Tag: 2017

2017, just another year

The year that was 2016, as I put it a few days ago here, wasn’t fun for a lot of people including myself. The frightening part of all of this is now that it’s 2017, it’s not necessarily going to be any better of a year than 2016 was. We’re on this roller coaster, and taking into account everything that happened last year, I don’t think we’ve even crested the first hill. I can hear the clicks and clacks of the chain pushing the cars up the first hill before we drop, weightless, to the inevitable just beyond the horizon. How high we are and how steep that hill is going to be is anyone’s guess, but this is potential bubble bursting territory in proportions we’ve never seen before. In just over seven years, we’ve added $9 trillion to our national debt to have it almost over $20 trillion. Math lesson: How many years would it take to spend $20 trillion if you spent $100 million per day? 547 years!!!

This isn’t the point of this post though, I am just venting a little. If more people realized how much, seriously how much money we had in total debt, it would be a major issue. I’ve been kept up at night thinking of the consequences if the U.S. economy completely collapsed. The Great Depression would look like a sunny day compared to a completely collapse right now. Ahh, I digressed again…..

So, what is my 2017 going to be about? Well, it won’t be resolutions, I learned long ago that I made them just to break them a few weeks later. It also isn’t going to be about non-resolutions as in refusing to not make resolutions is a resolution in of itself that I’ll end up breaking a few weeks later. Instead, I’m going to continue life endeavors that I started several months to a few years ago that is more experimental in nature than anything else. The scientific method is very helpful here. I see a problem, make a statement to the problem, decide on a solution, execute the solution, review the results, move on to the next problem or re-evaluate the original problem. It’s a work in progress. With that said, here are the problems that I’ve been working on recently.

  • Technology usage
  • Family time
  • Mental balance (related to introversion)
  • Minimalism
  • Consolidation and Purging (new)

I’ll speak to technology usage and consolidation in this post as I’ve already written about the other three over the past several months. On technology usage, it’s a positive outcome of my minimalism. I’ve found that removing complexity in some aspects of my life has allowed me to group similar events together and create efficiency. For example, I process the finances twice a month, reconcile once a month, and discuss upcoming spend that I’m not aware of with my wife. While I’m on the computer already, I use about 30-45 minutes after I’m done to go through the non-important email and junk/spam review that I stopped doing on an almost daily basis. I’ve setup inbox filter rules that puts email from specific addresses into my inbox and whatever remains is moved to a folder for bi-monthly review. It reduced several interruptions I’d have through the day checking email that didn’t need to be checked because my phone dinged.

That brings me to my other topic on technology, my mobile phone. The only alerts I get on it now are text messages, phone calls, and work email when at work. I have the Twitter and WordPress desktop apps installed and will review both between meetings (no more than 10 minutes at a time) and at lunch. The alerts are non-intrusive so they don’t catch my attention when something comes in. I’ll admit that I’m not always disciplined with this and will often spend much more time than I should in both apps, it’s still a work in progress. My mobile phone however has become less important as a part of my daily routine and often just sits upside down or in my bag. Part of the reason for this is that I don’t have the social applications (like Facebook) demanding my time and attention. The other reason is that I don’t have a phone that can handle really more than one thing at a time and it has consistently frozen on me requiring a battery pull. Rather than get angry and throw it against the wall, I just don’t use it as much. I’m getting a new one in February and plan on getting something more capable, but I don’t think it will hold as large a place in my life as it once did as I’ve become accustomed to life not revolving around it. Technology in general is on the outs with me and I’m using it to enable my life, not control my life.

Now, consolidation. It means different things to different people. In my case, I’m consolidating everything electronic into a single location. After moving, I realized that I had 5 external backup drives of various sizes. After finding the largest one, I started to bring all the backups onto a single drive while performing a de-duplication of files. It took several weeks as I did it on spare time and I now have a single drive with backups from my laptop and home desktop that operate as the “backup to the backup” since all my files are in the cloud as well. Windows 10 made it quite simple¬†to backup to an external drive, just a click, provided that all your files are in their default locations. The four drives I no longer needed were given away (after a DoD wipe) or recycled. For several years now, I’ve been purging myself of useless technology that I’ve kept around in the spirit of “I might need it someday”. Boxes of stuff dating back to the late 90’s. I don’t need 4 3.5″ floppy drives, I don’t need 3 5.25″ floppy drives, I don’t need 9 CD-R/RW drives, etc. In the end, I kept the best hardware and got rid of the rest of it. The interesting thing is that I no longer have a computer I can install most of this stuff in, so had to add a cable kit that converted the interfaces to USB; they’re all in a single container though. I cleared out an entire closet over the last 8 months!

Saved magazines have been purged (recycled). Saved newspapers and clippings have been reviewed and mostly purged (also recycled). Purging is in line with minimalism in that anything that doesn’t have value to me or serve a purpose, I get rid of it. At first it was difficult to let go and I often would go through boxes of stuff to only get rid of a few items at a time. I’ve since realized that having the stuff around, that I only looked at when deciding whether to keep it or not, was self-defeating the whole idea of minimalism and purging of stuff. Moving certainly helped with this as it became a question of whether I wanted to move it or not. Our trash guys got a good work out a few weeks while we were packing as I quickly decided to not keep a lot of the stuff that had accumulated for more than 15 years. My wife and daughter are now starting to pick up on this and are starting to clear their respective piles of stuff, though not quickly. My daughter seems to have embraced the spirit of purging and is actively making decisions. My wife still has her box of New Kids on the Block memorabilia that she only looks through when I make a point to show her she still has it. Baby steps ūüôā

What this means is that I no longer make New Year’s resolutions. Deciding to do something in the coming year, usually to fail, is a waste of time. Plans are made to benefit everyone around me, not just me personally. Experiments that I think will benefit me in the long-term are a much more efficient use of my time and energy. To demonstrate my point, all 5 endeavors listed above support balance for an introvert in an extroverted world. Achieving balance not only makes me easier to be around, it makes others around me want to spend time with me instead of avoiding me. I guess you can say to a certain extent that my laser focus on my introversion allows me to be extroverted in short bursts to socially engage with others around me. These social engagements made the questions stop, let people stop worrying too much about me and made it easier for people to invite me to certain things. I no longer say no given enough lead time.

My 2017 will be just like every other year since 2015, just another year where I have to learn to write 17 instead of 16 for about 2 months.

Have a new year….

I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it. I’ll most likely be at a party with friends I’d rather not see and do things I would prefer not to do. Any literary motivation would be sufficiently killed if I had sat down and published this on the day it actually was scheduled to post. That being said, I’ve reflected quite a bit on 2016 and the year that seemed to drag slower and slower the farther into it we got. There’s way too much to review in a post, and if I did review everything that impacted me, I would be writing this well into 2017 and probably never actually publish because it would have become too burdensome to proof it.

There were three things that really had an impact to the year that history will most likely judge harshly in the coming decades. Rather, three things that had an impact with me personally. Consider this a top three-year in review for w1nt3l. We all have our own top three, I’m sure, we might even share some, but I am so happy that this year is almost gone and really really hope that it doesn’t carry residuals into 2017. Well, here we go.

Windows 10 for Mobile, titanic shaft to loyal fans

My archives are littered with Windows 10 for Mobile (formerly Windows Phone) going back several years. I was a huge fan of Windows Phone (WP) and had three mobile devices that ran various versions of the mobile operating system. What I failed to realize with my last device is that HTC was going down the same path as Nokia and Blackberry getting complacent that they had their act together and no one could possibly take the top spot. Well, they were wrong, and HTC is in a bad situation right now losing ground to Samsung and Apple. A little known device that ran Windows Phone 8.1 failed to get upgraded by HTC to Windows 10 for Mobile. Multiple excuses were given as to why, there was even some finger-pointing between HTC and Microsoft, but in the end, it came down to the fact that hardly anyone actually purchased one making the user base statistically miniscule compared to the Android version of the same hardware. Windows 10 for Mobile was now a fail whale in my book and I decided to never own another device again. I switched to a cheap-o Android phone that I get frustrated with every time I pick it up; daily reboots, slow, locks up, apps crash, etc. Pure Android is awesome, it starts to suck hard as soon as a manufacturer thinks it can improve it, hence, the previous sentence rings true. 2016 was the death of Windows Mobile in my opinion.

Wasn’t the year of the third-party

I wrote off the Democrats months ago. I was never a Republican. This was the year I went independent and supported a third-party candidate for President. Despite Jill Stein having a really good platform and some ingenious ideas to help fix things, she never captured a lot of support from anywhere in the country. Gary Johnson had a real chance of at least getting to 5% of the popular vote to have a third-party receive national recognition, but one gaffe after another blew all the steam out of his sails. In an election where there was negative news on both Trump and Clinton, unfavorability for both Trump and Clinton and poor performances in debates from Trump and Clinton I would have thought that Americans would have sought an alternative. That was not the case, as Clinton-haters voted from Trump and Trump-haters voted for Clinton. I’m also convinced that a lot of people just didn’t vote because they didn’t like either of them. 2016 was not the year of the third-party candidate unfortunately.

War and terrorism

No one likes any of this. Show me a war or terrorist attack that actually had any positive impact. I made a comment on a post a few weeks back that listed the number of people who died in conflicts from the Civil War to the Vietnam War; ended up being hundreds of millions. Did we really need to let things get that far? Perhaps. Some conflict is just unavoidable when no one on either side is using so much energy for their mouth that they be come deaf and blind. I’m sorry, call me an apologist if you wish, but *I* think there is always a better way that doesn’t involve weapons, death or destruction. In recent weeks, I’ve discovered the true meaning behind “the pen is mightier than the sword” or a more modern version, “the keyboard is mightier than the AR15.” I’d ask when we lost the ability to listen and reason, but I don’t believe we ever had either of those mastered. I’ve chosen to try to make a difference, one person at a time, one reader at a time, until the knowledge pay-it-forward effect is perpetual. 2016 was not the year we chose something other than war.

Have a New Year

I didn’t mean for this to be a downer, but that is what it became. Blame 2016 for being such a year of suck that we’re all better off to have it in the rear-view mirror. The problem is that 2017 looks like a road under construction that is going to continue tearing at the under carriage of the United States and the rest of the world. Buckle your seatbelts, we’re in for some chop.

Three Things Thursday – 12/29/2016

three-things-badge

Inspired by Ms. Emily’s Home for Full-Grown Nerds

Bring the happy!

This weeks TTT is all about the future. ¬†I’m skeptically optimistic about 2017 hoping that a few things will change for the better and not get any worse. ¬†There are a lot of topics I have lined up for next year as I find a more regular cadence of blog posts as I’ve been a bit carried away the last few months due to the election.

Happy New Year (early)

2017sparklers

An early wish for a Happy New Year.  May it bestow on you good luck and prosperity for you and your family.

Green Cities

tianjin-eco-city-5
This isn’t an Austrian design, it’s actually Chinese.
green
This is an Austrian design for a city in Dubai.

This is one of my newest interests after having seen several documentaries on the subject.  Our future will be determined by us finally admitting that global climate change is real, we need real technological advancements into alternative energy/fuels and we start reversing the damage already done.  Making our cities green in every way possible is a really good start and not difficult to retro-fit into our current infrastructure.  We should take some direction from Austria on how to change our approach to energy saving and environmentally friendly architecture.

El Camino SS

2017elcamino
I will own thee and I shall call you “Sexy”

Seriously, how bad ass is this car? ¬†I can’t find anything concrete that Chevrolet will actually put this car out next year, but wow, is it beautiful. ¬†I have not owned a Chevrolet (or GM product for that matter) since 1995. ¬†If they put this car out, I would reconsider my position with GM and actually purchase one of these. ¬†As I’m not like people who collect cars, I would actually drive this on a regular basis. ¬†I believe if you own a car, you should enjoy said car, unless it’s literally “one of a kind” then it should just be viewed in a museum.

TTT Music Album Recommendation

rockondaughter
I approve this rock!

Lies
by Hyper