Some Traveling Tips for Geeks

I apologize for the delay in posting over the last 2 months (both regarding part 2 of the Python bot series and new articles in general). I’ve been doing a lot of traveling not keeping up on things as well as I should. So in that vein, I’ve decided to write a post with some quick tips on traveling for the technologically-inclined.

  1. Skype, Skype, Skype. If you are going international, get an account and prepay for some phone time. Then buy a portable headset and microphone. Whether you bring a laptop with you or go to Internet cafes, Skype will allow you to make calls for incredibly low rates anywhere you can get an internet connection. For me right now, my cell phone costs 50x what Skype does per minute to call back to the USA.
  2. Manage servers? Sign up with Pingdom for active monitoring. You can then rest assured that as long as you aren’t getting emails or SMS messages, your servers are working fine. This is a good idea even if you aren’t traveling, but since you might be checking your voicemail less (or never) if you are on the go, moving more communication to email can be very helpful. This of course requires you to still check email but you might be already planing on doing this anyway.
  3. A Nintendo DS can help you pass time on long flights and train rides. But to carry less stuff, get a mod card and put all your games on one cartridge. Only games you already legally own of course (wink wink).
  4. On a budget and/or want to meet more people? I recommend exploring the options of couch surfing and staying at youth hostels. In either situation you might end up scoring free wifi as a great bonus.
  5. Use online apps to help plan your trip and save money.

Have a safe and happy trip!

WordPress as Your Ultimate Social Network-Part 1

It’s 2008. We are all now spewing information about ourselves in every which way. This is great for sharing our lives online and using the internet as a social medium. The only problem with this is that this system begins to break down more with each additional service that you use. And you have to use multiple services, since you have different friends and audiences on each. You have no choice in the matter. What’s worse, they don’t always often almost-ever play well together. It’s like they don’t even care about you.

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Why You Never Die

I’ve been thinking a lot about the brain’s relationship with consciousness lately. I realize that while I don’t recall my birth, its fairly assured that I did experience it, and consciously at that with all that screaming and crying that I’m positive accompanied the event. My ability to recall memories, and even my understanding of the world around me is undoubtedly a function of the facilities present in my brain. Yet, I was still conscious and existing at a time where those facilities weren’t yet performing. I existed, in a sense, without my brain.

So where am I going with all this you ask. Remember when you where a kid and years seemed to go a lot slower? Well, a new year in your life was a much larger percentage of your total conscious existence. From age 4 to age 5 (probably right around your earlier memories that you can recall) you experienced a total of 25% more lifespan. Now, one more year in your life results in a much smaller additional percentage. Your perception of time is completely based on this.

I think the clock begins to swing the opposite way as we approach death. As you go down to your last seconds of life, and then milliseconds and microseconds, your perception of time will spike to infinity like the limits we learned about in Calculus. You won’t be existing as part of the world we live in and understand now, because you step off that bus and approach infinity, but it doesn’t end.

It just stretches, forever.

(apologies to American Beauty)