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28

Mar

2015

Becoming a (geek) dad

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | No Comments »

You’d think that 9 months would be plenty of time to get used to the idea that you’re going to be a parent. It isn’t!

At least it wasn’t for me, though I don’t think any amount of time would have done the trick. Despite spending a ton of time thinking about being a parent, reading books, researching online, going to ante-natal classes etc. the reality of it didn’t really sink in until a few moments after the birth when I was holding my new son in my arms and wondering what the heck do I do now!

Those first few weeks were a blur, not least because we were in and out of hospital several times each week due to some initial health concerns (which thankfully sorted themselves out after the first month) but after that things started to settle down. We started to get into a routine, I started to get some work done again (programming isn’t something which comes easily with high stress levels, very little street, and a brain which is feedling completely befuddled – at least not for me!) and my thoughts were at least able to focus slightly further into the future than the current crying fit, or the next nappy change.

Now almost 2 months in, and I’m actually really enjoying being a dad. The cliche that you don’t understand what it’s like until you do it really does seem to be the case here, and I’m both enjoying the time spent with the little guy now while also looking forward to all the fun and adventures to be had in the coming years – teaching him to read, playing with Lego and scalextric, riding bikes, going fishing, building camp fires, and all the thousands of other things big and small.

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is learning. What will I be able to teach him as he develops, and what skills and knowledge would I like to be able to teach him but I’m lacking. Art is one thing which sprung to mind – I’ve never been very good at drawing/painting and so I’m going to try and address that. I don’t ever expect to be a great artist, but I’d like some basic drawing skills to be able to pass on. Music is another – I can knock out a few chords on a guitar or a ukelele but I’ve never learned to read music notation very well and I’ve always wanted to learn to play piano but have never got around to it. Now I have an additional reason to put in the effort to learn, so I can later teach, so playing piano and learning to draw to a reasonable standard are now on my list.

No doubt there will be many, many more things to add to the list now over the next few years – but for now I can focus on learning to draw, whilst perfecting my nappy changing technique ;)

BTW – there are SO MANY cool projects to do, things to build, and adventures to be had with kids detailed on various blogs and sites which I’d never seen until recently. From Star Wars inspired bunk beds to sub-orbital weather balloon camera systems, amazing tree houses, and everything in between… to epic adventures! Maybe I should have had kids years ago ;)

 

21

Dec

2012

A rant about Macs…

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | 2 Comments »

Why, oh why are Macs selling so well?  is there some sort of subliminal messaging in Apple’s advertising that is hypnotising people?

I went into the local Apple store recently to look for an iPhone case and was amazed at how many people were in there, and especially looking at the iMacs, seemingly entranced by them.

I’m about to upgrade my computer myself so I decided to take a look at the new  iMac 27″ model, hoping that would be a suitable replacement for my main desktop PC and my aging MacBook Pro since I rarely take a laptop with me these days, just replying on my phone and iPad when I’m not in the office.

The problem is though, when I started looking at the specs I was amazed at how much was MISSING! I’m primarily a PC user, so I’m used to buying (or more usually building) a fairly high spec machine at a reasonable price. The iMac costs quite a bit more than I would normally spend on a desktop computer so I was stunned at these omissions:

No mic input (what?) Seriously, you can’t just plug a headset in for Skype, you need to invest an extra £35 in an “iMic” interface, for a feature that’s included in every £299 PC laptop!

No optical drive!?!?! Despite the iTunes web page stating that you can “import your CDs…” they decided not to allow you to do that, or watch DVDs, or install non-downloaded software, or burn backups, or mac mix CDs for the car…

All USB ports at the back where you can’t reach them! Because obviously that will be fun, fishing around the back for your USB stick which you need to keep using because you can’t use a DVD!

No Firewire – want to hookup a video camera, or a prosumer audio device… not on an iMac, not unless you want to pay an extra (£35) for the add on interface!

No DVI ports – because obviously everyone with a Mac wants to spent £1000 on an Apple branded external monitor rather than plugging in a couple of their existing monitors… and of course it’s £25 (per port!!) for Thunderbolt to DVI adapters!

No height adjustment… that’s right, the nice shiny polished aluminium stand is a fixed height because obviously all Apple users are the same height (and from the look of it, Apple users are several inches shorter than me or all get chronic neck pain pretty quickly!)

No VESA mounts… again obviously, because they wouldn’t want you getting around the lack of height adjustment by mounting it like you can with any budget monitor (unless you buy the £35 mount adapter kit, and even then that only works on the 27″ model – they don’t do one for the 21″ model!)

No numeric keypad… the default keyboard is one of those teeny, tiny ones with no tactical feedback (I guess Apple users don’t touch type?) and no numeric keypad (so I guess they don’t use 3D software, or do much maths either!)

And for the privilege of buying a computer with all these wonderful benefits/omissions… they only charge 3 times the price of an equivalent PC!

Seriously Apple, I’d like to be able to order a new iMac but there’s just no way I can justify it, time to build another PC I guess!

 

10

Jul

2011

Space Shuttle (end of an era)

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | No Comments »

If you’re anything like me you’ve been glued to Ustream this week watching the final shuttle mission before NASA retires the oribter for good. Born in the late ’70s I grew up seeing the shuttle as the pinnacle of human endevour, and it’s rather sad to see it being retired without a replacement ready to launch.

I for one feel that MUCH more should be invested in space exploration. NASA’s entirely yearly budget is currently equal to what the US military spend in 23 days! Surely some of that money should be diverted to a cause slightly more positive than fighting over oil?

At least NASA do appear to be spending their meagre budget wisely though, and diverting a lot of the savings from ending the shuttle program into building a deep space probe. But in the meantime, maybe it falls on DIYers like the crazy geniuses at Copenhagen Suborbitals to push the envelope and further our reach to the stars!

Anyway, in the meantime I came across this great infographic on the shuttle and thought I’d share it… Let’s hope the orbiter’s eventual replacement is just as iconic!


A graphical representative of NASA’s space shuttle.

Source Space.com: All about our solar system, outer space and exploration

 

25

May

2010

Get your geek on

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | 1 Comment »

Today being Geek Pride Day, I thought I’d celebrate by sharing some great geeky goodness from around the interweb!

Happy Geek Pride Day

May 25th was the premiere of Star Wars – A New Hope in 1977, and since 2006 it has been recognised as Geek Pride Day in celebration of geekiness. It also coincides with “Towel Day” in rememberance of the late great Douglas Adams (in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy a towel was the most useful object in the universe!) and Glorious 25th of May, a holiday in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

Anyway, enough of the history, here is some geeky goodness I’m sure you’ll enjoy whether you’re a true geek or not…

The Geek Test – Think you’re a bit geeky? Want to find out for sure?  Take the test and see how you score.  BTW I got 46.12546% which apparently ranks me as a “Super Geek” (anything above 75% ranks as “dysfunctional geek”!

Killer List Of Videogames – Now part of the wider “International Arcade Museum” is the biggest online collection of anything to do with arcade games.  Beware – if names like Outrun, Galaga and R-Type mean anything to you then you could be stuck there for several hours!

Geeky decorations for the home or office – Want to geek up your pad?  These 10 items will brighten up your home and show off your geeky side – I just wish my office was bigger so I could get the Space Invader wall decals – my book cases cover up too much of the walls, and I don’t think my wife would let me put them in the kitchen!

15 of the geekiest tattoos – Had to include these just because I’m a tattoo fan myself.  In fact, the photo on the right shows the Space Invader tattoo on my back!

So, hope you enjoyed the links – what are YOU doing to celebrate geek pride day?

 

19

May

2010

Perfect Music For Training

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | 3 Comments »

I’ve always listened to music while running or cycling.  Say what you want about iPod zombie cyclists, but so long as you keep the volume level reasonable and pay attention to the road and the traffic I don’t see a problem.

For a long time I was using an iPod Nano (and before that a minidisc player!) but just recently I’ve been borrowing my wife’s iPod shuffle which I absolutely love.  If you’re not familiar with the shuffle, it’s the smallest and most basic of all the iPod models (opposite end of the line to the iPod touch) which comes in 2Gb or 4Gb versions.  The unit itself is not much bigger than a postage stamp, no screen or fancy features – just plug and play!

The shuffle has a built in clip, so you can clip it onto your shorts waistband, or even the peak of a cap and you hardly know it’s there!

Now, while a shuffle might be the perfect music player for running or cycling, it’s nothing without the right choice of music, so I wanted to find out what other people like to listen to on the bike or on a run.  Here are some of my top picks, leave a comment or Tweet in with some of your own favourites!

Perfect running and cycling music

The Prodigy -Music for the Jilted Generation and Experience
The KillersHot Fuss
Blink 182Blink 182
Greenday - Dookie and American Idiot
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Carter USM30 something

OK so that’s a few of the albums I’ve been listening to while training recently – what are your favourites?

 

14

May

2010

The Geek Alphabet

By ActionGeek. Posted in Geek | No Comments »

Came across a fun post at GeeksAreSexy.net this morning called The Geek Alphabet.  It’s just a bit of fun, but check it out. They made up a poem of geekiness using Flickr images.  I love anything that mentions books, Starwars, programming and NASA all on the page, but while some of it’s good I couldn’t help thinking that maybe they could have come up with a better idea for “Q”!

QWERTY?
Qux?
Q-bert?
QuickTime?

Any other suggestions?