PSA: Protect yourself out there

Public Service Announcement…

Please check your credit and take appropriate action. I have frozen all three agencies credit reporting via their services they offer. Perhaps this does not protect completely but at least I feel that I took an action or actions that may protect or secure some of my precious data.

For me personally, I can leave the credit frozen for a long time. I won’t be buying a house, renting an apartment, or getting a car any time soon. Others though are probably busier out there. I think my ex-wife will not acknowledge the risk and she will believe that a credit report run 2 months ago protects her.

Here’s some other basic advice. Take it or leave it. Setup dual factor authentication on google for your mail and stuff. They have lots of options for how to do it with a phone or an app on either IOS or Android. Its a bit more of a pain but consider the alternatives. Its not just email. Its your Digital DNA out there folks.

I sat up dual factor authentication for my important stuff and use an easy method to actually log in which is I think pretty secure. Find your own method and then employ it. Be safe out there. You cannot be sure. We are past that point with Equifax. They knew for months and not a word was said. We’ve lost that childlike acceptance of things and now we have to assume that our precious lives and identities and information can be easily had. You can take some steps but its naive to expect that everything is okay. My ex-wife will ask her sister and she will say something like,

Oh, don’t worry about it. That’s not necessary. Its not that big of a deal.

I can hear her now. She is an idiot.

Yeah, but why do you blog?

There is no place like blog. In blog, the weather is always right around 70 degrees during the day and about 50 at night. Sunny days, cloud evenings, and rain arrives in discrete categories and we document, define, refine and our characters and abilities and discussions all live within the WordPress world. Here we find the time and space to carefully (sometimes) spell our thoughts out and also follow others and find their wisdom.

Here, for better or worse, is what I’ve learned after over 10 years of writing these in one place or another.

  1. We blog because we have to. Its like a 5 pound chicken trying to lay a 10 pound egg. We can do it but sometimes it takes some extra effort to create the content, share, socialize. Find the things we wish to create, maintain, re-define. Perhaps looking for value in our past or sharing present, or defining future tense. The blog is the place we do this because we have to do it. There is no voluntary submission.
  2. We create content, read other’s content, follow, comment, update. Why? Why follow other blogs? I believe it goes way back to the days when Technorati existed as a instrument of authority in blogging. If a person linked to your content or perhaps commented, you had “authority”. You could be rated as the top 100 blogs based on measurements. I blogged then too and blogging had these key terms like “blogosphere” and we had key players in that sphere. Some are still with us.
  3. We don’t create a blog to simply add one post and give up. We’re in it for the long haul. We find some kind of enjoyment in creating. Let me ask this. How many of you go back and read your previous content and how often do you do it? Do you like to see the progression (or regression), change, anger, stupidity, vanity, ego, altruism? Big sayings with small words?
  4. We do journals too I bet. A journal is different than blogging. Some would say never write in a journal a thing you don’t want another person to read. I say BS on that. A diary is just that. Its yours. If you wanna write some exceedingly personal stuff where else you gonna do it?

So, in the end, we have these tools that we use. We have blogs we share and diaries we do not. We blog because we have to and I have had to for a long time. First it was on Advogato and I wrote there in 2000 and 2001 or so. Back when I worked at a fabled open source startup and we all created content there and we valued others at different levels. Then it was Drupal, typepad, WordPress (both self hosted and .com). So many platforms. I still have an export file from my own domain but I hesitate to post it here. It crossed over to the exceedingly personal and I covered terrain that was focused on life events. Perhaps the terrain was more suited to a diary. I did one of them too and it was even more focused.

Let me just say that we create, destroy, recover, find, lose at an amazing rate.

Ask yourself why you blog. I bet the answers will surprise even you.

Integrating Ulysses – some ideas

Writing on Ulysses – An exploration

I decided awhile ago to explore different tools which allow me to have a central environment to writing and exploring whether its a journal, blog post, ideas about travel or planning. I started using Day One for journaling but now it appears I could use one tool instead so will investigate the use of Ulysses to record daily thoughts as well.

I store everything on iCloud having bought more storage there. I wish Ulysses would integrate with Google Drive natively. That would be ideal but I’m a realist.

So here’s my first attempt at publishing to WordPress using Ulysses. I have yet to learn keywords and categories.

For the journal, I believe that a single drawer for each year would suffice but I will explore more and if Day One is not the best solution, will change. I would prefer to have everything in a single elegant but easy application which backs up to some cloud out there.

Moving Tech

I’m a tool user by trade so I find things which will work for tasks or things I want to focus on. I decided long ago that open source provided answers to questions that a lot of smaller businesses would ask. I still do not see a compelling method for bringing small business and open source together. Perhaps there is a business in there somewhere.

I also really enjoy the personal technology choices or changes. I used Android and Chrome OS devices for a long time. I liked the flexibility and choice around it. In my latest update I went to a MacBook Pro 13 inch 2017 version. This choice resonated at a few levels. There are tools and applications and approaches which blend the laptop with Apple tablets and phones in a way that Android cannot do. So I made the choice to buy the iPad 2017 model because tablets do have a place but the tablet must be intelligent and swift and usable. On the Android side, the ecosystem there is changing. Android tablets were never a big deal yet we invested in them because we wanted to show our love and support. The truth is that iPads are still superior media consumption devices.

Now we get to the choice of phones. I’ve been using a Nexus 6p android phone for awhile but now that will also change. I have a iPhone 6s plus waiting for a sim card from Tmobile and I will retire that phone and end up using Apple gear again. There’s nothing wrong with me nor is there something globally good with Apple stuff. The truth is we all need change and we need to see how another thing will work to satisfy our tool using needs.

I think there are a few main precepts to this whole thing which I elucidate below for my satisfaction and your disagreement 🙂 –

  1. We choose devices because we want to use them in certain ways and we want them to integrate with services whether cloud or cloud enabling that lets us build our repositories of use. We move around to new devices because they promise more of that use. We also change platforms because we believe the competing platform and its ecosystem goes over the 80% threshold of satisfaction.
  2. We want technology that stimulates us, makes us more productive, challenges us. Its best if the things all talk together, build components within applications that we can share. This lets us use a variety of devices keyed to use parameters and that excites us.
  3. Life is too short to use dumb technology that does not do 1 or 2 above and I believe if we just stay a certain way with a certain thing we cannot explore more of what another ecosystem and platform may offer. Imagine hunter gatherers in their choice for making flaked stone tools with obsidian or the cherts using granite. Not the best choice and by choosing the right thing the use magnified and was built upon by succeeding generations and uses. Dumb technology does not excite, enthrall, or keep us signed up. To do that though, the competing technology needs to allow us to move over gracefully. We don’t need ivory towers of technology where you cannot find a way to peacefully change.
  4. Finally, we want freedom. Our data and its use must reside in a place we can access on many tools or devices. This lets us read, write, create, manage the data bits that are important from many locations. We also travel our landscape with technology and we capture and use that for things which excite, make us mad, or in the end set us free.

I don’t know if its a manifesto for technology freedom and use but what it does provide is a method and reason for us to be those tool users and experiment and use new things or competing things. It enriches out moments by not allowing us to use the same staid technology year in and out. Be bold and try what you hate! You may find more to love in what you hate. The OS ecosystem is rich and tapestried and both have sets of compelling tools. How will you know what’s good or bad if you don’t play the tool user?

Flirting with Saturday

Its my weekend back from Vancouver folks. I’ve been back at work for a week now. I’ve made some technology changes in my life. I’ve used a chromebook for some years as my only device. Its been well and good but I always feel the need to experiment and try new things. I’ve been intrigued by the Macbook Pro 2017 13 inch laptop for awhile. I see them in coffee shops, airports, and around town. They look pretty sleek and fun to use.

I decided to join that team and bought myself a brand new laptop and I have to say there is something powerful yet charming about this laptop. it runs circles around my Windows 10 powered work laptop. I have a Surface Book Pro I use for work which runs the required productivity applications I find myself in most days. It could be nice but Windows 10 seems to hamper or limit its potential and the work security management and end point tools also create some issues. I don’t use that laptop for personal stuff at all.

Now I have a new toy and I’m busy learning gestures, the major differences with how applications install, and how to use that amount of Unix under the hood with things like included terminals, ssh, rsync.

After having worked for a week, its nice to have a weekend to play with the new toys and consider what I want to do next. Perhaps try out new apps on the Mac. Find a suite spot for the type of applications I enjoy using. There are a few so far that seem significant. One is the Bear Note app. I like that approach and model. I like reading news so Reeder is nice and it reads from Feedly which is handy. I also bought a few commercial programs like PDF Expert to help with a need I still have to manage PDF files. I loaded Office 2016 for the MAC as well. Very well thought out Office environment Microsoft!

Now I am waiting to go pick up my daughter force. I’ll take the MAC with me to play at Starbucks because that’s one of the things which drove me to the buying decision. I wanted a mobile device that I could lug around with little or no discomfort and that was powerful.

I’ll bid you all a happy weekend wherever your trails take you. In the words of the bard,

wherever you go, there you are

Go out and enjoy!

The Next Thing or Things

When you finish a thing, its time to find a new thing. No matter how old or young, we all need the next challenge or thing to do that will take us to the next great place. As I wrote, I finished a milestone of visiting a group of places along the pacific seaboard from San Diego to Vancouver over the past 4 years or so. I had decided way back in 2011 that I wanted to visit more places to walk  and see on my own terms. I could not go from 2011 to 2014 due to issues in my life which had to be overcome. In 2014, I started working on the so-called “bucket list”. I finished in 2017 this last week with the trip to Vancouver.

This leaves me with a new challenge of new directions to take. I’ve been saying here that next year early on I will stop working and retire from IT. Take the money I’ve saved, file for social security retirement and just leave. Since my vacations have corresponded to March and August this year, I will be departing from work end of February next year. A scant few months to end a work relationship, get rid of remaining stuff, and really pack it up and leave.

I won’t be doing any vacations or walking trips again until next March. But then, via Amtrak I will see more cities I have wanted to walk in like Chicago, Boston, and New York. I will also depart these shores for whatever time I am gone to Asia. I want to get back to Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. India holds a special place so I will stay there and see the places I could not see before. I’ll retire and find a new life for myself that has new values and less of the old. The old me is still vindictive and when I drink too much I get mad at things. I guess call me human or something.

So, for awhile, I anticipate less blog posting about traveling because there won’t be any. I’ll focus on planning the real get away next March or so. I don’t know how long that lasts or what I’ll do. That’s up to then and this is only now.

A milestone claimed and another set. Life is forever worth it.

A retrospective on my journeys since 2011

Prior to 2011, I traveled internationally quite a bit. Would go to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Singapore for work. I loved the travel and built up a reservoir of miles on United that I have kept since then. From 2009 to the early part of 2014, I went through finding out that my wife had committed adultery, that she had no intention of stopping, and meanwhile I just stayed at home. Those years were painful and by 2010, my company sponsored travel dried up and I was left living in the same house with only one trip to India to see a friend get married. From 2012 to 2014, I did nothing and went nowhere. It was a particularly demeaning and depressing time for me. Happiness was fleeting and I would watch my soon to be ex wife take off for the weekends with her lover thus leaving me with pets, kids, house.

In 2014, I finally moved out to a room and was able to travel again by later in the year. I went to Eugene, Oregon on the Amtrak. Later that year I would go to Seattle in November and then in July of 2015 went to Portland. I was like a sponge with this stuff and the vacations were the best and kind of refueled the containers of my life. I also found a way to see the cities that I carried forward from my days seeing Sydney, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Singapore. I would walk for hours and take whatever turns were offered or not. It was not the left or right that mattered but what I was seeing.

In 2016, job challenges were present and I could only to go Santa Barbara for a short weekend but it was a place I wanted to see so it was good. I took care of the job challenges and converted at the current place to full time last October after finishing a grueling set of data center moves. I would then do another data center relocation this time focusing on data itself in the form of virtual machines which we transmitted over the network.

Finishing that I went to San Diego this year. I knew then that I had another place to go and that was Vancouver. Now I finished that trip along with a new camera which has made all the difference in the recording and memory of the trip. I took hundreds more photographs than ever before!

But what is next? I have a great job but there is an end point to it I feel. That end point is around February next year. There are more trips to take then but the basic life and its style will change. I will be gone from the bay area no matter what. There is nothing left for me that I care to hold on it. Vancouver was the final thing for me and I’m leaving knowing I did not see it all or even a piece of it. I did what I could do on foot and I’m happy with the result. The only real person to make happy in this stuff is me.

I guess now you will all have to stick around and see what happens next. Life is never boring and there is a next step to seeing more cities. Cities like Chicago, Boston, and New York.

Thanks for reading along. This kinda closes the chapter on the travels from 2011 to the present. Very cool!

Vancouver Day 3 (last full day)

Welcome to my day 3 in Vancouver! This is the last full day for me and tomorrow I turn around and fly back home after some shopping time around Granville Island in the morning. I spent two full days walking the city north and south and feel I barely scratched the surface of what it offers. I met a nice couple last night at the brewpub and talked politics, photography, and retirement. Since I took my camera, I took a few shots of the evening and Vancouver is just as beautiful at night as during the day. Here’s a few of those.

Last night I went to Cats SocialHouse for dinner and back to Granville Island Brewpub for a beer. Then went and took the evening photos above.

Transition last night to Day 3

Now its the morning with a cup of coffee in the room and I’m thinking back on the trip now facing my last day. I’m fortunate that I can walk the distance and do the vacations I like to do. This year I did two of them but now its back to work. I’ll stay at work through early next year but I can the outcome of it. I know I need to stop and get out of the states and find something else.

Anyways, today its a different direction for me. No aquabus for me today since I will wander around this side of Vancouver and see the maritime and Vancouver museum and wander around the park and seashore for awhile. As usual, this post is saved as a draft post until I get back in the evening and add in the thoughts and places and perhaps a few pictures of what I say.

I just got back to my hotel room and saw a completely different part of Vancouver with sleepy neighborhoods, smaller local businesses , and two museums. I went to the Maritime Museum first and then the Museum of Vancouver which is in the same area as the Maritime Museum. I walked up to Kitsalano Beach and Park and then cut inland on Trafalgar Avenue to Broadway Avenue. From there found a rather interesting brewhouse for lunch called Storm Crow Ale House. I had the burger and two pints of beer and watched a parade of interesting folks come in and out. After that I stopped at an Espresso House and had a iced Americano coffee and came back.

Instead of sharing individual photos, here’s the link to my Google Photo Album for the trip. Hope  you enjoy. It was the last day for the last city I wanted to visit on this coast. That’s amazing in and of itself. I’ve completed all the cities and states I wished to visit.

Amazing!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a retrospective blog post on this.

 

Vancouver Day 2

its the beginning of my day after sleeping really well last night. I had dinner at the Keg steakhouse here last night along with a few beers. This morning I am planning out what I’ll do using the usual tools like Google Maps. This mostly is to orient me toward the place I want to get to and not chart my day. First off though I will have breakfast, relax a bit and then get started.

Today I see the southern part of Vancouver including the Gaslight District and more of the downtown, parks, and historic stuff. I’ll get back this afternoon and fill in the gaps, add some photographs from today with my trusty FujiFilm X100F and publish some retrospective on my second day of travels.

I left around 930 and took the aquabus again to downtown. This time I went south and got the stadium, gastown, and everything from quiet neighborhoods to upscale shopping hubs and malls. I had lunch at Steamworks Brewpub. A trip would be nothing without memories and my FujiFilm X100F is a great travel companion. I see people walking around with huge bags of lens and camera bodies and stuff. It just seems difficult to me and contrary to how I want to see places. I want a camera that is fast and agile and has that great color like the Fuji X series. Proof is in the pudding as they say. Here’s some shots from today’s adventure.

So now its a second day in the books and my feet and legs are tired. I feel tired in that good way that lets me see that I’ve wandered wisely and well. I took turns and saw things and got lost a few times. Vancouver does well with that and the city is laid out in a geometric fashion that makes it easy to find your way. Couple that with a lot of tourist maps sprinkled all over.

Now I’m faced with the same thing as every other time. I’ve spent two of my days and I wonder how much I’ve seen of this beautiful city. I think only some, just a little, and tomorrow my journey is to go to the museums and perhaps meet a friend for lunch.

I’ll probably wonder more than a few times whether I did my best but in the end it does not matter. I walked the steps and no one else did. I drank the beer and ate the food and it was all good.

Bring on the last day and I’ll enjoy it as much as I can knowing that Friday I fly back home and get back to the usual work stuff a few days after that.

I’ll publish a last day retrospective of this trip on Friday. This is the last city I wish to see on the pacific seaboard. I’ve accomplished what I wanted. I’ve been up and down the western states. Its been a grand and glorious adventure since 2014. I remembered also that from 2011 to 2014 I went nowhere and saw nothing besides sitting in a home and watching the disintegration of things with nothing to take their place. Now I know the answer that asked myself before. I told myself flying to Chennai India in 2010 that I needed a plan. There was no plan and life was stuck for years. I found the way out and also found that to have less is to have more.

 

Vancouver Day 1

I went out yesterday because its so beautiful here and explored Granville Island. There are a lot of stores, craft shops, restaurants, and tourists here! The weather is simply beautiful. Drank a few beers. Now like the usual trips, I’m writing this the morning of the first day and will leave it as a draft post until the end of the day. I am in no real hurry to leave this morning so will probably wait until 9 for breakfast.

Today I head over the Granville Bridge and go north in Vancouver. I have a basic idea about what I want to see but as usual no real plan. I may ride the aqua ferry back just for the fun of it. I’ll post a few of the pictures when I get back from the day’s adventures.

I got back about 3pm from the day’s wandering. I walked over the Granville Bridge and then headed north to cover the northern part of Vancouver. I walked as far north as Stanley Park and then walked through the park there for a bit Very beautiful! I found out that somehow the lens on my Fuji was smudged or had moisture on it so some of the photos did not turn out so well. I’m glad I figured it out after only about 20 or so shots.

Then I headed south to see as much of Vancouver north of Burrard Street. I think I managed to get this done :-). Here’s a few photos of yesterday’s wandering around Granville Island and today’s trek.

It was simply put, a beautiful day out there today to walk around Vancouver. I walked back over and caught the False Creek Ferry back to Granville Island and got a iced Americano coffee and sat for awhile considering how the first day had ended on this trip.

Tomorrow, I head back across the bridge and take the southern route to see a completely different direction in Vancouver. I will probably ride the Ferry over and will walk the bridge back.

So, there’s the first day of this wonderful trip. I felt so good walking today and seeing the city on my terms. Vancouver walking is so good!