Category Archives: fun

olf 2013 in the bag

This past weekend I went to OLF with my friend Peter and a fella who’s now more than an acquaintance, Nathaniel – one of the lead devs for FreeIPA at Red Hat.

Got to go to a variety of great talks and sessions, met some awesome folks, and just generally enjoyed the geek weekend 🙂

I’ll be talking about the weekend at tonight’s BGLUG IRL Meeting – if you’re in the Lexington area, come on out to Eagle Creek Library at 1800 (I know – short warning … but come anyway).

I’ll post more throughout the week on the different sessions and what I learned – also, I was one (of many) who live-tweeted large portions of the fest: #olf2013 and #ohiolinux on Twitter.

an rts or tbs game like aoe or civ, but where the player only influences via stealth and espionage

That may be the longest blog title I’ve ever had.

I know I will never be a game developer. I thought several years ago it would be something I’d like to get into, but it’s just not me.

However, I do enjoy playing certain kinds of games – especially the strategy and puzzle varieties.

I would love to see a real-time (like Age of Empires) or turn-based (like Sid Meyer’s Civilization) strategy game where the player affects his nation’s status, power, influence, and vitality via special operations, espionage, and other “non-traditional” game elements.

For example, how fun could it be to play the Barbarians in Civilization? Be the ancient equivalent to modern terror or guerrilla groups. Wouldn’t it be a blast to play the what-ifs of a successful CIA operation at the Bay of Pigs? Or how about being the controller in charge of spies like Mata Hari?

I’d play that. I’d even consult on what I think would make good game play actions and objectives.

Most of all, I’d buy that game.

maps

I love maps. I have a calendar with historical maps on my wall next to my desk. I love books based around atlases (such as the Historical Atlas of series (many by Ian Barnes (similarly related review)). I like going to museums, visiting websites, used book shops, etc and just peruse the maps. I used to have a small collection of rail and bus transit maps from around the world (London, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York City, Washington DC, Chicago …). On my phone I have Apple Maps, Google Maps, MapQuest, Scout, TeleNav, Park Me, and Google Earth.

I love books like 1421 by Gavin Menzies (my review) that have histories of map making, ancient maps reproduced, etc.

When I graduated from HVCC in 2001, I had hoped to join many of my classmates from school at MapInfo. I think GIS is fascinating (and know someone, now, who works for the KY government doing GIS).

I wish I could be a cartographer.

I can’t draw, though – so I sate my appetite for geography via reading maps others have made.

Data visualization, which is all map-making is, is another, broader interest of mine – but also one I don’t have enough of a grasp of to work with intelligently too often.

All this leads me to ask for the best introduction to GIS you have seen for someone interested in cartography, and with a basic knowledge of system design and architecture. What would it be?

gardening efficiently – for fun and profit

I have gardened off and on for most of my life. Back in the 1980s, there was a show called “Square Foot Gardening” on PBS hosted by Mel Bartholomew. Now there is a website. When we lived in Albany, we purchased the book Square Foot Gardening (which has been updated and simplified even further by Mel Bartholomew in the intervening years, and is now titled All New Square Foot Gardening (I reviewed SFG a while back)). I also own a copy of the companion text, CA$H from Square Foot Gardening – though I never put any of the suggestions into practice for personal money-making.

In college, I took a course on the culture of food, and my term paper was entitled, “Eating off the Grid” (intro page and associated diagrams). The basic premise of the paper was that an efficiently-designed, efficiently-grown, and strategically-planned small garden can provide for individuals, families, or even whole neighborhoods – all with minimal up-front investment, and reduced on-going care cost and effort.

With a recent rise on the popularity of “locavore” eating, and the relative increase in observed popularity of canning, farmer’s markets, etc, it seems that for many people, growing at least some of their own food should be a “no brainer”.

My wife and I have had a small (6×6) garden in our backyard for a couple years. Out of that space, we [typically] get not only a substantially better harvest than her dad does using a 50×100 plot in “garden farming” (aka, the “traditional” method of gardening, wherein folks try to grow miniaturized farms instead of scaling-up window gardens) – just a small example, the dozen or so hand melon vines he had took 1/4 of the total ground space of his garden … which is nuts!

I love making salsa, for example – this past summer out of just 4 plants, I got 4x more serrano peppers than I could use … and I can use a lot of serrano peppers 🙂

The basics of SFG are easy – build a 4’x4′ box at least 6″ deep (full plans and kits are available in the books and on the website – or you can see the end of the paper I wrote). The soil mix is also easy – peat moss, compost (which you will be able to create on your own going forward once you start gardening, if you have a small space in the back part of your yard), and vermiculite. Everything is organic, and because the individual plots are so small, keeping-up with weeds is a cinch.

I’m not going to replicate everything in the books here – they’re just too chock-full to do full justice in a blog post, and they’re so accessible without being condescending, that I can’t give a higher recommendation to read and own them.

thanks, {redacted}

A friend and coworker owns a cabin in the Smoky Mountains, and invited my wife and I to spend part-to-all of a week with him and his wife there at the beginning of March – doing a “WFC1” week instead of being ‘merely’ WFH2 (like we normally are)..

He arrived Saturday morning with his wife, and my wife and I arrived that evening.

Sadly, he had to leave early, and couldn’t stay the whole week – but my wife and I were able to enjoy all the way through the middle of the week before we also needed to leave to get back to “the real world”.

So, thanks, {redacted} for letting us crash with you, and then stay after you 🙂


1 work from cabin
2 work from home