Maintaining Our Geek Cred
Every so often, we feel the need to do or write something incredibly geeky. In this section, we will let our inner geeks out. Expect to see some really silly and technical things in here. But it’s not all about speaking in techno-babble-jargon — we’ll also write some helpful articles and tips about technical things.
So why should you pay attention to technical advice from us?
Jamie has been programming computers since he was five. He’s been building, upgrading, troubleshooting, and repairing computers and networks since 1997. In 2001, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of South Florida. He worked as a professional programmer for eight years. One of his more recent geeky feats was manually rebuilding a failed network RAID storage device that spontaneously dropped three hard drives, using nothing but a command line. He loves writing nasty-looking shell scripts to do menial jobs, even if it takes ten times longer to get the job done…
Paul has been programming computers since the mid-80s, and is responsible for introducing Jamie to computers. He also has spent years building, upgrading, troubleshooting, and repairing computers and networks, but in addition to that he’s also got a soldering iron and he’s not afraid to use it! One of his most recent geeky feats was repairing his LCD TV by soldering new capacitors onto the power supply. He loves finding programs that are not needlessly complicated, mostly because for each one he finds, that’s one less program he feels compelled to write.
What The Heck’s a Hackathon?
I’ve seen quite a few articles, magazines, and websites talking about hackathons lately… as if they are something new. These articles don’t always explain what hackathons are. So I thought I’d take a moment to talk about them, some of the hackathons I’ve done in the past, and what I’m planning to do in the next few weeks.
Smashwords And EPUBs
Smashwords made a change recently and now allows publishers to upload hand-formatted EPUB files. Originally, the only EPUB files you could have at Smashwords were the ones automatically generated by their Meat Grinder program. While Meat Grinder does a pretty decent job, I always found the ebooks to be rather plain looking. And those EPUB files are what gets syndicated to premium catalog stores like iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. There were also some nice things I do in the Kindle versions of our books that I simply could not do with Smashwords.
Windows 8 has been in the news a lot lately, and is about to be officially released this coming Friday. Several months ago, I downloaded and installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (beta test version). I was curious as to what it is really like. There are a lot of indications online that I won’t like it, and not just because it’s Windows. The entire Metro interface just looks like a train wreck waiting to happen. I prefer having full control over my machine (which is why I run Linux). Now, I’m not about to install a beta version of an operating system on any of my machines. I wouldn’t even do it with a beta version of a Linux distro, let alone Windows. I fired up trusty old VirtualBox and fed it the Windows disc image.
Under Geek Cred