Archive for December, 2011


Content Providing vs. Programming

I was talking to my dad over the Christmas about programming computers, and where would be a good place to go from here…(here being the current state things are in in the computing realm).  My father was a programmer for WordPerfect and then Novell back in their glory days.  I learned a lot about networking with the old Novell books my dad had lying around.  The interesting of which was the Clustering one.

When we spoke of the amazingly well done apps the LDS church has on both the iPhone and Android platforms, as well as a multimedia loaded site, my dad pointed out that many programmers are just content formatters now.  I guess if that is a bullet to be dodged my dad did well by going back to chasing cows as a ranch hand…weird some of the backgrounds programmers come from… but I couldn’t help but wonder, is that all that is left, just formatting content?  Granted it is not an un-noble pursuit.  I think the more creative accomplishments of this are the e-reader such as the Kindle and audio books.  But what of robotics?  I think there are still leaps and bounds to be made.

Content is great, and great content is even better.  I listen to and read a lot of business inspirational material, to keep myself positive, and striving to be better in business and as an employee.  And, of course, I am writing this blog, always producing content.  But it can’t just be an endless amount of people consuming content, there has to be something done, food made, cars built, oil drilled, alternative energy found.

I have always been extremely excited and enjoyed programming, but have always tried programming in work and on my own, and somehow it never brings in enough money to get by,  the only time I have made money at it is formatting content into an Android app and selling that on the market.  I don’t really know what to think, only that I feel sad that I can’t be working on something more meaningful in the technology industry.

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Yesterday, the 28th, I was sick with the flu, a nasty flu, some norwark (or something sounding like that) virus, I was in pain and exhausted all day, even watching a show with my wife was very tiring, like it was an extreme choir that I made myself do because it is suppose to be relaxing.  My wife and daughter had this just before I did and I think that they were much tougher than I was… especially my 2 year old daughter, I think she was happy, threw up once, and then was happy again.  Anyhow, I called in sick (the first day back to work after Christmas vacation…) and just slept and slept.  Then this morning, I was bright and full of energy, I couldn’t get up and dance around or nothing, the stomach was still a bit sensitive, but I went to work and did all that I could to get caught up.  Things went much better than I had anticipated.

No real earth shattering concepts to learn here, just that I should work hard when I can, and rest when I must…I should rest when I can…but I was brought up in North America…so rest when I must will have to be the way it is until I reach my fame and fortune and can then call the shots.

Android Link: What do you Want?

You are likely directed here by the ad in my android apps.  Many of my apps are army manuals, and I have a few scattered apps on different topics.

My thoughts and goals for the android device is to have education at your fingertips.  How great would it be if in University your classes gave you all the content, syllabus, assignments, extra credit, resources for study and even the text book itself?

I started making Army manuals on the suggestion from a friend in the Army who spoke about all the stuff enlisted people had to read and memorize, to maintain equipment and dress accordingly.  I really enjoy making these apps and would love to do it full time.  But from sales it only make $50 a month on average, and the ad revenue is only $0.19 a day.

So I ask what else do you want, what manuals would you like to see?  The content will have to be open domain (not copyrighted).  If you have great notes that you want in an app I would be happy to make it, and it would be available to everyone on the Android Market.

Right now the apps are very simple, with not many features, but I will change that as the income increases and I can quit all other ventures to focus on this.  I thank all of you who have purchased or downloaded any of my apps!

My Email: michael.webdev@gmail.com

Tell me that you have never heard, “But he/she did it on PURPOSE!” and I will tell you that you are deaf, have not lived long enough, or have somehow in your existence have never seen another child.  I remember that sting of a scorn when a sibling smiled at my parents discipling me and then when the parent turns back to that sibling, he/she acts as if they innocent.  In the battle of siblings things are done on purpose, done for no more than the reason of accomplishing their goal of beating you.  I am not bitter, don’t worry, kids are kids and the brother that use to beat me up all the time is now (I hope still and always) a good friend that has many intelligent conversations with me.

I have one friend who is as much a brother as my siblings, my dad hated dealing with him, he talked to much, was (and still is) wild.  Odd to think that of all my dear friends he is doing the most with his life, joined the army and progressed in ranks, got a degree from a University and strive to be a lawyer, when that was not affordable he did not slow down, he is still working hard in all that he does.  What my dad would call obnoxious I call passion and drive, he like my siblings (at times) does things on purpose, knowing full well what they are doing and don’t apologize.

Such examples should be taken in our lives, do things on purpose, don’t apologize!  In Revelations 3:16 it state “So then becasue thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”  Think of all the great villains in fiction, they do what they do and their incompetent sidekicks are always wavering, maybe that is a good thing in the stories, but if there is no villain then there can be no heros.  Wither we are a villain or a hero to someone else, we should do it all the way.  Also we need to have that purpose, what drives us, some are blessed with that unquenchable spirit and just go, others take that same spirit and call it anxiety, something to be medicated (note: if you have undue anxiety that does need medication that is not what I am talking about here).

Find your purpose, find a purpose, any purpose you can believe in, that will drive you!

I listen and read a lot of “inspirational” or self-help books, if you want to call them that.  Not the touchy feely be happy for no reason books.  But the ones that actually help you do better with your time, goals, and aspirations.  I also listen to podcasts and audio books on or around the same subject matter.  The reason I do this is the overwhelming sea of negativity that I, and anyone in the human family, has to fight off.  I think of the negativity to positive ratio like that of the ocean vs. land mass on the earth.  Almost everyone seems to be full of negativity.  Sometimes it dispensed lovingly, other times maliciously.  Everyone else has experience so much of it that they tell everyone else that it is just the way it is.

I have a few experiences that say otherwise.

In high school I had between three to four really good friends at any given time, and they would all want to go do things, but in true high school drama fashion one friend could not stand the other friend for whatever reason.  They would ask if I wanted to go to a movie or hangout, and I would make the mistake of saying yes to both of them not knowing (or really caring) of what the current treatise, alliances, or acts of war were in place.  I read the book “7 habits of highly effective teens” and a fantastic chapter talked about being a “yes man” which is what I was, and that I should have a planner to keep track of things I said yes to.  You should have heard the things my friends said back to me when I told them that if it is not in the planner, it will not happen…no matter what.  But despite their uproar to it, I got some sanity back, all my friends were still my friends and it was neat to have a record of what I did.

With the economy everyone is sad, mopy, like Eeyore from Winnie the Poo.  And they have to get second jobs that are worse than the first just to get by.  I was working at a gas station in Utah, and the owner from another gas station chain that I worked for showed up to get propane.  I said hi and reminded him who I was and how much I liked working for him, just school schedule or what have you conflicted.  I have been reading business books about selling yourself and straight out asked if there was anything that I could do for him when I am not working…he gave his number and we talked and there were work trucks and fuel containers that needed to be painted.  I made my own hours, painted in the summer while no one bothered me and made a lot of good money from it.  Also got a brother in law and his cousin in on it for a good spell and they made some good money from it too!

When you keep consuming positive uplifting material, you get better in the ways that those materials teach you, and you just have a more proactive, hard working attitude, your ears percolate at opportunities, and you are happier because you are doing something instead of wallowing in your own self pity.  I have done both and I much prefer the former.

Some books I have read that fit this bill:
*  48 days to the work you Love: by Dan Miller
*  Quitter:  by Jon Acuff
*  Entreleadership:  by Dave Ramsey
*  7 Habits of Highly Effective People:  by Stephen Covey
*  The Total Money Makeover:  by Dave Ramsey
*  Steve Jobs:  by Walter Isaacson
*  Scriptures (people think it is cheesy but if you’re looking, you will find it)

Some of the Podcasts I listen to:
*  Dave Ramsey Show
*  EntreLeadership
*  48 days
*  Smart Passive Income
*  Linux Action Show

There are many more books that I have read but those are the ones that I could think of off the top of my head.  It isn’t really about retaining every little thing that you read, but that as you read or listen that you act on the good advice and training and then those become habits.

From Cynical to Grateful

A little while ago a sister in law pointed out my fallacy when I was talking about getting rid of all the government programs that drain a nations economy on people who are not willing to work.  She pointed out that I use government subsidized housing.  Have taken advantage of medicare and WIC.  Somehow I made myself out to be an okay case because I am using these things as a springboard to get out of debt and never have to use them…But I am using them now, I felt extremely hypocritical and really had to ponder about these things.  If I am going to say get rid of these programs then I should not use them, not even a little bit.  I have come to a few conclusions and re-structured some of my beliefs…which is a painful thing to do!

People are generous, and the government(s) that us 80’s babies tend to hate so much, no matter what they do, have programs to help people.  For a starving family to not take advantage of what is being offered to them is lunacy.  The problem remains and will remain that people will take the help and then never strive to do better (that is the part that really chaps me), and perhaps eliminating these programs will put a fire under the masses butts to do something, but there are still all those (myself included) that cannot help themselves at certain stages in their lives and need a little boost.  So my gratitude for what the government does has increase and I am willing to show it.

The masses have voted…or at least the vocal voting masses have voted…to have these programs, to pay their tax money towards them.  They desire to bring the bottom up.  So taking advantage of a program is not stealing, it does not make you a worse person…I often struggle taking them and feel somewhat less of a man doing so…but I now view this as the motivation to do better and then no longer need them.  The spirit in which we use these programs has a lot to do wither or not we should feel worse about it.

Compassion…I am working hard, mentally and physically, I will be in a better place tomorrow than I am in today.  But when I am in a much much better place I fear I would easily be little others for not doing what I did to get there.  But I will know that I was once there too.  That I had to wait for vouchers to get milk for my little kids, sat there with my wife stuck with grief and worry over a $20 difference in our budget and drove the streets looking for that second or even third job that would be needed.  I will be no better than anyone else once I have overcome the problems that these programs alleviate.

I don’t know exactly what the government needs to do, I just feel that it is more up to us than it is them, I want people to do what it takes, but I am grateful for the programs that have helped my family and I, and hope others will have more gratitude towards what the government has done in this fashion.

I love the word ‘Portfolio’…From Wikipedia you can read that this word literally means a case for carrying loose papers, but of course it has come to mean a collection of any number of things that we collect.  Financial investments, resume building accomplishments, etc.  I would like to propose the use of this word tied to ‘Income’.

Our income is not fixed…at least mine never has been and I rest assured that it never will be.  I want a day where people asks me not “How are your stocks doing?” but, “How are your incomes doing?”  To enlighten the mind into owning multiple streams of income or having options instead of just:
*  Yes I have a job…
*  No I do not have a job…
These are states, on or off, and I would prefer to never be off.

There are many options and categories to an income portfolio that we can choose to invest in at any given time.  Here are some of mine:

Active Income:
*  Day Job: Currently at Reality Bytes Inc. (The computer shop where I work)
*  Software Consulting (an active income variable income that must be worked at constantly)
*  Sidework: the odd house painting or burger flipping that comes my way.

Passive Income:
*  Android Development – Sales
*  Android Development – Ad Revenue
*  Blogging (building an online presence and honing my writing skills…also good to get myself out there talking to people)

Investments:
*  In people (networking etc)
*  Savings (earns a little interest)
*  Debt freedom (saves paying a lot of interests)
*  Self: Reading, learning, getting certificates and tickets of skill, etc.

At first I was going to call this post “Prune your Income Portfolio”, but that is not what I am after, not yet anyway.  We need to tag some more possibilities, explore our options.  I choose dung cause it sounds a little funny, but also ties into the parable of giving nutrients to plants.  If your Income Portfolio tree is getting out of hand, pruning will be required, but I think that we suffer more from having one dead plant and going to the next dead plant without getting anything to grow.

It is the season to make new goals, to reflect and to decide how to make yourself better.  But new years resolution has become an ugly word to me…meaning that you will make a goal or two before the new year and you will have given up on them or forget them all together in the first quarter of the new year.

Goals, I believe are to be set right when you think of them.  The moment you say, “I am out of shape, I need to work out.”  How pointless is it that you will not make goals for this until the new year?  Is there a magic that dictates that if you are well into the year that you cannot change anything until the new year comes?  I think absolutely not!  I have made goals, and yes I have made them in this season of reflection looking towards the new year, but I have started working towards them how, I was working at them before, but just have given them a tune up, more clarity, and revamped my efforts to make myself accountable for those goals.  I have downloaded an Android app called “Habit Droid” and it has fantastic charts that track your progress, and nags your with reminders.  Despite how long term your goals are, make quarterly goals (that is three months out of the year…), then make weekly goals.  Check yourself quarterly, weekly, daily, by every event in the day that adds to or detracts from your goals.

Be brutally honest with yourself.  Realise and accept the motive behind your goals.  I laugh at myself when I think I want to get in shape for my own health,  sadly for some reason it is not that important to me.  I’m young and my body works when I need it too.  But…the real reason I want to be fit is so that when I go swimming my wife and any other girl that sees me thinks, “Oh my I would like a piece of that!”  Shallow? Yes!  Actual motive, most definitely.  But I have also matured to the degree that there are things I want just to give me self appreciation, self worth if you will.  I love reading cause it gives me this high to know things and to be able to use bigger words!  Financial goals are much the same, I want to be rich, filthy rich, because I want freedom from worry.  I really do not have grandiose plans to give the money away…yes I will more than happily give money and better Christmas gifts to friends and family, but one of my drives is to have a nice BMW car…Be honest, your actual motive are the motives that are driving you anyway, and if they are not there, all your false or would be pious motives are not going to move you forward.

You can make a goal at any given moment, one of my favourite goals that I have accomplished is putting a line through my 7’s and mt Z’s in my handwriting so I can tell them apart from my 2’s…I have very sloppy handwriting, but I like it well enough and this goal I decided on a whim when I saw someone else write that way and I thought it was very classy.  I think that only took me a month or so and now I write that way without even thinking about it.

I wish us all the satisfaction of accomplished goals and self elevation!

When things get crazy at work, things fall apart, tasks and customers fall through the cracks and people get contentious, you (I mostly mean I) start to think of other jobs…Reasons that coworkers or your boss might be to blame.  Or you think that you might do a worse job so that you are given less responsibility.  Maybe you are not paid enough so you don’t care.  I struggle with this every so often, more often than I would care to, here are my thoughts about it.

You will never be paid enough to do your best….let that sink in, let your mind chew on that for a bit…What does that mean?  What do you do with a little factoid like that?  I have come to the conclusion that you have to do your best for you!  The more often you do your best the more often your best will come more natural to you.  Your best will get better and better.  My fault before was thinking that if I am expected to do my best in a job then I have to be paid accordingly or I would hold back, this I have come realize is a fallacy.  Life will give back what we put into it, and will pay us accordingly, hence why we often lead mediocre lives.

Another tidbit I have learned is that we cannot claim that we are capable if we never prove ourselves capable.  Such thoughts as, “I could run this business, and I would do it really well, better than my boss or whoever.”  And then we hold back because we are not the boss or we don’t think we get paid enough.  This is the same fallacy as thinking we have money because out credit card has a high limit.  We spend that which is not ours, we neither deserve it nor have we earned it.  Parts of a business, and yes even owners, coworkers, or customers may have some blame.  But really that does not vindicate us (me) in any failure in our positions.

So my conclusion is to keep up at work, roll with the punches, again I am always working at being responsible for accepting responsibility, and even more so telling other that I cannot promise or perform.  Sometimes the answer is “It will get here when it gets here.”  And you do all that you can and say, “Yes I failed, I need help or I need to try again in a different way.”  Keep up, do your best, your actual best, and if it is not good enough, get better, and if you cannot get better then you are not able to do that thing, which is fine.  But in this process work hard if you actually want to do well and move up in success.

Anyone who has written anything pertaining to any amount of success have written about the wasteful consumption of TV.  There I was last night, making goals for myself on my tablet.  Reading more, getting my books written, keeping up with blogging and writing on others blogs.  I felt good about all that and then was gonna go to bed, cause I had no energy to write…but in getting ready I saw some dill pickle flavored chips, they are as potent as salt and vinegar chips but have a delightful dill pickle taste along with all the salt…so I had to have a bowl of those, and you can’t eat chips without… .. .watching some TV!  So I start watching at midnight and did so until the chips were gone.

I am not the kind of person who will tell you that you should never ever watch TV and that it is the reason that you are failure or what have you.  But I will reiterate along with all the others out there, that you can find a lot more time to use for your ventures or just to catch up if you discipline the use of your time and your television.  The strangest thought came to me about TV…I almost never watched a show or a movie about people watching TV.  There is always the perfectly prompted news story to move the story along, but there are no movies that you would watch someone watching TV.

But to make a goal of just simply watching less TV seems to be counter-intuitive.  It is not a nasty habit to watch TV after all.  But I think the better way to think about it, to have all your daily activities prioritized, even if they are tasks just for fun, and put TV much lower on the list than the others.  So I will read, write, blog, research, play with my kid, help out the wife, maybe brainstorm my side ventures…then maybe if there is any time left I can catch a few shows on Netflix.  If I were to start with the shows first, I know that I am doomed to get none of the other things done.

I would quote or show all the math of how many hours we have in a day or week, but I don’t think that really matters,  when we are working on something or droning in front of the TV, time seems to get lost.  I just think that we have to better direct where and how that time is lost…thus not losing it.