Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft Surface

A lot of the blogosphere has been buzzing about Microsoft's Surface computer. This is by far the coolest video I've seen.

I'll take two please.

The Auto Prophet: Inflation Adjusted Gas Prices

I pinged this story in the LinkBlog but I think it bears repeating here.

Inflation Adjusted Gas Prices

"Why so sad, people?"

Julian Gough ponders why the modern literary novel is "so bloody boring"

What is wrong with the modern literary novel? Why is it so worthy and dull? Why is it so anxious? Why is it so bloody boring?

Well, let's go back a bit first. Two and a half thousand years ago, at the time of Aristophanes, the Greeks believed that comedy was superior to tragedy: tragedy was the merely human view of life (we sicken, we die). But comedy was the gods' view, from on high: our endless and repetitive cycle of suffering, our horror of it, our inability to escape it. The big, drunk, flawed, horny Greek gods watched us for entertainment, like a dirty, funny, violent, repetitive cartoon. And the best of the old Greek comedy tried to give us that relaxed, amused perspective on our flawed selves. We became as gods, laughing at our own follies.

This obsession with dry, slogging seriousness combined with a particular group's particular jargon and language structure as a sign of true professionalism has thoroughly penetrated Western culture. It's not just the literary novel that's turned its back on clear comprehensible writing. I see it in all aspects of our culture from the disclaimers on ads to the stilted construction of emails flying about in Corporate America.

We seem to have developed a fear of humiliation and to counteract that we've wrapped ourselves in this impenetrable fog of buzzwords and jargon. This allows the writer to appear more intelligent while also moving the discourse such that any attempts at humor or levity can be dismissed as "inappropriate". After all, doesn't everyone look up to dour geniuses as the pinnacle of intellectual achievement?

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not pushing for red noses and big shoes in the Boardroom. I do believe, though, that as a culture we've lost a lot of the ability to laugh at ourselves. Maybe it's a response to the constant push for bigger and better. If we admit for a second that we're flawed then we've seemingly given a leg up to whomever we're competing with to be richer, better looking, smarter, etc. Sometimes you just have to look in the mirror and realize that you're a bald white guy that's probably too anal retentive for your own good. I have to do that every day and every day it gets a little easier. I'm still driven to succeed and improve myself but I know a few of my faults and shortcomings now and they make me chuckle.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The world's worst motorcycle gang

Spotted outside my office today ... Heh.

Introducing the LinkBlog

I recently made the jump from Bloglines to Google Reader for my feed consuming needs and in the process set up a LinkBlog (Bloglines would let you share items also, but it was a pain in the ass). Check it out as well as the random sampling over on the right side of the page.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Live blogging the commute

Traffic in and around RTP sucks. It doesn't help my mood when I get to the gym and discover that all the parking is taken up by an anime convention going on at the hotel next door.

Hello World!

I've blogged in various places here and there on a few occasions in the past, but never with any regularity or seriousness. This time, though, will be different!

We all go through periods of transition in our lives and I think this blog, as an outlet, will help me through this particular somewhat painful one I'm working through now; My wife and I have separated after nearly eight years. Yes, I know people get divorced all the time (although the divorce rate is ebbing at the moment). Still, going through it sucks even if it's as amicable as my ex and I are trying to make it.

Make no mistake, though, this blog isn't going to consistently solely of emo moaning and angst about divorce. I honestly hope that's only a small percentage when the blog is taken as a whole. I'm a geek. I work as a network engineer at a technology company here in Research Triangle Park (who shall remain nameless for the time being) and I love my job and all the little interesting bits of tech that I get to play with day in and day out. I read voraciously with a strong bent towards SF of the old school hardcore variety. That's not to say there aren't some kick ass new writers out there. John Scalzi and Alastair Reynolds immediately come to mind.

So watch this space for frequent (hopefully) updates in the future. For now, it's time to kickstart the holiday weekend.