MonthMay 2011

Stop Romanticizing the Past

The past is filled with what seem to be my greatest achievements. The past is when I got the job. The past is when I wrote the brilliant poem. The past is when I first kissed the girl. The past holds all the selective memories edited down into a greatest hits collection. The past is only the best parts of myself and my choices I’ve chosen consciously or not to hold on to.

I do not remember the longest day at work before the last longest day at work. I do not recall the long hours sitting in classrooms, taking tests, reading books, getting teased. I do not remember the low points and the sleepless nights.

I do not remember the worst that came with the very best. ((Exception being the **very** worst of the worst.)) Overall, I look back and I think of all my accomplishments. I still sit and kick myself everyday for losing the backup of my old Xanga.com blog I started writing in 1997. In my head, it holds a lot of great things I wrote when I was a younger, more idealistic man.

I wish LiveJournal had any decent kind of search so I could go back into the many years of writing I still have sitting up there. In my head, there are, again, some brilliant things I wish I could go look back to, revise, repost or at least remember.

But I can’t. The Xanga writings were exported to a now-lost ZIP file and the site closed. LiveJournal is a unsearchable nightmare though the writings still exist… Somewhere.

But the past is not all of our best work. The months and years of history have turned the memories of those great writings into fairy tales. My writing as a 15-year-old poet is not the writing of the 30-year-old geek. I have grown and learned.

We all have.

The people who look back on their high school or college days as the highlight of their life make me a little sad. I can see the appeal of the relatively care-free days and the ignorance of youth. But there’s so much more to life after school.

There are so many more opportunities for greatness and to make cool things. Life does not end at 18 or 21 or 25 or even 30, 50 or 70. Life does not end until you gasp your last breath on this earth. ((What happen after that is up for debate.)) But as far as what you can make and share and produce, you have many years ahead of you.

*Stop romanticizing the past.* Sure, you may have had some successes, but they are nothing to what you are still going to achieve. My past victories are always falling to my current achievements. We all think you’ve hit a pinnacle when we’re in our teens. The first kiss. First drink. ((For some)) Smoking. Tattooing. Voting. The Lottery.

Sure, there’s not a lot of age-based milestones once you get past 21. There’s still car rental and car insurance drops at 25. We don’t need the world to tell us how to be great and when we must accomplish things.

When I was in college I was convinced I knew what I wanted to do. I chose a major and immediately changed it because it was not as I imagined it. I completed my degree and went off into the world with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. ((Yes, I have a BS in Communications.)) I worked extensively for the school’s publications. I was the Production Chief of [The Commonwealth Times](http://commonwealthtimes.org) for three years. I headed the Millennium literary magazine and even dabbled in assisting other publications.

I went to school to learn what I did not want to be when I grew up. The last day I used my degree was the day it arrived in the mail. It’s not even hanging anywhere.

I work as a Sr. Desktop Support Technician now. I support those reporters and writers and designers and photographers just as I worked with their younger peers in college. I am still active in the media world but in a very different way. I am a writer. Something I have always had an interest in but never thought I could do anything serious with. I now write monthly for a publication my father helps to run. From that, I was asked to submit an article for publication in a print magazine in Ireland.

Do I still look to the past? Yes, very much. The past is who we were and dictates where we will go. Each day is open to new achievement and success.

Do not live in the past. Embrace the present and look to the future. Your best work is still ahead of you. Never stop working and never stop learning.

You may be surprised with where the world can take you, I sure am.

Duck

I woke this morning with aching feet and half-closed eyes. I rolled out of bed and into my morning routine.
Until I looked out the window.

Seven floors below, in the still-filling pool was a single duck. This little fellow was swimming playfully to and fro in the crystal clear waters. The only disturbance was his webbed feet propelling him forward.

I watched this duck for a couple of minutes paddling to and fro. This happy duck seemingly without a care in the world. Swimming in the pool. Dunking his head beneath the water and shaking the excess off.

I wanted to be this duck. So carefree. So happy. Without burden of responsibility.

I wanted to be swimming back and forth in a crystal clear pool this morning.

Instead, I finished dressing, made a quick lunch and dashed out the door. Off to start the chaos of a Monday morning.

All the while, still thinking of the duck. In the pool. Happily splashing.

Macs are too expensive

The price of things is all relative to how often you need to buy them. Would I spend $100 on toilet paper? Never. I need to buy rolls and rolls of the stuff every month to keep enough around to use. Would I spend $5000 on a used car? Yes, the money I spend for the car is meant to last for many years. My 2001 Ford Taurus is still humming along nicely $5000 later. It’s paid off and I have no need to replace it.

The same goes for computers. Week after week people tell me they will never buy a Mac because they’re “just too expensive” and the PC they have or just bought was much cheaper. That’s fine. I will not argue with you. I will simply ask two questions, how many PCs have you owned in the past 4 years? How much have you spent on repairs and troubleshooting?

If the answer is one and “covered by warranty” then you may stop reading right here and go on with your day. I am sorry to have wasted your time.

However, if you’ve had two or three or more than I have to ask why? Why would you keep buying something you need to replace or repair on a yearly basis?

Before my MacBook died, it was the only machine I used for nearly four years. I upgraded the operating system as new ones were released. I maxed out the memory and installed a larger hard drive than the factory option at the time. But beyond that, I did not make any other changes and that machine served me well. I took it everywhere and used it everyday.

I have never had a Windows-based computer, laptop or desktop last anywhere near that long. I’ve had hardware failures and operating system corruption long before that. I’ve had to reinstall Windows more times than I care to count and troubleshoot a host of problems that sent me delving deep into forums and knowledge bases, often finding little knowledge.

Sure, I fall squarely into the realm of computer geek and not “normal computer user” which may make me an edge case for computer usage. However, in the nearly four years I had my MacBook it never suffered a hardware problem. ((Beyond the plastic case chipping that was evident with most of the first generation MacBooks))

I can count on one hand the number of times the machine kernel panicked on me during that time. In short, I rarely had any sort of problem with it and what little problem I did have was easily remedied with a reboot. I don’t know of anyone who can boast that about their Windows computer. ((I am not counting little old grandmothers who use theirs once a week to email their grand kids.))

Would you skimp on the cheapest television or refrigerator on the market?

How many hours do you expect to spend on your computer in the next week? The next month? The next year?

Why would you skimp and buy the cheapest machine you can afford? You may save $500 now on the laptop thrust at you by the closest Best Buyer in Blue. How many times will you need support on that machine in the next three years?

With Apple computers, you have a year of technical support and repairs from Apple. With the purchase of Apple Care, the only extended warranty I’d ever buy. you get an extra three years of support on your equipment.

This means any hardware failures are covered, free, no questions asked. Just walk down to the nearest Apple Store and speak to a Genius and they’ll take care of you. What other store can boast that? Will Best Buy take such good care of you? Will Microsoft offer to help you troubleshoot Windows or Office in person?

Apple also offers free one-on-one training in their stores. Buy any Apple product and they’ll teach you how to use it. They also offer classes on various higher functions like simple video editing, backing up your data and any other questions about their products.

You’re going to spend more money on that Apple laptop but it will come back to you many times over in the next three years. When you buy an Apple computer, you’re not just getting a computer. You’re also getting a year of support an answers. You’re getting a quality computer that you’ll spend far more time using than fixing.

If your time is valuable, you owe it to yourself to buy a Mac.

How to sync multiple Google Calendars to an iPhone or iPad

My wife and I use Google Calendars to sync and share events and information. Ever since we setup a Bills calendar, it’s annoyed my that it won’t sync to our iPhones. Today, I decided to sit down and figure out how to make it happen for my iPhone and iPad. ((Just replace “iPhone” with “iPad” below.))

By default, only the main Google Calendar is synced to the iPhone. To select secondary calendars, open Safari on your iPhone and go to Google’s iPhone Select page.

Select calendars to sync.

Second, still on Safari on the iPhone go to Calendar Sync page and select the additional calendars to sync.

Manage the devices syncing to Google Calendar.

Force quit the calendar app and reopen it or reboot the iPhone. Once that is complete, you should see the additional Google calendars available to sync. Check the ones you want on your iOS device and you’re all set.

Calendar selection in Calendar app on iPhone.

Marriage

After you have a wedding, you judge all weddings after with a critical eye.

But in the end, a wedding is personal to the people marrying.

And each wedding is perfect. To them.