PS:319 – Nearly July

Man how time flies! I mean really it flies.

Since I last posted a lot has happened it seems, the big one is 2000+ miles of driving. Bakersfield -> Lake Tahoe -> Oregon -> Washington (dipped our toe in) -> Oregon -> Bakersfield. I might still be a little tired honestly.

I came back to only find myself horribly sick, I think that old joke of “I need a vacation from my vacation!” comes into play here – knocked me flat for sure – bronchitis, pink eye, exhaustion – but I managed to get some rest from the trip it was fun overall, but not looking to do a HUGE drive anytime soon.

Vacations are nice, just one of those “never enough time” type of things, and since I don’t really get a vacation it was some added stress making sure I had data access or at least stable cell service and ate into a 10GB hotspot mode I have – but work continues.

Tonight I took a different jump for things, really wanting to grow the business, and while I found a place that’ll make me some affordable shirts, I have been wanting misc. gear like bags, mugs, hats, phone cases, and one I didn’t think about which was posters, well I did that too:

It’s going to be 17×24! WOOHOO!

Been working also with CRM options, everything I read says “Get one!” and yet, I don’t think I’m there 100% yet, but my live chat provider hooked me up with Beta access to their new CRM-ish features, and must say, looks pretty nice! Plus they are adding video chat and a few other things, so excited there.

Really trying to dial in a lot of things, some side work has picked up, a larger scale project is in the wings, but I think it’s going to be one of more steady dev. vs the big payout after a large programming fest. steady work is nice, but I am really wanting to amp up the hosting fronts and see if I can’t manage a few VPS or Hosting customers here and there and have some more steady income vs. project here or there.

For now, it’s nearly 3 AM, going to wrap it up – thinking of revamping the blog a bit, or really diving into a new URL, TFH is still on my mind, but a lot to do to make it “work” really thinking just dive in, but I need to stabilize a writing day, found Blankpage.io sadly it’s a little buggy for me, seems my sign-up with wonky, but hit or miss if I can write and try to keep to a daily writing trend, but it’s the goal! Hopefully, it’ll iron out soon would be nice to have a good writing tool!

Thanks for reading!

ps. Jake – Saw your mom at Lowes she looks good! Plus I got a hug! 😀

#charlesabrown

PS:318 – Getting No Where Fast.

Phew. What an insane couple of weeks. I’ve done lack of sleep before in my life, but it feels more like the first 6 months of this year have been non-stop.

Work has been a downhill slide lately, customers have been leaving, contracts have slowed (not gone, but GREATLY scaled back), and after hours put in to try and bring things back up and build, I am beat. Tired. Exhausted. Throw in a soon to be 3 years old… Yowza. I’m sleepy.

It’s nearly midnight. This brings about June, the halfway point of this year and honestly? I’m a little discouraged. I know part of it is quite simply my batteries are dead. I’m wiped. Physically and Emotionally. I need a real vacation but sadly with a dip in projects, contracts, and customer payments, it’s not easy at all to say “Let’s go play!” but I’m going to try. Wife is off work soon, and I’m going to go off and “play”.

Vacations are not normal for me because of one simple reason, I’m never off the clock. I’ve mapped out data access, I have the following access while traveling:

  • Cricket (AT&T)
  • Project Fi (Sprint/T-Mobile)
  • Sprint

So looking at the maps, even if I have to bust out a broken Verizon Phone, I can, but hoping that things are mellow-ish, but even over the next 48 hours I’ve got some projects to put some hours into and hopefully folks pay promptly.

I’m trying to fire up my sites, however my biggest problem is quite simply content. I could write volumes about other companies, but it comes to my own? My words are gone. I need to find a good time to just write, in fact I am going to try and write some tonight and get Flock done, but Thrust is another bird all-together.

Lots to do, no real gumption to do it, looking for some good tools to help organize and get things together, Bear does a good job, but sadly its not cross platform to Linux/Windows/Android, if it made apps I could sync my info via Dropbox and access things on other platforms? Oh I’d be in love and use it even more.

I’m going to wrap up, eyes are getting sleepy, going to try starting June off with some sleep, or at least try to! Happy June!

PS:317 – Working Hard

One of my larger server contracts has been hit or miss lately, one week $$$$$$$ another week $0.$$ – not complaining, a little something is a lot better than a lot of nothing – but it’s really working me to grab even more customers directly as one day they are hiring me, the next day …. dunno.

Working helps me balance things out a bit emotionally, work has a lot more focus on it than day-to-day life, and I like it. I like the grind, but I do like my family, and I have been trying to find a better balance, but one day it’s light and you can play some, then half way through light, well it gets heavy.

Tomorrow I need to follow up on a few things but tonight I decided “Hey that server of yours? Let’s decommission it!” so you know what I’m doing? Killing off 2 servers tonight, one a customer canceled recently, and old sale he got and then said he didn’t need any more, then a private server which honestly was overkill for my needs, requires a few software licenses, and well – the new server builds for WP based software I’m building out – a heck of a lot better.

So this server which has housed this blog for a few weeks/months just actually went down for about 5 minutes and spun up with some additional storage, memory, and CPU, and will house a number of my private projects, my testing grounds domain4testing.com (clever I know) and really reduce some overhead by removing a cPanel and Softaculous license which while I’ve got pretty fair deals, is some change I don’t really need to be spending.

All in all the moves the last few months have been good, freeing up IP’s in my Proxmox cluster will allow me some room for the launch of FlockHosting.com and ThrustNetworks.com by mid-year, I want by mid-July to have everything online and running with pricing, ordering, and improved support.

Really have a lot going on behind the scenes, cleaned the desk today, which still not perfect, need a shelf or two in here, but on my way to really trying to build this business this year, and to tools which might allow me to bring on someone to assist and make my life a bit easier – time will tell!

For now, back to moving 30GB of data between servers and configuring a few sites with new login info … I’m a wild man.

PS:316 – What next?

While I love the world of hosting, some changes since my last post, some news which may mean a considerable amount LESS work from one source, and with the silence of another addition to the monthly incoming gone silent, I’m not banking on it being around.

So what’s next? I’ve got a lot on the plate this last week of April, a lot indeed. While I wish there were some real downtime, sadly that’s just not in the plan for me, Kiddo has stuff Monday, Wife has a busy week, and that leaves me somewhere in the “Uhm….” area of “when do I have time” and “what do I have the drive to do?” honestly? I’m frazzled. I’m fried. I really just want to rest/do nothing.

Sadly the real world doesn’t always allow for that when you run your own business. So, What’s next?

I’ve really considered making a side business (cash business) out of 3D Printing for starters, really just printing for folks I know doing Con’s and such when they need that blaster/sword/gear that isn’t easily just made, but can be printed/finished and give their look a lot of polish.

A tech-ish website, TFH is still in the wings, and if I can find a regular schedule for writing weekly I think I could make a good run of it, really just build it out, maybe doing video guides, video articles, etc. really just get out there and build a brand around it and help folks.

Photography, I have the drone (which needs a good flight soon!) but maybe get my commercial Drone license and add something to side photography biz in which deck out a nice camera, suit up the drone, etc. just get those cool shots and use the drone to add some nice shots from the air, honestly I think it’d be fun.

Really dig into the world of Web Design & Coding full time, and have hosting on the side to handle clients. So far some performance gains on sites operating things not as shared hosting in a traditional sense but a targeted WaaS (WordPress As A Service) would be nice, really build a streamlined WordPress configuration and sell out some sites that are speedy, easily kept up, secure, and get folks boom’n in town and around.

Get hired. No more work for me, really just branch the hosting into a side-gig, find someone who’d hire me as tech support/admin/etc. and give me a W2 maybe even long-term slowly move my customers to their hosting platforms and still take care of my customers, but really allow someone else to foot the bill and pay me handsomely to maintain it 🙂

Find a church, do music, youth, whatever, maybe get hired on as staff to have a more active staff-like role and serve God and make it a living to boot.

Lastly – Denny’s or someplace I can enjoy cooking – I mean Lilly likes it so who would complain? 😀

A lot on my mind, hopefully I can figure something out and really find something that works – the wife says I should become a nurse… Never was on my radar, but I don’t mind medical stuff that much, but I do hate school lol so not sure how that’d play out – time will tell.

For now it’s 1:30AM, still trying to wind-down, and wrap up the late night work goodies that came in, but in the AM a few emails to reply to, for now just typing and winding down, hopefully sleep soon.

PS:315 – Taxes Suck

So this year taxes came together in record time. Why? I’ve really been trying to keep a better grasp on numbers, but to the reports/tools of the billing system, vendors I use who have reporting on what I spent, etc. it’s still not 100% easy/perfect, but compared to years past it has been a lot easier to put together, a lot lower stress.

Let’s be honest though it’s taxes. Taxes suck. I really wish it was a matter of “You made X, you owe Y.” in my mind at least that would be so much easier because I know how much I made all things said and done, just take a day and get back to the business part.

To that end reaching out to my aunt who did/does the CPA thing, seeing if they can suggest maybe either an online service, firm, etc. maybe even just get some suggestions from them on better structuring things because I’m needing it to be easier and easier, not harder and harder – and if I can manage somehow to keep healthy growth, then too may need to change some business funds up.

16+ years doing this stuff, I’ve put my app in places in those 16+ years, worked various things, just I’m at that point where I am trying to eliminate as much stress as possible in everything as I can because there is enough stress in life to have to worry about finances? No thanks. Need to change it up.

For this tax season? I’m done. Filed, back to the grind of it all – okay that’s a lie. I am overly exhausted, thus I’m letting the kiddo sleep in till at least 10 am and then I’m going to work to chill-out a little bit. Been a low week for hours, been a slow day thus far already (praying that doesn’t change) just need a break, maybe once the Mrs. comes home I may venture out and catch a movie? Fly the drone? Dance like no one is watching? Something just not in front of this terminal.

Happy Post-Tax Day

PS:314 – 51

When I started the Post Something (PS) idea , it was for 365 days. Straight. Well life has happened, and while best intentions of getting in a post a day, I’ve fallen short. If all had gone well, I’d of been done on 01/18/2017, however here we are 04/17/2017 (A few days late… right.)

I wish I could say there were valid reasons, and I’m sure there were – marriage, kiddo, family, work, sure sure, lots of options of why – but if it’s a must, then it should of been a must. I failed. Plain and simple. But like the Jamaican Bobsled Team in Cool Runnings (Thanks Netflix!) , I’m going to carry myself across the finish line and that’s 51 more posts. That’s it. Now from beyond that? Not sure how it’ll continue, likely just back to posting occasionally.

Been working on taxes (yes last minute) fighting fatigue and stress at the moment, just seems like I’m going upstream without a paddle, but ran very rough numbers, and I think I’m going to be okay. I have my $800 check set aside for the LLC minimum tax, just have to organize my numbers, which is pretty much some of my night while I wait on a few reboots/tweaks on servers, and hopefully not the entire day tomorrow. I’d love to get things setup with an accountant, I’d love to hand it off, but part of me is thinking of too maybe re-branding. Thrust Networks has always gotten me a lot of strange looks. Maybe time to shutter it, start a new name, and start the books off fresh with someone who can help me get it setup, help me streamline and make it all easier to manage year-to-year – two birds, one stone.

A lot of options on the horizon, taxes off that horizon helps a lot, a lot of changes, a lot of things in motion, I’d love to see more business growth, I’d love to have a simple tax system in the US of “You made $3 million dollars? You owe $1000.” lol something simple, I hate this overly complex system, and while companies like Turbo Tax do help cut through some of it, I’d just as soon not deal with it – so re-working the entire system sounds like a good plan on my side, just finding the way to do it, thats the big “How do I?” question.

Going to bed soon I hope, for now, back to work.

PS:313 – Improving Performance

I have been working on plans to really improve options for projects – in a growing world of site builders and outages in hosting, it’s harder and harder to keep customers, and keep them happy.

This week I had a lot more planned, sadly this week has not gone as I had planned at all. I mean I thought it was Tuesday yesterday, and here we are on Wednesday. Doh.

But I’ve got some work done, some improvements in performance my usual test subject (aka this blog) is already showing an improvement from a C- to an A (working on the +) 😀 So quite the improvement.

Also working on a BIG eComm upgrade for a customer, been testing a server setup to bring their database into a huge HA cluster, and I’m excited about it! While the customer may not be a long-term customer, if I can off-load MySQL – might be able to keep him longer with improved performance, really handle things like high-traffic really well, so excited about the idea, right now in testing I’ve grabbed a copy of the site for a dev server that goes live tomorrow, I’m going to map all my DNS and give it a stress test or three. I think it’s going to work amazingly! If I’m right, time to schedule a change or three 🙂

I need to get to sleep, car maintenance today, then maybe a quick run downtown for talk about another project (that can greatly benefit from these wacky improvements I’m thinking about) so much to do, taxes, work, fun, sleep, etc. lots to do, little time. Here we go.

PS:312 – Sick = Rest

Not sure what it was that I ate, but it did not like me. Oi. Sad though that the only way to get myself to rest a real amount of rest is to knock me flat on my back for nearly a full day, then, of course, it’s good at some level it did, as I’m faced with a 5+ hour outage at the moment.

Things are changing in my world. Customers are changing, some have left, some have joined, I have a commitment to service to folks, yet lately that seems harder and harder to keep when things outside of my direct control (Datacenters!) keep having issues – mainly one lately, which while I hate all my eggs in one basket, the other basket has been a lot more stable.

The world of the web be it hosting/design is great, but sometimes I think of options for a change of pace – sadly where I am at is not growing fast enough, and its slowing slow enough that it is at least workable for now, but I really want to change things up.

I lost a customer recently because they wanted to go with another provider, sure their site explained how they were not about the money, but strangely the email I got was “about the money” 🙂 why is it too that Christians try to spare other Christian’s feelings? Honestly just say “They are cheaper, I want to make money, you understand right?” and I do.

Just seems lately that other companies are running things super low-cost, and while my prices are reasonable, when they are getting lower than $3/m (over 6 years) that spreads margins thin, and for me not super competitive, especially when you have a 5-hour outage.

I’ve thought about building my own hardware and getting a deal on rack space with a company I do admin work for, but then if something goes wrong it’s my deal, 2-hour drive to a DC not really ideal – but it’s an idea.

For now I’m really pondering what I want to do. I need to wrap up a lot of projects and then I think I want to sit down and really dig in on what I can do/what I want to do/what I should do – passive income would be nice,

PS:311 – MacOS Sierra

So tonight during my week clean-up (reviewing time I put in on contracts, making invoices, email catch-up, and order queue review) I started on a process to really get my Computing setup working smoother.

If you recall I built a hackintosh last year and it’s served me fairly well, it’s not likely everyone’s cup of tea as the setup isn’t always forgiving for a production machine. I tried once to upgrade to MacOS Sierra and let’s just say it did not go well. I ended up restoring a disk image I made of the system before the upgrade but was in the clear. Figured it was time to try again as summer comes I will be traveling and syncing desktop & docs to iCloud would make for a more portable work experiencing.

I will note if you have a GA-Z170N-GAMING 5 motherboard like I do suggestions for upgrading if you have issues?

  • Upgrade to latest clover.
  • Fresh versions of KEXTS
  • AppleACL
  • Delete MacOS Sierra Installer + Re-Download it.

All in all? Some minor hiccups but now I’ve got everything sync’d up between devices and my 2015 MBP will travel a little smoother, content writing is more unified with Bear, and in this process I’ve even cleaned my desk a little. Nothing to brag about, but better.

I do have more journey in making this office a tad more “work like” here after taxes and business level out, saving up for a new desk to replace my folding table, and on the back wall behind me want to put a small couch for relaxing/coding when I need a change of location.

Also VPN’d up outside of my own VPN setup, I am going to cut down from a Bi-Costal VPN node setup to just a single private one of my own for business security, and then keep this new one for devices like my Phones, Laptops and Tablets, too once the wife gets moved off Verizon to Cricket full time this month, lock her down because while Cricket may not be as fast as Verizon, at least they won’t sell off everything she does on her phone – glad I get covered on 6 devices! Woot!

More work to do tonight aside from just getting work all streamlined, going to put in a bit of dev time on a BIG project, but been working on FlockHosting, got it loading SMOOTHLY! Already brainstorming what Thrust Networks will be like, but really pushing this year for some hefty growth if at all possible as all sides are a bit wobbly with some clients and I can’t get too comfortable just coasting hoping more business will just appear! Hitting the pavement running, saving more, growing more, now if I could just get sleeping more in there somewhere 🙂

Be well! Posted this on FB, but figure this might encourage anyone who stumbles across this too:

PS:310 – Surprise, I’m tired!

I know it’s rare for me to mention this, but I’m tired. I just wrapped up some code that I’d hoped to get done earlier, but you try juggling a needy 2.67-year-old (yes I’m going up from sticking at 2.5! She’s older!), mail, bank, Costco, etc. only so many hours in the day.

The code actually turned out quite nice, executes some 14k operations in about 6 minutes, too bad overall, generates 20 CSV files to map the files it downloaded and then saves them all nice a purdy. Works amazingly well – now if there is ever another hiccup like previously, simply re-import these CSV files for the person having an issue, and ta-da image assets all re-added.

I would love to re-code this beast from the ground up, take out the oddities of a framework. Honestly not because I’m somehow anti-frameworks, but sadly this one was not kept up, and the app was developed very different and not much foresight into the idea the site would grow larger. It doesn’t scale.

I’ve talked about it before, it’s image system for managing sucks. – And due to either someone’s lack of a stock # or something else odd, images are being cleared when they are supposed to stick around – in my script I do fix the issue one one side of file names, use the unique id + company id to create a new image in a single folder. It’s lovely.

Fell asleep after writing this and it got buried underneath a pile of browser windows! Heading into the day once the kiddo wakes up, but too many late nights. Need to get piles done, back on track and caught up where I NEED to be. Happy Thursday Folks.