Three Things Thursday – 03/30/2017

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Inspired by Nerd in the Brain

BRING THE HAPPY!

B-Day Hockey Game

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We had some free tickets to a local hockey game on the 24th, last weekend.  They were pretty damn good seats and we were only two rows from the ice behind the goal.  The picture is of the visiting team warming up ahead of the game starting.  We ended up moving up a few rows as I swear they were aiming pucks directly at our heads.

B-day Cake

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If you’re wondering if this was a death by chocolate cake, it most certainly was.  A special request by me for the chocolateiest cake ever.  It had fudge icing, chocolate points around the outside, chocolate cake and a fudge middle between the layers.  It took me and the daughter 4 days to completely eat the whole thing even after we had the party this past Sunday.

Total Geek (or Nerd) (or Dork)

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This is what you end up with when you procrastinate and pile up your computer work into a single day.  My work laptop (black) with the top mouse is to the left, personal laptop (silver) is on the right, the keyboard and second mouse is for the monitor on the top of the shelf.  The computer hooked to the monitor is on the floor in front of my desk.  I’m sure at this point I’m slowly dying from computer induced radiation.

TTT Weekly Music Recommendation

rockondaughter

Breakin’ Outta Hell

by Airbourne

Technology and geek unite

My wife let me buy a new television on Thursday. Not just any television, but a 4k UHD television that clocks in at just under 55″. It was a snug fit into the stand we have with only an inch or so to spare all around, to the point I had to push it in by the feet as my fingers wouldn’t fit on the side. It was surprisingly affordable and of course, the coupon queen my wife is, made me use her eBates account to get it from BestBuy (more on that shortly). It was also my daughters actual birthday yesterday and we went to the local restaurant that gives her a free dessert for her birthday. As is the case with all the other rare moments in my life where I’m allowed to make a large purchase of technological awesomeness, I was impatient, but collected. We finished dinner in a normal pace and waited for our daughter to finish as she eats as fast a sloth. Once she was done I was itching to get going before my wife changed her mind.

I had purchased online in advance of us going to dinner, so it was a matter of going in and just grabbing it from the pickup desk. My wife wanted to visually see it and thankfully was on display as I’ve had experience with her not seeing something in person and changing her mind. It was sharp, clear, and bright, as I would expect an in-store television to be as they jack up all the settings on purpose. I’d done my research, wanted something that didn’t need to be replaced in a few years when technology got better, so went higher end than usual. The Vizio brand has opted to remove all the television “smarts” and instead opted for a smart phone interface over your own homes wi-fi connection, it’s pretty cool. She didn’t get it, and when learning that Vizio was the only brand doing this, she was skeptical of my choice. Anticipating this, my justification was that the television didn’t suffer from app-gap when the manufacturer decided to discontinue the television, rather, it only had to keep up the OS of the television as the apps utilized are on our smartphones and then “cast” to the television.

Anyway, the store. I’m usually loathe to purchase anything from BestBuy, but their prices are actually on par or cheaper than even Amazon in some cases for the same things. We had purchased all of our new appliances there as well and had some of the best service we’ve ever had. I also purchased my most recent laptop (what I’m using now) there as well. The last three trips we’ve done our research online, purchased online, and then went to the store for pickup. Our experience was that of pure customer service without the requirements for questions or having to rely on the salesperson. Also helps that with purchases on the BestBuy credit card (one of the few we still have active) over $399 qualify for 18 months no interest. The only better choice would be all cash, which at this time of year isn’t a possibility, but is the only time that awesome sales are plentiful. Using credit was a judgement call and one that I made with reservations.

After jamming it in the back of our horrible Dodge Journey, and braving the 14F and 30 MPH winds, we finally got it home. I wasted no time getting all the old stuff unhooked and off the shelf. While I unpacked the new piece of tech, my wife cleaned the spots that you don’t ever clear unless, well, you get a new television. I took my time hooking up all the wires to make sure you couldn’t see them hanging down in the back because another 4 years of hearing “I can see the wires” wasn’t in my future. Wires were tucked and routed, invisible to the observer watching from across the room! I turned it on, and after a brief buzz, the screen lit up and it was awesome. After a brief setup, I went to switch the inputs and ….. update, it needed an update. These things always need updates. My laptop needed one, my daughter’s Xbox One needed one (so did the controllers), so naturally the television needed one as well. 15 minutes later…..

I switched it to the Roku (because I don’t have cable) and pulled up Hulu to watch some shows before bed. Now, keep in mind, that Hulu broadcasts in 1080p and I wasn’t expecting a better picture than what we had on the 40″ prior, just bigger. My wife, on the other hand, mesmerized by the display at the store said to me in a rather flat tone “I thought it would be sharper.” A simple statement that was directed at something we had just put a decent amount of money on and brought into the house. Not what I had expected at all. Well, challenge accepted, I started fiddling. Made a setting change, asked if it was better. Continued this for about 15 minutes all the while the show, I wanted to watch, was causing a distraction to my concentrated thinking of making the television “sharper” for my wife. She was the queen of watching shows 2-3 times because her phone interrupted her while watching, so much so that I changed her notifications tones to someone saying “Shiny” because that’s what it’s like when the thing goes off. I ended up giving up, because a 1080p picture on a 55″ is always going to look “less sharp” than a 1080p picture on a 40″. Only 4K content, which is hard to find, will showcase how this television is superior to our 40″, which isn’t 4K. It’s a Blu-ray movie tonight 🙂

This is unfortunately how every item that falls into the “technology” category is viewed by my wife. I get a new laptop, with specs out the wazoo, and she says “It’s thinner than your old one.” I get a new mobile phone a few years ago and she says “Hmm, it’s not as light as I expected.” I install a new wi-fi router, with two networks (one for us, one for guests) that has both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and she says “You’re going to leave it there?” I’ve reserved myself to the idea that technology is lost on my wife and I’m going to have to work (not hard) to be a geek for both of us. Just once I’d like her to tell me that something is cool and actually impresses her. Just once….

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