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Category Archives: General Geekery

It’s been a while…

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything. I’d like to say that I’ve been too busy but the reality is that I just haven’t been very motivated to write. I have a few things to talk about and will be posting some thoughts in the near future.

I can’t promise that I’ll be posting on a regular basis, but I’ll certainly be trying.

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2013 Tech Goals

When you work in a technical field like I do, it’s easy to lose sight of why you got into it in the first place, because you love technology! It’s been a while since I explored technology purely for my amusement and enjoyment. I’m going to try to change that this year, here’s a few of my Technology Goals for 2013.

  • Learn to Code.
  • Do some hardware hacking.
    • Build at least one project using an Arduino starter kit.
    • Pick up a Raspberry Pi to play with.
  • Personal Computer projects.
    • Build a home NAS using PC hardware that I have lying around.
    • Build a Media Center PC with some more hardware that I have lying around.
    • Get rid of the rest of the crap hardware that I have lying around.

My day job doesn’t give me much room to play around with tech as much as I’d like. If I can accomplish a few of the above goals in my personal time, maybe I’ll find a new spark of geek creativity to follow for a while.

I Void Warranties

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? Yeah, sorry, that’s never been my motto and never will be.

I was the kid that took toys apart to see what was inside and to see if I could make them do something other than what the manufacturer intended. In the early 80’s, my brother and I had these little battery powered trucks called Stompers and Rough Riders. They ran on one AAA battery and we spent many hours racing them in the dirt in our backyard. They were fun, but we eventually figured out that there was a small magnet near the motor that acted as a governor, limiting the speed of the trucks. If you cracked the case open and removed that magnet, the trucks almost doubled in speed. Battery life sucked, but damn they were fast!

30-ish years later, I still can’t leave things alone. It’s rare that anything electronic or mechanical stays in it’s stock configuration once I have it for any period of time. If there’s any chance that I can make something faster, louder, brighter, more efficient or whatever, I’m going to give it a shot. My wife regularly lambastes me for  not being satisfied with things the way that they come out of the box.

I Jailbreak iPhones, root Android devices, install amplifiers, cut holes for bigger speakers, put bigger batteries in things, take unnecessary parts out and generally just mess with anything that looks like it needs a good tweaking! Sometimes my efforts reap very little benefit. Sometimes I break stuff. But a lot of times I end up with something that’s better than it was when I got it, or at least a little more customized to my tastes.

It boils down to the fact that I love to figure out how things work. I respect a machine for what it is and for what it can do, but after a while I want to see what’s inside. I want to know what makes it work and see if I can make it work any better. I’m not alone in this. What do you think the Large Hadron Collider is? Scientists are using it to hurl sub-atomic particles at each other at near the speed of light to bust them open and figure out what’s inside!

The bad thing about this practice is that it does tend to result in a feeling of never quite being satisfied with how things are. For me, the fun is in the endless pursuit of, and not necessarily in possessing a perfect toy.

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