Jan 232015
 
The last time I assembled a home-built PC was over ten years ago.  I’d won an Opteron CPU at an AMD event at a time when those babies were very expensive and among the most powerful workstation options, so I decided to begin there.

Impatient and lacking in funds, I got real resourceful at finding deals.  Many items were of their previous generation; new enough to work for me but often heavily discounted.  Ebay was, unsurprisingly, a great place to shop.  So was Pricewatch. Continue reading »

Jan 222015
 
As some of you know, I’m separated from my wife of over two decades and preparing to divorce.  At first I couldn’t even think of getting involved with someone else, but after a year of not seeing or hearing from your ex, well, those inhibitions tend to dissolve.  I really do miss the company of others, especially the fairer sex.

A former coworker and longtime friend recommended I try Match.com, a site she swore had worked for her.  I was leery; I’d seen too many online-instigated romances fizzle or even explode.  But she ultimately convinced me and I created an account. Continue reading »

Jan 062015
 
Last year was tumultuous in many ways, both general and personal.  Filled with the sort of challenges that make a society question where it’s at and an individual dig deep for strength.  Definitely a make-or-break run of 365 anything-but-boring days.  I’ll steer clear of the macro stuff for now though and just vent about my own situation. Continue reading »

Aug 282014
 
Ok, I’m getting slaughtered in the Helsinki photo contest, so it’s time to up the game. You’re going to want to read the whole post.

I’m going to pull YOU in as a potential prizewinner. That means a FREE TRIP TO HELSINKI, FINLAND for you if I win the contest (Facebook contest winner gets two tickets) and you get drawn from the list. Continue reading »

Aug 272014
 
Okay, I admit it: I screwed up.

Yesterday in my zeal to win a trip back to Helsinki, Finland I lost all common sense and spammed the crap out of  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a few texting streams.

I know better.  I should have done better.  Impatience is no excuse, but it got the better of me. Continue reading »

Aug 262014
 
Today I’m spamming the Internet with yet another appeal, this time involving a possible opportunity for this unofficial ambassador to revisit one of my favorite cities: Helsinki, Finland.

There’s no funds or funny stuff required.  Visit Helsinki has arranged a contest where contestants’ photos are displayed in a Facebook media album and all you need to do is Like those of your favorite participant.  In this instance, me.

And in case you need further motivation, as I noted in the previous post here I’m working on a book about maker communities.  One of the coauthors, Jarkko Moilanen, works in Helsinki and I’d like a chance to get with him face-to-face for a bit.  I also hope to interview former Maemo/MeeGo community members (now with Jolla) to get their perspective on collaborative communities.

I have many friends in Finland and several of them have jumped in to help.  But so far it’s not nearly enough– I’m being beaten pretty soundly by another contestant and could use all the assistance I can muster. Continue reading »

Aug 242014
 
By now regular readers know I’m heavily involved in the maker world, particularly in evangelical activities.  One of my main goals for the past three years has been to learn more about the maker experiences around the world, connect makers to opportunities and inform the general public on the reality of makers, hackers, tinkerers or whatever creative types call themselves.

All of this has been a lot of work, especially in my very conservative locale.  Every time I hit some sort of social or functional wall, I think, someone should write a maker community how-to book.

And when a common political rant emerged on the hackerspaces.org general discussion list on that very subject, it all came together for me: *I* should write that book. Continue reading »

Jun 032014
 

My apologies: this article was accidentally scheduled for publication before it was completed.  It is now updated.

Okay, enough griping about Cowtown’s obstacles in attaining some degree of technological leadership– what are some resources currently available to improve the situation?  Today I’ll go over some that are key, focusing on communities rather than places.  Not all listed are exclusively oriented around technology, but it is at least included in their scope.

I’ve mentioned these organizations in previous articles, but it’s worth gathering them together and highlighting. Continue reading »

May 202014
 

Last week I blathered a bit about where I’m at and hope to go.  For those interested, I’m gonna share more details today.

In case it doesn’t come across in other contexts, I’m ultimately a maker at heart.  Nothing pleases me more than to be designing, writing or building.  Something.  Anything.  I’m even happy with repairing stuff– assuming the designers put reasonable thought into that aspect of their product.  I’m convinced though that pointy-haired bosses excel at ensuring all products leaving their domain are as repair-unfriendly as possible.

For most of my adult life, I’ve made things at the direction of others.  At Texas Instruments, as a (now-reformed) defense worker, I contributed to radar and guidance system design.  At Stanley, I worked on ways of improving existing mechanics’ tools as well as inventing great new things that Marketing feared to approve.  At Medtronic, I mainly supported development and testing of surgical tools designed to cut into your skull and spine.  At Nokia, I designed quality-monitoring software solutions and supply chain processes.

All of that was wonderful. Continue reading »

May 152014
 

I had been saving a cathartic piece on Nokia’s phone business for the day of its official absorption by Microsoft, but that day has come and gone and with its passing so too dissipated the desire to vent.  I think I’ve shared enough here and there anyway, having only neglected to address the loss of my most recent working opportunity with Nokia.  On that, I will only say I was highly committed and went above and beyond the call of duty, but was done in by a combination of local developer apathy and business politics.  The only sticking point is that I was released from the Developer Ambassador corps just as our local Microsoft evangelists were being empowered to support Windows phone and contacting me with Big Plans.  I’m not happy about being let go, but… ah well. Continue reading »

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