Monday, December 31, 2012

Raspberry Pi finally arrived

I first signed up to order a Raspberry Pi in February. The huge demand and delays meant my order did not get processed until July 27 - two months after my credit card had expired. I ordered again through a different company and paid by bank transfer. Now 5 months later, I have a Raspberry Pi and it is plugged into our TVwith HDMI and has a wireless keyboard/mouse and Wifi connection. I have configured it so I can access it remotely from anywhere and the next step is to learn some Python programming on Codecademy or find some software for it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Have a Safe Merry Christmas Nerds

Today's Computer History Daily Quote by The Printed Owl says:
The term "nerd" comes from an original spelling "knurd." The term is originated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the late 1940s. Students who party and rarely study are called "drunks," while students who are always studying are known as "knurds" (drunks spelled backwards). The TV show Happy Days gives the phrase its national popularity.
So following this curious snippet of computer history is our Public Service Announcement:

Nerds, have a safe and responsible Christmas, because a "Drunk Knurd" may cause some sort of self-annihilation space-time paradox and we have only just recovered from the recent Mayan Calendar Apocalypse.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Are you a Geek or Nerd?

Last month the BBC featured an article: Are 'geek' and 'nerd' now positive terms? telling how Swedish campaigners are trying to force changes to the derogatory dictionary definitions of geek and nerd:

    noun /gēk/ 
    geeks, plural
    1. An unfashionable or socially inept person

      • A person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest
        • - a computer geek
      • A carnival performer who does wild or disgusting acts

      noun /nərd/ nurds, plural
      1. A foolish or contemptible person who lacks social skills or is boringly studious
        • - one of those nerds who never asked a girl to dance
      2. An intelligent, single-minded expert in a particular technical discipline or profession
        • - he single-handedly changed the Zero image of the computer nerd into one of savvy Hero

    When I was at school in the 80's, the definitions were a good fit. The "nerd" was the guy who spent his lunchtimes in the library studying. He lacked social skills, was boringly studious and went on to become a pathologist. Personal computers were new then and us "geeks" hung out in the computer lab whenever we could. We were a little unfashionable and eccentric and did not get invited to parties.

    From xkcd: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language 
    Now many (rich and) famous geeks and nerds are almost worshipped by the masses hungry for their latest electronic creations. A lot of the top rating movies and television shows feature geeks and nerds as heroes. The terms now have more positive meaning. New Zealand geeks got their own second level domain in 2003. is "a place for geeks to share what they've done, who they did it with and connect with great companies and communities".

    Geeks vs Nerds

    My "Geekly" playlist on GrooveShark:

    Geekly by Peter Murray on Grooveshark

    More reading:
    How to tell the difference between Geeks and Nerds: 7 steps.
    Essential Nerd Movies

    Friday, December 14, 2012

    Rugged ultraportable 2.1 speaker

    The Boombot is a smart ultraportable 2.1 sound system in a ruggedized industrial package. Designed as a headset replacement for on-the-go quality sound the Boombot wirelessly connects to mobile devices. The steel reinforced belt clip and water resistant shell encourage the user to pick it up, clip it on and add a soundtrack to their life in motion. With the built-in microphone and three simple buttons the Siri-compatible Boombot offers speakerphone functionality too.

    Find out more on the Kickstarter Project and Boombotix website.

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Pinokio - lamp, robot, friend?

    Pinokio is a humble anglepoise lamp created by Shanshan Zhou, Adam Ben-Dror, Joss Doggett with the ability to be aware of its surroundings and behave in an attention seeking manner.