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Doomed To Obscurity Enters Its (Planned) Final Year

Date/Time Permalink: 01/01/13 06:48:54 pm
Category: Site News

Four years ago today, I announced that I was launching the webcomic Doomed to Obscurity. While it's had some modest claim to a few links and comments and some cult popularity, it's still pretty much lived up to its title. So by the end of this year, my self-imposed commitment to posting every odd-numbered calendar day for five years will end.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that the series will be dead forever. Maybe I'll keep it up if it gets more popular. Maybe I'll only publish ebooks. Maybe I'll only post it sporadically.

But more likely, I'll turn my energy to other things. The series has sapped a lot of my creative time. I did this as an experiment to find out: "Can I create an extensive work of fiction on schedule for an extended period of time?" The answer is apparently, yes I can, and even pull a few stunts and have some fun along the way. It's been a great outlet for random snarks, jokes, and goofy thoughts, even though it's sometimes also been a drag and some days appears to be running on fumes and desperation.

But I'm capable of a heck of a lot more. Some other stuff I've drawn in the past, for instance:






...so how long should I go on puttering on a newspaper-style strip? I'm curious to see what I could produce in a graphic novel published twice per year rather than ~180 so-so strips per year.

And then there's much more I could be writing, and programming, and designing...

Anyway, enjoy the last "official" year of DTO. Strange things may happen yet. And thanks to you few, loyal fans out there! I'm glad a few of you appreciated my weird little universe.

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A Little Link List To All Of Penguin Pete's Departments

Date/Time Permalink: 12/28/11 11:53:46 am
Category: Site News

Hello, true believers! My online operations and productions have grown like creeping charlie, and I'm realizing that many readers might have a hard time finding their way to everything. Here is one, updated post linking you to every project I currently have my hands in:

#1. My blog: No link necessary - you're already here! However, here is the complete archive page to Penguin Pete's Blog, linking to every post I've made over five+ years.

#2. My webcomic, Doomed to Obscurity. Soon to enter its third year. It's a comic about technology and geek culture in general. It updates every odd-numbered calendar day.

#3. My Tumblr blog, Penguin Pete's Daily Funny. Just dumb, silly, goofy caption pictures, advice animals, Gimpz, the occasional cartoon, etc. For those who want to see the lowbrow side of my humor.

#4. My new weird-stuff blog Mind--Blown. It's basically a museum of curiosities, paranormal, fringe culture, avant-garde, outsiders, historical oddities... weird stuff. No purpose there, just something amusing to play with.

#5. My ancient wallpaper gallery - Old images I did ages ago, kept there for historic links.

#6. My site's outside link directory: Linux sites, other FOSS sites, code sites, and other miscellaneous stuff. I still dump new stuff in there whenever I think of it. It's as much for my own convenience as it is for yours, because I always have a small, fast-loading web directory that I control, accessible from anywhere I can get Internet on whatever device is nearby.

#7. My poor, neglected Deviant Art account. Dumping grounds for more graphic output.

#8. My poor, neglected eZine article account. Those articles are free for anyone to repost, by the way, as long as you keep the attribution, which is the concept of eZine. I mean to add more there. Any ideas for eZine articles you'd like to see there? Please suggest them! That way it'd be like Penguin Pete doing a guest-blog for you for free!

#9. My Delicious bookmarks. Public profile, added to all the time. These don't necessarily have anythign to do with any of my other interests, just plain old bookmarks that I want to keep but don't want to have cluttering up my Firefox menus.

#10. I also have one client who's nice enough to give me attribution on every post I write for his site. That site is Lyric Interpretations, and it's a site about music, and I'm one of the writers on the music blog. The whole place is fascinating, and you are guaranteed to learn things about music that you'd never encounter anywhere else.

Finally, here at last is my Twitter account. Follow me there, and I will try (really hard) to tweet every time one of the above projects updates, with the exception of Lyric Interpretations, because there's other writers there besides me... but sometimes I tweet about it anyway.

Can you see now why I did this? It's almost getting to where I need to clone myself just to keep up with me! No doubt, you stop by the blog and go "No new posts all month? What the heck is Penguin Pete doing with his time, anyway?" Well, now you know. If you're looking at any one site by me or account of mine, you're only seeing the tip of the iceberg.

I'm building an online Fort Kickass

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Comments Temporarily Shut Off While I Solve The Spam Problem

Date/Time Permalink: 06/27/11 11:36:04 am
Category: Site News

As much as I dearly love hearing from all of you out there (even if you're just telling me to get stuffed), I'm going to have to turn off comments for an indefinite period of time.

Comment spam has become more and more of a problem over the years, to the point where I sit down every morning to delete the spam over coffee. Lately I'm running out of coffee before running out of spam. Recently this last week, I've been hit by a Russian botnet, one of those relentless Terminator-style ones apparently powered by Hal9000 and a nuclear reactor. They blow right through the CAPTCHA like it wasn't even there.

I'm going to try one or more of the following methods to solve this:

  • Come up with a new kind of CAPTCHA. Yeah, right, like that'll help.
  • Go to moderator-approved comments. Almost just as much hassle.
  • Go to registering to comment. I like this for some of you regular visitors anyway, because now you could own your own screen name.
  • Switch to a completely different blog software. Five years ago, I saw Wordpress and B2Evolution and shrugged 'eenie meenie miney moe.' Five years later, I am aware that I am riding a dead horse while the world has gone on with Wordpress, everybody raving about how great it is. My stupid.

Whatever it is, it will be a lot of work, either to code my own solution or find the right one to install.

Anyway, just sit tight out there, I might get this solved by the end of next month...

Hey, in the meantime, you can always talk to me or about me on Twitter!

My email still works, it's on my profile.

The chat room on the webcomic is still there.

under reconstruction

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Penguin Pete's Work Now Appearing In The Blog At Lyric Interpretations

Date/Time Permalink: 03/05/11 03:36:33 pm
Category: Site News

I get some of you grousing about how I don't post here frequently enough. Well, this isn't the only act on my schedule, you know! When I'm not gushing with geekiness about technology on my home turf, you may now find me at my new gig at lyricinterpretations.com, where I'm on blog post rotation with a few other authors.

Just look there for any posts under my familiar old nom-de-plume "Penguin Pete." For example, you can find out all about the fictitious, animated bands from the Archie comics universe, be luridly amused over seven songs about murder, and harumph in dignified harumphing fashion over six inappropriate songs used in commercials, and that's just to name a few recent ones - I've been quite the busy beaver.

And for a tease for an upcoming subject soon to be posted, I'll just say the word... "Coven"! That one, I promise, will definitely be a cozy read.

See, I take the same geeky approach I do here to wonky vintage DOS video games and arcane Linux command lines that would knot Gandalf's beard, and apply it to rock 'n' roll history over at Lyric Interpretations. Remember, I've got a whole bookshelf of music tomes and an attic full of albums to work with, and in many cases when I work on a topic, it's the first time in history that all the facts about that topic have been gathered in one place.

In before somebody else says "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." - a quote definitely not first said by Frank Zappa. In fact, it's a snow-clone that has been handed down for decades.

Penguin Pete cassette tape

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I Finally Got the FOSS Directory Going

Date/Time Permalink: 08/05/10 11:57:07 am
Category: Site News

If you've skipped past the front page of my site, you'll notice that the "FOSS directory" section no longer says "coming soon." Yeah, I finally got something done on my website for a change!

Note that it's not done. It will never be done, because new links come and go. But a brief rundown of what section is what:

  • Linux - Will have sites, help, and blogs about Linux.
  • FOSS - All software that's not Linux - other operating systems, plus the programs that run on a typical FOSS system.
  • Code - Programming, scripting, and markup, broken down by language.
  • Other - Not even FOSS-related, but just useful stuff that sorta goes along with the geek lifestyle. News is basically there for me as much as anyone.

Why am I doing this? Because I used to have a blogroll in the sidebar of this blog, but Google was dinging my PageRank for having too many outbound links. So I'm building things back up, and here is a special one-time offer:

Suggest a Link!

Just haul off in the comments section and recommend me something that would be good to fill a section, with the section you think it should go in. Mind you, just because I only have one link in a section doesn't mean that's all I have in mind, I just haven't gotten around to everything yet. But I'll especially appreciate any blog recommendations for Linux, FOSS, programming, or general geekery.


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New Hardware Roundup

Date/Time Permalink: 04/28/10 03:09:48 pm
Category: Site News

You can't exactly call this an "unboxing" with such lousy quality photos, but I thought I'd introduce some of the new gadgets I've gotten recently which I'll be using in my continuing quest to make wizard level in Linux hackerdom.

Netgear router

First, I got sick and tired of dinking around with the toy routers your average DSL ISP supplies you with, and decided to get my own router like a grown-up. This Netgear Wireless-N 300 with DSL has four ethernet ports for the desktop machines around the house and wireless for the laptop.

And... brace yourself, are you sitting down? It actually had instructions for setting it up with Linux! Yes, I, idiot, bought hardware at a real store with real money and got it home to find out that it was Linux friendly! I was not shoved to the side and treated like a second-class leper for running Linux, but was welcomed to be my penguin geeky self with it! Like a person!

Spiderman does not come with the router. Spidey has been a running household joke for ages now; he's the patron mascot and protector of every Internet connection we've ever had. See, it's a connection to the web and he's Spiderman - get it? Spider, web! Haw haw haw I quack myself up!

Moving right along to the Gateway 450 laptop and Wacom Bamboo:

Gateway laptop and Wacom Bamboo

The laptop is a refurbished model from my favorite computer store in town, Dymin Systems (unpaid plug - I've been going there for years, and they know their stuff inside out, and where else am I going to go in Iowa? CompUSA went out of business and they'd already banned me after I scared the last of their salesdroids into therapy anyway). It's a bog-standard laptop box, neither too fancy nor too plain - it's for work, not play, so it's more than adequate for my needs. It took Ubuntu onto itself like an old friend. Wireless, OpenGL, sound, USB, touchpad, and everything worked out-of-the-box without a single tweak!

The point of the laptop is that I can work around the house now instead of staying chained to a desk all day. I can even explore the wilderness and set up shop on a log, writing my stories from the enchanted forest like a magic mushroom elf.

The Wacom Bamboo was actually bought earlier, but I haven't mentioned it before, so here it is. Look for it to pop up in graphics tutorials and follow-alongs soon. It's fun to play with, but unfortunately all my paid work gets in my way so I don't have time to fiddle with it much. I've also gotten it working more or less, thanks to the wacom drivers in the kernel, and the helpful guide. The only quirk I can't work out on both desktop and laptop is the pad buttons; I can't seem to get them to do anything, and I've followed the steps over and over. But I've used it in Gimp and Inkscape, and it's already a huge boost.

Anyway, that's a run-down on what's new at the igloo. I'm so much more productive now, I almost produce work in my sleep.

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Slackware 13.0 is Released!

Date/Time Permalink: 08/28/09 07:04:49 am
Category: Site News

Slackie patch

Ever since I've scrounged up a new box, I've been on pins and needles waiting for Slackware 13.0 to launch. And the day is here! This release is a landmark in Slackware history. We can officially dance in the streets now!

Torrent, torrents, torrent!

The Torrents are torrenting!

And by the way, yes, this blog's formatting still needs a little work. If you see a post with multiple comments, they're all run together like a pileup on a Los Angeles freeway. I'm still working on that. It's been busy. This year for me has been new home, new site design, new computer, new philosophy... this is exhausting, but worth it. But I'll blabber more on what on the blog gets moved where in its own post.

Hack the Slack!

Update I have yet to install this on the new box. The new computer is literally at my elbow, reproaching me with its black, square stare as it waits for me to move into it. All I have to do is one minor hardware tweak and then install the system - I have Slackware 13.0 disks already burned. I've just been so busy!

I can tell you this much, though: I already know that Slackware 13.0 is going to be the most awesome Slackware ever. How do I know this? Because the LXer gang hates it. Check the comments they're leaving on any story there referring to Slackware. When the web's oldest den of trolls does that much carping about a distro, I know it's going to be EPIC, ELITE, and AWESOME!

Apparently, the nexus of the complaints revolve around Slackware's upgrading to KDE4. Snub, snif, blub, buh-hoo-hoo-hoo! What do I care; I run Fluxbox anyway?

Update More Slackware news comes out, and yet more flaming trolls in the comments. Two guesses which state (it rhymes with hexes) it all comes from. Slackware is now targeted for asstroturf by the Linux carpetbaggers as much as Microsoft targets Linux.

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Site Re-Design Progress: Color Scheme Done

Date/Time Permalink: 07/10/09 08:01:43 pm
Category: Site News

Quick, before my promises of a new look for the site become vapor-ware, let me get the new color palette up:

new site color scheme

What you're seeing is largely how the composite of pages on this site will look - #222222 background, white text, lots of the blues, a hint of the earthen tones. New graphics coming, too, which will also stick to this palette. I'm also not going to go as "box-happy" with the CSS divs.

I've been so delayed on this because after we finished moving, I had to catch up on work. I'm at a point now where I can start paying attention to this project again.

So, your thoughts?

UPDATE: OK, I hear a couple of comments saying dark-background/ light-text sites don't show up well on a mobile screen in daylight. So you're saying that all of the websites that do that in this list have that problem?

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Showing My face In A Few New Places

Date/Time Permalink: 04/14/09 04:26:23 pm
Category: Site News

Where the whiskey drowns, and the beer chases, my blues away...

Oh, hi there. Anyway, I've branched out to a few new sites, the better to spread my tendrils of influence across the web. These will be a supplement to my own site.

In the first place, I've made an account on Yahoo Answers. Can't exactly link to it right now, because Yahoo's doing something there where it's all caddywumpus, but then that's pretty much Yahoo all the time. I figure that a lot of my blog's post archive answers some questions that people ask over and over again, so I might as well pounce on a question there if I can help.

I'm also now an Ezine Articles expert writer, a title not nearly as lofty as it sounds. From time to time I'll be dumping an article over there. The purpose of the site is to provide stock articles for e-zines and other use, and anyone can use them as long as the block at the bottom is included (which you can have link back to your own site, soapbox for your cause, etc.). It's a way to dump out those odd topics I like to natter about which don't fit on a site "about free and open source software and the wonders thereof".

I'm also now a Deviant Artist. Deviant gives you a nice little gallery space to dump images, and that's just what I'll be doing. This is a venue to find a home for all my doodles which don't necessarily fit into a blog subject, as well as a way to resurrect dusty old pieces for a second run. Sometimes an image has a story to tell, so I can post an image and chatter about what went into it, too. I'll be posting lots of experiments and works-in-progress there, as well as proper works, so drop there by every now and then.

Oh, and I've also got a Delicious account. I'll be dropping bookmarks there from time to time, just like you'd expect a Delicious account to be used. In 15 years on the web I've amassed tons of bookmarks to stuff that's interesting, but not even tangentially related to open source or even software, so this is a place to shovel some of that clutter out of the attic.

Now, what else? There's also been some added features to the page for my webcomic Doomed to Obscurity, if you haven't been by to check it lately. It's got an archive now at the bottom (happy now, Rainofgods?), a Meebo chat to act as a shoutbox, and an AddThis button for social bookmarking.

Ah, that's better! Now I'm set up for Spring cleaning... whenever Spring decides to grace us with its presence. Ta ta.

by popular demand

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suddenly the moon