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Feb. 26th, 2015

Nictow Sigil

...pation!

Boo!

Apr. 30th, 2014

Nictow Sigil

As the French say...

Calling all.

This is our last cry before our eternal silence.

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Oct. 12th, 2013

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Well, hello.

You're still here? Well, Hi!

I graduated. I am disabled. I am moving. Too much more to post.

Yay!

Jan. 1st, 2011

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Happy New Year, 2011!


Resolutions for the year:

50lbs lost by October

Go to the doctor and dentist

Post on a blog every day (even if this one goes down/is moved)

Work hard in school

Find work that is good for me, and not just financially




Nov. 9th, 2010

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The high cost of license plate protection in Indiana

It’s been weighing on me for a while, so I thought I would relate this story.


On August 15th, I was pulled over on I-65 in Indianapolis. The police office claimed I was speeding, but would not tell me how fast I was going. I was following traffic, and was not in the fast lane.


“I’m going to write you up because I could not read your license plate.”


I was surprised by this. I have a clear plastic license plate cover that I have had for about two years. It has a cheap silver rim around the plate, then a clear plastic cover with security bolts holding everything to the car.


“Now, I’m writing you up for this because it’ll cost less than a speeding ticket. We don’t hand out ticket amounts anymore. You’ll have to check this website to find out how much you owe. It should be up in three to five weeks.”


I thanked the cop, and went home. I removed the license plate cover and examined it. Granted, it had gotten cloudy as plastic is want to do when exposed to the elements, but I could read my license plate from about forty feet away pretty easily. I shrugged, expecting the ticket to be $25 or something along those lines. A ding, but no big deal.


Boy, was I wrong.


So, after checking the site every day for a month, I figured that, like several tickets before, he wrote me one and never turned it in. I shrugged, and went on about my life.


The website has no security. If you know someone’s name and birthday, you can look up their tickets. Granted, all it shows in the amount of the ticket, but the fact that one exists may be an issue in the future. That worried me a bit, but since there was no ticket, I didn’t care. After five weeks, no ticket with that number appeared. I wrote it off.


On a lark, on my birthday (October 25th), I checked the site. The ticket was there all right, along with a $150 fine.


$150 for a cloudy cover on my license plate? Seriously? Indignant, I decided I was going to challenge it. I looked at the ticket.


No such luck. A court date has to be requested at most sixty days after the ticket was physically received, which had passed ten days before.


So, I resolved that I would pay three weeks wages at the end of the month.


Enter our wonderful off balance legal system. Apparently, when I did not respond by the 60 day mark, the court took it upon itself to fine me further ($25 late fee, in addition to a ~$40 fee for “collections”), and if I did not pay by the 15th of November, my license would be suspended.


Total bill at this point: $218.75. That’s more than any other ticket I have ever gotten. 91 in a 70 a few years back? $160. My first ticket, 40 in an unmarked school zone (again, following traffic can cost you), $125.


So, how did I find out any of this? If I wasn’t a savvy researched, I would be out of luck.


I got a message from the Indiana BWV, postmarked 10/28/2010, received on 11/1/2010, saying that my license would be suspended on November 15th. On the same day, I received a notice saying my license would not be suspended. Granted, it was for another incident, but if I had not examined them both carefully, I would have written them off once again.


I had to search through court records to find out what the ticket had actually been for. Luckily, the cop had put the ticket in for “improper display of tags”.


Personally, I find it very odd that the cop would pull me over for speeding, then write me up for a cloudy license plate cover. Could it have been my Obama Biden bumper sticker (since removed due to a replaced bumper)? Who knows.


All I know is that, by Friday, I have to rustle up a month’s pay to stay legally licensed. Justice be damned in the state of Indiana. The entire ticket system is now set up to make sure you have to pay whether you are guilty or not.




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Nov. 8th, 2010

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The current time travel craze



There are a lot of people that would be going, “OMG, a time traveller!!1!”


My answer: Meh.


Perhaps a prescient prop manager. Maybe a director with an eye towards the future. Time travel, in this case, is unlikely.


Why? Well, a cellphone is not the only part of the cell network. Take a cell phone back to 1920, even with a charger, and you are looking at a fancy flashlight. There are no cell towers in 1920, no interconnects with the normal phone system. Heck the tone system of dialing didn’t even come into play until 1963. In other words, and cellphone would be a relatively useless piece of anachronistic junk when the video was made. It would be as likely that the woman was an alien and contacting her mothership.




Oct. 30th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Rally to Restore Sanity

At the Rally to Restore Sanity in Indianapolis. At Dave and Buster’s on the North East side. Come on down!




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Oct. 20th, 2010

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Lego® RapRep




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Nictow Sigil

This weight cannot be found and Grading

Grading:


One of the toughest things in college is not the homework. It’s not the projects. It’s not even the tests.


Yes, I am talking about grading. As a teacher’s aide, I end up grading the homework and projects of impressionable young minds. I feel a strong sense of responsibility and duty to these students to give them accurate grades, and sometimes that means using up a lot of time just figuring out how to grade. Sometimes, I have to develop my own rubric. Sometimes, it actually takes judgment. When it comes to clear cut “is it here or isn’t it” questions, I usually don’t have any issues. Sometimes, however, it’s not as clear cut as that.


Sometimes, I have to give my opinion. This is always difficult, as it bring emotion into the equation.


Ah, well, at least I am almost caught up. Two projects, three homework assignments, and two projects to go with grading. Don’t ask about what I still have to do for myself; it’s scary.


Starting weight: 420 lbs.

Morning weigh in: 404 lbs.

Weight loss to date: 16 lbs.

Weight loss until goal: 104 lbs.




Oct. 17th, 2010

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Milestone 1: Achievement Unlocked

As of this morning, I have broken the 400lbs barrier, my first 20lbs. milestone.


That means I have less than 100lbs. to go to hit my goal for my 34th birthday. I turn 33 next week.


On other topics, I am considering participating in Nanowrimo this year. It’ll be stressful, but I think it is time to try again. Maybe horror this year. Any opinions on what I should write?


Two more days on break… have a massive amount of grading to do. Yee haw!


Starting weight: 420 lbs.

Morning weigh in: 399.6 lbs.

Weight loss to date: 20.4 lbs.

Weight loss until goal: 99.6 lbs.




Oct. 16th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Be careful what you observe


Starting weight: 420 lbs.

Morning weigh in: 403.4 lbs.

Weight loss to date: 16.6 lbs.

Weight loss until goal: 103.4 lbs.




Oct. 14th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Inside the Krell Great Machine


1923 aka Heaven (by Max Hattler) from Max Hattler on Vimeo.


Starting weight: 420 lbs.

Morning weigh in: 405 lbs.

Weight loss to date: 15 lbs.

Weight loss until goal: 105 lbs.




Oct. 13th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Flying solo


Mrs. Springer is out of town for a few days, so I am puttering around school and home by myself. Being alone is not a negative experience, as I tend to start ignoring the clock and living on my internal feelings. I eat when hungry, sleep when tired, and pretty much do whatever I want. Don’t get me wrong; living with Mrs. Springer is wonderful. But rediscovering myself is a good thing, too.


I must admit to eating too much cheese on my pizza last night. It’s probably the reason for the extra weight this morning.


Other than that, it’s been homework, suddenly groking the calculus General Power rule in the shower, and watching Stargate Atlantis on Netflix. Yeah, I know, not very exciting. Tonight is haircut night.


Man, I need to get out more.


Starting weight: 420 lbs.

Morning weigh in: 404.2 lbs.

Weight loss to date: 15.8 lbs.

Weight loss until goal: 104.2 lbs.




Oct. 12th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

How David became Goliath



Apple as Goliath

Run, David, run!



A warning to all Apple Fans: You will be pissed off by this article. Fair warning and all that.


Before I begin, I have to relate my own history with Apple. I cut my programming teeth on a combination of Apple IIe’s, A Sinclair ZX81, and ancient clone machines such as Zenieth, IBM PS/2s, and the like. However, it was not until a fateful encounter with a Macintosh Plus that my fate was sealed.


I have not owned a new Mac in quite a few years, but I do work on them relatively regularly. I have an old Mac laptop on my shelf for certain purposes, and I generally like the interface. I own an iPod, Mrs. Springer has a beloved Shuffle, and even my daughter uses an old iMac. That being said, I will most likely not buy new Apple merchandise from this point on, based on what I now know.


Apple, once the darling of consumers for their spunk, spirit, and challenge to the world of business computers, has become corrupt and a behemoth of their own. Every computer company relies on several other groups for their survival: developers, who write software; manufacturers, who build the hardware; employees, who do the actual work; Spokespeople, either direct or indirect; Users, who spend the money to buy the hardware; and, finally, the government, for the environment in which to conduct business.


Apple has, systematically, methodically, been eroding the power that these groups have over the company. However, they’ve been doing it quietly, secretly, and with a level of malice that would make hardcore extremists wince. Let’s talk first about how Apple has eroded the power of Apple developers as compared to others.


Simply said, the problem is proprietary platforms for development.


If I, as a developer, want to write an app (not even a full application) for, say, an iPad, I have to a)buy a Macintosh b) buy an annual membership c) download Apple’s custom software development package d) Learn their proprietary language and e) Wait for Apple to possibly approve my app, even if I want to install it only on my own iPad.


In other words, they want to control their developers.


Next, they want to control their manufacturers and employees. Like many technology companies, Apple relies heavily on Foxconn, the biggest computer company on the planet that you have most likely never heard of. Foxconn is bad enough without Apple’s new restrictions; with them, I would rather work for the Mafia than as a hardware developer for Apple. They actually require their hardware techs to work on the hardware with the device covered by a black cloth. That’s right. There, in the clean room, as they are building the prototype, the techs building the thing don’t know what they are working on beyond the design of the component they are working on. This kind of security is great for nuclear weapons development. For the next overpriced gadget, this is way overboard.The atmosphere of Apple development and construction has led multiple techs to actually commit suicide. Screw up with Apple and they will shame you into taking your own life.


Their attempts to control spokespeople have been odd. Take, for example, the story of what happened to Steve Wozniak when he was shown an unreleased iPad. Steve, who helped form Apple, was shown an iPad 3G before release, and Apple fired the guy who did it. Apple wants to be in complete control of when and where their products are shown.


Yet, when another tech, Gray Powell, got a slap on the wrist for misplacing a prototype iPhone. Now, one could argue that the difference in intent was the reason why one was fired and one was not. However, if someone gets drunk and wrecks their car, they are responsible for the wreck. I suspect that it was no accident that the prototype iPhone was leaked. Give people what they want, and they will follow you anywhere.


Let’s talk about Users. There is a very active Hackintosh community, with people modifying the OSX operating system to run on non-Apple hardware.


Apple, of course, would have them shot if they could.


Rather than releasing a version of OSX for PC hardware, Apple locks everything down so that running OSX on anything other than Apple hardware is a pain at best. Yes, I have done it. It was about as easy as getting a square peg into a round hole. I jammed it in, but pieces fell off. As I remember, Microsoft got in trouble for bundling their browser with their operating system to try and force users to use the cesspool called IE. How is this different than forcing people to buy your hardware to use your OS? Sure, you can run Windows on a Mac. That’s halfway there.


The last group, the government, is so easily manipulated by big business that I won’t bother to detail it in length here.


So, now that we have details as to the nature of Apple’s deviousness, the question remains; why?


Why would Apple manipulate everyone and everything they could get their hands on?


The simple answer is money. They have taken their lead from Bill Gates and Microsoft. The reasons it took them a while was because they started off by being the good guys. There was further to fall.


Makes one wonder what Google will be like in ten or twenty years.


Starting weight: 420 lbs.

Morning weigh in: 401.4 lbs.

Weight loss to date: 18.6 lbs.

Weight loss until goal: 101.4 lbs.




Oct. 11th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Back from the dead

ZombieBlog
Back from the dead!

Aaronspringer.com is back from the dead!

Yes, dear readers, in has been a long weary journey since the last time I posted. Real life has intruded, but I will be working hard to post every morning from now on. This blog will become my expression to the world about my weight loss and my interests.

Life with Mrs. Springer is good, and we are working well together as a team facing our adversities. The biggest two right now (other than work and school, of course) are Ms. Lee, and finances.

Ms. Lee has stopped communicating with us in regards to Young Springer’s health. Through other means, I have discovered that Young Springer has had multiple staph infections, ear infections, and the like, none of which Ms. Lee has deemed important enough to inform us about directly.The ineteresting thing is that Young Springer had none of these problems while she was with us. “It’s gotta be from school,” you might be thinking, dear reader. The problem is that her school has actually been tapped as “the healthiest school in Iowa” several times, including currently. What it boils down to is that Young Springer is perfectly healthy when she is with us, but when she goes home, she gets sick. It’s not school, and, considering our housekeeping abilities, one would expect the issue to be reversed.

Ms. Lee has also been filtering every contact I have with my daughter, refusing to answer the only phone I can use to contact her. She has constantly refused to get Internet access, so Skype and email are right out. I may have to resort to snail mail to communicate directly with Young Springer.

All in all, it’s been a bit stressful.

On an interesting side note, I have reached out to a person from the past that was around during my marriage to Ms. Lee, and made peace with him. It’s not important who or why, but it has been interesting to speak to him again.

Finally, I am taking some time off Facebook. You may not see me there for a while.

Starting weight: 420 lbs.
Morning weigh in: 401 lbs.
Weight loss to date: 19 lbs.
Weight loss until goal: 101 lbs.

Please visit my main blog, Aaron's Brick, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4309. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4309#comments

Aug. 1st, 2010

Nictow Sigil

August 1st

Well, after a weekend in B-ton, I gained about three pounds due to unhealthy eating. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Today would have been my eleventh anniversary with my ex-wife. I can say that now without pain or anger now that my first marriage is six years in my past. My daughter, Young Springer, is happy and at camp, and Mrs. Springer, my lovely wife, is blissfully asleep in the other room. I am considering making her some breakfast.

I look back now, in the wee hours of the morning, on my first attempt at wedded bliss, and at the results of that failure.

My first wife, who, for sake of identification, I will call Wife1, was about five years younger than I am now when we met. She was relatively young, inexperienced, and was still kicking her heels up and trying to have as much fun as possible. The unfortunate part was that this did not end when our marriage began.

Being the fearful and lonely person that I was, I agreed to almost anything to keep her. This was my major error in the marriage, and my contribution to the divorce.

It was not so much agreement as silence. I was silent when she smoked pot. I was silent when she slept with other men. I was silent when she decided to take a vacation after she had been unemployed for over a year. I was silent when she broke what few rules we had. When I had finally had enough, my previous silence out of fear of losing her had closed the door to communication between us. Simply put, she had lost respect for me.

As a matter of fact, it took her moving a man with whom she had an affair into our house over Christmas for me to say that I was at my limit.

That’s how far I let it go. That’s how much I could stand.

But, from it I learned that marriage was not about tolerance as much as cooperation. I should not have to tolerate my significant other. She should not have to tolerate me. We should be working together to commonly agreed upon goals. I learned that sexual freedom is not the opposite of commitment. I learned that before attraction, before chemistry, and before vows, there had to be trust.

To be blunt, I never trusted Wife1, and I payed for it with a broken home for our daughter. Luckily, my daughter now has ample role models, three complete sets of grandparents, and bushels of love. She has a half brother, and (hopefully) more half siblings on the way. She has a rich and diverse life that may not have been possible before.

She is her own person, one I am having a blast getting to know.

In the mean time, I have let go of my anger at past events with Wife1, and hope for the best for her. I have my own opinions about her current situation, but I feel no need to share them with anyone but the lovely Mrs. Springer.

And, even then, it’s not a topic of frequent conversation.

Starting weight: 420 lbs.
Morning weigh in: 411.2 lbs.
Weight loss to date: 8.8 lbs.
Weight loss until goal: 111.2 lbs.

Please visit my main blog, Aaron's Brick, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4300. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4300#comments

Jul. 30th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

July 30th

Weight: 408.6

Total loss to date: 11.4lbs

Goal distance: 108.6lbs

Well, I’m an uncle! My sister in law had her baby, one Willow Elizabeth Blackwell. We’re going to go see her tonight.

Working on laptops and Young Springer’s desktop.

Not much else to say.

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4296. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4296#comments

Jul. 29th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Update, Goals, and other such stuff

Well, dear readers, the time has come for some serious changes.

Simply put, I am overweight, unhealthy, and tired of both of these things. To this end, I have set a goal. I currently weigh 409lbs. I want to break 300lbs by my 34th birthday. In addition to this, I will be posting updates about my health as well.

On the good news side, I have already started my weight loss campaign, having lost 11lbs in the past three weeks.

So, here are my August goals:

  • No deep fried foods of any kind. No french fries, no chips, no fried macaroni (Sorry, Mug and Bun, but it’ll have to wait)
  • At least four glasses of water a day.
  • Two servings of plants per day, either fruit or vegetable.
  • Three meals a day. One snack.
  • Park further away from where I need to go than the closest space.

In addition to these health goals, I will also try to write one short story a week. I may post them, or I may try and get them published. We’ll see.

I call these efforts my 34th goals.  I will be tagging it as such.

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4292. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4292#comments

Jul. 23rd, 2010

Nictow Sigil

C2C

Well, I am getting started on a new project. Not Lego®, not tech, not New Media (well, kinda).

Updates to follow.

Let’s just say it’s legal, moral, and has a point.

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4284. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4284#comments

Jul. 21st, 2010

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Leather Year

Leather Year

By Aaron Springer

A stopwatch would be needed, not just a calendar
To view the space between our first kiss and this moment
Time is both long and short between then and now
And any point along the strap is a good one for me

Yes, it has not been without difficulty
No life is lived in a vacuum
But, like tanning leather
Sometimes the scrapes add character and flavor

Your gift for me has seven silver beads
One for each day of the week filled with glittering life
Between us
Days that I have cherished and kept close

Mine for you was a bound journal
Within, your precious thoughts will be kept
Not only of me, but of life itself
Because we are braided together

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4280. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4280#comments

Jul. 20th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Fear and Loathing in Indianapolis

So, this week was supposed to be relaxing. Last week, as some of you may know, both my son and daughter were with us. This is an unusual thing for several reasons. First, my son normally spends a night or two with us, not four, and second, my daughter was here as well. I will hand it to Young Springer (my daughter) that she dealt with Younger Springer (my son) quite well. In fact, she was the best big sister a parent could hope for. Still, it was stressful, as Younger Springer is headstrong and willful, doesn’t listen as well as Papa would like, and is, well, three years old.

Add to other issues, and you end up with one very stressed out Dad.

Well, it all went okay. Younger’s mom had a great trip, came back tired and knowledgeable, and no one was injured or killed. I call that a success.

So, to reward Young Springer and myself, we broke out the Big Lego™ Collection, two bins both of which are difficult to carry, dumped them out on a durable quilt on the living room floor, and have spent the last two days building. Yay!

This morning, I got up to load a thumb drive with the day’s viewing entertainment, and found that my seven month old cordless trackball had stopped working. I assumed it was batteries, so I swapped them. No dice. Then I realized that my computer had frozen. That’s a rare occurrence, and I have been known to leave it running for days or weeks at a time without an issue. Ah well, I thought, I’ll just reboot.

The computer came up quite faithfully. The trackball, however, did not.

Now, this is the second trackball of this type I have owned. The first also failed in a similar fashion, but my parents had just purchased me a new one for my laptop for Christmas, so I moved it over to the desktop and promptly stopped worrying about it. Now I had a similar issue. This time, however, it turned out to be the receiver. I think I have a backup somewhere…

My eyes darted to the balcony overlooking the lake and I had a very dark thought of my trackball sinking into the water with me dancing gleefully in satisfied rage. I shook the images from my head, and began the process of troubleshooting.

The receiver did not work on the 32-bit version of XP, nor Ubuntu, nor Vista. By this point, I knew it was toast. So, seeking solace, I went to the ********* website to look at warranty repair. 3-year warranty, yes!

However, the website does not have a formal warranty repair request… instead, you have to submit a question and wait… so, I am waiting.

It is odd to be without my trackball. I have attached a cordless mouse that I bought for my laptop, but it is just not the same. *sigh*

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4273. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4273#comments

Jul. 6th, 2010

Nictow Sigil

Lighting the fuse – Starting a business in a down economy

The stock market is down. Jobless rates are way up. The country is in crisis.

What’s the best thing to do?

Start a business, of course!

As some of you may know, I ran a moderately successful computer repair business from 2001 until the middle of 2003. I did work for a variety of clients, from a manufacturer of race car components to a law office. It was a fun time, and, if my first marriage hadn’t ended in disaster, it might be supporting me right now. I won’t go into details as to why it failed, as pointing fingers at this point is meaningless.

However, I have decided that now that the economy has tanked, it’s time to try again. The difference this time is that I will be specializing in laptop repair. After my experiences on campus, I am watching laptops pervade areas once dominated by desktop computers. I will detail my efforts to run the business here on my blog for all to see. The trials, the tribulations, the success and joy will be detailed on Aaronspringer.com.

Get ready for a wild ride!

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4267. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4267#comments
Nictow Sigil

Why I Use Open Source

Open Source

This past semester, I found that one of my classes required that I use hardware whose drivers are not quite ready for prime time use on Linux. That, and the class required that my work be turned in using a proprietary format. That got me thinking about my choice to use Open Source software for much of what I do. My laptop has been running Ubuntu for several years now, and the big desktop at home uses Ubuntu and a dual boot with Windows XP, used predominantly for gaming and proprietary software. My wife’s laptop and our home server are both Ubuntu, and just about every system I build for internal use is also at least partially based on Open Source software.

However, the fact that the software is free is only a small part of my choice to use open source alternatives.

As a programmer and developer, I know how hard it is to program effectively in a vacuum flask. Working by oneself is difficult, and I also know that a small team of corporate developers are not much better. Being paid to code is like being paid to paint portraits. Sure, the result is relatively predictable, but it is built inside a box. What I am trying to say is that the corporate culture destroys part of the art of programming, and turns into into mass produced garbage.

Open Source, on the other hand, is done out of the pure love and joy of writing code. It is done with the desire to make it lean, mean, and adaptable.

Think of it like this: Get a group of artists together, hand them plans for a mural that is detailed, accurate, and restrictive, and you will get exactly what you want. Get a group of artists together, and say, “Paint a mural that has something to do with X” and you will get something that is creative, original, and fun that draws the eye and drives the imagination.

Think of the artwork you have seen in office buildings. Drab, uninspiring, and mass produced. Look at the pictures at Denny’s, and you’ll notice that, although they look cool, every single Denny’s has the same basic set.

Now, think of going to an art museum. Every painting has soul, it has flair, and it has, for lack of a better word, panache. Thisis what Open Source software looks like to me. It is unique, a piece of art.

I use Open Source to support the idea that software is art.

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4263. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4263#comments

Jul. 1st, 2010

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How *not* to design movement for a companion character.

Please visit my main blog, Wogblog, at this link: http://aaronspringer.com This post can be found at http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4260. I will respond to comments here and at my blog: http://aaronspringer.com/?p=4260#comments

Jun. 26th, 2010

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Arguing online. It’s like *offensive reference*, only with less reward

So, I got into a nasty argument online.

Yeah, yeah, I know. But, I let this one get out of hand. The subject is irrelevant, but it was one that incites passion in some people. I did not provide all of the sources I could, for fear of overwhelming the person I was arguing with, but when one of their friends jumped in with some pretty horrible insults,  I felt like I lost a little of my self control. Now, I didn’t insult back (much), but when someone resorts to those kinds of tactics, the immediate, gut-level response is to respond in kind. I try not to do that.

Anyway, the result was that the person I was debating dropped me from her friend’s list on Facebook. Such is life, you might say. She isn’t the closest friend, just someone I know from high school, which was quite a time ago (More than a decade, less than two). But she is a person, and I upset her enough that she doesn’t want me as part of her life anymore. That gave me pause to think. There have been a few people that upset me enough that I have evicted them from my life, and a few that I have pissed off enough to have them want me out of theirs, but it sometimes makes me think about the person from time to time. For example, when I was a member of my former religious group, emotions ran hot and cold. There is a person I still think about from time to time that was so pissed off at me that she does not want to talk to me ever again. I won’t rehash the whole story, but I will say that I think of her from time to time and hope she is well. There was another that I ejected whose welfare never concerns me. I think of her quite a bit less.

I suppose what I am trying to get at with this ramble is that no wave in a pond ever truly vanishes. There are always ripples from every event, no matter how small. This was my last argument on this subject, although I am passionate about it, because I realize that most other people are just as passionate, and unlikely to change their opinion. In the end, I lost a friend, but gained insight.

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Jun. 15th, 2010

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Monster Chess


Lego® Bricks, computers, and a lot of time (4 man-years) and money ($30k), and the result is a robotic chess set unlike any the world has seen before.

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Jun. 9th, 2010

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Touchable Holography

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Jun. 4th, 2010

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Lego® Review: Café Corner

Café Corner, Set 10182
Café Corner, Set 10182

Item: Café Corner, Set 10182

Year: 2008

Part total: 2,056

Difficulty: High

Assembly time: 3 hours (while watching movies)

Review:

I have been building with Lego® Bricks for nearly thirty years, and, I must say, this was not only the most expensive but also the most detailed set I have ever had the joy to work with. At the time I purchased it, it was nearly $150US, but the price has skyrocketed to more that $450US online, since it is no longer available from Lego® in the US.

That being said, this was a challenging, but fun, build, and the result was simply stunning. The details are amazing, down to the birds in the belfry, and the lamps by the front door.

On a side note, I was married at the Corner Café in 2007. Coincidence? Not really. I bought this using a birthday gift certificate from Mrs. Springer.

All in all, an excellent set. 9 out of ten Bricks.

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Return of Wogblog

After a hiatus, Wogblog has returned with all new content. We will be focusing on three areas: Brickcase (Building toy creations and news), Technology(specifically, computers and other high-tech fun stuff), and my writing(since I do that stuff, too). As such, there will be ongoing changes. Hang on, it may get bumpy, but it will be worth it, I assure you.

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Apr. 23rd, 2010

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Facing the rain

Sometimes,
I told her
You have to drive the highways
with the windows down
moving at seventy miles per hour
Feel the air, smell the road

I felt like a hypocrite this morning
Driving the highways
Window rolled up against the rain
I cried, feeling my age
So, I rolled the windows down
And smelled the rain

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Apr. 11th, 2010

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Lego Robot Arm of Death

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Apr. 9th, 2010

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Nuit Blanche

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College at the 5 year mark

To my wonderful family and friends who have supported me in my education, thank you, and the end of this chapter is in sight.

According to my academic councilor, I have but thirty six credits left. Thta’s a little more than three full semesters left(as the crow flies) and I should hopefully be done at the end of fall, 2011.
Personally, I am exited by the prospect of putting on a cap and gown for the first time in my life. It’s been a long, hard slog, and I am glad that I will be done soon.

Looking back on it, I have a few comments.

Things I wish had been different:

  • Better communication with people who knew what I needed when I didn’t. New Media is a new major for IUPUI, and I feel like I should have been in CSCI to do what I really wanted to do. It reminds me of my year in Natural Science at the Children’s Museum, save for the pinched arm, being peed on by a marine toad, and the ability to switch to something more interesting.
  • Cooperation between the schools at IUPUI – Let’s face it. Many colleges are just collections of schools, all competing for money and students. IUPUI is no different, but I found myself stuck in the feud between New Media and CSCI.
  • Standardization of use of Oncourse – I’ve had about two dozen teachers, and each used Oncourse differently. Some didn’t use it at all. Can’t there be some sort of standardization of procedures within oncourse?
  • I got a D in one class because I didn’t want to hang out with other students when I wasn’t in class. Seriously? It was hanging out; not study time, not working on projects. Some students passed the course by going to Jillian’s downtown.
  • Introductory courses should be introductory. One into class I took, the teacher had a grading scale so tough that I missed one assignment and she dropped my grade a full letter. Not to mention that she changed what the class was about from the stated course objective. It was a crash course in the subject, instead of being an introduction. The first time I took it, less than half the students stayed in the class until the end… and I wasn’t one of them.
  • Irrelevant courses should not be required. Electives are all well and good, but requiring courses for a major that have little or nothing to do with the major is annoying and pointless.

I have left some of these purposefully vague. Such is life.

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Apr. 2nd, 2010

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Deep Thought. Project: Complete

I built a new server. Here is a quick rundown of the stats.

Case:

Mini Skeleton by Antec

Mrs. Springer convinced me to buy this case. Why? She knows how much I like it. She likes me and stuff. Go figure.

Pros: Style blows anything else out of the water. This is a piece of art as much as it is a case. It comes with a mini power supply more than powerful enough for this application. Antec means quality. If you don’t believe me, look it up in the dictionary. No, I kid. However, I have only had minor complaints about their cases; for me, that’s extraordinary. It’s whisper quiet to the point that I had a hard time knowing if it was on without turning on the fan’s lights.

Cons: Size. Original intent was to use two 300Gb hard drives, but the case can’t handle full size drives. In its defense, it can handle four 2.5″ drives, which is amazing. Difficult to route cables with my sausage-like fingers

Final verdict: I want more of these. Or cases like it. Maybe my next computer will be based on the bigger Skeleton.

Motherboard:

EPIA LN
The EPIA LN by VIA

It’s an old VIA EPIA-LN that I bought some time ago for another project. I never completed the project, but the motherboard was still in perfect working order.

Pros: Mini-ITX, so, small and lower power consumption. Up to eight USB ports. Built in processor, networking, video, SATA and the like.

Cons: Only two SATA ports. 1ghz processor. One memory slot.

Final verdict: Fine for now, but slated for a future upgrade.

The rest of the setup:

Two drives, one 160gb and the other 120. The 160 is partitioned so that 120gb can be used as a RAID 1 with the other drive. As the server expands, I may change the RAID to a RAID 5 or 1+0. We’ll see how drive prices go. I’d like to replace the DVD drive with a RAID centric laptop drive mount, like this one or this one. Another option is an external drive frame or something like it, maybe this or this.

1GB DDR2 memory. DVD Burner. SATA cables. Not much more to it than that.

Operating system:

Ubuntu 9.10, Server with Gnome for a GUI and Webmin for remote administration. Installation was… interesting. Took a few hours to get everything the way I wanted it.

Total cost:

~$350, two hours build time (Did it while watching a movie… took a little longer). Four hours setup time.

Final thoughts:

The server has been running flawlessly for two days with about 25% physical memory load, and rarely over 1% CPU load. It’s currently not much more than a NAS unit, but I might extend it’s functions at a later date. I’m happy with it, and I am sure it’ll be a good looking PVR when I am ready to move it into that function with a newer motherboard, some additional hardware and bigger drives.

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Mar. 17th, 2010

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Starship house for Sims 2

Outer Hull
The outer hull of the starship
Ship Docked
The ship docked at its berth in Strangetown
Deck 1
Deck 1, also called “The Bridge”
Deck 2
Deck 2 houses the galley, Engineering, the Physical Fitness Room, Head, and Astrometrics
Deck 3
Deck 3 is for Crew Quarters and Airlock

Starship Pack
</a>Creative Commons License
Starship by Zalpha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.aaronspringer.com.

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Mar. 12th, 2010

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Tron: Legacy Poster

I have rarely been this excited about a movie.

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Mar. 4th, 2010

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Palindrome for our generation

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Mar. 1st, 2010

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Weirdness of games

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Feb. 28th, 2010

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That about says it.

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Feb. 15th, 2010

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Cubestormer

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Feb. 11th, 2010

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T-Shirt War

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Jan. 29th, 2010

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Surprisingly quiet

Aaron Springer has been surprisingly quiet as of late. Why is this?

Well, he has been working as a Teacher’s Aide for IUPUI for four classes a week, and has been taking four classes. And, to top it off, he’s just started tutoring six hours a week.

Crazy, isn’t it?

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Jan. 7th, 2010

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Transparent display. NOT A SPECIAL EFFECT

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Jan. 1st, 2010

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Top 13 Worst Marketing Slogan Translations Ever

13. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you.” The company thought that the word “embarazar” (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”
12. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing Sucks like an Electrolux.”
11. Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “Manure Stick.”
10. Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer From Diarrhea.”
9. Pepsi’s “Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave” in Chinese.
8. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what’s inside, since many people can’t read.
7. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
6. Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken,” was translated into Spanish as “it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
5. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its “Fly In leather” campaign literally, which meant “Fly Naked” (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.
4. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the shirts read “I Saw the Potato” (la papa).
3. The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are You Lactating?”
2. General Motors had a very famous fiasco in trying to market the Nova car in Central and South America. “No va” in Spanish means, “It Doesn’t Go”.
1. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Kekoukela”, meaning “Bite the Wax Tadpole” or “Female Horse Stuffed with Wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokoukole”, translating into “Happiness in the Mouth.”

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Dec. 31st, 2009

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Farewell, 2009

To 2009. Good riddance. For your viewing pleasure, a selection of random images.

Birds take flight
The Wizard of Oz explains healthcare

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Dec. 17th, 2009

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Last post

As things within me have been changing, I have decided that it is time to abandon my hopes of being a serious blogger, and, instead, will never blog about anything serious again. As a matter of fact, this will be my last serious blog post. From here on out, I will post satire, humor, and the funny side of things that probably should not have a funny side. There is no point to making serious posts. There are far too many people out there screaming the same dry crap I have been dishing out, so, it’s time to fall back on what I know. Well, okay, once in a while I will post something serious. You never know.

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Dec. 12th, 2009

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Warbirds

Stormbirds from Phil Shoebottom on Vimeo.

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Dec. 9th, 2009

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Three pieces from this semester

Mosaic - 97% and voted one of the best in class
Mosaic – 97% and voted one of the best in class
Color - 100% and voted on the the best in class
Color – 100% and voted on the the best in class
Springer&apos;s Tattoo, 100% for the assignment
Springer’s Tattoo, 100% for the assignment

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Dec. 3rd, 2009

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Pop Up Lego

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Dec. 1st, 2009

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The Superhighway

It is a wide, open plain
With bits of life and pieces of soul scattered
Like rocks in the sand of the desert
The smell of the dry heat
Stings my nose
But warms my heart
It makes me breathe, slow, and deep
As one moves, glides across the face of the deep
All things are possible, an infinity of dots and dashes
From scratches to clay, from black ink to bits of light
The signal never fades
It grows, it moves, it changes
But it is human, at its core
It is us, all of us
Spread in defiance of the black deep
Light in the infinite darkness
Growing steadily
For even the darkest night is not complete
When one light shines
All voices screaming their nonsense
But truth exists in the mess
A car, lonely, in the jam
It carries the hope of the world
Seeds leaking from the doors
Sometimes growing, sometimes lost
Crossing the world
A digital Johnny
Apple trees in its wake
Knowledge is neither good nor evil
Only what is done with the knowledge
Blinders detract from the whole
As truth is subtle and sublime
It can be disguised as coal
Among apparent diamonds it can be lost
But, which can keep one warm on a winter’s night?
The lines point the way
Will you lift your hammer to strike the blow?
Form from hot iron the mind of the world?
Shed the barriers of the skin, of the bone, of the flag
Join with the rest of us, in blood
Not spilled, but boiling with discovery
Onward, upward, outward

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