Friday Oct 02, 2009

Gonzalez Goes GeekAndPoke: My First Co-Authored Webcomic

A while ago, I highlighted a few of my favourite web comics. Little did I know then, that today I was going to be part of one. Here's the story:

Yesterday, @moellus complained yet again about his eternal nemesis, the NT admin, by saying something like: "Damn, can't unfollow the NT admin because he doesn't twitter - here's why - that's the sh\*# he sends me!" (Original Tweet)

That reminded me of the famous insult by the late Douglas Adams from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", in which Arthur Dent says about the Vogons: "I wish I had a daughter so I could forbid her to marry one..."

So I twittered back that "I wish you were on Twitter so I could unfollow you!" must be the new worst insult you can do in 2009 and asked Oliver whether that would make a nice Geek And Poke cartoon.

Today, I'm proud to be part of the "Geek And Poke"-uversum, here's the cartoon:

Geek And Poke, October 1st, 2009: Post 2.0 Insulting (Guest Writer Cartoon)

I guess, to be "GeekAndPoked" is the new "Slashdotted" :). Thanks, Oliver!


P.S.: @moellus: Actually, to a geek, in 2009, sending someone a box of Windows 7 is like the medieval slapping with a glove. Don't take it lightly and get your LART-whip ready!

Tuesday May 20, 2008

Geek Marketing

This morning, I listened to the "Blick über den Tellerrand" podcast, where Alex Wunschel gives us his thoughts and findings on the "Blogosphere, Podosphere, Web x.0 and User/Corporate-generated Knicknack". In one of his latest episodes, he interviewed Steve Rubel

Steve Rubel is a PR expert and author of one of the most read blogs called "Micropersuasion". In one of his articles, published through his employer Edelman Digital, he lists nine digital trends for the future. One of the trends that caught my attention is "Geek Marketing".

In a blog post, he further explains the concept: Technology is moving so fast, that marketing divisions are increasingly hiring geeks to help them understand developments in IT better. A geek marketer therefore is a link between technology and marketing people.

Cool. That's what I've been doing over the last year or so. I just didn't know there was a name for it! 

At Sun, we have a lot of geeks (they're mostly called "SEs" or "System Engineers") and we don't have much marketing (we'd rather spend the money on creating cool technology such as ZFS, UltraSPARC T2 or project Blackbox to name a few). But those few marketers we have, are really at the edge of the digital age. Starting from our long history of employee blogs, through our presence on Second Life to the Systemhelden.com portal (with the HELDENFunk podcast) - Our marketing people know what's hot and cool in the digital world, and how to engage the Sun geek communities to help them make cool stuff happen.

This fits very well with the book I'm currently reading: Dan Pink "A Whole New Mind". In this book, Pink argues that the virtues of the left half of the brain (typically associated with logical thinking) are not enough for today's global and networked world, in which left-brain work is increasingly outsourced to Asia and other emerging countries. In other words: If you want to keep your job, you better start thinking about your right half of your brain.

Right-brain work is quite interesting. Pink introduces six new aptitudes: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Meaning are senses that complement the Information Age worker's logical skills and help him be successful in the new "Conceptual Age".

So, without knowing, by participating in all this video, podcasting, blogging and Web 2.0 stuff, studying better ways of doing presentations and gaming on a Wii, DS or a Playstation, we're actually training the right half of our brains.

Who knew work could actually be that much fun?

Edit:

Added a link to the actual Tellerrand episode. Bummer!

P.S.: The photo shows me in front of a lot of technology. I find this quite fitting the geek theme. The technology is actually a nuclear fusion reactor in Garching. Yes, the kind of stuff you see in superhero movies right before someone gets a new superpower. Didn't seem to work on me, though. 

Friday May 02, 2008

Favourite Free Fun Geek Cartoons to Cheer you up!

World economy bad? Financial results lower than expected? Stock price down the toilet? Or just bad weather?

No need to worry, last time I checked, after rain, always came the Sun, and it was stronger than ever!

Meanwhile, let me cheer you up with some favourite geek cartoons of mine:

User Friendly

User Friendly, April 15th, 2008 This strip depicts the life of the heroic employees of an ISP called "Columbia Internet". It's something like the Dilbert of sysadmins, if you will. Lots of fun references to geek culture. And if you travel often by plane, you'll enjoy the strip above, it's ah, so true... For more background, read the Wikipedia entry on User Friendly.

XKCD

The future of Solaris Network Auto-Magic

Above you see the future of the Solaris Network Auto-Magic (NWAM) feature. How could the author know? xkcd is "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language", and very funny. It became famous for it's depiction of online communities as a world map. Read more about xkcd in its about page.

Geek and Poke

Geek and Poke on Enterprise 2.0 

...and now you know the real reason why Peter and I like to drive Enterprise 2.0 at Sun :). Geek and Poke is another self-published cartoon by a guy from Hamburg called Oliver Widder.

All of these cartoons come with a license to make them redistributable, so I'm glad I could put some of my favourite strips on this page and I hope they have cheered you up a bit :). If you want some more fun, it's easy: Just click on the cartoons above to see more. But be careful, they are addictive...

What other great geek cartoons did I miss? What are your favourites? Leave a comment!

Thursday Sep 20, 2007

Robot Surgery 101

A Roomba vacuuming robot.Today, Roomba was ill. Roomba is our vacuuming robot.

How come we have one? Well, during CeBIT 2006 I met Roger Meike. He works at SunLabs and was presenting one of my favourite projects: Sun SPOT. Anyway, we talked a bit about robots and if they really can be useful or just expensive toys. He recommended Roomba to me and said it would really work.

So I checked out the iRobot home page. Gosh! Their main business is building robots for military purposes! You know, just like in the movies with robot arms and belt-drive, searching for bombs, that kind of thing. So if there is a company capable of building a real working vacuum bot, then it must be these guys. Millions of dollars of robot research hovering around my home for just a few hundred bucks.

It actually works well and Roomba has been vacuuming our home for quite a while now. The deal is this: You save time because you don't have to vacuum your home, Roomba does it while you're away working or at the supermarket. It may be slower, but it doesn't steal you time, so it really acts as a time-saver. If you save, say 15 minutes of time per week by not vacuuming and value your free time at, say 10-20 dollars per hour, then you have more than paid off the cost of a Roomba after a year or two. And you can have a lot of geek fun too!

Anyway, today Roomba decided to not work correctly anymore, it would spin around in circles and never go straight. After checking iRobot's support area and some forums, it seemed to be the bumper sensor. But thorough cleaning of the robot and more or less gentle banging on its bumper wouldn't improve Roomba's behaviour much. More drastic measures were needed.

Thanks to some diagnostic instructions I found on the web, it became clear that the right bumper sensor was really kinda stuck. Fortunately, I found some well-documented disassembly instructions and was able to remove the bumper assembly to check out the sensors. Roomba uses a lot of optical sensors, even for the mechanical stuff (based on rods interrupting light flow etc.) which make them very robust, but sometimes sensitive to dust cluttering. Now that the sensors have all been cleared, our Roomba is back and can continue to happily vacuum our home again!

Wednesday Sep 19, 2007

Say Hello to our new Web 2.0 Bunny

Nabomuk the Nabaztag"Hello, my name is Constantin and I have a cyber-bunny." This is probably something I'll say during the next "Geeks anonymous" meeting after my wife forces me to see a shrink or something...

Anyway, meet our new guest at the Gonzalez home: Nabomuk! As you can see, he is a rabbit-ish looking little plastic high-tech fella. I didn't find a carrot this evening but he seems to like bananas, too.

Nabomuk is a Nabaztag, a new breed of Web 2.0 rabbits that are currently multiplying all over the world. They're a clever new "connected object" idea by a n innovative french company called Violet. A Nabaztag tells the weather and stock market trends, it can receive messages (Meet me on Facebook to try it out) and read RSS feeds and there's an API to program your own stuff for. It performs Tai-Chi with it's ears multiple times per day (this is not a joke), tells the time and it comes with an RFID reader that it uses to "sniff" objects. What a fun little gadget!

Of course, most of the rabbit is happening at some datacenter somewhere in the world. According to the Nabaztag entry in Wikipedia, the Nabaztag Website experienced serious service disruption problems after being overwhelmed by the many Christmas 2006 NabazTransactions. See? We told you we developed UltraSPARC T2 and Solaris with a purpose in mind! So if you happen to know anybody at Nabaztag, or if someone from Nabaztag is reading this blog, we have just the right solution for your datacenter...

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