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As you likely heard yesterday, the US Dept of Justice and 11 states are suing Google for alleged violations of Anti-Trust law. This is the biggest such suit since the one against Microsoft twenty years ago, back when the browser wars were in full swing.

While Google has about 80% of the global desktop market and nearly 90% of the global mobile market for search, they don’t have any of mine. And they really don’t need any of yours either.

You can de-Googlify your life. As a reminder, I wrote about my adventures in doing so here:

But if you do just one thing today, let it be changing your default search engine to DuckDuckGo. It’s not hard, and it’s the most important first step you can take on any device. Even if you’re on Chrome or a Chromebook, you can still say “Duck Google”.

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I’ve been experimenting with food on and off for at least 15 years. As a kid, stories of my picky eating were legendary. I’m known to quietly skip eating what doesn’t work for me often.

These days? Feed me and I’m very likely to enjoy it! Whatever, whenever.

Give me a choice, and I’ll pick the items lowest on the food chain (white meat over red, fish over chicken, veg over all, hold the cheese please). Preferably between the hours of 10am and 6pm local time.

Left to my own devices, I eat an exclusively plant-based and mostly organic diet on an intermittent fasting schedule.

By default, it looks like this:
  • 7am = water & coffee
  • 10am-ish = salad, maybe vegetable soup if it’s wintertime. Vitamin B & (in this Covid Era) 2000 IU of vitamin D.
  • noon-ish = more water, tea/coffee
  • 3pm-ish = plant-based protein shake with plenty of greens. Organic multivitamin (from Costco, nothing fancy).
  • 5pm-ish = self-prepared tasty vegan meal, possible glass of wine

So I’m basically a polite vegan.

Technically, I’m not a vegan at all. Because I still wear leather and make diet exceptions as needed for sociability, without comment. And because I grew up in the country and I don’t take issue if animals were harmed in the making of my meal. This is for my health, and for that I will consistently choose the healthiest thing for me.

I don’t know what the healthiest thing for you is, but for me it’s clearly a meatless and dairy-free food supply. This is the diet that fuels me best and is least likely to trigger the cancer, heart disease, and other issues that run in my family. It’s also the smallest attack vector for pathogens and bioaccumulating toxins, and it’s the kindest and least damaging diet for our planet.

I’m not here to convince you or to threaten anyone’s beliefs. So don’t try to convince me or threaten mine, please. And if you choose to do so, be prepared to lose this argument because I’ve spent much of my life thinking this through ;)

After so many years of doing keto, nutrient-rich, acid-light, vegetarian, vegan, low-sugar, low-carb, slow-carb, gluten-free, caloric-restricted, fasting, and other dietary trials, I think I’ve settled to a happy medium.

I’m happy with it, anyhow. I am what I eat, and I know what I am.

How about you? What feeds you?

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I’ve learned a thing or two from the last few years of tech fails. Here are the top five…

  1. If it doesn’t work everywhere, then it doesn’t work. Windows/Mac/Linux/iOS/Android or it doesn’t count. This means I can’t use a lot of things other people use, and it also means I won’t get stuck doing what other people do.
  2. Redundancy is critical, but only for critical systems. Centralize first, then backup only the centralized system/data. Otherwise things get really confusing.
  3. Use Markdown or Plaintext files whenever possible. All documentation, all email archives, all creative writing, all lists, basically all textual content.
  4. Only manual reporting to source vendors is allowed. To stop all optional spying and decrease unnecessary network traffic, turn off all selectable reporting permission defaults, then use Pi-hole to detect and drop any such behind the scenes activity. As far as any local programs are concerned, I’m offline unless I’m purposefully checking for updates.
  5. When things stop working for whatever reason, set a timer for 20min. After the timer elapses, either I’ve fixed the problem or I’m walking away from it for the rest of the day. The following day, this issue may be solvable, but on this day, very likely it is not and no further struggle is helpful. Bypass for now.

Do you have any rules like this? I’d love to see, if so. Here’s to technology that serves us instead of the other way around.

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This is my Now page and here’s what’s up for me these days (as posted on 10/01/2020)

My new job as Global Learning Technology & Analytics Manager for ConvaTec isn’t as new anymore. Though I’m still learning the ropes and meeting new people every day, I’m also settling in. I’ve got my work cut out for me, that’s for sure!

I just stepped down as Director of Marketing for Energy Utility Group. Between the chaotic market conditions, my limited bandwidth, and a change in direction for the company, it made sense. A bit sad after all the work I put in, but I’m handing everything off and we’re parting amiably.

Snap Synapse LLC has one tiny engagement to see it through the end of the year. It happens to be with one of our biggest clients ever, and is basically just me getting tapped for a bit of advice every now and then. After 15+ years, I’m planning to close up the business within the next two months. It sustained me successfully for a good long run, I learned a ton about running my own business (as a Sole Prop, C-corp, S-corp, & LLC over the years)…but I don’t really need it anymore. Besides, I still have Clear Mind Publishing and Doable Change Corp on the books if I get bored ;)

Boredom doesn’t look likely though, as last month I was accepted into a Data Analytics & Visualization Bootcamp program. It’s a masters level course, complete with online lectures, twice weekly meetings, homework, and class projects. I’m learning all about the higher functions of Excel for data science, and soon we’ll be getting to Tableau for the data visualizations part. I need all this to kick ass at my new job, which I plan to do with some epic end-of-year reporting that I have planned. Until then, I’m learning up a storm. It’s hard and it’s worthwhile.

I was hoping I could muster the energy to complete my first Cornerstone OnDemand Certification at the same time as this data course, but…that was over-ambitious of me. I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze that in yet. Maybe sometime before year’s end?

Being off of most social media has opened up a lot more energy and time for me, I’m happy to say. LinkedIn posts are queued up for 2-3 weeks in advance, generally. I check in on how they’re going once a day or so. Other than that, meh. Too much toxicity out there these days. People are so hyped up and strung out and angry and scared so often that I find almost no one on The Socials like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram wants to hear much from a thinking man like me. Will reassess this after the raging dumpsterfire that is our 2020 election…if it ever ends, that is.

Personal projects for October include:
  • Fall Garden = So my greenhouse plans got delayed by about 6-weeks due to COVID, an HOA approval, and a big fat Home Depot shipping error. Basically, I got 3/4 of a greenhouse in August, but that wasn’t quite enough to put it up until the rest arrived last week. This month I’ll finish out the build, the planting, and generally make the best of the time I have left before the temps drop to below freezing and stay there for a while. This greenhouse isn’t heated, so I’d only planned for 3-season use.
  • Denise Birthday Getaway = This one’s just for fun, but is still a sizable thing for the month. I’m working the system and cashing in a ton of travel points to make for a very nice birthday gift for my partner! We’ll be visiting the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone in style (I’ve never been!).
  • Raspberry Pi Network monitoring & logging = I still have weird issues going on every now and again, and it’s time to throw some Pi at the problem. I also want to set it up as my DNS once more, and possibly roll my own VPN as a stretch goal.
  • Full Plex & Nextcloud integration = Now that I’ve got my NAS setup and my data mostly deduplicated, it’s time to harvest the fruits of this labor. I want ALL my music and ALL my videos and ALL my documents to be instantly accessible to me (privately!) from my home network, and anywhere else I happen to be. Wish me luck!
  • Financial Plan Forward = Money advice in general has never suited me, because my life has never looked like most people in general. No kids, no faith in my country’s economy long-term, no constants anywhere for either income or outgo. Now that least the income piece has changed, I have the means to potentially pay off the debt I incurred in the last year. So I’m focused on doing that, and making a plan for what happens after. I’ve not been here for a looong time, I’ve not let myself plan like this. It’s time. Time to make the most of what I’ve got and do things a bit differently than ever before. And probably very differently than everyone else, because my circumstances and my perspectives just are.

So that’s me! How about YOU? Hit me up or leave me a comment below.

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By American standards, I’m a long way from rich. Though I’ve had tremendous advantages in this weird & wonderful life, I grew up mostly below the poverty line. I didn’t come from family money, and neither of my parents had any (at least when I was young). I paid for the vast majority of my college education myself, and graduated without debt because I worked the whole time (and because I was lucky enough to live with parents while going to school).

I’ve worked hard my whole life. Harder at some times than others, granted.

When I was 10 years old working the cash register at my mom’s gift store, I wasn’t putting in an 8hr day. When I was selling CDs and merch at my Dad’s gigs, loading/unloading the van, soundchecking, etc. it was arguably more work though in less time. When I was building contact databases for my stepmom’s PR business or folding thousands of mass mailings on the kitchen table, it was easier. All that was before I was old enough to work legally. Then I got real jobs bussing tables and working in kitchens, and weird jobs like being a Star Trek alien at a theme park and making drum noises with my face. I’ve been willing do roll up my sleeves and dig ditches or tackle other physical tasks my puny body was ill-suited for. Though my mental efforts have paid off much, much more.

From hard labor to easy labor to weird labor, I’ve done a lot of laboring in the last 30+ years. I know how to work. I know how to put in more time than others will and not give up when others do and get more creative than others seem to want to.

But none of this equipped me for handling Capital very well. And I’ve recently realized that I’m not that great at it, frankly. I have a lot of the theories down pat, yet in practice…I still just resort to working harder.

And that’s simply not how the whole rich thing works. I know enough rich people to know, because I grew up around them too. I was born in Napa, California. Raised between there and the affluence of Marin County. Lived and spent time around most of the most privileged parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. I really should know better.

I should know that it’s money + interest that creates riches — not hard work. And that’s why I’m not rich by American Standards.

I’ve always used excuses like “If I cared about money, then I’d have more of it” which is indeed true. It’s also a cop-out.

While I’m an interesting blend of liberal and libertarian, politically, I think it’s fair to say that I support Capitalist ideals. I’m no fan of how it’s been deployed in my country, but I like the idea. I’m just not very good at it. At least not yet. Even though I’ve had my own company for the last 15+ years, looking back I’ve probably acted more like a Laborist than a Capitalist. Looking at the meager savings that remain after this wacky 2020 year, and the preceding 6-months of labor high-ground that failed to deliver any actual capital, I’m certain of it actually.

Money has always had all these emotional stops for me. Trust, deservedness, permanence, illusion, meaning, fairness. It’s just all wrapped up and tied down and never got out from under all that weight, in my case. Fortunately I’ve lived a very rich life anyhow. When I tell people about my life thus far, they tend not to believe me. Sometimes I don’t believe it either, it’s that beautiful and even more odd.

Here’s to the continually odd adventures of yours truly…and hopefully with a bit more capital-mindedness going forward. Capital idea, that!

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