just one more geek in a sea of austin techies

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween #ZombieGeek

A few weeks ago local-IT-company-done-good Spiceworks premiered a second video combining IT and Zombies. It's "part 2" so you'll want to watch it back-to-back with "part 1". These videos were filmed and edited by Spiceworks' own staff here in Austin, Texas. I'm lucky enough to have visited the company's headquarters a few times and have met a number of people featured in the videos. The company works hard to foster a fun, friendly environment and does a great job carrying that approach all the way through to their customers. These IT Zombie Apocalypse videos are a good example of that company culture.

(Note: The company mascot is a T-Rex. Just so you know.)



October 30, 2012

Gawker DR Scrutiny #DisasterRecoveryGeek

Gawker, Lifehacker and 
others surprise with no 
Business Continuity plan. 
At the time of this writing the latest "storm of the century" (hybrid storm/hurricane Sandy) is still working its wrath across a major portion of the US. The expected devastation has occurred across a number of states including loss of life, property, coastline, etc. Power outages and flooding were a given but what is unexpected is the loss of some well-known websites that, apparently, were hosted only in Manhattan. As in the island of Manhattan. Who would choose to have their popular, highly-trafficked websites hosted on servers located on a tiny island using an infrastructure already pushed to the limits by a densely-packed population? Here are a few such websites...

October 24, 2012

Web Stats and Your Target Audience #AnalyticsGeek

General web stats don't tell 
the whole story and can 
sometimes severely mislead.
Web browsing stats are a regular news item: mobile device browsing gaining heavily on desktop browsing, IE use still outnumbers Firefox use, etc. We hear the general trends but rarely the fine details. IE users continuing to outnumber Firefox users? Not within tech circles. Chrome now more popular than either IE or Firefox? Not even close for web-based content related to health (as we'll see).

Because generalizations don't tell the whole story I regularly review statistics for sites I create and maintain, both business and personal. In that vein I thought I'd share some "targeted audience" stats and highlight a few trends...

October 22, 2012

XKCD graphs via Python #CodeGeek

XCKD web comic influence has now
crossed over to Python programming code. 
Say "XKCD-style" and a great number of people will know exactly what you mean. For everyone else XKCD is a web-based comic that has steadily gained rep among geeks, especially coders and math nerds. The visual style is decidedly sparse and obviously hand drawn -- the focus is on the ideas, not the artwork. In this sense XKCD is very similar to mock-up tools that purposely generate "rough sketches" rather than polished facades.

In the past month a movement has popped up among coders to create "XKCD style" graphing routines. In just a matter of weeks several solutions have surfaced but the first I happened to run across was written in Python...

October 16, 2012

Nokia FAIL Wireless Charging #PhoneGeek

Nokia 920 wireless charging. 
Every year a company raises hopes that wireless charging of mobile devices will finally move to mainstream. And every year such hopes are dashed when product details are revealed. Typically the issues are price and availability: either your device isn't supported or the equipment costs far too much.

Enter 2012/2013 and the Nokia 920/820 smartphones with optional wireless charging. Huzzah! Nokia is fighting for life and really needs to outshine its competitors with unique devices brimming with advanced features. Wireless charging is a perfect fit! Too bad, then, that Nokia also seems intent on maximizing phone accessory profits...

October 13, 2012

New Dog #TwitterGeek

I couldn't resist turning this tweet into a photo. The tweet is courtesy of @johnmoe, former host of Marketplace Tech Report and current host/writer/performer/humorist of MPR's WITS. This one manages to rate a post on ATXGeek thanks to its tech-related source (that's my excuse, at least)...

October 2, 2012

Nest: Updated But Still Not Complete #GadgetGeek

The Original Nest Thermostat
Nest is the company that brought "Apple-influenced design" to thermostats by creating a beautiful, super-advanced yet super-simple device. The Nest shipped less than a year ago and the company has already unveiled it's successor: a sleeker, more advanced update of the original.

The Nest is to thermostats what the original iPhone was to smartphones: a huge leap forward and a shining example of the type of modern features and design we should expect from our major home appliances. As good as it is, though, the Nest is still not "complete"...

October 1, 2012

iOS: Four Walls and No Gate #MobileGeek

iOS vs. Android? 
Consider the roads...
Van Baker, an analyst from Gartner (the world's largest technology research and advisory company) who analyzes Apple products, was recently quoted on the iOS-versus-Android smartphone debate as saying Android is heralded mostly by "technologists" while iOS is more often supported by "fans". The implication is that Android proponents have concrete, technical reasons backing their choice while iOS proponents are more simply driven by fandom.

I agree with the "technologists" part of the assessment but, taking a few steps back, I also doubt there would be any serious complaints if iOS had remained the only game in town. Why? Let's compare mobile technology to US roadways...