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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Job Reductions Lead to LinkedIn.com

Last Tuesday, I was caught between a 10% reduction in force and a company restructure. While I believe this will catapult me into learning new technologies and methodologies, trying to find the company that has an accommodating position can be a daunting task. In the meantime, I've picked up knowledge of more networking technologies, the latest of which is LinkedIn.

Feel free to check out my LinkedIn profile, my online resume, or any of my other profile-related links. I'm hopeful I will be helping to benefit another company soon, and will be tireless in my search to do so.

LinkedIn Profile

Online Resume

- Web Utilities
- Simple Web App
- 3rd Party Catalog Tool

- Images and Renderings
- Computer Animations
- Logos and Promos

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

30' x 40' Earth Berm Passive Solar House in Central Maine

A friend from work moved north to get back to his roots. Although I do believe consulting contractors might facilitate the process in many ways, I totally admire his dedication and willingness to do something on such a large scale, and wish him success in this endeavor. This is his story:I bought 10 acres of forest and a John Deere backhoe this spring. I then started building the footers for my 30' x 40' earth berm, passive solar, insulated slab house. My friend and I are doing this ourselves, no contractors.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's Wrong with America?

American Express held a vote in which it's members would decide on where it would donate large sums of money. This is an excellent gesture and a most gracious award for the winners. Many kudos to American Express in doing this.

The results just came in and I was quite dismayed. I guess I shouldn't have because I've been shocked before with the mentality of voters (gas taxes vs public transportation; Bush vs Kerry). Perhaps I'm just far too biased being this touched on the number one topic in my life; education. That said, here were the results:

$1.5 million for 1st place goes to (24,101 votes):
Alzheimer's Disease: Early Detection Matters and its fulfilling organization, Alzheimer's Association

$500,000 for 2nd place goes to (20,650 votes):
Help 100,000 children thrive in the classroom! and its fulfilling organization, DonorsChoose.org

Not to make light of Alzheimers, but in my opinion, when should education play second fiddle to anything else? Never! At least not for the next 50-100 years. If I'd had my education to do over again, when I was 5 I would have asked to be sent overseas (not exactly sure where, but I've heard there are quite a few countries that place a high value [not just cost] on education).

Outside of that, I understand American Express wants to get their members involved, which is a great thing, but don't they have an idea of what they consider important? I would hope that their priorities might be a bit more in order than their members.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Politics > Match-O-Matic

Have fun with this. It lets you know how much selective listening you really do. Have you already made your selection? If so, is your selection really based on the 'promises' made by either party?

It'd be nice if they did more of these blind tests.

Match-O-Matic - Copyright © 2008 ABCNews Internet Ventures

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Debate - 2008

Okay, I didn't want to do this, but this is frustrating. I'm a democrat, but I have no issues voting Republican or even Independent, depending on who I consider appropriate for the position, or worst case, against who isn't appropriate. I was pro-Bush in his first term, but vehemently against him for his second term (glad I was, but very sorry enough other folks didn't agree).

Here are just some of my thoughts on my frustration with some of the views I'm hearing (although it still seems split). There are a lot of people that have already made their decision, and so are nit-picking things that in anyone else's lap would never be thought twice about. Guess you can consider these my nits.

  • Didn't Bush have military experience? That got us far. I'm pretty sure a POW of 5 years will yield even better experience.

  • What experience does Senator Palin have should she have to take the CIC position?

  • Has no one considered, politics being a "Good Ole Boy" network, Palin wouldn't be pigeon-holed?

  • If McCain disagrees with supporting Bush, how does Bush feel about that? (which it was shown as fact he has agreed 90% of the time.)

  • Are you more concerned about the economy (D)? Or foreign affairs and corporations (R)?

  • If Bush were running again, going down as one of the worst presidents in American history, would folks still be anti-Obama?

  • Speaking of anti-Obama, what happend to being pro-McCain? I've heard commentators speaking about Obama's gray hair? Huh?

  • Obama flipping. That's funny. McCain is a much bigger flipper than most politicians. (I heard that on a news talk radio show 6 months ago.)

  • Obama didn't mention economic cuts? False. He mentioned cutting the billions we're spending on a false war in Iraq that McCain still thinks we can win. There are no winners in war. Doesn't he know that having his military experience?

  • I cringe to think we can make it another 4 years under (current) Republican leadership.

  • With as long as he's been in office, and as old as he is, can/will McCain really make "change" enough to get us out of our rut? Change typically isn't associated with life-long "experience".

  • I'm so looking forward to the VP debate. Especially for the women voting just because there's a woman in the race. Can anyone really separate their ideals from reality? Although I'm sure there will be tidbits folks will highlight whatever they can grab.

  • As with any minority, women included, this really shows you have to do twice as well as the non-minority participant in order to come up even in the best case.

  • In a debate, will the opposing party always disagree with every single thing? Agreeing in this case was an attempt to show bipartisanship. Oh my!

  • If McCain wins, and we get no better, or Lord forbid we get worse, will all the folks that backed him still back the next (R), as those that supported Bush in his second term are now supporting McCain? If so, how many years of doing badly will it take for folks to vote for reality (or worst case, a leap of faith in someone new) over their ideals?
Okay, I'm done. (For now anyways.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Forgetting Friends

For about 18 years now I've had a specific memory plague me which ironically was due to the lack of many memories. For whatever reason, I don't have a clue why, my memories of high school are few and far between. And unfortunately, this doesn't preclude the lack of all my memories with some of my then very good (and near 'only') friends. I was a loaner of some sorts, and the number of friends I considered close were few. A few of these great friends I carried on into my adult life. I even kept in touch at various times with some of them (and still do with a couple). A couple others stayed in my mind only.

Although there were more than one, the particular friend that I write of now, and think of at least once a month (along with those I did remember), is one that I spent near all my time with during and after school. We were even great football teammates. And yet, regrettably, is one I lost in my mind.

My high school is one that actually did a 5-year reunion. Despite the better judgment I used for school dances, I went. All went fairly well during the beginning of the reunion, until one of my best friends walked up and asked if I remembered him. Again, this was only 5 years after graduation (6 actually for me 'cause I dropped out my first month of my senior year). My mind went blank. And I mean absolutely blank. The ONLY person I could think of was another friend I had in 5th/6th grade, and that's the name I guessed. Wrong!

Embarrased? No. Ashamed. And to make it worse, I can't describe the number of emotions he went through in the next 30 seconds. I'm sure anger was in there somewhere. His best friend that he was always with who was also my friend by proxy was with him, and I couldn't recall his name either. I've never gone or even considered going to another reunion again.

Half of my issue is I didn't have any yearbooks to look through. But that's just an excuse. You don't forget your true friends - ever! At least that's the stance I would have taken if I weren't in my shoes.

I've rationalized this situation a lot since it happened. I know I see my life in blocks, chunks, chapters, or even mini-stories. High school is the one short story that has most of it's pages missing. Singed page fragments of a scorched book.

Obviously there's a reason for it, but in my mind, there's no taking it back or excusing it. Because the thick of it is, I should have stayed in touch in the first place.

The only thing I could ever do is to wholeheartedly say, I'm sorry.

So, Cliff Salonga, if you ever read this, I am truly sorry. I have no idea where my memories went, but they did indeed go. I did find a yearbook later on, and was able to recollect some of the memories through a few photos (one in particular taken with our group during a class break). It was then I also remember how many M&Ms I used to eat.

How I can ever forget as much as I have, even if I can ever understand it, will never forgive it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Second Life; World of Warcraft

I can't find it, but I watched part of a news segment last night on CNN that discussed the psychological impact (both negatively and positively) of virtual worlds on people. First discussing Doom, they moved into more current games such as Vice City, and then branched into a 10-15 minute spiel on how Second Life is wonderful for marketing and making money. How one lady went from $35,000/year in real life to $85/year online designing her own clothing line, and a guy was doing six figures/year in online consulting for advertising and marketing agencies. Then they moved into a 2-minute blurb on World of Warcraft and how this couple had met in WoW, and then got married. They then moved back to discuss the financial benefits of Second Life.

My wife asked, "So you meet people in that game you play?" (I've been playing WoW since January.) I hope she well understood when I mentioned how hilariously flipped the news segment was. Having played both, I found Second Life to be the social network where folks "venture out", all the while constantly being asked about your first life. World of Warcraft was a pleasant change from what was becoming a fairly seductive environment where every girl is a knockout and every guy is the basis for masculine pleasantries. No one asked about real life except perhaps the occasional "What part of the world are you in?" and perhaps a "How old are you?" (Keeping language in perspective should you be grouped with a 10-year old.) But near all of the game is about discussing your in-world characters and I haven't found there to be as much "socialism" as there was in Second Life. Well, then again, I did hear a story about a guy that was stabbed in the leg (in real life) during game play. People do vent and share some RL things, but again, nothing like what I saw in Second Life.

I wish I could find the article that portrayed these two online virtual worlds in the way it was. Granted, WoW isn't going to make you too much money in RL (not that it can't), but the world of Second Life isn't "as much" about marketing and making money as it has become about socializing and "venturing out". There's a reason every girl is a knockout and every guy is the basis for masculine pleasantries. And there's a reason World of Warcraft is one of the top online virtual games to date, and it doesn't have very much to do with finding your soul mate.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

iGoogle Themes

Do you Google? You need to be signed in to Google be able to see this...


This is just something I threw together to test the iGoogle Themes development arena. Fairly simple really. Still considering whether it's worth it to go further on the layout: What is where and color scheme. I just did this up pretty quick to test the waters. I also didn’t go through all the attributes that can be set.

Short of getting a theme added to the iGoogle Theme Directory, which can take a little doing, there is an "iGoogle Theme Manager" gadget you can add to your page to add this or similar themes [semi]-permanently. When you add the gadget to an iGoogle page, allow it access*, and add the URL above to the list. I also did up a work-related test theme, but I'm not sure I can post that here publicly.

* Allowing the iGoogle Theme Manager gadget access: Aside from the general iGoogle cookies that are shared, I couldn’t find any security issues or risks. It does seem however that iGoogle developers have given it their blessing.

Note 1: The centered image in the footer appears to be "off" in IE. However, it looks good in FireFox. (At the time of this posting anyway.)

Note 2: I tried to see if Yahoo! had something similar I could toy with, but was unsuccessful in my search.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Multi-Page Notebook App

The only open source equivalent I found for this program was discontinued back in 2004. Although the obsolete version of the app still runs on XP, I’m not sure about scalability for when we downgrade to Vista. Also, don’t believe either of these apps runs outside of Windows at all (short of wine, sorry *nix buffs, but then you probably have one built in  ).

What it is:

  • RightNote is a multi-page notebook that allows you to store and organize an unlimited number of notes in one file.

  • Each page contains a hierarchical tree which can contain virtually an unlimited number of notes.

  • Each page can be devoted to a different category, and typically you'll find you don't need more than one or two files to organize most things in your life!

Small-fee Commercial Notebook App: RightNote

Discontinued Open Source Notebook App: KeyNote

I’ll be shelling out the $20 for this (or $30 if I don't make it in time for the special deal). I already shelled out $30 for an Explorer replacement (xplorer2: http://zabkat.com/ ) and I’ve been more than happy with that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gary Gygax, 'Father of D&D,' Dies at 69

"He was like the cool uncle that every gamer had. He shaped an entire generation of gamers." - Mike Mearls, Lead developer of the upcoming 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons

World of Warcraft PTR Patch 2.4.0
In Memoriam: Gary Gygax

* Blizzard Entertainment would like to dedicate this patch in memory of Gary Gygax. His work on D&D was an inspiration to us in many ways and helped spark our passion for creating games of our own.

Blizzard's latest patch (2.4.0) opened a new area (Sunwell Isle), as well as a new tournament area (Global Arena Tournament) for level 70s.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

World of Warcraft

The game is afoot! Care to join? Just let me know. I can provide you with a 10-day free pass to the greatest multi-player online game of this century to date. Okay, that's subjective, but you'll agree as soon as you create your character and learn the ways of their culture.

I have a family of characters, for which each one provides their own level of exciting adventure paths and abilities. You can click on their name to see more detailed stats about them.

You can also follow their progress in my newly created "Dragnist Family blog.

Dragnist Family - Antemortem
Engineering / Mining
family favorite
Night Elf
Alchemy / Herbalism
youngest brother
the only lady
Alchemy / Herbalism
eldest brother; always up to no good
Blood Elf
Dejhde's follower