Friday, March 28, 2008

Evolution of a (RSS) reader

It used to be, I couldn't understand the appeal of RSS. Now, I can't imagine staying up to date with reality without it.

I don't have to check sites to see when they update -- they tell me. And for many sites, I never have to go there at all. I apologize to all the graphic designers of the world, but sometimes I just enjoy reading the text in plain old black on white.

Anyway, you can see what kind of changes life has brought me by looking at my RSS feeds. The standard geeky fare is still there and always will be, but what's supplemented it over time? Well, the most recent changes are in the area of personal finance and parenting, and the intersection of the two.

When did I go from reading about new user-created maps for online FPSes to researching baby strollers?

And why doesn't it bug me?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First Gygax, now Clarke

Today, a true legend passed away. Arthur C. Clarke, best known for authoring 2001, died at the age of 90.

I was introduced to Clarke in high school, when I went on a classic science fiction kick, starting with some of Heinlein's work. I think I read 2001, 2010, Rendezvous with Rama, Childhood's End, and one of his short story collections all in the same year. Childhood's End sticks with me the most, all these years later.

Clarke was not just a brilliant writer, he was a scientist and a revolutionary.

I am sad to see him go.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Blogging at work and at home

I've written in the past about my "split identities" at work and at home. I caught myself today, while folding laundry, thinking about work. More specifically, I was thinking about my work blog. I am going to be taking a trip to a conference in May, and the prep work for that conference will make a great recurring topic for days when I don't have something fundamentally cool to say at work.

It's odd to make the shift from thinking about "I should totally blog about the movies I watched this weekend" to "I have a great topic for my work blog." But while one or two people might find my movie reviews interesting, a hundred co-workers or more will see my new blog post's headline and I know at least a half-dozen or more will read it. It might not be as fun, but it's reaching a larger audience and from a totally selfish standpoint will get my name mentioned in circles I'd never be in otherwise.

But it eats at the same pool of writing energy. So instead of thinking about a clever way to package up my weekend's activities into a blog post, I'm thinking of a way to stretch 8 weeks of prep for a conference into a series of posts. And as a result, you get to read about, well, why I find that whole process interesting....

Friday, March 07, 2008

Video Game Geek Moments

True video game geeks know what I'm talking about -- a sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from battling against a given level/task in a game for a long period of time until it's finally beaten. It is even more fun if it's a cooperative multiplayer game. I have many happy memories of getting past difficult parts of tons of games with various friends through the years.

Tonight, my wife and I finally got a rainbow on the "Special 1" level in Pixeljunk Monsters, a budget "tower defense" game, for the PS3. This means nothing to the vast majority of you, but it was the culmination of daily play for some time, and it was a shared accomplishment. In fact, it was Jess's idea to try a variation on our strategy that I think led to the victory.

It's pretty cool to be able to share that specific geeky feeling of accomplishment with the mother of my future child, I must say :).

Thursday, March 06, 2008

15 weeks to go

Our wonderful baby is still growing and getting stronger and bigger by the day. Jess feels frequent kicks and moves, and today's doctor's appointment and ultrasound showed everything going according to schedule. Here she is trying to call me a loser by making an "L" on her forehead.