Archive for the 'geekthoughts' Category

Monday, March 30th, 2009

The Geek Thoughts Manifesto

Never trust a document with “Manifesto” in the title, nor that document’s writer.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: omito


(Spanish) First-person singular (yo) present indicative form of omitir (to omit).

(Proto-English) Shortened word form of an error of omission, e.g. in written.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: sad Google

Your search – :-) – did not match any documents.


  • Try different keywords.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: sudo says

Sudo says make me a sandwitch.

Sudo says clap your hands.

Sudo says touch your nose.

Sudo says turn in a circle.

Now give me a thumbs up. Ha! I didn’t say sudo says!

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Geek Thoughts: Amazon backtracks on text to speech

With apologies to a real news site. (02-27) 16:14 PST SEATTLE, (AP) Inc. changed course Friday and said it would allow copyright holders to decide whether they will permit their works to be read aloud by the latest laryngeal apparatus, a feature that has been under development for several thousand years.

The move comes nearly two weeks after a group representing authors expressed concern that the feature, which was intended to be able to read every book, blog, magazine and newspaper out loud, would undercut separate audiobook sales. The average American can use their larynx to read text in a somewhat stilted voice.

Amazon said in a statement that it, too, has a stake in the success of the audiobook market, and pointed to its Brilliance Audio and Audible subsidiaries, which publish and sell professionally recorded readings.

“Nevertheless, we strongly believe many rights holders will be more comfortable with the text-to-speech feature if they are in the driver’s seat,” the company said.

Amazon is working on the technical changes needed for authors and publishers to turn text-to-speech off for individual titles.

The Web retailer also said the text-to-speech feature is legal — and wouldn’t require Amazon to pay out additional royalties — because a book read aloud doesn’t constitute a copy, a derivative work or a performance.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: unexpected

It is what you don’t expect that most needs looking for.

From Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, p 29.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: the downside of free energy

Steorn is making noise again about the free energy device they claim to have invented. The proper scientific attitude to have toward such claims is skepticism, though most responses (always from individual who have never seen it) goes well beyond that.

But think of the downside if every phone, iPod, refrigerator, car, air conditioning unit, factory, etc. comes to contain a perpetual energy source. Total energy use would skyrocket, and all that energy still has to go somewhere, so it ends up as waste heat. Global warming on an unprecedented scale ensues.

There’s more. If overabundance of energy is the problem, it’s a mere engineering challenge to build planetary-scale air coolers, beaming waste heat out into space. Imagine an advanced civilization that’s already doing it. From a distance their planet might look nothing like what current exoplanet researchers are looking for.

There’s enough here for several novels. If you had unlimited energy resources, what would you like to see built?

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: all too true

From Jeffrey D. Kooistra’s April 2009 Alternate View column in Analog magazine:

If there is one thing that has become clear in the twenty years since the advent of [Cold Fusion], it is that presenting the straight scientific facts in straight prose and to a significant level of detail doesn’t sway set-in-concrete, or even set-in-Jell-O, opinions one damn bit.

All too true. None of us can clam be be without bias, and a surprisingly large percentage of problems in the world stem from this.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: useless

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. — attributed to Pablo Picasso.

Economies are useless. They can only provide goods and services.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: status double take

I’m not now right here.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Geek Thoughts: qotd

Superior leadership, make no bones about it, is pure selling…establishing the perception, the feeling, the picture, that your view is right, that you listen, hear, and understand, that you are worth listening to and following.

A Passion for Excellence, pg 109. Written about 20 years before Twitter.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Geek Thoughts: toddler agility

When the little ones reach a certain age, your home is filled with the pitter-patter of face plants.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Geek Thoughts: new year’s resolution

1440×900, up from last year.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Geek Thoughts: code zen

It is not the size of the codebase which makes it hard to grok, but the poorness of the design.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: electricity neutrality

This month’s electric bill is brought to you by GE: “We bring good things to light.” ™ (c)

Usage by GE appliances: $0.18 per KW/h totaling $23.48

Usage by Kenmore appliances (see note 1): $0.53 per KW/h totaling $50.23

Usage by unlisted appliances: $0.26 per KW/h totaling $39.32

Total Due: $113.03

Note 1: PG&E is currently involved in litigation with Sears Kenmore, Inc. Since utility access fees are not being paid during the course of the pending legal action, full uncompensated rates apply.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Friday, December 12th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: beer geekery 101

This article calls itself “Beer 101” but it leaves me pretty flat. I grew up in a place that had “both kinds of beer”, Bud and Bud Light, and thus thought I hated beer. But there’s way more out there. Ask for some of these:

Lagers: Oktoberfest, Bock, Doppelbock, Eisbock.

Hybrids (having characteristics of both ales and lagers): California Common (aka Anchor Steam),  Altbier.

Ales: Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Scottish ale, Scotch ale, Lambic, Dubbel, Tripel, Barleywine.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Geek Thoughts: pi gone wild

Pi, an irrational number, cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction of integers (and all real-world length units are ultimately based on integers). So either pi is not a circle’s ratio of circumference to diameter, or circles don’t exist (or both!)

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Geek Thoughts: today’s yahoo turnaround plan

So, Yahoo! is looking for a new CEO.

Bill Gates just retired.


More collected Geek Thoughts at

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: writing contest

To celebrate the unlamented demise of Valleywag, use as many of the ten insulting words you should know (along with any other appropriate words) as you can in a single short paragraph. Post in the comments below. This site is for geeks of all ages, so keep things PG. All right, PG-13. My favorite will be announced later.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: “I screwed up”

A special comment. My most vivid memory of my late Grandpa.

Even after retiring, Grandpa needed to do small jobs around town to make ends meet. One was cleaning a small sporting goods store. Once, with all the excitement of visiting family from out of town (that would be us), he forgot to clean one night. The next day, the shopkeeper was understandably irate, and waited around to speak face-to-face. “I screwed up,” Grandpa simply said. A short exchange followed, with typical Midwestern bluntness and politeness, the resolution being that it would never happen again. The shop got exceptionally well cleaned that day. Crisis averted.

That’s been a powerful lesson for me. When you screw something up, admit it, fix it the best you can, and move on.


P.S. No, I haven’t done any major screw-ups lately, at least any that I know about. I was reminded of this by a much-publicized interview on Letterman.

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Geek Thoughts: obsession

An alphabetized CD collection is a sign of a diseased mind.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: E

There exist two kinds of geeks in the world. Those that see a backwards E, and those that see a 180-degree rotated E.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Geek Thoughts: caps lock

On a Mac keyboard, why is “caps lock” in lower case?

Caps Lock is AWESOME!!1!

Flickr photo by catcubed.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Geek Thoughts: polyhedra

Polyhedra: n. (plural) – Sketches done by an artist of the male gender.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: Penrose

The Penrose is mightier than the thorn.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: brother can you spare $0.0036?

Tough economic times? Take 1.2 volt, 2.5 Amp/hr NiMH batteries (technically “cells”). Call it 3 W/hrs of energy each. The going electricity rate here is about $0.15/KW-hr. Thus fully charging four batteries with a 50% efficient charger costs approximately $0.0036.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: presidential RPG

Debates are boring. Host your own through the magic of RPG. GURPS character sheets for the 2008 US Presidential candidates:

Obama: ST:10 DX:11 IQ:14 HT:10

Advantages: Allies (Wright, Ayers) [0 point advantage], Charisma, High Fatigue Threshold, Unfazeable

Disadvantages: Elite, Pacifism, Stuttering, Pronunciation of “Pakistan” [quirk],

Skills: Administration:14, Computer Operation:12, Diplomacy:12, Enthrallment:11, Law:13, Politics:14, Public Speaking:15, Strategy:13, Writing:12

McCain: ST:10 DX:9 IQ:12 HT:13

Advantages: Allies (Lieberman, Hannity, Petraeus), Combat Reflexes, Daredevil, High Pain Threshold, Military Rank

Disadvantages: Age, Bad Temper, Chronic Pain, Stubbornness

Skills: Administration:12, Carousing:15, Diplomacy:9, Gambling:10, Leadership:13, Piloting:11, Politics:16, Public Speaking:13, Soldier:11, Tactics:13, Special skill–Maverick:18

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: details matter

GeekDad to 7-year-old: “You need to include a bibliography in your report.”

7-year-old: “What! I’m not putting naked pictures in it!!”

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

Geek Thoughts: Joe sixpack

Who is this guy anyway? Be sure to hit the link for the equivalent terms in 80+ countries. There’s Jos Bleau in Canada, Jah D in Jamaica, Joe Borg in Malta, and Joe Bloggs in New Zealand. Based on the economic indicators and other predictions, 无名氏 might be popular soon too.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Geek Thoughts: language

Native Germanic-language speaker: “What is your name?”

Native Romance-language speaker: “How do you call yourself?”

Native RDF speaker: “How do you call what your name is?”

More collected Geek Thoughts at