Archive for January, 2007

geek podcasts are lame

January 24th, 2007

So there are some podcasts that deal specifically in technology, and let's face it, linux, the computer geek's favorite topic. And well, they aren't very good. I'm not claiming I've listened to each and every one, but there is a common pattern to them. It's enthusiasts sounding very hyper about what they're talking about, but not in an especially cool or interesting way. It's more the kind of thing you would tune out after a while.

The reason is probably that they're trying to be something they're not. At the start of the show you're likely to have some ill conceived "cool" rock music that isn't very well chosen. Then you have the host, usually two of them, ranting about whatever is the latest fad. So they bring up a few topics and then immediately launch into the kind of monologue that you would have with your friend when talking about some cool new thing. And that doesn't make very interesting "radio". Because that's what it aims to be - radio. Only there isn't anyone responsible for the quality, and so whatever the host decides is done.

Now I may say that radio isn't really that interesting to begin with. Sure enough, these shows have more interesting content. But radio (and I mean the kind of nationwide radio that holds some standard, not random local radio) has a certain quality of form, you don't rant for 10 minutes non-stop on radio, you keep a certain pace, you pause etc. It's also about the host. A radio host is usually a person people like to listen to. A podcaster can be just anyone. Let's face it, not everyone is interesting to listen to, people are different after all.

These are shows I've listened to and they all fit the above description.

the Office Space cult

January 22nd, 2007

You would think that cults form around something truly exceptional. But sometimes they embrace something exceptionally unexceptional. I first heard about Office Space while reading some geek blog. It just mentioned the title, it didn't comment on it at all. But out of curiosity, I thought I would check out the movie and I liked it.

Office Space describes the plight of three software engineers working for A Big Faceless Corporation. While indeed there aren't a lot of movies about coders, it's curious how popular this one has become. Maybe it's just because it is so plain and simple that people love it. Office workers everywhere seem to identify themselves with it.

Of course, it's no surprise to see frequent references on, but now ThinkGeek is selling a Swingline stapler.

Heads up: Jennifer Aniston is her annoying self, but she has a small part and doesn't ruin the movie.

persistent salesmen

January 21st, 2007

I was dragged into one of those home improvement stores a couple of weeks ago. Those places that sell literally anything for the house, from plumbing apparel to furniture. I never have any business there, so I was just walking around listening to music. I assume I was looking rather disinterested, with my eyes closed some of the time, merely keeping track of where my party was going. This woman comes up to me and starts talking, of which I'm not hearing a word. I put the iriver on pause and ask her to repeat.

- Sir, would you be interested in getting a Valued Customer card? You would be gettting all kinds of discounts on our goods..
- Uhm no, I'm here once a year at most.
- Still, you can get discounts at all our partnering chains *points to a cluster of small company logos in the brochure*
- Even so, I'm not interested, thank you.

I didn't actually tell her the truth. That I've never ever bought anything at this store in my life and don't expect to.

plants, I mean you no harm

January 19th, 2007

I've killed my share of plants in life. Not intentionally, poor things never hurt nobody. But it's hard to work up an artificial habit of watering plants just like that. I never had any plants in my care, so I would just be asked to water them when the family wasn't home, and... that wouldn't always work out so well.

Once I was supposed to leave them in the bathroom, in a bucket with some water at the bottom. It was risky, but it was the only hope of keeping them alive while we were gone for five weeks. I did put them in there, but... forgot to fill up the water just before I left. Over a month later... almost all were dead. Survival of the fittest, eh. :/

Another time we were gone over Christmas and as the last one to leave I was supposed to turn off all the heating, except one heater in the center of the house. In my zeal to unplug the tv, vcr etc (in case of the proverbial lightning that will strangle all electronics, but which never actually comes), I accidentally unplugged said heater as well. It just so turned out that that was the coldest winter in about 5 years, apparently the temperature had stabilized around -20C for a full week or so. Not only was that not ideal for the plants, when we walked into the house, well... the hallway floor was covered in 3cm of ice. Turns out there was a leak from the toilet water basin, something must have cracked in the cold, and water started leaking through the floor, down to the floor below, and the floor below that one. There was some speculation as to whether that one heater, had it been left on, could have fought off the crazy cold. In any event, as I walked into the house, instead of warming myself up from the cold outside, I grabbed a shovel and started cracking up the ice on the floor, real nice way to start the new year. Fortunately the damage wasn't that great, and insurance covered some as well. But the plants took a beating. Once again most of them had to kick the bucket.

Man learns from his mistakes, eh? One can only hope. I haven't had any mishaps on that scale for many years now. :mute:

Hm, long intro. The real point I was going to make here is how well I've cared for the one plant I actually have now. I bought it at IKEA last year and since then the cactus has not only survived almost a year, it's blossomed! :eek: Under my care, can you believe it? I managed to kill off some cacti when I was a kid, and since then I've never had a plant of my own.

Hm just now I can hear a bunch of cooks playing guitar and singing Beatles songs somewhere in the building (or across the yard possibly). That's odd, this is an apartment building, didn't know boy scouts came to camp here.

where do the Dutch get their Christmas trees?

January 18th, 2007

No, this isn't the set up to a joke. I'm serious. In Norway, when you go out of town, _any_ town, there's a forest. There's forest everywhere, there's so much forest that Norway is a major exporter of paper goods and wood (yes, you read it correctly, wood).

But here, it's just grasslands and farmland. There's no forests. When Christmas comes knocking, there must be a magnificent shortage of Christmas trees, no?