Category Archives: Life

Blog software upgraded

Tonight I upgraded from an outdated CVS version of b2evolution to the latest 1.8 beta. I also had to remove a lot of old spam comments that got away from me and, in the interests of time, dumped all comments made on the site since April. If you posted a (non-spam) comment and it was lost in the purge I apologize. The antispam features are much improved in version 1.8 so we’ll see how it holds up in this high traffic environment. If you have any problems or complaints please let me know.

I know that site updates have been few and far between but my life has been quite crazy for, well, a long time now; but especially this summer. I think I can promise a special series of articles in August so stay tuned for those. I also hope to get back to the semi-frequent updates, commentary and news postings you’re familiar with.

In other realms I am still working on a complete redesign of the web site, now over two years in the works (some backlog, eh?) I think that the redesign will go live towards the end of August or beginning of September. Of course if you’re one of the many people or groups who are waiting for a custom software project it means one less thing in front of you in line. Of course there is that book to write which I’ve starting plotting out and could consume quite a bit of time…

Playing hard to get

In August 2004 I read an article by computer industry columnist John C. Dvorak about the digital divide being more about computer literacy and less about what equipment people have. At the time I was impressed by the article and searched for a copy to add to my digital article morgue of interesting bits but was unable to locate an electronic copy. The article was published in Computer Shopper magazine which is a somewhat sketchy publication and has changed hands and layouts several times. Of course they’re one of the few computer magazines that doesn’t post all their columns online. I held on to the original paper copy of that article for some time before deciding that I would never be able to find it when I wanted it if I kept the paper copy and recycling it.

Tonight I was catching up on some of my periodical reading and ran across a new column by Dvorak about democracy on the net which triggered a reminder about that old column. I decided that being an expert researcher in grad school and all I should be able to find a digital copy. I spent some time (probably too much) and tried all my usual research sites to no avail. I guess none of the big article reference houses (ProQuest, EBSCO, SIRS, etc.) think Computer Shopper is worth indexing and they’re probably right. On one of my last ditch efforts I was able to use an obscure research site for children doing school reports called the “Student Resource Center” which is run by Thomson Publishing/The Gale Group and which my local public libraray system subscribes to. Mission accomplished, one more article added to my personal morgue.

a life…or something like one

One of the comments I occasionally get from readers is “why don’t you ever post about your life anymore?” You see, once upon a time, ok it was about two years ago, I posted on a very regular basis about what was going on in my life. In fact you can still dig in the archives and find out what I was doing. Truth be told it takes a lot of time to do so and time is one thing I don’t seem to have much of, but we’ll get to that later on, I also got a bit burned out talking about myself so much. Luckily for those readers I do occasionally get a hankering to write something once in a while and today is one of those days. For those readers who come for the Tech content now is a good time to either expand your horizons or use the nifty category feature on the side to filter out this mushy/philosophic stuff…without further ado on to the main event.

I often ponder where I’m at in life and why exactly I’m there. For someone who’s only 22 why is my life such a mess? Maybe a better question is why do I even care? Heck, I’ve got friends who are older than me, have good jobs, and still only think about where the party is at on Friday. As I sit here in my office/bedroom (which is it really? that should tell you enough about my life to know I’m nuts) amongst all the piles of stuff (real and virtual) to do (real and virtual) I wonder how I could let life get so complicated so quickly.

While friends go out or partake in some other social activity I’m writing articles about blogging software, scheduling a state elecrician’s exam, sorting through quotes for theater ticket printing, preping a computer from my vintage Macintosh collection (that does it, am I 22 or 62?) for shipping to another collector, editing lectures from a EdPsych class (not for myself, but for future posterity in the Internet Archive project), networking with other technologists, learning about VoIP PBXs, wondering how I’m going to get recertified as a Cisco Network and Design Professional, setting up new virtual hosts on a friend’s server and worrying about my class schedule for next semester.

It’s not that I don’t have any fun or am a total recluse. Last night I saw my ninth grade sister in a school play, next weekend I am going to a high school play and a work banquet and I often watch movies with friends on Friday nights. It just seems that I have an inordinate amount of other stuff going on and an overwhelming backlog of it. To top it off I’m a full-time plus grad student and I’m also working. I must be completely bonkers! Sometimes I wish my life could be so much simpler, even if I were just doing grad school and working that would probably be ok. So why do I have all this other stuff going on?

I think it’s because God gave me three gifts: intelligence (or so I’m told), good foresight and a strong desire to help others. Each in turn is a wonderful thing but the three together are conspiring to drive me nuts. I see so many opportunities to help, I even stay away from lots of them, and I still find myself with a million things I’ve either said I would help with, am in the midst of working on or feel some responsibility for helping with. If I neglected some of these projects it’s not just me but groups and organizations I care about who would suffer the consequences. Maybe most 22 year olds can’t say they’ve contributed to society (online and off) as much as I have but at what cost do I contribute?

Somewhere deep inside I know that this is good for me too. I know the contacts I make this early in life are likely to serve me well in the future. Those with whom I share goodwill may one day return a favor and God certainly shines down on my life. At the same time, will I be that much further ahead? Is it worth the sacrifice? the mental anguish? These are the questions I ponder late at night as I sit perched on the brink. Either I will be the better for it, or it will get the better of me. It’s an odd and lonely place.

Lonely, yet another problem. For all the friends I have and all the people I know I still feel alone. Usually it’s at night when I start feeling utterly alone and think wouldn’t it be great if I could just pick up the phone and have someone there who I could spend some time with and talk to. The need seems to consume me, and yet I feel that I would be imposing on all of the things everyone else has to do if I actually made a call. I hate imposing on others. Instead I sit alone. Perhaps filling the time working on one of my projects, once in a while loosing myself in a movie. It’s a quick fix, but it’s not real. I know people care about me, yet I’m still alone.

By now you must think I’m pretty depressed. Surprisingly, I don’t think I am. On the contrary I have a bright outlook on life, I love the things I do and the people I know, I just get so overwhelmed. I need to find some sort of release. I keep looking but I haven’t found it yet, sure lots of temporary relief, but then I come back to the real world where I have stacks of things to do. Who knows if they’ll ever shrink, of course if they did I may ahve stopped having ideas which is an even scarier thought.

Ideas, there’s another one. Do you know I’ve taken to carrying around a piece of paper and have a computer file (actually) several full of things to ponder, articles to write and projects to take on. I think I’ve already collected a lifetime’s worth and I’ve still got a long way to go.

I’m so many things to so many people: a technology educator, a graduate student, a telephone central office technician, a php developer, a system administrator, a guy you call on the phone to ask computer questions, a network engineer, a volunteer, a sound engineer, a singer, a writer, a photographer, a videographer, an archivest, a librarian, a scholar, a friend, a resource, a musician, a theater tech, a farmhand, a mechanic, an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a researcher, a collector, a watchdog, an activist, a baker, a chef, a technologist, a ham radio operator, a lighting designer and a servant of God. What am I to you? How can I stay on top of all of it? All I’m left with is questions. Take a walk with me and answer some.

New Contact Numbers

In the past month I’ve finally had some time to work on some VoIP projects. As a result contact information for myself is outdated. You should be able to reach me at any of the following numbers.
360-515-4126 (Seattle, WA local call)
845-839-8607 (New York, NY)
(+44)-0844-986-3094 (London, United Kingdom)
(+39)-06-452-216-692 (Rome, Italy)
866-267-0103 (Toll-Free in the lower 48 of the US)
952-960-2528 (Minneapolis, MN local call)

These numbers should all try to locate me at home or via VoIP on the road, otherwise they’ll send you to my voicemail. The numbers are roughly in the order I prefer them to be called. For example, if you have free long distance use the Seattle or New York numbers, if you’re overseas use one of the London or Rome numbers and if you’re in the lower 48 use the toll-free number, as a last resort use the Minneapolis number as it’s the most expensive to receive calls on. In addition I’m accessible on the follwoing VoIP networks: IAXtel (1-700-333-7526) and Free World Dialup (265630).

Summer Internship 2005

If anyone out there is looking for a summer IT intern I’m on the lookout for a company. I’ve got a strong technical and communications/training background and am especially interested in VoIP systems. If you or someone you know might be interested please have a look at my online resume and drop me a line! I would prefer something in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota but would be open to anything.

CES Entries

For those that don’t know I’ve been at the Consumer Electronics Show for the past five days. Right now I’m sitting in McCarran airport waiting for my flight home which leaves in about an hour. I do love the free WiFi they provide, I wish more airports would do the same! In my usual trip style I will have daily writeups availible soon. I would have liked to have these up earlier but it was quite a busy show for me and I had very limited internet access. In any event I hope to get the log written up on the flight home and posted sometime late tonight or tomorrow. If you’re really that bored you can track my progess home on one of the following real-time flight tracking sites: FlyteComm (flight number SCX206), or (Sun Country flight 206).

For those that haven’t seen…

First of all, if you’re not a regular PC Magazine reader (why not???) you may find it interesting to see I was mentioned in the Nov. 30, 2004 issue. The online version is finally availible so you can see it there. See, it does pay to write and to know people…

Additionally, if you are or know college students encourage them to check out the Facebook. It’s a great idea started by a few college kids who ran it out of a dorm room for sometime. A pictoral directory of college students sorted by school. You can search and find people you have something in common with (HS graduation, same dorm, same school, same major, etc) it’s a killer idea and is taking off really quickly! This can be seen in the fact that site response times are steadily getting worse. Here’s hoping that the internet pipe to the site gets bigger soon! This is social networking working the way orkut should be but isn’t. Check it out!

Are you in?

I’ve been pretty busy as of late and have had a few ideas for blog entries but just haven’t had the time to make one. As the increasing piles of paper on my desk attest I still don’t have the time. I do collect the ideas though and someday they will get written!

That brings me to the real reson for this entry. For those that don’t know already I’ll be graduating from college in December. Earlier this semester I made an application to the University of Minnesota for graduate studies. At this time I’m thrilled to annouce that I was recently accepted to the M.Ed. Industrial (technical) Education program! I’ll be starting January 18 and look forward to the new challenges this opportunity affords me.


Well, sort of anyway. I was browsing around a bit tonight looking for sites that link to me, most of which I knew about. Though I had given blanket reprint rights to a number of people regarding my blogging software article I was not aware that anyone had taken me up reprinting the entire article, though a few people have used quotes. Tonight I discovered that Lockergnome’s Web Developers newsletter had picked it up. You can see for yourself by looking at the backissue itself.

Listen to the 2004 Presidential Debates

If you missed any of this year’s presidential debates, fear not! Thanks to the Internet Archive you can listen to the debates for free. Links to the debate audio files can be found below.