Monthly Archives: October 2005

Review: “Just A Geek”

Just a Geek
by Wil Wheaton

I am not really a book person, but, I’m trying. I used to read a lot when I was a child. I learned how to read at a very young age and loved reading. But, as I got older, I got, well, lazy. Holly loves books, and obviously I want to impress her, so I’m trying, damnit.

Everyone knows Wil Wheaton as the guy who played Wesley on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Fortunately, he’s a touch more than that. He’s a geek, and he’s not afraid to admit it. He has hosted his own weblog for years at He has also admitted to himself that he’s a writer. A damn good one, at that. “Just A Geek” is his second book and is mostly a collection of selected weblogs and backstories to go with the blog postings. Don’t let this fact discourage you in the least. It is a completely entertaining read, from cover to cover. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Great read.

Moving into a new role

So, I am making a role change at work. I’ve accepted a new position, moving up in title and “career band” from a support role to a specialist role. I’ll stop working on laboratory infrastructure (Windows-based PCs in a lab environment controlling lab instruments) to supporting enterprise storage environments. Instead of working with desktop computers and scientists (a lot of which have bad attitudes, mind you) to troubleshooting why file server #104982 didn’t back up last night and stuff like that. I’m really excited about it, because for the first time in 3 years, it will be something new. I’ve never worked on tape silos or enterprise NAS devices.

I am still feeling some bittersweetness about this. I enjoy the team I work with now, and get along with everyone really well. They all respect me (I hope) and know that I generally know what I’m talking about. Now, I will be the FNG (F* New Guy. Insert your own F word in the blank) with no knowledge of what I will be doing. I’ve never supported tape silos. I’ve never supported Veritas NetBackup. The closest I’ve been was doing testing to ensure the Windows version of the client works as directed, and that lasted a day. Quite frankly, I’m a little scared. I also get my first taste of being on call. They sounded like on-call week is a week from Hell where you spend

I know I’ll do well. It’ll take me a month or two to get up to speed, but I’m sure I will fall into my usual spot near the top of the scale. (wow, that sounded really big headed). I’m one of the best at what I do now. I can only hope that I become one of the best at my new job as well.

Pornified = Preaching

Pornified : How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families
by Pamela Paul

I got this book after seeing it reviewed on Slashdot. Seemed interesting. I’m a sociology buff so this was right up my alley. A book on how porn has changed life in America. It started off not too bad… interesting facts, interesting studies, interesting stories. Research to back the claims and observations. A very interesting read. Then, I guess she ran out of content. The last two or three chapters were completely dry and “preachy” (That isn’t including the Conclusion chapter). Read on for more.

Continue reading Pornified = Preaching

Trading DVD’s with Peerflix

Peerflix is an online service that lets you trade DVDs you own with other people. It works by a ratio system of sorts. Every movie they offer is given a “PeerBux” score, from 1 for crappy old movies, 2 for normal movies, and 3 for new release movies. Box sets can range up to 30 points depending on their current price on Amazon. (A great use of the Amazon Web Services, by the way). The way they make money is that they charge $0.99 per trade for being the facilitator. They also offer a guarantee that if the disk gets damaged in the mail or they try to cheat you, you get your money and Peerbux back. You start off with 2 PeerBux and $0.99 to give you a taste of the system and earn you confidence.

I started off by putting up 6 DVDs as “for trade” that I don’t watch anymore. Within 15 minutes, someone wanted one, so I sent it to them. They send you envelopes, and the website gives you a page to print off that acts as the address label. Throw them in the envelope correctly, put on a stamp (you have to pay the postage as well) and chuck it in the post box. It credits your account with the PeerBux they spent to get the movie, so you have more “buying power.” I told Holly about the site, she though it was a good idea, and we put up about 20 movies. We’ve moved 6 or so out now and have a good number of PeerBux to allow us to get movies we want. The system is designed so that you will by default place movies you’ve received back out in the pool for others to get. Popular movies are always in demand (Batman Begins has about 80 people in queue to get the movie, and it doesn’t come out until next Tuesday). But, there are a LOT of library titles that are freely available. All of the Kevin Smith flicks are up there and available at any time.

The concept seems like it’ll work good. You go out a buy a new movie for $15.00. You watch it, decide not to keep it forever. You put it on Peerflix, someone wants it. You get 3 points for it… and you send it. You’re now at $15.37. You pick the next movie that came out that you want to see, spend your three points and pay $0.99. Now you’re at $16.36 for two movies. Say you do this for a total of ten feature movies. You’ve spent $28.60 on the first movie, ten Peerflix transactions, and ten stamps. That’s $2.86 a movie, and you have just come out ahead versus renting the movies at Blockbuster. What happens if you get Sin City and decide you absolutely love the movie and want to watch it over and over? You keep it. All you are out are the 3 points you spent to pick it up. If you toss some of your library titles up, you’re sure to earn points with no real loss. (We recently sent out a Muppet Show DVD we’ve never opened, and got 2 points for it).

I think that Peerflix’s only “issue” will be revenue creation. $0.99 a trade is a reasonable fee. I hope they are able to turn profit and not have to jack prices up for a long time. But, this also points out a risk in their system. If you have a bunch of peerbux points, that means you have put a lot out into the system as far as DVDs. If they were to shut down operations, you are out that and you may have sent out $50 worth of DVDs to strangers and got nothing back. It’s a risk I’m willing to take.

They have a friend feature that allows you to gather a list of friends and trade movies without spending peerbux (if you wish). If you want to be “my friend” and see my collection, just visit this link. I’ll also get one peerbux point if you sign up. 🙂