Twenty Tech Things About Me

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 20 tech-related things, facts, habits or ideas about yourself. At the end, you will tag no one, since you should have forsworn chain letters years ago. However, if you want to share your tech idiosyncrasies, you can reach me at jbrooks@eweek.com or leave a comment below. 1. In 1998, I spent way too much of my meager salary on a Psion 5 handheld computer. The maddening orphaning of that sweet piece of hardware made me appreciate the vendor-emancipating goodness of open source platforms...

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 20 tech-related things, facts, habits or ideas about yourself. At the end, you will tag no one, since you should have forsworn chain letters years ago. However, if you want to share your tech idiosyncrasies, you can reach me at jbrooks@eweek.com or leave a comment below.

  1. In 1998, I spent way too much of my meager salary on a Psion 5 handheld computer. The maddening orphaning of that sweet piece of hardware made me appreciate the vendor-emancipating goodness of open source platforms.
  2. I purchased my first home router (one of those timeless blue Linksys numbers) because the home OS love of my life at the time, BeOS wouldn't work with my DSL provider's PPPoE.
  3. Be's focus shift away from the desktop operating system market, and subsequent sale to Palm meant the mothballing of BeOS, and gave me another reason to appreciate open platforms.
  4. About a year later, I stepped up to a wireless (and, then, for me, relatively costly) Linksys router, even though my apartment was more than small enough for an Ethernet cable to stretch wherever I might have roamed.
  5. I so loved following the development arc of Windows XP that once XP was finished, I lost interest in Windows in favor of Linux, an OS that's always in active (and public) development.
  6. The fact that OS X is forbidden from running on non-Apple hardware (not even virtual hardware, running atop an Apple machine) annoys me to no end.
  7. I'm a big fan of unlicensed spectrum. The innovation we've seen in the 2.4GHz portion of the spectrum (including WiFi and Bluetooth) makes a great case for expanding the wireless commons.
  8. I love handheld computers, and spent the early part of my career at eWEEK writing (perhaps too much) about them. However, as the Internet has grown more important to me, and the pace (and affordability) of mobile Internet access stagnated, I began to lose interest in mobile devices.
  9. The fact that my iPod Touch is the best PDA I've ever seen or used, combined with the fact that my Touch is arbitrarily tethered to iTunes, infuriates me.
  10. I thought that Apple's 1984 Mac Superbowl commercial was extremely creepy, and I don't understand how it was that the locked-down Mac, then or now, was supposed to represent freedom.
  11. I loved the fact that DOS would run on crazy no-name whitebox clones. It's the whitebox that's actually the computer for the rest of us.
  12. I loved DOS for its relative openness, and its due to my love of openness in computing that I consider myself a PC (installed with Linux).
  13. My current home computer traces its lineage to the AMD K6-powered box that I ordered over the Internet from iDOT.com in 1998, although no parts from that ancestor remain in use.
  14. I'm still annoyed at all the asinine world-changing buzz/fluff/vapor that preceded the launch of the Segway/Ginger/It.
  15. When I'm at the command line, I often think of the "ps -ax | grep [whatever]" process-info-locating tid bit that my former colleague / hero Tim Dyck taught me when I was getting started with Linux.
  16. The Windows feature that I would most like to have on Linux is Powershell. The Get-Member cmdlet is perfect for my poking around style of learning.
  17. In my opinion, the geek community site Slashdot has the best commenting system of any site on the Web, and even better, the code that runs Slashdot is available as open source.
  18. Unfortunately, the Slash project is probably the worst-packaged open source project I've ever tried to install, beginning with a dependency on Apache 1.3, which practically no Linux distributions ship any more.
  19. I used to have a huge luggable PC with no hard disk, two 5.25" drives, and a tiny amber-colored display. On a trip to visit family in Los Angeles, I lugged it along and spent most of my time playing King's Quest III. I was always a bit unsure how to pronounce the name of the evil wizard, Manannan.
  20. I still play video games, in those limited minutes when my wife's away and my kids are asleep. I opt for pro wrestling games on my refurbished Playstation 2.