Free Penguin Project

It started with a ‘sitting duck’ toy from a McDonald’s Happy Meal, a little reverse engineering of said duck and led to The Free Penguin Project. An effort to bring all Tux lovers open source plans to develop and deliver their own Tux plushy.

Follow the news and see pics of plushies sent in from fellow Tux lovers.

Their HW requirements? Quote:

First research efforts have shown that at least a needle, a long thread, black and white plushy fabric as well as yellow textile are necessary. Other assets that might be needful are thimbles, more thread and scissors. Warning: Before you start, make sure that you know what you are doing. Doing things on a trial-and-error basis in the fields we are dealing with here can do a lot of harm.

Download sewing patterns from this page.

Tux Pattern    Tux Plushy

[Found via MAKE]

Mars Rovers Again Doing What They Do Best. Rove.

Mission Day # 1,271:

After a 6 week worldwide dust storm has finally ended, the Mars rovers are out and about once again, with Opportunity making a bee-line for the slope of Victoria crater to help shake off the flees while in an inclined position.

NASA had put the two rovers into hibernate mode over a month ago since the sun light would be blocked and they’d effectively be without a means to recharge the batteries.

However, though the sky has cleared somewhat, project scientist Bruce Banerdt says “The clearing could take months. There is a lot of very fine material suspended high in the atmosphere.”

And as those fine particulates fall from from the heavens they are posing an additional challenge in that they cover the solar panels causing the rovers to again be without a means of recharging. Perhaps future versions of the bots need some kind of squeegee mounted to the panels?  This is the reason for sending Opportunity up the hill, crossing fingers that the sand will fall off.

One more problem arising from the dust – particulate matter has embedded itself on the optics of the microscopic imaging equipment, reducing its photo quality.

Hey, the warranty ran out on these buggers long ago, prop them up with duct tape and bubble gum if you have to, we’re basically getting all kinds of data and learning experiences for free now baby.

Read the NASA Mission News report on the rovers for full details.



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What Is That? 9-01-07

Welcome to September, first post is a ‘What is that?’

This little fellow is about 120 years old and was popular enough to spawn 6 different models. Though this model stopped manufacturing in 1906, the device is ubiquitous today and has a very different appearance.

WIT_9-1-07a WIT_9-1-07b

Update: Congrats to Bryan Pierce (not to be confused with the Seattle Mariners coach) for getting the answer! The previous guesses were interesting. If you have a ‘What is it?’ you’d like to post here, please let me know and you’re welcome to guest blog on GN.

Linux Job Market Is Red Hot

Tux, Ready to battle the workplace

Got Linux skills and looking for better work?

Right now is the perfect time to upgrade employers, trade in your current old and busted sweatshop for something new and better before this whole Linux fad dies down (flamebait). 🙂


Strong demand for Linux professionals outpaced overall job growth during the past year, according to IT job clearinghouse As of August 1, job listings for Linux-experienced tech pro’s have jumped 36 percent so far this year, and 55 percent from 12 months ago, the service reports.

In contrast, Dice says, total job postings are up just 13 percent since January, and 18 percent from one year ago.

Link to the full article


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Crusaders & Villains Pt3: The Government Manual for New Superheroes

Gov't Manual for New Superheroes

Join the Undersecretary of Superheroics in her never-ending battle against evil. You can start by getting this manual ‘The Government Manual for New Superheroes‘ and then by registering your Superhero name and identity.

The Bureau of Superheroics Mission Statement:

To support those who take the law into their own gauntleted hands and defend the planet and its population from threats both supervillainous and alien; to administer all Governmental Regulations pertaining to Costumed Crime fighters and to provide Indispensable Guidance in Straightforward Language regarding the same; to eschew Unnecessary Capitalization wherever Practicable; and to revise and publish, from time to time, The Government Manual for New Superheroes.


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Crusaders & Villains Pt 2: How To Be A Villain

Villains always lose, but let’s face it; they have more fun.

Hatching dastardly plots, almost achieving global domination, these unrepentant fiends do what they will until the Goody Two-Shoes of the world catch up with them in the final chapter. Neil Zawacki, a California-based freelance writer and secret evildoer, has concocted a sly step-by-step guide to joining the forces of darkness.

How to Be a Villain

How To Be A Villain

Crusaders & Villains Pt1: How To Be A Superhero

I was bumbling around the bookstore the other day looking for a good book on handguns and home defense (a different story) when I stumbled across a totally geeky book, which led to another and yet another great geeky paperback for the wannabe hero or aspiring villain.

Fellow do-gooders, I’m telling you it was a treasure trove of coolness and decided to blog about them all, starting with the one that began my little odyssey; written by non other than Dr. Metropolis himself, it’s:

How to Be a Superhero

“How to Be a Superhero: Your Complete Guide to Finding a Secret Headquarters, Hiring a Sidekick, Thwarting the Forces of Evil, and Much More!”

How To Be A Superhero


Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse Returns On Steroids

Sidewinder Mouse

What we have here is the Performance Gaming Mouse System. You heard me, it’s a ‘System’, a gaming system with performance handling and custom tuning capabilities for that finicky gamer. Get the details and overview on the MS hardware site here.

Welcome to a revolution in gaming mouse performance, handling, and custom tuning. Microsoft SideWinder Mouse introduces one-of-a-kind features like veritcal side buttons, an LCD display, and a unique shape designed for quick and super-precise action.

On Gaming System features we have:

  • The first LCD on a gaming mouse
  • Cable anchor and accessories storage box. Adjust the length of the cable
  • Quick launch button

On Performance Handling features there are:

  • Vertical metal side buttons
  • Wide Metal Scroll Wheel
  • Engineered for Speed, Shape designed for quick, balance, precision gaming action.

On Custom Tuning:

  • On-the-Fly DPI Switching
  • Adjustable Mouse Weights, select your preference for mouse weight.
  • Changeable Mouse Feet, choice of three different materials for glide preference.
  • Macro Recording, record in-game macros using a dedicated macro record button.
  • Quick Turn, check your perimeter with the click of a button.
  • 5 Programmable Main Buttons

You can pre-order on Amazon for US$79.99

Retro MacOS Blog Theme

I’m a pushover for retro. Retro games, music, clothes, slang….and blogs. Blogs?

That’s right kitty kat, take a stroll down memory lane with the original MacOS and recall the days when computing was a daily exercise in learning something new and refreshing and gnarly dude.

Relive those totally tubular times. (clicky)

Retro MacOS Blog theme

The Newest Roomba Robots Are Smarter Than Ever


MSNBC celebrates the latest robotic vacuum from iRobot, the big news is ‘they’re getting smarter’. My question is “Is it smarter than Rosie?”.

The Roomba 560 is now available, this little fellow has a lineage going back 5 years now and at US$349.99 this bugger better do a helluva job.

Among the latest enhancements in the new version of the Roomba are:

  • Won’t get stuck (riiiight)
  • Improved navigation and floor coverage
  • Improved edge and corner cleaning
  • Improved brushes and filters
  • Improved anti-tangle technology (e.g., on rug tassles or electrical cords)
  • Improved Virtual Wall blocks off-limit areas
  • Automatically returns to its Home Base to dock and recharge

You can watch a video of the model 560 in action.

If it wasn’t so durned expensive, I’d love to have one of these, but $350??

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Christian Manga & Complete Bible In Manga

Manga Messiah  Manga Bible

On the left what you see above is the cover to a 288 page true Manga style comic from Japanese artists to deliver the first of 5 books that will tell the stories of the Christian bible. On the right is Manga Bible at a bible thumping 1216 pages.

It’s being delivered by Tyndale House Publishers:

Offering an eye-catching rendition of the Gospels, Manga Messiah combines cutting-edge art with a fast-paced story to deliver biblical truths in a compelling and relevant way, targeting those that might not have interest in reading a traditional Bible. Features of Manga Messiah that provide context of the four gospels include illustrated character profiles and family trees of key Biblical characters, as well as maps of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.

You can read the full press release on Manga News

Looks like Amazon already has Manga Messiah for sale and available right now at just US$10.38.

The Manga Bible can be pre-ordered for the November release at US$19.99.


Woot! ‘Gladiators’ Get A Redo

American Gladiators

OK geeks, put your testosterone back in your vials. If you’ve had an interest in taking a bow into reality TV, you’re better off sticking with ‘Beauty and the Geek‘ than this one…

According to Craig Plestis, exec VP of alternative programming, the Peacock is getting into the ring with “American Gladiators,” which has been revived for mid-season revival, possibly with all 6 episodes broadcast in a single week. 

Airing in syndication from 1989-96, ‘American Gladiators’ focused on physically fit amateur athletes who competed against the show’s regulars (action stars, stunt professionals and pro athletes) in various physical strength and endurance competitions. Some of the more popular gladiators were Wolf, Turbo, Nitro, Blaze, Lace & Sky.

The show hit it big by showcasing David vs. Goliath-style battles in events such as the Joust, the Wall, the Eliminator and Hang Tough.

Variety has all the details.

SUN’s New Stock Ticker Symbol: JAVA

SUN Microsystems

Sun’s president, Jonathan Schwartz, waxes nostalgic on Sun’s position and value to the world in his blog post the other day ‘Java is everywhere‘. In it he goes on to talk about awareness of SUN and their technologies by the public at large and that the number of people aware of Java dwarfs those that are aware of Sun or of their stock symbol ‘SUNW’.

On awareness he goes on to say:

SUNW certainly has some nostalgic value – it stands for “Stanford University Network Workstation,” and heralds back to Sun’s cherished roots (in academia). Granted, lots of folks on Wall Street know SUNW, given its status as among the most highly traded stocks in the world (the SUNW symbol shows up daily in the listings of most highly traded securities).

But SUNW represents the past, and its not without a nostalgic nod that we’ve decided to look ahead.

JAVA is a technology whose value is near infinite to the internet, and a brand that’s inseparably a part of Sun (and our profitability). And so next week, we’re going to embrace that reality by changing our trading symbol, from SUNW to JAVA.

I’m not so sure I get why they’re doing this since the ‘average joe’ that consumes Java on the PC or their mobile device doesn’t care about the stock symbol and if they needed to find it for some reason they can easily search hundreds of sites providing that information.

I don’t believe that there aren’t more important things for the president of one of the biggest, most known and respected tech companies in the world to be focusing on than the stock symbol.

With over 300 comments on Jonathan’s blog so far, it’s obvious this is an interesting topic online. Ed Burnette’s blog provides us with the Top 25 comments and categorizing them into Negative/Neutral/Positive.

Some of the most negative comments are also coming from Sun employees.

Hey, if you’re a Sun developer or tester, you ‘get things done’ and you’re looking for change, contact me.

Astronomers Find Gaping Hole In The Universe

 Gaping Hole in Universe
Astronomers have been finding dark regions of space for years, areas of the universe with no radiation, no galaxies, not even ‘dark matter’, but never before have they found a void this size.

It’s a billion light years across.

Is it just part of the random nature of the universe and how the ‘chips fell’ after the Big Bang? Is this a cosmic coincidence or divine plan?

Surely this can’t be a good thing, we’ll likely one day regret this discovery and curse those meddling astronomers.


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