Why only march to a different drummer, when you can have your own orchestra?

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Twitter Lists I'm On

Date/Time Permalink: 11/10/12 01:32:54 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

Remember Twitter lists? Everybody was excited about them back there once. Twitter still has this feature, and apparently people still use it.

Because if you read me, you should read these, too:

author - A list with no discernible theme that I can find, but just a bunch of random accounts. But "Goddamn Batman" is on it too, so I'm not arguing there.

Tech Stuff - Well, that's pretty self-explanatory, isn't it? Great complete list, by the way!

Skypost109-Bloggers - Described as "funny yet right down snarky at times." I shall always strive to answer the call of duty to live up to this high expectation.

Important OSS supporters - Oh, now how did I get so important without really doing much?

BoycottBoys - Described as "BoycottNovell shills and minions". Whee, I'm on a hit list! Which is funny, because BoycottNovell has standing insults to me they've never corrected or apologized for. This is what happens when you judge me by the standards of the troll cave at LXer.com.

Iowa Tweeps - Hello, Iowa! Are there any other Iowans here? Any of you Hawkeyes care to follow this list that has only five subscribers? I know there's more than five people in Iowa who know what Twitter is. I know at least eight or nine.

WebComics - I feel bad because this list is kept by a Spanish speaker and my webcomic is in English.

Sistemas - Also in Spanish, these are computer programmers and related stuff. I can suss out enough Spanish to tell this, thanks to my previous life out in the Southwest.

Famous - Somebody's got some really, really low standards for defining "famous". I've heard of just about everybody else on that list, and I'll bet none of them have heard of me.

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Six Things I Wish I Could Do With My Google+ Account

Date/Time Permalink: 07/15/12 05:09:56 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

Whee! I've had a Google+ account for something like six months now. It feels exactly like one of those novelty birthday gifts where some agency will name an asteroid after you. Yes, there's my Google+ account, 2011-JG8, in the dark side of the Apoheles cluster. Too bad no human eye will ever see it.

While we're sitting here in the web's own trailer park in the bum end of the universe, is it too much to ask of Google if they could at least hook up the utilities around here? Such as...

Dump in my Twitter feed.

Really, my Twitter says it all these days. Every time I update my strip or any of my blogs, including ones I post in my paid work, or even post a scribble on Devinat Art, it gets tweeted. I need one place where I can point people and say "Everything I do gets reported there." I'm not going to copy all that one at a time. Just an option to add a feed, how hard is this?

Dump in RSS feeds from my other blogs.

Ditto. Google has a ginkas to make blog posts on your Google+ page. Hey, we already have that, it's called "Blogger.com". And the last thing I need in this world is yet another site to post on separately, not to mention one more place to risk working on only to see it fold a year down the line. Perhaps, Google, you remember acquiring that particular "Blogger" domain a few years back? Sure, just think back, it's the orange icon with the lopsided 'B'. If Sergey or Larry jolted suddenly one of these days and yelled "Oh my God! I forgot we own Blogger!" I wouldn't be the least surprised, because it's been that ignored.

Sign into stuff using my Google+ ID (the way you sign in with Facebook / Twitter).

I know this is a question of the old desktop mindshare factor, but is Google making some kind of effort to provide those buttons for things like commenting on other blogs, so you can sign in to comment there? How about marketing? For a multimedia empire, they could, you know, advertise Google+? I swear I could ask ten random people on the street and only one would even know Google+ exists.

Be able to cross-link between Facebook and Google+ (treating it as one social network).

Walled gardens are so 1995 (and / or so Yahoo / Apple). Quit it with the "Facebook? Who're they?" business. Just let us be able to follow and get followed by Facebook users. You can still search on Bing with Google's Chrome browser, hint hint.

Be able to add widgets.

I remember the good old days when we could do that on iGoogle. It made iGoogle pages instantly useful to me, being able to make a page full of handy little aps in one place. At least I had a reason to go back there once in a while. Now I go to Google+, and it's just this infinite white void of nothing, like the limbo-hell in those Progressive Insurance commercials.

Not be lonely there.

Right now, it's basically me and Linus Torvalds and two crickets. Even the crickets have given up chirping.

Having a home on Google+ is just like being homeless

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A Little Linklist Of Linux And Technology Themed Webcomics

Date/Time Permalink: 03/19/12 04:47:42 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

It's been about three and a half years of churning out my own humble little webcomic. During that time, I've noticed that "webcomics which focus on Linux / FOSS / computer-geekery" is one heck of a tiny niche! So I thought I'd throw out a list for those others in my narrow slot.

You all probably already know about the big famous examples like XKCD, User-Friendly, and (though it barely squeaks into the "geekery" category) The Oatmeal. But I dug a little deeper to find some underrated webcomics that definitely deserve to be better-known:

Note: Webcomics have the shelf life of a dandelion in a hailstorm, so it's normal to find most of them discontinued. Don't moan; at least there's archives. Maybe with encouragement, some of them will start up again.

My 25 Percent

A very cynical webcomic about a software engineer in the corporate world. Has a distinctive style for caricature art that makes the characters adorable to look at, with broad humor that would appeal to a much wider audience.

EDIT The same author of "My 25 Percent" chimed in to tell us that he has a new webcomic up, C-Section Comics, with all of the neat character art and way better concepts! Still lots of geek humor, such as asking what Internet trolls would do if there were no Internet?

Geek Hero

About an open source developer and Debian user, with minimalist art and short, punchy jokes.

Business Casual

A full-fleshed-out comic about the computing industry, with lots of office humor and general geeks milling about. Been going strong for ten years now. Lots of depth and character development.

Help Desk

There's actually four webcomics here, "Help Desk", "Kernel Panic", "Old Skool Webcomic", and "PC Town". All four of them are surreal universes with humor as delightfully dry as chardonnay. "Help Desk" and "Kernel Panic" are more computer-geek oriented, "Old Skool" is almost its own little joke (at 8 episodes total), and "PC Town" appears to be a noir geek webcomic. Now tell me that isn't blazing new territory.

Bug Bash

A very creative webcomic about the technology industry (popular theme, no?) Chock full of interesting little flights of fancy and satire of office culture. Also, the 'about' page lists several more comics done by the same author... but I was too distracted by the awesome little animated cartoon clip below the webcomic, called "Arctic Circle". Yes, I've been tossing around the idea of branching into animation too...

The Bizarre Cathedral

You've probably heard of this one, since it's hosted at Free Software Magazine's site. It's definitely a gag-a-day type strip with jokes strictly from the pro-GNU point of view. Plus adorable fluffy animal characters.


Ran from 2001 to 2004, like the Velvet Underground of Linux-geek-centric webcomics - Before its time! Has great newspaper-style art. And one of the characters is a robot built from a recycled Vic-20! How old skool is that?

I'm Not Mad

Done by my old peer, Eric's Binary World. It's a geek-humor themed strip which is remarkable for being drawn in Blender! This gives it a unique look; as the strip's evolved over time, it resembles a a bit the 3D animation of the Weird Al Yankovic UHF ilk. Also changed from gag-a-day to continuing story arcs.

Add yours here!

In the comment section below, if anybody has heard of a substantial Linux / programming / tech webcomic that I haven't found yet, don't be shy! Tell us about it and I'll update the list. See, I'm reserving this much space for adding more:

Is that enough space?

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Google Thinks I'm Immature...

Date/Time Permalink: 01/27/12 05:08:51 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

I checked out this link to find out what Google knows about me through its advertising-tracking thingie. I got this:

Google demographics for Penguin Pete

Now, everything else is just about dead on. "Music, programming, and puzzles" would do alright as the title of my biography. But my age gets pegged to 18 to 24?

Hey, I'm 42 over here, Google, old enough to be your dad! And no, I prefer not to edit it, because I like to see what the algorithm thinks based on my surfing habits. For one thing, I work in online media and professionally I have to focus on the 18-24 demographic. So I go where they do. May I always have the web surfing habits of an 18-24-year-old; that's gold when you're billing yourself as a "social media consultant".

This is also why I don't understand all the hype about "Teh Evul Googul" tracking your personal data. Big deal, my gender, age, and a few of my interests? I routinely disclose more than that to complete strangers in the average coffee shop conversation.

PS Yes, I'm starting to call myself a "social media consultant". I'm still just a hack writer and artist for websites. But there's ten thousand other hack writers and artists for websites out there, and I've recently discovered that they all call themselves "social media consultants" because it sounds Web-2.0-ier and they get to jack their prices up. So OK, I sometimes call what I do "social media consulting" now.

You know what?


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Psychology Professors Are Destroying My Reasoning Skills

Date/Time Permalink: 01/22/12 01:52:27 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

Latest moral panic: How Google Search Is Destroying Our Memory. As stupid and predictable as this is, it's the same story that comes around every six months or so, but it will still be front-paged across web media and we'll still be scrolling past it in our RSS feeds by next week.

Hey, once again (again and again and again), I'll be the only one to shoot this down with common sense: Books.

Before there was Google, there were books. Indeed, the number of books I keep on hand has decreased since the advent of Google, and I know I'm not the only one. And the purpose of keeping many books is for research and reference.

So, I guess that's why dictionaries were invented, so we don't have to walk around memorizing the spelling, pronunciation, and definition of every word. And perhaps why telephone books were invented, so you didn't have to memorize every phone number. And why encyclopedia sets used to be a common household fixture, so you could look up facts on a broad range of topics. And why dispatchers had a big city streets atlas pinned to the wall, so they didn't have to memorize every street in town.

Before we kept our external memory on Google, we kept it in books. In fact, Google has done nothing but make all this diverse information faster and easier to re-locate again. It was never common to have all the names of the presidents memorized, except just to show off. Thirty years ago, if asked which was the last US president from the Whig party, I'd flip to the index of a tome and have the answer in one minute (#13 Fillmore). Now I Wiki it and have the answer in twenty seconds. It's the same process, just using different technology!

How come I never used to read magazine articles about how print media is destroying our memory?

I'll tell you why. Because psychology professors are stupider now than they used to be. It's a good enough answer for me. In case anybody Googled it, here you are.

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Before Somebody Else Mentions It - "Story of Linux" Video For Linux's 20th Anniversary

Date/Time Permalink: 04/07/11 12:15:44 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

The actual anniversary isn't until August of this year, but heck, making noise about Linux throughout spring and summer doesn't sound like a bad idea. So the Linux Foundation made this nifty little dry-erase animation...

Cute! I like how the "these radical ideas" part is represented by an '80s punk with mohawk, goatee, and "rad" piercings surrounded by cans (beer? Red Bull? Generic food from the set of Repo Man?). Alright, which one of you found my high school year-book photo?

Annoying Ideas I Have About Linux's 20th Anniversary:

  1. That's 20 years of Microsoft trying to kill us, and we're still here. NYYAAAAAAH!!! penguin going nyah
  2. Heck, by the time Microsoft was 20, it had Windows 95. Now do you all see why I say that Linux trumps Windows usability?
  3. Good to see the Linux Foundation has a new member with a bit of audacity. Linux has suffered the same problem that the Democrat party in the USA has had: All of the compassion and good ideas, but constantly stuck apologizing for existing. Good ahead, Zemlin, shoot off you big bazoo and don't stop!
  4. This blog is now exactly one-fourth of Linux's age. (maybe not so annoying)
  5. Linux has, and always will, belonged to the world, not to the US. Eventually the US will have the same position towards Linux that it has towards the metric system.
  6. I'm pretty sure that Tea Baggers hate Linux with a passion.
  7. Microsoft will eventually release its own Linux distro. It'll be the Microsoft interpretation of the idea and be botched up like topsy (see Oracle), but it will be a Microsoft-produced Linux distro.

Isn't that last bold prediction a hoot? Never mind arguing with me about it. I'm either right or wrong, history will prove out. No, I don't know how I know. It came to me as a vision this morning in a bowl of cornflakes.

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The Twagic Tweets of Twitter

Date/Time Permalink: 11/19/10 09:22:39 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

Meh, why not burn a post just to give a shout-out to the nodes on my Twitter network? There's lots of interesting connections made to and from my account.

I'm on eight lists so far. Lists went into a flurry of activity for about two weeks after they announced the feature, and then nothing has happened with lists since. Some lists flatter me - Skypost109-Bloggers describes itself as "Blogs I try to keep track of, funny yet right down snarky at times." Hey, thanks, now I know I'm hitting the mark I was going for. Others are disparaging - BoycottBoys is for "BoycottNovell shills and minions." I guess I must be one of those simply because I use Linux, and so does Roy, Q.E.D.!

Followers really say something about what it appears I'm about. I love this motley crew!

  • dozykraut - Anybody with "rock 'n' roll production manager" and "Linux sysadmin" on the same resume gets a gold star in my book. Probably following me because I'm one of the few who shares both interests.
  • PeterUrbak - Passion for "linux and indie music," too.
  • cfajohnson - The whole thing says, "Shell programmer and author, web developer, cryptic cruciverbalist, chess teacher." There, is that enough brainy pursuits in one line? Plays chess, oh no no no, he teaches chess. I had to go look up what a 'cruciverbalist' is; it means he makes crossword puzzles. How anybody that smart has time for what I say is unfathomable.
  • WonderousHavok - A Chiweenie, which, in case you didn't know, is half-Chihuahua / half-Dachshund. Maybe someday I'll start a Twitter account for my cat and they can play together.
  • Yoko Ono - Yoko's account in on auto-follow-back - you follow her and she automatically follows you, which must make things awfully noisy on her end. Oddly enough, I'm both a Beatles fan and a Yoko fan, because I am a Velvet Underground fan: Both Velvet-member John Cale and Yoko Ono studied under John Cage, so they're all members of the post-war avant-garde art movement out of New York. What, you thought it was all nothing but random hollering?
  • jberlako - Has his own geeky blog.
  • Skypost109 - Another Iowan! Also has a blog. Dear heaven, wired Iowans seem to be a rare breed.
  • malodix - An OLD-SKOOL geek, an ANSI artist and demoscener from Denmark. how cool is that?
  • thenixedreport - Lest we fall into the misconception of thinking that follower = friend, the guy who runs *NIXED REPORT has basically made it clear that he hates my guts. He's probably just keeping an eye on me.

That's a few of the more interesting ones. I just find it amusing to look at the interests of the people following an account, because then you get a composite picture of what you tend to talk about the most. To explain the music interest... One of my freelance writing gigs is working for Songfacts - there I am on the contributor's page. This is going on two years of music study and research and getting the facts hashed out from the fallacies in rock 'n' roll history, so it's really stimulated a music obsession in me to go alongside the technology obsession.

It's the most fun work you could do, but it's had the side effect of turning me into the most insufferable sort of music snob! My tastes are getting so hopelessly eclectic... If you noticed that I put a Playlist widget back on the front page of my site, and no, I'm not kidding about having The Chantels right next to Napalm Death. I really do like both Doo-Wop and Death Metal. And Crunkcore and Country Pop. And Chiptunes and Easy Listening. People are learning not to bring up the subject of music around me, because I could bore the ears off a cornrow about it.

Anyway, Y'all feel free to link your Twitter Twacks in the comments, and anybody else interesting you think I'd like or other readers here would like...

FOSS blogging for Dummies

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Who Do I Write Like?

Date/Time Permalink: 07/15/10 04:55:38 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

I'm playing with this gizmo that analyzes your writing style, called I Write Like. Discovered from this Boing Boing link. Here's some results from various stuff I've clattered up:

Three recent blog posts:

"God, I Hope Webcomics Don't Go the Way of Print Comics" - David Foster Wallace

"What Science Fiction Would Be Like If Science Fiction Writers Had Sense" - Douglas Adams
Makes sense. Funny essay about science fiction.

"Did You Know Deer Will Let You Get This Close?" - Stephen King

Other, unpublished pieces I have lurking around my hard drives (works-in-progress and whatnot):

A Wikipedia-type definition of copy-writing - Margaret Atwood

An essay entitled "Elitism is Good!" - Kurt Vonnegut
Yay! I was going for Papa Kurt!

An essay entitled "The Hacker as Archetype" - William Gibson
Logical enough.


An old Python command-line poker program I wrote - Bram Stoker!
That's about right for how I code.

The complete source to my Flash Drop-A-Block game - David Foster Wallace

My current .emacs file - David Foster Wallace

I kept getting a buttload of DFW. On like every two blog posts I tried. The Boing-Boing commenters also remark that DFW pops up a lot. So this thing seems to not be too scientific. I'm sorry, but I never heard of this Wallace bird before, and he doesn't really impress me as somebody to emulate.

But at least I didn't get one Dan Brown!

Update 7/17/10: Apparently it "went viral" now, according to the write up over at Huffy-Poo.

the magic of open source

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Why You Should Be Careful Outsourcing Your Logo Design

Date/Time Permalink: 03/25/10 04:13:09 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

A familiar logo

Hmmm. Found recently at http://www.hvac-nc.com/, a clear copied use of Tux, the Linux logo. It brings to mind a number of scenarios:

  • Intentional, because some aspect of their equipment uses Linux embedded somewhere. Possible, but I find no mention of the word "Linux" anywhere on their site.
  • Intentional, but they're aware that the license for Tux is somewhat loose, so they said "Why not?" I'm also kind of doubtful here. There might be a clip-art collection with Tux in it somewhere.
  • Unintentional, because some people are confused as to the origin of Tux. There was that Penguin Army video a while back, for instance, so maybe they were going for an obscure statement about global warming.
  • Unintentional, they hired a freelancer online who ripped Tux, threw in a hat and props, and sold it to them. I consider this the most likely, because I see this happen constantly. HVAC & Refrigeration Experts, Inc. might never have even heard of Linux.

If they get calls about it, they might want their logo redone, or they might just release their own distro!

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