Its been a long, long time. I usually like to post during my lunch breaks at work. In that time I do all the little things that I really WANT to accomplish without detracting any time or focus away from the things I NEED to get done. Well, I’ve been so busy lately and it seems so incredibly easy to be busy and so very hard to not be busy. So, to explain myself and my lack of attention to this blog, here is what has been going on in the interim.

1. Computers. Lots of computers. I run a little project called The Eastside Vineyard Computer Pantry. The focus of this project is to collect donated computers, refurbish them to great working condition, then give them away. I have decided to turn my office at work into a computer lab, and so, I have been diagnosing and repairing computers on most of my lunch breaks. I have also been repairing computers for family and friends.

2. Tutoring. Yes, I know it is summer. I have a niece who is nearly complete with a summer algebra class and I have been her tutor. I have been diligently creating comprehensive notes for her to use on the final exam.

3. Planning an anniversary trip. 7 years of marriage to my wonderful wife. In previous years we have gone to some great places; Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, Chicago and so on. Every trip has been great. This year we decided to stay in Michigan and go do something a bit more fast-paced. I grew up participating in powersports so this year we are going to Silver Lake Sand Dunes. We are renting a dune buggy and I finally get to show my wife what I used to do on a regular basis. I’m also trying to convince her that taking my 4×4 pickup out on the dunes will be fun too! The trip is all planned and booked now!

4. Laying the groundwork for another project. I do this to myself all the time. I get a great idea and never really get it finished. I have too many great ideas and I get so excited for all of them. So, to combat this, I share my ideas with family and friends and do my best to write every aspect of the idea down. That way, I never lose the idea and can receive encouragement to finish the job. Most of these ideas I’ve had lately are intertwined so I definitely want to finish them!


So, for tomorrow…

I think I may switch the radio in my truck. Or…

Changing My Digital Habits

Way back when Windows XP was released, I had this optimism that computers were going to be so much better. They were actually going to do what I wanted them to do, instead of me having to deal with their limitations. I was wrong but progress had been made. I had this nagging frustration with computers. There were all these missing features that should have been there all along. Why can’t I have all of my contacts saved in one, central location that is accessible to any program that needs it? Why are there so many different versions of Office? Why isn’t a good word processor just standard? If my computer doesn’t automatically come with the software to make it useful, why did it cost so much money? Why do software updates render my computer useless? I had tricks and workarounds to nearly every frustration my computer caused, but I wanted it to just simply work the way it should.

Technology was heading in the right direction. It just wasn’t where I wanted it to be. As I switched from Windows to Mac, I found out that Mac OSX was much more in line with what I wanted out of a computing experience. No amount of upgrades or Windows-based software had ever given me the results I desired. Some of the built in software and features I always wanted actually existed! I wasn’t the only person in the world who thought a simpler user experience made sense. With my Mac, I became jaded by the dazzle of high-end hardware and expensive software. My budget doesn’t allow for too much of that. Because I couldn’t afford things like Photoshop, I tried using cheaper alternatives until I broke down and bought the real thing. It’s great. I love it but now the computing world is moving in the direction I really want. Cloud computing. 

As soon as I heard the term, cloud computing, I jumped on the bandwagon. I know there are so many security issues with the cloud, but I don’t care. I don’t need to buy a new Mac when my current model becomes outdated. I have my eye on something else. The Chromebook. Google’s services have got me hooked on the cloud. I use Google Drive to fill out and record inspection reports. Google calendar runs my weekly schedule. With my Google account and a Chrome extension, my computer lets me know when I have an incoming call and I get my text messages without touching my phone. I still love my purchased apps like Pages and Lightroom, but web-based alternatives are getting really good. Ever hear of Canva? Google it. Join it. Use it. I love creating with it and it works on my tablet too. You don’t need to spend big bucks on Photoshop if you don’t absolutely need every feature it offers. 

Most people use their computers just for the internet. I began using computers for graphic design, mechanical design, and programming. I learned computers inside and out and had super specific reasons for using them. Now, people use them for casual things instead of professional. Do you really need a $1,500 laptop to check Facebook? No. Get a Chromebook. Put Linux on an old laptop. I did. I use it just as much as my Mac. Check out the free, web-based tools out there and compute smarter. I use the pro stuff and I absolutely love these new web-based alternatives.