What's This Guy Doing?

Writing about things that come up.

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Microsoft Office 365 Home Slimmed Out (with less updates)

I mentioned I went back to mostly using Microsoft stuff on the desktop. It works but I’ve had some big problems that should have simple solutions. Unfortunately nobody wrote about this anywhere else on the web and as is often the case, there’s no easy answers. Let me explain:

What’s Microsoft Office 365 Home About

Years back Microsoft used to ship boxed editions of Office. You paid once, got a license (or 3) and that was that. Microsoft Update, which was built into WIndows, was supposed to cover security updates. A few years back they switched to an annual subscription model, which wouldn’t be a great deal except they include a terabyte of OneDrive storage per user, and each user gets to install Office on as many systems as they want. For around $100 (or less in school) for 5 users it’s a solid deal.

What’s wrong with it? (why I’m writing this post)

So, subscription software kind...

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Technology Time Loss

(This post was written a long time ago, I just tidied it up and putting it out now. It was so long ago that I am feeling bad I haven’t had a chance to visit my friend in many months.)

I spent last weekend up in Montreal with my friend. He’s a good friend and we’ve shared interest in technology over the years.

Some background

I guess it dates back to 2002 or 2003 we met when I was troubleshooting Linux issues on IRC. I was introduced to the IRC channel when seeking help compiling a kernel. Most of us there were Gentoo Linux users as this distribution was good to test emerging (pun intended) new software, drivers, and essentially provide early QA.

Anyways, we built up a neat little community and some of us maintained a few Linux kernel patchsets for new features and to work on CPU interactivity patches. The latter I became interested in because I had issues with music skipping on my...

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Writer

“So when’s your book coming out?” Dave, a rando at the local pub asks.

I guess must show through that so much swirls through my head every day that should be put to down to text. There’s been a nagging feeling that I have to write, and I’m encouraged to do so by people that know me well. A book isn’t in the cards yet, I’m not well positioned enough to bang one out, though I’m likely qualified to write at least a few on some domain topics.

Where have I been

So it’s been probably very apparent that my goal to post a blog post or piece of writing every day starting in January wasn’t being achieved. There are reasons, some of them couldn’t be helped, that have been resolved recently. But I don’t want to run before I walk and writing in many ways, just like learning a language, is an exercise that improves by doing it regularly.

I’m a generalist

This is not a label I’ve come to accept...

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Books I’ve Read (for 2018)

In mid-2018 I began making an effort to expand the number of books I read. Phone and computer screen time I don’t count though I read a substantial amount of documentation and articles. List follows:

(Last updated November 4, 2018)

For 2018

  • Mikhail Bulgakov - Master and Margerita
  • Andy Weir - The Martian
  • Aldous Huxley - Brave New World
  • Kiril Yeskov - The Last Ringbearer
  • Frank Herbert - Dune
  • Dave Eggers - The Circle
  • Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five

I probably read some more, but what was just what I remembered.

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House Calls

Ugh, February is here. Draft pile still growing, but I’m behind on my publishing commitment. Today I’m writing about me doing computer repairs.

Background Doing Repairs

I’ve told the story a few times, but when I was in grade school we had a computer class (as most schools do). One day in third grade I saw a system open and was interested in how it worked, so the teacher demonstrated it and invited me to work on some of the systems. My school was a small private one, and the equipment they had was hand-me-downs from local businesses, so we were around 5 years behind public and components broke a lot. To give you an idea, we were running Windows 3.11 on a Tokenring network (a predecessor to Ethernet) in 1997.

Before long, anytime a printer didn’t work or a system crashed and needed a new drive (and clone), I could work on it. The computer department gave me a hall pass I could use...

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Revisiting the Past Two Years

I’m still catching up on posts. This is nonconsecutive and I wrote it on the 20th, but I’m going to publish this as it was on the 2nd, because future posts will add context.

Now that I’m in 2019, it feels like I’m looking for something different. I am not a salaryman, even though I draw a salary. Instead I’ve chosen to run a small company and for most of the decade that’s been fine. Looking back at the past two years I feel like I should begin offering different things and trying something new.

2017

This was the year that changed things.

I ended up losing two friends in unrelated accidents. The first was my salesman Tristan. He passed away after having an accident doing lawn work. He was just beginning to branch out and was also interested in selling houses (he studied and received a realtor’s license). He was also active in government. I believe he was a week or two off from...

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A Blog A Day

I set a bar for myself this year. Most years I pick difficult New Year’s Resolutions that I can at least follow in spirit, if not precisely. The goal this year is to publish a piece of writing per day. It’s just past two weeks in and this will be the first post I publish. I’m going to publish it as a New Year’s blog as it’s my blog and I can do whatever the fuck I want with it.

The goal here is not to obsess over quality, I expect there to be crap. This is an exercise for me to improve on per-topic posts and begin the discipline of regular posting. I do not intend for all of these posts to be published on my personal blog. A good number will go up on my company blog, and some may be released to other blogs/media. The point is to release it public.

Normally I wouldn’t make excuses for why I didn’t get this started within a few days of the New Year, but I had a good reason this year...

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Needed a Vacation: Iceland

I really needed a vacation. Like really, really needed a major one. The past couple years I hadn’t really been able to step away from work for a week and it’s not been optimal for my health or productivity. I had a good work/life balance until last year when I began to change up the sorts of services I offer and a bunch of major changes and tragedies happened.

A few major things happened last year. I got rid of the office space for my company and our salesman Tristan passed away in an accident. I couldn’t really focus behind a computer screen as well as I had prior, so I took up part time taxi driving to meet new people, make some extra cash, and clear my head. We stopped pushing into as many different businesses as we had been in before and worked to service our referral and word of mouth clients.

Four years ago I did a pretty epic month long road trip to Newfoundland and since then...

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Asus Cripples Surplus Routers

In the past couple months a router has become a favorite on Amazon and deal aggregator sites as a low-cost workhorse router. The router in question is the Asus T-Mobile Personal CellSpot Wi-Fi Cellspot Router (TM-AC1900). As of the time of this writing, these are selling for $60, sometimes lower.

What were these routers for

I like T-Mobile quite a bit. Unfortunately their network wasn’t always so decent. One of T-Mo’s former drawbacks was that their network lacked low-band spectrum until 2016. The effect of lacking low-band spectrum is that their network had difficulty penetrating the walls in people’s houses: Especially if they were located in a rural setting with towers further apart. They had to fix the gap of making calls work at home, while indoors.

Building new towers closer is a bitch due to zoning, getting fiber and power run, and overcoming old people’s complaints of...

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Scattered Consciousness

Today I was called a wastrel. Didn’t appreciate that.

One of the more difficult things I find is organizing my thoughts onto a single cohesive topic or post. Things come in flashes and cognitively it’s incredibly difficult for me to convey a full post on topic. I carried a phone with a physical keyboard to catch those times when it occurred.

I feel like today’s technology has changed things; the mind and how it works. Constant stream of stimuli, data… knowledge and nothing. A culture of consumption, devices are not being used for creation by the masses. The aristocratic few control production. Channels (and when I mean channels, I mean social media, the media, the spigot) get controlled by algorithms built by the largest accumulation of wealth the world has ever amassed.

Point being, humans are not meant to be hooked into this stream as they are. The brain’s structures adapt...

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