just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

August 29, 2012

"Choose Your Own Adventure" Dissected #BookGeek

"Choose Your Own Adventure" (CYOA) books have been around since the 1970's and provided the fundamental pattern for the earliest computer RPGs. A few years ago a very smart person by the name of Christian Swinehart set about studying the composition and workflow of CYOA books.  The resulting 13-month-and-11,000-lines-of-code effort yielded a detailed and informative analysis with a few surprising results.  Perhaps the most appealing aspect was the article's supporting charts which were, quite simply, "gorgeous"...

August 22, 2012

Zombies in 8-Bits-Or-Less #ClassicGeek

This t-shirt marries geeks' love affair with zombies with the ever-present lure of tech nostalgia. From the description:
Harken back to ye olde days of 8-bit graphic gaming with this fearsome display of an attacking horde of Zombies. See how the little sticks that sort of look like arms reach out from the general body area under the blob that most likely represents a head. Scary!  

(Is he really trying to fight zombies with pew-pew guns?!?)

August 21, 2012

Smartphones without a Data Plan #PhoneGeek

If you own a smartphone you know the drill:  mandatory data plan. Even if you're willing to go wifi-only with data and restrict cellular to voice service your carrier won't allow you to not have a data plan. Well I'm here to say that there is a way to avoid the mandatory data plan (for now) but going that route does have a few pitfalls...

August 16, 2012

Mockup Tools FTW #DesignGeek

The more I strive to meet customer expectations for excellent web-based applications the more I come to appreciate the value of mock-ups and prototypes.  While we were still dating my now-wife worked as a User Experience engineer for Dell and routinely batted me (a Dell software engineer) over the head with the subject of usability years before "Web 2.0"  and user-experience were en vogue.  She gifted me with Jakob Nielsen books and offered (unasked-for) assistance in critiquing my own applications.  Back then low-fidelity prototypes and early user feedback were still a novel idea.  Now, however, I find them to be nearly-indispensable steps in satisfying customer expectations...

August 13, 2012

I challenge you to a Bottle of Wits! #MovieGeek

Bottle Of WitsYeah, you read that right:  a Bottle of Wits!  As if I didn't already love the Alamo Drafthouse more than is reasonably healthy, Tim League went and made a special deal to be able to offer these Bottles of Wits.

Wits comes in As you Wish White and Inconceivable Cab.  If you somehow aren't already a huge Princess Bride fan, this is a reference to the Battle of Wits that occurs after the protagonist inconceivably overcomes a few major obstacles. The Battle involved the drinking of wine thus making these Bottles of Wits an awesomely-appropriate tie-in.

The Alamo Drafthouse is selling this specialty line in celebration of the movie's 25th anniversary.  Bottled Wits start at $28 and range up to $100 for a two-bottle "fan pack" with a t-shirt and wine glass charms.  Is $28 wine not your thing?  You can also get just a t-shirt or just the you wish.

Rapid Austin growth to continue...for 30 years! #DemographyGeek

IHS Global Insight recently named Austin the US city with the biggest potential for population growth over the next 30 years. The average expected population growth for US metropolitan areas is around 30%. By contrast, Austin's expected growth is a staggering 91%! If you're a patient sort of person it may be time to invest in some real estate...

August 7, 2012

Tech panel in two weeks #SpeakingGeek

My next technology speaking panel engagement happens in two weeks.  I love these things and wish I had the opportunity to participate in more of them.  This one will be a private event sponsored by a local tech company and attendance is restricted to its own employees so.... let's describe the expected turnout as "intimate".  While it's always gratifying and humbling to think that any group of people might actually care to hear what I have to say on some subject, the real thrill for me is simply in meeting and talking with attendees.  I always learn something, make interesting new contacts and come away with a renewed sense of purpose to go immerse myself in some new technology or another.

If you need to fill an empty speaking-panel slot at your next tech event please keep me in mind!  I also have very reasonable "talking tech" rates for birthday parties, weddings, QuinceaƱeras...