My computer journey…

My first computer was a TRS-80. It couldn’t do much. My first gaming system was a Pong. Also, I couldn’t do much. It was when I got my second computer that things changed for, the Apple IIc. Smaller than the Apple IIe and less expandable. It was the origin of Steve Jobs vision of a locked down the computer system. I loved my Apple IIc. I moved to Macs, then PC’s over the next few years. The computer was a tool I frequently used in my classroom. When I moved from Indiana to Ohio with my wife, I left teaching to become a computer trainer and later helpdesk professional. I cannot tell you how many calls I’ve been on with someone desperate to solve a problem.

Some of the folks I talked to are still people I talk to now. The reality of those phone conversations is that back then, that was a lifeline. You may not be able to help, but at the very least you cared enough to try!  When it comes to helping people, I think Yoda is wrong. Yoda’s quote from the Star Wars movies is “there is no try only do or don’t do.” I think when it comes to helping people there is a try. If someone tries to help you, give them credit.  Not all problems can be easily solved. I got back to those days on the helpdesk. People got mad at you all the time. They yelled, they complained, but in the end, they were struggling with an issue, and as the helpdesk person it’s your job to help them.

Own the problem, when someone says they are struggling and you are willing to try, let them know. The reality of problems is that they are like cockroaches. Left in the dark they multiply and become worse. I remember once, talking to a person with a serious printer problem. The printer was making a horrible noise (she help the phone up to the printer). Finally, I had her unplug the printer and let it cool. She then opened the printer (it was in a U-Haul shop in Georgia) and inside the printer (laser) next to the toner cartridge was a now dead mouse.  The printer often overheated and they had removed the side cooling vent so that more air would get in. So apparently mice could. You never know what the problem is, but helpdesk are all about listening!

is there something missing?

I have been considering (thanks to Ghostwriter) the impact of Virily on my life. I know that every day I log in to see beautiful pictures (often purple, Thanks Kim) from Carol, Pam, Lado, and Vidocka. I get beautiful creations to view from Alex and Jenna. I also get thought-provoking posts from Albert and many others. Before Virily I got similar information and interaction from Niume. I love the interaction that is created and grows with posts. But I am wondering now; my recent posts have been all over the map. I’ve talked about dream incubation, and I’ve talked about picking a digital camera or a film camera if you so prefer. Or, are you one of the growing numbers of people that choose cell phone camera first.

I wondered this morning if I was seeking something. I have a really good friend who always says “head, pocket, then start looking” He was referring to the process he undergoes to find his glasses. Well, at least that was the genesis of him saying that now whenever someone says they are seeking something he always says that. It makes good sense. Always check your head and your heart as you consider things. Always check around you (pockets). My grandfather always used to say “You always find things in the last place you look.” I remember the first time he said that to me, I looked at him quizzically. I didn’t get it the first time; I did the second time but not the first time.

What is the last thing you looked for?

Did you find it?

In the movie, the fugitive Tommy Lee Jones’ character says when looking for the “Fugitive” “do a hard target search.” What is a hard target search? I have wondered that ever since I first heard it. I guess to end this ramble, for that is what it is, I would say this. I am searching for something. I know I am, I don’t know what it is that I am searching for. I don’t know what the target is, be it hard or soft. I don’t know where the last place to look is, or I would just look there. Instead, I am wondering, wandering and seeking. What I am seeking I do not know. I just know something is missing.’


follow ups and questions…

first off a couple of follow-ups:

Time of day and publication = a question that was asked by Albert. Overall I have found the following based on my posts. Between 5 am and 6 am EDT which translates to evening in Asia and late morning in Europe is the best time for me.

Social  media sharing – I see far more results from Twitter than Facebook

(please feel free to share your input on this topic in the comments)!

I was asked by a long time reader to talk briefly about Anti-Virus packages. The problem with programs like that is updating. If you keep them up to date, they are awesome; if they are even one signature out of date, you are at risk. However, the two that I use and like are McAfee and Malwarebytes. McAfee does a great job on your PC for virus, bots and other risky things. Malwarebytes watches for bots, malware, and other things. The nice thing about both is they have a mobile (phone) and desktop version. Malwarebytes also now offers a cellphone and home pheon scam blocking package. Most phone companies in the US give you free anti-spam software for your phones. Malwarebytes works very well in the space, but always start with the free application and see if it is good enough.

Another longtime reader question was around the release of 5g services for phones in Minneapolis and Chicago in the US. The ask was what about the rest of the world? So Orange and Deutsche Telecom both have 5g pilots in Europe today. NTT has a pilot in Korea and Japan. I haven’t heard of a lot of other pilot 5g programs but will continue to watch and share when they come to be.

Last, although not a question, rather an interesting situation, is something I noticed. First off, I don’t like the color purple. That said, the number of purple flowers on Virily has impressed me in the last couple of days. I still don’t like purple, but I am enjoying all the purple on the site. That said I am not joining the challenge. I have to say the 365-day photo challenge burned me out of challenge mode for a while!


Second post in my choosing a camera series…

Continuing the digital camera discussion (I can’t do tables on Virily, maybe someday). Yesterday I talked about some of the initial criteria and considerations.

  1. First, you have to figure out, BEFORE, you look at cameras how much you can spend. This is important!
  2. Consider the following:
    1. The type of pictures I take
    2. The number of pictures I take
    3. What I take pictures of
  1. For me this next one is critical – I need a rugged camera
  2. I like to be able to focus manually
  3. I prefer everything to be automatically focused

First off, cellphones have amazing cameras now. A lot better than once upon a time! One of the things I have to acknowledge is that the first cameras on cellphones were 1.2 megapixels for the rear-facing the camera and .3 megapixel for the front camera. That reality shaped my opinion. I also entered the new era of decent cellphone cameras with a digital camera already.

A decision for me is always the fact that I am on my cellphone call the time. That makes using the cellphone as my go-to the camera a little harder. As we modify the selection process, we have to consider how much we are on the phone.

    1. How many hours a day do you use your phone as a phone.
      1. Less than ½ hour or less than 30 minutes a day
      2. Less than 90 minutes a day but more than 30
      3. More than 90 minutes a day
    2. Have you ever dropped your phone (shattering the screen)?
    3. I bought a new cell phone.

The first one is a driver for me, but may not be a driver for you. Do note, the likelihood of dropping your phone increases the more you focus on pictures on your phone.  People that use their phones for cameras most likely fit into the first category of time on the actual phone. Now that is not playing games or using the pheon as a GPS. The time above is time calling, talking and using the Cellphone as a phone. The reason for this is you have to stop the call, minimize the pheon application, open the camera application and shoot the picture. IF it is something that is time sensitive you missed it.

The last one is one that I suspect more and more people are considering. If you buy a new smartphone with a better camera, do you need another camera? You see cell phone prices are getting higher and higher. There are components of the cell phone that continue to increase the price overall. A better camera is something that increases the cost of the phone.

I will continue this for one more day helping you set up a matrix to decide.

I will I could publish tables!


follow up on Littlebits, and selecting a digital camera (or not)

Follow up on a previous review is the picture today, the Littlebits R2D2 robot. It was fun to put it together. If you are interested in the Littlebits education products, their website is here http://www.littlebitscom.

A friend of mine reached out the day before yesterday. He was trying to figure out which camera to get. We talked through the process I’ve used in the past, to pick a new camera. He said and I quote “why the heck haven’t you published that.” So without further adieu, my camera selection process.

  1. First, you have to figure out, BEFORE, you look at cameras how much you can spend. This is important!
  2. Consider the following:
    1. The type of pictures I take
    2. The number of pictures I take
    3. What I take pictures of
  3. For me this next one is critical – I need a rugged camera
  4. I like to be able to focus manually
  5. I prefer everything to be automatically focused

These five simple rules help you. First of all, with the recent cameras in cell phones, your cell phone can be your camera. It is, however, less convenient for people that are always on the phone. I can take a picture and talk on the phone at the same time with a camera. It can be done as well with my cellphone, but it becomes less convenient.

If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have pulled a camera out of my bag. Now, not always sometimes I don’t have a camera with me. Now there are many pictures I only capture with my cellphone. But that got me thinking, and I will add some poll questions to figure out if I am alone in this. I will also ask the question on MyLot.

  1. Are there situations where a camera functions better than a cell phone?
  2. Does holding your cellphone and capturing the image on the screen create more movement in the actual picture?
  3. I have a rugged camera because I can’t afford to drop my phone!
  4. While my iPhone has many cool video features, my Olympus and my Canon have much better quality video.

No set answers here just trying to figure things out!


on troubleshooting

I was digging through a couple of sealed tubs in my office (yes slowly trying to clean). The first one I opened had a bunch of connectors and cables. The person at Goodwill looked at the box and almost waved me away, but then he realized there were 80 USB cables of various types. He accepted all of the adapters, cables, and other stuff. One less container in my office is a well begun, but well less than half did reality. The second box had a set of notebooks that were my poetry from years ago. I shared one today and will share one a week all poems written between my 15th year on earth and my 25th year on earth. I stopped writing poetry for a few years until my wonderful wife encouraged me to write again.

I do have to admit; I probably would have gotten a lot cleaner if I hadn’t found that tub of poetry.

I’ve been troubleshooting a connection problem with the Bloomsky system. I would share what I’ve done so that others can follow along, with troubleshooting their home network.

  1. The first thing I did was check my Fing Box. Fing is a network security device, but it also lists all the devices on your network. The first thing I noticed was that the Bloomsky Storm unit was not visible.
  2. That meant it wasn’t on the network.
  3. I reset the device. (no change)
  4. Pulled the device inside and directly connected it
  5. (It worked)
  6. Went back put it outside
  7. (it disconnected)
  8. I realized my mistake (it was too far from the base station)
  9. Moved the unit

Troubleshooting can be painful and frustrating. It is, however, a really easy thing to do as long as you are consistent!

Many years ago I used to work on a helpdesk. There was a company that used our helpdesk as their tier 3 (tier 1 is the person that answers the call, tier 2 is either people that can go to the desk of the person having issues or people that can solve the problem. If tier 2 can’t solve the problem they escalate to Tier 3). Tier 0, by the way, is the newest helpdesk tool and is normally an only repository of solutions to basic problems.

Anyway, this particular company picked as their overall their 3. The same person called our helpdesk for their escalations. I wanted that person through troubleshooting steps. The next they called, they told me the results of the troubleshooting steps first.

Consistent is important when using technology!

My most important rule for troubleshooting, know your limit! If you know that after an hour of chasing a problem you are frustrated and annoyed, call the helpdesk at 46 minutes before you are annoyed!


The concept of dream incubation (Omni Magazine).

I promised Albert I would share the Omni Magazine article on dream incubation. is the link to the article. It is a good process that helps you accomplish two goals; the first is setting your dream; the second is remembering the dream. Virtually everyone dreams but few us remember those dreams. This system was designed to help you both incubate positive dreams but also to remember them. One of the most freeing dreams (for me) is flying. I love to have dreams where I fly around. Not, in an airplane, rather flying around just the birds and me. Setting the dream situation and preparing for that dream is not as easy as you would think.

, The concept of dream incubation was originally postulated by a professional in the 1970s. I first read about the process in the 1980s. I’ve been working on the process ever since. Originally my goal was flying dreams, as a way to “see my problems” from above. Everything looks smaller the higher in the air you go. Massive problems don’t seem as bad overall. The things that bother then viewed from above become something I can more easily manage. From above you can find many different paths forward.

This isn’t technology, except that you can also now measure the effectiveness of your dreaming. I know for example that cutting my sleep pattern short or changing my pattern frequently impacts me. It becomes important to establish a pattern. Please note, this is my application of what I learned and doesn’t apply to everyone. It just happens to work for me.

I start with a problem; there are many days when problems come to me. Walk into my office and say “here I am.” It is my job to figure out a way out of the problem. I write down the problem on a piece of paper and read it right as I am going to bed. Then I set the incubated flying, swimming or whatever it is that I need to do to figure the problem out. When I wake up, I meditate and consider what the dream brought me.

  • Sometimes it is the answer.
  • Sometime sit is just relief from something stressing me.
  • Sometimes, it is nothing, but the answer is revealed later.

I hope this helps!