Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Conversation with Google Now

This is what I can see Google Now, Conversational Search, and more evolving into:

(Imagine I have named my Google services avatar, "Sancho")

Me: Good morning Sancho. How are you today?

Sancho: Good morning Josh. I am working within established parameters.

Me: Excellent. What's on the agenda for today?

Sancho: You have "Process Training" from 9am until 11am, "Lunch" from 11am to 12pm, and "Design Review" from 2pm until 3pm. Today is also your friend Robert's birthday.

Me: Where is the "Process Training"?

Sancho: It is at the office, in the Pinyon conference room.

Me: I have a few things to do around the house. How much time do I have?

Sancho: With current traffic conditions, you should leave by 8:30am, in 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Me: Got it. Hey, what's interesting right now?

Sancho: Checking. I see from your Music history that you like Metallica. Did you know that they are coming to town in 2 months? Let me know if you are interested in tickets. In the news, the prime minister of France is scheduled to meet with technology industry leaders yesterday, Star Trek Into Darkness is set to be released on DVD and Blu Ray, and there is a humorous viral video of a cat using Google Glass. Would you like to know more about any of those stories?

Me: Not right now, thanks.

Sancho: Is there anything else I can do for you?

Me: Yes, remind me to get flowers for the wife on the way home, and let me know if the traffic gets worse.

Sancho: I have set the reminder to get flowers for your wife on your way home. I will send a notification to your phone if travel time to work increases. Will there be anything else?

Me: No thank you.

Sancho: Excellent. Have a good day sir.

In short, I think I want Tony Stark's JARVIS from the Iron Man movies.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

System Building Lessons Learned

As promised, here are some lessons learned (or re-learned) on system building:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

In which I build a new PC...

A history of PC gaming and PC building...

Anyone who's known me for any amount of time knows that one of my main happy-makers in my non-work, non-child raising, non-husbanding time is gaming. I've been a PC gamer for a number of years, ever since I got my first PC back in 1995.
I've done 3 builds in my lifetime that I can think of, and a number of upgrades to those builds. Unfortunately, my strategy for part picking for the past few years has amounted to:
  1. What my friends have cast off that I can use
  2. What I can afford and get WOC (Wife Oversight Committee™) approval for that is better than what I have.
As a gamer, this generally left me disappointed with something that circled the low-spec realm of system requirements; and generally had me running eye-candy games at lowest settings.
This comic from XKCD sums it up my usual gaming experience:
Click this image to view the comic on If you like it, consider letting the artist know or buy something from his store.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Making the News Feeds

One of my favorite things to do at work is to generate the news feeds. I am an avid newshound when it comes to technology, gaming, and a few other subjects, and sharing that passion is really one of my very favorite things. I'm often asked what process I go through to generate the rundowns that I send 1-2 times per day. Here's the secret:

Monday, February 18, 2013

In which I post about blogging and social stuff...

So today I started a blog. This very blog in fact.

This is, by far, not my first blog... that honor started back in 1999 with OpenDiary. I posted and read there for a long while before moving onto LiveJournal (where I met my wife), my own hosted Wordpress blog (hosted on a friend's space), a hosted blog, and finally here.

The problem generally has been, I have no idea what I want to write. I have a lot of varied interests... things I am weirdly interested in, but I've never found one of them that I was comfortable with writing for any length of time. The other morning, it hit me! Why write about one thing, when I can just write about everything?

Well, there's the subject of this experiment then... so here we go.

Now, starting a blog, I had to wonder: "Where does a blog fit in between Twitter, Facebook, Google+, forums, e-mails, smoke signals, passenger pigeons, semaphore, and every other method of communication that has permeated my life?"

I don't have a good answer to that one. Doesn't make a lot of sense.

I can say this of the methods of communication I use: In general...

  • Twitter is for communicating with my guild mates from AIE, getting short updates and links from interesting people, and up to the minute breaking news. Honestly, even my local weatherman tweets... when there's a tornado alert, Twitter is not such a bad place to get his and other people's coverage.
  • Facebook is for keeping up with family and friends. Well, really, its more like looking at 40 million image memes, a bunch of different advertisements from apps friends are using (that I could mostly care less about), and a few relevant updates on their daily lives.
  • Google+ defies classification, mostly because not a lot of people I know use it (although I like it much more than Facebook, so if I could get the lion's share of my friends to use it, I'm sure I'd use it more). I use it to share interesting news stories, both to my circles in general, and with some of my specific friends. Communities gave me a bit more usage and content, but I've only posted a handful of things to the 16 communities I am a member of. I mostly just lurk.

I've also found my way to a few other social sites (LinkedIn, Runkeeper, etc) and a smattering of forums, but those are way more specialized in their purpose and not worth blathering on about here.

So what'll follow? I have a lot of varied interests, and I'll try not to focus too much on one thing or another. I have a bunch of stuff I've learned and continue to learn as I develop automation scripts. I watch a lot of movies and will probably tell you what I like and don't like. I listen to music and podcasts often. I watch interesting and funny videos. I read a lot of news.

If there's something you want to know about, just let me know. Just ask! to nvAlt

This morning, I made the decision to dump and move to nvAlt for my note-taking needs. I'd been disappointed with the formatting of notes from (I prefer basic text with some simple formatting), and I wanted more than a text editor with fifty million text files floating around.
One passion of mine, that I've developed over time, is writing simple automation scripts. In this case, I wanted to copy the wealth of information that I'd built up in notes over time, and move it to nvAlt. I couldn't find a satisfactory script to do that already, so I set about making my own.