Full Circle?

When I was 18 I started this wacky journey being a “Web Designer” – one catch. I’m not super artistic. So while I can make a website, I’m not good always at putting the graphics together that really scream “WOAH! AWESOME!”.

Well somewhere along the line where Miva Merchant came into play. I had learned Miva’s Scripting language doing some eComm for another customer, and that led to a job in which I was administering a Linux box to run Miva Merchant for my first major job outside of the comfort of ye-old safety-net, and that’s also where I started to diverge from designing print ads for the local Christian Production Company and helping a band/friend with a website design – while not good, it was also early in the web – not the fancy flash/shockwave era 😄

But as I moved towards eComm, I continued to go down the rabbit hole that was Server Administration, set up my workstation to run Linux and tried to dig in deep. I have dabbled now and again and built out a website or two, but honestly? Hosting the pages was more of the thing I did vs. create them.

Well with the most recent build of FlockHosting.com I took to the editing board and built out a site. It worked. It was clean, it fit, and it’s online still – but it hasn’t stopped there – recently re-designed and built out the local Christian Radio Station’s site, and freshened it up.

Yesterday though I had some projects thrown on my lap and was asked if I had all of the graphical assets if I could make the site functional? So I figured, what could it hurt to take some images and organize them a bit and see if I could make a site. I did. Worked great – and that’s opened a few more projects for me. 👍

So while I’m currently taking a Network Certification training course (CompTIA Network+) – I’ve got a website or two in the works, building out things and banking some time – thus its nearly 2:30am and I need to sleep – but funny that I’m full circle building out sites again. Good times.

I missed only 1. Thanks $5 Traffic School.

So at the start to this summer’s state capital we made it over the pass heading towards Denver in our rental, and honestly, I couldn’t tell how fast we were going, but a CHP was concerned and pulled us over.

I don’t say a jerk because honestly nicest officer I think I’ve ever gotten pulled over by – and I’ve had a lead foot now and again, (even on my birthday!) but this guy was super nice, even was polite with Daisy & Lilly, explained how the ticket worked since it was in Mojave, not Bakersfield, and sent us on our way, and that extra caution on speeding, really did make the rest of the trip much safer, and I think avoided us an accident or two.

Officer Franklin – Thank you, sir. Got me more mindful of the rental’s speed, even managed to get its cruise control running that much more accurately and by trip’s end the car was second nature!

But thankfully since my speed hasn’t been an issue for a few years I was up for Traffic School, after a slightly painful ticket – but found 5 Dollar Traffic School. It was on the list they sent, and honestly it didn’t look like Netscape 1 was the only compatible browser (there are a LOT of crappy looking traffic school sites) – had some PHP errors I reported, but all in all, worked great.

Took it all in a day. All of the quizzes were super helpful to the point at the end as I said, only missed 1 (96%) and now I have a ticket on it’s way to being removed from my record, even paid a little extra for status since its all digital now with the courts + got a copy of things for my own records just in case something is wonky.

Nice to have one more thing off the list in the grand to-do! I start a new project tomorrow, and hopefully get paid for a server project here soon too! Lots on the docket as of late, but I’m still moving forward – been a busy/rough couple of months, I’ve applied to another IT job, no response. I do have a name that I could drop, but I’m seeing what I can do at this point on my own, but for now, I’m “Under Review” so we shall see.

Back to it for another hour then it’s bedtime. For me, that’s early to bed, and before 10 AM is early to rise, so working on it 😀

Reasons for: Windows

I have never had anything honestly against windows. It’s a decent operating system and I think similarly to linux I’ve had only minor hiccups with a malware/virus situation so it’s not “Oh Windows is bad because of viruses!” seriously folks – two words: anti virus.

While I don’t mind it I really only use it when required as it stands. Sure it’d be nice to have a Windows rig for some gaming (Steam account + Portal 2… Yes please.) it’d definitely have some pro’s:

  • It’s Windows: Let’s be honest, it’s been around the block. There is a bigger app eco-system, there is a slew of tweaks/hacks you can do on your system, Bluray support, etc. it’s been around.
  • Gaming: While I don’t “game” like most, as I mentioned before Portal 2 – yes I just beat it again, but I love a good puzzle or two with a witty robot talking to me, but I have a fair sized Steam account in which I’m happy to say Commander Keen is in there 🙂
  • Upgrade Ease: While I have had decent luck with my Hackintosh, let’s be easy when it comes to Mac’s its harder and harder to do simple upgrades. Drives are attached, memory is the same, and CPU upgrades? Naw. Never gonna happen, well without some HUGE warranty, and with how Apple is handling user repair requests, not a good place to be.
  • Carry Over: I have some licenses which will live in both eco systems, Office 365 account, Adobe Account to name a few, but many apps out there which are web based more than anything are going to carry over without issue.

Windows works. The Linux Subsystem fixes many terminal woes I’d of had, and while I’m not against PuTTy, to be able to simply map SSH to common servers in an alias file to login, have my key and boom, I’m in – Linux Subsystem makes that super handy.

I mentioned the laptop at OfficeMax in my last post, it’s nice, has a good spec in general, but I wanted to know if it was something user upgradable, as 8GB of RAM isn’t bad, but like any modern OS/Apps – things are memory hungry – and a 5400RPM drive… I tried it in store and it was “okay” and yes, 1TB of storage is nice, but not something I “HAVE” to have, so I hit up HP and found that the drive was replaceable, however, they said Memory was not.  Which was a lie…. well sort of.

I got another tech to send me the repair/replacement guide, and it notes the motherboard has memory slots that take PC2400 RAM and that it has 2 slots, so in theory  I could grab another 8GB chip for under $100 and be good, but wait there’s more!

That same guide shows a M2 slot, so I could clone the main drive to the M2 drive with a snappy say 120-240GB SDD, then get a mid-range performer in the SSD laptop size which would be around $200 and have all SSD storage for basically a total upgrade of around $300 all things said and done, so a $800 laptop without too much fuss.

All in all I know I could customize something else, or save up, but the nice thing about this idea is it’s over time. I have enough for the M2, grab it, same with ram, if I REALLY need it, grab it.

WIndows systems offer a lot, but the nice thing is, if I hate it beyond hate it. Linux is only an ISO away.

Reasons for: Mac

So in this wacky journey I find myself on for a new laptop I’ve  begun to ask myself:

“What is it you need from Mac so badly?”

By no means am I fanboy. Oh no no no. I don’t drink Mac Koolaid and then look at other OS users and demand them bow to the shrine of Mac. Never been a diehard to that extent, just have in years past enjoyed honestly a stable workstation as a primary, but the reasons? Let’s run them down:

  • OS Diversity: Ease to run all major OSes on a single platform without too much heavy lifting. Easily have Windows/Linux onboard using VirtualBox/VMware – easy for supporting customers on varied platforms.
  • Strong Terminal: I grew up on DOS. Autoexec.bat and Config.sys are my friend, so having tools and ease of a strong CLI is key, and tools like SSH and various network tools are insanely handy as a Linux Admin.
  • Security-Ish: While years ago Mac had bolder claims about being safe/secure, however lately it’s not the top of my list, but it does have pretty good security out of the box.
  • Window Management: While I am rocking 2 monitors on the Hackintosh – I still use spaces with a few handy keystrokes, makes running VM’s and remote terminals for RDP/SSH be something I can just switch one screen to another system entirely – insanely handy.

But really I could say “Oh the apps” and yes some great apps on Mac for dev/productivity, however, key ones anymore are web-based or have apps on other desktops. So what am I thinking? Well, so far Windows 10 is my focus for a possible laptop replacement. Cost is a big factor, instead of investing an arm+leg to get an even entry-level MacBook that same $400 right now could get me a Ryzen3 system running Windows 10 @Office. (yes thats . for Depot + Max).

$400 vs $1000 even with maybe a $100 investment in a decent SSD to replace the 1TB HD I could have some decent performance under Windows 10, and have the Linux Subsystem installed to give me all the usual tools I from SSH to wget, I’ve tried it out and it works – would be a nice change from PuTTy on Windows, and tools for doing simple things like dig vs. nslookup – but keep me from having to re-map my brain for commands.

Windows 10 security has improved a lot and I do have some software in the ecosystem still, but too some great alternatives are out there nowadays that were not there when I had a full-time Windows rig maybe a decade ago, but some decent AV software and some common sense should be good.

I’ll still have my Hackintosh, so Mac won’t go away from my day-to-day, but the Laptop is the big move for being able to be on-the-go again – so at this point, Windows is a contender, however, there is always the option to install Linux if I don’t like it. Joys of computing.

Windows, Mac or Linux.

Been a tad quiet around here as of late, the job thing was a no-go. I could write a post, but meh. Wasn’t the right time anyhow.

Work has been nuts, working on a business idea, servers, outages, cool touch screen kiosk projects, websites, and getting a Windows 10 workstation setup on one of my two desks. Why? Well, I needed it to get my Hackintosh working again and had the hardware from an old system salvage, but specs are nice:

  • i5 3350P @ 3.10Ghz
  • 8GB RAM
  • NVidia GeForce GT 620
  • 250GB SSD pull from another system

Aside from the SSD, it’s all that came in the pretty dell case – and it works. However not sure how I feel about Windows, but then again with my MacBook Pro battery failing, it leaves me in the “What do I get next?” stage? I’ve considered a nice Linux box running Fedora or Ubuntu – would be a cheap entry point for the most part probably $600 or so maybe a bit more if I want to make it dual monitors.

The Windows rig works and is honestly a nice change of pace, last time I used Windows was honestly 98/2000 versions and since then only dabbled in Windows 7/8 – so a fulltime rig with Windows 10 isn’t bad, but even dabbling in a slight bit of gaming, I’m tempted to grab a bigger GPU than the card on machine.

I have dabbled with a Linux rig or two virtually but that’s where I’m at in choices Linux/Windows/Mac on a Laptop replacement for the MacBook Pro as I’ve looked and while I could spend around $120 and do my own Battery Replacement on an older MBP and maybe a year or two additional on it, or try to just hold off for now and save up for a new MBP when finances amp up, or a nice Linux/Windows rig as my new portable rig, as Chromebook “works” for mobile, but honestly it’s not the power I need on the go.

Many choices, not sure which direction I’ll go, but for now what I have rolling works for day to day, but would be nice to have a good mobile rig that’s got enough power for on the go to get done anything.

 

April 17+1 (New Tax Day)

So it appears that Monopoly wasn’t far off. Bank error in my favor? Kind of lol. The IRS had some issues with their site and in turn, the 17th is now the 18th for taxes due.

I keep trying to get ahead, but this year I don’t think I’m going to wait, literally next week I’m going to find some sort of accounting software that’s a tad more robust than spreadsheets, something that can track things and it will mean a bit more leg work, but I’d much rather get more put away in savings this next year + bank more towards taxes, this year I actually didn’t come down to the wire, I had my funds already set aside, but I’d like more breathing room.

Too I’m trying to figure out how I can work Church Hosting better, I’ve considered Non-Profit, but at this point with tax law changing for 2018 taxes, non-profit giving may not be a benefit anymore, so those tithes and various causes a friend asks you to support on Facebook, will be a thing of the past, so the idea of making Church Hosting a non-profit, won’t have many benefits to getting businesses to jump on board I’d imagine. No perk for them.

But I’m praying on it, working on it. Tomorrow I’ll submit, I figured since I had a rough day (been feeling off lately) I didn’t want to push it too much, sure I have 13 minutes left before midnight, but better to wrap this tomorrow with a fresh head and just call it good. Profits growing, pretty much every year, however, I’d love to see them grow enough to add an employee, or at least employ myself as a W2’d employee.

For now, time to wrap things up, after I hit submit in the AM and e-File it all away, I’m off to coding, doc writing, and working on wrapping up some projects that have been waiting for me to wrap this, then if I can get it done before swim class, I may find something completely mindless to do – do they still have those movie theatre places? 😀 Night all.

Diabetic Road: The Average that Was.

So I had achieved an average 30 days of 130 blood sugar! I was so excited! Then I hit 3 days of spikes. Now it’s gone.

But it’s back on track this morning with a waking sugar of 119! I am trying to wrap up here shortly to get to bed, trying hard to get sleep in order if I can, as that has seemed to help, but too finding anything that has corn in it and trying to reduce intake – that’s helped greatly.

I’ve also added Mustard to my mix of supplements as eating a hotdog which should spike my sugars actually seemed to lower, the mix of relish + mustard galore is the only thing I could figure out over research that a bad eating choice as some would say ended in my sugars lowered, Mustard will do that, and so I’ve added that in and it really seems to help more than the previous suggestion of Fenugreek from my optometrist.

I don’t want to supplement my way to health still trying to eat healthily, proteins, smaller portions but more meals, good fiber intake and leafy greens (aka BIG salad!) – I do need to find more veggies I can stomach, but never been a big veggie guy, so salad, carrots, definitely my go-to.

This week wraps up a mildly stressful week, actually wrapped a call tonight on a potential programming gig, would be some decent money, a lot of time, but decent money – so that’s nice and yet some stress if it comes in, I’d have a little over a month to get it done.

I’ve tried to keep stress to a minimum when and where I can at the advice of the endocrinologist and diabetic coach, been thinking about maybe heading back to counseling, I found it useful – I’ve tried online, but something about being face to face with someone to talk it out vs typing it out, but trying to make sure I’m keeping stress down, happy up.

For now, it’s 1 AM and I’m going to call it good before someone emails in needing something lol. Night.

Time for a Tech Yard Sale?

I think it might be.

I’ve managed to get myself a small pile of tech, some of it was given to me, some was purchased, but with all of it nowadays, it has no direct use.

I have some tablets and laptops which need new homes. I’m trying to decide how to go about selling these things. I’ve considered eBay for a few items, but most are still working hardware just not actively in my workflow anymore, and while some day some of it could be? I’m looking to offload it.

I’ve considered too Facebook’s selling area, or even OfferUp – so there are some options but stay tuned, likely in the next few weeks going to be some items up for grabs.

New Year, New Directions

So here we are nearly a month down and a lot has gone on, tried a new med or two in the diabetic world, Trulicity is the latest which has had some mixed results, but I am down 10lbs in 2 weeks… so if nothing else it was great for weight loss!

I am once again sitting on the edge of “Where do I go from here?” in the realm of tech. Mac world is really not something I find myself saying “Oooo let’s go buy a new laptop!” nor desktop, nor really any Mac device, it just seems “bleh” to me, and yet the thing that really has caught my eye is Chromebook once again. Writing this post on an ASUS C200M which has Android apps which amazingly lets me do things like JuiceSSH and Slack – so very nice, may invest later this year in a more modern non-beta based Chromebook (Samsung’s Chromebook Pro maybe…)

And business-wise, still in limbo when it comes to a steady job, this past week I had the talk again about getting hired, supposed to have folks get back to me on Monday with more, and the position may be something that has grown as a few other people at the company are gone and I might be required to fill in a few more pairs of boots, so we shall see how that goes.

But things are in motion hopefully for a BIG February, the big 38 this year, and already trying to build up some hype with one of my yearly specials for FlockHosting, but too I am hoping to launch FlockHosting.com’s update as well as get something simple online for Thrust Networks before I turn 38, the two sites need facelifts, and I hope to get things rolling on them soon.

Really thinking 2018 will be a big year of change. Not just a feeling of “hope” but a feeling of desire to have some things change up, really be a big different year. I want lots of good things, many blessings and a lot of growth.

For now? Back to fixing a slew of issues for customers that happened yesterday while I was down sick. Happy 2018 all.

Hope.

Lately, in this wacky world we live in, I don’t see a lot of hope. Some blame our president, some blame a skin color, some blame God, some blame the person next to them. Honestly? It’s my fault. It’s your fault. We have all lost hope.

Our previous president was embodied as “Hope” – it was hope for change, it was hope for the future. For many of his followers, that hope he created, quickly went away when he left office, but after all, things said and done he was and is just a man. If you misplaced hope in someone who could fail. Who had a limited time in power, who may of went left instead of sticking right, we’re all human! It happens.

Do you want to see a better world? Want to see things better? Don’t expect the current president to fix it for you. He isn’t your hope, nor is he your destroyer. He’s a man. Flawed, broken, and too is going to make good things, and bad things. Not here to debate what he’s done good or bad – because as with anyone on the left, right or middle can say about ANY president – but Trump isn’t my hope nor was Obama.

Lately, I find myself looking for hope in what intake into my mind, my heart, my life. From stories to music, and I find myself in stories of hope, all of which start with us looking to the light, not towards the dark – that never-ending battle of good over evil. The Machine vs. Samaritan (Person of Interest), Kevin doing for others (Kevin Probably Saves the World), Crowder singing about where his hope is in the song above, to Mercy Me telling us in the dark, we can hold on to hope in him (Even If).

It hasn’t been what I would call an easy few years for me, friends moved on, life changed, health took a plunge and my connection to life has changed drastically. How do you find hope in what you know as your world – which just crumbles in front of you? You’re told you’re bad, you’re told your stupid, and told your health is crumbling – Diabetic, High Cholesterol, Dangerously High Blood Pressure – and let’s not leave out a business which has had its share of dings. Where do you find hope?

Honestly, I’d love to write that I was the good Christian boy, that I said “Yay God!” in all moments, but I’m not. I’m human. I’m flawed. I made choices, which brought me to this day where I am right now. And what can I say today after these hard years and maybe more hard years to come? God is Love, and in His Love, there is hope.

Today I write not hiding behind some magical and happy life that I post daily on Social Media that is fake, today I write as a guy who’s fighting uphill to get where God would have me. Not where I’d like to be always, but taking that step into the fire knowing that he won’t let me get burned, but I may feel a little heat, I may break a sweat, but even through all of this, through 400+ blood sugars, to heart rates that likely if had been higher would of sent me to a hospital, from fights in my marriage, fears in my child not coming into this world, to words spoken to me in “love” stabbing deeply and abandoning me – I’m still standing.

I may be light in a few areas of my life, I may not be driving a sports car, I may not have the supports or same outlook as to where my life was going, I’m standing.  I am watching a 3 yr old grow into an amazing life, I’m watching a marriage with fewer fights,  I’m seeing blood sugars lowering down to 110.  I’m seeing me stronger. Maybe not as quickly as some felt it needed to be, maybe not how quickly as it was supposed to be – but I’m human, I’m flawed.

2017 is quickly coming to an end and like Job the end of this tale where many times I feel like was told to “Curse God and Die” by so many areas of my life, I’m happy to report I did not, and I’m looking forward to restoration. To seeing how God can continue to redeem my life, redeem what I’ve lost even more. Yes I know so many of us can say we feel like Job – I know so many people I’ve talked to over the years have gone through their own Job Season – I think for many of us we do, not everyone does in this life and that’s one of those “Questions for Heaven” an old Pastor I knew used to talk about, but he also reminded us no matter the trial and tribulation we went through in this life, his God. My God. Is there besides us.

I’m thinking this will be my last post for 2017, I’m hoping to continue writing about my journey in 2018, but I’m going to focus my creativity, my energy, my life into building the things God’s laid in my lap these past few weeks, focus on exercise, on eating better, on building – so I wish you all who actually read this a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2018.