Posts by Andrew

I'm a middle aged technology geek with a life long passion for computers, technology, politics, science and all the bits in the middle between 0 and 1. I used to be a liberal but have mellowed in my advanced years to be more of a moderate conservative with a side of progressive for variety. What that means? Well, that means I carefully weigh all points, listen to what people are saying, then make an informed opinion that makes sense to the largest number of people without being fundamentally unfair. I run a personal blog, help manage and write for a community blog, and manage many other sites for various local businesses. I'm not perfect and failure is always an option, it's how we all learn.
Three Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday – 11/02/2017

#Bathwater

Hosted by There She Goes
Originally inspired by Nerd in the Brain

BRING THE HAPPY!

I’ve had a really interesting few weeks since my last TTT post.  I lost the battle about a new kitten in the house and the only stipulation I had was not having to do the litter box.  A task that the daughter was all too willing to take on and hasn’t missed a single day since we got our newest member, Lucy.

This Is Lucy

You all will probably recognize that what we have here is a Tortoise Shell cat, that apparently because she has white, could be classified as a Calico.  Since we got Lucy so early, just shy of 6 weeks old, she’s identified with a lot of the behaviors from her sister, KC.  The bone Lucy is holding is in fact the antler chew toy that KC won’t let out of her sight, at least, except when Lucy is monopolizing it.  I hope that as she gets older she’ll act more like a cat than a dog.

No Bed!

While I didn’t ever mind having a cat on the bed, I do mind having a dog on the bed.  KC is a furry, stinky and shedding mess that for some reason ONLY lies on my side of the bed.  She knows she’s not supposed to be on the bed and will not so gracefully jump down when she hears me coming up the steps.  The picture here is KC protesting after being told to stay off the bed and as usual, her companion is glued to her side.

Fast Becoming BFF’s

The rare times that KC is able to lay on her dog bed without the tiny kitten hogging it, this is what she has to endure.  KC will sleep and Lucy will nuzzle into her side.  I snapped this picture only a few days after we got Lucy and KC is giving me the “why did you do this to me?” stare while Lucy is being oblivious.  I’m concerned that Lucy is going to be more like a small furry dog than a small furry cat.  We’ve already confirmed she’s going to be a long hair cat, and a fast dog lick will certainly cause some matted and knotted cat fur.  Just glad I don’t have to do the stupid litter box.

TTT Weekly Music Recommendation

rockondaughter

Sober (Tool Cover)

by O’Keefe Music Foundation

Newest USA Archery Level 1 Instructor

I just got the last email from USA Archery that all my pre-requisite checks were now complete.  I’m officially a Level 1 Archery Instructor!  I’m now qualified to teach beginning archery skills to 8-13 year old children.  While not a difficult process in general, it was actually more time-consuming that I had originally thought and of course, more expensive.  As with any organized sport, the organizations will charge more money than anyone thinks is proper, but you don’t have a choice.  That is all behind me now and I’m already looking forward to actually running a weekly practice session at our local range.

My daughter has taken archery lessons now for just over a year and it’s the longest activity she’s managed to stick with in her 10 years on this planet.  It’s a big deal people!  We even were confident enough to go out and buy her first bow with all the trimmings that go with that to the tune of more than $400.  She’s actually become quite good and has achieved most of the pins for indoor and outdoor re-curve bow.  Her skill with shooting has quickly matched mine and in some respects, surpassed me.  I don’t have my own bow but am planning on purchasing one with my next work bonus next month.

She’s tried soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, swimming and field hockey and wanted to quit all of them before the first season was over.  We did force her to finish out the season because we did pay for them up front.  Archery was one of those things both the wife and I thought she would quit.  Well, it turned out to be something that she looks forward to going to each week and actually gets mad when we have a conflict and can’t go.  I was there so much that when the went around asking for people to volunteer as instructors, I naturally volunteered given that I’d been shooting off and on since college (more than 20 years ago!).

Now I can help teach other kids while spending time to and from archery every week with the daughter.  We play this game where she tries to explain to me what anime and manga are and I obviously act like a Dad and just make it harder for her.  It’s all in good fun and I never make it feel like I am making fun of anime and manga, even though I think it’s absolutely ridiculous.

Let’s hope I don’t hurt myself!!

Attitude built by experience

I’ve reached an age where I can objectively handle pretty much anything.  This gives me an ability to let most things just pass without much thought.  Such as someone getting mad over a decision that gets made, getting passed over for a promotion or something as simple as negative perceptions.  It’s when presented with these life situations that you gain valuable experience.  As the graphic so perfectly puts it, experience alters your attitude and it has nothing to do with age.  I’ve met individuals that have been expertly mature that are in their 20’s.

This objectivity helped me reach a conclusion regarding social media.  As those that have followed me, I deleted my 10-year-old Facebook account last year.  I recently just deleted my Twitter account as well.  At this point, I do not have any “active” social media accounts.  Ones that may still exist I just never went back to delete and are most likely already gone for lack of use.  Social media, in my experience, gives the user a distorted view of the world around them.  They quickly become addicted to social media other real life non-social media skills start to fade or become awkward.

What is scary is the absolute dependence on social media 20-somethings and younger show.  So dependent that there are measurable delays in development into adulthood.  Jean M. Twenge at The Atlantic wrote Have Smartphones Destroyed A Generation that goes into serious detail on this fact.  It’s rather long, but definitely worth the read if you have younger children that are close or have already received smartphones.  Social media is just one of the many symptoms that can be traced back to an uncontrollable addiction.

Overall maturity with most individuals, through smartphones or social media, has declined.  It’s going to make it much more difficult to keep the jobs filled needed to keep our country going.

Three Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday – 09/22/2017

#Bathwater

Hosted by There She Goes
Originally inspired by Nerd in the Brain

BRING THE HAPPY!

The last TTT I posted was way back on June 15th, so I’m a little out of practice and for that, I apologize.  Work has intruded rather rudely into Life and I’m finally at a point where a balance can be achieved again.  That said, here we go!

Phone Is Finally Fixed

About two weeks ago, my Samsung Galaxy S7 stopped charging.  It said there was moisture in the USB port that I know wasn’t there.  I called Samsung and they immediately told me to send it in to be fixed.  Forward 7 days using an absolutely horrible “spare” phone, it’s now back in my hands.  They not only fixed the USB port, but replaced the LCD (not sure why) and put in a fresh new battery.  Props to Samsung!

2017 Audit Season is OVER!

Yes, you read that right, 2017 audit season at my company is over!  It was an absolutely horrible process this year.  We’re reviewing our control mappings for a new compliance effort AND continuing to run the soon to be obsolete controls.  Every question requires me to know if it’s the old or new control library and confusion ensues in every direction.  Now, that I’m not auditing, I can completely focus on getting our common control framework built and published.

Partner at Eat Pray Vote

I’ve written for them since January 2017.  I was recently asked to be a partner, so awesome!  The success of the site is now a vested interest for me.  Providing my technical experience and knowledge to the team of writers I’ve helped take the site to a new level.  A self-hosted site now after I performed a migration a few weeks ago, it’s running smoothly and steadily growing.  There’s a link to my author profile in the sidebar.  There is something on there for everyone.  Be sure to stop by and see what we’re writing about.

TTT Weekly Music Recommendation

rockondaughter

I Wear My Skin

by One Minute Silence

Migration complete

Migration was successful and all is where it should be.  So, there’s this cool feature where you can migrate all your followers from an old blog to a new blog.  I just did that, so you don’t need to re-follow if you were already following.  Not that it mattered, but if you already decided once to read what I’m writing about there wasn’t a need to go through having to do that again.

There shouldn’t be any surprise that this would have been hard to do, but the details involved were overwhelming at points.  I’m glad I did this as it gives me the flexibility in making this site exactly what I want it to be.  Getting a custom header, designed by someone on Fiverr.com.  The site is super fast at least from my perspective.  I even have some awesome plugins installed that improve readability of my writing.

If there is interest, I’ll make a post about the process of moving from WordPress.com to self-hosted (but managed) WordPress.  My main drive behind actually even considering this was the site migration I did two weeks ago.  That was a much larger move and it involved well over 1GB of files, pictures, etc.  The added complication of DNS and content delivery made that move more difficult.  My little sites move was cake.  Hopefully I got all the details right and it all just works.

Welcome to my new home

Welcome!  If you’re reading this, you already know that I’ve migrated to a self-hosted provider.  It’s surprising at how powerful the WordPress application is once you get away from WordPress.com.  The old w1nt3l.com blog will be up for a few months, but at some point I will cancel it and get a pro-rated refund.

Not much time tonight to write much as it’s getting late for me.  Hope you decide to follow me again.

Six month break from audits

I’m finally free of audits for at least the next 6 months at work. Yay! A welcome break from what has been an absolutely hellish 5 months with literal back to back audits. One would end and the next would start the following week, sometimes with some really annoying overlap. Mixed into all of this I’ve managed to keep writing for Eat Pray Vote, the political opinion site where I’m now a partner. Two weeks ago I completed migrating their site from WordPress.com to a self-hosted platform. A bit shaky at first, the site is now humming along and is faster than ever. Take a look at the site for yourself if interested in what I’ve written about, here’s my Author page.

Having a chance to see how a self-hosted platform works and the freedom that comes with it, I’m thinking of relaunching this blog. I’ve found a decently priced self-hosting plan that is just slightly more than a WordPress personal plan. I’ve wanted to change the domain as well to the real name of the blog as it seems to be something I’m sticking with going forward. When that happens, you’ll know. I won’t be deleting any of the old content until I know I can get a pro-rated return as I’ve finished the re-up for domain and hosting already this year.

The family front has been just as crazy and I found out that my daughter needs to have her tonsils taken out. It’s a scramble to get it scheduled so she doesn’t have to fight off another strep infection. We also want to get it done this year as we’ve hit our ridiculous healthcare deductible so we won’t have to cover any costs out-of-pocket. The whole system is fubar right now that doesn’t show any signs of improving anytime soon.

Well, this was just a quick update to let you all know I’m going to be back on a more regular basis now that work stress has reduced significantly. I’m also going to start getting caught up with the people I follow and will be commenting regularly again. I’m looking at you John, I miss our friendly conservative vs. moderate/liberal debates 🙂

Dealing with technology still a PITA

You would think that with all the advances in technology and software that things would have become easier.  Windows 10 and other operating systems have taken a lot of the guesswork out of figuring things out for yourself.  Even with that convenience and efficiency, there are still things that are more complicated than they really need to be.

WordPress

This is an awesome platform and WordPress is the Amazon of the blogging world.  Sites around the world utilize this software and you would think it’s really easy to use.  Well, if you’re on WordPress.com hosting, it is.  They do all the hard work for you.  As soon as you venture out into the world of self-hosting, you are plucked from a comfortable chair and plopped down into an iron maiden of obstacles.  I’ve just spent several hours migrating about 1GB of posts, media, pages, etc. from a WordPress.com hosted site to a self-hosted site.  You can see from the time of this post, it was a rather difficult task and those that know me through my previous writing, a challenge is never something I back down from.  It’s almost done, fingers crossed, the media came through this time.

Mobile Plans

The days are gone where you had to miser your minutes and perform phone calls with lighting precision.  Text messages used to be costly as well and spamming a friend was as costly to you as it was to them.  With unlimited calling and texting, the only thing left is data plans.  Not 10 years ago, an unlimited data plan, that you mortgaged your house to pay for, was truly unlimited.  Sucking up 5GB cost the same amount as 25GB and there was never any throttling to lesser speeds.  Mobile carriers are now offering what they call unlimited plans, but if you read the fine print, they really are xxGB’s at high-speed and then limited speed after you reach that limit.  I guess unlimited data is technically true, but who wants to try to watch a streaming video at 3G speeds.  That’s just crazy talk.  I won’t even get started on the amount of money it now requires to keep your constantly connected life actually connected.

Screen Resolutions

I remember a day when the ONLY resolution you could do was 1024×768.  Readers that remember Windows 95/98 are all too familiar with that rather piddly screen real estate when tying to view your high res porn.  Now you have 2K, 4K, 4KUltra…..  it’s enough to drive anyone insane.  Add to the confusion by making a 4K resolution available on a 13.3″ screen and it’s enough to make any normal person go blind.  I was smart, I opted for 2K on a 13.3″ screen yet still have to run at 150% just to see most things on the screen.  Why not make a maximum resolution fit the screen size because the day is coming when 4KUltra is available on a 10.6″ screen and it will most likely be from Microsoft.

At the end of the day, all we really did was solve a bunch of problems from years past and replaced them with new problems.  And people wonder why I’m rejecting technology in certain parts of my life.  I just don’t have the time anymore.

The 1 in 500 years storm

This is the first major storm that I’ve experienced where I’ve had a direct connection to victims that I know personally.  I don’t have the experience to even start to imagine what they’re going through right now on the ground in Texas, Houston especially.  The videos, pictures, first hand accounts and emotional posts to Twitter don’t even come close to conveying what all those people are now having to endure.  People are saying this is a historic storm that has shattered records since we’ve been keeping detailed weather reports, well that’s not quite right.  We’ve had category 4 storms in the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico before.  We’ve had devastating damage from winds before too.  What truly makes this storm, as opposed to others, is the sheer volume of water that has fallen in such a short period of time.

Yes, I’m going there.  Climate change.  The Gulf of Mexico is unusually warmer than in previous years.  Is that an anomaly or is it getting warmer and we’re on the start of the trend upwards?  The weather pattern that is holding what’s left of Harvey, currently a Tropical Storm, is odd for this time of year.  Is that an anomaly or are weather patterns now starting to slowly change because of increased temperatures and moisture in the air?  This country is on a dangerously slippery slope with our withdraw from the Paris Accord, a climate change denier is now heading the EPA and has already started rolling back regulations.  Fossil fuel companies are getting more subsidies than ever before and have been making record profits despite a glut in crude oil prices.

I don’t think this will be the last storm that will redefine the record books and in fact, I think it is the first of many that will increasingly demonstrate that we’ve been complete idiots in this country for ever believing any of the crap that climate deniers have been shoveling for years.  We’ll get our chance to make a difference soon enough.  Gasoline prices in the United States are going to spike significantly in the aftermath of Harvey.  40% of crude oil refining is based along the Texas coast and those refineries are months away from full capacity.  Oil platforms in the Gulf are largely undamaged, but they have nowhere to send the oil even if they did start extracting again as they’re fitted for pumping crude to shore via pipelines.

Be a human being, do whatever you can to help the victims of Harvey.  My company has pledged to match any donations up to $1,000 and I’m going to scrape together exactly that amount.  My company has an office, or did, in Houston that is now damaged beyond repair.  My co-workers house is gone, he was south of Houston.  Another friends house is sitting in 7 feet of water.  With an unprecedented storm comes unprecedented support in all forms from first responders to aid workers.  Do what you can to help.

Nothing stays the same

I want to start off by apologizing to all that follow me for my lack of activity the last few months.  Life has been rather hectic this summer so far and there isn’t any reprieve for me in the near future based on what I know is coming.  Sticking to a writing schedule has been difficult when there isn’t much time so spare.  The little downtime I manage to scrape together has been dedicated to real life things that have been pushed off due to unplanned events and not staying up to date on family event scheduling.  There is so much in the summer that needs to be done that doesn’t need to be done any other time of the year.  Making sure the lawn is mowed, yard work, making sure someone is watching my daughter (the wife is now working), parties and of course impromptu weekend get-togethers planned on a whim.

The wife is working now after getting a call from a mutual friend from the firehouse where she volunteers and is now the Treasurer.  Her friend runs their own business and after their book-keeper gave notice, they called my wife and offered her the job.  She accepted and it’s been an exercise in futility trying to work out camp, places for the daughter to go afterwards and changing work-from-home days on fly week to week.  I’m home today for instance, but my normal remote work days are Tuesday/Thursday.  For someone that relies on a weekly routine, it’s been stressful keeping up week to week with the ever changing responsibilities.  The extra money is definitely helping, a lot, but it’s slowly eroding my ability to stay somewhat normal and calm.  I’m finding that driving has started becoming a string of curses at other drivers for doing stupid things, which is how it started last time when I lost my crap across the board a few years ago.  It’s worrisome.

I’ve never liked the summer months.  It’s hot, humid and I’m generally not a happy camper unless I’m inside with ample air-conditioning cooling everything down, including me.  There are actually quite a few things that I don’t really like throughout the year, but tolerate for various reasons.  As long as I can get the downtime I need to tolerate the world, it’s all good.  What isn’t good is how I’m feeling now and not seeing a way back until school starts again for my daughter.  That leaves me with just over three weeks before a semi-normal routine returns to the household and, naturally, to me.

This coming weekend is, at this point, open with nothing planned until Sunday afternoon.  I’m hoping it stays that way.