Category Archives: Geeky/Nerdy Stuff

First Snow and Luge 2.0

First Snow!

Sam and I took the kids out to play in the snow while we cleaned up.

We found some scrap lumber that had been lining the floor of our old “plastic garage” that collapsed last winter. That got us to thinking more about our winter project this year, Luge 2.0

Last year was rather epic, with snowblowers to move the snow, many men shovelling and lots of on the fly engineering to build the greatest backyard sledding hill of all time.

This year we think we have it beat. Luge 2.0 has the following features.

  • 14′ dished ramp
  • 7′ vertical drop (from the deck railing height)
  • 3 1/2′ high table platform for loading (possibly built out of pallets with 2×4 cross supports and a chipboard “floor”
  • safety railing on one side of ramp
  • safety railing on one side of table
  • Possible tarp wrapping on ramp to protect and enhance sledding speed
  • 110% pure awesomeness
  • so far, constructed entirely of imagination

Anyone want to help?  We will need to somewhat build this in place as neither of us have the math to properly engineer it.  We’re going to use recycled wood as much as possible, both to be environmentally friendly (ok, I’m not really that green) and to save money. (Yep, this is the real reason.)

I’ve attached our plans as currently drawn.  They aren’t all that much to scale, and they’re certainly not measured.  Angles on plans mean nothing, use your imagination to envision the true awesomeness that these plans represent.

Then call us, so you can help.  With your muscles and time and brains and overall coolness.  You need to prove your coolness.  Come help with Luge 2.0!

 Rough Luge Draft 2.0 Luge 2.0

Rough engineering draft for Luge 2.0

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Homeward bound

I’m in the van, heading home from Kluskus.  It was a pretty good trip really.  Travel time is 2.5 hours either way, and we managed to spend only 4 hours onsite in the village.  We fixed the Internet, got about 12 computers networked, set up a couple printers and overall tidied things up.

 

I’m not sure how Chris is doing, or whether he’s been transferred out of Quesnel yet.  I’ll know by the time I get this posted though, as I won’t have Internet for another hour or so.

Go See Dr. Horrible

If you havn’t done so yet, go watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  Go watch it now.

Then let me know if you’re surprised that Neil Patrick Harris can sing.  I was.

This is possibly the most amazing direct to internet superhero musical that I’ve ever seen.  And it’s only available until midnight tonight.  Probably EST.  Because that’s how things usually go.

PMOG

What is PMOG you may ask.

I would answer thusly.

“That is a very good question. According to their website it is a ‘Passivley Multiplayer Game’, but the real truth goes a little deeper than that. Allow me to give you a link to where you can get it, and then I will discuss it further below.”

Perhaps the first interesting look at PMOG should be this webcomic detailing in sort of poetic form the descent of one into the PMOG world. That is to say, the underground of the internet in the real world.

You can find the original sized comics at http://pmog.com/codex/appendices/metamorphosis

Here is the general idea. First, you install a firefox toolbar. This “voluntary spyware” tracks your surfing history and you begin to gain coins and whatnot passively, while you surf normally. You can easily turn it off or on, and change lots of it’s settings.

Now that you have your toolbar enabled, you can “find” things that other people have placed on the internet. For example, I’m going to place a crate on my website with some coins in it. If you are the next “pmogian” to come along, you will see a crate pop up, and you can choose to take what is inside.

So, it’s sort of like a treasure hunt, right? Yep. It’s also a little more.

Pmogians can leave missions on websites too. Missions (should you choose to accept them) take you on a guided tour of the internet, linking from page to page. I’m going to build one based on my linked blogs on the sidebar.

Portals, when you see them, mysteriously take you to another website. Why? Well, you’d have to ask those who dropped them. Sometimes it might be because they like another site better, and want to let other pmogians know. Sometimes it could be because they just want to cause mischief. ;)

I haven’t figured out lightposts yet. Their description says “Lightposts light up the areas between web sites. They make visible connections that were dark before.” Ah, I see. If I read a little further it tells me that lightposts are required to make missions. Neat.

Mines can be dropped on websites, and when you step on one they take away some of your datapoints (coins).

Armour can be worn to protect against mine attacks.

Coins/Datapoints are collected at each new site you go to. (Each day, or ever, or something. I’m not quite sure. I’ve found a way of farming them, and in only a day and a bit have collected over 600 of them. Since I’m using firefox I do a search in google and go along and open every link in a new tab. I do this for as many as I have patience for and then close all tabs and start again! Whew! Internet surfing at speed!

Now, depending what you do there are different factions you will be joined to. Bedouins for example are known to wear armour to protect themselves. Vigilantes foil others mischief by placing St. Nicks on their profiles, blocking them from doing their next action. There are others, fly over to pmog.com to see what they are like.

Feel free to come along and join me. My username is Suprspi, and I’d be happy to have you as an acquaintance. Or just take my mission and see what I like best on the internet in the world of blogs, comics and random stuff.

I should mention that I found this game, like so much other cool stuff I’ve found on the internet, from Wil Wheaton. Will is also playing PMOG, but I don’t know his name yet. This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the internet in a long time, and I really encourage you all to check it out.

Yes, I am a geek.

Today I managed to get PGP encryption working with my gmail account. I had to install WinPT and PGP on my computer and generate a key pair. I have a private key, and a public key. I encrypt things with my private key, and anyone who has my public key can decrypt it. Decrypting it also proves that it was my private key that encrypted it – so if you got encrypted email from me you would know that it was me that sent it.

To get it to work with my gmail I had to install firegpg, which you can get at the link.

This is what a block of PGP encrypted text looks like.

—–BEGIN PGP MESSAGE—–
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)
Comment: http://getfiregpg.org

hQIOA9FJ9FpNoFGwEAgAmtq5XTl04bP

BeFhNBUNhPbx33R30Nvgs3BlOMz/P9VNy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=G3YD
—–END PGP MESSAGE—–
So you can see, it’s not readable. The following text is a decryption from that email.
This is a test of PGP.–
https://jeffandsamplus2.wordpress.com
– The Family Blog
http://runfatboyrun.wordpress.com
– My Fitness Blog

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”
– AA Milne

“The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” – Douglas Adams

In case anyone is geeky enough to want to exchange encrypted email with me, this is my public key:
pub 1024D/E6707F9E 06/05/2008 Jeff Closs <suprspi@gmail.com>
Primary key fingerprint: C60F 0789 3667 C363 193B EFA7 5CCF 483F E670 7F9E—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–
Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32) – WinPT 1.2.0
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=vEcb
—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–

So, there we go. My geekery for the day. If you have any questions, feel free to comment away.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

This is the space that I’ll come back and use to plug Cory Doctorow’s book, Little Brother.  It’s hard to give it a strong enough reccomendation, but I’ll come back and try.

PS.  You can download it for free from his site at the link up above.  You have no excuse not to read this book.

PPS.  Cory Doctorow is Canadian.  For what it’s worth.  To me, that’s a bit.

PPPS.  This is a story about being a geek, and a bit of a social misfit.  If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty solid chance you will connect with the protagonist.

PPPPS.  If you are somehow in charge of getting books into the hands of kids, this might be one to get onto the young adult shelves.  *hint, hint*

PPPPPS.  This is a book I want my kids to read when they’re 13 or older.  I may force it on them, but I know the old horse and water adage.  That’s ok, I’ve got 11 years to figure out how to get them to read it, starting with buying a couple of copies.

Various and Sundry

Sitting at home, chillin.

Sam is tired, she’s been up since before 3am. She just had a contraction at 10:37 – so we are measuring to find the next one before we call our Mom’s back and give them the update. Also, more to the point for Sam, she can try and get some sleep after the next one.

We went shopping this morning, washed the truck. Put the infant seat in. Bought some necessities.

Now we’re sitting at home, so I did a geeky test, this is the result I got.

You are a dog
Or maybe you are a mosquito, you certainly can’t be human.The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 21.1kHz
Find out which ultrasonic ringtones you can hear!

I figured I’d take the test online, and find out what is the highest of the “silent” ringtones I can here.  Turns out I have pretty good ears still, surprisingly.

More later.