Don’t be a tech hoarder!

Spring cleaning is not only for your home and garage. Every once and awhile I try and do some tech spring cleaning in order to keep things as organized and simple as possible. I highly recommend you do the same.

So what all goes into my spring cleaning?

  1. Applications: There was that one application you needed to open that one file from your friend…now that you have not touched it in months or years – get rid of it.
  2. Email: Do you hang on to all those flyers that show up in your physical mailbox? Exactly. Make searching easier by getting rid of these sorts of email messages. The chances of you caring about the big sale at Old Navy 3 months ago is slim to none. At the end of the day – I try and go back to my mantra – do, delegate, or delete.
  3. Accounts: I use 1Password to manage all my accounts (user names/passwords). At least once – go through and delete any old or unused.
  4. Photos: Let’s face it – we all take photos of the floor, blurry images, or something we only needed to reference once. Keep your image library trim by only saving the photos that are good and have meaning.
  5. Text Messages: Here is another place we tend to hoard information for no real reason. There is no reason to hold onto all those “ok” or “thanks” text messages. Delete them and save yourself the space.
    1. Don’t be a tech hoarder – take some time to save what is important and get rid of the rest. You will be surprised what you find (I just found a recipe I completely forgot I asked for), hw much more efficient your searches will be, and how much more room you will have on your phone/computer and not to mention – more peace of mind.

This Stinks!

About a week ago I saw a hole dug by an animal under our front stairs. I thought to myself – I should really deal with that, but instead walked in the house and did not give it too much thought.

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Two days later the skunk that dug the hole decided to move in under our front stairs and sprayed everywhere. Our house now stinks, we stink, and I have windows open in every room…while it is in the 20s. This just reminds me that simply ignoring issues is not the way to go. It is always better to be proactive v. reactive and we are now paying the price.

So – if you see an animal moving in somewhere around our house – take action right away…and if you are visiting us, perhaps wait a few days until pest control has this under control.

Oversharing – Is it Really That Bad?

I recently watched a commentary (see video below) on oversharing that got me thinking…

My grandparents’ generation (80s) kept everything within the family. Everyone “appeared” happy and perfect (think 1950s – Leave it to Beaver) but in reality – things that were hard (teen-age pregnancy), difficult (mental illness), or different (being gay) were something that were hush-hush. A nine month lie about going to stay with your aunt to escape the “shame” of being pregnant seemed like the better option to keep up the “perfect” front. Not talking about depression or other mental illnesses was surely a better option than getting support. Obviously if you did not talk about it – it was not a problem – and once again the “perfect” image was still intact. Asking your son or daughter to hide their sexuality or to change also was more of the norm. Let’s make sure we “look happy” then “are happy” was the name of the game (at least in my opinion looking back).

My parents’ generation (60s) was slightly better. I do not remember anyone in my high school getting sent to their aunt’s house when they got pregnant, and thinking back – a number of my friends ended up talking to a counselor at some point for something without too much or any shame. I cannot say my parents ever were open or spoke openly about gay people (even though they knew/associated with them) – but I also lived in low population/more conservative area. I will say I never got the idea that it was “ok” to be gay though growing up.

My generation (30s) and the generation after us (20s) I think changed the most. We were the generation who embraced mobile phones, texting, and social network sites. Sure – our parents followed – but we were the ones talking about MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and getting crazy over smart phones with full keyboards so we could update statuses, write blog posts, etc. We watched shows like “Teen Pregnancy” on MTV, saw tough guy Tony Soprano see a therapist on “Sopranos”, and had some of our favorite characters as gay dads on “Modern Family.” It goes beyond TV though – I think we finally realized that it was ok to be different and instead of hiding it – we should all embrace it.

While I believe there is definitely a lot of garbage out there (internet litter as I call it) with the numerous social networks, the thought of having to hide who you are/what you feel seems much worse. Next time you hear someone complaining over the amount of “oversharing” – please remind them that they do not have to actively participate (do not read/subscribe to Twitter, Facebook, etc) – and that at least now – we all can be ourselves and embrace our differences.

Gangsta' Lorem Ipsum

My friend Ben sent me a link to this earlier and I love it. If you are a developer – you are familiar with using lorem ipsum a lot. I am definitely going to use this for a special client in the future: http://lorizzle.nl/?feed=1

Hosting – It Matters

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 1.18.37 PM I work with web hosts all day long – five days a week. When someone asks me where they should host their files – I always rattle off 2-3 different options – depending on their needs. I never make a recommendation for a hosting package under $15.00 a month – and there is a good reason – you get what you pay for. I have been over this a thousand times – but if you pay $1.99 a month for hosting – expect your developer’s bill to be more than you will pay all year with a “minor” change.

Example: a client came to me with a mod_rewrite issue on their host. I took a look and could not make sense of it at all. Rules that worked on my own developer server as well as other servers would not work at all. I decided instead of wasting more time trying to decipher this issue (on a host that is known for major .htaccess/mod_rewrite issues) – I would simply move WordPress out of root directory and into it’s own directory. This is a very simple process that I have done several times before. An hour later – I am still dealing with this. Word to the wise – while $1.99 a month may sound like a deal- no backups, no support, and the need to pay hundreds/thousands to a developer to deal with it – makes a host that actually has good support worth every penny.

PS – did you see the screenshot? I was appalled.

Remember Your Manners and Keep it in Perspective

For the past few weeks we receive anywhere from 2-4 calls a day from some politician or some group that supports some other politician with some “important” message. I have also been inundated with email full of “panic” and “need to act right now OR ELSE” messages against this candidate or that candidate. While I avoided them for awhile – I started picking up this week. While some are annoying and I am able to unsubscribe or stop receiving them by opting out – I still get an occasional call that makes me shake my head.

Yesterday I got a call from someone who was spinning a very negative message on someone I respect, will vote for, and have a sign in my front yard supporting (Tammy Duckworth). As they spit out the first few sentences “Did you you..” I interrupted the person talking and said – “yes I did know and I plan to vote for them”. I thought I would get a “well did you know something else” or at the very least “well thanks for your time” – but instead I got dial tone.

People seem to be nastier and more aggressive this year with the election. I know we are all stressed out with everything going on – but let’s try to remember some common courtesy. Perhaps some of us should have watched more Sesame Street as kids to learn manners and right from wrong.

Going 1996 For a Month…

If you need to talk to me or want to send me a message in the next month (or until the new iPhone comes out) – call me on my home phone or email me. I am going without a mobile phone for awhile.

My US Flag Was Made In China

I like to support the Illinois VFW and so this time around – for my donation they gave me a new US flag and flagpole kit. I was quite excited as I have been meaning to get one for awhile now. When I opened up the kit – I was pretty shocked to see that everything was made in China. It is very sad to me that the VFW could not find a US flag maker or perhaps is even more sad that there are not and flag makers here in the US. While I am still happy to give and help our US troops, I really we also could support US manufacturers. (Shouldn’t we at least produce our own flags?)

[Followup]: A quick Google search for “US Made flags” brought up several US manufacturers. My next call: to the VFW to see if they can work out some deal with one of them.

What is Fiction Here?

On my way to lunch – a truck almost sideswiped me before realizing I was to the left of them and that caught my attention. When we came to the next stop light, the driver jumped out of his car while the light was red, took out a tape measure, and proceeded to measure the distance between his truck and the car behind him (which was not any inappropriate distance from what I could tell). The guy through his hands up in the air, got back into his truck and then went when the light turned green.

The scene was surreal and I began to think this actually sounds story like fiction. With that said, I have come to realize that there are some crazy people out there and crazy people generally have crazy bumper stickers – which I love reading. Today – the truck, with the crazy driver sported the bumper sticker “Evolution is Science Fiction”. That explained it all.