Category Archives: Technology

I Almost Stopped Listening To Podcasts

A little over a month ago, I wrecked my car. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great, either. I came out a little sore in the neck/shoulder area, but the car was a mess (and in the shop) for a little over a month. When I finally got my own car back, I plugged my handy (yet ancient) Nokia N800 into the aux port in my VW Jetta. I got decent sound for about 10 minutes, and then I took a hard left turn and all sound cut out.

Ugh.

I checked everything. The N800 was still playing properly. I rebooted it in case it had a weird software glitch, but that didn’t fix the problem. I replaced the audio cable with no luck. I unplugged and replugged the new audio cable a few times while the N800 played an mp3. That’s when I realized I had sound with my holding the cable at an angle, but not when I released it. Since the aux port is in the glove box (who the F’k decided on that design?) I couldn’t exactly drive while leaning way over to hold the cable at the right angle to listen to podcasts.

Ugh.

With the car in this condition, I couldn’t listen to my beloved podcasts. The only time I have to listen to them is in the car on my massive commute to and from work. Yeah. The N800 has built-in speakers, but they’re so tiny and weak, I couldn’t hear the podcasts over the road noise. I was really concerned about having to give up on my podcasts until I could figure something out.

Ugh.

This led me to dismantle my dashboard on the passenger side to get the glove box out. The female plug for the aux port in the glove box was built into a tiny little PCB (printed circuit board) that was about 0.5 inches by 1 inch. That had come loose from its moorings (probably due to the wreck). There were three leads sticking out the side that another cable plugged into it. That cable was also loose from the extruding prongs. It took me come weird yoga-style contortions to get my hands, arms, the PCB, the cable, the aux port mount points, my flashlight in my mouth and  my eyes to all line up just right. Once I got everything aligned, the PCB, cable and mountings snapped back together quite well. Before I reassembled everything, I tested the connections with the audio cable and such. Crystal clear sound poured from my speakers.

I was ecstatic! I had my podcasts back!

Now I get to cruise down the road and listen to my favorite people talk about my favorite topics.

J.T. is a happy podcast fan again.

PS: I reached out to Twitter a while back asking for podcast suggestions. I want to thank everyone that suggested something new for me to listen to. I’ll be posting a new “What I’m Listening To” post near the end of the week in case other folks out there are looking for podcast suggestions and share tastes similar to my own.


Writing from the Peak :: My Presentation on Computer Security (Part the Third)

If you’re interested in the first two parts, you can find the links here.

DeAnna just finished posting the third part of her write-up on my presentation. You can find that here.

Lastly, if you’re looking for the handouts, you can find them here.

Enjoy!


Writing from the Peak :: My Presentation on Computer Security

My friend DeAnna was at my Practical Computer Security for Writers workshop, and she has written up a great set of articles about the presentation. Apparently, I dropped so much information during my few hours in front of some very great people that her editor has cut her report up into three different segments. Wow! I didn’t realize I had given forth that much information in such a short amount of time.

You can check out part 1 and part 2 of the article by following the links. They were released while I was away on vacation, and I’m catching up on things today. When part 3 is out, I’ll link to it as well.

Enjoy the read!


Nook

I picked up a Nook this Tuesday as a birthday gift to myself with some help from gift cards from some friends and my wife. I’ve always been an avid reader, but don’t consume books quite as quickly as a once did when I was a kid. I don’t know if it’s a shortening of attention span (I used to be able to read for hours on end) or if it’s the responsibilities of adult life catching up to me (which prevents me from having hours on end to read) or if it’s something else entirely outside my mental grasp. However, with the recent addition of the Nook to my pile of techno-gadgets, I’ve found myself reading more.

Maybe it’s the newness of the device and I’m still deeply in love with it. Maybe it’s the convenience of being able to carry thousands of books with me everywhere I go. Maybe I’ve just found the perfect accessory to my reading style.

I’ve heard that people read slower on eReaders than they do on paper books, but I’ve found that I’m blazing through page after page of the book that I’m working on. Of course, it could be that the book is by one of my all-time favorite authors, Lawrence Watt-Evans. The book that I’m rapidly churning through is a horror novel entitled The Nightmare People. I didn’t realize it was horror when I started it because I’m used to Watt-Evans’s sci-fi and fantasy works. Even though it’s in a genre that I normally don’t read much of, I’m really enjoying it.

For folks out there that may stumble across this, I high recommend the Nook from Barnes and Noble, and my first purchase, The Nightmare People, is especially good. The book was written in the ’80s, so please forgive Lawrence’s use of a “high tech 386″ reference. That one reference really brought home the date of the book and brought back some fantastic memories of my computer usage several decades ago.