Narcissistic Vanity

SysMango.com is the personal website of Butch Lebo.

I'm really not all that interesting, unless you consider the coffee-fueled mania from my daily struggle of my love affair with data.

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The gears in my mind . . .

That last post was hard

I realized trying to write the previous post how out of practice writing anything I am. It was a bit difficult putting together what I wanted into any kind of meaningful narrative. And I don't think I did a very good job of putting that post together. Other then mentioning Darsana, I didn't tie the post into the image. And the post just felt like it was too long before I made it to what I wanted to talk about.

I may got back later and rewrite it. Part of me just wanted to get the post out there.

After 11 years, I still do not have one complete idea about what I want to do with this website. And that makes writing a little more difficult, because there is no focus. But as this is my personal site, I don't want to focus on one thing.

This is a hobby, and I don't ever see myself making money off of it. I'm not looking to be famous (as if that were even possible).

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Some thoughts on Ingress 2nd Anniversary

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Thoughts on Two Years of Ingress

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Saturday November 15, 2014 was the second anniversary of the launch of Niantic's ARG, Ingress. We were lucky enough here in Virginia Beach to host a satellite site for the Darsana Anomaly series. After not being able to go to Richmond, Baltimore or Gettysburg, I just had to go to a local event. And to have that event be part of the second anniversary made it feel more important.

Two years ago I had been looking for something new. At this point, I don't remember exactly how I had become aware of Ingress.

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Run up to Authur

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Talking about the weather is boring, but I'm sitting here under the first Tropical Storm warning of the season, and we're watching the weather.

National Hurricane Center: Tropical Storm Arthur

From what we are seeing on the maps and projections, via both the Internet and TV, I'm not expecting to see hurricane force winds, but there will be wind and rain, and a lot of it.

The advantage we have is that our part of Hampton Roads is tucked in behind the bay, and further west than either OBX or the Eastern Shore. For Ingress, this causes some interesting problems. For storms, it seems to provide some safety. It doesn't mean we aren't going to see anything.

What are we expecting? If history is any guide: SysMango Comparing Irene and Isabel

Hopefully, there isn't must of anything to talk about, but I'll probably keep posting short messages to Twitter, G+ and ADN.

I'm sure it will all be very boring. Here's hoping.

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New laptop: The first week

The laptop I ordered finally arrived Monday afternoon. By Tuesday night, I had installed Linux twice on the box making the box dual-boot Windows 8.1 and OpenSUSE 13.1.

I've decided to keep Windows just in case I should some impossible situation occur and I need it. I didn't order a recovery disk, so I only have the recovery partition on the hard drive, so I don't exactly want to worry about if I should ever need to install Windows. But I suspect that I am only going to ever run Linux. I get enough of Microsoft Windows at work, and honestly, I find the change of environments for my personal compute refreshing. Now if I could only figure out how to get the bootorder to stick past one reboot . . .

At this point I can say that I have almost no interest in actually living with Windows on this laptop. I am leaving Windows on the drive, as I may want to boot to Windows for a few older programs that I may have things that will be easiest to deal with in Windows (and that I haven't tried to get using Nat's or the boy's machines) but that's about it. At some point I might just reinstall Linux and remove Windows.

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Finally bought a new laptop

A little over a week ago, I finally gave into the frustration of trying to work on equipment that had mostly been bought before Windows Vista came to market and bought myself a new laptop. And in a little less than a week, the new machine will be here, and hopefully remove the problems I have trying to get something done on the excessive mass of machines where I run my digital life.

I know for some people, buying a new laptop might be something they do every at least once a year. This is not something I have had the luxury to do. I've tried to make sure Natalie and the boys have sufficient technology to do what they need to do. That normally means that someone is normally telling me about a problem they are having with either the availability or performance of sufficient technology.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), Natalie and the boys are fairly casual users of technology. Most of their needs can be handled with the laptop equivilent of a toaster. There's some light gaming from the boys, mostly Steam. Everyone pretty much lives in their browsers and their office suites. Social apps take up most of their computing.

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One Thousand Daily Photos

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Today I uploaded my 1000th Daily Photo.

The Daily Photo project started on September 4, 2007. I believe Natalie and the boys had just started school for the year, and I was home working alone, and hadn't exactly figured out how to deal with an empty house, and a blog that was starting to seriously lack fresh content.

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The idea for the daily photo is obviously not originally mine. There were already plenty of people who were posting daily pictures of their view, skyburn, their children, their non-human children, other significant people in their lives, and cats well before I bothered posting the first picture. The idea that this might be a good thing to do came from Mena Trott's 2006 TEDTalk.

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2013 to 2014: My Mostly Invisible Year

Today is the 11th anniversary of SysMango.com. A year ago, I posted the tenth anniversary. There was one additional post over the course of the year, and that was it.

I'm not really sure what happened.

A lot of my spare time over the last year has been poured into Ingress.

After getting over the mid-level lull in February, I was able to correct my expectations, deal with some of my own antisocial tendencies and become more active in the local Ingress community. And being part of the local community in Ingress is very important.

In many ways, trying to play Ingress casually is more work than just playing the game hardcore. The XM game and the portal hacking game both require that one is out in the field either collecting XM or accessing portals. Locally, there is an understanding that the agents that can hack more, all other things being equal, will win more often against an agent that doesn't hack as often.

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Sam's First Day 9th Grade

Today was the first day of school here in Virginia Beach.

One of the teachers at Sam's high school included an assignment for parents to send them an e-mail. I'd like to present to you for your reading pleasure, my first draft:

An Open Letter to Sam's Teachers

Hello. I am Sam's father.

I think Sam is great. He loves learning, and is capable of absorbing information like a sponge. Unfortunately, Sam is also highly flammable and would probably dissolve easily in most solvents. I have also been told by a number of dragons that Sam would be crispy and good with ketchup.

Sam is also a very deep thinker. Given enough time, he is capable of seeing through vast amounts of information and formulating an argument that presents a new and unique perspective on almost any topic. Unfortunately, Sam tends to present his argument in either Wookie or Klingon. On his best days, he is capable of moving fluently between both those languages, sometimes using both in parallel.

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SysMango turns 10

March 26, 2003 was the day I pushed the publish button the first time for this site.

It's almost hard to believe that this site has been going, slowly, for the last decade.

I was hoping to do a big post going over the last 10 years, but I ran out of time. I am off of work next week. I should have time to write about the site and my thoughts on trying to maintain it over the last 10 years. I do have one picture showing how much I've posted over the years.

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The Internet is a very different place today than it was in 2003. Social media had only just started to gain attention. Twitter and Facebook were still in the future (2006 and 2004). Spending all day on the web was not yet something most people I knew did.

Today, most of the people I know would have trouble living without a broadband connection at home and a mobile data plan on their phone.

SysMango.com looked very different.

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A month plus of Ingress, so what's next?

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i think this is going to be my last regular post about Ingress. There is really not all that much to write about beyond my own progress (which is boring compared to others) or discussing the current state of the game. There are plenty of sites dedicated to the state of Ingress, both the game and the state of play. I'll still post occasionally about it, but I do want to talk about other things.

Ingress isn't everything.

A big issue in Ingress right now is not balanced. As with most MMO, game balance is a serious issue. New players have to be supported as they are discover the game, but there has to be something to reward established players, particularly those that have reached the level cap. Unlike other a non-ARG, it is very difficult to partition the game space to address the different needs of the different populations of players.

Another significant issue with game balance is the amount of time individual players can dedicate to the game. Imagine trying to compete against a player who has the time to play the grind for 48-hours straight. Or a player who was able to grind to level cap in their first week of playing.

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