Month: September 2011

Senseless Bullying…. What a waste.

This story is really depressing and brought back a lot of memories of my high school years.  I’m sure you’ve heard by now about this Freshman that was bullied so harshly by fellow so-called classmates that taking his own life was the better choice.  I can’t begin to understand what he went through as it seems the bullying in schools now is at least a few levels more intense than the worst of mine in four years of high school.

Jamey Rodemeyer Suicide

During my Freshman to Junior year, I was teased for what I wore, called names, and a host of other horrible pranks that don’t require detail here.  Just know that for 10 months out of those three years I dreaded getting on the bus knowing what was awaiting me when I got to school.  I wasn’t athletic (still not), I wasn’t the attractive “popular” kid, and I didn’t have a lot of friends.  With a last name starting with W, I generally sat in the back of the room and stuck to myself a lot.  I guess that made me a target, to this day I really don’t know for sure why I was singled out.  The treatment I received in high school during this time launched me down the road to depression that lasted into the first few years of my marriage to G.

It wasn’t until my Senior year that I finally had enough of the treatment and I fought back physically at first, then with words.  The singular event that was physical resulted in the other guy getting a broken nose and causing a nice dent in a locker door.  In all but a few cases, I realized that I was smarter and quicker on my feet with a battle of words and generally would smack down insults and teases relatively quickly.  The teasing eventually stopped only to be directed at some other poor soul.

What most don’t realize is that the pain from bullying often carries with a person long after the actual abuse stops.  The torment from three years was at times excruciating to deal with and I would retreat into my own world of online chat, bulletin boards, and other Internet related stuff.  I internalized the pain, anger, and “why me” thoughts until it became too much to handle and I broke down following a huge fight with G that I can no longer remember its subject.  The point is that I could have easily gone down the same road as Jamey Rodemeyer.  I personally did not, but so many others have.  It started for me in high school, and it took almost a year of therapy for me to determine that.

Kids can be cruel, plain and simple.  The slightest bit of weakness or difference is amplified in a group of kids and often targeted.  The reasons vary, but they’re all senseless.  I told myself for years that all those kids that targeted me were less mature and didn’t know themselves well enough to do anything different.  Lemmings following the pied pipers.  It needs to stop, there needs to be some form of discipline that is effective enough to make a would-be bully think twice before making fun of someone else.

I’ve made my peace with all of them, personally, within my own life.  I had to, for my own sanity.  What they did was cruel, terrible, horrible…. describe it anyway you want.  The support from G and making a success of my life is what made me overcome my hang ups in the past and move past them completely.  Jamey will never have that chance, and that is sad to think about.  My mind often wanders at times thinking about all the people that don’t get the chance to live their lives completely and what are we all missing out on because of that?

Mango, mobile phones, happy geeks everywhere!

Anyone with a Windows Phone right now knows EXACTLY what the title means.  For those of you who currently sport an iPhone, Android “something”, or a Crackberry, here’s the short of it.  Mango is the code-name for Windows Phone 7.5 and it was just released to the owners of Windows Phones.  I would have put a picture of my own phone here, but it actually is surprisingly difficult to take a picture of a phone screen with another phone…..  weird.

Windows Phone 7 “Mango” (aka WP 7.5)

I opted instead for a picture of a phone and a disturbingly small Mango next to it.  Seriously, the guy that mocked up this picture couldn’t find a larger picture of a mango, like this one?

Sweet Succulent Mango

See, that’s a Mango that I’d eat provided I could scrape off the symbol and lettering.  Technically you don’t eat the skin, so as long as its not deep, I’d probably eat it.  Ok, enough pictures….

It took me almost 2 hours to update my Samsung Focus (highly recommend it) from crappy v7 to the new hotness v7.5 today.  I’ve been tweaking it ever since it was done after deciding that I needed to reset my phone to take advantage of the 8GB microSD card I’ve had installed in the phone since I purchased it.  Reset was required supposedly because it mirror’s or RAID’s the internal memory to the microSD card (another post, very geeky content).  What was once only 7GB of internal memory is now a glorious 13GB of internal memory.  Now I don’t need to be so picky what portion of the music I copy to it from my growing 50GB music library.

(soapbox) I’m always impressed with someone who decides that a “dumb phone” or “feature phone” isn’t enough of a challenge and decides to get a smartphone instead.  What isn’t impressive is the person that gets a smartphone for any of the following reasons:

  1. All their friends have one
  2. See the first reason

Tell the salesperson to bugger off (british slang!) and let you try out each phone.  Any Verizon, AT&T, and most T-Mobile stores have live demo phones on the floor.  Send a few random text messages, make a phone call, really give the phone a “once over” before deciding what is RIGHT for YOU. (/soapbox)

Sorry for the stray there, back to my original topic.  I won’t have a real handle on the 500-ish tweaks and updates that make up the .5 added to the 7 for Windows Phone, but you can bet that I’ll be writing about it.  If anything, I like to share, and perhaps make a few people more geeky in the process 🙂

LEDs are the wave of the future, really

Personally, I’m generally not a subscriber to fads unless they’re backed up with indisputable proof.  There are certain laws of science and mathematics that need to be factored before something is truly too good to be true.  The tornado air intake attachment for a vehicle air-intake is one that isn’t true; like swirling the air into your engine gets better gas mileage, please!

But take LEDs for example, there is a measure of proof that can accompany them that is rooted deep in the science of electricity and science.  Basically, they just take less power to produce the same amount of light.  Here is a simple expression that anyone can understand:

(1) 100 watt incandescent uses 100 watts of power for every hour of illumination

(1) 6 watt LED fixture uses 6 watts of power for every hour of illumination

The surprising thing is that both of these lighting sources put off around the same amount of light.  The footnote is that the LED light would need to be in a configuration to provide 360 degrees of light and require anywhere from 50-100 LEDs on a single fixture.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but the number of LEDs required generally make them more expensive up front.  Their several thousand hour lifespan makes the investment about the same over the same period of time though.

I for one would pay more for an LED light replacement because the savings resulting from having to replace them less often coupled with the savings in my electric bill over the lifespan of the LED light outweighs the up front cost.  The U.S. is also phasing out standard incandescent light bulbs by 2014-ish, so we really won’t have a choice anyway.

What made me want to post about this in the first place is the fact that I personally saw my first LED that was as bright as a standard headlight.  Striking in the light output from a single LED, and using 1/8th the total power of a headlight, it was brilliant.  I realized at that moment that this one LED, once mass produced and made cheaper simply by a greater supply, would help revolutionize how we light our lives.

This really is impressive technology!  The street lights in our development were recently replaced with drop in replacement rings of LEDs that plugged into the socket of  a standard Sodium Phosphor lamp (those yellow lights that we see on all our Interstates) but use only 1/4 of the 600 watts the old lights used to use.  So I turned my A/C down 2 degrees to use up the energy savings!  I’m kidding…

Unfortunately I get stuff like this stuck in my head and need to get it out or I can’t get to sleep….  🙂

Do we really “know” the Internet?

Wan's WorldI came to work today with a hat on because it was so nice I had all the windows down in my car.  The hat has a graphic on the front similar to the hat Mike Myers wore in Wayne’s World and says “WAN’S WORLD”.

“Man, you liked those movies enough to actually wear one of the hats from it?” says one of my co-workers.

“No, look closer.  There’s a reason you make mistakes…  your eyes don’t work!”

For the sake of this post, the dig on him wasn’t necessary, but I thought it was funny.  Anyway, he looks closer and asks me what was a WAN and why would I have it on my hat.  My response to him isn’t necessary to put here in that I’m a Systems Administrator, and so is he.  The question itself is just stupid to ask in my opinion.  For those of you who aren’t in an Info Tech role, WAN stands for Wide Area Network and refers to the global connection of a network outside of its LAN, or Local Area Network.  **GEEK CONTENT** Think of it like this, a LAN is likened to all the computers in your house linked together either by wire or wireless connections.  The WAN in this example would be the connection to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Examples of ISP’s are Comcast, Verizon, Embarq, RCN, etc. **END GEEK CONTENT**

The fact he asked the question sort of got me thinking about how the majority of people don’t really know what their email, Facebook, Netflix, and other stuff they do actually does or how it is presented to them.  A great dialogue from the show Criminal Minds sums it up quite nicely.

“The Internet is the greatest experiment the human race has ever embarked on that none of us really knows anything about.”

I paraphrased, its been a while since I saw the episode.  If you look it up, tell me what it should be and I’ll fix it 😛  People who know me will attest to the fact that not knowing about something or knowing how it works drives me absolutely crazy.  I almost get obsessed with learning as much as I can about something that totally perplexes me.  A good example of that is when I took my first computer apart, completely, just to put it back together.  Sure, you’re saying lots of us do that….  but do they do that BEFORE ever turning it on for the first time?  Yeah, that’s my point.

Having been around technology since I was 12 years old, there is still a lot I just don’t understand or even realize there are things that I need to understand.  The Internet is an unquantifiable network of computers interlinked around the world that 99% of the human race doesn’t have the ability to truly appreciate the shear complexity of the whole thing.  No one person on this Earth can say “I know the Internet completely.”  We live on our little Internet islands where we have information served up

Smartphones don’t make you “smart”

I was at my 2nd job, which really is my former job where I’m sort of helping out…  anyway, was there talking about the impending “mango” update for my Windows smartphone with another, and they asked me “Does it make you smarter?” with a chuckle.  Normally I don’t get caught off guard, but this time I did.  Actually putting some thought into the question, I answered “No”.  It started me thinking on why it was called a smartphone in the first place.  I mean, what we considered normal phones back in the day are now often called “dumb phones”.  I don’t particularly believe that people who use them are dumb, and actually would be a bit offended at the thought of someone else thinking that I was because it was my choice to own one.  After all, they were at one time just phones that were mobile.

Respect to the British for giving their cellular phones (cell phones really don’t have cells in them anymore by the way) mobile phones or just “mobiles.”  A significantly less derogatory term and covers all types of mobile phones, sort of rolls out nicely just like other words like, bollocks, bloody hell, and bugger off.  Come to think of it, the British are so much more eloquent in their use of the English language that it puts most Americans and their slang terms to shame.  Yes, I’m making fun of myself as well here, I’m born and bred Pennsylvanian!

Back to the topic of this post though, a smartphone doesn’t make a person smart.  In fact I think any device that takes away your ability, or rather makes you forget an ability, makes you dumb.  I personally pride myself in the fact that I know most of the numbers and email addresses of people that are important in my life.  A rare breed that can actually look at a landline (remember what those are?) phone and make a call to any of the people that are important to me.  It seems sad these days to make the realization that the younger generation has not learned how to socialize without an electronic device.  I’ve personally witnessed several times seeing two teenagers texting each other while they were sitting NEXT to each other.  Is it really that hard to hold a conversation?

Final thought, no technological device makes you smarter.  How it’s used to augment your life is what determines if it makes you smarter or not.  For example, if my Windows phone were to disappear tomorrow, my life could in fact go on.  Most people would consider that a scene out of a horror movie I think.  I am not defined by my technology, rather my technology enhances my life in less important ways such that if it were to go away (EMP bomb set off by aliens) my life would not end completely.


Hello, not new to blogging, but new to this particular blog.  I’m a self-described geek and have been for several years, give or take a few.  I love technology and everything there is surrounding it.  My life is full of family and have a lovely wife [G] and a daughter [C], and a cat [H].  There isn’t much time left for my passions except here and there and let me just say thank you for the smartphone, otherwise I’d never keep up on the latest tech news.  For instance, I’m waiting to hear when AT&T is going to release Windows Phone 7.5 for my “not quite a year old” phone.

I tend to read more than post, but do manage to come across some really interesting stuff and certainly will share.  I don’t expect a lot, and my interests in reading generally fall into a single “it’s interesting to me” category and can’t be put into a category.  My mind works in many directions at the same time, all the time, and my reflected thoughts online aren’t any different.

Should you decide to follow, thank you.  Should you decide to keep moving, I hold no grudges.  I would like to leave you with one question:  “Is your internet filtered?”