I Moved to Chicago

I forgot to mention it here, but I have returned to the US from Amsterdam. It was dizzying.

But the pizza is helping. 

Changing the Grey Background in Word 2011

Does anyone know how to change the grey borders in Word for Mac 2011's Print Layout view? I did a couple searches and didn't find a simple fix. I'd like to put dragons there. Or angry snowmen. 

Trolling the Internet on Independence Day

I decided to troll Twitter on the 4th of July by tweeting this:

People thought I was serious. They flipped out. I laughed and laughed. 

Here are a few of my favorite responses:

There's much more gold where that came from. Someone added my tweet to a few others in the same vein and put it on Tumblr, where the following image has garnered more than 51k notes.

And it's on Reddit, of course. 

Which led to an appearance on Gawker. That was mindblowing. 

In short: This is the most fun I've had on the internet since sliced bread.

UPDATE: 

It also popped up on Fail Blog, naturally.

UPDATE 2:

And it featured in Buzzfeed's 33 Dumbest Things That Happened This Year. Scroll to No. 33. 

Alternatives to "Sneak Peek"

Everyone uses the phrase "sneak peek" when they're describing the early release of information.

Marketers, journalists, politicians, fortune tellers - everyone.

It's overused. We need replacements.

A few suggestions:

  • Here's an early whirl with the new...
  • Take an advance glance at the upcoming...
  • Here's a creeping peeping of the new...

 Got more? Gimme.

(Image credit: Kirillee)

Weird News Feed Timing

I posted the top image mere moments after the bottom image was posted. I'm a little freaked out by the similarity - but maybe it's just me?

Wifi Access in Exchange for a Facebook Like

I was at the gym recently and wanted to use their wifi, since my workouts are dependent on Spotify and punk rock in equal measure. A few taps on my phone, and it became obvious that the price for using the gym's wifi was Liking their Facebook page. 

I hadn't encountered this particular scheme before. I'll admit, I thought it was fiendishly clever. 

I assented and thus became a fan of theirs on the 'book. Marketing triumphs again. 

These are my gym kicks, by the way. 

Books I Read in 2012

I read 12 books in 2012. That's the most I've read since, hm, high school probably. I'd like to read twice that number in 2013, but before I do I'd like to look back on my dozen with a mix of pride and confusion.

The Name of the Wind - It's about a guy who does magic. A case of the author loving his protagonist waaay too much. He's perfect. Knows everything. If not for the very interesting magical world he described, this book would have been worthless. I don't expect to read its sequel.

Fablehaven - It's about a sanctuary for magical creatures and some kids. I got fed up with the reliance on childish whimsy as a means of advancing the plot. Large chunks of the pace made no sense. As with the book above, I will not be reading its sequels.

World War Z - It's about zombies. This was awesome. Multiple narrators describing multiple vignettes, housed within the same world ravaged by zombies. Highly recommended.

I, Robot - It's about robots. I expected something much different and much darker. As it is, it's a fun read. Little stories about robots held together by a larger (if flimsy) narrative. Good, though. Robots are always good. Except when they go bad.

Foundation - It's about the triumph of math and psychology over barbarians. I loved it. So many smiles. 

Foundation and Empire - The sequel to the previous book. Things get more complex but just as good. 

Second Foundation - The last of the 3 main Foundation books (though there are plenty others), but I'd had my fill. Great story, great twists. I gasped once or twice. Loved them all. 

Shadow and Bone - This is about a girl who does magic. I liked the world more than I liked the actual characters. Does that happen a lot? I feel like I'm complaining a bit too much. Sorry. I'll probably read the sequel, but I fear I won't like it.

Pretty Monsters - This is a bunch of short stories about strange stuff. I loved it. I love short story collections, and these were all different and magical enough to be worthwhile. I want more. I want moar.

The Last Werewolf - This is about a werewolf. It was a pretty dumb book. I shouldn't have read it, but I liked the title. Get used to the phrase "Everything happened at once" when the author can't figure out how to make sense of the events taking place. Ugh. 

The Magicians - This is about some kids who do magic. I liked big chunks of it and disliked other bits. Overall pretty strong. I haven't read the sequel, but I don't know why. 

Ender's Game - This is about a little kid who's totally hardcore. Why can't all books be this amazing? It's dark and harrowing and probably has a message. I don't know. I thought it was great. I need to read other books in the series, but I haven't gotten around to it.

There you have it. Make fun of my choices all you like. I hope to have twice as many for you to belittle early next year. 

Highlights from My Boulder Homecoming

After 7 months of being a hoodlum in Amsterdam, I returned to Boulder for a holiday visit with my fiancee Stephanie. Here are the highlights thus far: 

  • Having a chat with Kent, during which we realized that it makes no sense for men to have a femur, when a he-mur is so much more appropriate.
  • Collapsing onto Sarah & Rich's LoveSac and wondering why I never owned one of those bean-bag beasts.
  • Watching the Hobbit and questioning whether I'll ever find time to go on an adventure with dwarves before my 40th birthday.
  • Discovering that Rachel cannot juggle and that I am powerless to help her learn.
  • Learning from Steve and Morgan that kids named Dylan are 35% more likely to be jerks than children not named Dylan.

This is a town full of terrifying lessons. I'm now doubly glad that Stephanie got me a Moleskine for Christmas. 

P.S. 

This is what I had for breakfast. It was awesome. 

 

 

Deathwing Got Pugged

Only my nerdiest friends will care about this. "Care" is probably a strong word. Regardless...

I finally got around to killing this guy last night:

That's Deathwing, the Big Bad from the current World of Warcraft expansion. I took a break from playing but recently got back into it since the new expansion is coming out later this month. I figured it'd be bad form to begin a new arc of content without completing the big stuff from the current one. 

So anyway. I killed a digital dragon with 24 other people. That makes me happy.

Branded Energy Drinks at Got Game Conference Amsterdam

I attended Day 1 of the first annual Got Game Conference in Amsterdam. Dedicated to "perpetuating and growing the video game industry through the exchange of knowledge and ideas," the event provided an excellent opportunity to meet the local gaming community as well as some big-brained industry visitors. 

The best part, however, was the branded energy drinks that were given to attendees. 

I haven't seen this before, but it's a fantastic marketing idea, given the audience of app developers and gamers.

I don't know how much they cost to produce (I have an email out to the event director to find out), but it's something I wish I would have done for the last Boulder Startup Week -- though there's a good chance that Boulder's health-conscious nerds would have run me out of town for trying to pump poison into their veins.