Is this thing on? Dreamed 1082 days ago | Comment | 57 words

If anyone still reads this, I am now writing over at Tech In The Trenches. All future posting will be done there. You can follow my more formal, thought-out writing there.

And of course, I am addicted to Twitter and I tend to roll around in Tumblr often.

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Reverb10 Day 12: Body Integration Dreamed 1187 days ago | Comment | 332 words

January 15 – Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? (Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I wrestled with one for a long time. I went back and forth about whether I wanted to or could write this one up. But I want to complete all the prompts no matter how long it takes me. So here I am in mid-January working on this post. I went back and forth about whether I wanted to or could write this one up. But I want to complete all the prompts no matter how long it takes me. Sp here I am in Mid-January working on this post.

I hate to sound like a broken record but it had to be my wedding day. I was acutely aware of everything going on. My mind was focused on the task at hand. Sure it was spinning and it was all over the place. But it also took in every nuance of the day. The breeze in my face. The crash of the ocean behind me. The small crowd we had gathered behind us.The gulls calling. All of it.

I was aware of every inch of my body. How I felt in my suit. How I looked. How I was holding myself. The beauty of my bride. The perfect day we had and how lucky we were. I was never more present than I was in those moments. I was never more alive than when my fiancé became my wife.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

Reverb10 Day 11: 11 Things Dreamed 1187 days ago | Comment | 1616 words

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

1. Physical Media. What started in 2009 when I gave away every single CD I owned to a Thrift Store, about 90 in all continues in 2010. I have no purchased a physical DVD all year, all my music is now from iTunes or increasingly the Amazon MP3 Store. Movies come from the same places as well as Netflix, and a sprinkling of Hulu. Hard drives and streaming media take up far less space in my apartment and means less I have to pack up and move. Also, it saves the media from being overplayed and worn out (case in point my copy of Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine).

2. Boxed foods. Since falling in love with, then marrying my beautiful wife boxed food has been nearly eliminated in my life. I went from a time where much of my diet was delivered to me in a cardboard box, picked up from the grocer’s freezer section and generally hadn’t been real food since its inception. We have been cooking almost every meal at home. We have been eating out much less and opting for quality over quantity. We have been making amazing foods all thanks for my amazing wife and her ambition and gusto in the kitchen. There are countless amazing food blogs and cook books out there. It is not hard to find them and cook great food. It just takes the dedication to stay at it.

3. Pent up Stress. I tell everyone to find an outlet for their stress and irritations in life. I preach release in any form you choose, as long as its healthy and constructive but I rarely took my own advice until now. I have found 750Words.com and it has helped me get back into writing regularly. I used to write all the time, privately. I used to pen my thoughts and frustrations into notebooks I kept in my pocket or a file on my PC. Now, I have a private place to type my feelings where no one else can read them easily and I am awarded for my dedication at keeping at it. As a result, I have felt so much more mentally clear and happier. Writing is how I get out all the bottled up stress in my life and 750Words has been an amazing find and I intend to keep at it and expand its use and inspiration in 2011.

4. Cable TV. This is an odd one for me. After not having cable, in fact, not owning a TV for many years, my wife and I got cable TV this year. Previously, I had a HD Projector I had won in a contest from Tigerdirect. I watched all my TV and movies through Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and Amazon Video on Demand. In 2010, I broke down and got Comcast cable TV for my wife since she loves the Food Network and others that are hard to find in other legal sources, if at all. However, with her working full time now and our TV watching becoming less and less I think cable TV is going to go back from whence it came in 2011. It will mean a couple extra dollars in our pockets and reduce the desire to just sack out in front of the screen (we now own a lovely 42” HD TV we purchased as a wedding present to ourselves).

5. Fat. Just as I have fallen in love with 750Words for my writing and mental health, HealthMonth has given me the needed push to get my butt into the gym. The site allows you to setup rules for the month and keeps you accountable to them. For instance, my rules are to exercise at least 3 times a week, drink 21 glasses of water per week, limit myself to 4 sodas a week, write 3 pages of personal writing per day (750Words works perfectly!), and eat a piece of fresh fruit everyday. The site also allows you to form groups and join teams. My wife and I have both signed up and are using it happily to make s work out and eat better. We’re in competition with each other to keep motivated in addition to earning fruits and points n the site. It’s silly and fun and keeps me accountable to my plans for working out and becoming healthier in 2011.

6. Self-doubt. I’m tired of looking back on post I make or notes I leave for myself about projects I want to start and big ideas I have for my life and my goals. Then I look back months or years later and not only did I not complete them, in many cases, I didn’t even start. I am going to change that in 2011. I am going to start and complete more projects. I am going to learn more and get better at more things that interest me. I am going to generally do more and become better and find something I genuinely enjoy doing with my days.

7. Books. I used to lug around a small mountain of books everywhere I moved. I never even unpacked them. I think I was looking to that random future date where I had a house and a library or at least a nice room where I could unpack and tore all my books on shelves. Then I came to the realization that day will never come. There will never be a point in my life where I will have that, and if there is, it won’t be for years. So I gave them all away or sold them. I opened a half.com account and unloaded a ton of them through there earning me a couple pennies on the dollar for what they originally sold for. Then the remaining ones that didn’t sell, I donated to a thrift store. They are gone and out of my life. We have a Kindle now. My mom gave it to use for Christmas. Now, we can keep all our books inside a tiny 6” device in stead of across rows, and rows of shelves in our house. A much better solution.

8. Money woes. Living in Northern Virginia, especially moving up here on very short notice strained my finances to the limit and beyond the breaking point. My credit card still has not recovered from the beating it took to make it all happen. In 2011, now that both my wife and I are employed I am putting an end to money woes. Gone will be the week we can’t spent a single cent because we don’t have it. Gone will be the stressing about how we’re going to make rent or pay bills. Gone will be those times when the money just isn’t there for anything you’d like to do. Gone are all of those days and a clearer and happier financial future are ahead.

9. Filter my entertainment. I subscribe to a lot of podcasts. I have a huge list of movies to watch. I have a Kindle so now in addition to my Instapaper pile I have books I can now impulse buy and read. Or plan to. In 2011, I am going to ditch the 90-120 minute podcasts I used to listen to when I worked alone and had the time all day to fill it with those techy geek voice. Now I have less time and need to use it better. I need to ditch the podcasts and terrible movies and just listen to and watch the things I want to spend my time on. No more mindless junk filling my days. Just the things I want.

10. Family Drama. I am done with being stuck in the middle of divorce. Despite, “not wanting to put the kids in the middle of things” being pushed squarely into the middle of the divorce drama I inadvertently married into. In 2011, I am putting all of that behind me. Whether it goes away or not, I am going to ignore it and stop letting it bother me. What happens will happen and I will go with the flow.

11. Accepting my Hobbies. For as long as I can remember I have loved playing games. I love to play co-op games and catch up with friends. I love to puzzle my way through other worlds and lands. Lately, I’ve even been chopping fruits, killing Spartans and Elites and matching Jewels. I love to play games. For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt guilty about my game playing. I always felt like I should be spending my time off work focusing my efforts on bettering myself. Trying to learn a programming language, getting back into design. I am trying to push myself into something better and different to get me out of where I am in my life. I just need to relax and have fun. If I love to play games, I need to keep playing them. They calm me down. They let me catch up with friends. They’re partially my outlet for stress. I love gaming and I should not try to hide or ignore it.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

Exit Through the Box Office Dreamed 1205 days ago | Comment | 305 words

Banksy will never again help anyone make a documentary about street art
“Banksy will never again help anyone make a documentary about street art”

That pretty much sums up my thoughts on Exit Through the Gift Shop. I was hoping for a film about Banksy and about his work and motivations. Instead, I got the life story of Theirry Guetta. He is an obsessive filmer. I am hesitant to call him a filmmaker since I don’t think he even made this film.

He tagged along with various street artists and obsessively filmed them everywhere they went and everything they did. He has hundreds if not thousands of tapes. Some marked, some not. He is the self-elected documenter of the origins of street art.

However, he didn’t do anything with the film he shot. The film was later sorted out by editors unknown to create this film. This is my assumption anyway.

I don’t know what to think about Thierry. In the end, he seemed to use the street artists he had befriended and latched on to to launch his own career in the street art world. However, he had ideas and hired people to bring them to life. His “Mr. Brainwash” persona is as much a collective as it is a single person.

This movie is much more like Nerdcore Rising in that it deals with the history and beginning of street art. Just as Nerdcore Rising is about the rise and creation of Nerdcore music. I’d highly recommend both films as long as you go into it knowing what to expect.

Had I read reviews of Exit… I would have known it was not a Banksy movie but I still enjoyed it for what it was, a history of street art.

Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook First Impressions Dreamed 1218 days ago | Comment | 1320 words

The moment Google’s announcement about Chrome OS and the Chrome Notebooks was over I raced to the site and signed up in hopes of receiving one of the elusive beasts. I figured the coveted CR-48 laptops were going to be handed out to tech bloggers and tech journalists. I assumed from the start that lowly me, a nobody in Internet Land would never have a chance at landing one of the units.

Much to my shock and delight, Google proved me wrong.

I came home last night to a strange box from a man named Brian in St. Louis on my doorstep. I picked it up, at first assuming it was just another in the line of Christmas presents my wife and I had purchased from one of many retailers but upon checking the label and feeling the weight, I was optimistic. I wanted to believe it was a Chrome OS test machine but I didn’t think I’d be that lucky.

Enough with the shock and awe, it was a Chrome OS Notebook. I had the CR-48 unit unwrapped and sitting on my desk in no time. I took some pictures of it because I am a nerd like that. Being an avid Chrome user, I was really excited to crack it open and start syncing and using the Browser as Operating System.

So far I really like it. The keyboard is just like the original MacBook which I was skeptical of at first, until I tried it and instantly fell in love with its wide, fat clicky keys. They feel nice under my fingers and I can fly across them with greater speed than the current Lenovo machine I’ve been primarily using at home.

The track-pad is another story. While it is a generous size, again taking a cue from Apple, it feels like my original First Generation MacBook track-pad after three solid years of use. It is not very clicky and the two finger scrolling and two finger tap for right click has some accuracy and stuttering issues. The tracking itself works like a charm as you would expect. However, the track-pad/button just isn’t as clicky as you’d like it to be. The tap to click option is a must, though it must be enabled.

The screen is plenty bright with and crisp. While there is no brightness level indicator when using the brightness button in the keyboard, it goes plenty dark for that late night surfing and brightens up nicely for the daytime. The killer addition to this machine would have been a back-lit keyboard, though being as this is a demo unit, I can see why it is not included.

I love the way new windows is handled in Chrome OS. If you are familiar with Spaces on the Mac or Virtual Desktops of any kind you should feel right at home. Each Ctrl+N gives you new window to the right of your current window. You can Alt+Tab between them though in sequence which can be confusing if you have multiple open windows (or as I just found out, two identical sets of tabs open from when I rebooted last night).

The MacBook Air seems to be the heralded king of light computers across the Internet but not having one of those, I can’t get over the lightness of this machine. The whole machine is very slim and light. I want to tuck it under my shoulder like a newspaper and take it everywhere with me.

I also really like the smooth rubbery feel of the case. It feels soft to the touch. Unlike how most laptops feel cold and hard in your hand. The rubber gives it a warm feeling when you hold it, or as your wrists rest upon it, like they are doing as I type this.

The lack of Caps Lock has been mentioned all over the place. Across the top of the keyboard, where the Function keys would be on any other laptop, the CR-48 features the following from left to right: Esc, Back, Forward, Refresh, Full Screen, Switch Window, Lower Brightness, Raise Brightness, Mute, Lower Volume, Raise Volume and finally Power, which I have yet to hit.

When I first took the laptop out of the box and inserted the battery it powered on immediately, no need to press the power button. The OS has been updated once since I had the unit, it happens identically to how the browser updates. You get the dot on the wrench and you click Upgrade. Seconds later, you’re back up and running right where you left off. The Chrome browser was updated today so I imagine they’re both in sync or close to it.

The volume is plenty loud out of the speakers for casual use and the headphone jack is nothing special. I have not used the SD Card slot or USB port yet. I’m sort of at a loss for what you’d need either for. The Eye-Fi card in my camera eliminates the need to use the SD card and I’m not even sure what I could use the USB port for, plugging my thumb drive into it last night yielded nothing.

I have seen some random slowdown in the OS as I’ve been scrolling down pages or waiting for things to load. From what I’ve read the machine is powered by a 1.66GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. I have no idea what the hard drive is on the machine and I’ve seen no mention or need for it. Perhaps that’s where the USB and SD Card slots come into play.

I’ve also had problems getting certain wireless networks to work with the machine. I tried tethering from my rooted Droid earlier and while the iPod Touch picked it up just fine Chrome OS reported there was an error trying to connect to it. Similarly, on initial setup, I had to remove the Mac Address filtering on my home network to allow it to connect so I could login and get the Mac Address, but that is to be expected.

I have not yet signed up for the free 100MB of cellular data from Verizon yet because I haven’t had the need and it requires entering a credit card number which I am reluctant to give. I am going to work on the Droid tethering option some more and see if I can figure out what the issue is there.

I watched a lip of the Daily Show from YouTube last night full screen and had minimal issues of minor slowdown with it. It was still plenty watchable though since it does not support Silverlight I cannot use Netflix. My test of Hulu worked fine at the default resolution on the page However, when I tried to make it full screen it ran a bit slow. In this case, I was watching American Dad and the mouths were slightly behind the voices. It was still perfectly watchable but if you were watching something with a lot of fast action, it would be more noticeable.

I’ve not had it long enough to give the battery a proper test. However, I am at 55% and Chrome OS claims to have 3 hours and 27 minutes of life left. I have the cellular disabled, the wifi on and the brightness maxed out. I have not used the VGA port for anything yet.

All in all I really like the unit and the typing feels as good as typing on my original MacBook. The trackpad, despite its deficiencies is passable. Seeing as how I got this computer shipped to me free of charge with no mention of return, I am very pleased with it and I hope the hardware that will ship with Chrome OS when it gets a commercial release will be even better. This is a very good start to the Chrome OS and I am optimistic to see where it goes and what the first wave of hardware looks and runs like.

Reverb10 Day 10: Wisdom Dreamed 1219 days ago | Comment | 835 words

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

Looking back on 2010, I made a lot of big life decisions. A ton of them about the wedding and marriage. A ton of them about family and how I would handle certain situation thrown at me I was not ready to deal with. I decided a lot of good things and important things. However, the wisest decision I made last year was to start writing again.

Writing had always been my release in previous years. Writing had always opened the world up to me and allowed my emotions to flow on to the page and out of my head. When I was younger, I wrote a ton of angsty, teen poetry that was terrible but I felt better afterwards.

My writing has never been for someone else. It has always been my release and the means of getting the overflow of emotions out of my head and onto something more concrete. Writing was my way to put my mind at ease and open it up to thinking about better things.

It all started with finding 750 Words and starting to catalog my daily stresses and feelings on its anonymous pages. The animal badges and the streak helped me keep it going. It was motivating in a way a private paper journal or a blog would never be.

I would never censor myself there and I still don’t. I just write what is on my mind as it comes to my mind when I sit down to write. I let my fingers do the walking across the keyboard. They are much faster and lead to greater legibility, more than my chicken scratch hand writing ever could.

750 Words has become an invaluable resource and part of my daily routine. It has not always been my morning pages, as intended. But it has served as my daily detox. I will get home from work then before bed as I am winding down and clearing my mind for sleep, I would pour out anything and everything into its pages. I would clear my mind, emptying it, readying it for sleep as I readied my body for regenerative rest.

I find that I am dreaming more now that I am writing. They are very weird and bizarre dreams. My subconscious has fantastic tales it likes to weave late at night as I rest my eyes and mind.

The continued writing has opened more avenues for me as well. I am blogging more which makes me feel good as I want to keep trying to write and produce more. I want to be able to look back at the end of 2011 and have something to show for myself by year’s end. I want to glance over the archives for my blog and be able to see the past year laid out for me.

I want to relive the joys and triumphs, the concerts and shows and movies that blew me away through the year. I want the pain and the joy, the sadness and rejoicing to all flow back as it did when I originally captured it in words and code.
I want to relive the year because I had cataloged it well. I want to be able to remember and reflect on something meaningful. I don’t want to rely on my historically hazy memory when thinking back across the past year.

The renewed interest in writing has also aided in securing a freelance writing gig with my dad and the printing newsletter he works on. I have been writing technical articles on various topics like social networking and how to use it for the quick printers who most likely view the internet, let alone social media, as completely foreign soil.

I have really enjoyed the writing I’ve done for him and being published, albeit anonymously nearly monthly makes me happy. I love that what I’m writing is going out there and helping people.

I also love the change in my mood the writing has brought about. Gone are the anxious, annoyed, irritated nights after work. Gone is the constant feeling of unease. Gone is the feeling of needing to do something or be something but not knowing what that something is.

I am much happier now and happy with my writing either for myself or for the greater world. Happy I made the decision to start writing again as I’ve always enjoyed it, but I went astray from it for so long.

I am happy to embrace it like an old friend and welcome it back in to my life with wide, loving arms.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

Reverb10 Day 9: Party Dreamed 1221 days ago | Comment | 761 words

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

I’m not much of a party person, preferring small gatherings to wild parties. The top party of this year is hands down my wedding. However, I’ve already gushed and recalled that so many times it’s starting to feel like a bad sitcom rerun.

So instead of recounting how beautiful the weather was and how great it was to have all our friends and family gathered on the beach. Instead,, I am going to take this opportunity to recount the greatness of my mothers’ surprise 60th Birthday party.

Her birthday is December 9th and the party itself was on the 10th. The back story to this even goes back about three years. She had mentioned to a couple friends on her first trip to Blue Pete’s restaurant in Virginia Beach how cool it would be to have her 60th birthday in this lovely room inside the restaurant.

It is called the Fox Den and has two stuffed foxes above the entryway to the dining area. It has a small bar area and beautiful fireplace. The aquatic motif is evident with the paintings and photos of the ocean and sea life around the room. In addition to the huge captain’s wheel chandelier in the middle of the room.

The room is half open with the half by the fireplace equipped with two couches and several recliner type chairs. If you didn’t know better you’d think it would be sitting cozy inside a private house instead of a restaurant.

So needless to say, her off handed comment three years ago was recounted to her now-husband and the wheels were set in motion. She would have a surprise party in that very room!

She was lured under the guise of it being the establishment’s Christmas party so they were coming by “for a few drinks” then off to another local hangout to visit and dine.

Needless to say, they never made it out of the first stop. And the party was a secret up until the moment she walked in and we all yelled SURPRISE! And I got to pop around a corner and give her an even bigger surprise since I had taken the day off work and headed down to attend the party. I arrived just in time to help with some of the higher decorations.

By the time mom had arrived, we had the room covered in Over the Hill decor. “Beware of Falling Body Parts” and others I can’t remember. There was a roaring fire filling the room with warmth and a small pile of shrimp and a veggie tray in the corner by the cake.

The food was delicious. There was chicken and grilled peppers, raw pepper-encrusted tuna over a bed of greens served on a fried wonton disc and finally fried green tomatoes made up the main course of the cuisine.

There was also a plate of steamed shrimp and a large basket of fresh bread and rolls with brie, fresh mozzarella and other assorted cheeses. The cake was delicious, a double layer white cake with raspberry between the layers and a white frosting. On it, was a rendition of my mother with her arms in the air with I DEMAND A RECOUNT above her head and a picture of a cake with a ton of candles beneath her.

The room was filled with the scent of burning wood from the fire and the cold night air. The food was delicious and the scent was wafting into the main room where we all gathered. Once people arrived, the aromas of various wines and fruity drinks passed by, aided by my Shirley Temple.

She told me after the party when we got home and were talking about the night, how she was bummed that not many people attended her birthday dinner the night before. The dinner she knew about was fairly well attended but she had no idea what was in store for her the next day.

We were able to give my mom a great night. A night she will not forget for a very long time. It was a great party.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

Reverb10 Day 8: Beautifully Different Dreamed 1221 days ago | Comment | 1460 words

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

The things that make me different are all wrapped up together and can’t be separated. First off, I am a walking contradiction. I am 6’5” with the sweetest disposition of anyone you’ll stumble across on this world. I am filled with compassion and empathy. I am extremely introverted and commanded by my emotions more than anything else. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always have a moment for a friend in need.

I care deeply about peoples, sometimes too deeply for my own good. I have often been out at a restaurant or seen people passing on the street and I could sense something was wrong. Whether it was the look in their eyes or the way they carried themselves I could tell, something was not right. I always want to stop and offer a shoulder or ear but that seems weird so I never do.

All through high school I was always the friend my friends would call when they needed someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. I was always that guy who was a good listener and would take the time to either help with a problem or just listen and sit quietly which it all people need sometimes. Just talking through a problem can be enough to solve it.

When I was in college, I used to volunteer at a teen help line run totally online by a wonderful woman out of Minnesota, C.J. Fenner. I had the privilege of speaking with C.J. a couple times and each time I feel like I came away a better person. During the two years I as involved with the site, I would spent up to 12 hours a day in the chat room talking to other counselors and regular kids coming to look for help. I would answer anywhere from 10-30 emails a day coming in from the site. The site was a real Teens for Teens effort. A lot of the time I spoke with kids who were too afraid or mistrusting of adults to discuss or report their problems.

I heard tales of abuse and neglect and simpler things such as how do I tell if a guy/girl likes me and questions about sibling issues and divorce. The most memorable nights were when I talked to a girl from the same college I attended, one building across Monroe Park from me. As a counselor, I had access to the IPs of the other chatters in the room and I could tell she was on our college network.
She was suicidal, something I dealt with all too often.

I spoke to her for hours trying to get her to help herself. Trying to make her see how things weren’t as bad as they seemed. Even offering a couple times to walk over and meet her in person though I did walk over, she never did come down. To this day I think about her sometimes. She told me she was going to leave school and get help but I have no idea what happened to her. I hope she’s ok.

I didn’t know anyone when I got to college so it made it easy to pour myself into the site and into helping people. It made me feel really good about myself and really good that I was able to help others, or at least offer advice.

Sometimes kids just needed an ear to listen to their questions or problems and other times they needed more.
One more than one occasion, I contacted CJ. This was something we rarely did when we knew we needed more help than what we could provide. On at least two separate occasions I contacted her to get local police involved in the case we felt the people coming to us for help were in real danger.

Eventually, as I got more involved in school and my time was being more and more limited I visited less and less and one day eventually had to hand in my “resignation” so to speak. I still miss the great people I met on the site. The counselors were an amazing group of people from all around the world. We did a lot of good for those who came looking for help and in addition really helped ourselves. It remains one of the best experiences in my life.

This love of people and compassion aids my work in the tech world though in a very different way. A lot of what I learned working as a teen counselor and just listening to people growing up was a way to relate to them. Relate experiences and advice to their situation in life. I learned how to tailor my response to them in a way I was sure they would understand it.

Now, when I am explaining a technical problem to someone I don’t fill their head with jargon and techy talk. I relate the issue to a field they know something about. In the case of the reporters and bloggers I support now, I relate problems to newspaper and magazine production and writing. When I worked at Honeywell or GE I would tailor my answers down technically so match their level of understanding and field they worked in.

It is very important when trying to help someone through a computer issue when they don’t know anything about computers to relate it to their experience and expertise. Everyone has an area of life they are highly skilled in. It may be very different than what you know but everyone has something they absolutely know up and down.
Relating foreign concepts to areas of their expertise is vital in passing the information along and getting them to understand what you’re blabbering about.

Just because I understand the inner workings of a computer, doesn’t meant everyone I come into contact with does, or needs to for that matter. As much as I know about computers, I am just as clueless about how my car works. If I put the key in the ignition and turn in and that car doesn’t roar to life I’m stumped.

That’s how a lot of people feel about computers. They are magical boxes where any random button press or mouse click could spell doom to them and their data. It is a scary world inside that case. It is as scary in there as it is when I look under the hood of my car. I’m in a foreign land without so much as a guide book or a map.

The ability to empathize with and show compassion to another person transcends all facets of life. Putting myself in their shoes and looking at a problem from their perspective allows me a greater perspective and knowledge about a situation. Sitting on the outside of an issue looking in afford that level of removal from the emotion and immediacy.

All through my life I have been a problem solver. Whether I am trying to talk teens out of harming themselves (I’ve know far too many cutters) or explaining to a Baby Boomer the intricacies of Windows 7 compassion and empathy will always make things better, never worse.
What makes you beautifully different? This was a great topic and it really brought some things up I had not thought about in a long time. (I really do think about the girl from college from time to time.)

There was also another situation I don’t like to remember because of how bad it could have been and how well it turned out. I have a hard time believing it even happened and I have long lost the chat logs to prove it. I’ll just say I’ve been some really bad things out there between people I knew growing up and people I met through the power of the internet.

I am truly glad I took part in Reverb 10 this year. It has made me think about a lot of things from the past year and before. It is good to turn the magnifying glass inward to see what’s going on in your own head. You might like what you find and surprise yourself. A little introspection can go a long way.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

Reverb10 Day 7: Community Dreamed 1222 days ago | Comment | 918 words

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

I don’t know where I really fit in terms of community. In 2010 I feel like I’ve bounced around a lot. I’m not really doing any web design or graphic art anymore. I’ve finally resigned myself that it is just not where my passion in life lays anymore. I’ve focused a bit more on photography. Or at least I have really enjoyed shooting more with my Droid, starting the Arctic Shooter blog with photos shot from it. I’ve also picked up a Canon S90 camera which is in the Elph series and teeny tiny. I’ve been very impressed with it. It has held its own and gone everywhere I needed it to and done all I’ve asked of it from snorkeling on our honeymoon (in a waterproof case). But do I consider myself a photographer? No, not at all. I’m an amateur at best.

I’ve been getting more and more involved in the tech support world and trying to figure out where to advance my career there. But am I really part of that community? I mean I’ve joined the Technibble forums though I hardly visit. I’ve really enjoyed the PodNutz series of podcasts but I’m not really a part of the tech support community in terms of interaction with other people. I’m not even 100% sure I want to take my career in that path towards a network admin or server admin role. I like what I do but the burnout potential is so high at the Desktop Support level I need to work towards something else.

I have been dabbling with learning a programming language. Perhaps Python or Javascript. I have a decent grasp of HTML and CSS though even those skills are very rusty. I realize I have a much more critical and technical mind than I do an artistic mind and that’s where my passion has been pushing me so programming over design has seemed interesting. But I’ve yet to properly devote any real time to sitting down and really devoting time to learn.

As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I am squarely in the gamer community as well. I love video games. I love the chance to catch up with friends while we play our way through a campaign or run after each other trying to out gun one another. I love the Xbox and the opportunity it afford to meet and play with people from around the globe. I really love that I can keep up with the lives of friends near and far that I’d normally not get to see much of in real life, all over the beauty of the internet and video games.

I did join the ranks of “married person” this year in May. So I’m part of that community I guess. I’m not really sure you could call it that but I can claim membership to that club now. It has been the single biggest change in my life this year and with it came a new set of challenges and experiences that have been overwhelmingly positive.

As we move into 2011, I don’t know where the year is going to take me or what communities I may end up a part of. I’ve not been a part of any particular web community since 9Rules. And even then I was never a proper member but I used to participate heavily on the site, and in the chat room (which I usually avoid like the plague).

I have always been a jack of all trades, master of none. I have too many varying interests in life and never able to narrow my focus to one thing and really excel at it. I thought all through life that the variety of my skills and abilities would be a boon to my future career in life. But now I realize I would have been better off becoming very good at one thing or one set of things. Instead of dabbling in the print world (both design and production), magazines and newspaper layout and design, web design, and where I landed at the end of my dabbling squarely in a job of tech support.

I really enjoy problem solving in technology. I love helping people to understand and use technology. I enjoy explaining technology to someone without a firm grasp in the area. This makes me very good at what I do since I focus on taking the world of technology and the internet and explaining it in terms laypeople can understand.

Where does this set me up to go in 2011? I have absolutely no idea. I have learned one thing from life so far is that at the end of a year, things can look very different from when it started. I’ve always been a bit of a follower of desires and opportunities so wherever I end up a year from now will be better than where I am now. At least that’s the goal for the year.

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

Reverb 10 Day 6: Make... people happy Dreamed 1225 days ago | Comment | 448 words

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

You won’t find what I make hanging proudly on the wall or posted on the fridge. You won’t find it in a wood shop or cooling on the kitchen counter.

The last thing I made was people happy. I am not a maker. I do not craft, bake, build, construct or put together anything. The last thing I assembled was IKEA furniture. The last time I baked and did more than helped Annie or stirred or tended to something has been months. And while I love the Maker Culture, I am not a maker. I do not make.

But I do make people happy. I solve problems and that makes people happy.

I work in the exciting world of IT Support. When you call the help desk at work, I’m the guy who shows up at your desk to help you.

Lately I’ve had a series of baffling issues arise. One computer keeps disabling its Ethernet connection. Another that loves duplicating responses to meeting invites. Still another that hates printing in proper proportions.

The more complex or urgent the issue, the greater the happiness when I am able to resolve the issue and let them get back to work.

That is what I make. I make people happy. I break down the wall between man and machine. I keep computers behaving so they play nice with their humans. I keep everyone working. I keep people happy by keeping their computers happy.

It is a thankless, relentless job that changes as much as it repeats itself. Though trying to train and teach while correcting problems to help people help themselves is challenges and rewarding. There is no greater joy than seeing a huge smile and thank you when you get someone back up and running. You are their greatest hero, if only for the moment.

Getting paid in smiles on faces brightens my day. It helps keep the irritation of the monotony down as well as my stress level for those who insist their computer is causing all the problems. And yes, sometimes it is. However, the problem can be best classified as PEBKAC.

“Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.”

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.