in the middle of the screen. However, I like to lift from both corners simultaneously, so as not to stress the screen.

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Smart Phone, Dumb User

Have you ever paid attention to your phone bill? Do you know that they actually still send you a list of all the phone calls you made and received during the billing cycle? Why do they do that? I mean, sure, I think the log should be available if we need it, but really? Who the hell actually looks at every call every month? Does anyone keep a record of it on a notepad or something and then check it like a bank statement, making sure he didn’t get billed for a call he didn’t make?

Another thing you might not have noticed on your bill – for those of you with smartphones – is the fact that they charge you thirty dollars a month for a data plan. Well, I know some charge more, some charge less. But the median is somewhere right around thirty bucks. Well, I know you know you get charged that every month, because when you signed up for the service and got the smartphone you agreed that you had to have a plan on it to be able to use it. But have you really sat back and thought about what this really means? Of course you haven’t, you silly goose!

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Bacon Talk: Books and Reading

Welcome back, everyone. Where have you all been? We’ve been right here waiting for you to come read! We don’t like to write something until we know you’re coming. We’re like the Whataburger of websites. We don’t make it ’til you order it. Actually, we’ve just been on sort of a hiatus, since Haycomet got bored of writing, and I lost eight of my fingers in an opossum attack last fall. They finally regenerated though, and I’m ready to write! So without any further ado, let’s get down to today’s Welcome Back Bacon Talk topic, which is Books and Reading!
Now I know I do a lot of both. Well, wait. Okay, one’s a noun and the other’s a verb. I’m still trying to get that straight in my head. Okay, so I have a lot of one and do a lot of the other. There. That’s better. So how about you, Haycomet? Do you have a lot of one? And do you, therefore, do a lot of the other? It does seem that the verb might be dependent on the noun.
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Time Machine Status: Repaired

Some time ago, I requested your help with finding the cause of my failing Fonga Plug on my time machine. I’m sure you remember the column. It ended up not being the Reticulating Cockball Assembly, after all, and instead the Hyperflux Induction Modulator. And since you cannot buy one of those at Auto Zone, I had to craft one myself.

So I started with the basics. Of course you have to have the Hatford Loop. Without a Hatford Loop, your temporal course will never stabilize. You can literally get lost in the ether between seconds, trying to find your way back to 2254. I have heard horror stories about guys tearing off into the mezazoic period with a camera and a dream of photographing a dinosaur and turning up fossilized in the future. Don’t even ask.

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SpaceBrew Review: Comparing eReaders

I set out in search of a good eReader, hoping to facilitate the nessecary dwindling of my rather Brobdingnagian collection of hardback books. There are a lot of choices on the market today, but only a few rise to the top, leaps and bounds above the others. These three are the Kindle, the Nook and the Sony Reader. I shall therefore discuss the pros and cons of all three of these and tell you why I ended up choosing the one I did.

Firstly, I did not want a tablet device that runs Android. I don’t need another computer in the house. Good Greg, I’ve got a lot of mother cussing computers. And a tablet is like a waiter at a busy dolphin diner: it serves multiple porpoises. Sniff. I really just wanted something that reads ebooks, and that’s all. Nothing fancy, but something clean, sharp and comfortable.

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The Summit of Mount Nerdly

It probably doesn’t come as any big surprise to most of you who know me that I call myself a geek. I am familiar with computers, one might say. I have dabbled in code and graphics design and network administration, internet systems, databases and even paintbrush. Heck, this very site you see in front of you was hand-coded from scratch to finish using nothing more than Notepad++ by yours truly. Meh. Not a large achievement there, but I’m proud of it. I like it. Anyway, I still do some things sometimes that make me step back and blink, and sometimes even go so far as to turn my head and frown, thinking, ‘Damn! I really am an insufferable geek. A ridiculously overboard, head-to-toe nerd to the highest power.’ This here’s one of them stories.

Let me back you up a little bit though, just for the sake of the journal. I took a computer lit and a computer programming class when I was in seventh grade. I did exceedingly well at both, as the language and theory just sort of “clicked” with me. It just made sense. The hot teacher, therefore, invited me back the next year to be her lab assistant. I wish this had some kind of awesome twist to it where I told you stories of being stuck in the lab alone with her on several long, late nights, but alas – nothing like that ever happened. Now my English teacher, on the other hand…

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Making the Switch

I know I’ve spoken a lot lately about going open-source. You probably remember my award-winning column called Open-Source My Life, because you remember how it made your skin all bumpy with chills when you realized you could liberate yourself from the oppressive hand of the big boys. I know you also have probably been sitting there hitting F5 every several minutes for the last few weeks, hoping a new column would show up on the site. I know, I know. And I’m sorry. As it turns out, I have learned lately that Haycomet is a lazy writer. She drags butt around the office and almost never writes anything. I see her standing in office doorways and at cube openings, coffee in hand, just talking to all the other SpaceBrew employees.

It’s okay though. There are still plenty in the archives for you to check out. (out which you can check? meh) So anyway, I have one more column to write about going open-source, and I’d like for you to read it. I promise you won’t be bored by it, and it won’t be two thousand words, and you might actually learn something. And it may change your life. The column, not the topic. So read on, my laconic friends.

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Open-Source My Life

Here in the last several months, I have begun to embrace the open-source. I have gone off the corporate teet, one might say. I no longer support the big boys just because they come standard and they’re the most well known and popular. Just because they’re the most well known does not always necessarily mean they are the best. And since I have stopped supporting the big guys, my life has gotten markedly better. Allow me to explain.

You see, there are some products out there whose brands have become synonymous with the product they’re selling. Kind of like how everyone says, “Hey, I have some chunky green snot with some hard furry flakes in it, can you pass me a Kleenex?” Facial tissue would be the proper term for it, without applying the brand name. Another popular one is “Hey guys, let’s set up some plastic cups on the Ping-Pong table so we can see them chicks’ boobs!” Table tennis is the brand-detached term for the game.

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Bacon Talk: Video Games

Dude. It’s time we talk about video games. Seriously. Why haven’t we covered this yet, Haycomet? We’ve had how many Bacon Talks now? Welcome, friends, fans and enemies, to this week’s edition of the award-winning feature we call Bacon Talk. For those of you wondering what we mean by Award-Winning, let me give you a list of the awards this feature has won:

  • SpaceBrew’s Best Features of 2010 presented by SpaceBrew
  • Brandon Spacey’s Favorite Blogs presented monthly
  • Haycomet’s Recommended Reading a very prestigious award
  • Jessica Simpson’s “You Gotta Have Someone Read This To You!” presented by Space

So there are a few of the many awards this feature has won. I mean, we’re not trying to brag or anything. Trust me, friends, the Bacon Talk is not near as good as the Bacon we eat while talking! Ain’t that right, Hay?

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Bacon Talk: Cell Phones

Good morning, Haycomet. That’s a very nice bonnet you have on! How’s your bacon? I’ve been really enjoying these little Friday-morning Bacon Talk get-togethers. It’s a great way to start the day, and I always know my weekend will get a little bit better jump start.

Well this morning, I’ve been thinking about connectedness… again… And I started getting a little uncomfortable. Again. Yes, every time I think about how connected we are as a society and as a people, I get a little sad inside. And it’s not because I fear technology, but rather, I fear our dependence on it. Gone are the days when I could leave the house without a phone and access to my six email accounts, facebook, my website, my bank account and my stock portfolio. And just being sad or uncomfortable about it doesn’t seem to be enough. It won’t spur me into changing my ways and leaving the house technologically naked. And for good cause, too. I’m expected to be connected for work as well.  So how connected are you?

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Techmophobia

Have you ever had to provide technical support to anyone? Namely someone in their 40s or 50s? Well, if you have, you have probably noticed they had what I like to refer to as ‘Technophobia’. The root word of that is ‘tech’, which comes from the Latin word ‘teach’, which means to show someone how to do something. The ‘phobia’ part comes from the ancient Korean word ‘phear’ which means you’re afraid of something. So basically they’re afraid to teach something. Wait. I messed that up. You know what? Forget it.

What I’m saying is that most 40- and 50-year-olds are “afraid” of “techmology”. And I don’t mean they think the computer is going to wake up at night, start saying “PAK CHOOIE” and push grandma down the stairs. What they’re afraid of is that they will mess something up if they even dare click the Tools menu with the mouse button. And what this results in is technical support calls, wherein I am called upon to perform a rudimentary service on a machine to which I have no physical access. Usually when I’m sitting on a beach with a can of Corona in my hand and several pretty ladies dancing in their bikinis (or out of them) for me. Or when I’m on the back patio with a can of Bart’s Backyard Brew in my hand with my wife and all her hot friends dancing for me in their bikinis.

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The Day of the Turkey

I guess to those of you in New York, it would be Day of the Toikey. Well either way, I hope it’s a happy one. I thought I would sit down here on the sofa and write a little post to fill everyone in on what’s been going on lately. It’s nice to have a family day with Step and the girls. We don’t have the boy this week, but it’s still cozy. We’ve historically always gone to the parents’ houses or to be with extended family, but today we decided to stay home and have our own intimate little turkey eating experience.

I haven’t had internet connectivity at home over the last few months, and working the odd hours and schedules that I work now haven’t had the time or the passion to update the site. I brought home a modem last night from the Clear guy to try it out and see what kind of connectivity and speeds I get, and was amazed at how the first thing I wanted to do was write a post on the Brew. Lucky you.

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The Incredible Shrinking Medium

I’m always amazed at how far we’ve come in the last hundred years with technology. It’s crazy that only a hundred years ago we had just invented the telephone, and now we have cellular shit, that doesn’t physically connect to anything, that can send pictures and texts and porn instantly to anyone else with a cell phone. Through the air. I still have trouble understanding how an analog phone worked, transferring voices across a wire. But here we’re sending that stuff through the air. And it’s digital. What?

But I really came to talk about media formats today. Well, cameras would be one qualifier: we used to use photo plates in our cameras. And film. Remember film? Ha! Now we use memory sticks and whatnot. And the idea is apparently to make them as small as possible. Seriously, give it a rest, people. My phone has a one-gig micro SD card in it. It’s smaller than my pinky fingernail. But it holds a gig worth of pictures and music. And porn. What the helling hell.

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Not a Happy Customer

If there’s one thing I hate more than slamming my finger in a rusty door, or stepping on a squeaky nail, it’s got to be incompetence in customer service. When I’m in a store inquiring about a product, your sales staff should know the answers to all my questions. Whatever happened to training the employees on the merchandise they are selling? When I worked in the Wal Mart Photo Lab, I took time every day to stand there reading the boxes of all the cameras. I learned what the best features were on every one of them, and was able to effectively compare and discuss intelligibly the best options for the customer. So if I go into Best Buy or Circuit City, why can I not expect someone working in the television department to do the same thing?

There’s nothing I hate more than asking someone a very specific question and having them look at the damn tag. Dude, I can do that myself. And already have. For instance, yesterday, I was in Micro Center, picking up an IDE/SATA I/O controller board for my home PC. I’ve troubleshot the problem down and determined that the root cause must be a bad IDE controller on my mother board. And since the computer I built is around three years old now, it’s a little outdated. It’s still a bad ass machine. I have a Pentium 4, and a good amount of RAM. But you know how quickly technology upgrades and supersedes itself. So my point is that it’s hard to find a socket 775 mother board that still supports the type of memory sticks I have. DDR2 is the new thing.

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